“Men need Sex” — a story about a story

So I wrote a story, “Men Need Sex.”  I started with the mistaken, but wide-spread, belief that men need sex (PIV).  Mistaken because, unlike food, water, and oxygen, without sex, you don’t die.  Then, ‘inspired’ by Roger Elliott, I thought, ‘What if?’  What if men really did die if they didn’t get sex.  I postulated contagion, perhaps social.  Then I postulated a shortening incubation period (between belief, not getting sex, and suicide). And I added the belief that men are entitled to get what they need, which ramped up rape and, consequently, women’s self-quarantine (after begging, to no avail, for stricter gun laws and a curfew for men).  I ended the story with something like ‘And then the women just … waited.’

The SciPhi Journal rejected it.  Which was disappointing, because I thought the story was clearly sf with a philosophical element (“As its primary mission, SPJ wishes to provide a platform for idea-driven fiction, as opposed to the character-driven mode that has come to predominate speculative fiction”).  Future Fire also rejected it, which was also disappointing, because they focus on feminist sf.  But what I want to focus on is the first rejection because it came with the explanation that my story “reads as a fully seriously intended apology of gendercide.”

How was what I described gendercide?  The women didn’t kill the men; they just waited for them to kill themselves.  Yes, they withheld sex, but if you’ll die without food and I refuse to give you food, am I killing you?  Perhaps.  The philosophical community has not yet come to a consensus on that; it’s called the passive euthanasia vs. active euthanasia debate (and the SciPhi editor should have been well aware of that debate).

Framed another way, if you’ll die without being able to hurt someone, and no one steps forward to be hurt, are we all killing you?  Not at all clear.  That’s called the Good Samaritan debate (and again, the SciPhi editor should have been well aware of it), often illustrated by the scenario of a drowning child: if the passerby is a competent swimmer, then yes, she has a duty to rescue, but if the passerby cannot swim, and the rescue puts her own life at risk, then no, she has no duty to rescue.  The essential question is ‘On what grounds would one have a duty to sacrifice oneself for another?’

Does intercourse put a woman’s life at risk?  If she has no contraception and no abortion, that is, if she’s forced to become pregnant and then doesn’t miscarry, well, maybe.  It is not uncommon for a woman to die giving birth.  At a minimum, there is a clear risk to her health: high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia,  stroke, cardiac arrest.  Perhaps the SciPhi editor is unaware of the health risks of pregnancy and childbirth …

But even with contraception and abortion … why is she obligated to allow herself to be hurt (yes, men, sexual intercourse against our will, absent our desire, hurts)  (maybe that’s what the SciPhi guy didn’t get?) so that the man will live?  If it’s a one-time thing, and the man in question is a good man (yes, that would figure into my deliberation), okay, maybe many of us would, and should, say yes.  Ten minutes, in and out, go on, live.

But if it’s an ongoing thing, like the provision of food (which is what my story suggests), then the scenario would be very much like one sex, male, enslaving another, female; men imprisoning women to ensure continued sexual access and, therefore, their continued existence.

All that aside, the editor said “Art is free, and I won’t criticise any apology of anything.”  Okay, then, an apology for gendercide, should that have been what my story was about, would have been okay.  “However,” he continued, “all pieces of writing for SPJ must have at least a grain of plausibility.”  When I pointed out that I’d referenced Elliot Rodger and Alex Minassian, he said he hadn’t heard of either one.  What?  What?  (I keep forgetting that since words like sexism and misogyny aren’t used on primetime tv or in mainstream news, most people [in the U.S. and Canada, at least, because their entire worldview is formed by those two media] `aren’t familiar with the concepts. And it keeps shocking me when I remember that.  But wait, weren’t both Rodger and Minassian reported in mainstream news?)  My guess is the editor just didn’t read my story very carefully.  (Both Rodger and Minassian were referenced in footnotes.)  And why might that be?  Because … oh, right.  It was written by a woman.

He went on to say “As a 100% gay male, I can assure you that your statements about ALL men are quite off the mark …”  Quite apart from the fact that any statements I made about ALL men were in the context of the story, a fiction, I never made any statements about ALL men; in fact, I quite deliberately say “Of course not all men” at one point.

“On the other hand,” he continued, “the funny notion implied in your story that women don’t need sex is also wrong”— oh do tell, please, go ahead and mansplain women’s sexuality to me.

“Myself and quite a few of my gay male friends have had experiences of being sexually harassed by women. Therefore, women seem to need sex as well.”  Therefore?  Okay, at this point, I’m thinking the editor of a philosophical science fiction journal doesn’t have a philosophy degree.

In a subsequent email (because yes, I responded to his rejection letter, refuting his points; I’m tired of just letting these things happen without challenge), he said “At any case, there is too much hate shown by the narrator to be humanely appealing.”  Need I point out all the sf in which male narrators show too much hate of women to be humanely appealing?  (Yes, men, any time you write a story or novel in which the males subordinate or sexualize the females, you’re expressing hatred of women.)

And, in yet another email, he said “There is no lack of publishing venues that would gladly accept any kind of male-bashing. SPJ is not one of them.”

To which I replied, “It’s just … disappointing that you didn’t see that the story is actually an argument against male entitlement and an exposé of, and a cautionary tale about, toxic masculinity.”

Reducing sexism: non-binary sex and sex-neutral language

That sex is binary makes sexism so easy. What if sex existed on a spectrum?

But, you may reply, it doesn’t.  Contrary to so many transactivists, sex is a matter of biology, and you are either male or female; barring the exceptional, one has either XY chromosomes or XX chromosomes.

True, but saying that sex is physiological rather than emotional, an objective reality rather than a subjective feeling, need not imply that it’s binary. [1]  Imagine a spectrum: people with XX chromosomes and functioning female reproductive anatomy at one end (implying a certain level of estrogen); people with XY chromosomes and functioning male reproductive anatomy at the other end (implying a certain level of testosterone); in between, pre-puberty people (neither completely female nor completely male yet, post-menopausal people (no longer completely female), people with hormone variations from the norm (due to natural levels or injections), people with surgical variations (for medical reasons or cosmetic reasons—we may want to distinguish between the two), and so on.  There could be multiple (physical) determinants of sex, and people would be more or less male or female depending on their particular constellation of chromosomes, hormones, and anatomical bits.

In many ways, such a world would surely be more complicated.  For instance, competitive sports would have to be completely reorganized not according to sex, but according to height, weight, muscle mass, etc.  But surely, it would be, eventually, manageable.

Another way to reduce sexism would be to adopt sex-neutral language, because if you didn’t know whether the person was male or female, you couldn’t discriminate on that basis.[2]  This would involve the adoption of sex-neutral names and sex-neutral pronouns [3] and the elimination of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ (as in ‘police officer’ instead of ‘policeman’).  We would retain ‘male’ and ‘female’, of course, but mentioning sex would be relevant only in biological/medical contexts (and personal contexts regarding sexual interaction); to use ‘male’ and ‘female’ in everyday discourse would seem, as it does now, rude.

 

 

[1] Nor need it imply essentialism in the sense that physiological sex is essential to one’s identity (for example, although I am female, but I have never referred to myself as a woman because as far as I’m concerned, my sex doesn’t define me except in medical contexts; it does imply essentialism in the sense that physiology is essential to one’s sex.

[2] In many cases, given the spectrum mentioned above and the hoped-for elimination of gender, it might not even be possible to know whether the person was male or female if you actually saw them.

[3]  Though, please, not ‘they’ because of the consequent singular/plural confusion; there’s no reason we can’t introduce three new words, such as ze, zim, and zer.

 

Transsexualism is a problem only because sexism is a problem

Transsexualism is a problem only because sexism is a problem.  (Transgenderism is no problem at all: females have been wearing pants and so on for ages, and there’s nothing preventing males from wearing dresses and so on.)

If being female didn’t put people at greater risk of sexual assault from males, it wouldn’t matter whether male-bodied people were placed in women’s shelters and women’s prisons or allowed in women’s washrooms and change rooms.   In fact, there wouldn’t need to be women’s shelters and separate prisons, washrooms, and changerooms.  (Although there could be, for reasons other than fear of violence: there could be male, female, and mixed sex facilities across the board.)  There may not even be a need for sex-segregated services; we would need only sex-tailored services.

If being female-bodied didn’t disadvantage athletes for most sports (as we have come to know them), it wouldn’t matter whether they had to compete against male-bodied people.  In fact, there wouldn’t need to be sex-segregated sports.

If being female didn’t mean unjustified subordinate treatment, there would be no need for compensatory programs or data collection to monitor such treatment.  And so it wouldn’t matter if male-bodied people skewed or eliminated such data collection (by making it illegal to record sex) or diminished the funding for such programs (should that be a consequence for refusing to serve male-bodied people).

In short, if there were no sexism, it wouldn’t matter whether males said they were females and females said they were males.[1]  Just as it doesn’t matter whether brown-haired people said they were red-haired (except maybe to a psychologist interested in delusion).  (It would be a problem, however, if white-skinned people claimed to be black-skinned, because racism is a problem.)

Further, to the extent that transsexualism involves transgenderism, it depends on sexism.  If not for sexism, there would be no need to change sex in order to change gender.  If not for sexism, there would be no gender: the various attributes that are grouped together and then aligned with one sex or the other would be just individual attributes, as likely to be present in, or desired by, any given male as any given female.

 

[1]  But there is sexism, so it does matter.  By identifying themselves as female, and demanding access to women-only services and activities, ‘transwomen’ are oblivious not only to biological reality, but also to sexism.  Or perhaps they are simply insensitive to women’s fears (which in itself suggests that they are not women, but are, in fact, still men).  Because how can they not understand that someone with male levels of testosterone and male muscle mass is unwelcome in places where women would be vulnerable to their propensity to violence?  Especially since there is much evidence showing that males prone to violence against women see nothing wrong with using deceit to gain access to women, and no evidence that males who are in various degrees of transformation are any less violent.  (Of course ‘transwomen’ are also at risk of men’s violence, just as effeminate men have always been, but that’s a problem that men, not women, need to solve.)

So … until sexism has been eradicated from our society, ‘transwomen’ will just have to abstain from sex-segregated sports and wax their own balls (or, here’s an idea, go to waxing clinic that has personnel with experience waxing testicles—that is, a men’s waxing clinic).  Is that too much to ask?

As for public restrooms and change rooms, if ‘transwomen’ are afraid to continue using the men’s rooms, they should lobby for trans’ rooms, not the right to use women’s rooms.  As for prisons, I suppose ‘transwomen’ could lobby for separate trans facilities within men’s prisons.

 

Sports Competition, Sports Scholarships

In my novel Gender Fraud: a fiction, several people discuss the negative effect of gender recognition legislation on women’s sports (in a nutshell, it allows men to compete in women’s events and often they win … sponsorships, scholarships …) and one person suggests that sports should be categorized not by sex but, instead, by directly relevant factors, such as muscle mass (proportion and position), height, weight, even foot size (for swimming) …

I’d go further and say let’s just forget sports competition altogether, because, really, can we ever make it fair?  Determining what we have is hard enough; determining what we’ve been born with and what we’ve developed is near impossible.  Why not just have athletic activity?  Why this obsessive desire to figure out who’s best?  Who wins?  (And who’s a LOSER …)  Enough with the ‘You get a medal and all those advertising contracts because on a given day you ran a certain distance a tenth of a second faster than a bunch of other people.

Sports scholarships in particular have got to go.  On what grounds is admission to an institute of learning justified by athletic achievement?

Because yes, universities are, should be, places for the intellect.  They prepare scholars, architects, engineers, psychologists, mathematicians, biologists, physicists, chemists, doctors, lawyers …  What place do football players have there?  And it’s not like they (the football players) don’t cost a ridiculous amount of money to be there.  Money that could be used for library resources, labs, etc.   So in addition, perhaps prior, to the elimination of sports scholarships to universities, I call for the elimination of sports at universities.  (And so, too, the elimination of sports competitions between universities.)  Sure, let’s have gyms and fields.  Physical activity often enhances mental activity.  Activity.  Competition is not required.

 

 

 

 

 

Hunting – simply unjustified

It’s hunting season again — moose for a week, then deer for two weeks — and I have yet to hear an acceptable justification.

The animals are having enough trouble surviving because of what we’ve done, and what we’re still doing, to the forests.  And now you want to just go out and kill them.

Oh, but we kill only the old and the sick.  We cull the herd and keep it healthy.  First, liar.  One of you shot a moose calf just the other day.  Second, herd?  Seriously?  When’s the last time you saw a herd of moose or deer?  Third, if you were really killing them out of compassion, you’d tranquilize then euthanize them — not shoot them (I doubt one shot from your gun kills them instantly and painlessly).

And my favourite: we like the meat.  Only men would think that their liking, their wanting, something justifies the use of lethal force to get that something.

 

 

On advertising (again)

Advertising has gained such phenomenal power, it’s now allowed pretty much everywhere.  And because it’s allowed pretty much everywhere, it has gained phenomenal power.

In fact, it has almost single-handedly destroyed the concept of public space because of its invasion of said public space with constant and loudly-proclaimed messages intended for private gain (not for the public good). 

This power has increased tremendously with the Internet.  No need to go into detail: everyone who uses the Internet is familiar with the intrusive pervasiveness of advertising.  More than that, given the addictiveness of online games and social media, advertising in those contexts is especially pernicious.

And who is it who creates all these ads?  Who is it who decides which words and which images the rest of us will be forcibly exposed to day and night for most of our lives?  Predominantly, male business students.  Male business B students.  (They’re the ones who major in Marketing.)  That is to say, largely uneducated young men.  Who probably didn’t take any courses in the sciences or the humanities after high school (and they probably didn’t do very well in those courses then).   Who probably took just one psychology course during university, the one focusing on manipulating human behaviour.  And who probably haven’t read a book, not one, since they graduated (and they probably read as little as possible of the books they were supposed to read before they graduated).  All of which is to say that they probably have very little comprehension of sexism, racism, environmental responsibility, …   In fact, I remember reading the words of one young man who’d said “I was studying political science at the time, so I had never thought about social processes like misogyny and sexism.”  (What?  What?!)  And I suspect business students are even less aware, less informed, than poli-sci students. 

So they have no clue as to the consequences, for both men and women, of seeing images of subordinated and/or sexualized women every day all day.  They are similarly clueless about the consequences of showing pick-up trucks and ATVs driving through pristine forests.  They know that attention is grabbed by flashing lights, and they surely know that driving a car requires one’s full attention, but apparently they can’t put two and two together and so continue to put huge billboards with flashing lights along roads.

And here’s the thing: people should understand the consequences of their actions before they’re granted unsupervised freedom to act.  Certainly before they’re granted the power to bombard people with words and images (which are, yes, HARMFUL).  With power should come responsibility.

So how is it that our government grants them such power?  How is it that it allows such HARM?  On such a large and relentless scale?  Legislation is for idiots, for those who cannot govern themselves, and clearly …

(What’s that you say?  Freedom of expression?  But freedom of expression is not, should not be, unlimited.  It is justifiably constrained when it violates others’ rights … to privacy (to be free from intrusion), to safety (to be free from harm), to autonomy (to be free of manipulation) …)

Trying to figure out people’s actions or thinking — banned on Reddit? WTF.

So in addition to all the radfem censorship on reddit …

I posted the following on the AskMen subreddit:

Why do men rape?

That’s my question. Seriously. Why do men rape? I just wrote a novel answering that question, Impact, but I’d like to hear from men. (And perhaps should’ve posted here BEFORE I wrote the novel. Didn’t occur to me.)

I immediately received the message:

Sorry, this post has been removed by the moderators of r/AskMen.

Moderators remove posts from feeds for a variety of reasons, including keeping communities safe, civil, and true to their purpose.

I assumed it was an automatic removal, and I assumed that it was the word ‘rape’ that triggered the removal (which in itself would be telling—they anticipate getting, or do get, a lot of ‘Which way do you like to rape cunts the best?’ queries … ?).  So I sent a note to the moderators, asking them to please read my post and reconsider.

Then I see received another response:

Your post has been flagged as trying to figure out a specific person’s or group of people’s actions or thinking. 

Seriously?  It’s taboo to try to understand people’s actions or thinking?  WTF.

I decided to experiment and posted the same question on the AskWomen subreddit. 

It was also removed.  Reasons:

Graceless generalizations are not permitted

– People are not a hive mind.

– Speak only for yourself.

Do not

– generalize across all people of a gender, race, or ethnicity

– ask for mind reading

– ask for us to defend/justify other people’s behaviors

– assume that all people in a gender, race, or ethnicity do/think something

– ask for ‘male equivalent’/’female equivalent’ as these would not exist for most things due to different cultural processes

– exceptions: discussion of cultural norms; quotations

Woh.  First, notice the difference.  The women’s response is SO much better.  More detailed, more explanatory …   It is, in a nutshell, indicative of superior thinking. 

And yes, I agree.  The way I’d phrased the question was assuming a hive mind and generalizing across a sex.  I could rephrase it: Why has rape become normalized in our culture?  That would clearly fall into the exception of ‘discussion of cultural norms’ …

Even so, I wonder at the ‘Speak only for yourself’ rule.  Limiting oneself to anecdote is no way to acquire knowledge.  Are we to assume no one knows anything but their own subjective experience?  Could no one have referred me to, say, Smithyman’s 1976 research, recently mentioned in The New York Times?  Or the NFB film, Why Men Rape?  Not to mention Neil Malamuth’s work … And why is it a problem, as it was for the men, to ask for mind reading?  Do people not know their own minds?  Have we become so incapable of introspection?  Or is it, in the second case, that I was asking women to read men’s minds?  Even so, can’t we speculate?  With good reason and evidence? 

from The Wine of Violence, James Morrow

“On Earth, where his remotest forebears lived, a person could be indisputably responsible for the deaths of thousands and still go down in the history books as some sort of great hero. … Why, he wanted to know, were the names of Samson, Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Ulysses S. Grant, and Julius Caesar not obscenities, spoken after dark in whispers of revulsion and shame?”  p17-80

“The miners … expected retirement benefits from their Rationalist employer, John Donaldson.  Mr. Donaldson went home, did the arithmetic, and called out the police because it was cheaper.

“The strikers, who had enthusiasm, attacked the police, who had yeastguns.  The enthusiasm made martyrs; the guns, holes.”  p109-110

Elizabeth May, Losing Confidence

“If I were inventing democracy from scratch, I would not have invented political parties” (p17). Yes! “Mindless partisanship insists on a team mentality. My team versus your team …” (p17).

“Decisions are made on the basis of public opinion research far more than on the basis of policy analysis by the civil service” (p75). Yeah, when did THAT start to happen?

“If a citizen truly needs the intermediation of a lobby to get the attention of policy-makers in Ottawa … then we have no real democracy” (p173).

And then there’s the FPTP (First Past the Post) system Canada uses. In the 2008 election, “The Bloc won 50 seats with 1.3 million votes, while the NDP won 37 seats with 2.4 million votes. The Green Party won just under 1 million votes … yet won no seats” (p199). ‘Nuff said.

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

Well worth the read! (A surprising, but not, answer to what the fuck is wrong with our world? How have we gotten to the point of no return?)

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