This just is remarkable, isn’t it?

Cat Person is ‘mundane’, Austen is ‘dross’: why do so many men hate female writing?
Kaite Welsh

By and large, on average you understand, men and women write slightly different stories. And men and women, by and large and on average you understand, read different stories.

Anyone surprised by this is either not human or has never read anything.

Elsewhere

This is not confined to humans. Chimpanzees, vervet, and rhesus monkeys have all shown the same behaviour – and they’re not oppressed by capitalism, The Man, nor patriarchy.

Advertising is intended to sell the product – thus toy advertising should, as it does, appeal to those gender stereotypes, on the grounds that it works. Those complaining about this cannot have met any human beings, junior or adult, to think otherwise.

Women and the patriarchy

As a lifelong feminist I have always balked at the idea that women might be “better than men” because it perpetuates the myth that women and men are polar opposites, and that our skills (or lack of them) is to do with innate qualities rather than as a result of socialisation or opportunity. This particular competition of “who is best at what” further ingrains the false belief that “the battle of the sexes” is here for time immemorial.

The reality is that after thousands of years of living under patriarchy, through no choice or fault of our own, women have developed certain skills as a result of this tyranny. A feminist friend once remarked that “if oppression made one a better person there would be something to be said for it”, and while I agree wholeheartedly with this, the truth is that we have had to become far better than men at most things.

Well, yeeeees. Or, perhaps, and I realise this is somewhat unpopular these days among the bien pensants, perhaps this differential in skills has some innate cause. Of course, the variation across individuals is larger than that between the groups, but still. The more we actually find out about things like hormones, brain structures (the first largely being the cause of the second), physiques and so on the more we find out that there really are substantial differences between men and women on average.

It is, for example, pretty easy to tell the difference between a male and female skeleton from the pelvis. In a species which has such a difference, why might there not be a difference in some mental attribute as well? It would be most odd if physical differences existed but not any others after all. And absolutely no fucker is going to be stupid enough to argue that hips are a result of the patriarchy now, are they?

Well, OK, there probably are some out there but seriously.

We beat men at raising money from crowdfunding, which is just as well because we are paid less for doing the same job.

Men give more money to women than they do to men. This is the patriarchy?

We are less likely to abandon our children, and therefore make better parents.

Extensive and intensive child production methods are the result of the patriarchy? Rather than the investment required by biology?

But then this is Julie Bindel.

Bureaucracy is the answer Sheryl, you’re quite right

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, has warned of a potential backlash against women in the workplace following recent high profile sexual harassment scandals.

Ms Sandberg, one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world, said she had already heard “rumblings” that male leaders of companies may be increasingly reluctant to hire female employees because they feared their firms becoming involved in disputes.

Writing on Facebook, she said too many workplaces lack clear policies about how to handle accusations of sexual harassment.

She recommended every workplace start with clear principles and put in place policies to support them.

Hmm. Giving HR a 1,000 page book is just the way to deal with that backlash, isn’t it?

Well, yes, I suppose so

It’s hard for women to keep track of which specific body part is currently being shamed to death, when it seems to be open season on all of them. But even by the demented standards of female self-flagellation, the emergence of “arm vagina” – aka the slight fold of flesh created where the average arm meets the average body – is a low point.

If you’re reading this in a public place and unable immediately to check whether you have arm vagina, then let me help; you almost certainly do. Everyone does. It’s basically a normal human armpit, which tends to involve some spare capacity in the flesh department, what with it being difficult to raise your arm otherwise.

But in Hollywood, having a freakishly fat-free underarm, as taut and smooth as a plastic Barbie doll’s, is apparently the new goal. In a long list of mad things female actors are conditioned to worry about exposing on the red carpet, arm vagina is “the one that comes up all the time”, as the celebrity stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray told the Times this week.

Now go Google for the training regime the actors in 300 had to go through.

Quite, it’s a comment about playing dress up, not anything specific to women and the patriarchy.

This isn’t quite how I’d describe it, no

Another one bites the dust.

Today Show host Matt Lauer was fired from NBC over sexual misconduct allegations that the company says were probably not an isolated incident (Lauer’s alleged bad behavior has not been publicly described in any detail). He is only the latest in a string of high-profile men brought down by accusations of handsiness or inappropriate behavior toward female colleagues.

What’s stunning about the Lauer firing, though, is how decisively NBC acted – especially considering that Lauer is one of their marquee names, and has anchored one of their most-watched and profitable shows for two decades. The evidence for his misbehavior must be pretty solid (a video? A hot mic?), but so too must be NBC’s conviction that keeping a harasser or assailant on staff would be financial and reputational suicide.

This is new. And it’s a feminist victory.

Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie captured what so many women feel when men we like, admire, or love commit harassment or assault.

D’ye see that little leap? From allegation to commit. And this is a victory? Denunciations lead to the loss of job and career?

That’s really not a societal victory because we’re not going to enjoy a society where denunciation alone does lead to that.

Seriously honey, chill out

Women like me have been keeping a secret. It’s a secret so shameful that it’s hidden from friends and lovers, so dark that vast amounts of time and money are spent hiding it. It’s not a crime we have committed, it’s a curse: facial hair.

What can be dismissed as trivial is a source of deep anxiety for many women, but that’s what female facial hair is; a series of contradictions. It’s something that’s common yet considered abnormal, natural for one gender and freakish for another. The reality isn’t quite so clear cut. Merran Toerien, who wrote her PhD on the removal of female body hair, explained “biologically the boundary lines on body hair between masculinity and femininity are much more blurred than we make them seem”.

The removal of facial hair is just as paradoxical – the pressure to do it is recognized by many women as a stupid social norm and yet they strictly follow it. Because these little whiskers represent the most basic rules of the patriarchy – to ignore them is to jeopardize your reputation, even your dignity.

It’s not the damn patriarchy. All humans have facial hair. Thicker facial hair – it’s that, not more generally – is a male secondary sexual characteristic. All humans (well, you know, as with alopecia and hair but….) have nipples and tits are a female secondary sexual characteristic. Some men have boobs, many have moobs and you know, that’s just how it works, secondary sexual characteristics don’t map exactly over primary ones.

And? You’re stupid enough to think that this is a product of a social set up?

Jeebus.

Why is this surprising in the slightest?

The notion of a bucolic past where our ancestors toiled contentedly in the fields may need to be revised after a new study showed just how hard prehistoric women worked.

Researchers at Cambridge University looked at bones belonging to European women who lived during the Neolithic around 7,000 years ago.

They found they had upper arms that were far stronger than even than the female Cambridge University rowing squad today.

Experts believe such physical prowess was probably obtained through tilling the soil and spending hours a day grinding grain to make flour.

“This is the first study to actually compare prehistoric female bones to those of living women,” said Dr Alison Macintosh, lead author of the study published today in the journal Science Advances.

Peasant agricultural life is one of unremitting toil. Doesn’t everyone know that?

And it is too – Malthus. Sure, there are periods when there’s a new technology, or new land, to exploit. But it pretty rapidly fills up as more children survive and then all are back to permanent labour in order to feed the kiddies. The stable situation is when the population equals the carrying capacity of the land at that technological stage. Which is also when everyone’s got to work, permanently.

There’s also an easy way to test this. Get out there to sub-Saharan Africa where the women are tilling the land. Then go measure their upper body strength.

We’ve already done the test of men of course. Those cuirasses the Household Cavalry wear. Century or two old they are and modern men rattle around inside them, need padding to stop them slipping all over the place. As opposed to the vast chest measurements of the Victorian farm boys – built up by bailing hay etc – that they were made for.

Aren’t the icons falling?

Garrison Keillor, creator of the hugely popular American radio show A Prairie Home Companion, was sacked on Wednesday over an accusation of “inappropriate behaviour”.

Keillor, 75, started his show featuring tales of the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon – “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average” – in 1974.

It featured musical acts, folksy humour, parody adverts for fake products like Powdermilk Biscuits, and Keillor’s signature monologue “The News From Lake Wobegon”.

There were also books including Lake Wobegon Days. The show became the most listened to entertainment programme on US public radio with four million weekly listeners on 500 stations.

So all men aren’t rapists then, eh, Jessica?

One of the many myths about feminists is that we believe all men are potential rapists – that men are inherently dangerous, their sexuality naturally predatory. It’s an absurd stereotype that runs counter to decades of feminist activism. After all, if you believe men’s natural instinct is to harass or rape, what you are really arguing is that harassment and rape are normal.

There are those who would disagree there.

Perhaps a lesson from the Ancient Greeks

They did work out so much after all. All that angles and triangles stuff even if the philosophers are still gnawing away at their first question, “What is -?” where “-” is whatever.

The social propriety was that a man may make an approach to a woman. She may, and almost certainly will for reasons of propriety, say no the first two times. The third approach/request is the one that gains the true answer. The Y/N answer to that third is treated as final by all.

To ask 3 times is not harrassment, oppression nor rape. It’s the sexual dance. To ask a fourth time, or to refuse to accept the third answer is somewhere along that spectrum.

There is no particular reason or three times. There is a very good reason why there is and should be some generally accepted method of conducting the sexual dance. A necessary societal agreement of the form it should take.

Which is where I think out current problems really lie. Sure, we’ve agitators screaming about stuff and all that. But underlying is that the dance steps have changed and we’ve not all got a common agreement as to what they are as yet.

What actually is sexual politesse in a world of both booty calls and also a passing comment upon looks being sexual oppression?

No, not what should such politesse be, not how would the world be better if it were. But what actually is the general agreement upon how the sexual dance is to be conducted?

So, who is being reasonable here?

Dame Angela offered a strikingly different take.

“There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us – and this is where we are today.

“We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped,” the 92-year-old told Radio Times.

Not quite running with the zeitgeist there. Then there’s this:

Her comments drew a strong response from Rape Crisis England & Wales, which said in a statement: “It is a deeply unhelpful myth that rape and other forms of sexual violence are caused or ‘provoked’ by women’s sexuality or ‘attractiveness’.

“Rape is an act of sexual violence, power and control that has little to nothing to do with sexual desire. It is as insulting to men as it is to anyone to suggest they’re unable to take responsibility for their own behaviours and that the way a woman presents herself can cause them to lose control or force them to sexually harass or assault her.

“There is no excuse or mitigation for sexual violence and there is no circumstance in which it’s even partially the victim’s or survivor’s fault. Until we accept and acknowledge that, it will be very difficult for us as a society to reduce or prevent rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual abuse.”

The drunk to the point of comatose bird, wearing nowt but a belt and a bra, walking though the back streets bears no responsibility at all? Hmm, no, perhaps she doesn’t. But has she behaved irresponsibly?

My word, eh?

John Conyers, currently the longest-serving member of Congress, is to step down from the House Judiciary Committee, after being embroiled in allegations of sexual harassment.

Mr Conyers, 88, is to recuse himself from the Committee while it conducts an ethics investigation into the allegations which involve a former member of his staff.

It’s para 7 (well beyond normal reading span) by the time we learn that he’s a D.

Still, there’s rather a Churchill moment there at the thought that an 86 year old was harrassing the staff, isn’t there?

I think we discussed this ourselves, didn’t we?

Feminists have come up with an excellent answer to “manspreading” — a chap sitting with his legs apart on public transport, taking up too much room: they intend to “womanspread”. This will involve them also sitting with their legs wide apart and slouching in a deliciously sluttish manner. I don’t know if they can also be persuaded to sit with their ankles behind their ears — anything to leaven the daily commute.

This was all outlined in The Guardian by an angry little squirrel who was sick of being told by the fascist patriarchy to sit in a dignified manner and now disported herself in the above manner.

Are we sure that would leaven?

Surprise!

Men and women sit differently:

“Cross your legs.” “Don’t sit like that.” “Be more ladylike.” Like most women, I’ve been subjected to these kinds of messages since I was a child. Everyone from my mum to primary school teachers and distant relatives has chastised me to “sit like a lady”. Translation: rest your legs together, Duchess of Cambridge style, and take up as little space as possible.

After spending my childhood and teen years being told to ‘sit properly, for God’s sake’, I decided to rebel
I have always struggled to do as they said. Not only is it quite uncomfortable to sit with legs crossed oh-so-daintily, but no man or boy I know has ever been told to do the same. Their typical seated stance – legs as wide as they go with no thought to the poor people being slowly crushed on either side – is so ubiquitous that we now know it as manspreading.

Alarum!

Still, I guess this shows we’ve solved those poverty, violence, war, pestilence things, no?

How people do misunderstand

Well, no, not really:

When feminists fought for rights such as not being sacked for becoming pregnant, or maternity pay, many business owners argued that this was an infringement of their rights. Some believed that a woman asking a small, struggling business owner for maternity pay while she couldn’t work was profoundly selfish.

This was solved by the taxpayers (through the reduction in NI payments collected) coughing up for the maternity pay.

Growing up being perceived by others as a feminine gay boy certainly wasn’t easy, but once I transitioned, in my 20s, things radically changed. The flashes of misogyny I witnessed when I was younger are now, as they are for most women, a daily reality. Some of this is banal – like the men on dating websites who call me a “stuck-up bitch” or a “desperate slag” when I turn them down. Some is more structural: when I get into my 30s, the gender pay gap will widen and I will find myself on the “wrong” side of it.

Well, no. Childless women don’t particularly have a pay gap. In fact, on average, never married childless women in their 40s have a pay premium.

Amazing

The study produced by a team led by psychologists from City, University of London, was based on evidence collected by different researchers across the Western world over decades, with some dating back to the 1930s.
It said: ‘Despite methodological variation in the choice and number of toys offered, context of testing, and age of child, the consistency in finding sex differences in children’s preferences for toys typed to their own gender indicates the strength of this phenomenon and the likelihood that it has a biological origin.’
The paper added that there were robust differences between the toy choices of girls and boys, and that this was so across decades and in different experiments.
This, the study said, ‘indicates an innate influence on this behaviour.’

Girls and boys might be different shocker!

An interesting thought is that if they’re not then why have profit maximising toy producers been making the distinction all these years?

What goes around comes around

Glint Pay Services says it is “reintroducing gold as money” with a debit card allowing people to store rights to gold, send it as gifts and spend it with counterparties — by the gram, or fraction of a gram. Jason Cozens, chief executive and co-founder, said he was confident there would be demand for the product which is available from today through a mobile phone app and by using a conventional Mastercard plastic card.

Sigh. There’s a reason we gave up doing this….