HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The War on Women's Sexual...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 05:20 AM

The War on Women's Sexuality

http://www.alternet.org/war-womens-sexuality



***SNIP

Why is female sexuality at the heart of some of our most significant global conflicts?

It’s extraordinary. What we’ve seen in Delhi recently is a horrifying symptom of this broader global phenomenon. The more patriarchal a society, the more vicious the backlash to the integration of women, not just in the labor market and education but to the growing autonomy of women in areas from fashion to consumerism to marriage. I think what’s happening is that women’s sexuality and women’s status has really become the hinge of two very different visions of society and visions of morality. What we’ve seen in recent decades is that women have been making these extraordinary strides in the aggregate. As a consequence, women’s sexuality has become this battleground and this backlash of the most patriarchal elements that control it. We can see women’s progress in these areas is dramatic, but it’s much more muted in the most patriarchal corners of the world from Southeast Asia, including India, down through the Middle East to North Africa. India’s an interesting case because, as has been seen in Delhi, it captures both the modern India and the patriarchal India, which get juxtaposed in what we’ve witnessed in these last weeks.

There’s a piece of this that’s something of an age-old phenomenon, right? Women’s bodies as sites of conflict and incitements for war?

Absolutely. If you go through conflict and war specifically, over time the issue of gender has been very significant. In the one sense, war has primarily been fought by men and the imagery of war has been very masculine. We use the language of the “rape” of cities, which also, of course, involves a lot of literal rape as well.

What has changed is where beliefs about women’s sexuality and status are so disparate between clashing parties. Conflict’s always been gendered in the ways you were alluding to, but I think it’s coming to the forefront in a way we have not seen historically. If we look at conflict in the past, say, for example, in Germany and France battling it out in the Franco-Prussian war of the 1870s, there was a rough consistency across the societies about the status of women and women’s sexuality.

30 replies, 2888 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply The War on Women's Sexuality (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2013 OP
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #1
cali Jan 2013 #3
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #4
cali Jan 2013 #6
BlancheSplanchnik Jan 2013 #8
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #9
Android3.14 Jan 2013 #5
cali Jan 2013 #7
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #23
tclambert Jan 2013 #2
lunatica Jan 2013 #10
seabeyond Jan 2013 #11
lunatica Jan 2013 #13
seabeyond Jan 2013 #14
lunatica Jan 2013 #19
seabeyond Jan 2013 #21
lapislzi Jan 2013 #16
seabeyond Jan 2013 #18
lapislzi Jan 2013 #22
seabeyond Jan 2013 #29
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #17
seabeyond Jan 2013 #20
LisaLynne Jan 2013 #24
seabeyond Jan 2013 #25
duhneece Jan 2013 #12
seabeyond Jan 2013 #15
duhneece Jan 2013 #26
seabeyond Jan 2013 #27
s-cubed Jan 2013 #28
seabeyond Jan 2013 #30

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 05:55 AM

1. If you look at it strictly from the "selfish gene" point of view

There's a certain logic to patriarchy.

A woman always knows her child is hers, that's not true for men, if a female is copulating with other males than him he has no way of knowing if he is or is not the sire of any given child.

Men dominated women much of the time simply because they are larger, stronger and more aggressive than women but I suspect the idea of the strict sexual rules on women came about once people stopped living more or less communally in a nomadic tribe.

Once the survival of a given man's children became a matter of his particular efforts then the better strategy for the selfish gene to make sure it gets passed on to the next generation is to restrict sexual partners and forbid that or those partner(s) sexual access to other males.

Some people have speculated that this also leads to an overall drop in altruism in the more patriarchal society, that would be a positive feedback effect which would tend to drive the society even more patriarchal.

I don't know one way or the other if the selfish gene theory is true but it does have an internal consistency and it meshes well with the idea that a more socialist society is one with less patriarchal features.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fumesucker (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 06:56 AM

3. but it's utterly absurd to look at it solely

from that pov- even if it's true.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:06 AM

4. Explaining something is not the same as defending it

If you don't understand a problem you don't have much chance of fixing it, just whacking stuff randomly with a hammer is not a particularly effective repair technique.

As someone who has spent a lifetime and a career fixing often extremely expensive things I've always found that the better I understand just exactly why and how something does what it does then the better my chances of ameliorating any problems that thing might have.

There are reasons patriarchy is so popular, we have our own movement in this country that would take us to where some of the more repressive societies are.

My brain fart based on this interpretation of the selfish gene theory would seem to indicate that a more socialist form of government would lead to increased freedom for women and a more open society. If you think this is wrong or a bad thing I'm not sure where you are coming from.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fumesucker (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:10 AM

6. I didn't say it was.

I said that looking at it strictly through one prism, from one perspective is absurd. In your original post you said that looked at strictly from that perspective.... I'm pointing out that you can't look at it from "strictly one perspective". really simple stuff. There are a myriad of causes- not just one and pretending you can isolate one and declare it the cause- no matter which one- reflects an absence of critical thinking.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:39 AM

8. that is why it's good to discuss with others--because we each have our own strengths

And POV.

Rather than attack, why not use Fumesucker's take on the situation as food for thought?--one piece in the puzzle.

You can contribute your ideas as well.
Round table discussion, you know?

I'd like to jump in but i'll have to wait till later--getting ready for work now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:51 AM

9. That's why I put it the way I did in the first place

Of course there's more than one reason for a great many things, I'm sure patriarchy is one of those things.

However if you have a complex problem with multiple causes then one way I have found often superior to approach the situation is to isolate as much as possible of each of the multiple causes and work on each cause individually as a subset of the entire problem.

It's the old blind men and the elephant routine, one thinks the elephant is much like a wall, another like a rope, another like a snake, another like a tree. Perspective is important, I was trying to give one particular perspective.




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:10 AM

5. Why is it absurd?

Especially if it is true, and there is some serious data to support it.
If it is true, it shows that railing against a general sense that men are bastards (an ineffective note as silly as the "boy will be boys" meme) is not a path to allow women to regain control of their own sexuality and genetics. The solution is to legislate a change in the patriarchy to one of shared responsibility and equality.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Android3.14 (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:11 AM

7. please read my post # 6

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fumesucker (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:27 AM

23. Very interesting post, thank you. (nt)

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 06:54 AM

2. Entrenched interests don't want to share power.

Oil companies don't want to share the energy market with wind or solar power. Men don't want to share with women. The old power blocs will do what they can to hurt the up and coming new powers. When it's men vs. women, what will men attack?

Where in America is the old patriarchal model still most common? In the deep south? Texas? I predict we'll see similar stories there.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:55 AM

10. The first caveman who subjugated a woman did it for sexuality reasons

Not sexual reasons. Sexuality reasons. It's always been about power. Men feel threatened by that which they are attracted to because it makes them feel it has power over them.

It gets much more complex, but I believe that's the seed of the entire problem.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lunatica (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:14 AM

11. how do we know that mentality is not conditional thru centuries of entitlement? how do we know this

is an innate character of men.

i tend to see, with the incite of power and control, there comes the abuse and expectation of that power. for any human being.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to seabeyond (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:02 AM

13. I didn't say all cavemen were identical

And I don't believe they were. I think the instinct to protect women and children is stronger in men than the fear of women is. Women and those of us who are mothers know our instinct to protect our children is very strong. But there are still women who don't feel the least bit protective towards their young. I'm sure some cave women were that way too.

Perhaps violence is a psychopathic thing which tends to land the psychopaths in leadership positions simply by 'virtue' of it's innate violence. I believe that most people are peaceful and if brought up correctly nice, but that people who like violence tend to be the ones who become leaders.

It isn't a simple problem, but it is a problem that plagues us.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lunatica (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:14 AM

14. i think of the beginning and the thinking process for those people or lack of

saying, how much they did not know that we give them because of our thinking process today. think about it. they were clueless on how a woman even got preg. had to be. or what it was all about. all they had, were sexual urges. from the beginning there was no knowledge. so when we attribute knowledge to them today, then it would all be at the point of conditioned and learned, not innate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to seabeyond (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:29 AM

19. Well there were a few things they had to know

One was that women perpetuated the species and it was with an infant that needed years of care and protection. And that women actually fed the infants from their own bodies. This gave women very mysterious and maybe frightening powers which would make some of them lash out violently in their fear. Especially if they found themselves attracted to women sexually, which seems to be necessary in order to continue the species.

We wouldn't have ever made it if we didn't have very powerful survival instincts. Perhaps these instincts have outlived their usefulness and we're getting to a pivotal point in our evolution. Our brains are far larger than we need, so I think there may be something in there that we'll eventually evolve into using. It may be we'll be able to do things and think things we don't even have a clue about today.

This is very interesting but unfortunately I have to go to work now. Thanks for the food for thought!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lunatica (Reply #19)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:38 AM

21. yes, it is fun. and i agree.

that would lead to the whole mysterious thing. but it would for the woman also. it was all about the urges. and we know that woman really was made up to have desire also. so it is not a one way street on attraction. but yes, the knowledge that a woman carried the baby and fed... there had to be an instinct there but, i would also see how it was learned. but, how could they guess and put together until learned and knowledge communicated, that it was the sexual urge, the seed that created the baby.

i mean geez, in this day and age we still have some think preg can be gotten off a toilet seat, lol

but... i think we assign a lot of male behavior to the beginning of time, with our brain think today.

and beginning of time did not have our thinking process, ability, or knowledge, so that alone creates a falsehood.

thanks....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to seabeyond (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:24 AM

16. It's a nature vs nurture discussion

You can make the case for both. Without being a strict biological determinist, I don't think many would argue that males in general, are conferred a genetic/reproductive advantage by pursuing multiple mates and dispersing their genetic matter as frequently and as widely as possible. That is, if you accept the argument that gametes making more gametes is pretty much the reason for everything.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lapislzi (Reply #16)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:29 AM

18. i see woman at that time of the month needing to have sex with as many men as possible to ensure

pregnancy. and i also see the man having a greater chance of off spring surviving if he was there to make sure the baby/child was fed and protected. i see spreading the seed as ensuring less of a chance of offspring surviving.

but, that would mean that they would have to have the intellectual concept that seed created baby. how would they? i would think the only thing ensuring reproduction would be the sexual urge.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to seabeyond (Reply #18)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:56 AM

22. What you "see" is not borne out in other animals--in the main

Certainly not among mammals. Males are often solitary and show up only at mating time. Females care for the young. Males fight for the privilege of passing on their genetic matter.

I'm being 100% reductionistic here; humans have the intellectual ability to reject this model, and many do.

You are correct (again, in the main) that the only thing ensuring the propagation of species is the reproductive urge. I don't know what other animals are cognizant of the mating/reproduction connection in a conscious way. Maybe none.

But, the logical extreme of the connection between mating and reproduction is for the male to ensure that his female does not have access to other genetic material.

Again, I am being very, very reductionist. Obviously there's much more to it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lapislzi (Reply #22)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:33 AM

29. ok, a couple things.

and thank you for stating reductionistic, cause that is what we are talking.

female animals in heat mate with many during that time. and female animal in heat do not have a sense of pleasure or anything, just a need to.

where as the human woman has the ability for pleasure in sex.

that alone makes human female different than the animal kingdom, that we totally ignore.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lunatica (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:26 AM

17. The more you care for someone the more their ability to hurt you emotionally

I don't see where it's any different for men than for women, the reaction may be different but men and women alike are more vulnerable to hurt from those they care for.

If a stranger or even an acquaintance calls you some nasty epithet of your choice it's quite different than if your parent, sibling or spouse does the same, one you can probably shrug off, the other is a lifetime hurt that may fade but will never be forgotten.

Men are probably weaker emotionally than women I suspect although that's something that is hard to quantify.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fumesucker (Reply #17)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:32 AM

20. raising boys, having about all males in my life for a lifetime,

i have decided this too. not weaker emotionally, but more emotionally connected with self. holding them tighter. and maybe that has to do with the simple act of not able to express. that sure is healing,a dn puts things in perspective having a lifetime of practice jumping into emotion and putting it in its proper place.

i think a lot of the conditioning to what masculinity and manhood is, set men up. not giving them the tools they need to walk away healthy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to seabeyond (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:36 AM

24. I could not agree with your last statement more.

I think the way society conditions men hurts them tremendously. I don't believe that men have to behave any more agressively than women - I think we've just made that the only emotion (anger) that they are allowed to express without being tagged as "weak", which society also tells them is the worst thing ever. The way patriarchy has structured culture is bad for us all.

I have seen it with my nephews -- being told not to cry when they are hurt, when they were just tiny. Well, they are hurt! Crying is natural, but no, they are boys so they are not given that luxury.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LisaLynne (Reply #24)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:40 AM

25. not to cry when they are hurt...they are hurt! Crying is natural

and a minute of coddling is all it takes. i agree. i never cottoned to the no crying, when hurt. and it did not make my boys weak or whiners. or any of the other boys i coddled when they were hurt.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:35 AM

12. Manliness=aggression=power

Femaleness=compassion=weakness

So controlling women, controlling their sexuality has many facets. Discussions about reproductive rights frequently turn into arguments around controlling women's sexuality so I've experienced the connection.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to duhneece (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:15 AM

15. conditioning to both. there are lots of aggressive women and passive men.

that is how the patriarchy defines the sexes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to seabeyond (Reply #15)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:51 AM

26. Exactly! Patriarchy defined my expression

I failed to express that well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to duhneece (Reply #26)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:08 AM

27. gotcha...

it did kinda sound like that is what you were doing.

thanks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:14 AM

28. We are trying to undo thousands of years of male dominance.

Of course there is backlash. It takes the form of laws against women's control of their own reproductive health. It takes the form of outright hostility and violence, whether Malala in Pakistan, Jane Doe in Ohio, or refusing to pass the VAWA in congress. We are upending the role of men in most societies. In time, men will see it as helpful to them, but it will take time.

I am old enough to have gone through the women's movement in the 70's. We talked and talked and contemplated how our movement would change us and our lives. To a much lesser extent we talked about how it would change our relationships with the men we loved. Men, in general, are just at the beginning of that discussion, and, unfortunately, some of them can only "discuss" by lashing out in their confusion and anger. Make no mistake, anger, intense anger was present in the women's movement, but we didn't tend to express it through violence.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to s-cubed (Reply #28)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:37 AM

30. i agree. also, i think

in the 70's and 80's we had a lot more men on board. i think something in the mid 90's had the tidal wave of backlash and that is what we see having progressed over a decade and half. they cannot put the genie back in the bottle. but, i think a lot of it had to do with a couple decades of moving forward then the realization with womens freedom and independence, there was not the same control and dependence. and that is where the fear materialized to create what we are living today.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread