Tag Archives: revolution

Women have won the gender revolution

Summary: This post on our series about the gender roles revolution looks at the result of the social and tech trends — women have won. They now have a competitive superiority in a wide range of factors, which is bringing them to dominance in US society. Changes take time to upset existing hierarchies, but the trend is unquestionable.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

Gender equality

They talk about ‘a woman’s sphere’
As though it has a limit;
There’s not a spot on sea or shore,
In sanctum, office, shop or store,
Without a woman in it.

— Anonymous, from Jennie Day Haines’ Sovereign Woman Versus Mere Man (1905).

In 2009 I wrote a series about the coming gender role reversal — women on top of men (links below). There were also others seeing this coming. This insight went mainstream with “The End of Men” by Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, 8 June 2010:

Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way — and its vast cultural consequences.

The more interesting fact is that this was seen first on the street — the wisdom of crowds at work (emphasis added):

… In the ’90s, when {biologist Ronald Ericsson} looked into the numbers for the two dozen or so clinics that use his process {sex selection}, he discovered, to his surprise, that couples were requesting more girls than boys, a gap that has persisted …  In some clinics the ratio is now as high as 2 to 1. … A newer method for sperm selection, called MicroSort, {has} girl requests … at about 75%.

… “It’s the women who are driving all the decisions,” he says — a change the MicroSort spokespeople I met with also mentioned. At first, Ericsson says, women who called his clinics would apologize and shyly explain that they already had two boys. “Now they just call and [say] outright, ‘I want a girl.’ These mothers look at their lives and think their daughters will have a bright future their mother and grandmother didn’t have, brighter than their sons, even, so why wouldn’t you choose a girl?

Her article is well-stocked with data and logic, which I will not repeat here. Read it. Better yet read her book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women. It’s not just that women are doing better (that’s a good thing), but that the absolute condition of men is deteriorating. People have been pointing that out for a decade, but it’s been shouted down by feminists until the numbers have become too dark to easily ignore (we’re still ignoring them; it’s just more difficult to do so).

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Books to help us see the strange new world following the revolution in gender roles

Summary: To understand the strange future that lies ahead it helps to better understand our present and past. We can do that by turning to people who have written about these things. Here are some recommendations, books about our strange world to prepare us for an even stranger future.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

This isn’t our future, although we might have the flying car:

The Jetsons: a 1950s family of the future.

The Jetsons: a 1950s family of the future.

Books should be our first stop on our journey to see the future. They can help clear away the underbrush of falsehoods about our situation. They can explain the inescapable biological basis of gender in humanity. They can show us the mind-blowing range of sexual practices and family structures in world history (however strange the future, there are always precedents). They can point us to literature, where artists explore both the reality and dreams about our lives. Here are my recommendations, places to start amongst the vast body of work about this most interesting of subjects.

Book Recommendations

  1. The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex
  2. The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
  3. Love and Friendship
  4. Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty
  5. Sex in History
  6. Pink Samurai: Love, Marriage and Sex in Contemporary Japan

(1) The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex

By Warren Farrell (1993) — So many of the assumptions of feminists are factually incorrect. Farrell gives us a list. You might not agree with every one, but this point is incontrovertible.  Summary from Publishers Weekly:

“Readers of this significant study will find that they haven’t lost the ability to cry after all. While some feminists may assert that it is an attack on women, the book attempts to show areas in which males operate at a disadvantage without claiming that women are responsible for their plight. Psychologist Farrell stresses economics, pointing out that the 25 worst types of jobs, involving the highest physical risk, are almost all filled by men. He also considers warfare, in which virtually all of the military casualties are men; the justice system, where sentences for males are customarily heavier; and sexual harassment, which has become a one-way street. He concludes with helpful advice on “resocializing” the male child, adolescent and adult.”

The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex is available at Amazon.

(2) The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

By Matt Ridley (1993) — despite all our ever-growing technological power, we are anchored to our humanity by a billion years of evolution. Ridley doesn’t ask what happens when we can tinker with the biological essentials of our design.  Summary from Amazon:

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Jihadists will prosper using the methods of America’s entrepreneurs.

Summary: How might the various jihadest organizations evolve during the next decade? They might follow the same path as emerging industries in capitalist economies, driven by the same forces of competition to to grow and innovate so that the best grow far larger than anyone imagined possible at their beginnings. We cannot imagine the details, but the general dynamics are easily understood. If so, the future holds many strange and perhaps terrible things. Our current policies, built on arrogance and ignorance — and above all on a refusal to learn from experience — might end badly for us.  (2nd of 2 posts today.)

This is a follow-up to Business 101 tells us what to expect next from jihadists: goods news for them, bad for us. The structure of the jihadist “industry” resembles that of other early stage industries entering their periods of rapid growth and innovation. Such as the automobile industry in the 1920’s, before the massive consolidation that took it from thousands of small companies to dozens of giants (Canada went from hundreds to zero), and the cutting edge sectors of the software industry during its many revolutions.

Jihad flag

This is a heavily paraphrased excerpt from Risk and Reward — Venture Capital and the Making of America’s Great Industries by Thomas M. Doerflinger and Jack Rivkin (1987). This passage discusses the automobile industry. I have substituted the jihadist “industry” and changed some of the text. However, the reasoning remains the same. Note that the quotes and numbers are real, from the author’s description of the early auto industry.

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An industry takes off

The jihadist industry resembles the classic high-tech industries (e.g., semiconductors, biotechnology). A few thousand dollars are all that is needed to start an insurgent group, and if it scored some early success more people and funds roll in. The flip side is that the industry is incredibly volatile, with fast-growing groups sprouting up and then shriveling like so many mushrooms.

As in the case of automobiles and computers, those outside the jihadist community are slow to appreciate its tremendous potential because they did not anticipate how rapidly it would improve in effectiveness. This is actually typical of both revolutionary industries and movements.

Growth

To be sure the jihadist industry has grown more slowly than its French counterpart. It took only 5 years for France to get from the calling of the Estate-General in 1788 to Robespierre’s Reign of Terror in 1793. The jihadist industry followed a more typical trajectory, from “criminals … who are willing to be guns for hire” (per David Petraeus, 9 November 2003) into a serious threat to the region’s regimes in only 11 years. The central reason for this superior performance is that as in the early days of automobiles and computers, no single company monopolized the jihadists. From the beginning it was a competitive free-for-all. They had a second and equally important advantage: local entrepreneurs run the groups, people who had faith in their revolution. The elites of the region, even their supporters, are rational, skeptical, and often wrong — and remain safely on the periphery where they could do little damage.

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Why have our movies have become so dark, showing a government so evil?

Summary: The evolution of America has accelerated as we slide down the long-feared slippery slope leading to the end of the Second Republic (founded on the Constitution). Each event appears clear in the news, but the cumulative effect — the rise of a New America — is too large for us to see. For perspective let’s look at our heroes in print and on screen. Their foes display our fears; their relationship to the government reflects our relationship to it. We might pretend not to see what’s happening, but our mythical heroes see the darkness falling on us — and have changed accordingly in ways that reflect our weakness. When we decide to become strong again, we’ll find new myths (or reclaim the old ones).  {First of two posts today}

“People need stories, more than bread, itself. They teach us how to live, and why. … Stories show us how to win.”
— The Master Storyteller in HBO’s “The Arabian Nights”

Superman in handcuffs

“Man of Steel” (2013)

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Our fictional heroes reflect our dreams of individual empowerment, along a gamut from James Bond to Superman. Less often remarked, some of our myths show our awareness that only through collective action do we have strength. In the real world unions, associations, and governments created the middle class and brought full civil rights to women and minorities. Many of our stories feature heroic organizations — such as the British Secret Service, Triplanetary, U.N.C.L.E, GI Joe, and S.H.I.E.L.D. Heroic individuals and organizations protected us against criminals and foreign powers.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E

No longer. The war on terror has revealed that our government might have become our greatest foe. On TV we see stories with ample precedents in history, but unimaginable to most Americans. President Obama personally selects America citizens for assassination, without formal charges or trial. The NSA taps our phones and monitors our emails. Police patrol our streets with military equipment (just like Fallujah), eager to use force (e.g., SWAT teams killing when delivering summonses).

Fiction often mirrors our fears and our view of the world. As do our films today. Soldiers take Superman away in handcuffs. SHIELD launches helicarriers equipped for surveillance and assassination. Government agents attack Captain America. Action adventures routinely feature government officials as the bad guys. The next sequence of Marvel films feature the Civil War series, in which the government regulates — forcibly enlists — mutants in its service.

The GI Joe team

In this world trust becomes rare. Heroes in TV and films are often told to “trust nobody” (e.g., in “The X-Files” TV show, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, and “Captain America: Winter Soldier”). Sometimes the moral of the story is the even more extreme “trust nothing”, with the usual exceptions of love — or friends and family. It’s excellent advice for peons. Taken seriously this prevents people from working together through existing organizations, which shatters even the strongest people into powerless shards. We become individuals and families helpless before the mega-corporations and government agencies that run our world, and helpless before the 1% that own it.

Movies and TV are our myths. Today they give us nothing to inspire people to work for social and political reform.

The missing link

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“Mockingjay” shows us a path to reform for America. A great movie, but bad advice.

Summary:  This is the first in a series looking at Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games stories, both the books and films. It provides a richly detailed mirror image in which we can see many aspects of America, things we pretend not to know (or worse, don’t see). Today we’ll begin with the third book (and film) “Mockingjay”. As usual here, we’ll get there by asking a big questions. And spoilers!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

“The most heroic word in all languages is REVOLUTION.”
— Eugene V. Debs, “Revolution”, New York Worker, 27 April 1907

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
— Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Stephens Smith, 13 November 1787

“We must realize that today’s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.”
— William O. Douglas (Assoc Justice of the Supreme Court), Points of Rebellion (1970)

Since I started writing these posts in 2003, a thousand times people have explained that America’s political regime has decayed, become corrupt and oppressive — dying or dead. Each time I ask in reply “what’s the solution”? 99% of the time I receive one of two answers.

(1)  Some form of surrender.  We cannot reform the system. Grow flowers, do small scale local reform, become vegetarians or evangelicals. Dream of the glorious future when the oppressed rise up and build a better world. I’ve heard hundreds of excuses for passivity.

(2)  Revolution. For some this is a version of #1, as they’re not actively working to make a revolution; this diagnosis provides an excuse for inactivity. For others, very rare, it is a statement of allegiance (or treason, if you prefer to see it so; a matter of dates). They’ve not crossed the line in deed, but I can easily imagine them doing so. The difference between this group and those in #1 lies in the people saying it.

People of the first kind are inconsequential. When the time comes they’ll climb on to the reform bandwagon or be ignored. The second kind are more interesting. If serious, they don’t understand the fire they seek to unleash.  The Hunger Games books and films remind us why such people are useful, but problematic if poorly led. {Some are dangerous, as they want to see the world burn}

Revolution, as we see it

We’ve not had a violent revolution in America for 150 years, and only two since Europeans landed on this land. Our political lineage goes back to England, who has had only 3 in over a thousand years. Unlike other peoples, the words means little to us in anything but an academic sense. Hence the reaction to “Mockingjay”, which provides a vivid first-person account of the whirlwind unleashed by civil wars. For people who see wars as victorious crusades against evil, especially the “young adult” target audience of the HG books, it provided a shock greater than the vampire & werewolf battles in the “Twilight” movies.

The books give one shock after another, to Katniss (heroine of The Hunger Games) and to the reader.

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The feminist revolutionaries have won. Insurgents have arisen to challenge the new order. As always, they’re outlaws.

Summary:  Yesterday’s post took 2,200 words to explain a simple theory, because I took readers on a journey to “derive” the conclusions. Here’s the spoiler version, in which we “cut to the chase” — showing only the last section.

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Feminism is one of the big revolutions of our time, over-turning our concepts of romance and marriage. In response to its success, insurgents have arisen. It’s early days yet, too soon to forecast which side will win. Reviewers consider this one of the more shocking — and darker — posts of the almost 2,900 on the FM website. Post your reactions in the comments (at the original post). It’s the first of two posts today.

Settling for a beta

Feminism is a revolution, one with few or no precedents in history, now in the last stages of consolidating its victory.  We can only guess at the effects.  This post discusses one facet. I expect (guess) that as guys understand the new order, many will refuse to play. They’ll become insurgents — outlaws — from their designated role as beta males — expected to dutifully ask permission at each step of the romantic escalation (see “Feminism for Bros“), marrying a women at the end of her youth after she’s chased alphas (of whom she’ll dream), and dutifully supporting a family until and after your wife divorces you (40-50% of first marriages; higher for subsequent ones; most initiated by the wife).

Once men see the game, why would they play? An insurgency might begin, perhaps leading to a new revolution (or a counter-revolution).

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“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” asks if you want a Revolution

Summary:  Today we have a guest post by film critic Locke Peterseim, a review of “Catching Fire” that uses it as a mirror to our culture — a reflection showing how we want to see ourselves. It expresses my own view, more clearly and deeply than I could. Including the disorientation I feel when looking out at our world. Share your thoughts about this in the comments.

Catching Fire poster

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
You Say You Want a Revolution?

By Locke Peterseim

Posted at the film blog of Open Letters Monthly
10 December 2013

Reposted here with his generous permission

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There are times — and they come at me more frequently these days — when I feel out of step with everything and everyone. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into full sobbing mental breakdown right here in the first paragraph — I’ll save that for later.

But when I see the movie-going public go ga-ga for a dull, corporate puppet show like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I shake my head and wander out of the theater (two and a half hours later, thanks) and into the wild.

You know what’s so great about Catching Fire? It’s tolerably watchable. That’s it. It’s not a good film. It’s not good entertainment.

And contrary to what has now, in less than a month, become Conventional Wisdom, parroted by fans and critics alike, it’s certainly not better than last year’s relatively subtle first Hunger Games movie. Catching Fire is a piece of smoothly assembled and blisteringly marketed product that doesn’t absolutely suck.

(I find myself often saying this about big franchise action movies like Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Thor, and yes even the Twilight films: The studios have their system down pat. Unless the Powers That Be have a momentary lapse of insanity or inebriation and hire some sort of weirdo actual creative artist to make these films, the cinematic outcome — the assembly line McDonalds product — is going to turn out… eh, okay. Tolerable. Watchable. Mostly edible.)

The first Hunger Games movie was helmed by Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) and, as I wrote last year, I found it surprisingly nuanced and naturalistic. With a little second-unit help from Steven Soderbergh, that first film in the franchise felt like it was breathing, like it cared about its characters. It was a little washed out, a little hand held, and very often it was that most blessed and rare of cinematic things these days: Quiet.

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