Tag Archives: women

Protecting girls from body image problems will be a win for the robots.

Summary: After years of denials about the next industrial revolution (we’re told it’s a field of dreams; the jobs will appear if we need them), we’re unprepared to cope with it. Here’s an example of well-meaning activists seeking to help young women, but might instead make the problem worse — and help push models into unemployment. We’ll face many such complex problems in the next two decades.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

“The wave of the future is coming and there is no fighting it.”
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s The Wave of the Future, a Confession of Faith (1940).

Before and after of photoshopped model

Many experts say there’s an epidemic of body image problems among women, boosted by the thin women in advertisements. France, Italy, Spain and Israel have passed laws regulating use of too-thin models. Here’s a petition at Global Democracy to require disclosures for advertisements using airbrushed models.

We all now know that seeing thousands of “perfect” body types in the mass media is having negative affects on young girls and more. Airbrushing as a practice should be discouraged when it transforms otherwise permanent features on models. A “mandatory disclaimer” to state that a model has had her physical body manipulated on a computer is a very simple step in the right direction to addressing the harm that we’re causing.

To see the magnitude of this problem look at this video of a model before and after photoshopping (incredible!):

This brief documentary was produced for the Global Democracy petition campaign, describing how the modern advertising industry works. All those pretty pictures are photoshopped.

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Love in the new world, after the gender wars

Summary:  It’s vital to understand not just what’s happening in the gender wars but why. Here Allan Bloom explains the beliefs and goals of the social reformers leading the restructuring of American society. They’re quite frank in writings amongst themselves, but speak to the rest of us in more gentler and comforting terms.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

Snow White fights sexism

Excerpt from Allan Bloom’s Love and Friendship (1993):
“The Fall of Eros”

The new program to reform society

Now there is a new illiberal tendency that strangely both contradicts and supports liberal tolerance and easygoingness: the imperial project of reform promoted by radical feminism. It wants to enter the bedroom and much more the psyche in order to alter male sexual taste and behavior. It is not so much acts but the meaning of those acts and the disposition of those who perform them that now count.

The new discussion of male sexuality — for it is almost exclusively males who are the subjects of this — produces a distinctly unlovely vision of erotic relations. Male lust, male treatment of women as objects — in general, machismo — are the themes of this new sexual education. It is an education directed not to the sublime or sublimation, but to control. The object is not the relatedness of male and female, but liberation from male oppression, or nature’s oppression, in order to provide women with power or choice, the great word of the movement, choice to make oneself whatever one wants to be, free from the patriarchal structures that are said to have kept even what appeared to be the freest women imprisoned.

Male and female are no longer to be reciprocal terms, and the male habit of supposedly forcing women into such reciprocity is what must go. Of course, rape was always forbidden, and there was a codicil to the liberal formula that limited the right to do anything in your own bedroom to “consenting adults.” But now we are alleged to have a much higher consciousness of what rape and consent mean. What used to be understood as modes of courtship are now seen as modes of male intimidation and playing on the weaknesses and anxieties of women.

The education of male sexual desire in the past was intended to make men into gentlemen, a term reciprocal to lady, a person whose chastity was priceless and needed protection. The new feminist women make no claim to chastity and even ridicule it. It is an affront to raise the question of chastity as a part of the criminality of rape. Whether it be a prostitute or Mother Teresa is unimportant, although not all juries have yet been persuaded of this. Rape is considered bad no longer because it assaults a weak and defenseless person’s modesty, which is necessary to her exclusive attachment to the man she loves. Rape is now bad because it deprives women of power.

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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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A look ahead at the New America, after the gender wars

Summary: Before we start this series speculating about our new society as gender roles change unrecognizably, I’ll reverse my usual procedure and give the conclusions at the beginning. The early signs of these things have already appeared, but most readers will be shocked — and many will be horrified.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

“Always in motion is the future.”
— Yoda, Jedi-Knight.

Gender Roles

An outline of this series

A combination of social evolution and technology — with complex feedbacks between them — has greatly changed gender roles during the past 150 years, and the process has just begun. We can only guess at possible outcomes ahead from trends already running, which is what we’ll do in this series.

I believe that women will continue to outperform men in education and therefore taking an increasingly powerful — and eventually a dominant — role in the professions, business, and politics. Accelerating this trend will be their natural advantages in bureaucratic organizations (from classroom to boardroom) as the weight of sexism fades.

In such a world fewer women will be able to marry up (aka hypergamy) as the balance of power shifts in their favor, putting further stress on the institution of marriage and the nuclear family structure.

As patriarchy dies marriage will offer ever fewer benefits to men. They’ll compare the  consequence-less sex so easy available without marriage — with the burden of marriage, raising children, doing half the housework — and the high odds of one’s wife initiating divorce, taking the kids, and levying a decade or two of child support payments. At home paternity tests might increase their cynicism about the institution, as 2-3% of men discover that they’re not the biological father of their children. These things will wreck the already decaying structure of the nuclear family.

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The revolution in gender roles reshapes society in ways too disturbing to see

Summary:  Today we start a new series about one of the most profound revolutions ever to hit western society — the change in gender roles. The conclusions of the series are, like so many on the FM website, wildly non-consensus — and disturbing to most readers. This is the warm-up pitch.  {1st of 2 posts today.}

Also: I’ve not added graphics to this post. Are they useful, not useful, or distracting? Tell me in the comments.

Gender Roles

I updated my list of accurate predictions and the (thankfully much smaller) list of failed predictions, and drew two conclusions. The list of “hits” is impressively long (posting the score makes me careful!) but I’ve not made many new predictions in the last year. I’m confused about the economic and geopolitical issues that bedevil our world. So I’ll change the focus to something I believe much easier to forecast: the revolution in gender roles now under way.

Side note: what’s the secret of my forecasting success?  I describe the obvious things that we all see, but that we do not want to acknowledge. This accounts for the dark tone of so many posts on the FM website (despite the occasional posts with good news). For example, the posts about cybercrime and cyberwar by various experts describe trends of extreme importance in a manner understandable by a general audience — yet gets fewer-than normal views. Too disturbing; we prefer not to see. I suspect that this series will provide another example, as its observations and conclusions will upset almost everybody — Left and Right (as usual for the FM website).

For the opener in this series we start with an excerpt from Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. Published in 1987, he clearly foresaw the changes coming to American society. It’s at the top of my list of recommended books.  He’s the equivalent for social issues of Martin van Creveld about war. Here Bloom looks at the revolution — one of the most profound ever — coming to the family and gender roles. It was mind-bendingly prophetic when written 30 years ago; it’s implications remain stunning today.

 From The Closing of the American Mind
Chapter Three: “Relationships”

Relations between the sexes have always been difficult, and that is why so much of our literature is about men and women quarreling. There is certainly legitimate ground to doubt their suitability for each other given the spectrum — from the harem to Plato’s Republic — of imaginable and actually existing relations between them, whether nature acted the stepmother or God botched the creation by an afterthought, as some Romantics believed.

That man is not made to be alone is all very well, but who is made to live with him? This is why men and women hesitated before marriage, and courtship was thought necessary to find out whether the couple was compatible, and perhaps to give them basic training in compatibility. No one wanted to be stuck forever with an impossible partner. But, for all that, they knew pretty much what they wanted from one another. The question was whether they could get it (whereas our question today is much more what is wanted). A man was to make a living and protect his wife and children, and a woman was to provide for the domestic economy, particularly in caring for husband and children. Frequently this did not work out very well for one or both of the partners, because they either were not good at their functions or were not eager to perform them.

In order to assure the proper ordering of things, the transvestite women in Shakespeare, like Portia {The Merchant of Venice} and Rosalind {As you Like It}, are forced to masquerade as men because the real men are inadequate and need to be corrected.

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A rocky road lies ahead to a far smaller world population.

Summary: We’re on our way to a far better world, one with a much smaller population. The world’s population will increase during the next 4 decades, and then begin a long steep drop. East Asia leads the way with its collapsing levels of fertility (Japan’s population has already rolled over), and the rest of the world follows. The road will be rocky unless we prepare for it. Here’s an introduction to the issue. You’ll be reading much more about this in the future.

UN Fertility Graph

The collapse in fertility rates is another one of these unexpected phenomena shaping our world that have been described on this website. How unexpected? To understand these things we should always look first at East Asia, where fertility has collapsed the most (or perhaps, fertility has been the first to collapse). Look at Japan. Over a quarter-century every forecast proved too optimistic. It might have found a floor. Or this might be a false hope.

BoJ looks at Japan's falling fertility

Ageing, Finance and Regulations“, speech by Kiyohiko G. Nishimura, Governor of the BoJ, 14 Nov 2012.

Experts don’t well understand what has caused this crash in fertility — although they have confidence in their theories — and have only guesses about effective public policy responses. But they understand the seriousness of this trend. How much does a nation’s population shrink after a few generations at fertility of 1.3 (approx the current forecast for Japan)?

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