You’re Playing With The Big Boys Now

I was going to write this before the election and I might have mentioned it, but then I got more upset about other stuff, so it never came out.  Though I’ll grant you I’ve written about this again.  Responsible for this incarnation are Foxfier in comments yesterday and Dr. Helen with her article which got infested by an incarnation of teh stupid in comments.

However, as someone who used to call herself a feminist (before feminism went off the cliff at a run) on the run up to the election I was appalled, disgusted and insulted with the “War on Women” meme ( you might have gathered this, once or twice) but most of all with the bizarre freak show of women who didn’t know well-to-do law student Sandra Fluke getting offended on her behalf for her being called a “slut.” (We’ll leave aside that Limbaugh was making a nomenclature error.  The lady wants someone to pay for something associated with her having sex, she’s not a slut.  She’s a whore.  All that remains is haggling about the price.  Sluts do it for joy de vivre.)

This was a bizarre demonstration of the brainless sisterhood, invoked ONLY because she, like these other women, had a vagina.

Even my sensible friends said “well, I can see where he had a point but no one should say those things about women.”


Do you call men “bastards” in public life?  You might not if you don’t swear, and consider it swearing.  I confess to episodes of turning the air a deep blue when I get going.  (In my defense, English swear words don’t feel like swear words to me.  I think the taboo needs to be ingrained in you from earliest years.)  But lest some commenter decides I’m extrapolating from me (rolls eyes) I’m also politics addicted.  I’m not much for talk radio.  I’m not auditory.  But I read an awful lot of commentary online, I watch commentary on TV, and I’ve heard male politicians and indeed journalists called everything but a child of G-d.

Can anyone imagine the furor and the president of the United States calling some journalist who got called, oh, a bastard or a sh*t weasel?  Can we imagine it being called “disrespect to men” and used to build up the idea of a completely phony war on men?  No?  Neither can I.  (And men have more claims to a psychological war on them.  Just yesterday watching a commercial where all the boys in the class are morons and all the girls are soooo brilliant at math, I almost threw something through the computer screen.)

So, why women?  You’re going to say “Because women have to be respected.”  Really?  Why?

And now you’re sitting there staring at the screen and spluttering aren’t you?  I’d like to remind you “Because they have to” is not an answer.

This idea that women are fragile, must be respected and must be protected is relatively new.  Before that the human idea that anyone weaker was born to be enslaved/mistreated/killed without compunction/ruled.  Since most women are weaker than most men (yes, there are exceptions, but not enough to make a difference) women got the short end of the stick throughout history.

This is not because men are particularly evil.  They aren’t.  They’re human.  Women were weaker, so men ruled.  Women in turn took it out on infants and the elder in their care.  This is still normal in most of the world.

Yes, yes, Christianity had a lot to do with changing the way things were done, and before that Judaism, though not being a messianic proselytizing faith for most of its history, Judaism spread its beliefs on the humanness of women less.  And even then, the progress was slow.  The married lives of some of the patriarchs read to women as the sort of horror show you see in Islam today.  And the Christian married life till very recently doesn’t bear thinking about.

This is because in societies where physical strength is essential for survival, men will always have the upper hand.  At least they will barring some kind of bio enhancement that effectively turns women in to men.

There were bits of “equality” throughout history.  Greece and Rome were “more equal” than other times and places, but scratch the surface and you find it doesn’t go very deep indeed.  Female poetesses and noble females might have had ALMOST the freedoms of males, but the other women were bought and sold like chattel.

Again, remember this is not a male thing.  This is a human thing.  Get us in a position of pinching, and we ALL take it out on those weaker than us.  This is why centralized power is so scary.  It makes someone that much more powerful than everyone else, which removes the humanity of those subjected to that power.  (As we’re seeing proof daily.)  If we’re a particularly kind of sh*tweasel, we convince ourselves – and those we abuse! – that we’re doing it for the greater good.

BUT the idea of women as sacred, fragile, and not to be hurt by word or deed comes from the whole chivalric tradition and the troubadour poets.  (In case you think writing and stories can’t change the world.)

By making the ideal of woman perfect and pure (and yes, there were reasons for this, having to do with the structure of feudal society) it ennobled all women a little.  While that had not much effect until society became affluent enough and equalitarian enough (mostly due to the US) that every woman could be a “lady”, once that happened, every woman aspired to be treated as a “lady.”  You couldn’t say swear words in front of her, and certainly not to her.  You would open the door to them.  You treated her as both more and less than human.  The goddess of the house, the mother of children, the fragile, innocent, blah blah.

Few women lived up to this.  A lot of women exploited it.  Then came the feminism I remember, you know, the one that wanted to be treated as equals, forget the other stuff.

To me it seemed natural.  I knew nothing about history, nor what a great stride forward chivalric rules were (no?  Think about it.  In a time of enormous and indiscriminate turmoil, every man’s hand against every other’s, it kept the women and children RELATIVELY safe, because it would be “despicable” to treat them otherwise.  Yes, the kids might still be killed (but less often, and evolutionarily that’s important.)  The mothers might be sent to convents.  BUT that was a marked improvement over what would have happened before.)  And I came from a long line of “horrible women.”  I mean, seriously, by the time I was ten mothers in the village warned their little boys about me (and me not even aware of boys yet) because to marry a woman of my family meant you’d never “be master of your own house” and you’d never “be able to call your soul your own.”  (In the spirit of fairness, I DID warn Dan about it.  He didn’t sheer off.  Mathematician got courage. Or insanity.)

First of all, I haven’t heard (i.e. not in memory of people who were living when I was little) of any ancestress who couldn’t read and write (voluminously, usually.)  Second, if any of them didn’t run their own business and usually out-earn their husbands (yes, I’m falling down on the job, but I AM working at it) I also have failed to hear of her.  And they all did this while raising broods of children (though the family on dad’s side, to be honest, always ran to low fertility so three or four at most, still), running subsistence farms (everyone did at the time even when that wasn’t their job,) raising livestock, and – usually – helping neighbors, orphan kittens and whoever came to them for help.

I ran down the list of accomplishments that Heinlein thinks most humans should have and I’m sorely deficient.  But other than higher math my ancestresses could do all of those.  I am, in fact, a pale shadow of them.

So it never occurred to me that being fragile/protected was a good thing.  I viewed it as an attempt at infantilizing me and got upset.  And it never occurred to me anyone would oppress me for being female.  I remembered mom’s snort when a neighbor told her that she just didn’t realize she was oppressed and her answer of “I would just like to see the unlucky fool who would TRY to oppress me.”

Now, I want you to remember I grew up in Portugal.  Women in schools at the time were treated as men are in schools in the US now.  They were there on presumption of inferior intellect.  Getting called on?  What is that?  And teachers instinctively thought boys must be smarter.

Did that affect me?  Well… no.  I was aware of the fact that up to the first test I must put up with the assumption I was hen-witted.  Once the teacher read that first test I was treated like one of the boys or slightly better.  End of discussion.

Note I didn’t whine and scream and say “but I’m a gurl.  You have to cut me slack.”  I simply out-thought, out-studied and out worked the boys.

Of course, I also got treated as a half-wit because I was massive for my generation of Portuguese females (I finally stopped growing at five seven – for those who know me, yes, I’ve lost about two inches.  Eh.  Has to do with medical stuff. – and a size 12.  I adjusted my diet – as in, lived on espresso and half a toast a day — and got it to a size 7.  This was still massive by Portuguese standards.  I rarely could find ready-made clothes that fit.)  As you know from movies, etc, the tall, large one is always dumb and slow.  Eh.  That too was not worth fighting until they saw that first test.

But see, I believed in equality and in women being allowed to compete as men did in male fields.  I would have been very happy if they hadn’t assumed I was stupid because I was female, but I was willing to prove them wrong (cheerfully and with malice aforethought.)

I think – and here I might be wrong – that was the principle of early feminism.

Oh, my how things have changed.  Partly, they’ve changed because frankly most women don’t want to compete in male fields as men.  They want to be wafted up to success as a form of bizarre reparations.  (I mean, they’re compensating you for what your ancestresses suffered?  WHY?  Aren’t they men’s ancestresses, too?)  They – being human – want in fact unearned perks.  Every human (yes, men too) does.  If he or she can get it.

But the only way to enforce that is government.  And because government is very powerful, it’s now become de rigueur to – instead of competing with men – simply whine and stomp until the regulators come down from on high and give you the other kids’ toys and privileges.

So now you have the bizarre, distorted spectacle of women demanding to be treated as superior to men.  No?  They want to fill the same positions, do the same jobs, but NOT have to suffer the slings and arrows of everyday life like men do.

And part of this is that, due to political correctness in schools, we’re raising a generation of women for whom males are an alien race.  I don’t have the time nor the inclination to give them a full education, but let me give you a few quick hint: 1-Men are not women.  They’re wired differently 2-The three musketeers is not an aberration.  Some of men’s best friendships start with a massive – and often physical—fight.  3- If you think making the work environment “uncomfortable” with jokes or comments, some of them off color, should you ever be glad you’re not a man.  And never try working in an all-male environment.  4- males, particularly in Anglo-Saxonic culture often show affection by calling each other names.  I’m not sure if any other culture on Earth could have coined the term “you magnificent bastard” but from a linguist’s point of view I love it. 6- What males do they do very well.  They do things women in general can’t do – though a few exceptional ones can, and should be allowed to – mostly the dirty, heavy, dangerous jobs.  But also some jobs in science that require an unusual degree of concentration.  We’re multitaskers, they’re laser-focused.  There’s jobs for both in building civilization.

You want a man’s job?  Fine.  Do what they do and act like them.  I promise you that you will be accepted.  (It might take a little more effort today because they’ll assume you got there thorough affirmative action, but be competent and good and they’ll come around.)

And that last point is what I want to call your attention to.  This confusion where women not only want to be “just like” – but without the work – but also want to be treated like the belle dame of troubadour songs is poisoning both sides of our society.

Women think it’s their duty somehow to be “just like men” only most of them of course don’t want to be just like men.  And meanwhile the environments that NEED men and a masculine spirit are  getting feminized and less effective.

And for the love of heaven, spare me the idea that a post-grad student at Georgetown, and one who inserted herself in our national discourse by the force of her sex life, blenches at the word “slut” like a well brought up Regency debutant would.  THAT sad show both infantilized every woman in public life, who should now be regarded as a shrinking violet, and INSULTED everyone who happens to have a vagina.  I mean, am I now expected to faint at the word “slut”?  No?  (And let’s not start on the incoherency of the slut walks, which can’t decide if they’re pro or against sluts.)  Then what was that all about?

DO you want to bring back the stereotype that women – all women are shrinking fainting violets not well up on the upper story, and therefore must be protected and cajoled?


Then stop acting like it.  Stop saying stuff like “every woman who cries rape should be believed, no presumption of innocence on the male’s part, because women must be protected.”  Your only defense – the only thing keeping you from the natural law where the weaker get it in the neck IS the law of the land.  Shred that at your own risk.

You want equality?  You have it.  Take your lumps like a man.  You’re playing with the big boys now.  Every time you demand special treatment, you’re holding back the rest of us who CAN compete.

Will men treat you differently?  Of course they will.  No man can forget you’re a woman.  Evolutionarily this leads to slightly different treatment.  BUT it’s both good and bad.  Their desire to protect you will both hold you back and keep you from the worst punches in the scrum.  At the same time, you’re not acting like a man either, even when you think you are.  A lot of the glass ceiling is women not ASKING – let alone demanding – what they’re worth.  Low dominance males get treated the same way.  Women are designed to do this.  We’re the link makers and the peace makers in the tribe.  This is because women, being smaller and weaker, couldn’t survive otherwise in competition.  You need to remember that to get anywhere in a man’s world.  But it’s nobody’s fault, and asking government to step in only creates ANOTHER layer of problems.

The morality and societal benefit of having men in women roles and vice versa is debatable and couldn’t interest me less.  I’m concerned only with individual liberty and pursuit of happiness.  As far as I’m concerned, you can be all you want to be.  Just don’t ask for special privileges.

You’ve come a long way baby.  Don’t skitter back.

UPDATE: Gypsies, Tramps and Writers is up over at MGC now.

313 thoughts on “You’re Playing With The Big Boys Now

  1. This post brings to mind a point I’ve been wanting to discuss. You have said that the boys repor women at 70% of stem classes. What is there in the world for males to fall back on if they are being blocked from education? Women can, and some prefer, be housewives. There is no similar position for males that do not lead to being socially outcast and losers in the breeding wars

    1. Men used to be able to fall back on manual labor. However, between Green/Luddite anti-development sentiments, bizarre zoning, and what appears to be a conscious effort to suppress the market for native labor, it doesn’t seem a viable choice anymore.

    2. STEM classes with a 70-30 women to men ratio? Why is this not playing out in the job market, where men outnumber women greatly? In my field, computer programming, the ratio seems to be about 10 to 1 if not even higher. (Those numbers are informed guesswork, based on my observations at recent conferences. If someone has hard data giving a different number, 1) it’s probably correct, and 2) I’d love to see it.)

      I have a theory as to why, but since I already posted it as a top-level comment (found further below) and it’s really long, I don’t want to repost it here and monopolize the comment thread. Search for the book title “Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti” (which I mention in the first paragraph of my long comment) if you want to find my theory.

      1. The STEM job market, I mean — women greatly outnumber men in the job market in certain other fields (like teaching).

      2. When I was in electronics repair for a secure telephone switch (after the Navy) there were only two females in the entire field. (me and someone else). So the ratio was about twenty to one or more. In other electronic repair, except in the military, I was the only one.

          1. to give my hubby his due– he is a genius when it comes to electronic repair and the math underlying the electronics. He can fix anything with a schematic. He amazes me– I had to fight to get there, but he has natural ability with schooling and work. I am the word person in the family.

      3. it’s not playing in the job market, because what I hear from friends hiring is that women will come in with As from college and be total dits about the tech. Men, otoh come in with Bs and are wizards. They had to fight to get there, they got no sympathy grades, and by gum, they’re good. (Same reason they used to say women who made it through stem were much better than men. Adversity hons the mind and the will. Of course, on paper it seems discriminatory.)

      4. One of my sons is a computer programmer and I just looked at the photo on his firm’s website taken at a conference, and it looks like about 20% women. On the other hand in my field of Audio (at least in the more technical as opposed to artistic aspects) the percentage of women is more like 1%. Those 1% are often very good, but they are far too rare.

        1. (anecdote alert) In network engineering, I don’t find very many women at senior levels, but the ones who are there tend to be extremely good.

      5. There may also be differences within the STEM fields at most universities. More women in medicine, fewer in engineering, so outside the medical field, you’d see more men than women. Even in engineering, you’ll find more women in the aerospace engineering program than the mechanical engineering track.

        I think you’ll also find more women in math and sciences picking up a teaching credential as a fall back career.

        1. In physics and such there’s a lot of women, but a lot fewer in the engineering classes, younger son says. Interestingly the math college at my own alma matter was almost as completely female as languages. Of the humanities, only Portuguese and Philosophy had substantial numbers of males.

        2. The life sciences (biology, pre-med, vet-med) have more women than do chemistry and physics, from what I’ve seen. Even engineering tends to sort out, although EE takes its toll on everyone. Geology seemed to be about 60% male, 40% female at Flat State, although petroleum geology had more men. Note that these are my observations from hanging out with the science grad students at one university. YMMV.

  2. She lied, too. She claimed contraception cost $3000 over three years. In reality, a pharamacy nearby had it for $9 a month. When someone asked her, she said she was unaware of it.

    Meaning she lied when she said she could testify about their lives.

      1. It does on the other hand speak volumes to the typical lib/prog tactic of saying whatever furthers the narrative then waffling when challenged on their facts. In short, if the facts don’t support their position they just make sh!t up and act offended if you call them on it.

    1. Plus, even if you stipulate that birth control costs $3000 over three years, that works out to a monthly cost that even I can absorb — and I’m certainly not swimming in money over here.

      Bottom line, if you aggregate costs, you always get a more shocking number than if you (more realistically) spread the cost out over an extended period of time.

      1. When I saw that claim I went to Planned Parenthood’s Web site and checked their prices. They will provide contraception to any woman who wants it, on a sliding scale. For a really poor woman, the monthly cost is about like two packs of cigarettes. The high end is about like a visit to Starbuck’s every work day. I can’t have much sympathy for a woman who says she wants reproductive self-determination, but can’t trim her own expenses by a few dollars a day to pay for it. I used to think feminism was about treating women as self-reliant adults, but I think that ship has sailed.

  3. From scattered reading in history, I have the impression that democratic movements are sometimes bad for women. Both in ancient Athens and in Revolutionary France, the assertion of the equality of men turned out to include an equal right to lord it over women—and a reaction against aristocratic women whose privileges had formerly included the right to speak up (for example, in the famous salons of Paris). I don’t know if this is an inevitable pattern—history doesn’t have that big a sample of seriously democratic uprisings, and I don’t claim to historical scholarship—but it’s an interesting one, and contrary to what people assume now.

    1. “I have the impression that democratic movements are sometimes bad for women”

      Look at the reports from the 60’s radicals who espoused “free love”. The women were treated as utilities, and abused if they expressed any dissent.

      1. Intellectual by Paul Johnson gives a good look at what Progressive men feel entitled to from women. This, of course, spawned the feminist movement, which tended to run on the assumption that this was typical, or perhaps better than usual since of course the men were Progressive.

      2. I will stipulate that, but I’m not sure it’s relevant. The movement of the 1960s was not an actual democratic revolution. It had no aristocratic regime to overthrow, it didn’t create new institutions of popular government (with their distinctive virtues and flaws), and in fact the United States already had popular government. The 1960s was more a theatrical reenactment of actual revolutionary politics by a crowd of privileged children, with a healthy seasoning of medieval “town and gown” riots.

    2. It seems like the “democratic” movements tend to urge towards real-world philosophy with an eye — and as the post points out, women are weaker in the real world. Ditto for the more-rational aspect.

      Feminine power tends to be more low key, emotional, upkeep stuff; male tends to be more overt and getting the big stuff done.

  4. Having 3 older sisters who could – and occasionally did – kick my butt, I’ve never suffered the idea that women were less able than men. And conversely, I’ve never believed that they were more competent than men.
    men and women are just different. I guess some of my core beliefs regarding the subject were influenced by Heinlein. His characters, male and female, were generally competent, but aware of viva la difference.

    So I’m glad we have two genders.

    And I’ll relate something form several decades back.
    During the ’70’s I was in the US Navy, stationed in Washington State. A female feminist I knew, found out I was from Texas, and immediately wanted to know if I spoke Spanish. I told her I knew a few words.
    She immediately wanted to know how the spanish translated Ms.
    I loved the expression on her face when I told her Spanish didn’t have a neuter case.

    1. I really can’t say how my view of women was formed. In fact, I’d say that, as far as abilities goes, it never was. I’m so socially inobservant, I never really got an opinion, and I never had a thought about men or women being different in mental ability. I mean, it was obvious that girls weren’t generally as strong as boys, but that was about it. Later, I saw in school that the girls usually didn’t like math as much as boys did, with a few exceptions, but other than that, no.

    2. Bwahahahaha! Ms=neuter Snort, giggle . . . OMG that’s brilliant.

      Yeah, we’re different. There’s overlap. Sometimes lots of overlap, in other fields, very little. You have to judge people by their individual abilities. And that includes ability to whine, which too many “feminists” haven’t figured out.

      1. Ironically, Miss and Mrs. and Miz are all abbreviated pronunciations of “Mistress,” so really they’re all the same word. At least there’s a syllable’s worth of diminutive between Senora and Senorita.

      2. There’s differences, sure, but most things men and women do these days could easily be reversed. I don’t include activities like combat or serving in a warzone along the front line, though. Men would be more inclined to protect the woman than see her as a fellow combatant, regardless of how capable she might be.
        And in light of that, I *DO* believe that a woman should be able to fight deadly. Too often, in war and other conflicts (crime) women tend to be victims. I think they should be capable of MAKING victims of attackers.

  5. Meanwhile… in the Father-as-Boogey-Man meme narrative… episode six of Fringe (first aired in 2008) introduces the main protagonist’s father as a physically abusive monster. Her mom just took it and took it. One day after beating her mom, he drives off in a huff… but then comes back. His own daughter had gotten his gun, and shot him twice as he came into the door. Her only regret was that she didn’t shoot again and again and again. He’s alive… he’s out there… and some day… he is maybe going to *get* her!!

    This is a double sledgehammer to reinforce the narrative: not only are men violent rapist types by default, but women are victims of male violence– scarred for life.

    I am having a very hard time finding entertainment that does not do this sort of thing. (Even Doctor Who had a whole episode about a scary, violent dad-monster.) In the old tales it was always the wicked stepmother. I guess this had to change at about the same time we had female protagonists doing all the stuff that guys do, only better…?

    1. I think the classic “wicked stepmother” comes from a few things. First, step mothers were a lot more common historically, due to deaths in childbirth. Second, there’s pretty solid evidence that people TEND to treat step-children differently than their biological children. So the “wicked stepmother” was both something people could relate with AND a cautionary tale.

      1. Oh yes, particularly when most wealth was hereditary, mothers would do down the children of the former wife, in favor of their own. This could go from mild neglect all the way to active abuse.

        1. There’s also the aspect that women in their old age would be cared for by their children (usually sons). The step-mother might care more for *their* children than their step-children because the step-children might not care for her in her old age. Mind you, making the children of a prior marriage hate you (for that reason) would be a self-fulling prophecy.

    2. I suspect you might benefit from some broader reading in fairy tales. There were wicked mothers, too; both Hansel and Gretel and Snow White originally featured a mother, not a stepmother. And there were wicked father aplenty. All Kinds of Fur or The Girl Without Hands — note the the Brothers Grimm saw fit to censor out the wicket mothers, but not the wicked father there. Or Catskin. (He was sometimes changed to a wicked stepfather, to be sure. It was just rarer.)

    3. Sounds to me like an endorsement of concealed carry.

      “God made man, Sam Colt made them equal.”

      1. And among biological fathers, the husband is least likely; the live-in boyfriend/father is more dangerous.

  6. “We’re multitaskers, they’re laser-focused.”

    This might explain why a co-worker constantly interrupts while I’m trying to get things done; it isn’t as big a hit on her processing as it is on mine.

    Or she’s just thoughtlessly rude.

    1. Or both. But most likely the first. I do this to my husband unless I restrain myself. I need a certain amount of outside stimulus, and have to remember he doesn’t.

      1. Yes– I need more outside stimulus since I have had to stay home. Plus my mind leaps all over the place lol. He has complained about it. But, when I am into something I am interested in doing (writing, electronics, etc) I laser focus. It is really hard for me to come back from it too. I have a brother (a business man) who can multi-task better than I can. I find multi-tasking at the work place as a huge waste of my time. 😉

      2. “Or both. But most likely the first.”

        But I’m the one who gets dinged on his annual review and sent to a “communications” class.

        1. I’m not sure what you do, but I recall in a former workplace having a boss tell a coworker, “you don’t need to communicate, I’ll tell you what to do and you do it. Now shut up and get to work, or go home and don’t bother coming back.” In that case communicate meant whine and complain, and question instructions rather than carry them out; I heartily endorsed the second option.

    2. I’m told that multiple studies have shown that “Multitasking” tends to involve serious degradation of the quality of work in all the tasks involved. I shall be interested in seeing if this perception goes anywhere.

      1. When compared to someone focusing directly on one task, this is true. When women are said to be “multitaskers”, it means that they are better able to shift focus multiple times in a short period with less degradation of the overall quality of the various tasks.

      2. I must be Odd in that I don’t multi-task. I switch from one thing to another quickly, but I cannot to more than one thing at a time. For example, I can’t even write and speak at the same time. The system overloads.

        1. I can’t now, but I used to be able to do simultaneous translation from several languages, which is apparently a rare form of multitasking. Ie a group all speaking different languages at me, and I could translate them to each other, and answer each, in a big continuous thing. Now it would break me even if I still knew the languages. I is getting old.

          1. *bows towards Colorado* I tested for simultaneous translation once. Failed miserably. Which was not really a surprise, but given the pay a good simultaneous translator gets (got, since this was 20 years ago), I thought I’d give it a shot.

            1. See, I didn’t even know where to apply. So I settled into scientific translation, which was fun but is mostly freelance and takes as much time to establish as writing. (Pays better, but …)
              So when I moved to Colorado and lost all my clients, we judged it best for me to do something I wanted to do for a change.
              Eh. I might have been an idiot.
              OTOH if I could go back and tell myself ONE thing it would be to write all those novels people turned down, finish stuff. Get over the I’ll never get published depressive episodes and work as fast as possible, because there would be a day… 😉

  7. We [women] are multitaskers, they [men] are laser-focused.

    Every heard of the marriage-advice book Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti? I haven’t read it myself, but a friend of mine gave me a summary. It apparently talks about how men think about one thing at a time, like the little compartments in a waffle. When a man gets home from work, he takes the “work” compartment out of his brain, sets it aside, and loads up the “home” compartment. Some men can do this instantly, others need some time (when men talk about needing 10-15 minutes to “unwind” after work, they’re usually needing that time to switch mental compartments), but once they’re in the new compartment, they’re all the way there. They can be reminded of work if it’s relevant, but problems at work won’t be constantly popping up on their mental radar anymore once they’re home.

    Women, by contrast, have brains going every which way at once, like the different strands in a plate of spaghetti — and each strand touches every other strand. The women who switches topics in conversation rapidly, thus confusing the living daylights out of her befuddled husband, isn’t doing it on purpose to confuse him, she’s just doing what comes naturally to her brain. Talking about what’s for dinner (lasagna) naturally led her to hoping little Johnny doesn’t spill tomato sauce on his new shirt again, which led her to thinking about how Susie is going to need new clothes soon because she’s starting to hit puberty and growth spurts, and that in turn led her to ask her husband “So when should we set aside some time to talk to Susie about puberty, and boys, and sex, and all that?” Her husband, meantime, has been thinking about dinner (because that’s what the topic of conversation had been a moment ago) and is blindsided by what he sees as a completely new topic — a completely separate compartment. But to the woman’s brain, it all fits together naturally.

    … I wonder if this is why more men seem to enter certain fields (like STEM disciplines) than women? Is it because those fields tend to reward a laser-focused brain rather than an in-all-directions brain? Some women, of course, have brains that are more laser-like than other women, and those women will also tend to do well in those fields. The bell curves (focused vs. scattered) do overlap. But the centers of those bell curves are rather far apart.

    Please note that, although “scatter-brained” has become a derogatory term, I in no way intend it as such here. When raising kids, especially mentally- and physically-active kids, a brain that thinks of everything at once is a HUGE asset — which is why women are often better at raising children than men. Different brain skills are better suited for different tasks, and those whose brains match those tasks’ prime skills will do better at them.

    None of this is politically correct, of course, and modern “feminists” would be MASSIVELY offended that I dare suggest that women are better at raising children than men are. My response to them would be, well, I’d like to keep this comment PG-13, so I’ll leave it to your imagination. Let’s just say there’s a reason I put “contempt quotes” around the word “feminists” in the first paragraph. The original feminists who were wanting equal rights were a completely different breed than these modern types.

    1. Yes, multitasking is best for child-and-elderly caretakers, which was a feminine thing for centuries and therefore has imprinted evolutionarily. Not to say some men don’t multitask. My husband I THINK multitasks more than norm, and listening to our conversations will drive you insane. He’s still more focused than I am. That’s the way it is. And women can become more laser-focused when situations allow. I had the greatest trouble switching when the kids went to school. I kept waiting for the interruption, and it was disruptive.

      1. … which was a feminine thing for centuries and therefore has imprinted evolutionarily.

        I believe the causal relationship is more likely to be the other way around: because women’s brains are (usually) better wired for multitasking, societies throughout the centuries have usually handed the job of caretaking to the sex better suited for it. It’s only in recent decades that the attempt to deny basic biology has become widespread enough to influence societal attitudes.

        Of course, if you’re talking about evolutionary imprinting way back in the mists of time, that’s a different argument entirely, as we know next-to-nothing about those societies (and most of what we think we know is probably wrong, since that’s how these things usually go).

        1. This differential in brain wiring also helps women recover more easily from strokes and other forms of brain damage. That is clearly discriminatory and the government needs to address the matter ASAP.

        2. Well, it has been my observation that mammals, particularly ones with longer gestation tend to have the mother more heavily involved in child rearing. I would postulate that it is a form of defense in depth.

          From a evolutionary standpoint, the children are the most important, and most in need of protection, so they go in the center most circle.

          With the mammal system, the mother is a required element for the duration of gestation, and very difficult to replace after gestation has completed, so while the mother is not in the center of the defense, she is in close proximity to it, and if the final layer of defense.

          The father, on the other hand, is only obligatory for a very short period of time, and has less capacity for direct contributions than the mother. This put them in the outer ring of defense, able to range significantly farther for the element being defended, and with sufficient range to get mutual support with other family units.

          Logistically, it would seem easier for nine men to support ten mothers with infants, than it would be for nine mothers to support 10 infants.

          On the other hand I’m also up way past my bed time and I’m losing coherence, so my logic’s probably not in full working order right now,

          1. One of them neat biological things is that in a mammal population under stress more girls are born than boys. I think because of what you describe.

          2. Logistically, it would seem easier for nine men to support ten mothers with infants, than it would be for nine mothers to support 10 infants.

            With no males at all?

            Of course roughly half the adults of the other model is a lot harder.

            Because we’re dealing with humans instead of logic, though, most effective is ten men and ten women supporting at least one kid each, ignoring those too old to reproduce; then you get the “we’re in this together” effect at the same time you eliminate jealously, use the “my kid” effect to good effect, etc.
            Being people, it can still be screwed up rather easily, but there’s at least a chance if one or the other parent dies that the others of their sex will help the remaining parent.

        3. Lactation means that the caretaking probably came first. Especially since a lactating woman would have really difficulty concentrating on anything.

    2. If you were the President of Harvard, you would be fired, like Larry Summers was.

      1. And that idiocy needs to stop now. UNTIL we realize we are different, things will only get worse. By all means don’t let the difference define you, but KNOW it’s there.

      2. Which is one reason I’m glad I didn’t go to Harvard; I would have gotten a second-rate education there, at best. The only reason people still consider Harvard first-rate is inertia.

        1. I was talking to my former professor friend today. He told a tale of when Harvard wanted him as an associate professor. The president of Harvard said, (paraphrasing) Harvard does everything necessary to keep the good, and drops the bad immediately because there are always many good folks who will replace anyone Harvard gets rid of. He turned Harvard down because he didn’t want to take a pay cut. So they offered to make him an associate (not the same as an associate professor), and paid a full professor salary.

  8. “We [women] are multitaskers, they [men] are laser-focused.”

    There’s way more to it than that. The way I was taught:

    Women are kind, caring, compassionate, and just all around awesome. They multitask well because they *care* just so much. Men are selfish, insensitive dolts. Their “focus” is mostly an artifact of their judgmental, crude, and unfeeling nature. If men could only open up, get in touch with their feelings, be more considerate, kind, and thoughtful… then women would like them more.

    (Amazingly enough, this explains every marriage and relationship problem that any couple anywhere ever had.)

    1. Sigh. Except that’s a load of… Marshall’s pre-school teacher (Mrs. Hooey.)
      There are caring men. There are caring women. Men just tend to focus like a laser on helping those they care for. (And can be very annoying with that!) 😛

      1. The King James version of the Bible has a great word for that – “dung”. If a hyper religious person takes offense in my use of that word I might reply “But its scriptural!”

    2. And the thing is that the women who claim to want men to be “in touch with their feelings” mostly don’t want men to be in touch with men’s feelings. they want men to be in touch with WOMEN’s feelings.

    1. Well, then. I knew it didn’t exist in Latin languages and assumed it was an anglo-saxon thing. I sit corrected. (Though I’ll have to stand soon and go get tea.)

  9. As a female in a traditionally male environment (engineering)…All I can say, is that I love, love this post and agree 100%. And I deplore how men can’t be “men” any more…..I will take a “manly” man with all his rough edges over the slick, feminized version that hollywood and the “elites” push any day!! And don’t get me started on the “dad as a complete idiot” meme that is pushed in popular tv/movies…

    1. ” And don’t get me started on the “dad as a complete idiot” meme that is pushed in popular tv/movies…”

      Thing is, that’s nothing new. I listen to old time radio, and you had “Life of Riley” with William Bendix as the bumbling incompetent father. Alan Young was a bumbling bachelor in his show — and went on to play a bumbling husband on TV’s “Mr. Ed”. “Duffy’s Tavern” was led by a bumbling, semi-literate Archie. Phil Harris was a bumbling incompetent father, too.

      Fibber McGee — well, borderline case, but they had the Wallace Wimpole character — “Wimpy” who had the voice of Droopy Dog and was routinely abused by his wife (though he occasionally gave as good as he got, and on at least one occasion tried to kill her).

      Even the Bundys from “Married with Children” had their old-time equivalents — the Bickersons. I can’t even stand to listen to that show or the short skits with the characters, because it’s just endless backbiting comments.

      1. I’m sure that archetype has existed for time out of mind. The issue is that now it is the dominant perception of men, with few if any counter-examples available in the establishment-approved culture.

              1. I think most people in your field would agree with the position that “Not all men are idiots or evil”. I think your position is more like “most men are neither idiots nor evil”.

                In general the formulation “not all x are y” is used to indicate that that there is some small subset of y that is not x.

        1. A valid point — used to be there were women such as Lucille Ball and Gracie Allen to provide balance. If you want to call what they provided balance …

          I recommend a stiff dose of My Man Godfrey as antidote. The William Powell & Carole Lombard version if you’re up to it.

      2. Abuse of a man by a woman is funny. After all, if he were a Real Man he would be able to stop her.

        Not by hitting her, of course. Delicate fragile flowers and all that. Apparently by being Manly at her.

        1. As one old enough to have seen Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid in crowded theatre several times, I have noted one consistent audience response. During the knife fight, when Butch delivers a solid boot to his challenger’s colly-wobbles you can hear every man in the theatre groan and every woman laugh. Never fails.

          Think about any equivalent reversal? Neither can I? Think any man lightly slaps his date and chastises her for laughing at a man being kicked there? Neither do I.

      3. 1. I never watched much TV and stopped altogether when they went to high def, so the following is tentative.

        Notwithstanding the clownish fathers in the old days, there were also people like Fred MacMurray and Father Knows Best’s Robert Young. I’m not sure they have contemporary counterparts.

        There was the Cosby show, of course. No need to explain why that father was allowed to be competent and admirable. (Offsetting Cosby was The Jeffersons.)

        2. The flawed way that minorities and women were brought into full citizenship after WW2 could bring this society down. Possibly the process was designed to bring this society down.

        1. Contemporaneous with Cosby was “Family Ties”, “Growing Pains”, “Differ’nt Strokes”, and “Eight is Enough”. Against that you had “Who’s The Boss” and “Full House”. Even “ALF” had a serious, competent father. The later “Married With Children” was notable for its contrast.

          I don’t watch much contemporary TV, so can’t speak to what’s out there now. Last broadcast “family comedy” I followed was “Malcolm in the Middle” — and in that show EVERYONE was a little nuts and EVERYONE was a little wise.

    2. Ditto and ditto. Engineering and computer programming, yes we are the nerd family, except for the 16yo girl who will be a hair stylist … 🙂 That girl keeps us upside down with her conversational and emotional whipsaw activity. We try … sigh …

      1. Or she might become a writer. I wanted to be a hair stylist. I was told “Not in our family, missy.”

        I’m sure it would be WAY more lucrative than writing… Sigh.

        1. Only if you’re *really* good at the parts of the job that have nothing to do with hair cutting, and pretty good at the parts that are.

          It’s a job with a low barrier to entry and involves standing on your feet most of the day dealing with end users.

        2. But just image having to stand around all day listening to idiots.

          As opposed to reading all our comments. 😉

          1. At least a hair stylist gets some pay for it … 😛

            And you know what, she might well be a writer. She hasn’t done for a while, but she used to write horror stories involving evil cats … they were good work too, just … disturbing …

  10. Popular culture and the way it portrays men makes me so angry, and it keeps leaking into things that I used to enjoy. Men are almost always portrayed as immature, well-meaning-but-kinda-dumb goobers, and the women are mature, reasonable, and in charge. I don’t know that I can name a piece of current, popular entertainment where this isn’t the case. (Granted, I don’t watch a lot of TV. There are probably places where this isn’t a problem, but it’s leaking into my favorite webcomics, for crying out loud.)
    By not showing mature men, popular culture reinforces the idea that guys never have to grow up, which means that guys don’t. And don’t get me started on the way popular culture says young women should act.

    1. This isn’t much of an improvement, but of all the things one might suggest, Chuck Lorre’s shows TWO AND A HALF MEN and THE BIG BANG THEORY show a fairly level playing field: among the main characters, *both* sexes come in for at least a moderately fair share of looking like foolish and immature people. The rule of comedy means it’s still more often the men than the women who do this, but it’s not wholly one-way, at least.

      (I wonder if perhaps it is a parenting-related reflex. There seems to be this deep-seated perception that as long as a man is competent enough to earn money, the family can survive him being a boob or a doofus as long as his wife is mature enough for both of them; whereas a foolish or immature woman with authority or even potential authority over children is simply a frightening or repugnant thought rather than a funny one. The first major female-cast comedy that is popular right now, HOT IN CLEVELAND, is worth noting precisely because *no* children are in the picture for *any* of the main female cast.)

    2. Dramas/Action.. don’t tend to do this. Interestingly enough neither do sitcoms where the couple has a kid after the show starts.

  11. I think – and here I might be wrong – that was the principle of early feminism.

    It might have been espoused as such, but, no. Feminism — or “women’s liberation” as it was first called — was always pretty much whiny grievance-mongering … to the extent it wasn’t a stalking horse for international revolutionary Marxism, aimed at breaking down Western civilization. Yes it was.

    Truly liberated women have pretty much always liberated themselves — if they needed or wanted “liberation,” that is.

    I think Rush nailed it when he said feminism was founded in order to allow unattractive women (unattractive in personality and character, not necssarily in appearance) access to the mainstream.


  12. Some where I read a comment about “competition between women” compared to “competition between men”. The comment basically was that men limit their competition but women didn’t. [Running away very fast]

    1. Unfortunately it is true– 😉 I think of men like a pack of dogs (not in the derogatory sense), who know their place in their pack and sometimes fight for their place, but when it is over– it is over. Not going towards the butt-sniffing– no, no.

      Women remind me of cats– there is a cat that is number one– and then there are shifting alliances among the rest– . There is some working together and some at cross-purposes, but when a new cat comes in– the hissing, staring, clawing, and fighting are stratospheric.

      1. The dog pack is a good metaphor for men’s competition because men know deep down that they have to work with the men they’re competing against. Men will compete to show who’s the “best hunter” but they know that that taking down that Mammoth requires all of the hunters working together.

        1. Yes– 😉 I think that too– I found in my working life (now I don’t have a working life) that men were easier to understand in work– and when you were the one in charge, (I got here a lot *sigh– not what I like to do btw) being able to do the job and working with them did garner respect even though I was a female in a male environment.

      2. I worked for a woman manager once when I was out of college and working fulltime in computers. That woman did not understand professional respect or hierarchy (this was the 80’s when there was still hierarchy, we even had secretarial staff, old times), so she trampled upon her subordinates by taking credit for their work, giving conflicting direction and assignments, etc. I honestly believe 90% of it was inadvertent … though we still hated her. I wonder whether she would have been different had she been a team sports player in school or something. I was not a sports person, but I did play in bands and city orchestra … which is team-like in having your own part to play, preferably in exquisite coordination with everyone else and their parts … which I think really helps one “get” organizational psychology, or whatever you call it … ??

        1. To be honest– I know of one man who did what you are talking about– and he knew exactly what he was doing. It was his way of getting raises and eventually when the company started getting a little smarter, he got the people fired (the ones he was taking credit for). Unfortunately not a smart move on his part because he started to go down hill when he lost his patsies. As for the woman– who knows? You might be right and then again, she might have just been evil.

        2. Decades ago, there was a book titled “Games Mother Never Taught You” that tries to explain to women how men work together. It has some stuff in it that would cause the PC feminist crowd to swoon but I actually gave it to several women who were having trouble figuring out how to get along in the work place in the ’80’s and they universally found it insightful. I haven’t looked at it in several decades so I’m not sure how well it has aged.

          1. Hmmm I see there is a 1992 edition on Amazon, but not in Kindle, and my library doesn’t have it, so … sorry. Now I’m working at a public high school, so the dynamic is very different, though I try to make it nice and masculine-ly straightforward as I can … futilely … but hey, I keep telling myself to smile and embrace the collective … .

            1. What I meant was, I’m sorry it’s not convenient enough to pursue because I AM intrigued. I ddi not mean to brush you off, yikes!

              1. Look into Steve Harvey’s book, titled (IIRC) Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man*. I believe it addresses many of the same issues.

                Harvey, being melanin rich and funny gets away with saying what others cannot.

                *N.B. – I have not read the book and am going from what I have read about it.

                1. Based on the episode of his show where he was teaching young men proper behavior, you’re probably correct.

        3. I’ve worked for quite a few women in the computer industry starting in the 60’s. For the most part, I enjoyed the experience. Women, in my view, make excellent managers. Why? Because they can multitask. The only women I worked for that weren’t pleasant to work for were those I was attracted to and wanted to date; which is always a no-no.

          I once got a somewhat negative review (not from a woman) because I worked to linearly for a person in an R & D environment.

  13. I’m of two minds about this topic. On the one hand, I believe women should be treated as individuals and permitted to do what they wish (provided they can compete on the same level as the men in their fields). On the other hand, I’m firmly convinced that girls are, on average, more vulnerable biologically. Indeed, I think that’s precisely why today’s feminists behave like shrinking violets. Their ideological program has stripped away all the healthy ways in which women were once protected by men (i.e., the chivalric code); thus, when the consequences of the aforementioned inherent vulnerability arise, these women have no other way to guard themselves beyond resorting to radical political correctness.

    Personally, as a traditionalist who thinks chivalry is a good idea, I don’t think men should call women sluts. At the same time, I believe women have a responsibility not to behave in a way that deserves the label. It’s a two way street — and if you, as a woman, are not holding up your end of the bargain, you shouldn’t be surprised if the men in your life fail to hold up theirs.

        1. Call it my old fashioned upbringing, but I think that the better you treat someone, maybe the higher your expectations of them are, the better they’ll act. It’s not foolproof on other people, hence the caveat as much as he possibly can, but it’s a reminder to myself to treat people as best I can.

          1. Nonsense.This is like saying we should be nice to Iran and North Korea so they’ll be nice back.

            People will not rise the expectations of an individual. They will only rise to the expectations of their society, and often not even that.

            There are three reasons to treat those around you with respect and courtesy:

            1) It shows how well mannered/brought up YOU are.
            2) It gives them no visible reason for disrespect and discourtesy back.
            3) When you need to showing anger/dispresect/discourtesy demonstrates to those who know you exactly how mad you are.

          2. I learned early that I was to treat every woman or girl as if she were a lady until she proved, on several occasions, that she wasn’t, and didn’t respect me for my attitude toward her. I very rarely stepped out of line, but on the occasions I did, it was because I had lost all respect for the other person. That included relations with men as well.

          1. No woman will ever treat me like a “lord.” It is repugnant if not unthinkable. It confuses me that any woman would expect to be treated like a lady when she herself will neither reciprocate nor subscribe to the morals that ladies were originally held to. The way that we toy with these cultural relics of past ages seems to imply that women deserve a free pass and a gold star in matters of relationships and morality. This corresponds neither to the party line nor to reality and is in any case quite unsustainable.

            1. Well I would treat you like a “lord” if you would treat me like a Queen 🙂

              1. And I suppose if you cease treating me like a lord at some point, then that will be prima facie evidence that I have failed to treat you like a queen.

                No thanks.

              2. As in “off with his head”? [Very Big Evil Grin While Flying Away Very Fast]

              3. Are you NUTS? Know you nothing of History? Don’t you even watch Game of Thrones? Being treated like a Queen is no treat, believe you me. Never a moment to yourself, always being judged on the most trivial of matters — your hair style, your split ends, having your hair styled too frequently, not having your hair done often enough, your gowns, the way you over dress, your fondness for under-dressing, your graciousness, your lack thereof and much much more.

            2. The complement to treating women like ladies is they treat you like a gentleman, not a lord.

              Treating a lady like a princess or queen is what gets you treated like a lord.

              1. “Treating a lady like a princess or queen is what gets you treated like a lord.”

                That’s certainly what “nice” men have been taught over the years. I think women need to take a look at the sort of behaviors they are rewarding in practice, though. This is just the tip of the ice berg:

                “Smitten teen girls stir up #FreeJahar mania for Boston Marathon bombings suspect”

                1. I may be wrong, but I believe that particular comment was more in the name of snark than actual information.

                  The important part was the, “The complement to treating women like ladies is they treat you like a gentleman, not a lord.” part. That’s where it was pointing out that your previous assertion was wrong.

                  I would add: If you default to not treating women as ladies, then they cannot be expected to treat you as a gentlemen, and you are perpetuating the problem. It is AFTER they prove that they have no respect for such treatment that it is not unreasonable to drop it, for that particular person. But the default should remain.

                  1. Even today, most guys confronted with a bona fide lady would generally be in awe. They’d feel this strange compulsion to take their hats off. They’d stand up a little straighter… and they’d watch their mouth. And I hate to break it to you, Frank, but those sorts of women pretty well don’t exist anymore.If they did they would be destroyed–. they’d be shunned, heckled, and laughed out of polite society … by other women!

                    Women that hold to the old ways in any way, shape, or form are a threat to the modern woman. They just look so stunning in comparison to the current crop of sluts, whores, and gold diggers.

                    Of course, Men really don’t have a say in these matters one way or the other. At any rate the “default” as you call it does not remain– it was banished to hell long before I ever hit the scene.

                    1. “those sorts of women pretty well don’t exist anymore”

                      Well, they do if you know where to look. I count five of them among my friends. 🙂

                      But none, of course, are very deeply embedded in mainstream society.

                    2. At any rate the “default” as you call it does not remain– it was banished to hell long before I ever hit the scene.

                      Depends on where you are. That is why my sister-in-law (yes, the female, not the male) couldn’t wait to move back to this area from the city where my brother worked – because she was trying to teach her son to be a gentleman, and no one there appreciated it. They do where I am. It may not be as formal as it once was, but men are still gentlemen around here.

                    3. I can be a lady when needed. I’m never a slut a strumpet and certainly not a whore (I’d be richer) BUT my default mode is hellion. That said, I know the freezing look and how to hold the line, and it’s saved me having to fight with fists and feet more than once.
                      The hellion is what remains of the tomboy — but mom did get some taming in. Don’t tell her, though. It will give her ideas.

                    4. I am not sure that I am a Lady– although I dress better and act better than the normal woman nowadays. My mother did teach the graces in some form, but I was also a tomboy. Plus I could pass sometimes because I was an extreme introvert and could keep my mouth shut. I am sure Sarah understands when I say that I do not fit anywhere and am happy to be an anomaly.

                    5. Cyn, I said My Lady is a Lady and that is true. She is also somewhat of a redneck Tomboy and a strong woman. None of those things detract from her being a Lady. I doubt they detract from you either.

                  2. More pointed correction than snark, but yes; I’ve run into the “if you want me to treat you decently, I demand that you first treat me OUTSTANDINGLY” phenomena quite enough.

                    I’ve also noticed that the part where I’m treated decently tends to not show up, no matter how I treat them– they can always find a defect in my behavior, even while they’ll snarl about how other folks are too calculating.

                    Much simpler to, as you say, behave decently until it’s been shown that’s a really bad idea for that specific person.

                    1. And then you get “you want a cookie?” snark from feminists about people who conform to their demands. Which translates, for those of you fortunate enough to miss it — how dare you expect that doing everything I demand make any difference in how I treat you?

                2. Teen girls sometimes act like idiots. That’s why they match up with teen boys.

                  It’s amazing how generations of being told guys who act like gentlemen are trying to victimize you, while cads and thugs are “genuine,” will change behavior.

                  Next you’ll tell me that guys will go, impregnate a wide range of females, then whine about child support.

                    1. Since I’m getting a heavy whiff of the male form of feminists– sometimes called pickup artists– I’m not really shocked.

                    2. I keep trying to explain to my guys that you don’t have to be a spineless wimp to be nice, and that pretending to care about someone to get in their pants is not the action of a nice guy.

                    1. …says the guy who pronounced that there are no ladies anymore, because if there were it would warp the very fabric of time and space, while also declaring all women to be immoral AND making it their fault, AFTER doing the “I’ll consider being civilized if a woman can first prove to me that she’s worth it” shtick.

                      Yep. Male version of feminist.

            3. I try to treat every man I meet like a gentleman (and every boy like a young gentleman), and every woman I meet like a fellow lady (and every girl like a young lady). If people do not respond in kind, I reserve the right to treat them the way they obviously demonstrate wanting to be treated.

              Probably I do not always succeed in this, but if _I_ want to be treated like a lady, it’s what I have to do.

              And yes, I mean that in an Emily Post way, not a reenacting the sad parts of history kind of way.

      1. I tend to agree with this sentiment, but the problem is that men in areas where feminism is more prominent are denigrated and subjected to all sorts of other verbal abuse for doing so. The justification is usually that it is a “tool of oppression” used by “the patriarchy”.

        1. Just the mention of “the patriarchy” fills me with a knee-jerk reaction of anger. (I’m working on changing that reaction to one of laughter, with various degrees of success.)
          As though men were getting together down at the bowling alley every Thursday night to coordinate our oppression of those whose plumbing is different than ours.
          They also pass out mustaches at the door so we can twirl them gleefully as we plot.

              1. I have a buddy who is a Freemason. He doodles “WE DO!” all over the place, usually around a masonic symbol.

          1. LOL. I’ve made more heads explode by pointing out to these chicks that men in general can’t find their sock drawer which has been in the same place for years (at least that’s my experience from grandfather, father, brother, husband and sons.) HOW on Earth can you believe they ALL coordinate to “Oppress women.”

              1. You only think you’re joking. In Islam, in India, in places where women are oppressed, the ones keeping young women down most of all are usually OLDER women. “Mother in law power.”

              2. This is 1000% correct. Feminists complain, for example, about the impossible fashion and beauty standards women must meet — but who, pray tell, is enforcing those standards? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not the men. All the men I know would think I was hot even if I were dressed in a burlap sack.

              1. Looks across the internet. ARE YOU ONE OF MY KIDS? Both idiot children insist on living from their laundry baskets. The dressers are sacred onto the clothes they outgrew eight years ago. ARGH.

                1. Since TrueBlue deployed, I gave up and just have two boxes of socks with the shoe-rack. We walk around barefoot inside anyways, and the girls have a 50% chance of needing their socks washed when we get back, so it works. (even if the Duchess didn’t have an abject horror of wearing socks without shoes)

                2. But… there’s a problem with living out of laundry baskets? (Runs)

                  1. The laundry hamper is for dirty clothes, after they’ve matured on the floor. The clean clothes go on the part of the bed you’re not sleeping in.

                    1. Between the wife and the dog, there’s no room left for that. 🙂

                    2. It’s a California King. I don’t have room or money for a custom-made bed. 🙂

                      You would not BELIEVE how much room a Jack Russell Terrier can take up.

                    3. Oh yes– I have slept with a Jack Russell terrier. For the size they really can take up about 2/3rds of a bed even a CA king. 😉

                    4. Three small children. I believe. (Ever seen someone that is the size of the smallest possible halfling take up an entire queen sized bed?)

                    5. Do you not have a ceiling fan in the bedroom? They are excellent for tossing socks and bras onto, providing ease of access and ventilating the garment.

                3. The dresser is where I keep my summer clothes in winter, and my winter clothes in summer. The laundry basket (I have two Jeff, one for dirty clothes, and one for the fresh washed ones) is where the regularly used ones are, why put them in drawers when you are just going to have to dig through the drawer and pull them out to put on in a day or two?

                4. The key is to get a laundry basket filled with clean clothes and then empty all of the drawers on top, add the drawers themselves, and then tell them to go clean their room.

                  1. My Dad tried that approach. Didn’t work; I just left it there. Of course, I also made it a point not to see him for more than 2 hours at a time after I moved out. Because the odds were good that one of us would be leaving in an ambulance and the other in a squad car.

                    At some point on any issue, either ignore it or decide its’ worth permanent estrangement.

              2. What does it say about me that I know which drawer my socks go in, and they are sorted by use–Dress socks, sturdy socks, exercise socks.

                  1. Rise up ye sorters of socks. Ye have nothing to lose except a comfortable existence. (Hearing them say mournfully “but I don’t have ANY socks” just about curdles my breakfast milk.)

                    1. I solved that problem. I bought a couple of large packages of identical black socks and tossed my old ones. When these come to the end of their life span in a couple of years I shall choose a different style of black sok and repeat

                    2. I attempt to buy socks of the same type and style as my old ones, that way when one is lost, gets a hole in it, the elastic wears out in the top, etc.; I don’t have to worry about mismatched socks, I just pair the remaining one with the leftover sock from the pair last week that had one sock discarded out of it.

                  2. Insistence on matching socks is projectional OCD, suppressing individual creativity and proves you the oppressor, not the oppressed. Although, being vaginally-endowed you cannot be an oppressor and therefore your husband’s refusal to accommodate your sartorial peculiarities … umm, preferences is the mechanism of your oppression.

                  1. Actually, I think that is massive release of happy neurotransmitters. All my fault, of course. He’ll be home soon and I’ll give him another dose!

                    1. Is Cedar being too graphic for you? 😉

                      On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 3:37 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > ** > Free-range Oyster commented: “Oh. My.” >

              3. In our house, they tend to have a basket.

                On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 1:12 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                > ** > Rob Crawford commented: “Socks have a DRAWER?!” >

          2. “Just the mention of “the patriarchy” fills me with a knee-jerk reaction of anger”

            Few people take the East/West split that seriously anymore. 🙂

          1. That, and you know, a male voice speaking in a Southern accent just… well… it just… don’t it?
            I once astonished a gentleman from TX at a con, by saying “talk more. I love your accent.” He immediately informed his friends at the con table that they didn’t appreciate him as he deserved 😉

            1. I love a man in uniform– which gave the hubby a fighting chance. 😉 Plus a friend of ours who has a Southern accent (from Mississippi) just makes the women here go ooooh, ahhh.

    1. I read Katie Rophie’s The Morning After. In the first section, I think she proved her case that feminists on campus had reinvented Victorianism.

      What she failed to do is demonstrate the problem with this.

      If you throw something away and find yourself rebuilding it, maybe it wasn’t so dumb in the first place.

      Needless to say, no feminist used that defense.

  14. I grew up in the Deep South many, many years ago (1948-65). I was taught from a very early age to respect women, to be polite, to open doors, allow women to go first, and all that. I had very good teachers — my parents. I treat my wife much the same way my dad treated my mother. I never saw him hit her, or abuse her in any other way. He always treated her with love and respect. It works — Jean and I have been married for 47 years and counting.

    The work environment is very touchy right now, and I’m glad I’m not a part of it any more. I have always treated women more or less as equals in the job, and even frequently better at what we did than men (that may be because of that ‘spaghetti’ narrative of Robin’s). I couldn’t talk about my job at home, so I spent quite a bit of time talking about what my wife was interested in, or doing. I CAN multi-task, but prefer to do one thing at a time (these days, just to keep from being confused by my own thinking process, which sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t).

    Most of what passes for “feminism” these days is politics and political correctness, both of which disgust me the way they’re practiced. While I believe that every person should be treated equally under the law, I also know they cannot be treated as switchable widgets, differing only in some minor anatomical ways. The more this is pushed, the more likely it will end badly.

    1. I wonder if “sexist pig” is now in the DSM in such a way as you can no longer get fired for the odd comment as that would be a violation of the ADA.

    2. Why do some people promote the idea that men and women are interchangeable? What’s the point of this? Is it just to destroy our society? If they manage to do so they’ll be unhappy. What will take its place will be a lot less to their liking. Of course some people like destruction for its own sake, never thinking of the consequences.

      1. It suits some folks’ purpose.

        There are women who see power in terms of male strengths, so admitting women have different focuses would be an insult, so they choose to insist we’re the same.

        Men who wish to take advantage of women want ones that don’t recognize that 1) male strengths aren’t the only ones, and 2) the sexes aren’t interchangeable.

        Then there’s the folks who were just taught wrong.

  15. “It might take a little more effort today because they’ll assume you got there thorough affirmative action, but be competent and good and they’ll come around.”

    Most won’t care so much about affirmative action. (And those that do should be more concerned about their own envy problems.) But there will be a lot of suspicion that you’re really there not to do useful work with them, but to spy on them for HR, and thereby disrupt the operation of the team. (It’s bad enough that we have to be constantly vigilant against the presence of Adria Richards types when out in public…having one actually in our work area can be crippling to a team’s ability to interact.)

    It’s a real shame that all women end up paying the price for the abuses of a few.

    1. Most won’t care so much about affirmative action. (And those that do should be more concerned about their own envy problems.)

      It’s very important to know if you can depend on someone to be able to do their job; that is not “envy,” that is basic sense.

      Affirmative action means that I don’t know how I actually compare to the average guy who was doing my job–even before you get to complications like “can’t be in the shop as much because the command wants roughly equal numbers of females as males in all pictures.”

  16. The problem with feminism as it has evolved into its current state is that the women behind it essentially sought to obtain “male privilege” without also embracing “male responsibilities”. Those they left to the men, while waltzing off with the cheese, so to speak.

    Go wandering through the old graveyards, and contemplate the effect that relatively massive female mortality meant to society. Trying to look back and understand why things were organized the way they were in the old days makes no sense, until you do that. Picture the effect on the common male who managed to survive into his eighties. By that time, he may have buried as many as six wives, with ever-expanding differences in age between him and his spouse. Is it any wonder that women wound up infantilized? When you’ve lived in a culture where that’s common, your attitude towards women becomes somewhat different: You indulge them, you care for them, and you do all you can for them. After all, she’s likely to die trying to give you children, is she not?

    This is, in large part, why I think the female role became what it did in the old days. I’ve seen a transcribed letter written from a Roman to his son, who’d written him from afar, complaining of his wife’s childlike spendthrift ways. His father wrote back to him, and said in essence that it was his duty to make her life as pleasant as possible, since she was very likely to die on “the battlefield of the birthing-stool”, trying to give him children. In essence, the father was chastising his son for expecting his wife to behave like an adult, and advising him to treat her like a favorite child or pet. She wasn’t expected to live very long, you see…

    This pattern of thought, though not always justified by the statistics, is why I think the role of women in the old days was what it was. Why spend the money to educate her past grammar school, when you could almost count on her death in childbirth by the time she was thirty? Why expose her to rougher aspects of life, economic and political? You had a duty to her, to try to make her life as pleasant as possible while she was there with you, and thus we have the near-deification of the mother in our society. Vestigial memories are still here, along with their follow-on effects in society. It takes literal generations before adaptations to changes flow through, and we’re nowhere near finished modifying society to adjust to the fact that motherhood isn’t an almost automatic sentence to early death.

    I don’t think people really appreciate how things have changed, or what the effects of female mortality were on the societies of our elders. Ignace Semmelweiss should have a statue in every maternity ward in the world, where he is thanked daily. We’re free from that horrible mortality, now. Unfortunately, that freedom isn’t recognized for what it is, nor have we made the necessary adaptations to it.

    In a way, I think feminism is a symptom of that massive sea-change. When was the last time you heard of someone dying in childbirth? What was once a routine thing is now sufficiently rare that it damn near makes the front page of small-town newspapers when it happens. Contemplate that, for a moment, and extrapolate the adaptations society is having to make to that fact. We’re still on the very shallow end of that curve.

    In short, the world has changed, and we’re still figuring out how to cope with that change. Part of that coping has been the feminist movement, which has utterly failed to comprehend that the things they view as “male privilege” came with an equivalent set of male obligations. They reached for the brass ring of the first, got it, and totally ignored horse-shit covered floor of the merry-go-round that men had to navigate to get to it.

    It’ll all work out. In about another hundred or so generations, and by that time, a whole new set of realities will be in the process of being adapted to. Societies change slowly, and very, very grudgingly.

    1. Early death was equal opportunity. Men died far more in accidents and murder.

      Much more likely to be pregnancy and nursing and the way they can cut into your time.

      (You occasionally, if you look about, find an argument against the suffragists that women do not fight in battles. You don’t see it often because the stock answer is that men don’t die in childbirth.)

      1. Note that largely through the efforts of men that Women do not die in childbirth with nearly the frequency.

        However battles still take many lives.

      2. Stop and think about it for a moment.

        Early mortality for young men came from quite different sources. A young man who died working in the woods, or on a farm usually hadn’t started a family yet, and likely wasn’t married. That was something that usually came later in life, after he’d successfully navigated the hazards.

        Now look at the pattern once he’s slightly older, and married. Multiple wives over the course of his life, most of whom die in childbirth. Think that might have some societal consequences?

        Young men died due to misadventure. Young women died in childbirth. One was happenstance, the other was expectation. There’s a major difference in how your society will respond to the two.

        Predicting who was going to get kicked in the head by a horse? Not so easy.

        Predicting the mortality rate for childbirth? Quite easy.

        Why do you think so many women were terrified of marriage and childbirth, back in the old days? They knew the odds, and they were not at all good. I’ve gone through a bunch of old correspondence over the years, and the one thing that stands out to me is the way things like that were looked at, back then. Particularly by the young women in question.

        Some regarded marriage as a virtual death sentence, particularly in families that had a history of difficulty in childbirth. I remember one letter where a soon-to-be-married young woman was writing a cousin, and she detailed how many of her sisters and cousins had died giving birth. The dread she had came through the pages. One passage where she decries the “snake-hips” of her lineage came through quite memorably–Something like “Celia, you don’t know how lucky you are not to have the snake-hips of the Baldwins…”.

        As an aside? Her contribution to the volume of correspondence ceased a year or two after her marriage. Care to guess why?

        We’ve forgotten what that was like, and today it’s as alien a world to us as that of the pre-cell phone era is to children raised with ubiquitous communications being commonplace.

          1. Nowhere near as many. Go out and walk through some pioneer graveyards, sometimes, and start counting. For every woman you’ll find who’s had multiple husbands, you’ll likely find somewhere between five and ten men. You’ll also note a severe paucity of children that those multiply-married women had buried near them, as well. Many were barren.

            Another place to go looking is in the genealogies from the era before modern medicine. The pattern I’m talking about shows up there, too.

            Women didn’t have the role they had in the old days due to some vast, malign conspiracy by some supposed patriarchy. Their place in society was generated by other factors, not the least of which was the childbirth mortality rates.

            The other odd thing is that the solely female prerogatives and powers were never acknowledged by the feminists. Vestiges of this can be seen to this day, in the difference that results from a woman accusing a man of a crime. It’s not universal, but she’s generally at a huge advantage with many when it comes to accusations of abuse and sexual crimes. There’s still a huge difference in sentencing for spousal murder, for example: A wife killing her husband is generally seen as having been driven to it by abuse, and will garner the usual sympathies. Even if she shot him as he slept, and there’s no publicly known record of spousal abuse. Let a man do the same thing, and his sentence at trial is going to be exponentially longer, along with becoming an outcast in society. The woman, however? She’ll likely be embraced.

            Doubt me? Look at the Mary Winkler case, and tell me that a man in a similar situation would have received the same sentence, and then returned to the open embrace of the community. Hell, the jury can’t bring itself to sentence Jody Arias to death, either. Had it been her boyfriend brought to trial under similar circumstances, his ass would already be on death row. At least she was brought to trial, although it remains to be seen if the punishment will match the crime.

            The structure of society in the past was what it was for good reasons. It worked, and worked fairly well until the underpinnings of it were pulled out by advancing science and medicine. We’re still in the adaptation stages to that, and the current imbalance between genders is a result. It will work out, in ugly see-saw fashion, at some point in the future. My guess, inside of about five to ten generations. This stuff moves very slowly, as the fundamentals are things we usually don’t even think of, and literally absorb with our mother’s milk.

            My niece is a brat. A cute one, but a brat nonetheless. She likes to incite things, and is always the first kid to go to blows with her brothers. What happens when she gets her just deserts?

            “Don’t hit your sister!! She’s a girl!! You’re stronger than she is, that’s not fair…”. That kind of inequity takes generations to disappear, I’m afraid.

            The looks I get when she comes crying to me over such issues are classic, however–My usual response to her is, “Well, you started hitting, so you got what you deserve.” Cue doe-eyed looks of confusion, because she just does not “get” that venturing onto the male battleground of physical conflict implies having to follow male rules. This is the feminist error, writ small. You don’t get the right to hit someone to settle something, and still retain the automatic right to plead feminine weakness as a cover for it.

            Cute kid, though. The startling thing is how she’s absorbed this crap despite every effort by parents and immediate family to stop it. I conclude that it’s either biological, or she’s gotten programmed by her peers and TV.

            1. part of it you’re right was the mortality rate. But as a woman who’s been pregnant I’ll argue it was more — women aren’t QUITE fully competent while pregnant. Okay, maybe some are, but neither I nor my friends were. It was either like PMS EVERY DAY or this bubbleheaded fuzzy happiness (my second pregnancy) where I couldn’t carry a thought for more than ten seconds together.
              My reading tastes changed. I wasn’t up to much physical effort either.
              Pre-pill most non-barren married women spent most of their lives in this state.
              All this has been forgotten, though it was the primary driver of women’s liberation — that they now could be married and not spend their whole married lives pregnant. The whole “women should be virgins” thing is considered oppression by feminists now. Women in the past were denied their right to enjoy sex! It was an evil plan. (Many of the feminists I encounter are fantasy people and think that there were herbs “that worked as well as the pill” — hits head on desk.)
              BTW — it’s funny to read the evolution of regency romances. Heyer had pairings between thirty year olds and women in their late teens (historically accurate) but nowadays all regency romances have women be 28 and virgins. Something well nigh impossible in the regency, when girls were launched at sixteen or seventeen and considered on the shelf by twenty three. But the past as was is no longer acceptable, of course.

              1. “But as a woman who’s been pregnant I’ll argue it was more — women aren’t QUITE fully competent while pregnant. Okay, maybe some are, but neither I nor my friends were. It was either like PMS EVERY DAY or this bubbleheaded fuzzy happiness (my second pregnancy) where I couldn’t carry a thought for more than ten seconds together.
                My reading tastes changed. I wasn’t up to much physical effort either.”

                Not having a death wish, I refuse to go there as a male. Although, I will venture to say that I do totally agree with you. The gestational woman is a creature I approach with trepidation and caution, under all circumstances.

                Friend of mine commented that the only reason she hadn’t killed her husband at some random point during her pregnancies was the simple fact that she couldn’t keep her mind on the task long enough to do so. And, frankly, the oblivious bastard probably would have deserved it. Smart men don’t leave their wives who are six months pregnant with a car that has a flat tire, and expect them to change it before heading in for an OB/GYN appointment…

                1. Well everything goes to the gestation– dare I say brain power too? If a fetus needs blood, it gets blood and the brain will probably get less blood too. imho

                  1. Anything that requires significant use of physical resources will generally also put the brain into some degree sleep mode.

                    This is also part of the reason why certain forms of asthma and hypoxia can be so dangerous; the first symptom is your inability to effectively assess your symptoms.

                    For example Four of Spades:

              2. But the past as was is no longer acceptable, of course.

                If so, it will be necessary to rewrite the past to bring it in line with our modern, informed and enlightened views.

              3. “Many of the feminists I encounter are fantasy people and think that there were herbs “that worked as well as the pill” — hits head on desk.”

                The legend of silphium is intriguing, but I’d note that the last piece of it was supposedly eaten by Nero. I doubt there’s a guy around today who would willingly take a birth control pill.

                1. There was an herb, a friend found in research that was taken by women and acted like the pill. It went extinct within fifty years of discovery. Feminists, however, will assure you that it was suppressed by males. This bizarre idea that men WANT to get women pregnant is seeded very deep. It makes no sense. Men — single men — if they could would make every woman sterile until the guy wants to have kids. Makes her better for fun.

              4. Well, duh. If there were herbs that worked as well as the pill, the human race would be extinct. Childbirth was far more dangerous, and you needed ten children on average to replace yourself and your husband — which you would not produce if you had a choice.

            2. One of my husband’s ancestresses was the fifth of five sisters to marry the same man — the elder having died of childbirth. At her marriage she was eleven and he was forty. She went to bear him six or seven children and outlive him, but… all the same…

              1. Did I read that right? Eleven? May I ask the where/when of this?

                That had to be a weird dynamic, there: Marry off the baby of your family to the same man who’d already been so careless as to lose the first four?

                What, did they owe him vast amounts of money, or something? From the vantage point of this day and age, that whole situation is completely alien. I really can’t even begin to comprehend the mindset that would have allowed a parent (whom I’m going to assume had to at least acquiesce to something, for the 11-year old to marry) to allow this without killing the widower for suggesting it in the first place.

                Good grief… At eleven, shouldn’t she have still been playing with dolls, as opposed to taking care of her sister’s orphaned children?

                1. Connecticut. Let me see, Dan’s ancestors came over around 1649. I don’t think it was the first generation, but I THINK it still was the 1600s.
                  And yes, my FIL was doing genealogy and finding this shocked him so much I think he went off it.

                2. We don’t know the backgrounds, but I’d almost assume it was either they owed vast amounts of money; he knew something about them OR they were so poor that he could support the girls and that was something.

                  1. Wow. That’s a shocker for me, and I thought I was jaded from exposure to historical reality.

                    For her sake, I hope there was something there for her that made it worthwhile. That’s one of those vignettes that reach across time and just grab you by the guts. I really hope she wasn’t a victim, and if she was, that she revenged herself by living well off his resources.

                    I was equally horror-stricken by the recent revelation that one of the victims of the Hunger Winter at Plymouth Rock was a 14-yo girl who wound up being cannibalized and buried in a midden, which sort of argues that she didn’t die of natural causes. Something about that facial reconstruction just grabs at you.

                    1. Point of order, among the “lower classes” meaning less financially well off, adulthood was when you accepted it. A boy of 16 was a beardless youth but not a child. Military Drummer Boys tended to be around 12, often younger. At 11, assuming she was a competent house keeper and had ” started her courses” she was of marriageable age. And an established man was often seen as a better catch than a callow youth with nothing but a strong back.

                    2. If he was a good friend of the family, it’s possible they considered him more a victim of the same tragic loss that they were when the older girls died in childbirth.

                      Different worldview of in-laws than currently popular…although I do have some cousins where we decided to “keep” the sister-in-law when he divorced her, instead of “keeping” the cousin.

                    3. I know. Dan was shocked because this was his ANCESTRESS — and his ancestor was her first son, his third surviving one. It’s entirely possible the marriage was a legal thing, because she didn’t have that child till 19. What I mean is that it’s entirely possible say her parents were dead, she was living with him/her sister anyway, and marrying her at 11 was just a way to make it all legal and maybe prevent her marrying someone else (particularly if he was living in land she inherited or something) and he didn’t touch her till she was 17 or so. At least, we like to think that.
                      But it’s also possible it was as ugly as it looks. You know, from Kathryn Howard’s skeleton recently discovered, she couldn’t be more than about 16 when she died, which means she married Henry VIII at fourteen, and she’d had affairs before.

                    4. The founding family of one of our lines– the wife was 13 and the husband was almost 30. So I don’t think it was that uncommon 1,000 years ago.

                    5. My five-times removed grandfather married three times. One of his wives died at the hands of the Creeks, then he married one. She gave him three children before dying of smallpox. The third wife was also Creek, and gave him three more children before HE succumbed. That was the pattern set by the rest of the family until about 1865, when my great-grandfather married once (he was 19, his wife [her second marriage] was 23) they had six children who lived. She died in 1918, he died in 1953 (at 88). My grandfather’s first wife died in childbirth, while his second wife gave him 10 children (she was 15 when she gave birth to my dad). Mom and Dad were married about 45 years when Dad died. Mom never remarried. My wife and I have been married 47 years. The rest of the family follows a very similar pattern. There is also one other thread through all my family’s history: there were always children who died young — until the 20th Century — from some childhood disease or injury. Even Dad lost a brother and a sister, but they were killed in a tornado in 1947. Today, most children that are born live into adulthood.

                      One of the things I discovered reading about my early ancestors is how hard life was for them. They managed to evade the “Trail of Tears” due to their Scottish heritage, but most of them lived as itinerant farmers, loggers, or woodsmen of one sort or another. A few became sheriffs, and even more became ministers. Those that survived childhood lived into their 70s and 80s, with a few centenarians in the mix.

                      Watching my own grandparents (they lived “next door” most of my childhood), my parents, and other relatives, I doubt many of them would go in for the nonsense preached today. They knew that the way to survive, and to prosper, was to work, build upon what you had, and keep family close. Even today at least 30 or 40 people in my extended family live within 35 miles of where I grew up, and many of them attended the same school I did — at least the school with the same name (time and a bit of arson took care of the old building where I went to high school – the building built in 1868!).

                      I think a lot of women find today’s lifestyles disappointing, and would like to have things easier, more pleasant. The big problem is, there are quite a few women — and girly-men — that expect their “wants” to be satisfied, but aren’t willing to do what’s necessary to satisfy those wants, so they do nothing but complain about “how hard life is”. It’s ALWAYS been hard, and usually MUCH harder than it is today. Like the old saying goes, “Life’s hard: it’s even harder when you’re stupid.”

                3. At a guess, she was probably younger than his eldest child(ren).

                  At least my grandfather, even though he married a woman 20 years younger than him, married a 20-yr-old (which is rather an advanced age for a bride at the turn of the 20th century).

                  1. My maternal grandfather was the youngest of 12; producing them took great grandfather two wives.

                    I would give up my left leg to the hip to see the current OWS members dropped into rural Arkansas in 1870 and expected to survive.

                    1. I guess my grandfather found a rugged one. She had 10 children (12 pregnancies) between the ages of 20 and 43 (him between 40 and 63), and died a week after the last one was born.

                    2. Too lazy to find the comment and reply there, but in the same theme– you could make a rather interesting anthology of stories on that ancestress that married her sisters’ widower at age 11. Spent a lot of traffic time today thinking of variations, from an inverse idea of “give your brother’s widow a son” through a childhood crush to the obvious dirty old man….ooh, and just thought of one where she was a very precocious poisoner…..

                      There have been odder themes for story collections.

            3. ” A wife killing her husband is generally seen as having been driven to it by abuse, and will garner the usual sympathies. Even if she shot him as he slept, and there’s no publicly known record of spousal abuse.”

              Yes. Happened in my extended family … real life stuff … she got away with it.

            4. Woman weren’t buried with their husbands lined up next to them. Many of the apparently single men had wives buried elsewhere.

              1. One of the more illustrious/remembered wives of the O’Briens (and several other clans) was Maire Rua O’Brien, a formidable lady in history and some kind of antihero in story. and had legend-babies. 25 husbands, hanging maids by their hair, etc., etc…. Every page you check, there’s more crazy stories and crazy true history.

                Anyway, she saved her O’Brien son’s inheritance for him, which took some doing in Cromwell’s time.

                1. Montezuma’s widow, having outlived two Aztec husbands, proceeded to outlive four Spanish ones. Unlike Henry VIII, she didn’t assist any of them on.

                2. Maire Rua actually only had 3 husbands on record, but Bess of Hardwick had four. (Although Bess’ first husband died before the marriage was consummated — since they were both something like 13 — the family ponied up with the marriage settlement anyway. Non-consummation doesn’t annul a marriage if nobody is complaining about it. And it was a neighbor family, so they weren’t sticky about it.)

                  She had 8 kids, all with the 2nd husband (Cavendish, the ancestor of those Devonshire duke people), and 2 of those kids married 2 of her 4th husband’s (Shrewsbury’s) kids (her stepkids) in a double wedding. (More business than romantic, as one of the Cavendish brides was 8 and the other 12.) Her great folly was getting into the intrigue business and breeding up Arabella Stuart, and then thinking everything would go according to plan. OTOH it’s possible that she hung around too much with Mary Queen of Scots for anybody’s sanity.

  17. By the way, is anyone else getting a song loop stuck in their heads of Johnny Cash singing the title of this post, to the tune of “He’s in the Jailhouse Now”?

    1. Not as much as I’m getting the “Prince of Egypt” song (Steve Martin and Martin Short sang it, IIRC) “Playing with the Big Boys”.

      > >

      1. Ask and ye shall receive.

        (Don’t ask, and chances are, you’ll get it anyway. >:) )

        (Steve Martin and Martin Short playing Evil — who’d have thought? 🙂 )

        And most of the above discussion re feminism reminds me of why reading the snippets for _Under A Graveyard Sky_ has me laughing my ass off at the utter stupidity of the concept of the lead character being a 14-year-old girl — any “death of modern tech civilization” scenario also means “death of modern *social* civilization” (no birth-control pills, no condoms, and the machines which have replaced true manual labor have long-since ground to a halt); which means in such a scenario, women will be back to “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” so fucking fast it will make Gloria Steinem spin in her shallow grave.

  18. BUT the idea of women as sacred, fragile, and not to be hurt by word or deed comes from the whole chivalric tradition and the troubadour poets. (In case you think writing and stories can’t change the world.)

    That tradition only applied to women of noble birth. The common or peasant women were very good candidates for rape. In England it was assumed the right of the lord of the manor to deflower his serfs or servants wives on their wedding night. In every war where chivalry was invoked, common women were raped with no consequence to the rapist.

    1. Nit Pick, the “right of the lord of the manor to deflower his serfs or servants wives on their wedding night” appears to be a falsehood. There’s no primary sources for this right. For that matter IIRC, most secondary sources mention this “right” existing some place else than their country. IE English secondary sources say that this right belongs to French lords, or Germany Lords, etc.

        1. I stand corrected on the “Lord of the Manor” thing.

          I do believe, based on numerous histories I’ve read, that chivalry only applied to women of noble birth. Other women were available for sex, consensual or not. Noble women were frequent hostages held for ransom; as were noble men.

          1. Depends where and when and what the local beliefs were. It’s also — as with sex with slaves — hard to tell the difference between rape and seduction. CONSIDER that women gravitate to the most powerful man available to them. It’s evolutionary. They’d rather SHARE a powerful man than have a non-powerful one to themselves only. I suspect lords of the manor were besieged with more arts and feminine wiles than a normal human could stand. And they fell from grace a lot. Whether they considered it all right depended on where or when. In Europe in general as you moved East the value of the serf/villain was smaller and therefore he was more of a “thing” but even there there were exceptions.

    2. That’s an old slander; Snopes, Straight Dope, etc have extensive debunking of the “right of first night.”

      The respect for all women may have (as is famously said) been honored more in the breach than in fact, but folks at least claimed to believe it.

      1. Besides, few of those peasant women were of an appearance to attract amorous attention.

        Mind, that may be my Slavic peasant ancestry talking. Maybe there really were numerous Italian peasant women who looked like Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Violante Placido, but I have my doubts. Although I totally buy Raquel Welch as a French seamstress!

        1. Never underestimate the power of the male mind to enhance beauty, even going so far as to create it out of whole cloth, in the service of getting laid. Actual beauty is far less important that availability.

          And then there’s the non-sexual component to rape, the exertion of power.

      1. I suspect “droit de seigneur” was a bit of feudal-era black humor, stemming from husbands discovering after the wedding that the lord of the manor already had deflowered the bride some time back.

        1. Noooo, it’s an idea that apparently didn’t show up until after the feudal times were done. Sort of like romance tropes that give readers a charge, but don’t make any sense historically.

          Moving along, you do occasionally read courtly love “treatises” — including the best known one, by Andreas Capellanus — which include rules for having a peasant woman as one’s “beloved.” Unlike the rules for a townswoman, Capellanus says that the country girls aren’t going to give into persuasion, so physical force and compulsion is the only way to get their “love.”

          It’s hard to tell when Capellanus is being straight with you, so I assume this actually means he’s praising peasant women for not being flirtatious. But who knows?

          1. Given that he wrote three books and the third one opens with observation that he told the intended reader all this so that he will be all the more virtuous when he refuses to do it — yeah, it’s probably wise to assume he’s not always serious.

  19. Look at how many insults are saying “I consider you a woman”, in different ways.

    1. I remember that my brothers (this was in the 70s) used to call each other girls or sisters when they wanted to give each other the FINAL insult. lol When I asked which girl, which sister, they were shocked because they didn’t consider me a girl. lol The joys of being the oldest sister.

        1. It’s part of the finding yourself– I think. Competition is another form of combat– lol Oh– and even the adult males call each other names, usually joking– One thing I did notice is that you can’t insult a man or boy’s mother– still.

          1. er… My younger son went through a phase of “your mama” at my older son… in front of me. Took a while to sink in “this doesn’t work on my brother, and my mom will bean me.” Low self preservation instincts are also part of being a teen male.

              1. It’s not that hard, actually. It’s my first law of kids.

                LAW #1 – Kids is stupid.

                They may be cute. They may say things that strike you as pithy or insightful or funny. But the truth of the matter is kids, particularly teenage boys, is pretty stupid. And hence kids will do stupid things.

                It was true of me. I can count four or five times that I probably should have died because I was doing something crazy. Like the two times I rolled a three-wheeled ATV. Or the time I went over that cliff on the snowmobile. Etc, etc, etc.

                1. Further detail- guys tend to do stupid stuff that is likely to get them killed. Girls tend to encourage this.

                  Even when I was a teen, I thought it was horrifying. (Not that I was inherently smarter or something– I just had a different set of assumptions, and the “I’m immortal” one isn’t something that survives ranchwork. My dumb is more along the lines of “sure, I can lift that tractor axle.” My ring finger nail on that hand is still deformed, but I didn’t lose any part of the finger.)

  20. In the US, the first agitation by women started in the 1840s and it was for legal and financial rights, including suffrage and married-women’s property rights (no more fem covert). In fact, the southern states were the first to have married women’s property protection laws, because “daddies got tired of wastrel sons-in-law gambling their daughters into the poor house” as one prof put it. Abolition became more important than woman suffrage, so it was not until after the Civil War that suffrage and financial equality emerged again, at the same time that the US began shifting to a more industrial economy.

    The second big push was for national suffrage (states already had it), starting in the 1880s and going through the 1910s.

    The “third wave” hit in the 1960s-1970s, which was the drive for complete legal, social, cultural, and financial equality, biology and individual desire be d-mned. Betty Friedan started it, or so many women’s history books say.

    NB: I don’t “do” women’s history per se, and I’m not up on the latest writings and trends.

    1. Some lunacy appeared early. One of the Pankhursts — a suffragist — said after the Titanic disaster that the men who gave up seats in the lifeboats deserved no credit for it because it was the rule at sea.

      As if any penalty for disobedience could be worse than the penalty for obedience!

      (And what’s more she was saying this in the days right after it. Nice thing to say to newly made widows, at least one of whom had been returning from her honeymoon.)

  21. Somewhere in here belongs the observation that “Sexual Harassment” laws are seriously unbalanced. A young woman can come in to work looking like a supermodel ready for a photo-shoot, and should a male comment on this HE’s in trouble.

    I don’t want to go back to the days when it was possible to mount a defense of a Rape charge based on “Look at what she was wearing!”, but given that the Supreme Court has recognized non-verbal speech for decades I would like to see it acknowledged that a woman who exposes certain areas of flesh has initiated a conversation on her availability. I don’t think she’s obliged to BE available, but she should have the right to be offended that men noticed her.

    Hell, studies of the Great Apes show that flashing the breasts or buttocks sets of certain hard-wired male responses (most of which are rude); I resent having my hormones stirred up more or less constantly by little teeny-bopper idiots who would think that my arousal was gross. Not that I actually want to bed them; they’d want to talk afterwards and the majority of the ones who dress that way have nothing between their ears but meringue.

    1. THIS made me laugh– my hubby says the same about the teeny-boppers. Plus he says if a woman dresses to show her skin, it is most impolite NOT to look. lol (but he is an old-time Navy sailor)

      1. I have a lapel-button somewhere that says “If you don’t want me to start at them, don’t print on them!”. If I ever went back to Conning, I’d have Nancy make me one that said “Honey, if it ain’t for sale, why are you advertising?”

    2. CSPSCHOFIELD. I like you! I have no idea who you are but if you come to Libertycon I am buying you a drink. My Lady says thaat she knew I woud like you after reading your posts, we share some attitudes

  22. I was watching a gun control mass meeting and started counting heads by sex. This particular assembly appeared to be about 4-to-1 women to men. I can’t say for sure for all such assemblies but it did kinda surprise me. Why would such a large percentage of a group agitate for confiscation/draconian restrictions on the one item that comes closest to making them the physical equal of males? I always thought that the creation of small easily handled pistols was the greatest boost to equality of the sexes that ever happened. There is apparently a hole in my understanding. Any idea of where?

    1. Other people can probably answer your question better than I, but I’m going to take a shot at it anyway.

      There is a culture of fear among women when it comes to guns. Girls are given to understand (I won’t say exactly “taught”, because a lot of it is not direct) that guns are the province of aggressive males who want to hurt women. They are also given the idea that guns won’t help them when they are attacked, that it will be taken away and used against them, and that they are helpless in the “gun culture” (which is closely related to the “rape culture”) that the men propagate. This leads them to thinking that the answer is to control access to guns, so the aggressive males can be kept from their power base.

      Women who are taught something about how to handle guns usually realize how stupid this is, and a fairly significant number of them become advocates, but it is difficult to get those who are steeped in the helpless mindset.

    2. If “rape culture” was a real thing rather than just a rhetorical device… then all women should be required by law to carry a concealed handgun and take classes in self defense.

      The basic premise of most political “thought” today is that (a) the teeming masses are all mindless zombies that can threaten us all at any moment and (b) there is nothing that the individual can do to change this, stop them, or protect themselves. This necessarily leads is all to conclude that (c) we need more and bigger government to solve the problem. (Pay no attention to the fact that “c” created the problem of “a” to begin with.)

      Afraid and helpless is how they like us. It’s how they sell most all new legislation. They actually don’t care if you are left or right– no matter where you stand on the political spectrum, you’ll have good reasons to justify your fears while doing noting constructive about them.

        1. No, there really is a “rape culture” — at least, based on the sample rap lyrics I have read.

    3. Well, I hesitate to claim that magical thinking is dominated by left-wing females …

      But I will say that for years now, the fastest growing segment of the firearms market is firearms designed for and/or marketed to women.

      1. Yes, view the fast growing selection of guns with pink hardware options. This is NOT an advertising ploy to sell more guns to aggressive males.

    4. Emotion.

      Many women are taught to fear guns, rather than how to use them, so they want to get rid of them.

      It’s a side effect of the whole blame-an-inanimate-object reasoning.

  23. Off Topic in a way but fitting in another way.

    A gentleman named Travis, my pastor and myself were discussing options to assist me in caring for my mother.

    Not sure what brought it up but Travis remember something that happened several years ago (before Dad’s death and Mom started going down hill).

    One thing you need to know is that Mom had been very active in our Church.

    Now Mom, for some reason, had a key to the outside doors to the church building.

    Well it seemed that the Trustees and Deacons were having the church locks changed and were setting up a procedure for controlling who had keys to the building.

    Now as I said, Mom had a key to the building but apparently there was no reason for her to continue having the key.

    It seems that nobody wanted to be the person to tell Mom that she should turn in that key.

    Mom is/was a nice Lady but nobody *ordered* her around and everybody knew it. [Evil Grin]

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