The desexualization of the American (fe)male

There’s been quite a blogospheric flap lately about Kim DuToit’s
essay The
Pussification Of The Western Male
. The single feature of the
conversation that surprised me most is that nobody connected it to
Steven den Beste’s equally searing essay Anglo Women are an
endangered species
.

Steve’s point complements Kim’s and amplifies it in some useful
ways. Nobody wants to go back to the days when women were treated as
chattels or second-class citizens. Anyway, attempts to do so would be
doomed for reasons not so much moral as economic; societies that
suppress the productivity and intelligence of 50% of their members are
inevitably going to lose out to societies that don’t. But what Steve and
Kim have pointed out is that Western society often has pursued the
worthy goal of equality in a way that is hamfisted and destructive,
because it tries to remake human nature rather than acknowledging and
working with it.

These essays address two specific problems we’ve been saddled with;
Kim’s with the attack on masculinity, and Steve’s with the attack on
femininity. Among white anglos (especially bicoastal
“progressive” white anglos), it is no longer respectable
for a male person to behave like a man and a female person to behave
like a woman.

In fact, in today’s bien-pensant circles, one can be attacked as a
sexist for suggesting that the phrase “like a man” or
“like a woman” has any meaning at all. Many of us have
become obscurely terrified of sexual dimorphism, apparently out of
fear that acknowledging it will bring back the bad old days.

This kind of attitude has done more damage than most people
realize. Read those essays. There’s something gone badly wrong when
normal boys are dosed with Ritalin for being normally loud and
aggressive, and only strippers have the privilege of hugging a man
they like while at work.

I think our culture will recover from this. Beginning in the
1950s, portions of the kibbutz movement in Israel made the most
fervent try yet at erasing sex differences — they raised kids
in creches and tried to systematically stamp out sex-differentiated
behaviors. They failed; the children of the first generation, despite
intense socialization, gravitated back to traditional sex roles.

We’ll all be happier when we relax enough to acknowledge that
although equality before the law is something every human deserves,
some things naturally fall in men’s country and some in women’s
country — and the fact that minorities of men and women behave
in gender-atypical ways doesn’t change that reality. There will never
be more female soldiers or policemen than male ones, and never more
male nurses and child-rearers than female ones. Men are going to
groove on power tools and women are going to coo at babies; that’s
just the way it is. down to our DNA. Behavioral dimorphism is wired
into us for good reasons that have everything to do with Darwin and
nothing to do with political correctness.

The first stage of recovery is recognizing that there’s a problem
— that men and women find each others’ behavioral as well as
physical sex differences attractive, and that neither men nor women
are well served by efforts to cram us all into a unisex box. My wife
once observed, on behalf of a billion sisters, “What good is a man if
you cut off his balls?” — and she was talking everyday behavior,
not just anatomy or sexual function. There aren’t a lot of men who
will seek out the company of defeminized women if they have a choice
in the matter, either.

That is where essays like Kim’s and Steve’s can help. By waking us up
and pissing us off, they remind us that our sex-linked behaviors and
our preferences for sex-linked behaviors in others actually
matter, that they’re every bit as much a part of our normal
human makeup as having penises or vaginas. People who want us to
forget this for ideological reasons are objectively inhumane.

19 thoughts on “The desexualization of the American (fe)male

  1. It’s not just that a minority of men and women behave in gender-atypical ways, it’s that the previous view of how men and women ought to be left no room for them, and that the ideas of how men and women ought to act were oversimplified.

    To my mind, the goal is to figure out how to accomodate as much harmless difference as possible, and let gender behavior fall into whatever form it happens to fall into.

  2. Eric

    WARNING: These ideas are politically incorrect.

    The other day in the doctor’s office I read a fascinating article that suggests that sexual dimorphism exists but may be more complex than we had recognized. The article used as an example some ( natually ) color coded male lizards. The alpha males display red spots and command large territories. T will call them Thorian in honor of the Norse god Thor. The betas display yellow spots and are lesser alphas. The blue spotted lizards I will call Lokean’s because they display some of the traits of the Norse trickster. They take on female appearance and sneak into the egg chamber disguised as nurses ( as lizards define nurses ) and do not own territory. Its a new area of research but apparently carries through to other species so it may be a law of life. The Lokean strategy apparently survives because they forego territory travel light. I do not mean to extrapolate this directly to humans or attribute sneakinesss to less macho men. But it may be translate to meaning that some men will prefer emulate Schwarzenegger and less macho men will offer qualities like shared interest in the arts or more nurturing of children and be the nurturing men the feminists are clamoring for.

    Naturally there is tension between the two types of males. Alphas are needed to protect the society. But it should be remembered that gays and also non-gays who are are the wrong side of the macho continuum have made cultural contributions disproportionate to their numbers.Perhaps because they had more time. Also they may have played a role in limiting the power of dictators. An alpha clan leader could only promise his daughter to the rival thug if she could slip off with the harper from time to time. So I think we need an appreciation and tolerance of human variety.

    Sorry I accidentally posted to the wrong thread at first. Its my first post to your blog.

    Cayte

  3. I’m with Nancy on this one. I don’t fit most of the female stereotypes. Give those of us who don’t fit in a place to go. I have no objection to those who prefer to stay inside their ‘gender roles’ but I can’t. I’d much rather play with guns than coo at babies. That doesn’t make me any less female (or any less ‘disgustingly heterosexual’ as a lesbian friend once described me).
    I just don’t fit into the stereotypes. Some of us don’t. (And there are men in the same situation.)
    All we want is for the rest of you to quit with the damned ‘real women’ and ‘real men’ BS.

  4. I’ve recently added a button slogan: “Knights try to attract women by competing with other men. Troubadours try to attract women by doing things women like. When troubadours succeed, knights think they’re cheating.”

    I suspect that “real” masculinity has gotten defined by the most aggressive men, and doesn’t cover the facts very well.

  5. “Jane Galt” makes an interesting case that a lot of what DuToit is complaining about isn’t intentional demasculinization of men, but rather the effects of PC. It used to be acceptable to pick on everyone, to protray women, ethnic and religious minorites, etc, as well as white protestant men. as doofi. These days, it isn’t.

    (There’s more to Ms McArdle’s thesis, and there are lots and lots of comments about it, mostly intelligent.)

  6. It seems fairly likely that our DNA has nothing to do with power tools. If you check back to our evolutionary roots, you’ll find a distinct lack of power tools in the environment. Strange but true.

  7. The problem may be more pronounced in the social circles of geeks. I’ve noticed the disturbing trend of domineering alpha-female geeks who surround themselves with submissive omega-male geeks. I’ve seen them online, and in real life. They have mastered all the female rituals of grooming, flirting, and dating, and practice them regularly. But the males, being mostly social outcasts, generally don’t afford their respect. And the alpha female is granted, and takes, complete control. She’s the first to chide men for beeing needy or gross,

    Is this as common as I think it is, or am I just looking through bitter-colored sunglasses?

  8. sorry, replace last sentence with: “She’s the first to chide men for beeing needy or gross, and also the one most likely to talk about her own sexuality, and discuss slash fiction more openly than any of the men would dare discuss porn. Is this as common as I think it is, or am I just looking through bitter-colored sunglasses?”

  9. Rick P: Yes, I’m definiately familiar with that situation. I call such girls “geek queens” and avoid them like the plague.

    Omar: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Yeah Kim said some silly and insulting things about Gay people, but it doesn’t invalidate his overall point.

  10. I hadn’t read Steven Den Beste’s essay until now (which is odd, because I’ve been reading his site daily for about two years now), but one thing he said struck home in a big way. He was describing the difference between women and female persons, and he mentioned that at a party he was at, all the Latinas were women, and all the Anglos were female persons. That is so true. I live in Central America, and the women here are just so much more highly sexualised than in the UK where I’m from. The standard greeting I get from my female friends, of whom I have a lot, is a big smile, a kiss, and a hug. For the most part, that’s as far as it goes, obviously, since even if I had the looks to be a Lothario, I wouldn’t have the will (I’m a pretty monogamous sort of guy), but it is quite affirming. The weird thing is that the Anglo girls down here are also much more open and friendly. It’s like it rubs off on them.

  11. For the most part I agree with this and Kim and Steven’s posts.

    I think a lot of women (even if they aren’t female persons who are female-chauvanist idiots) sort of have an instant aversion to being told they are different, or being told they have a “woman’s point of view” or whatever is that it was often an excuse to put us down. It was patronizing or insulting. Maybe some women deserve it, but some of us don’t, and there’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction you have to get over. Just like your recent IQ post — it’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction and think “Hey! He’s calling women stupid!”. But you aren’t. And certainly not calling any individual stupid. What do I care if the standard deviation of women’s intelligence is narrower? It doesn’t effect MY intelligence. So I’m an outlier. ;)

    Another example: in Kim’s essay he talks about how once women got the vote, we got a lot more nanny-state laws and seems to imply every woman wants stupid nanny state laws. Well, some of us don’t, and don’t want to be grouped with that nonsense.

    But it seems like often we’re given only two choices: either you belive X, Y and Z and you’re just a stupid woman… or since you’re different you’re less feminine, and therefore undesireable. I know. That’s reading a lot into it, but I don’t have room in this comments section to write a den Bestian-length essay. But often, women who have qualities or interests that are less “standard female” and depicted as being less feminine. Examples include liking guns or camping, being good at math, or having a strong handshake.

    Anyway, I’m hopefully making some sense, though I fear I’m not. :P Oh well.

  12. “What good is a man if you cut off his balls?”

    Well, what good is a woman if she’s had an ovariectomy, then?

    My mother had one when I was about four; she died when I was 21. Do you think she was any less my mother because of it?

    Feh.

  13. Looks like you are plagued with comment spam. All those links in some of the comments are there to get those sites a higher Google ranking – not to help this thread.

  14. re #14

    Ah, but by that time your mother’s habits were formed. It’s not the physical presence or absence that matters, but the behavior!

  15. I Found the article interesting yet rather more reactionary anytime society makes strides like acknowledging racisim or gender inequality you get people men and women screaming for the good old days. As a Black woman I’ll give you an example of what I mean I actualliy over heard this comment when I was
    growing up in the eighties ” This country went to hell, since they got the vote. ”
    I grew up in Roswell NM. These two old wasps went on to blame everything under the sun that was wrong with America on minorieties, poor people and communictists. I was a small girl so clearly to these guys clearly a person yet not
    important enough to respect as a person, no they were not good ole boys, they were people from a different time set they talked for an hour while I played on the park equpiment as they sat on the bench and chewed the cud as the expression goes. So my point is we will always have people crying for the good ole days ,
    let them be, let it go and maybe they will grow as persons and learn to value other humans either way we are making strides to understand the mutiplicity of
    human sexuality and sensulaity as Steve says”Baby keep on keeping on I’m going to reach the Higher Ground.”

    Sinscerely Karen Lacey

  16. While it may hold true that being crammed into a unisex box doesn’t really suit males or females, there is a balance to be maintained in trying to define what is or is not a masculine or feminine trait. I would agree that it becomes problematic if a person is discouraged from fitting into traditional gender roles. (For instance, if a female is looked down upon by “feminists” for wanting to be a stay-at-home mom)

    However, it becomes obvious very quickly when encountering either sex that gender role (atypical or traditional) is a touchy subject. For instance, I would consider myself a very “feminine” person in terms of how I dress, act, and respond to people. I also fit the stereotype of a girl who jumps on a chair at the sight of a mouse or who cannot be forced outside to play any sport. All the same, I’ve little interest in having children, and even less in setting up a household for a family. If I ever marry, I’ll have to learn some household tasks just to keep the marriage equal (I intend to work, and I don’t think either partner should carry the brunt of housework). I certainly do not fit the traditional role of a woman, and I might not mesh well with a “traditional” man.

    I would never want to see femininity and masculinity disappear wholesale from society, but I would have to say concerted efforts in either restoring those characteristics or suppressing them would be wrong. The key to it is much more about acceptance, and that comes down to every individual human being. If gender roles are indeed predominantly natural, then it is up to parents–and other authority figures–not to suppress nor force the feminine or masculine characteristics of their children.

    Of course, that drops you into a completely different mess, making masculinity and femininity all the more difficult to define, but anything else will inevitably compromise the values of one view or the other.

  17. Personally, I still think women are treated as second class citizens in many instances. America’s patriarchal roots tend to die hard. Yes, I agree, you have to be aware and get pissed off so you can actually take action and make some necessary changes. Good post.

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