The Limits of Flesh

There are parts of the recent shouting on abortion that have made me profoundly uncomfortable.

No, not those, I expect lunacy and hatred of humans from the left, so it doesn’t touch me, even remotely. I mean, I think I sprained an eye from rolling them, but…

The disturbing things are coming from people politically aligned with me, and I’m not sure my qualms can or should be reflected in policy (because I don’t think that is possible without its becoming a tyranny and a “stay in your place” straight jacket.) But I think it should be thought about and perhaps reflected in the culture war, in how we raise our kids, in how we think of being human and particularly of being one of those weird humans who can make other humans and nurture them inside our own bodies, and who were designed by nature to do so.

I first want to point out that I find the XKCD comic about being lost in Plato’s cave extremely funny. (I don’t want to link it, given the way the author has gone, and the tenor of this post.) So much so, I have it on my fridge. And the reason for that is that I often legitimately forget I have a body. I know that sounds super-weird, but I swear it’s true. It’s part of the reason I’m one of those introverts who needs to go out and see strangers on the regular. Otherwise it becomes all too easy to float through life thinking of my body not as part of me, but as some weird vehicle that moves me around.

This is why I sometimes forget what sex I am. (No joke, I’ve said on a panel of all females “Everyone here is female but me.” No, I didn’t mean I was male, just that I was thinking outside my body or sex again. But it caused some complete puzzlement in the audience.) Or that I HAVE a sex. I forget to eat. I forget to take medicine. I forget I’m sick/neglect care needed. It’s not that I hate myself, I just forget the body is part of me.

I realize this is an extreme case, and I also want to point out it’s not constant in me, and it’s worse when I’m concentrating on doing something else that involves my mind only, like having arguments on intellectual points.

But to some extent, because I live some much in my head, I’m always a little uncomfortable with my body (It would be easier if it didn’t try to kill me on the regular) to the point that “normal” things like being pregnant or nursing were uncomfortable, and felt weird. I’ve run into women who say they love being pregnant, and all I can do is gape at them in wonder.

Before you shout, I’m aware this is not a healthy way to be, and is in fact just a wee bit nuts.

Which is my problem, precisely. Because as a society, when arguing on policy that impacts women — like the overturn of Roe v Wade — we have become a lot like me, treating the body as an inconvenience, something that shouldn’t matter, or something that isn’t an integral part of who we are.

Because that is all, and absolutely a lie. Because our bodies influence us, in health and illness far more than we wish to believe. The thinking meat is MEAT. We are creatures of flesh and blood, who think. We are not thoughts, trapped in the flesh and blood.

And if you ignore the needs and impulses of the flesh and blood, you’ll either lose your mind or your body.

And if you ignore them as a society, you end up with a lot of unhappy, confused, angry people, who can’t figure out what’s made them so unhappy.

On the whole subject of abortion, a friend said — and I don’t intellectually disagree — that we can’t force women to carry babies, because that’s evil. And that we can’t curtail women’s sex drive, or demand they curtail it, because that too is evil. Oh, and that all birth control fails eventually (which isn’t wrong, btw. Reproductive systems are far, far more complicated than we like to believe. Which I’ll revisit again, btw.)

But something at the back of my head piped up and bitched when she said that. It wasn’t a happy something, and it was an admission against interest, since I mostly believe we should make people as free as possible (my protest on abortion is that it involves two people, and the defenseless one gets killed, but that’s something else) and since I legitimately think nature is something to conquer. But what piped up in my mind was “But is that fighting against reality?”

This was brought into full bloom last night, on a facebook thread of Brad Torgersen’s, in which a guy came in guns blazing and said we needed abortion to be safe, convenient and as available as possible so women wouldn’t be “second class citizens.” Because if women are going to be fully equal, we need to eliminate the downsides of being a woman.

At which point the bitching at the back of my mind became a scream “But women are women. You can’t eliminate the downside of being a woman, without eliminating being a woman.”

This same guy, btw, tried to put me in my place by coming back with something about how society had failed women for millennia, which made me doubt he had a brain between his ears, because seriously? “Society” (which one? The caveman band? The hunters’ party? The various monarchies? WHICH “Society”?) failed everyone for millennia. Most people were oppressed and stepped on, because life was hard and freedom for the individual wasn’t a thing.

But my point here is the definition of a woman until society went howling mad (and we might be looking at the reason society went howling mad) is a person who can bear live young. Yes, we have vulvas, and sex is lots of fun, but our drive for sex is different than males. We tend to attach to one male and the reason we become interested in males is that they give signs of being good providers, usually at a subconscious level. (Yes, there are exceptions, there are exceptions to everything human, but for the vast majority of women this is it.) It’s part of the reason women are attracted to rich and successful men more than to cute ones. Because we’re looking for fathers for potential children.

It’s also why we bleed every 28 or so days for most of our adult lives. It’s why there is a load of emotion and reaction that comes with that cycle.

I keep coming across, particularly from the left with “If men could have children.” Well, if men could have children, they wouldn’t be men. And our entire society would be so different (most hermaphroditic species are very violent, and hermaphrodite humans… well, yes, I am rewriting that first book. Eh. So I’ve thought about it.) that there is no connection.

Because we are not brains, or minds, in a vacuum. We’re creatures of flesh and blood. And contra the “there’s no difference” crowd, you need only have a rudimentary knowledge of biology to know your brain, your tissues, everything were formed differently according to your sex. I don’t remember and am not in the mood to go look it up, but you start differentiating at a ridiculously early gestational point, for sure before two weeks. After that the hormone baths in utero are different, and your development is markedly different.

No, you don’t know what it’s like to be the other sex. No one does. Yes, we’re way more different than our superficial outward appearance would indicate. The longer I live the more aware I become that perhaps Heinlein was right about us really being different species who are merely symbiotic.

So when making women “not second class citizens” requires making them as free from concerns about getting pregnant as men…. are we in actual fact at war with the very fact that there are women; that women are unique and have different capabilities and different downfalls?

I mean to me “not second class citizens” means the right to vote and engage in trade. It doesn’t mean making them “the same” because that’s Procrustes bed.

Whether you consider getting pregnant a liability or a magic power, it is still an integral part of being a woman.

And yet, as a society we’ve been devoted to making women into men-manque for as long as I’ve been alive. Perhaps it’s the after shocks of chemical birth control. Or perhaps it’s the unique insanity of the mega-states of the 20th century, who have always preferred to deal with widgets.

As a society and for almost a century, we’ve regarded having children as an impairment, for both men and women, frankly. You’re supposed to have a “career” (most people have jobs, not careers, so that’s also mildly insane) and devote everything to it. You are a unit of tax-payment, not a living human being who, like most humans, probably want to have children and eventually fat and sassy grandchildren.

This has affected men, yes, because frankly in their natural state, they autonomous, sentient sperm-delivery devices, whom only culture can mold into true men, who care about their wife and children. It has given them an adversarial relationship with women, made them into sort of grown up boys, who just want to “score” and keep count.

But it is outright starting to eliminate women as women. Someone on a blog I can’t remember was lamenting the fact that “liberation” seems to entail the elimination of the female form of professional designations. I suppose “Police-woman” was always a bit silly since a police officer is a police officer is a police officer, though I imagine that women do it slightly differently there too, but never mind. And the same for Mail-woman. Though I will note those fragments encode more information which is usually a value add for those rare occasions where it’s relevant. But we’ve eliminated “authoress” which is– More on that later. And we’ve eliminated “Actress” which is bloody stupid, because in that case your body is what you perform with. If you’re female you perform as female, in female roles, and it’s a different craft.

Yes, I do understand the reason for it. And I question it. The reason for it is that whole “second class” thing. “I am an Author, not an author with special begs of being female.”

Um… okay, then, but why is the male form the real one? Why isn’t everyone called an “authoress” (I detest the term, btw. I actually prefer writer to either Author or Authoress)? There have been female writers time out of mind, and many of them were superb. Why isn’t the “real” term the female one? Why do we have to “be the real thing” by assuming the male term. PARTICULARLY for actresses. Because at one point women were barred from the profession for real and legitimately. And now they’re subsumed, and have to be “real” by using the male term.

And of course, we all know men who “transition” are beating women at everything from sports to beauty competitions, and the left is all for it. When, at least in sports, the reason they’re beating women is because they have masculine strength, masculine muscles, and were formed to be bigger and stronger.

And then there’s the push…. Oh, you know very well what it is. And it’s an abomination.

I raised kids in the last thirty years. If I’d raised girls, I’d probably be wearing orange and in a maximum security prison.

The double dose of “you can do anything you want, but only if it is what we think you should want.” and “You’re all powerful and infinitely fragile” would have me happening to the school before they were out of elementary.

And I’m not joking that when younger son was in an engineering club, all the publications they were sent were for WOMEN engineers. Even though most of the membership/people with an interest were male.

Before that even, I was sneered at and looked down upon because I stayed at home for most of the time after I was married and all the time, pretty much, after I had kids. Yes, I was writing. But it turns out a lot of women my generation used that (or art, or crafts) as a cover for just wanting to be housewives and mothers. (Both honorable occupations, if you perform them honorably. And both of them can make your husband way more successful if you do them right. And if you’re a unit and divorce wouldn’t even be considered, his success is yours. Yes, I know the level of trust that requires is uncommon now.) So at gatherings talking to strangers, when the “What do you do?” came out and I said I was trying to get published, I got the sneer and “That’s just your cover for being a housewife.” And yes, the sneer was obvious. And I always wondered “It’s not true, but if that were, why would it be looked down upon?”

In the same way I’ve seen women being sneered at for wanting to be nurses, or for taking up other, traditional female pursuits.

It seems to be worth it as a woman you have to pretend to be a male.

The push is on constantly. You’re sneered at for writing or reading romance, because it’s a thing women do. (Yes, men do it too, but the crossover on that is minuscule.) And now a lot of movies, including those billed as romantic comedy are consciously eliminating the Happily Ever After. Instead the woman decides to go off and have a career, or “learn to love myself.”

And I come back again to: Why can’t women be women? Why is it that performing the most basic and distinctive function of being female is considered being a second class citizen? Why are we all supposed to act like men?

(And I ask this as a tomboy. There’s nothing admirable in that. It’s just who I am. And yet, it gets me more praise than I ever get for having two kids and raising them.)

To clarify, no, I don’t think women who are infertile or simply never got married and had kids (or have no wish to) are “lesser women.” These things happen. Heck, it almost happened to me.

I’m just saying that evolution has formed us to have kids. It’s what our bodies were designed for. To an extent it’s what our minds were selected for, too. It gives us some superpowers, like the ability to multitask, or to think in deep-connection ways. (We connect disparate things and figure out their relationships more than guys do. Men are more linear thinkers. Women had to deal with social links in the tribe, (so someone would watch their kids) and they had to deal with co-relations between foraged edibles, and– We just tend to think in a lot more interconnected ways.) We also tend to be more interested in people, and better at language.

Yes, some of us still want to be engineers. The only point of “diversity” that works, we do bring something new to “engineering” because of the way we think. (And we still should pass the basic abilities of male engineers.) And some of us are more damaged on figuring out the social. It’s all a spectrum. But most women gravitate towards social/connected/indoor/safe professions. Why would we force them to be otherwise? Allow them, sure. Force them? No.

In the same way, most women truly, really, do not want to sleep around as much as men. Yeah, okay, some do. But it’s not biologically inherent in us. We are not sperm delivery systems on legs.

Arguably civilization came about because women didn’t want to put out all the time and for everyone. If Ogg wanted Morga to put out, he had to make sure he was a good hunter, and could make the spears to make himself so. And no sleeping around with everyone, all the time, because he had to provide for Morga and their kids. In return, he had the assurance that Morga also wasn’t sleeping around, and their kids were THEIRS.

If women sleep around as much as men, the entire world becomes a giant gay-bathhouse. And kids are an inconvenience, or a “punishment.” Stop me when this sounds familiar.

There are legitimate reasons to allow abortion — mostly because you pays down your dust, you takes your winnings, and that one is its own punishment — though no legitimate reason to allow it past viability that I can think of. (There is no legitimate reason to allow Roe v. Wade to stand, because it was horrendous law, but that’s something else.)

But keeping women from being “second class citizens” is not one of those. Not in an age with a plethora of safe and effective contraceptives. Sure, those fail. But abortions fail too. (Waves in “otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”) What’s more, abortions are major medical interventions, against a process that your body is designed to do, which means they’re dangerous as heck, and have a strong chance of complications. And we’re not telling kids that.

In fact the push for abortion on demand whenever, and the cultural imperative of considering children and impairment and being pregnant/giving birth a terrible thing is making women second class citizens. It’s saying “If you actually get pregnant, it’s destroying your goals of being a perfect male who happens not to have a penis. And you should abort it, so you can be free to be your true self. Which is of course male.”

THAT is appalling.

And I don’t need to be a biologist to tell you it ends badly.

509 thoughts on “The Limits of Flesh

  1. They want “women” to be “men” and they want “men” to be “lesser beings”. 😡

      1. What they “want” and what they “get” is two different things.

    1. I think it’s more accurate to say that they want women to occupy the spot that they think men currently fill, and think that they can get there by displacing men.

      1. They’re misogynists who ignore traditionally female power in society and only appreciate traditionally male power. That’s why they want to be men, they see men as the only real humans.

        1. So the truest women of all are men pretending to be women, and all others (whether they’re biologically men or women) are basically defective women who must be either converted or subjugated. Or erased.

          1. Pretty much that, alas, yes. Which is why no one dare criticize XY individuals who declare that they are women, because they are, per propaganda, the most womenly women of all. [queasy-cat sounds here]

            1. XY individuals who declare their pronouns to be they/their seem to get away with a lot, too. See Ezra Miller for one prominent, violent example.

      2. I think our hostess hit a critical point. The model the left has is very much one of swapping in and out widgets. They dislike ANY differences. And sex differences being both usually quite obvious and very persistent (due to that annoying biology thing) annoy them heavily. What they (think) want are the Gethenians from “Left Hand of Darkness”, no differences most of the time (something like 22 days of the month for Gethenians) who ends up male and who ends up female basically random. Although maybe they want like some worms that are truly bisexual and have both sets of organs and both pitch and catch so to speak at the same time. In truth they’d rather follow the model of the Eddorians and just reproduce asexually except they are so hyper focused on sexual behavior that this probably wouldn’t make them happy either. Honestly they are such sad miserable creatures nothing makes them happy. They already are halfway to the torments of Hell and they don’t even know it.

        1. This reminds me of something that really irritates me in woke-ish sff … I often see “worlds” in which which the sex you’re attracted to is essentially random. Their characters are attracted to the “person”, not a “person of a particular gender”. Which is not what I’ve seen in reality, particularly for men. So they have a woman who last year had a relationship with a woman, this year has a relationship with a man, and the sex is a trivial detail. Sure, some people are attracted to both sexes. But I’m pretty sure that even for them, it’s not a trivial difference.

          It’s a big of gray goo applied to people, making everybody the same.

          1. About the only way you can make it work is if someone forms intense emotional bonds with those friends, and then that expands to physical affection.

            Someone who is even a little bit touchy in the first place?


            Even then, it’s probably going to involve someone who’s very broken, and among folks who aren’t. Then the touch-starvation can work with learning the ability to trust the friend, and then that leads to a physical attraction.

            Would also require an intense admiration of the friend, which is something that a lot of modern writing just flat out can’t manage. At best they can do that horrible 70s thing with like the dog looking at a bird, “I wish I could fly,” something looking at the dog “I wish I could run” and then it goes through a bunch of stuff but always ends up with something like a crippled kid looking at whoever was last and “I wish I could play”. And there’s nothing permitted to be admirable about the kid.

          2. Actually, I have heard bisexuals explain that it’s like some people are attracted to blond hair, others to brown, and yet others don’t care. They don’t care. Presumably, however, there would be other traits in common that would be their type.

        2. This! but my constant question is if the left is always beating their chests and decrying the “glass ceiling” along with lamenting women’s representation in other arenas, why in the name of all that’s holy are they, in the same breath, trying to eliminate women? After years of hearing of the amazing accomplishments of the female, we suddenly are unaware of the distinct differences between men and women? How does that fit the narrative of “first female” anything, when biological sex no longer applies?

          1. Same reason they erase the real women who already got through the glass ceiling.

            The only thing that matters is “shut up and obey.”

            1. Same reason they erase the real women who already got through the glass ceiling.

              We don’t fit the narrative. For example in STEM. Because if women really could get through the glass ceiling, we’d have 50/50 male/female ratio in STEM. So it never happened.

              1. Note that they keep “forgetting” English is my third language and dispute that I come from a Latin country. (Snort, giggle.)
                Because if I can make it on my own, with no contacts in the field THEY HAVE NO EXCUSES.

          2. Logic is cisheteropatrichical.

            Besides, notice that since only one person in a hundred can be in the top 1% at any time, the glass ceiling was always an elite concern. They want power, they have a new way, they aren’t going to concern themselves with the riffraff.

  2. Thinking in type here, so kick it around;

    By denigrating ‘traditional’ (whose traditions?) Male roles, they free Male progressives from a litany of responsibilities they find annoying. By denigrating ‘traditional’ (i.e. imposed by hormonal shifts) female roles they impose on woman a model of sexual behavior that demands that they be sexually available, while dealing with any consequences.

    There’s more to it than that, I’m sure, but the Sexual Revolution seems to have been won, mostly, by predatory and irresponsible males…and STDs. It does not escape my notice that one of the Great Heroes of the Gay Liberation movement was a predatory pederast.

      1. C.S. Lewis also noted promiscuous cultures are ultimately bad for women because (most) women naturally prefer monogamy.

        1. Don’t forget that a lot of “transwomen” who are also “lesbians” are sure that biological women who are lesbians should have sex with them, on demand.

          1. The couple of Transwomen I have known, while nominally Lesbians, knew goddamned well why biological women didn’t want to have sex with them and – while lonely and sad – accepted it. But there is ALWAYS a difference between typical members of a minority and ACTIVIST members of a minority. Sadly, the difference is all too often that the Activist members give the minority a bad name. And this seems to be especially true of those Activists petted by the Progressive Establishment.

            1. Yes, this is very true. There’s a big difference between a reasonably solid citizen who asks for no favors, and has odd quirks; and someone who is careening through the world with a Karen’s worth of demands, and who is out to coerce the world into servicing his quirks.

              1. I suspect, but cannot prove (yet) that there are a significant number of predators who latch on to the Progressive Establishment’s Cause Of The Moment as cover. My Lady had (past tense, thank Gods) an Uncle who, when ‘Gay’ was the Hot Thing identified as Gay, and I swear he did so because identifying as Gay kept people from calling him out as a narcissistic opportunist. He loved nobody but himself. He USED anyone he thought he could.

                A lot of the stories I read about nominally Trans persons who are caught preying on women (from low levels like exposing themselves to outright rape) remind me of this uncle.

                1. there are a significant number of predators who latch on to the Progressive Establishment’s Cause Of The Moment as cover

                  I can’t help but think that you’re right about that. Looking at some of the horrible things said by “nominally” transwomen on Libs of Tiktok. So basically bad actors hijack what may be a real issue to prey on the weak.

              2. > “a Karen’s worth of demands”

                Now I’m picturing the “Karen” as a unit of sense of entitlement.

                “How DARE you mis-gender me!” [Karenometer needle moves to .205]

    1. If I were a horny radical man in the 1960s, I don’t think I’d do anything different than feminism of the age to make sure I had an unlimited supply of “free love” without any consequences except maybe a trip to the clinic.

    2. They SAY they free male progressives from a litany of responsibilities. Except they don’t. They keep all the original responsibilities as expectations, and dump the pile of conflicting new one on them. And then they can blame them for failing to live up to either. It’s the old Eric Berne NIGYYSOAB game.

    3. Any change to gender roles that doesn’t rest on biological fact may hurt one sex more than the other at first but must (I intuitively feel) inevitably hurt the other sex as well.

      For example, about those predatory and irresponsible males — how many of them will actually have future generations of living children? The oldest and most certain way for a man to pass down his genes is not unbridled promiscuity but focusing his energy and care on the support of his children. Which usually includes the support of the mother of his children as well.

      We have attained such a high level of wealth and technology that women can actually survive the poisons and physical attacks of contraception (a subset of birth control, not all of it) and abortion and even decide to raise their children on their own, assuming they’re still young and healthy enough to get pregnant. And guess what happens then? With no support from a man, a society that considers children an ecological disaster, and a society built around separating women from their children as early as possible — women don’t have children in population replacement levels.

      The biological imperative for women to be mothers is strong, but it can be over-ridden by the culture. And believe it or not, it is my belief that men also have a biological imperative to bond with their offspring. Instead of “sex leads to babies” we now have “sex instead of babies.”

      So who are the men who are best able to actually make sure they have surviving offspring these day? The extremely wealthy, and the ones who are otherwise able to signal their responsibility in a meaningful way to women who have developed an inherent distrust of all social structures that used to ensure social support (and not just from men and husbands). Note: society as a whole has become low-trust on this issue, both for men (who can easily and arbitrarily lose access to their own children) and women (who have no assurances of support except from the welfare state).

      Even the men who appeared to be the winners in the short term are the losers. And women clearly are. Especially when you include “surviving” offspring as one of your criteria. Which no one seems to do. Overpopulation don’cha know. It’s a feature, not a bug.

      1. True about the offspring, but men are also emotionally hurt by easy access to casual sexual partners.

        I think that Himself gave men such a strong desire for Union with women when young, to give them the energy to prepare themselves for marriage. In traditional societies women were mostly only available through marriage. So the men mostly focused on getting financially stable enough to be found worthy of marriage.

        With sex easily available without such preparations for stable family life. Many men indulge themselves until they hit the baby bug stage (yes ladies, men usually do want children around 35-40).

        At that point many men have a very hard time achieving the kind of financial stability to attract a good women. They have also been objectifying women for many years which also leads them acting very sexist towards women.

        Many men wake up too to late to the fact that the game wasn’t how many bedpost notch’s do I have, but how great a wife do I have and how many well parented children.

        1. True about the offspring, but men are also emotionally hurt by easy access to casual sexual partners. Completely agree with everything you said here.

    4. I have noticed this too. The goals as achieved by the sexual revolution seem to be making women cheap whores.

      The ideal leftist women, in a leftist man’s mind, is the single successful career women who is independently wealthy and a nymphomaniac who likes to shower riches on handsome boy toys.

      1. Of course it turns out that those leftist women aren’t very much interested in leftist (soy boy) men. They go for alpha males (or usually facsimiles thereof) and the leftist men are left in the dust.

        1. And those leftist women ruin those alpha males for a conservative women. As a truly conservative women wants a man with enough wisdom and self control to keep his pants buttoned.

          1. Actually as a general rule, women don’t downgrade men for having had a lot of sex partners whereas of course men generally prefer women with fewer or no previous sex partners, at least for long-term relationships. This may not be fair but it is observably true, again as a general rule.

            1. Actually as a general rule, women don’t downgrade men for having had a lot of sex partners

              Define “a lot of”. And she also said “conservative women”. I would also say that a man who has had a lot of sex partners is probably responsible for one or more abortions, whether he knows it or not.

              I do agree that men have more leeway in number of sex partners than women, even for conservative women.

          2. Non-alpha, just PEOPLE, guys– mate-relationship is extremely sensitive. I do still blame guys who buy into the idea that “all women” are like that, especially when they are informing ME of this fact to my face in flat defiance of all evidence, but it is understandable.

            The progs like pain, as well as getting their way. The tactics that have been pushed hurt, because they’re MEANT to hurt. That’s a bonus.

              1. Up until some of the more mirror-feminist Men’s Rights Activists demonstrated, repeatedly, that they only objected to being the target of abuse, rather than to abuse itself, I wouldn’t’ve thought twice.

  3. The Author created them male and female. They are different but complementary and have different but complementary roles, if you believe as I do. That doesn’t mean I want all women barefoot and pregnant but it does mean their ultimate created focus is home and hearth.

    That having been said, it does not mean that women are supposed to be some subservient shrinking violet. Yeah, you get into the whole Biblical “man is the head of the woman as Christ as the head of the church” thing and I’m not going there today. Or, as Shesellsseashells is fond of saying lately, “You have to get through my Judges 4 before you get my Proverbs 31.”

    1. The word used in Proverbs 31 (which means “enterprising” or “taking initiative,” probably, and is often translated as “valiant”) is the same word used to describe a lot of generals, heroes, etc. So it’s the same.

    2. “Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.”

      I’ve never watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but this line seems both amusing and accurate.

      1. It’s not wrong.

        That this form — well, all forms — of female power and strength are completely excluded from Das Narritaf is annoying to put it mildly.

      2. Yes, I saw that play out with my grandparents. It was Grandma’s house, Grandma’s garden, Grandma’s kitchen and Grandpa’s tools. Also Grandpa was the voice of reason to Grandma.

        1. Why on earth would anyone call a man cave a “Man Cave” if the rest of the house was the “Man House?” The very fact that there is a distinction between the ‘Cave’ and the rest of the house implies that the rest of the house is the woman’s territory, primarily, and the man wants at least one portion of it to remain his own. (Which is not necessarily a healthy marriage, but I’m just making the point. Also, not having been married myself, I am nothing like an expert on the subject.)

    3. The Greek there isn’t nearly as sexist as is commonly interpreted. The word translated “head” isn’t arche, meaning oldest or most important. Rather, the Greek word Paul uses is more akin to “scout,” “spearhead,” or “trailblazer.” The husband is to be the one who goes first, not because he is more important but because it’s his job to make the path safe for the wife who follows him.

  4. As you imply Leftism is a parasite that infects everything it touches and eventually kills its host. What might have once been a legitimate fight for non-discrimination against homosexuals, now has added so many unrelated and conflicting causes, that lesbians aren’t allowed to speak about who is a woman. I think cspschofield is right that the whole leftist tilt on sexual relations is, “If you’re a woman who acts like us men except in the sack, you’re OK. Otherwise, you’re toast.” Women have been brainwashed into making a very bad bargain for themselves. Some of them now even champion their own self-destruction into “people who menstruate” or “people with a uterus”.

    1. Apparently now it’s “People who mxnstruate”. Even while saying it’s OK for women to be men, we can’t use the term “men” anywhere.

      1. And I thought ‘Latinx’ was dumb! It’s like they’re a race to the bottom to abuse and mangle the language we use.

            1. The Lady thanks you. (And would like to say that she likes your online name, it’s remarkably evocative for a brief pseudonym.)

    2. Isn’t is so great how we’ve stopped reducing women to their biological functions and/or anatomy?

      yay, feminists. you go, girls.


    3. One of the major root problems is that the Progressives have a compulsion to be avant-garde. They may in some cases ALSO have far-out goals that they are headed for, but the majority are simply uncomfortable unless they are defying the popular taste. This drove the world of Fine Art to a state where most lauded ‘Art’ is some kind of sophomoric in-joke, calculated to baffle and/or offend the Unwashed.

      In politics and social change, this has caused originally reasonable Causes to morph over time to absolute lunacy. We SHOULD be concerned about our effect on the environment – after all we have to live in it – but Environmentalism has been driven into absolute idiocy. And so on.

      I think that previous Elites have had similar obsessions with differentiating their ‘taste’ from those of the Commoners, but the Progressives foundation for believing that they are entitled to rule is that they are (supposedly) smarter than the rest of us slobs, and I think that exaggerates the effect. What they believe and prefer HAS to be beyond the comprehension of the Unwashed…or they have to face that they are not that elite, not really very important, and mostly annoying little gits.

      1. IMHO they never outgrew wanting Everyone’s Attention. There are two ways you can get that: Be really, really good at something, or do something shocking.

        They don’t want to put in the work to get good at anything.

      2. the Progressives foundation for believing that they are entitled to rule is that they are (supposedly) smarter than the rest of us

        Or that History is On Their Side, or that We Ought Bow to Their Wise Counsel… or some similar such.

        It’s amazing how much of ‘Progressive’ dynamics can be summed up in (1) Mean Girls, (2) Cool Kids, (3) Because We Say So and Shut Up! — but not amazing how much of the Woke Establishment these recent days is too embroiled in assorted in-fighting over who didn’t use what pronouns, etc., to do awfully much.

        It’s taken several specific comments over these past few days; but I finally realized something else…

        “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” — Yes, sometimes it is, a bit. But not so much, most of the time.

        “Marxism is the opiate of the wanna-be ‘elite’ classes.” — Yes, and far more dependably; though one might have to substitute Gramsci-ism or Intersectionalism or some other variant of, basically, the same pathogen. And (see comment above), their opium dream is always (like Marx’ own) an ego-boosting delusion.

        They not only drink their own ink — they must regularly mainline it, to stay high and try to dodge withdrawal.

      3. How many times have janitors thrown out “art” pieces thinking they were trash? And then there’s the couple about a year ago who came across a piece they thought was a collaborative art wall so they picked up the paintbrushes sitting next to it and “ruined” it.

        1. Haha.. or the guy who ‘ruined’ artwork by untaping the banana from the wall & eating it 😀 😀

        2. I find it particularly telling that the Fine Art World essentially ignored Frederick Hart, the artist who created what is arguably the most emotionally powerful sculpture of the latter half of the 20th Century; The Three Soldiers.

          1. The problem is that he created art that was emotionally evocative. Any schlub can appreciate THAT.

            1. When it comes to criticizing ‘Modern Art’, we really need to emphasize words like “tiresome” “sophomoric” “vulgar” and “trite”

      4. This. Anything that’s believed by the hoi polloi in general must be rejected, usually by inversion — believing something that’s almost the opposite. So we get all these “luxury beliefs” that anybody with a lick of sense ought to reject, but everybody with aspirations to be “elite” nods their heads and makes themselves crazy by believing impossible contradictory things.

        One of their driving emotions is an incredible need to differentiate themselves from people they’d like to think of as their inferiors.

  5. There are some benefits to diversity, but they’re all centered around ways of thinking. Men and women will typically attack a problem differently. Which is why having women, or someone from a slightly different culture, on the police force can be beneficial. But it can also be a hindrance. Sharing a computer system with multiple agencies has been interesting. The largest agency has cautions on many people as a “Three car run” that most everyone else in the area deals with as a single officer.

    1. Eh, there are better tests for getting people who think different that just assume that different sexes will work.

  6. Women should be, and usually are, women. Men should be, and usually are, men. As long as that’s so society, civilization, stumbles along and doesn’t fall.

    Today however…

  7. “There are no solutions, only trade offs.”

    -Thomas Sowell

    Society can’t have the goal of eliminating the costs of behaviors because that’s impossible. TANSTAAFL is a fundamental law of nature.

    The cost of having sex for a woman is the potential of unwanted pregnancy. The cost of having sex for a man is the potential of child support and having a life-long relationship with a woman you aren’t particularly interested in. If those costs are to high you do the same thing you’d do in any other store with prices too high. You walk away.

    1. Conversation over a beer together with my 19 year old grandson (yeah he drinks beer with me and his dad at home)
      “Dan, no matter how tempting it may seem, don’t put it in crazy.”
      “Poppop, sometimes it seems that crazy is all there is!”
      “Trust me on this, not-crazy is so much better, it’s worth the wait. And she is out there.”

        1. My Dad has said, multiple times, that he’s extremely lucky for having found a sane, loving, and intelligent woman in our Mom. (She’s amazing. We’ve had backpacks in the back of the van containing a change of clothes, first aid supplies, emergency food and water, matches, and the like for years on end now – I can’t even really remember when we didn’t. The other homeschool moms in our group started coming to her for supplies when someone got hurt or – much more often – messed up their clothes, since one of us was probably within spitting distance of their size. We now have co-opted the Boy Scout motto – “Semper Paratus” – because of her.)

          I hope to be as good a wife someday. (I imagine/hope when I meet the guy God intends for me, our reactions to each other will be about the same: ‘Thank You, Lord, someone sane at last.’ How accurate that description is remains debatable, of course…)

          1. A lot of the ladies here, including Sarah herself, do enjoy matchmaking so stick around and they just might help make that happen! 🙂

              1. Well, yes. Like I said, the accuracy of the word ‘sane’ is debatable. My family and friends are very familiar with my own particular brand of eccentricity…

                Although for the sake of my future roommate/fellow college students, I really do need to order a custom shirt reading “If you hear me talking to myself, it’s because I’m working out character dialogue. I am not insane, nor possessed. Cross my heart.”

                1. ….you may want to invest in some Very Obvious Title type skinspace books, and have them around your desk.

                  “Gateway to Fiction,” “Techniques of the Selling Writer,” “Deadly Doses: A Writer’s Guide to Poisons” or any of the rest of the “Howdunit” series….

                  1. “How to ‘Talk Through’ your fiction scenes”? Don’t know if it exists, but 100% should. Just like every programmer, software designer should have the “How to discuss out problems with the rubber duck”.

                    1. “Plotting with the Rubber Duck?”

                      “Mercy sakes, looks like we got us a convoy!”

                  2. That’s a good idea. With the added benefit that if I could bring myself to actually read them, I might learn something… (It’s kind of hard for me to get through non-fiction books, to be honest. Not enough swordfights, I fear.)

                    P.S. It took me a few minutes to figure out what you meant by ‘skinspace,’ but once I got it… yup. Pretty descriptive name. Even if it does sound vaguely horror-movie-ish until you figure it out.

                    1. Also, ‘Plotting With the Rubber Duck’ should absolutely be a book title. I’m undecided as of yet whether it should be non-fiction about how to write, or a fiction kids’ book about some kid reminiscent of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes working in concert with his rubber duck to torment the babysitter, claim dictatorship of the house, and conduct war against the Very Evil Cootie-Contaminated Girl Next Door.

                      Gosh, maybe I should write that someday. I probably won’t, so anyone who wants to steal the idea, feel free! I’d enjoy reading it.

                      P.S. For me, I think it would probably be a decorated skull of some kind rather than a rubber duck. Maybe some kind of Celtic knots carved on the sides? I saw some skulls like that once… Although I would be tempted to bypass all actual plotting and go straight to saying “Alas, poor Yorick” each time I saw it, and not bothering with anything else.

                    2. I know what you mean about the Whole Book sometimes being hard to get through, especially if it’s something that should be useful. You might try Crossover’s blog to see if her essays suit you, her book of collected posts is the first one I named. It’s also got a really nice cover. 😀

                2. > “If you hear me talking to myself, it’s because I’m working out character dialogue. I am not insane, nor possessed. Cross my heart.”

                  “Are you talking to yourself again?”

                  “Yes, and don’t interrupt. It’s rude.”

                  …To my discredit, I’ve actually had that conversation.

                3. As long as you loudly proclaim that you’re a creative type, people will accept a certain level of eccentricity. My favorite is “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my novel.” Alternative verb “kill,” but that’s not socially acceptable. : )

              1. Ladyeleanorceltic- like most geeky places, there’s a plethora of single males and a dearth of single females around here, so, once this gang’s got you, they don’t let go. If that’s what you’re looking for, welcome to the madhouse!

                  1. The number of accidents required to get us in the same room, let alone into the same household was… pretty impressive.
                    If I ever doubted the existence of a higher power, that put paid to it.

                    1. Here’s my story of improbability:

                      I wrote a book intended to teach newbies to program in C++ (an idea usually considered ridiculous).
                      Then I had the crazy idea to actually try it out on a newbie (an even weirder idea).
                      I posted a message on a Compuserve forum for programmers, asking if anyone knew a non-programmer who wanted to learn programming and would serve as a “test reader” for my book (what are the chances?).
                      One of the members of that forum told his brother about my message.
                      The brother remembered that a woman he had communicated with had recently told him that she wanted to learn programming, not for any particular reason, just “because” (spooky action at a distance?).
                      So he forwarded the message to her, and she agreed to do it.
                      Skip forward to today: we’ve been married for 25 years.

                  1. And at least some of us know our limits in this regard and are happy to sit out those festivities sometimes!

      1. Plug for most religions. If she goes to a church, or synagogue, or temple, or possibly even a mosque (not sure on that one); then she’s probably not irredeemably crazy. Maybe a bit neurotic about the religion itself, but hey, you have to start somewhere.

        1. Careful there. Many churches are actually Progressive temples no matter what it says on the door.

                    1. 6 hours of sleep a night.

                      2 meals a day.

                      1 shower.

                      Con-goers are known to neglect some or all of these. It is not pretty.

              1. Moderately unrelated question: If/When we meet intelligent aliens one day, would it be more accurate to call them a different species from us? Or merely a different sub-species of the overarching species ‘Rational Animal?’ (‘Rational Animal’ being defined as a being with a hybrid animal/angel being, that is, an animal’s bodily nature and the angel’s spiritual nature.)

                1. Going by the Old Idea of a Species (successful interbreeding), IMO Intelligent Aliens would be a different Species.

                  They’d fall into my favorite category called “People”. 😉

                2. Honestly? Different species. Unless, of course they’re humans who left the earth before one of those bottlenecks.
                  WHAT? Madame, I write science fiction! 😀

                3. If we can cross, I’d say same species, it’s a biological category; moral being or “person,” otherwise.

                  (Same rule I have for true-AI. Even if I don’t think those can exist.)

                4. I think any aliens out there will also be made in His image so essentially humans as well.

                  1. The Ultimate Author is far more inventive than any of us can imagine. Who’s to say where He sets the limits of “humanity”?

                5. Thanks for the responses!

                  So, overall: if they can interbreed, same species, different sub-species (in biological terms). If they can’t, different species (biologically) but same category (metaphysically).

                  1. And there are echoes of this point ‘out there’ in the SF world, probably aplenty more than I could name.

                    The first (only the first) that comes to mind is the ‘talk and build a fire rule’ from H. Beam Piper’s ‘Federation’ universe — if a species (biological) can talk and build a fire, it’s sapient and thus made up of people, who have to be treated as such. (See the ‘Fuzzies’ series for some interesting implications of this…)

                    1. …and see the “treecats” stories for the reason it may be incomplete, at least until they learned ASL.

                  2. Although “different subspecies” isn’t a requirement (they may be the same species), that seems to cover it nicely… 🙂

                6. > “Or merely a different sub-species of the overarching species ‘Rational Animal?’”

                  If we can interbreed with them. If not, we’d narrow the definition of human to something like “rational primate” and define the aliens as “rational something-else.”

                  > “‘Rational Animal’ being defined as a being with a hybrid animal/angel being”

                  I’d define it as an animal with the capacity to reason. And I’m not sure I want to be part angel anyway. They’re not like your avatar:

                  …Actually, I take it back. That would probably be cool as hell, and I’m not a social person anyway.

                  1. Answer to the Angel’s Question: You’re So Awesome And Powerful that it’s hard to turn off our fear.

      2. “Dan, no matter how tempting it may seem, don’t put it in crazy.”

        This is: Man Rule #1

        Man Rule #2 “They are all crazy, so find the crazy you can deal with the rest of your life.”

        1. Speaking as a girl-type person, my first rule of dating was “look for somebody who’s not crazy”. Then I looked in the mirror and amended it to my second rule of dating, which was “look for somebody whose craziness is compatible with mine”. THAT, I got. 😀

          1. So, kind of a cross between “marry your best friend” and “the start of friendship is when you go ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one’.”

            1. Pretty much. Whatever common sense I have, I credit largely to reading a book around 13 that said “most girls look for their father in their husbands” and going NOPE. 🙂

          2. This is my rule. I’m actually looking at writing it into the early chapters of a book, in a first-meeting-between-the-Big-Three-Characters scene.

            Main Character: “Everyone in the world is insane. Some are just better at hiding it than others. When looking for a friend, find someone who either shares your insanity, or can understand and put up with it.”

  8. Related to this post is a book I’ve just finished reading –

    I plan to write a review of it because it is a very excellent book written by a young secular feminist who thinks (and IMHO convincingly makes the case) that much of the sexual liberation of the last half century or so has actually been bad for women in general (and men too in the longer term, but in the short medium and long term it has been bad for the majority of women).

    Basically the book makes the point, as Sarah does here, that our minds are carried along in bodies that have instincts that have evolved over generations to seek ceratin things and you can’t simply ignore the body or th einstincts or pretend they don’t exist. PLus of course she also makes very clear that men and women are (duh) different, and particularly different WRT sex and sexual desire.

    I’d recommend it more if the kindle price were not so unbelievably stupid I’m glad I bought the UK paperback version

  9. I think I’ve mentioned before that Mil-Std-1472C has a table of human strength at the 5 and 95 percentiles, both by lift and by gender.

    The thing that struck me was that there is almost no overlap. The 95% woman is, in some cases, weaker than the 5% man.

    I’m not entirely sure how to process that. I still enjoy stories with women being epic, and am still working on the fanfic thing with the magic samurai lady, but I wonder if that’s lying to the audience. I mean beyond the usual ‘this is fiction’ but actually in a realm of teaching the audience things that are not human?

    I don’t know how to square this circle. Or even if this is a circle that should be squared at all.

        1. There have always been stories about physically strong women, fast and agile women, blah blah blah. I mean, the Greeks were as sexist as they come, but they had Atalanta beating all the heroes of Greece at a footrace.

          A footrace.

          So yeah, don’t second-guess your own storytelling.

          1. I’ll counter that she was not intended to be for women, but rather an objective of the Greek men. Their basic mindset was those who could fight were valuable and those who couldn’t really weren’t. So a woman who was able to stand in the phalanx was someone worth respecting.

            Also I’ve come to accept the theory that we’ve got mental auto-scalers that resize people according to where they fall in their sex, rather than where they fall in human average. Basically it’s let’s us ID which mates are likely to produce large or small offspring.

            (If you have ever seen photos of the male to female transgender athletes standing next to female athletes, the size difference is considerably more striking than when you see a photo of mixed male and female athletes. This is true even when the MtF athlete is actually below male average height.)

            I’m not saying we can’t write good stories either, I’m just wondering, is it teaching girls that an average girl can throw down with an average guy and expect it to be not be David vs Goliath every single time?

            1. Some of it is. But if it’s balanced with other people in the world. You can have the Unicorn and make it aspirational rather than ‘all must be like this’. One of the virtues of the 80s She-Ra was that without the Magic Sword (happened in several episodes). The MC could not go toe to toe with the male characters and toss them across the room. But that wasn’t what made her She-Ra. That was simply the REWARD of being She-Ra. It was the other things she was that made her worthy of the sword. Yeah, it was cheesy, but there were quite a few good underpinnings. You have to EARN the Massive Power Boost. And the Massive Power Boost isn’t any good without YOU involved.

              1. “The strong man who has known power all his life may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength and knows compassion.” – Dr. Abraham Erskine, Captain America: The First Avenger

                This, of course, is not always accurate. There are plenty of weak men who would have become mini-tyrants if given Captain America’s strength. But for some it holds true.

                1. The weak who become strong, do value strength more. It simply also magnifies who they are. Power given to the weak and vengeful or petty makes tyrants. Power given to the weak and compassionate makes heroes.

                  It is the compassion that is not always a given, but rather is a determined. Which, I think, is why the hero must always earn his (or explicitly her since that was the original discussion) magic sword. Usually in the testing you find out which way it will go.

          2. I suppose I’m more disoriented, because this thing that I had always though was one way turned out to be a completely different way.

            I’d always sort of thought that while women were on average weaker than men, that it was a relatively bridge able gap, in the 20% range or so. But seeing hard numbers showing it’s more like 100%+ means I’ve been running under an assumption that’s not just a little bit wrong, but massively fundamentally wrong.

            So now I’m at the “how deep do I need to yank roots” stage of the mental reset required. It’s rather disorienting. Doesn’t help that it’s a taboo subject.

            1. And you are absolutely right, btw, young women get this from all sides, so they absolutely believe they can fight with men, and are stronger than men.
              I still remember the 90 pounds — soaking wet — daughter of a friend trying to get our 300 lbs mostly muscle (in football back then) son to fight her, because “I’m 90 lbs of get back.”
              Dear Lord, I’m so glad my boy is a paladin. He could have killed her without noticing.

              1. There speaks a girl who doesn’t have brothers.

                Heck, my little prepubescent male cousins were already stronger ‘n me, lift-wise, with me an adult woman, when I could still pick them up bodily and throw them.

                Which is a good reason not to pick up and throw your prepubescent male cousins, after a certain period of time. 🙂

              2. Or the idea that a kick to the nuts is instantly and totally incapacitating. It’s not fun, but you can function through it. And guys who do a lot of fighting learn pretty quick how to defend against that particular maneuver. It might help you get away from a boyfriend who’s getting too handsey, but it won’t do you any good against a rapist. Which is why Saint Browning invented the .45ACP.

                1. Also note that being female and getting hit in that area is no picnic, either. I still remember falling off the saddle of a boy’s bicycle as a kid and onto the crossbar, and how long I stood there, clutching the handlebars and trying not to fall down and moan.

              3. I was very clear with my daughter about this. She was a very fit young woman, I am an old, fat man. She could hurt me if she hit me, I could kill her if I hit her. None of that pixi ninja crap works. None of these people can ever have been hit by someone who was motivated to hit them and knew what they were doing.

                When I was young, my dad used some cans of tomato juice to show me what guns could do. I used the movement of a heavy bag to show her. Luckily, I know how to throw a punch and made the thing swing about since I was trying to make a point and really wound up.

                1. Mind you the “fight like a cornered cat” works, and allows you to run away. And you might accidentally (Well, you know) kill your attacker.
                  BUT it also needs luck.
                  I ran away a lot as a kid. Even with the weaponized umbrella.

              4. My daughter-in-law believes that women can compete with men in strength. We’ve argued about this and she just refused to believe the differences were real, so I gave up talking about it. I’m guessing that a very large percentage of the younger generation has this hole in their understanding of reality.

                1. There’s the famous Theodore Dalrymple essay in which he told a battered — girl, really, she was sixteen — that despite her assertion that she could look after herself, men were stronger than women and he could hurt her, and she told him he was sexist.

              5. 90 pounds — soaking wet — daughter of a friend trying to get our 300 lbs mostly muscle (in football back then) son to fight her

                “Tell me you failed physics without telling me you failed physics.”

                1. There was a story about a young woman at a gathering of friends claiming that she could “beat up” this big guy and was willing to prove it.

                  The big guy (apparently carefully) picked her up, took her to another room, put her down and shut the door (with her in the other room and him in the main room).

                  Can’t remember where I heard that story but I can believe it. 😉

            2. Am I correct in thinking that even with the various rules that used to be in place (before transwomen athletes were a thing), we couldn’t actually derive meaningful information from, for example, women’s Olympic weightlifting records? Because all sorts of things were done to female Olympic lifters in spite of the rules?

              1. Looking at Wikipedia, for the same weight class, men have a minimum 30% advantage, and can top out at a 30% higher weight class.

                So the top top male records are at least 50% higher than the top female records.

                The lowest female lift record (191kg combined at 45kg class) is about 1/3rd the top top male record (492kg in the 109kg+ class)

                Ref List of world records in Olympic weightlifting – Wikipedia

            3. I’ve said it before when I was doing a korean Karate form the master chose me (then a lowly white or orange belt) to practice the escape drills with the young red belt (near Dan) women. The younger guys would give in and let them break the hold, having two daughters I wanted these young women to really have to perform the forms correctly in case they really needed it sometime. I think the master also chose me as I was a rolly poly 50 something balding dude that looked slightly less dangerous than Winnie the Pooh. A lot of the young guys were ripped and I think the young ladies might have attributed their difficulty to breaking the grips to that if they had been doing the practice. I think the master wanted to emphasize (to the point of rubbing their noses in it 🙂 ) that even a pretty low end male was a serious threat even with all their skill and practice, and avoidance was the best choice.

            4. I’ve been training in martial arts regularly for over 20+years. I spar regularly with the guys in the club. I’m under 5 feet tall (but with a bad attitude). I can fight well enough to surprise a bad guy into finding an easier target, or get in a killing/disabling blow quick, then run like hell. Facing off man to man and slugging it out? Not a prayer. It’s not magic.
              But I wouldn’t fight like that. I’d cry and act like the poor little woman till I got a reasonable chance to hit a serious blow because he wasn’t expecting it. Or poison his food. Like Sarah says, women are sneaky and devious.
              I do think it’s important for women to learn self defense if only to know that there are things to do, and where and how to hit.
              So yes, if a woman is fighting toe to toe with the guys, she needs Iron Man armor, or a magic sword, or bio enhancement.

                1. A couple of points on this discussion…
                  First, while the stats are very clear on relative strengths and fighting abilities, there exists the (very occasional) 6-sigma female who actually can beat most untrained males. Just don’t bet on being that female.
                  Second, in a serious fight, especially if the discrepancy is major, “holds barred” is a null concept; nothing is out of bounds when life or the chance of maiming is on the line. If you can’t run, hit him with whatever it takes, as many times as it takes.

                    1. Well, yes, of course. All else being equal, males have, on average, an acknowledged advantage in any unarmed fight (note “unarmed”; arms, other than those requiring upper-body strength, tend to equal the playing field significantly, hence the maxim “Lincoln made all men free; Samuel Colt made all men equal” [which extends to women]). Acknowledged by anyone rational, that is; the unicorn-farts-and-rainbows morons fail to qualify.

                    2. Well, yes, of course.

                      But, it’s not ‘of course’.

                      These folks are seriously gaslit.

                      Not just the gals– the guys, too.

                      Take a moment to consider the guy who “knows” girls are just as tough as guys… romantically roughhousing with a gal…and she’s obviously falling short.

                      crossed signals are BAD.

                    3. “But, it’s not ‘of course’.”

                      OK, I have to admit I don’t know how that relates to my comment. Is it your contention that females are not usually at a disadvantage in a physical contest with males, which was my point? Or am I misinterpreting something?

                    4. OK, I have to admit I don’t know how that relates to my comment.

                      They really, honestly, sincerely, with examination– don’t realize that it’s not “there are some females who with enough advantages can win.”

                      The folks honest to God think more like “dudes have a slight advantage. Maybe.”

                      As opposed to “really impressive, trained females can sometimes beat untrained males, barring firearms.”

                    5. Women with kitchen knives have killed cops. Not being taken seriously is an amazing advantage.

                    6. OK, we seem to be in violent agreement. 🙂 I know that there are quite a few in both camps (whom I classify as “irrational”; see my earlier comment) who have no idea of the discrepancy in strength and what it means.

              1. You probably know how best to damage knees by this point, too.

                (Another one that only works when they know you’re not a physical threat.)

            5. I’ve been training in martial arts regularly for over 20+years. I spar regularly with the guys in the club. I’m under 5 feet tall (but with a bad attitude). I can fight well enough to surprise a bad guy into finding an easier target, or get in a killing/disabling blow quick, then run like hell. Facing off man to man and slugging it out? Not a prayer. It’s not magic.
              But I wouldn’t fight like that. I’d cry and act like the poor little woman till I got a reasonable chance to hit a serious blow because he wasn’t expecting it. Or poison his food. Like Sarah says, women are sneaky and devious.
              I do think it’s important for women to learn self defense if only to know that there are things to do, and where and how to hit.
              So yes, if a woman is fighting toe to toe with the guys, she needs Iron Man armor, or a magic sword, or bio enhancement.

            6. Thing is, applied force in unexpected areas can still be wildly effective. If it’s fatal or incapacitating force, even better.

              A punch to the face that breaks his nose is possible. But it’s not going to take him down / out of the fight, it’s only going to piss him off. And if she gets pinned down / caught, it’s curtains.

              So the idea of a swift ninja warrior princess is one that still has lots of believability — but she’s not going to be like Batman taking punches or risking grapples. And if she comes up against a male ninja with the same speed and doesn’t knock him out in the first couple seconds, she’s gonna need a different solution.

            7. Which is just weird, because I have always felt stronger than most of the men around me. Certainly stronger than any of the women, but I assumed that was mostly training. Seriously, how strong can you be when everyone around you is telling you how weak and helpless you are? Which is another topic.

              It might just be a carryover of being stronger than the kids around me growing up, but I still look at women whining about how heavy something is and cringe. Then move whatever it is. (Bags of LEAVES, for heaven’s sake. Couldn’t have weighed more than 50 lbs, but she wouldn’t touch them. Sorry, too heavy. While she stares at me with her mouth hanging open as I fling them over the fence.)

              As I get older I start to feel vulnerable, the strength I always relied on diminishing every year.

              My coordination, on the other hand, has always been on the lower end of the scale.

              1. It’s technique.

                I can lift stuff most guys around me can’t, even now– but that’s because the guys aren’t taught how to use their strength. (16 year old girl picking up a tire isn’t easy, but it’s stupid that the football players couldn’t do it)
                My husband was taught the same methods for actually using his body, and even with his injuries he’s still way more able than I am.

                The guy who doesn’t know how to use his weight when lifting can still hurt you, he just might do it on accident.

                {insert rant about not letting boys roughhouse, here}

                1. Which is why I don’t allow most men to lift me when dancing, unless I know for sure that they can handle the weight. I’ve been dropped or nearly dropped too often.

                2. I have a wonderful but stubborn livestock guardian dog. He thinks I am the Queen, because when he was 10 months old and feeling his oats, I hoisted his 65-pound butt over one shoulder to keep him from picking a fight with the neighbor’s unfixed beagle. The look of sheer canine disbelief I got still makes me giggle. “Mom? Where’d the ground go??”

                3. Yep. I was toting around a 50 Lb suitcase (awkward size and shape, but not all that bad in terms of mass) up and down stairs. My back and knee didn’t like it, but I could do it. With 20+ pounds of books in the carry-on hanging on my other side. The weight balanced and made it easier, some of the time. It was easier three years ago, but I can still schlep weight that leaves some of my male students boggling. It’s all in how you do it (and lifting on a regular basis).

              2. Our mother was like that too. When we were all lifting consistently, she was advancing at a rate comparable with men her age range. But when I look back at the actual numbers we were doing, my brothers and I was consistently advancing at about twice the rate she was.

                And that seems to be pretty consistent: any time I run into a woman who is comparable in strength to most men, her male relatives are always off the charts.

                1. Dad, yes. I would never want to go head to head with him, even with force multipliers. And my brothers may have been exceptionally strong, but they were seriously outnumbered and chose to stay out of most physical conflict with their sisters, so I can’t be sure.

                  Grandma was always proud of her strength. We have a picture of her carrying two grown men on her shoulders.

                  1. Fireman carry style?

                    One of the things with my Marines, htey got taught how to “fireman carry” folks– for one person, you balance the weight on shoulders.

                    For two, I’d guess the same, but more complicated.

                    not healthy, very impressive, but not impossible.

                    1. I don’t know the story behind it. I’m guessing it was a “You can’t do this” argument. The two men are her husband and her husband’s brother. They’re balanced on her shoulders like you would carry a child, one on either side.

                1. I’m getting there. The funny part was the look of utter disbelief on her face–she didn’t even try to lift any of the bags, left that to her husband and son. And she stares at me like I’ve grown horns when I’m tossing the bags over the fence. It’s not the only example, just the easiest to use.

                  I can still lift the 50 pounds, but if it’s more than 100 I’m dragging it, when even five years ago I wouldn’t have had a problem.

        2. Weber uses genetic engineering, cybernetics, mutations, and non-corporeal beings for his epic heroines. Almost all of his male heroes have to make do with mother nature’s equipment.

          1. Pretty much anyone from Sphinx or Gryphon (and there are several characters, both male and female) has the same mods as Honor does. There are also several mentions, starting with Paul Tankersley in book 3, where it’s mentioned that serious martial artists from Manticore work out with the artificial gravity set to Sphinx / Gryphon norm.

            Presumably when you have prolong (imagine the kinds of joint and other damage just living for 3 times as long), quickheal, and regen, the resulting orthopedic damage is repairable.

            1. Gryphon has gravity of 1.05 G and Sphinx has gravity of 1.35 G (but Gryphon has more interesting weather).

              Now San Martin has gravity of 2.7 G.

      1. Well, in the fanfic thing, the characters and universe are already largely defined, and I’m not planning on not finishing the thing over this. (And the fun parts really are sticking a combat monster in spots where they need to be sociable.)

        I’m thinking more, how does one handle it in world’s we build? Wheel of Time handled it by making magic gendered, which while it worked, did require a certain about of manual engagement of the suspension of disbelief filters.

        Modern and sci-fi stuff gets tricky too. Honor Harrington has (I think) a 20% strength boost from the high gravity mods, but when we’re talking a 2x disparity, that nowhere near enough to actually bridge the likely gap.

        And I think that’s the thing I’m struggling with here: we’re not talking about a 15-20% difference is physically strength. We’re talking a two-fold difference at least, in any random match, with a 5% female being as much as 1/4 as strong as a 95% male.

        Even with firearms, that sort of strength difference imposes a very real limit on what is possible.

        It just feels like there are all these cool and awesome characters who suddenly could not have even existed, even within the constraints of their own universes, and I’m not quite sure how to work with that.

        1. How to deal with it. Well, in the Cat books, I cheated, but even there Rada Ni Drako knows when to fight dirty (and when to just shoot the [illegitimate offspring].) Colplatschki – Elizabeth’s light cavalry, and has gyn problems as a result of riding so much. I wrote it straight, omitting the ickier details, and so the character has to use her mind, her better horsemanship, and has to plan ahead when she can, knowing that she’s might be flat on her back in agony for a day and a half every month if it’s a bad cycle. Merchant books – told purely from the male PoV. Familiars – Lelia doesn’t fight like a guy. She uses magic, dirty tricks, and firearms.

          At the risk of sounding my horn, look at the first three Colplatschki books (Elizabeth of . . .). That might give you some ideas, if you are using a pre-modern world.

          1. Lelia doesn’t fight like a guy. She uses magic, dirty tricks, and firearms.

            Dirty Tricks, like a knife slash that causes blood to flow into the idiot’s eye. 😈

          2. And Auriga is too much of a proper lady to ever get drawn into a physical fight she can’t run away from at all.

        2. Honor Harrington is always doing martial arts, and she’s got a fair turn of speed. Speed is a force multiplier, especially if you can use it for things like wrap shots.

          1. In the later books, she can also ‘tune in’ to her opponent’s emotions. She knows what the enemy is going to do the instant he decides to do it. BIG advantage.

            1. Harringtons abilities seem Mary Sue/superhero like.

              In pro fights, it’s not emotional. It’s a pure reaction to a opening caused by training the muscle memory to respond. Also the logical mind will adjust to fight conditions. The creative mind will add unpredictability.

              Some martial source material if one wants to review modern sparring:


            2. And it’s brought up in passing (by her mother!) that the set of genetic mods her ancestors received included a predisposition towards aggression- not something the designers presumably wanted.
              Although, since the latest turn in the series is those mods were designed by the early members of the Mesan Alignment, the aggression might have been included on purpose or at least been a “happy accident.”

              1. Indeed Harrington’s line is one of the Mesan Alignments Alpha lines (unbeknownst to the Harrington’s). So highly modified muscle structure, modified response times and raised in a 1.25 g environment. So NOT bog standard Homo Sapiens so with much hand wavium it is theoretically possible.

    1. Use different fighting styles, without being obvious about it. A woman’s fighting still should focus on turning the man’s attacks against himself (for instance, redirecting into a brick wall) or hits on exposed vulnerable points (neck yes, crotch no). You don’t need to call attention to it.

      1. That’s limited because at high levels, if you can use it, the other guy can too, and if they’ve got more reach and anchor behind it, you can easily find yourself being the redirected one.

        Remember we are talking about a 2-4x difference in strength. That’s they have more grip on one hand than have in both. And they’re faster than you are.

        That’s bantamweight vs super-unlimited heavyweight.

        1. For an example of what I have personally seen: There was an SCA fighter I had watched who did a lot of the re-directs in the ways most of the guys didn’t think about. She was shorter than most of them by an appreciable percent. So she used that to force them up and over her shield, and she had a maneuverability advantage over many of them. In short… she fought like a solo roman soldier going up against a Dalmatian. She had more trouble with shorter guys than taller ones. Now these were polite fights but the principle should be extendable at least to storylevel degrees of poetic licence.

        2. Someone else being able to use the same moves is irrelevant because it’s primarily a defensive style. It’s not easy, it requires knowledge of your surroundings, lots of practice, and a willingness to let your opponent swing first (or goad him into doing so). But it can be done. It requires knowledge and familiarity with the very specific moves required to do it. Further, the whole idea of a redirect is that you turn the opponent’s strength against them. Your opponent throws a punch at you, and you deflect it into a wall. That hand hits the wall with most of the force that was behind the punch.

    2. I’ve been corrupted by this blog. My suspension of disbelief of female action heroes in TV and movies is broken beyond the ability of any mechanic to repair. I recently saw one of those where the female heroine got into two or three fights each with two or three guys, and won them all, These guys all had bulging muscles and outweighed her by 70 pounds or so. Nope nope nope. Decent fight choreography, but IRL any of them could have done serious and disabling damage if their hits had ever landed, or if they got hold of an arm or leg and twisted.

      1. Went to the Maryland Ren Fair 30 or so years ago. The tournament’s shtick was, “virtuous outlaws vs Sherrif of Nottingham,” and the last battle (with edged weapons on foot) was, “plucky girl vs Sherrif.” Watched. She moved A, he moved B (and of course was “winning.”). She moved B, he moved C. About four moves in I called out. “OK honey, he’s in position, you can kick him in the crotch now.”
        She kicked him in the crotch. A couple of people a few rows down turned around to stare up at me.
        Me: “You know you’ve been in the SCA too long when you can read fight choreography…”
        (SCA fights aren’t choreographed, but watch enough and you can spot telegraphed moves).

        1. Let’s be just. One ballad actually had Robin Hood and Maid Marian fighting as equals.

      2. You know, now I kind of want to see a scene where female protagonist is fighting with a big bad guy and seems to be doing well, he’s slowing down and breathing heavy, until another bad guy comes in and says “Igor, stop playing around, it’s time to go.” and he moves in, picks her up and throws her through a wall.

        Then we can get the movie about how she learns to deal with people she can’t directly fight.

        1. Warner brothers did several Expendables movies which were just bad fun. One of them had a fight scene between Rhonda Rhousey and a bad guy. He was wearing enough body armor that his crotch, solar plexus and neck and head were not too vulnerable.
          They fought. He pulled a pistol she kicked it away for they grappled. She tried the black widow move….you wrap legs around neck and torque with body weight. He simply held her and beat her against the walls. Slammed her to the ground. She scrambled over grabbed the gun and shot him.

        2. You know, now I kind of want to see a scene where female protagonist is fighting with a big bad guy and seems to be doing well, he’s slowing down and breathing heavy, until another bad guy comes in and says “Igor, stop playing around, it’s time to go.” and he moves in, picks her up and throws her through a wall.

          Yes. Yes. Yes. I would definitely read that one!

          And it even sort of happened IRL. There’s a video where an a female army soldier challenged any marine soldier to box. Except he didn’t mess around with her first. At all. Just treated her like any soldier, except he couldn’t hit anywhere below the neck, I think it was.

          Match starts. He hits her. She goes down.
          She gets up.
          Rinse. Repeat.
          She got up again four or five times.

          Everything totally legal. He’s no bigger than her, definitely fit, but not extraordinarily so. Just. A marine. Middle aged or younger.

          She won’t shake hands at the end. That’s where I lost respect for her. He won fair and square, as even a match as could be, given the combatants. And met the terms of the challenge. If she’d conceded gracefully, I would have thought – young person does stupid young person thing – learns from it.

          He gets booed.

          All I can think is, he probably saved her life. She needed a lesson in reality. Especially since she’s a soldier.

          1. My daughter was a Marine, for two hitches – and very physically fit. When she sparred with a male Marine who was carefully matched to her for size and weight – she says it was all she could do to make it a draw. No freaking way could she win over a male that much larger and heavier than she was – and she was fit as all get-out.
            Me, I used to wrestle with my younger brother and his pals, when we were kids. (there was only 18 months in age between me and my younger brother.) The last time that I could do so on equal terms and have a chance at winning was at about the age of 12 or 13. The Hollywood visualization of a pixie-elf 100 pound woman beating the snot out of a 300 pound muscle-man is a fantasy. Hollywood fantasy. Her only chance is to catch him by surprise and deal a crippling blow – if she can. Again – Hollywood fantasy.

            1. That’s one of my ring-tones.

              Along with the dragon Valdora yelling “Hadoken!”, Worf saying “Message incoming,” and That’s What Bilbo Baggins Hates.

              1. I almost went with the Chaos version of it from the Dissidia games for my ringtone but ended up going with the first part of Trails of Cold Steel IV’s final battle, Majestic Roar, instead. My other big geeky phone sound is the recruitment jingle from the Suikoden games for texts.

                  1. That wouldn’t have surprised me either.

                    Look, lady, at this point you’re not going to catch me off guard by acting like a video game geek; that ship done long-since sailed. 😉

                    Same goes for anime, Daniel Vasc and anything remotely motherhood-related, by the way. What else you got?

                    1. Beef cattle related geekery?

                      Fairly decent with ag related news over the last 3-4 decades, at least on the Range magazine level. IE, had no idea folks hadn’t heard of the whole “killing white farmers/ranchers, and any hands that didn’t attack them” in …argh, the “it’s OK because apartheid” place.

                    2. Fair enough. I knew you payed at least some attention to agricultural news but I had no idea beef cattle were a specific thing for you.

                    3. Beef ranch kid.

                      Found out recently that I can identify an Angus/Herford cross at a distance where my husband– who has better eyes– is still going “is that a cow?”


                      They really are distinctive…just need some training.

                      I’m still not close to my folks, who are going “ten pair, two spare and a bull?” while I’m going “are those rocks?”

            2. Saw that the first time in the middle of the Gulf with a bunch of geeks, a horrible translation– and we all melted down when his phone went off.

      3. Kind of what I liked about the movie “Princess” that came out recently. At least at the beginning, all of her kills were via surprise, stealth, range, and enemy stupidity.

        Later on it basically became an anime with her as the protagonist, so dumb fun.

    3. Genetic engineering + nanotech-based cyborg augmentation = woman super-soldier.

      And even then, an augmented man is 50% stronger than an augmented woman. You can’t escape biology and still remain human.

      So, Phantom — there are no robot girlfriends in my story, but there is a cyborg wife.
      Count Vordarian: “What? You’re a Betan! You can’t do—“

      1. Yes, that’s what Heinlein did in Friday (beg pardon if this is obvious to everyone).

          1. Yes, exactly. I thought I made that clear that she couldn’t beat an equally enhanced male.

      2. “You can’t escape biology and still remain human.” True.

        Maybe someone should point this out to the current crop of Wokies… 😉

        1. They don’t WANT to remain human, and they do not see those who will not comply AS human.

          1. Rude awakenings, when reality bites really hard, can be so satisfying the those on the delivery end… 😉

    4. That’s actually why I don’t like most sci-fi, fantasy with women fighters as main characters any more. No problem with fighting in general. I can even accept the “magic capability” provided by the mcguffin. But it is so rare to have the fighting capability balanced by ordinary means that could actually work with ordinary, non-boosted women (rifles anyone?) that I’m just overdosed.

      I don’t want another magical girl. I want a woman who fights and wins and loses as a woman. And yes, that does there are some kinds of physical fights she should always lose.

      Which is not to say what you all write is bad or anything. I’m just looking for something different, myself, these days.

      1. I tend to like those where she uses surprise, weapons, and anything she can get her hands on to even the score, and still gets injured.

        The stories that irritate MN e ate those where the heroine sails through completely unscathed.

        1. Sure. Those could work. I’ve been away from the genre for so long that I guess I just make assumptions. I really like the Human Wave idea.

  10. Very nice post. I do take issue with a few things. For one: (my protest on abortion is that it involves two people, and the defenseless one gets killed, but that’s something else) Actually, it involves three people. A woman, a baby and a man (okay, sometimes another woman with a turkey baster). So there are three people. Two of them make it happen and the third is just a passenger. And my problem is hypothetical, as I’ve never experienced this particular dilemma… A young man and woman have sex. She gets pregnant. He tries to ‘step up’ and get a good job so he can support her and the baby. But ‘she’ decides. She will get an abortion. He has no say. Same thing in a marriage, even when there are already children; he has no say. The feministas scream it (along with men who just want ‘to get laid), “if you’re a man, just shut up! You have no say.” (even from a moral perspective?) And that’s that. And, we have seen this principle play out in other ways. I think it was a case in which a husband was on life support. His parents wanted him kept alive. His wife wanted to ‘terminate,’ turn the machines off. I believe it was she who prevailed. Bottom line, I think, is that women have always been the nurturers, the mothers, the providers of life giving breast milk and love. And for that, men restrained themselves (of course, not all of them; there are always the brutes and jerks), and restrained other men, to give women special protections, to safeguard them. (There’s anecdotal, and some sociological, evidence that the reason the Roanoke colony failed is because it was primarily men. And the Jamestown experiment, also mostly men, almost failed as well, because it was, in the early stages, all male. When women were brought in, men started to behave differently, so they could have women. Then children. Then it was no longer every man for himself.)

    Concerning Ogg and Morga and the cave people. There is a theory (read, Sex At Dawn)that when humankind were primitive hunter gatherers, women did not belong to any particular man. To do so would have caused strife between the man and turned their focus away from the enemy tribes and the saber tooth tigers, and against each other. Women gave themselves to more than one man, and the children were raised cooperatively by the entire band (OMG… Did Hillary have it right… it takes a village, or a clan?’) Then some god or holy man or woman, devised cultivation, agriculture, food production and storage, and monogamy became beneficial and necessary.

    Anyway, where is this all going? Well, the last vestiges of this reverence are going down the tube. Yeah, I still hold the door for females. Some glare at me in anger. I chuckle. But now women have, or are in the process of, flipping the tables. I see groups of women in restaurants, casinos, half their head shaved, or bald… some of them, tattoed up like sailors from the 1950s, sharing a meal and drinks and checking out the ass on the waiter and the busboys. And how much of ‘domestic violence’ is caused by women who have been programmed to think they are just as bad as men… who ‘throw the first punch?’ And when the cops are called, the default procedure is to ‘ask’ the man to leave. So when women demand to be men, why hold the door? Really?

    I know the women are really going to hate me for letting this all out… But I feel like I have to do this, to help balance the record. (A lot of men will never say these things ‘cause they know it may cost them in ‘lost lovin’. They don’t say what they think or feel, but rather that which they think their wife wants them to think or feel.) Actually, this (women using the power of sex over men) has long been the case; saw it during the 60s and 70s in college when men flocked to the anti-war rallies to ‘get laid.’ (the male business and engineering students with their crew cuts and slide rules and pocket protectors didn’t get much…) Actually, the communists used this tactic and women when they were making their play for power. Many of the communist party men were recruited by attractive and willing (for the cause) young women.

    But… I do love women. And I’m sorry if my opinions, vile slanders, sexist hate thought, has hurt any of them. While I’m confessin,’ let me also say that my fav authors, or writers, or scribblers (I’m a scribbler) tend to be dead white males. I don’t know why, but they speak to me and I can really relate, except for the dead part. I’m currently re-reading Bellow’s Mister Sammler’s Planet and loving it. Gawd, that man saw in great detail the unravelling that we are well into… back in the 60s/70s.

    And finally, Sarah, I admire you and your strength of opinion and your work ethic here. It’s a wonderful space for someone like me to jawbone without getting his jawbone broken. I look forward to more thought provoking posts like this.

    1. I see nothing to scream about, here. In fact, I don’t see anything I would really disagree with. (Well, I tend to hold the door open for anyone who happens to be close enough to the door to get through without having to run. But I don’t think that’s really a disagreement at all.) Maybe I’m missing something… but I think probably not.

      Thank you for speaking your mind, carlmelcher1, and doing so in a polite, honest, and rational manner. As a society, we need more of this.

      1. The “I read mostly dead white males” is only thing I MIGHT be upset about, but honestly, these days? I have to KNOW a woman author before I read her, because I’ve been ambushed by crazy bizarreness so often.

      2. I feel this comment from Talmud belongs in this thread somewhere, so I am putting it here.
        Woman was not created from Man’s head, to be over him
        Nor from his feet to be walked upon
        But from his side, to be equal
        Under his arm, to be protected
        And Close to his heart, to be loved.

    2. Er… why do I hate you? Men are getting a raw deal too.
      But you reversed the sexes in the Shiavo (Sp) case. Btw.
      I also oppose abortion, I just have the tragic vision to know it’s impossible to stop. The best we can do is restrict and educate girls to know that having kids is not a handicap, but a superpower.
      As for women being communal. LOL. ROFL. No. There is absolutely no proof of this, and believe it or not it was dreamed by feminists, who call it a “matriarchial” society.
      Most of the modern primitive hunter gatherers are patriarchal and one man one woman. (Only rich men get many women, because, yeah, but seriously. No “women in common.” That’s a crazy hippie dream.)

      1. The one man one woman thing has been going on long enough to have a definite evolutionary effect. The Y chromosome has a large effect on physical appearance – so that children tend to look like their fathers. The hunter coming back with his kill usually doesn’t have enough meat for the whole village. So he wants it to go to his woman and children he at least has reason to believe are his.

        1. This idea of the ‘one cave man, one cave girl’ thing… is, I think, flawed. I gotta save these fingers for my next short story or novella, so I’ll just say, y’all ought to read, Sex At Dawn. The author makes a good case for cave gals being generous to more than one male. And, there are still vestiges of this happening in our modern culture. It’s the stuff of novels. 😉

            1. I have to agree with Geoff and our hostess on this one. Observation and personal experience indicate that human males across multiple cultures are still very much vested in treating women as property when it comes to sexuality. i.e. She’s my woman, and nobody better forget that. In real life, they don’t share well at all. (Which is one of the reasons why Stranger in a Strange Land’s Valentine Michael Smith’s group is fantasy, requiring “Martian Language” to operate in a cross sexual partner group.) (You could say the same about serial group families in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.”)

              1. I think the band,probably before we were full humans was probably the dominant male had all women. It’s by and large the pattern of the great apes. After that, I suspect we broke into couples or small harems. Probably why we did better. (More mutations.)

                1. Yeah. Single alpha male, infertile, would wreck a family band running on a harem concept. Serial monogamy (serial polygamy?) where everyone in the band rotates partners, is a sure fire way to destroy the band should any of them pick up a serious disease. The only condition where rotation of partners for conception would be a definite benefit is if you had a genetic bottleneck event and needed to preserve as many genetic combinations as possible. So I suspect there’s a good natural reason for why the current stand human family is based on one male, one female.

                  1. In “Rebel’s Seed,” F.M. Busby set up a marooned UET ship where the surviving senior officer tried to set up a rotation -if the woman didn’t get pregnant one month, on to the next male until she did. The idea being to minimize inbreeding.
                    Then a brutish subordinate took over and made it into a “harems among the officers, but I get dibs on everyone,” scenario….

                  2. The only condition where rotation of partners for conception would be a definite benefit is if you had a genetic bottleneck event and needed to preserve as many genetic combinations as possible.

                    This pretty much nails a major part of the setting of the first SF idea I had, years and decades ago. An interstellar ship is sabotaged (twice, but in mutually-interfering ways), and its people end up more-or-less ‘shipwrecked’ on a remote planet (of a remote star) instead of (conveniently for the saboteurs) dead. Even with a considerable “cargo” of political prisoners (not the crew’s idea) in drug-induced almost-hibernation, it’s not very many people (several dozen? a hundred-plus?) to start a whole new colony — calling for “rescue” is both practically impossible and almost certainly undesirable. So, “genetic bottleneck event” — check!

                    The society that designs itself around this predicament — using a strategy that you could call “outrunning the genetic drift” (and they do) — starts by having as many children as possible (maybe every ~2 years for 20 years or so? on average? pedal-to-the-metal and flat out?), raised by (mostly) two-person marriages, but only one child biologically ‘fathered’ by the husband (twins are a special case and a blessing), so that it’s really a family of half-siblings. And “ideally” no two children, at least in the first few generations, have the same two (genetic) parents… but each person still (typically) contributes genetically to about 10 offspring.

                    All of this is basically voluntary at the individual/family level, but the social and cultural pressure is, quite by design, rather intense. (“Otherwise our great-Nth grandchildren will sicken and die.”) Eventually, you’ll end up with a situation (# of first-generation ancestors doubles every generation) where you can no longer apply the above “ideal” standard — a few to several generations from the start — and people can begin (because they cannot do otherwise) to marry / have children with people they share an ancestor with. (And monogamy as we understand it becomes acceptable, and deeply a relief to many.) Homosexuality is (usually) handled by marrying four at a time — children are ‘by’ people in the marriage, all of them have both a father and a mother (plus a spare of each) right there inside it, and the ‘who do I sleep with’ thing works itself out naturally.

                    So, each person has a surname and a clan (possibly but not necessarily gene-related). When two people marry, he takes her clan association and she takes his surname — and so do the children. Each person also has two “line names” for their ultimate male-line and female-line original-generation ancestors. Adopted and “exo” children have (much later) become uncommon but still happen… and so on, with even more detail.

                    Even after all this time, even with the above strong measures, I’m far from sure such a low(-sounding) count of initial population is ‘enough’ to avoid genetic difficulties later. And the whole story (setting) is largely about exploring an idea like (and likely inspired by) Gordon Dickson’s “Splinter Cultures” — what if a planet just kept on being extraordinary at something or many things, because they had to at first in order to survive at all?

                    I’d be interested in any (reasonable) comments on this, now that it seems to have ‘come up’ in context…

                    1. :considers genetics when you can’t get fresh bulls:

                      What benefit is there from having half-siblings?

                      If they’re mostly in two parent households, that would mean roughly equal numbers.

                      You’re also figuring on “as many kids as humanly possible,” so that removes the “only one cross per couple” that would otherwise justify switching it out.

                      Breaking up pairs would just mean you have a higher risk of marrying a cousin– not that that’s as automatically A Horrible Idea as pop culture would have it, especially with an already not closely related group– and would lower child survival rates, as well as increasing the risk of STDs.

                      The “two strings of beads” visualization for DNA is most useful– each pair has to have a minimum of four offspring to continue both “strings.”

                      Monogamous couples are your best chance for preserving all the genetic variation, even if someone isn’t especially fertile– it will cost you in raw numbers, but the setup explained doesn’t sound like they are in desperate need of bodies so much as they’re in desperate need of variation.

                    2. [From Foxfier] and genetics is complex

                      And population genetics is likely even more complex… which is what this really is, and why I’ve never thought of this as a final answer, only what the characters (and I) came up with… long-enough ago. And also why I just asked the question in the form of a summary, here!

                      But, yes, the “felt” imperative is to preserve as much genetic diversity past the “bottleneck” as possible; and the original idea was that ‘crossing’ different people as biological parents of every child would be the best way to do that. After all, if you have 10 children from the same parents, you’re only going to get re-combinations of the same 2 sets of genes… and you’ll still lose some (small-ish) fraction of those to sheer chance.

                      So, see further on this much farther below…

                    3. In Poul Anderson’s After Doomsday, the women started to talk about having several different fathers among themselves even before they met up with the men whose location they had found out..

                      More men than women in space

                2. Hands and bipedalism may actually argue against hareming. One of the really big advantages of being bipedal and having grabbing hands is the ability to transport small highly nutritionally dense objects.

                  That allows you to leverage intelligence into the ability to fuel brain heavy babies, but a harem structure, by its nature, expels a significant fraction of its free hands to keep control of who has access to the females.

                  In a monogamous pack structure, all those hands are still available to collect things, and a pack can leverage that through cross support agreements. I.e. if a Terror Bird gets Joe while Joe and Bob are grabbing eggs, Joe knows that Bob (or Bob’s wife) will make sure his widow and their little boy get some of the eggs, because Joe would do the same for Bob’s family.

                  That doesn’t work in a harem structure.

                  1. And those “brain heavy babies” are a big departure if you’re a modern-human or even close. In return for being able to (barely?) fit through the birth canal, ‘our’ babies are a lot more baby-ish for a lot longer. So they make a lot more in the way of demands on parent(s) before they even start to become self-sufficient, or more to the point even able to contribute much to the overall band / tribe / pack or whatever.

                    This is a set of ideas I first heard about (as an organized whole) from Desmond Morris’ “Naked Ape” series of books, years ago — and much as some have attacked it / him in later years, I think there’s a lot there.

                    “Neoteny” — being more baby-like and/or for longer — lets you be more intelligent, but it means running on slow cultural learning, not instant instinctive learning. So unless you want to burden each mother with a huge new load of child care and rearing alone, you have to either create a long-term “pair bond” where the (known and present) father helps take care of “his” children too (Morris mentions such human innovations as year-round ‘in season’ and the female orgasm) — or somehow induce either the males as a group to take care of “everybody’s children” (why?), or else give a harem-master male something like superpowers to do what half the entire population of a tribe of male-female pairs would (in that other model) be doing.

                    It’s not really economics; but this vague equivalent of “follow the money” does explain a bit, at least to me.

                  2. Good point. It also illustrates the value of males with skills who aren’t the King of the Hill when it comes to violence. A man can be a crappy fighter, yet be the person who knows or remembers how to find the most and best foods, or builds and fixes the best tools, or does the best job of patching up injuries. The value of people is a complexity only second to the way people interact with each other. And it’s one of the reasons why the Progressive-Socialist Left fails; they think each individual has only one value, and that being the one they assign to him or her.

                    1. Like I’ve said before — under communism, Walt Disney would have spent his life working in a State factory.
                      Under Capitalism, man exploits man.
                      Under Communism, it’s the other way around.

                1. it was a fantasy, though we honestly don’t know what it does to the human brain to live that long.
                  And in his defense all the best psychiatrists at the time said that was the natural thing…. (Rolls eyes.)

                  1. What would people do with their minds if they lived that long is a great question. I seem to remember RAH mentioned in one of his books that Lazarus Long deliberately did some pruning of him mind at some point; either to remove emotional traumas, or dispose of unnecessary memories.

                    Our personalities are largely the end product of our experiences and memories, loaded into a combination of our genetic programming and developmental brains. And most of us are, or would be, very hesitant to change who and what we are; even if we know there are parts in us that are broken, and even if we know that we might be better, happier, if we did so.

                    Part of the problem is there are at least a half dozen different major mental programming schemes, and a myriad of other varieties. None of them appear to have the whole picture, none of them appear to have a high success rate, and most of them have suspect origins and ‘hidden’ goals.

                  2. > “we honestly don’t know what it does to the human brain to live that long.”

                    I volunteer to live a couple of extra centuries and report back to you. How are your friends coming along with the rejuvenation tech?

              2. In real life, they don’t share well at all.

                You’re absolutely right about the “line marriages” in TMiAHM. They wouldn’t work well at all in real life. Sure, there would be some people that could manage it — I have a vague recollection of Heinlein basing the idea in part off of people he knew, but couldn’t tell you specifics to save my life — but in the vast majority of cases, normal human emotions like jealousy would take over and mess things up. (Jealousy, BTW, is a near-universal concept, cutting across all kinds of cultures, which is a clue that the human psyche is designed for single-pairing, one sexual partner at a time only, and not group marriages.)

                Even the most commonly-practiced form of group sex, threesomes, do not work well in most cases. There’s a reason why there’s a saying about them: “In any threesome, there’s a twosome and a lonesome.” Again, the human psyche is designed for pairing up with one other person, and even people who try to break that pattern find themselves slipping into it naturally.

                1. Supposedly there are two of these in Colorado Springs fandom, so probably the ones he knew, as they’ve been going on that long. I don’t GET it.

          1. I’ll disagree with the communal thing because children not related to the male parent have far higher than average mortality rates.

            I gather it is also very common in cases where the male parent has or is suspected of having a hand in the death of a child for it to be discovered that the child in question was not related to them.

            There’s definitely something going on below the surface.

            And it’s only the male parent. Genetic relationship to the female parent seems to have no impact.

            What I don’t know is if this is a sliding scale, or a “you must be this related to survive” thing.

              1. The reason that the evil stepfather or stepmother is a nightmare trope is that it happens in real life. Not all the time, but quite a few times.

                And nowadays it’s often the evil boyfriend. We’ve had at least two cases around here of men killing the girlfriend and her kid, and throwing both her and her toddler in the river. It wasn’t their kid, so what did they care?


            1. It’s also common in other species. If a male wants to breed with a mother, he tries to kill the cubs.

        2. One man plus one woman is the simplest social unit capable of fulfilling the purpose of men and women — producing children, and raising them to the point where they can produce more children.

          That’s what it’s all about, folks. Any society which doesn’t meet that requirement will die out and be replaced by another one that did.

          I’m all in favor of letting the Leftroids die out, but not to drag everybody else down with them.

          There are other social arrangements which can accomplish that purpose, but they are necessarily more complex. Simpler forms are generally more robust and adaptable, more likely to survive.
          How can imperfect people create a perfect world? How could imperfect people live in a perfect world?

      2. Re the Shiavo case, yeah, think you’re right on that. Maybe it was something else. I do think you’re wrong about the ‘women in common’ thing. It makes a great deal of sense to me. But, despite being an old guy, I wasn’t on scene then, so we can just leave that. You’re right about abortion never going away. It’s always been with us, always will be, and I agree that it has to become ‘rare’ as, believe it or not, Bill Clinton once said.

          1. A woman who is shared around — she’s a woman with the lowest possible status in a society.

            The only way you can have that not be the case, is for the woman to be matriarch, property owner, and know where all the bodies are buried. In which case, she isn’t shared so much as that she has a male harem.

      3. Ah, right, sorry. The communal thing is something I would disagree with, I just missed it while I was re-reading.

    3. Lots of good points. But I disagree with you here:

      “when humankind were primitive hunter gatherers, women did not belong to any particular man. To do so would have caused strife between the man and turned their focus away from the enemy tribes and the saber tooth tigers, and against each other.”

      What causes strife between men is when what woman belongs to what man is not respected, or when the most dominant men hoard as many women as they can. The dangers are no boundaries or no chance for a woman at all. Jealousy is part of it, but I don’t think that’s a necessary factor.

      I tend to think our “monkey brain” as Sarah calls us does probably make us more inclined to polygamy. But that leads to lots of “throw-away” or unbonded men. And the most dangerous predator to human beings are … drumroll … other human beings. You just created a group of men with a huge incentive to attack the tribe.

      We combine, somehow, the polygamous monkey brain with the monogamous wolf need for the males to cooperate. And just another point: the dangers from enemies don’t go away in the switch from hunter gatherers to agriculture, etc. So the need for men to work together never goes away.

  11. One of the effects of the feminist revolution is the systematic devaluation of children. A potential child is considered a “nuisance”, a “burden”, or a “punishment” at best, a parasite at worst. (Isn’t that the same kind of dehumanization that permits Holocaust-type genocide?), But a society that hates its own offspring is moribund. In the tearing rush to liberate women to do everything a man can do, the things that men cannot do have been systematically devalued. A corresponding “men’s liberation” is biologically a lot harder. I.E. impossible at the current state of knowledge, the blitherings of trans fanatics notwithstanding. [Not to mention a horrifying thought to most males.]
    Unlike those women who fully embrace their own femininity and all it entails, those who have been trying their damnedest to turn women into ersatz men find no joy or satisfaction in the difficult and demanding task of overseeing the transformation of a child (or children) from a complete dependent to fully competent adult human. If it’s not a job that gets a weekly paycheck, or so the thinking goes, then it doesn’t count. I find that that a narrow and short-sighted view for anyone, male or female.

    1. I believe this devaluation of children is due to the close relationship of feminism (as it has been since at least the 50’s) with communism/socialism. In most cultures a new human is a desirable asset. In communism, another human is a liability.

    2. That’s why I used the word “parasitizes” in that post the other day. Like I said, justification for abortion is a stretch.

  12. I know my body and hormones affect how my mind works completely without my consent (and I hate it when that happens). Some days, it’s a real fight to not let my natural fluctuations-inspired s#!tty mood splash on others. Or take the cranky that gets created by constant, low-grade pain (or sometimes not low grade pain) out on others.

    Living in my head is so much less uncomfortable, but reality intrudes…

      1. I am starting the first, vague steps into reverse puberty, myself, and it’s…well. Not helpful to my ability to control my mouth’s reactions to my hormonal, emotional state.

        1. Well, my issue is I was apparently 10 years younger than my age in that respect, at 53. (It’s actually a family trait.) And then there was an intra uterine “fast and mutational growth” because Pre-cancerous was too scary.
          And ablation of the whole thing. So I went into it with a hammer. And I’m not fully recovered, yet, I think. I mean, heck of a physical shock.

          1. Gotcha. And yeah, that would be.

            I’m pushing my mother (literally getting behind her and shoving, sometimes) through breast cancer (stage 3) treatment…once I get her through enough that I can breathe (i.e., where the tumor has shrunk enough to be operable), I need to get tested.

            Can I just say that this right here is one of the severe disadvantages of being female? Not pregnancy (which, honestly, ruined my health), but this?

            1. Yes. But men have their issues too. It’s the tri-phasic thing that is bizarre. It’s like we’re three people in one life. It truly changes that much.
              BUT hey, most of our ancestresses probably died before menopause. I do love modern medicine and comfort.

                  1. But that one other is the Most Dangerous of the Three. [Crazy Grin]

                    1. A few years ago, I read a mystery with a title something like “Two Dragons”.

                      The Dragons were two Grandmothers (in laws) and the Bad Guys found out that “Little Old Ladies” were dangerous.

                      Oh, I seem to remember that the Grandmothers had a feud going on between themselves but tabled the feud when their grandchild need their help. 😀

                    2. ….which is, indeed, terrifying.

                      Tell me I’m not the only one with terrifying grandmothers and grandmothers in law….

              1. The great and sadly late M. A. Foster invented a mutated human species called “the Ler”, where the boundaries of those three phases were very sharp. The last phase was called “elder” and they could not have and did not want sex.

                The use of initials instead of a first name, combined with the beautiful writing in the “Ler” series, made me think the author was a woman. Instead, when I met him he looked like a bit player from Deliverance, but was extremely intelligent and well spoken.

                If you don’t know his work, check it out on Amazon. His only book currently in print is the collected Ler stories:

                1. Larry Niven did something similar (not mutations, but a sharp and rapid change) with his “Protector” novels. Interesting. And very scary.

      2. Still having the occasional hot flash over a decade later. But the migraines have either become extremely rare or stopped.
        (I have a t-shirt which reads, “I’m Still Hot. It Just Comes in Flashes Now.”

        1. Love it! I need to get one of those for my wife. She never did experience any of the normal menopause “issues”, and like you she stopped getting migraines, but she’d very much appreciate the sentiment. 🙂

  13. Monogamy and the nuclear family developed over millennia because historically, women were dependent upon men to protect them from danger while women were pregnant or child-rearing.

    The Left wants to end the need for monogamy and the nuclear family to protect women from danger.

    Feminism, affirmative action and equal pay is how the Left intends to free women from financial danger.

    Police-state laws are how the Left intends to free women from physical danger.

    Contraception is how the Left intends to free women from the danger of unwanted pregnancy.

    Abortion is how the Left intends to free women from the danger of missing out on a career to raise children.

    The Left’s ultimate goal is women capable of living their lives independent of men, except for sex-without-consequences if mutually desired.

    The Left wants to overturn 5,000 years of human history, throwing out What Works to replace it with What Sounds Good, creating not a New Soviet Man but a New Soviet Woman.

    The question the Left never bothers to ask: What do women want?

        1. I identify as a biologist. And while we’re on the subject, I would also like to register my identity as a Silver Dragon Princess of the Bookwyrm Order with 20 levels in wizard, as many levels in cleric as God will give me, and richer than Pluto.

          (Looks around.)

          Where’s my mansion?

              1. I’m a Dragon Princess. She’s the Space Princess (I thought I read somewhere that it was Space Empress…).

          1. Uncredentialed biologist here…at least more of one than Justice Jackson. Alas, I don’t believe I qualify for dragonhood, although I would certainly belong to the Bookwyrm order if I did. Does a were-lizard being count as a close enough relative? No, not the political variety; those are an entirely different and inferior species. I reside in a burrow, not a mansion, which is in serious need of a cleaning if I can manage to rouse myself from my torpor.

            1. I’ll tell you what: you and I, plus a few other rag-tag Odds (I’d love to count the Leprechaun and Wise Ox amongst them) run off and save the world. I’ll set up a proper awards ceremony with my father and mother, Draconis Rex et Regina, and we’ll declare you all honorary dragons

              How’s that sound?

              1. So, you’ve been here less than a week and you’re already trying to engineer a minotaur-dragon hybrid with a taste for 50s swing music. ‘Cause apparently this place isn’t weird enough as it is.

                Yeah, you’re gonna fit right in. 😉

                Incidentally, what are planning to save the world from? Got a villain picked out yet?

                1. Also, what happen if Paul – who already is our resident dragon – participates and ends up becoming an honorary dragon on top of that? Dragonception?

              2. Sounds wonderful. Soon as I manage to find a way around the First Law of Holes, I’ll run off and help save the world.

    1. They want what lefty men tell them they want. 😜. To be little widgets. Sauron was noted for his love of order and ensuring that everything is the same brings order if nothing else. That’s why they love death so much.

      What I don’t understand having spent my life working with a bunch of psychopaths on Wall Street is why working with a bunch of psychopaths on Wall Street, or Hollywood, or DC is considered success. Something women should aspire to so they’re not second class citizens, why? It pays well and can be interesting but, really? To raise a child and have them turn out as good, sensible, kind people. That’s success.

      Bloody fools they are. All bloody fools.

      1. Today’s left is less Sauron and more Mouth of Sauron. They spout whatever they are told to spout without thought, acting as dutiful and utterly subservient mouthpieces.

    2. “The Left wants to overturn 5,000 years of human history, throwing out What Works to replace it with What Sounds Good, creating not a New Soviet Man but a New Soviet Woman.”

      Not to mention 50,000 years plus of human biology.

      1. Probably closer to a couple million or so; I doubt if Homo erectus was much different in those respects.

  14. Hmm. How to write romance for men, without it being pornography? Obviously you can’t file the books in the Romance section, because men are extremely unlikely to buy any of them (unless they fake it and say it’s for their wife/girlfriend/mistress.) Fantasy? Quite probably. And if it’s labeled as Fantasy, it’s semi-possible to make a go of it. I need to think about that some more.

          1. There are tech thrillers, these days, and I tried to get into them, because I used to enjoy a good spy adventure. But they just weren’t the same. Yes, sacrilege, I didn’t like Clancy, who was the major replacement. Because his main protag had a wife, there was none of the male testosterone filled flirtation styled romance. I got through the Clancy, but didn’t pick up another.

            Then I fell out of that genre and even the desire to read it anymore. There’s a few authors who can do the genre well, but for me, something still reads off. I can’t put a finger on it.

            Maybe everything I’ve read since is just more rooted in LeCarre, than Fleming. Fleming was more superhero/human almost. I mean, for the love of all, how Bond much less survived the torture in Casino Royal, but stayed functional, is completely superhuman. Or a cliff collapse in Moonraker? Far more emphasis on adventure than realism. And Remo Williams, the Destroyer? Completely a superhero. 😉

            1. Is Razorfist ever nonrelevant? (I almost fell off the chair laughing at “…and whoever the hell hides the recording equipment from Yoko Ono.”, as today’s hero. True, dat.) 🙂

        1. Don Pendleton had several interconnected ones:
          Mack Bolan
          Stony Man (Mack Bolan with a team of henchmen)
          Able Team (the henchmen without Mack Bolan)

      1. Louis L’Amor westerns are also, typically, romances of a sort.
        Often as unrealistic as those marketed to women, in their own ways (Tough and Strong Stoic Type rides into town, town’s Most Eligible Bachelorette falls for T&SST nearly immediately, they ride off to her family ranch to Live Happily Ever After), but they do set a positive stereotype for males to idealize and live up to.
        The same can be said for a lot of Sci-fi and Fantasy. Tell me that Wizard’s First Rule is NOT a romance.
        So they’re out there, romances for men. But never in the Romance Section.

        1. Don’t forget the Poor But Honest And Hard Working Cowboy finding the wild herd in a box canyon while he’s out trying to make his fortune so he can marry his girl.

          My mom read a lot of those as a kid. That’s part of why we got so many talks on genetics, breeding for traits, etc….

      1. The author, LMB, has written on the difficulty of combining SF or Fantasy and Romance. They have entirely different reader expectations, standard tropes, and plot structures, and fans of each genre think the other has cooties. But she’s managed to do it as well as anyone and better than most.

        1. Yeah she’s done it well. To the point where a whole book about a wedding can still be a page turner for guys . . . that takes talent. And is one reason she’s on my Favourite Writer’s list.

          Some of the stuff capturing some fragments of the essence of the Divine is another, in her other books.

          1. Helps that by then we are so deep into the series that we can see the looks on everyone’s faces, and understand perfectly well where their migraines are coming from…

            Lois is freaking awesome…

    1. Oh, and Men’s Adventure.

      It’d sell rather well to women, too, at least the ones that are Hero Wins The Girl, rather than random rolls.

  15. This same guy, btw, tried to put me in my place by coming back with something about how society had failed women for millennia

    If that were true, people would have ceased to exist as failed women don’t have and raise children at the rate needed to sustain a population, much less get from the last bottleneck below 100,000 to the 7 billion* on the planet today.

    Socieities for millennia did not prioritize what WEIRDs (as opposed to Odds, although most if not all Odds here are WEIRD) prioritized. Why do you think our culture here is called WEIRD as an acronym? Why do you think I worry about freedom being an aberration about to revert the the mean? Because we are that different in our priorities from any prior culture.

    But failed? No. Women survived, loved, wrote, had sex, had babies, raised those babies to live, write, fight, and do it again.

    Do these people not read Shakespeare. No, that wasn’t exactly his point here, but it is close enough:

    PAROLLES Are you meditating on virginity?
    HELEN Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let
    me ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity.
    How may we barricado it against him?
    PAROLLES Keep him out.
    HELEN But he assails, and our virginity, though
    valiant in the defense, yet is weak. Unfold to us
    some warlike resistance.
    PAROLLES There is none. Man setting down before you
    will undermine you and blow you up.
    HELEN Bless our poor virginity from underminers and
    blowers-up! Is there no military policy how virgins
    might blow up men?
    PAROLLES Virginity being blown down, man will
    quicklier be blown up. Marry, in blowing him
    down again, with the breach yourselves made you
    lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth
    of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity
    is rational increase, and there was never
    virgin got till virginity was first lost. That you
    were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity by
    being once lost may be ten times found; by being
    ever kept, it is ever lost. ’Tis too cold a companion.
    Away with ’t.

    I know our hostess thinks this is way off, but even if it a full order of magnitude lower, my point still stands.

  16. “holding the door for women” – my first female boss 40 years ago finally made a comment to me for holding the door for her. that she could open her own door. – my response was – “if I did not open your door my grandmother would come out of her grave and slap me upside my head” – never talked about it again.

    1. Eh. I hold the door for everyone, and double for families with littles. Someone holds the door for me, I say “THANK YOU” and mean it. NEVER understood that piece of crazy. When is common courtesy offensive?

      1. I think it was Joan Biaz (a 60s hippy) who said “when I’m carrying a guitar & baby and some guy wants to hold the door for me, I say thank-you”. 😉

      2. I busy being weirded out by the implication that someone wouldn’t hold open doors in general, or wouldn’t thank someone else for doing it for them……

            1. Yep.

              And demanding the ability to violate those rules, while everybody else has to follow them, is one of those stupid dominance moves.

    2. Holding the door or bowing a young woman onto an elevator is a good way to get a giggle. I like a young woman’s giggle. I convict myself,

    3. Reminds me of being am AF officer in early 80’s. The feminists told me I shouldn’t let people open the door for me because it implied that I was weak. So I just defaulted to, “whoever gets there first opens the door” and then made sure I was first, in an attempt to bypass the problem altogether.

      Of course, these days, I don’t rush to be first, open it if I’m there first, and say “thank you” if someone opens it for me. Although I still have to make sure I pay attention that I don’t actually let the door hit the person behind me because I misjudged the distance.

  17. are we in actual fact at war with the very fact that there are women; that women are unique and have different capabilities and different downfalls?

    Let me quote The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal by Cordwainer Smith (it was my introduction to his work when it appeared in Brian Aldis’s Galatic Empires anthology.

    The human female could do what the animal female could not. She could turn male. With the help of equipment from the ship, tremendous quantities of testosterone were manufactured, and every single girl and woman still surviving was turned into a man. Massive injections were administered to all of them. Their faces grew heavy, they all returned to growing a little bit, their chests flattened out, their muscles grew stronger, and in less than three months they were indeed men.

    Some lower forms of life had survived because they were not polarized clearly enough to the forms of male and female, which depended on that particular organic chemistry for survival. With the fish gone, plants clotted the oceans, the birds were gone but the insects survived; dragonflies, butterflies, mutated versions of grasshoppers, beetles, and other insects swarmed over the planet. The men, who had lost women worked side by side with the men who had been made out of the bodies of women.

    When they knew each other, it was unutterably sad for them to meet. Husband and wife, both bearded, strong, quarrelsome, desperate and busy. The little boys somehow realizing that they would never grow up to have sweethearts, to have wives, to get married, to have daughters.

    But what was a mere world to stop the driving brain and the burning intellect of Dr. Astarte Kraus? She became the leader of her people, the men and the men-women. She drove them forward, she made them survive, she used cold brains on all of them.

    (Perhaps, if she had been a sympathetic person, she would have let them die. But it was the nature of Dr. Kraus not to be sympathetic—just brilliant, remorseless, implacable against the universe which had tried to destroy her.)

    Before she died, Dr. Kraus had worked out a carefully programed genetic system. Little bits of the men’s tissues could be implanted by a surgical routine in the abdomens, just inside the peritoneal wall, crowding a little bit against the intestines, an artificial womb and artificial chemistry and artificial insemination by radiation, by heat made it possible for men to bear boy children.

    What was the use of having girl children if they all died? The people of Arachosia went on. The first generation lived through the tragedy, half insane with the grief and disappointment. They sent out message capsules and they knew that their messages would reach earth in 6 million years.

    As new explorers, they had gambled on going further than other ships went. They had found a good world, but they were not quite sure where they were. Were they still within the familiar galaxy, or had they jumped beyond to one of the nearby galaxies? They couldn’t quite tell. It was a part of the policy of old earth not to overequip the exploring parties for fear that some of them, taking violent cultural change or becoming aggressive empires, might turn back on earth and destroy it. Earth always made sure that it had the advantages.

    The third and fourth and fifth generations of Arachosians were still people. All of them were male. They had the human memory, they had human books, they knew the words “mama,” “sister,” “sweetheart,” but they no longer really understood what these terms referred to.

    The human body, which had taken four million years on earth to grow, has immense resources within it, resources greater than the brain, or the personality, or the hopes of the individual. And the bodies of the Arachosians decided things for them. Since the chemistry of femininity meant instant death, and since an occasional girl baby was born dead and buried casually, the bodies made the adjustment. The men of Arachosia became both men and women. They gave themselves the ugly nickname, “klopt.” Since they did not have the rewards of family life, they became strutting cockerels, who mixed their love with murder, who blended their songs with duels, who sharpened their weapons and who earned the right to reproduce within a strange family system which no decent earth-man would find comprehensible.

    But they did survive.

    And the method of their survival was so sharp, so fierce, that it was indeed a difficult thing to understand.

    In less than four hundred years the Arachosians had civilized into groups of fighting clans. They still had just one planet, around just one sun. They lived in just one place. They had a few spacecraft they had built themselves. Their science, their art and their music moved forward with strange lurches of inspired neurotic genius, because they lacked the fundamentals in the human personality itself, the balance of male and female, the family, the operations of love, of hope, of reproduction. They survived, but they themselves had become monsters and did not know it.

    Out of their memory of old mankind they created a legend of old earth. Women in that memory were deformities, who should be killed. Misshapen beings, who should be erased. The family, as they recalled it, was filth and abomination which they were resolved to wipe out if they should ever meet it.

    They, themselves, were bearded homosexuals, with rouged lips, ornate earrings, fine heads of hair, and very few old men among them. They killed off their men before they became old; the things they could not get from love or relaxation or comfort, they purchased with battle and death. They made up songs proclaiming themselves to be the last of the old men and the first of the new, and they sang their hate to mankind when they should meet, and they sang “Woe is earth that we should find it,” and yet something inside them made them add to almost every song a refrain which troubled even them,

    And I mourn Man!

    They mourned mankind and yet they plotted to attack all of humanity.

    Full text:

    1. I loved that collection growing up, and still love it today. Many good stories, including the early, short-story version of the Kier of Rhada novels, which are probably the finest examples of the sword-and-starship genre ever penned.

  18. Why do we have to “be the real thing” by assuming the male term.

    Because just as there is no sadist like a masochist there is no misogynist like a feminist.

      1. Neither really. If someone is not paying attention to a Narcissist he does not exist and that terrifies them.

  19. Marxism fails because it is fundamentally inhuman.

    Thus dehumanizing everyone to achieve Marxism.

    Yes, Marxism is also bat-guano crazy.

    Thus driving everyone insane to achieve Marxism.

  20. The same people who want taxpayers to dund abortion on demand also demand no one under 18 be executed for murder.

    But they’re okay with killing a person who is inconvenient.

    I disagree with killing people under most circumstances. Although somewhat Conservative, I am also a bit moxerate on specifically who should be stoned to death and whether it takes the whole village.

    But deciding this group or that group of humans can be legally murdered because reasons is the first step toward 45,000 places to collect Jews and Zyklon-B (or whatever it was) showers, and bulldozers shoving gray-haired dissenters into mass graves for being the first one to stop clapping.

    1. Generally they want no one executed. And when they get that, they start on objecting to life sentences.

    1. They would have babies in 7 months instead of 9.

      And the leftists would complain about the Maternity Gap.

        1. Via self-administered Caesarian, SOG paratool, no anaesthetic of any sort, sew shut with a sailmaker’s needle, have a steak (rare, a la Kimball Kinnison) and a half-dozen cups of float-an-anvil coffee (ditto), then back to work that afternoon. Easy-peasy! 🙂

        1. A heck. I’d be happy if guys got to experience a year of monthly 7 – 10 days menstruation as I experienced them (not counting the additional symptoms that happened 2 – 3 times/month). They’d be curled up in a ball two to three days a month, if not longer … When they weren’t sitting on the porcelain throne. Hm, gee, why didn’t I think of that? Oh, yea. Wasn’t allowed. Didn’t miss school or work. Not even when I was working in the woods, or we were backpacking, where porcelain thrones, let alone alternatives, are non-existent. Yes, I realize, that misery would also be a competition. (I could indulge if it was a weekend and nothing else was going on. Note, this all was codified well before we were married. “It isn’t going away. Deal.”)

            1. My sympathy, I guess? 🙂 That said, regardless of any links while growing up, my experience says that most girls never come to really understand boys. And vice versa, of course, although many of both are sure they do…

              1. From observing?

                It’s mixed.

                FREQUENTLY, sexes observe and understand each other quite well– they just don’t agree….

                1. The sexes evolved to have different basic strategies for survival: men to confront nature and wrest a living from it and women tp secure aid from others – particularly men – while they have and raise children. Accordingly, each also evolved a psychological focus that compliments their own survival strategy even if it seems alien to the other side: men are more focused on how hard facts and how nature works while women are more focused on reading and manipulating people.

                  It’s a pain in the ass for both sides at times, but there are good reasons for it.

                2. “From observing?”

                  From observing over 70+ years, yes. And I’d argue that most disagreements are due to misunderstandings of gender-related imperatives, which each opposite sex is congenitally unequipped to understand. YM, of course, MV.

                  1. 90% of the time, when a guy says I don’t understand his argument– can can inform him I understand just fine, I just don’t agree.

                    1. I mean, in the end we’re all homo sap. we might not know exactly what it’s like BEING the other one (I suspect we don’t) but we know enough to know what drives them.

                    2. Well, I’ve known a lot of women who had no idea (or said they didn’t) why anyone would charge an active bunker or MG nest, with a high probability of dying a lot, because it was expected of them and the mission required it. And equally, I’ve known a lot of men who didn’t really understand why a woman would put stability ahead of her and her children’s interests, even though there was a significant risk of death, or at least serious injury, if they stayed with an abuser. And I believe that lack of understanding (visceral, not intellectual) is directly related to biology. Yeah, we can understand intellectually why each does their “thing”, but emotionally, which is where IMHO “agreement” comes in? Not so much. There are certainly exceptions, but I believe they’re a minority.

                    3. Hell, Bob, most guys have no idea on that.

                      Perhaps a norm that doesn’t align with mothers who refuse chemo may be in order?

                      The question of abusers is much more complicated.
                      Most abusers behave as if the target deserved it, thus a mother is not keeping her children with someone who will harm them, but is accepting punishment because her children are safe.


                      eah, we can understand intellectually why each does their “thing”, but emotionally, which is where IMHO “agreement” comes in?

                      When someone can correctly identify what someone will do (understanding), but does not say it’s right (agreement), there is a mismatch.

                      …sometimes, so long as they do not violate the rules.

                    4. I don’t say they don’t understand what the other will do, I only say they don’t really understand why. That’s what I mean by a failure to understand the other; true undersatnding of another person involves (to me, anyway) an understanding of why they do what they do or hold the opinons they do. I can understand and appreciate why women act as they do, but I still can’t “grok” much of it if you get the difference.

                      Re: your comments about abusers, that’s how I understand it, too. My point is that I can’t grasp emotionally why she doesn’t just drop a rock on his head. I understand it intellectually (it gets her talked about, and the cops may even get involved), but those really have no bearing on the overriding issue of “GET RID OF THE A–HOLE!”.

                    5. My point is that I can’t grasp emotionally why she doesn’t just drop a rock on his head.

                      That’s not male or female.

                      The trick there, is….

                      They think they deserve it.

                      That’s why so many abuse stories hinge on “and then he did it to the kids, and I realized it wasn’t just me.”

                      It CAN’T break until he hits an unjustified target.

                      that, obviously, also works for guys…. but only if they’ve been abused enough to be receptive.

                    6. Mary, I’m female.
                      I can’t give first hand (skin space) experience of a girl thinking she understands me when she doesn’t because I’m the opposite sex.

                1. Seems to be, just as RAH could, I’m told, do a fairly good job of writing women. But I suspect he was in the minority.

  21. This is certainly one of the most haunting and chilling posts you’ve made and one that people definitely need to read and consider carefully. I hope it reaches those it needs to.

  22. On the whole subject of abortion, a friend said — and I don’t intellectually disagree — that we can’t force women to carry babies, because that’s evil. And that we can’t curtail women’s sex drive, or demand they curtail it, because that too is evil.

    It may be unpleasant, but it’s not evil, in the moral sense; a necessary evil, sure — the choices are engage in the reproductive act, or don’t. In the first case, there is a chance you’ll become pregnant. In the second, pair-bonding is much more difficult, and it’s not incredibly fun.

    Executing a child to avoid the results of your unpleasant choice, that is evil.

    Same way that work so you can eat, or don’t eat, is an unpleasant choice. (IE, labor is a necessary evil.)
    Kill somebody and take their food so you can eat without work, that’s evil.

  23. And yet, as a society we’ve been devoted to making women into men-manque for as long as I’ve been alive. Perhaps it’s the after shocks of chemical birth control. Or perhaps it’s the unique insanity of the mega-states of the 20th century, who have always preferred to deal with widgets.

    Might be a form of self-harm.

    Deeply unhappy women do have a tendency to take their self-harm and try to enforce it on other women.

    Or on children.

    And one of the best ways to hurt men is to… target women and children.

    1. And then you get shrieking about “Women in Refrigerators” in a way that only reinforces the trope. (It is exactly because killing a woman is so horrible that the trope is in play.)

      Once was in a truly incoherent discussion where a woman insisted that admitting that a woman’s death would be avenged when a man’s would not did not mean she couldn’t insist that men’s lives were more valuable.

  24. I don’t think women have it worse than men.

    Men generally act the way they do because they want to have sex with women. So let’s make an analogy here.

    Suppose you got a job doing high rise construction, without adequate safety measures or adequate training. When it’s time to get your paycheck, your boss has every right to refuse to pay you for any reason he can think of, and give your pay to a man who never showed up for work.

    I’m not saying that this should change. I certainly don’t think a man has a right to force a woman to have sex. I do, kinda sorta, think men who have lived inadequate lives ought to be forced one way or another NOT to have sex with ANYONE, but I know that the percent who would agree with me would have to be expressed via scientific notation, so it’s not a reasonable expectation.

    Nevertheless it does illustrate my point that being a man isn’t all it’s hyped up to be.

    1. Probably because generalizing is the root of the evil. “women in general” do not have it “worse than men”. It’s so easy to get dragged into inane discussions like this. “Society failed women”. “America is racist”, “Wage gap” — the communal guilt, to be expunged by constant, inadequate individual payment against an infinite debt, that just so happen to benefit the managers of the guilt machine.

      1. Note “society” fails most people, because society is not your mom or your daddy.
        I think both sexes have challenges. And right now law is prejudiced against men.
        I wasn’t even pretending otherwise.

  25. [See above discussion that ‘ran out of reply room’ starting with The only condition where rotation of partners for conception would be a definite benefit is if you had a genetic bottleneck event and needed to preserve as many genetic combinations as possible.]

    This is, actually, quite on-topic for “the limits of flesh” — and it’s basically about preserving as much genetic diversity as possible across a ‘genetic bottleneck event’ like a shipwreck with no rescue, especially on an isolated planet instead of an isolated island in a big watery ocean.

    And, what’s the best strategy for doing that? Simply have people pair up two by two and have lots of babies, or (the other extreme, which at first blush sounds like it might be better) have each woman have (and raise with a husband) lots of babies, but genetically fathered by different men? Or are the two strategies equivalent in the long run (which would be strange but might potentially be true)? The specific application I had in mind also would involve “as few people in the shipwreck population as possible” — because founding a planetary society off of one ship is pretty bad policy, but also quite dramatic and (maybe even) genetically feasible.

    Asking this here is possibly even lazy, these Internet days; but the above scenario fits mine so well it was hard not to fall prey to the temptation…

    1. It’s probably a math problem with a fixed answer that I am also too lazy to look up :), but you would think that it would be simpler, societally, to have them pair off and produce like mad. Each pair produces offspring who would then mate with the others, accomplishing the same goal of mixing genetics without complicated social restructuring. Although I guess you could throw in multi-generational cross breeding to make the math even more complex . . .

      1. Well, it really depends on what kind of environment they’re in, and what kind of technology is available. Given a futuristic medical lab for embryo implantation and a store of thousands of preserved embryos, or a genetic lab where we can modify eggs and sperm, or even artificial wombs, and the pressing need for making women into mass production baby factories in those conditions is eased, and the men won’t have to work themselves to death providing for them all during that time for that reason. (There might be other reasons to work themselves to death, but that’s what drives the story along.)

        1. That “futuristic medical lab” setting would apply to a lot of interstellar-flight settings, but not to this one; yes, their physical technology is way more advanced, but their computers are maybe 2000-level if that, and on a cargo ship you’ll not have much more than an ’emergency kit’ — so no fancy technical ways out of this fix.

          They would be up to genetic testing, and cold-storing eggs etc.; and if Sarah’s point further up about this being a known answer with about 250 people the hard minimum is simply right… maybe part of that ‘kit’ (“break glass in case you’re maroooned”) would indeed be cold-storage ‘genetic diversity in a can’ (hm).

          And the physical environment… summers like North America, winters like Antarctica (or else a British winter that never ends, southern hemisphere) is not such a kind one, either. (But starship technology lets you dig caves in bedrock in weeks or minutes. Yes, really.)

    2. And after some more thought, it looks like at least the largest part of the answer is “…have lots of babies” or “have them produce like mad” (see above). With the details of how being, relatively speaking, details.

      Because if you simplify the population genetics to only the individual genetics of “how well is the genetic diversity / material of this one individual preserved into all the next generation” — it gets pretty clear prettty fast that it’s simply the number of children they (helped) produce that counts. Children, who will also contribute to the genetic future of the overall population, of course, which already makes it start to get tricky and get back to population-type genetics; but the “what’s the chances your own genetic endowment is not lost with your generation” answer doesn’t depend on who you have the children with or how, only on how many you have that survive (etc.). Even one child is 100% at preserving one strand of your two; add children and the chances of getting both stands into someone younger go up towards 100% — or, rather, the chances of not “saving” all of it go down, geometrically or exponentially.

      If everybody has ~10 children, or at least the cases of having very few children are relatively rare, then most people’s genetic “endowment” will be preserved most of the time. (And conversely, having a small but near stable population, as in hovering near replacement, would seem to be pretty bad at this… but of course the small, stable, isolated population is the classic “inbreeding” scenario.)

      Thus the “outrunning the genetic drift” idea (see above) would seem to be valid, but (to a first approximation) the “more genetic mixing faster is way better” idea, not so much. (In a “just pair up and be fruitful” scenario, it is quite critical who ends up marrying who, later — so details matter — where in a “mixed partners” scenario like the one in the original idea for the story, that’s taken care of by the ‘try not to have shared ancestors as long as possible’ rule, without complicated rules like some societies have had about who gets to marry who like ‘cross cousin marriages’ or the ‘intergenerational braids’ of Charles Stross’ crosstime-travel series where they’re trying really hard to preserve their recessive ability to ‘jump’ time-tracks.)

      And now going to try (earnestly) to “sleep on it” a little more…

      1. Well, my understanding of genetics includes the concept of “selfish genes” which for some unknown reason, have a tendency to always get passed on, and very rarely edited out of the genome. Whether those genes are sufficient to pass themselves along, or if they require a separate condition, or conditional set, I can’t answer without a lot more research.

        What multi-partnering will do, and faster than monogamous pair bonding, in a pre/non-technological medicine society, is identify infertility. That is something crucial to know in this sort of scenario, where you have a limited number of cycles to maximize your reproduction. It also minimizes loss of reproductive chances where, while both parties are fertile, they may not be fertile with each other (usually due to immunological issues.) I know of a case where a woman was basically allergic to her husband’s sperm, and her system kept killing them off. She was only able to finally get pregnant when she became very ill and her system was suppressed. (I never did ask him why he was having sex with his wife when she was feeling so crappy.)

      2. Trying to math it out…..

        K, there’s 4 possible combinations of genes from the parents, which would suggest, ah, 4x4x4x4 to get all of them… that’s way too many kids to be probable.

        But, OTOH, it’s a 1/2 chance that you’ll get either specific gene from a parent. So the chance of getting both genes would be one in 2, and 2×2, thus 1/4, so 8-10 children with identical parents would have a very good chance of catching both strings for both parents.

        Then the only weirdness comes in with either spare individuals, or widows/widowers.

    3. And of course the big comment is ‘awaiting moderation’… but I’m not nearly awake enough to play WPDE right now, so I’ll just say that “be fruitful and multiply” is most of the answer to this, best I can tell.

      1. Funny, but WP doesn’t give me half the problems Discus does on PJ Media. Seems like half the posts I try come back banned. I have to copy the post, and reload the page before I can usually get it to accept.

    4. As I pointed out above, when working with biological pairs and no ability to add new sires at a later time– you preserve more variety with monogamous pairs, because of fertility differences.

      I didn’t include this aspect, but over the long term, that also allows for more variety of mutations, since you’ll most likely have mutations in otherwise relatively similar offspring.

        1. Bah, I’m grumpy because for the life of me I can’t remember where the calculator for this stuff is, and I know that I had it at one point!

          There was one for minimum possible individuals (that has fewer males than females, but higher risk of nasty mutations) and the ones for fewest individuals with lowest chance of inbreeding, and….

          ARGH! I can’t even remember if it was scifi or hard science!

    5. You’d have to have really, really accurate and detailed genetic records, and arrange marriages so that half-siblings don’t mate half-siblings.

      I think that would actually reduce the number of pairs you could make for breeding the third generation, which would make your genetic bottleneck worse.

      It also sounds like an easily calculated math problem that I don’t remember how to set up.

      1. Ahem.
        Stud books.
        (And that always assumes that there isn’t any cheating on the side. Modern genetic testing has done… wonders… in confirming who slept with who.)

      2. “really, really accurate and detailed genetic records”

        Oh, yes, absolutely, like would make the Mormon genealogy database look shoddy — literally everything, but maintained mostly by the familes / clans themselves as opposed to some “central authority.”

        And it’s pointed to by those “line names” I mentioned… nobody could have 2^N full ancestors in even your full name after even a few generations, but your father’s father’s… (etc.) and mother’s mother’s… (etc.) stays at two and thus manageable. The compromises and adaptations become an integral part of who these people are, and continue to be…

        And the ‘early fast genetic mixing’ decreases the number of people you’re closely related to, but also does increase the number of people you’re slightly related to… and worse and worse over time. If your goal were (I’m not sure theirs is) to delay having to intermarry with people you’re at all related to as long as you possibly can, the best strategy is clearly the opposite of the one I described… keep relatedness as ‘small’ as you can for as long as you can, still without intermixing people with common (ultimate) ancestors.

        See, this is why you ask questions like this… so you see things you didn’t before.

        1. One of my worlds ended up with a system of rotating villages, the male children being fostered in the next village over. And yes, they did keep very accurate records, and as the system developed they were required to prove they weren’t related within 7 generations. So the mother lines remained relatively stable. They started out with a population of several thousand, though, so they had an advantage over your small survivor clans.

          1. :claps in delight:

            Oooh, that’s actually brilliant… it allows room for humans to human, encourages pairs without doing anti-moral assigning of them, encourages links with the neighbors, and folks are close enough to visit very easily.

            Don’t make any requirements beyond that, and you avoid all KINDS of genetic/social nasties!

  26. I am a woman. I have a job not a career. I would have liked to marry and have children but I don’t think that’s in the cards for me and that’s something I try to have peace with. I’m not a lesser or defective man in any way. Men and women are designed to work together in a complementary fashion. Having them at each other’s throats is the work of the devil.

  27. “No, you don’t know what it’s like to be the other sex.”
    I’ve wondered about this. I get it that a trans person might not feel right in their body. But how do they know they feel like the opposite biological sex? I’ve never seen this answered.

    1. “But how do they know they feel like the opposite biological sex?”

      They don’t. It’s quite obvious. All you have to do is listen to them describe what being the opposite biological sex feels like. If you’re one of the opposite biological sex. Even if you’re a masculine woman or feminine man or not heterosexual you can tell that they don’t know.

      When this happens to an adult, well, that’s something they need to work through. And I wish them luck.

      But when you suggest to a pre-adolescent or an adolescent that maybe the reason they feel uncomfortable with their body is because they’re the wrong sex… It’s just criminal. Adolescence is when your body is changing. Of course you’re uncomfortable in it. It’s like saying something’s wrong with having sore muscles after too much of a workout, so you should have them removed.

  28. And one of the things these people don’t like to talk about, once you get an abortion (or God forbid, multiple) it can absolutely destroy your ability to have children. That’s one of the things my sister’s doctor was clear to tell her when she went to talk to him before getting married. She found an awesome guy and was afraid she wouldn’t be able to have children because of past choices. Thankfully, God decided she had nothing to fear and even the best efforts of the government with their COVID vaccine push didn’t prevent her from having an adorable daughter.

  29. And that we can’t curtail women’s sex drive, or demand they curtail it, because that too is evil.

    Not only is it not evil to curtail women’s (or men’s) sex drive, on the contrary, it is evil to say it is evil. That is precisely a justification for rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

    If I’m being generous, I assume the author meant to imply that it was only evil when a woman was required to curtail her sex drive to avoid pregnancy. Which is still pretty bad.

    1. Up until very recently, the only way to avoid pregnancy was to curtail the sex drive. It was called saving it until marriage.

  30. Somewhat off topic, but I’m wondering about this. Do we have any historical or prehistorical evidence of polygamous human societies (cro-magnon)? I would assume they’d be unstable, but we seem to have at least vestiges of it in historical times: Jacob’s wives, rulers with harems. And what would be the evidence of such a thing in prehistoric times? Burial sites with equal numbers of men and women? But what if only the “head wife” got a ceremonial burial?

    1. We have SOME evidence, but we don’t know how representative it is. Because our evidence is SUPER sparse.
      I know one of the isolated farmhouses in the steppe had family skeletons, one man, several (SEVERAL) women, all but one woman his daughters, and yep concubines.
      BUT we don’t know if that was crazy psychopath. I mean, didn’t any of them have boy children? (There were, I THINK some but really young) Did he kill or drive off those when they grew up? One wonders.
      Again, we don’t know if that’s at all representative. I’m sure it happened, but…
      A Jewish friend pointed out that except for kings — Solomon! — polygamy in the Bible is rare. The Rachel/Lia/handmaidens situation is the only one, and it was SO BIZARRELY COMPLICATED. (Yes, Sarah/Haggar, but that one doesn’t seem to have been a permanent thing.)

      1. Well, I got my first idea for an original (not fanfic) story from our discussion of the steppe vs Old Europe a while back. And I was reading about the Old Europe culture, with its female images and just out of spite, thinking of writing something where the horse culture from the steppe were the good guys who prevailed over the evil Old Europe culture, and I thought — what if the Old Europe culture were completely polygamous? Maybe all those female figurines just identified a wife’s dwelling?

        And the horsemen were actually the monogamous ones. And they prevailed because the males kicked out by the Old Europeans joined the horse culture. But where is the evidence to show if the Old Europeans were monogamous or polygamous? Apart from that’s what’s usually stable?

        1. Not that I know.
          And female cult images is doubtful. Some people think they were the equivalent of playboy for isolated hunter bands.
          Look, what we do know is that women lived in one place, and the hunters ranged out and came back in winter, possibly with smoked meat.

        2. The only evidence I can remember is that by genetic drift there seem to have been fewer male ancestors than female ones.

          And the folks who like to point at it, don’t like to point out that the folks who did the eyeballing of genetics said it was consistent with the observed pattern of guys dying before they reproduce, but losing a lot of wives to childbirth deaths.

          1. Did I understand that right? Guys dying before they reproduce BECAUSE they lost wives to childbirth deaths?

            Also, something weird in my “The Horse, the Wheel, and Language” book. They mention that brothers stuck together once the steppe people became horsemen, because it was so easy to have your horses stolen. But why would the men of the steppe people have a greater need to stay together than the townspeople? They seem to be trying to explain a more masculine organization of the horsemen, but it mainly makes me think “so brothers sticking together is unusual?”

            1. :laughs: Nah, fewer male ancestors. I’ll try to rephrase it.

              You’ve got Abe, Bob, Carl and Dan.

              Wilma, Xyra, Yule and Zoe.

              Bob and Dan die fighting.

              Abe marries Wilma, Carl marries Yule.

              Wilma and Yule have several kids, and then die in child birth.

              A and C then marry Xyra and Zoe.

              So you have kids AW and AX, or CY and CX.

              Go several generations down the line, and you have half the number of male ancestors as female ones.

              But no polygamy.

              ….this was reported in the news to the tune of the Beach Boys, “two girls for every boy…..”

              Well, folks who move around have a higher rate of predators being able to harm them, and you can trust family more easily than non-family.
              (Towns functioning much like a large family.)

              That said, you could use that point by having the monogamous Steppe guys actually having brothers, since Other Males weren’t competition for the resources of Females.

              1. Thanks, that explains it. And actually, we seem to have induced the situation that results from polygamy (shortage of women relative to men) through sex selective abortions in India and China. And as someone pointed out, some Middle Eastern countries allow polygamy.

                1. Song China had

                  Female infanticide
                  Every even wealthy man normally had several concubines. (Before, it tended to be limited to one concubine if your wife was barren, except for the tiny elite at the very top. )
                  Buying your son’s bride when she was still a child
                  A prohibition on widow remarriage

                  The fourth tended to be ignored. Unless she had a child, you recouped the bride price by selling her on.

      2. In OT law you were legally obligated to marry & sleep with your brother’s wife if he died without fathering any children.

        I strongly suspect there was a ‘norm’ — and then people went off and did their own thing anyway and kept it private.

    2. All the examples I can think of that were not incredibly unstable, there was a very high death-rate for men– and thus a lot of unattached women.

      Think like that thing in the Bible where the guy had to give his brother’s widow a son, so there was someone to take care of her.

      No kid, no retirement plan.

      If you don’t have a lot of surplus women, then attempting to have polygamy either means removing other men, or raiding the neighbors.

      1. Or removing the other men by sending them off to raid the neighbors. Ask King David how well THAT works….

  31. }}} And now a lot of movies, including those billed as romantic comedy are consciously eliminating the Happily Ever After. Instead the woman decides to go off and have a career, or “learn to love myself.”

    They did this a lot back in films back the 70s, particularly the later 70s, but, at least then, they had the justification for it, they wanted it to be clear that women had more than one option.

  32. I enjoy your columns and get lots of encouragement and insight from what you say. One bit in this column bothered me though, the thought that we can’t expect women to curtail their sex drive. Don’t we expect men to curtail theirs? Don’t we expect men and women to curtail some of their other appetites, say for drink? I think women would benefit from controlling their sexual behavior, rather than letting it control them.

  33. I have repeated this, over and over, until I just stopped. It was like they couldn’t even hear the words. They heard something I never said, because their social programming won’t allow them to hear the actual words. It won’t allow them to even think about deviation on that level.

    I pretty much stopped saying what I think unless I can write it down and go over it multiple times until I think that no one can misunderstand. And even then, the people who understand are prepared to look between the lines and stare the devil in the face. Otherwise it’s just jdofa ioajao oi ueiwn aj aoeuet qoierjta aijotaot.

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