‘Stop it, punish it, corral people, shame people’

Last week we looked at an incident involving an evangelical college that fired a woman for having sex outside of marriage — offering her former job to the man she slept with. Examining San Diego Christian College’s double-standard, and the affirmation of that double standard in Christianity Today’s reporting on the incident, I wrote this:

Given the chance to choose between “saving babies” and controlling women, both the magazine and the college instinctively opt for controlling women.

Women who have sex must be punished. …

And over the weekend we looked (again) at the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act — a necessary piece of legislation that “pro-life” social conservatives ought to be enthusiastically supporting, but are not. That lack of support is so inconsistent with and contradictory to this movement’s purported aim of protecting the unborn that, I wrote, it seems to disprove the integrity of this claim, revealing the movement to be “really motivated by an anti-feminist impulse to control and punish women.”

Some responses to both of those posts have suggested I’m being uncharitable — that it is unfair for me to accuse the leaders of the pro-life movement of being driven by their desire to punish women who have sex.

That does seem like a rather harsh accusation. But in my defense, there’s one good reason I keep accusing the leaders of the pro-life movement of really wanting to punish women who have sex: The leaders of the pro-life movement keep saying that they really want to punish women who have sex.

Here is Family Research Council senior fellow Pat Fagan, speaking yesterday on a Christian radio program:

It’s not the contraception, everybody thinks it’s about contraception, but what this court case said was young people have the right to engage in sex outside of marriage. Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever. The institution for the expression of sexuality is marriage and all societies always shepherded young people there, what the Supreme Court said was forget that shepherding, you can’t block that, that’s not to be done.

Fagan’s agenda is clear: Stop, punish, corral, shame. His words, not mine.

So yes, I am in fact accusing the leaders of this movement of cruel and unseemly motives, but that is only because they themselves say that is what motivates them. Is it uncharitable of me to take them at their word?

 

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The 71-percent heresy
When identity is bound up in a lie
  • DoctorChimRichalds

    I got two Jacksons and a Hamilton that say this guy regularly cheats on his wife with a mid-range escort. Any takers?

  • Figs

     Don’t you mean “mid-range male escort”?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, you never know when he might need his luggage lifted.

  • The_L1985

     Are you nuts?  I don’t want to lose a Grant.

  • SergeantHeretic

    That’s a sucker bet and you know it, Doctor.

  • http://twitter.com/Didaktylos Paul Hantusch

    Nah: it would be bottom of the range (and he’d expect a discount) – you know how cheap his kind are.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I dunno. Is rentboy.com considered ‘mid-range’?

  • Jim Roberts

    I wish you were wrong, Fred. I really wish you were. And so I understand why others would think that you must be wrong.

    I don’t have anything else to say. I don’t know that there is anything. Punishing people for sex. What is there to say, other than, ‘No.’

  • SergeantHeretic

    Fred to use their own flowery language, they are condemned out of their own mouths.

    The reason folks like you and me believe that the anti-abortion movement is really about controlling and dominating and restricting women is because the most prominant leaders of this movement practice slut shaming, they blame women for rape, they blame women for sexual harrasment, the whole of the purity culture is all about the controlling and dominating of WOMEN!

    These alleged people are utterly convinced that my body does not belong to me, that it belongs by definition to “Society, translation, that my body is THEIR property!

    And they wonder why I am not their biggest fan.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Every vehement anti-abortion activist I have ever met without exception has said and I quote, “With legal abortions, these slutty girls just go out and have all that sex and if they get pregnant they just go have abortions.”

    There it is right there. It is the very first thing out of their mouths when you ask them why they don’t like legal abortions.

    The idea of protecting and safeguarding children is at best an afterthought and at worst shameless guile to lull the moderate Christians. Every pro kid measure they zealously and voiciferously block shows us exactly where their heads are at.

    “Shame the sluts control the women dominate the women. The kids, oh uh yeah, we guess they’re important too, or something.”

  • Jim Roberts

    I think a big part of the problem is that being anti-abortion is moving out to the fringe, which means that the people who identify with that position will tend to the lunatic.

    I mean, if I had my way, no woman would ever have an abortion, but that would happen because no woman would be in a position where they needed one. I know that’s not possible and grit my teeth and help those organizations best equipped to help keep the numbers in check, but if you polled me, I’d still test as pro-life.

  • Kirala

     Jim, I kind of think that it’s less that anti-abortion is moving out to the fringe and more that the line between the camps is fuzzing as people realize that pro-choice does NOT mean pro-abortion. My mother has always been vehemently against abortion for almost all cases, but she is even more vehemently against the idea that the government has the right to make these decisions for a woman. Despite the fact that she has always been pro-choice in practice, she would identify herself as pro-life because that’s the side that’s “not pro-abortion”. At least, she used to identify as pro-life. These days, she avoids labels entirely because It’s Complicated.

    Although my point may be splitting hairs, because I agree that the terminology is shifting to describe only the extremes and not the moderates, I just don’t think the actual positions of the moderates have shifted significantly.

  • Jim Roberts

    “These days, she avoids labels entirely because It’s Complicated.”
    I know more and more people who are doing this.

    I’ve been toying with the notion of popularizing the term, “pro-motherhood.” Not just pro-life, because that’s just the fetus, but being a positive advocate for women being mothers, and so advocating for ALL of it. Education, food assistance, housing assistance, early childcare, the whole thing.

  • Lunch Meat

    How about “pro-parenthood”? These issues affect fathers and nongendered parents as well, after all.

    (Pro-family has already been co-opted, unfortunately.)

  • Jim Roberts

    An excellent amendement, Lunch Meat – “pro-parenthood” it is.

  • AnonaMiss

    As a woman who does her best to have no problem with other people being parents*, but has a squicky reaction to the idea of being one herself, I cringe a little at the idea of people labeling themselves “pro-motherhood” or “pro-parenthood”. Though I know y’all don’t mean it that way, the phrase has overtones of all the years of “You’ll change your mind when you’re older” and the paralyzing fear I experienced when I half believed the people who told me that.

    I mean, yeah, great, help parents out and stuff, but “pro-parenthood” comes out a little too close to “anti-not being parents”, neh?

    * My personal phobia of childbirth is strong enough that as much as I tell myself that yes, other people are actually OK with this and it’s OK and they can make their own decisions, I have to basically shut down my sense of empathy in order to interact with pregnant women. “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD” my phobia screams. “ARE YOU OKAY GET IT OUT OF YOU GET IT OUT OF YOU GET IT OUT OF YOU”.

    And yes, I’m aware that parenthood doesn’t inherently require being a gene donor yourself, but that’s the default in our culture, and the connotation comes along with it.

  • Kirala

     It’s a pity that “pro-life” has been co-opted, because as much as I like “pro-motherhood,” it doesn’t lend itself to describing women who have been through some of pregnancy but aren’t mothers. Or, if we’re including all the stuff after birth, the role of fathers.

  • Jim Roberts

    Yeah, the biggest group I tend to find myself advocating for are those who need an abortion for medical reasons, and both “pro-motherhood” and “pro-parenthood” exclude those groups.

    I think we’re back to why your mother is a smart woman for avoiding labels. It really is complicated.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Still, “pro-parenthood” implies that the child(ren) in question will be wanted and not children regarded as a burden.

  • Lunch Meat

    “I am pro-family, meaning that I think strong, committed, interdependent relationship and friendship networks are good for society; I support the freedom of every individual to choose without coercion what hir family will look like, who will be included; how and with what level of intimacy those relationships are defined (whether living together, sleeping together, just being supportive friends or anything in between), and if and when and how to add children to the family; and I believe society should put programs in place to support families and children and ensure they have the resources and abilities to support each other.”

    Doesn’t exactly fit on a bumper sticker, does it? And I probably missed something.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     “I’m pro-family. ALL families.” fits nicely enough on a bumper sticker.

  • Daughter

    Yup. The pro-marriage equality folks in Washington state co-opted that term to describe marriage equality, and judged by the results, it made a difference.

  • Jim Roberts

    I had a conversation with someone about these kinds of labels and bumper sticker politics and cam to the conclusion that the best possible answer when someone asks what your position is on a particular issue is, “Do you have a minute? I have some questions for you first.”

  • Magic_Cracker

    I’ve eschewed bumper-stickers ever since I was riding with a friend who had a back-end full of stickers and we were first tail-gated and honked at and then passed and dangerously cut-off by someone with a full back-end of opposing stickers. My friend decided to return the favor with honking and cutting off and middle fingers, etc., which escalated the situation and led to us being chased all over the back roads outside of Lancaster PA until our pursuer finally got bored/gave up.

    The only bumper-sticker on my current car is for faculty parking at Miskatonic U.

  • Ross Thompson

    The only bumper-sticker on my current car is for faculty parking at Miskatonic U.

    This one?

  • stardreamer42

    There’s already a term for that: “pro-natalist”. And one of the standard parts of it is the assumption that ALL women must have children, period.

  • Jim Roberts

    Which is precisely why I didn’t use that term – I’m not interested in requiring anyone have children, just in supporting those that choose to do so.

  • other lori

    I don’t like to identify myself as either anymore. I do believe that choosing to end a pregnancy unless it’s necessary to save the woman’s life is wrong, but I also believe that the government forcing women to continue pregnancies against their will is worse. I used to say I was “pro-choice,” but I’ve honestly been just too turned off by so many pro-choicers who demand an ideological purity that requires that people not just think abortion should be legal but are always willing to celebrate all abortions as morally good and right that I just can’t really comfortably associate myself with that any more.

    But I’d certainly never identify as pro-life, because I am vehemently opposed to the tactics and goals of the movement. 

  • Carstonio

    I’ve never encountered anyone who claimed that all abortions were “morally good and right.” It’s possible that you encountered the extremist outliers among pro-choicers. Or maybe you misinterpreted their arguments, something that I’ve done myself in other debates. The label “pro-choice” should mean only one’s position on abortion’s legality, and there are plenty of people who share your position on both the morality and the legality.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     I will.  Because any time any woman doesn’t want to carry any pregnancy to term, for WHATEVER REASON, and is able to abort it, that is a moral good*.  It’s a moral good that does not put one more unwanted child in this world, it is a moral good that women are allowed bodily autonomy, it is a moral good that people are allowed to access the health care they want.  Anything beyond that opinion is just about getting to be judgemental, and I’m not down with that. 

    People who support reproductive rights have to stop falling into this trap that abortions are necessary but also immoral.  The moral judgements people want to attach to abortion are why we still live in a world where it is considered acceptable to force women to undergo unnecessary vaginal penetrations for pointless tests to obtain abortions.  It is why anti-choicers can lie their ass off and claim RU-486 is more dangerous than Tylenol, because we insist on and allow moral judgement on abortion.  It’s why no one can stop the falsehoods about the side effects of abortion, because in our screwed up world of cheap and easy rationalization, something that “we” all “agree” is so bad must cause some harm somewhere. 

    *And goodness knows, I hope it’s understood, but let me be clear.  Any time any woman is forced to abort any pregnancy is not a moral good and is not what I am talking about when I say that all abortions are good and right, because I am only talking about voluntary abortions. 

  • Carstonio

    While I agree with your overall point, you and the Other Lori seem to be talking about two different things. You’re talking about access to abortion and not about abortion itself. From my reading, her extremists apparently believe that abortion is the moral choice for every pregnancy, not just the ones where the woman doesn’t want to carry the pregnancy to term. That sounds much more like an anti-choice straw woman.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     No, I am talking about abortion itself.  Any abortion a woman wants is a moral abortion.  There should be no judgement, regardless of whatever circumstances put the woman in that position. 

  • Carstonio

     Agreed that there should be no judgment, and that’s actually part of my point. To me, “any abortion a woman wants is a moral abortion” suggests that any woman who finds herself in the same exact position as Woman X should make the same choice as Woman X. I refuse to call any particular abortion moral or immoral because I have no business making that judgment, partly because I’ve never had a womb.

  • EllieMurasaki

    To me, “any abortion a woman wants is a moral abortion” suggests that any woman who finds herself in the same exact position as Woman X should make the same choice as Woman X.

    Which is true, IF AND ONLY IF Person X and Person Y want the same thing from their otherwise identical situations. If the situations are identical in all respects bar whether they want an abortion, then the situations are vastly different and should be treated differently.

  • Carstonio

    If the situations are identical in all respects bar whether they want an
    abortion, then the situations are vastly different and should be
    treated differently.

    True. My point about “moral” is that the word implies “should,” just as “immoral” implies “shouldn’t.” The thing about shoulds and shouldn’ts is that they presume to take precedence over what one wants even if this agrees with them.

  • stardreamer42

    This is why I tend to use “ethical” and “unethical” in this type of discussion rather than “moral” and “immoral”. IMO the former have not been co-opted into “should” and “shouldn’t” to nearly the same extent as the latter.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     I don’t know why you feel that their is only one moral decision to any possible decision though, because I don’t see that at ALL. 

    I can get on board with the rest. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    I wanted to say something akin to this, but wasn’t able to word it as gracefully. Thank you.

  • banancat

     I wish I could “Like” your comment a million times.  I am so fucking sick of all these hand-wringers who think abortion is immoral but are generous enough to think it should still be legal.  My eyes roll so hard every time.

    The thing is, I used to be that sort of pro-choice where I thought abortion was wrong but that it should still be legal.  That was when I was a teenager and still a virgin.  Then I started having sex and realized how easily I could be in a position to face that choice, and suddenly it stopped seeming so wrong.  I had the wisdom at age 15 to be reflective and realize I needed to stop judging people.  So I have little sympathy for adults who haven’t had the same insight.

  • The_L1985

     True, but some of us were basically prevented form being able to have that insight by being raised in a pro-life bubble.  I never once heard any reason why anyone was pro-choice until I was in college.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    True, but some of us were basically prevented form being able to have that insight by being raised in a pro-life bubble.  I never once heard any reason why anyone was pro-choice until I was in college.

    You know, you remind me a bit of a classmate of mine who grew up along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana.  She said that a big part of the reason she moved up to Seattle was because her family, and most of the other people around there, had very little imagination while she had an abundance of it (she is studying to be a computer animation artist.)  

    I have to wonder if that lack of imagination is something that is trained into a person (or more likely trained out of a person) because it keeps them from asking questions.  Sure, you never encountered any reason why anyone was pro-choice until college, but surely you could have imagined one as a thought experiment?  If you are encouraged not to imagine that, then you will never question the political position of it.

  • The_L1985

    Exactly. In fact, we were brainwashed into thinking that the only people who believed any differently were cruel, evil sorts. That’s pretty much guaranteed to cut off any investigation until you learn differently firsthand.

  • Lliira

     I’ve never encountered anyone who claimed that all abortions were “morally good and right.”

    Now you have. All abortions freely chosen by the person who is pregnant are morally good and right.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    On the topic of abortions that are “morally good and right”… I think there’s a categorical error occurring.

    The principle that human beings have bodily autonomy is morally good and right. The principle that governments and societies should not have coercive power or authority, let alone control, over individual bodies is morally good and right. 

    The things that occur as a result of this principle may or may not be morally good and right, depending on context and circumstance. They are not inherently good or bad.

    To use an analogy, the principle that governments should not pass laws or otherwise use coercive power or authority to limit or influence public speech is morally right and good. Individuals might use public speech to spread falsehoods or invoke prejudice, but they can also use it to educate and encourage charity and compassion. 

    The right to free speech is morally good and right, even if not all free speech is good and right.  Abortions might or might not be ‘morally good and right’, but the principle that a person has the right to choose an abortion if they want one is morally good and right. 

  • brightie

    Oh, God, no.

  • Victor Savard

    (((“Shame the sluts control the women dominate the women. The kids, oh uh yeah, we guess they’re important too, or something.”)))

    Ya got “IT” Man! That’s the way to be NOW!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HfsBqNxp1Y

    (((Oh, God, no.)))

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruVCGDoj3Dw

    Don’t bee like that sinner vic! Bee nice NOW!

    Go Figure! :)

    Peace

  • Carstonio

    While Fred is right to condemn Fagan’s repulsive ideology, I’m not sure how he’s reading the man’s rant as explicitly about punishing women who have sex. That goal seems to me to be very strongly implied instead, an extended dog whistle cloaked in gender-neutral language. The context is about contraception, which impacts women far more than men and involves a woman’s control over her body. And Fagan mentioned the allegedly uncertain status of children, which is a euphemism for slut-shaming.

  • Figs

     I think that history as prologue has given enough evidence to assume that enforcement of Fagan’s preferred policies would come down almost exclusively on women.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    Funny how they’re against sex outside of marriage for everyone yet all the measures they take to oppose it only punish women 

  • other lori

    To some extent. However, I’d argue that the ways in which we now punish statutory rape (with a felony, 25 years to life on a sex offender registry, and in some cases prison time) even when the guy involved is only in his twenties is part of the same system, and the part that disproportionately punishes men.

    We take the men who would, at least historically, be the most likely sexual partners of post-pubescent teen girls who are looking for partners–guys in their late teens and early-to-mid 20s–and penalize them in ridiculously disproportionate ways. We punish the 22yo guy who gets a naked text message from his 16yo girlfriend more harshly than we’d punish a man who molests children. 

    I have no doubt that the draconian turn our laws around statutory sexual offenses have take in the last 20 years or so is entirely related to wanting to control the sexual behavior of young women, and particularly our fear of teen pregnancy. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I wouldn’t be surprised. This incessant drive to control something in an uncertain world is leading to politicians seeking expedient ways to please the populace in ways that don’t threaten the tendency to succour the powerful.

  • other lori

    Well, in fairness, statutory rape laws have ALWAYS been about controlling the sexuality of young women. The difference is just in how we punish and justify it. We used to justify it by saying that a teen girl who had sex was going to be “un-marriageable” and so the punishment was often forcing the guy she’d slept with to marry her. (The guy could get out of legal penalties by marrying the woman, and that was the main impulse behind having the laws at all, so that guys couldn’t deflower and knock up teen girls and then waltz away leaving her a lonely old spinster who would never get her dad a decent bride price.)

    Today, we justify it by saying that post-pubescent teen girls are “mentally incapable” of consenting to sex (unless, of course, we’re talking with a liberal and it’s with a guy their own age, in which case they suddenly do develop that capacity, although it will disappear when they are around a guy 19 or older) and punish it by treating guys in their 20s who dare take a teen girl who says she wants sex at her word worse than we treat child molesters. 

    It all comes down to the same thing: wanting to either punish teens for having sex or at least control who they are having sex with. 

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    It all comes down to the same thing: wanting to either punish teens for having sex or at least control who they are having sex with.

    The application of most modern statutory rape laws are about controlling who underage women have sex with, specifically to prevent them from being in sexual relationships with substantial power differentials, as those sorts of imbalances tend to impair meaningful consent. With age and experience, adults learn to recognize imbalances and either avoid them or seek to correct them, but teenagers don’t have that experience. 

    Socially, when it comes to getting the experience needed to avoid being harmed and/or exploited, we’ve tried to write laws to allow some opportunity, but under restrictions that reduce risk. Teenagers can work, but there are limits on when and how many hours while they’re under 16. (18 in some states) Teenagers can drive cars with provisional licenses or learners permits, but there are restrictions on when they can drive, and with whom. And statutory rape laws usually contain a clause that the law does not apply to partners who are relatively close in age. The purpose is fairly consistent: these are activities with a risk of harm and/or exploitation, having experience reduces that risk, so here are some limited situations where you may gain experience with reduced risk.

    by treating guys in their 20s who dare take a teen girl who says she wants sex at her word worse than we treat child molesters.

    I’m uncomfortable with phrases like “guys in their 20s” because that gives equal cover to a 20-year-old having sex the day after their birthday with 17-year-old  as it does to a 29-year-old engaging in statutorily-non-consensual sex with a 15-year-old. It doesn’t take an oracle to determine which of those scenarios only violates the letter of the law versus which one is in violation of both the letter and the spirit of the law. 

    Statutory rape laws aren’t about controlling the sexuality of young women. They’re about punishing adults who would seek to exploit the inexperience of minors for their own immediate sexual gratification. “The law, in its majesty, prohibits both the rich and the poor from sleeping under bridges.” 

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Not always. Michigan’s statutory rape law doesn’t discriminate based on age — any sexual contact with a teen under the age of 16 is punishable by law, although people close in age are liable to be given reduced sentences of “only” a year in prison.

  • Daughter

    Bwuh? So that means that in Michigan, two 15 year olds who have sex are treated as having statutorily raped each other?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    From my observation, it’s more often used as a threat against the male by the female’s parents. I’ve never actually seen charges laid against anyone, but the websites I’m looking up (which are for people like attorneys and defense lawyers, not MRAs, shockingly enough) indicate that it happens regularly enough to be an industry.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Any sensibly written age of consent law, like Canada’s, usually includes an exception for people between the ages of, say, 14 and 18.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Michigan’s law isn’t sensibly written.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I thought that most age of consent laws were either both partners had to be above an arbitrary age threshold (usually 18) or within a certain age range of one another (about eighteen to twenty-four months difference in age.)  

  • Jenny Islander

    In some states, the 15-year-old who is slightly older is automatically the sex criminal and the other one is automatically the victim.  Others have passed “Romeo and Juliet” laws protecting the older partner in cases where either both are underage or one is just over the legal age of consent.  The case that first made me aware of this was a teenager picked up by the police for sexual abuse of a minor (a high school classmate IIRC) although he had decided on his own to take a parenting class so that he could help to take care of their baby.  The boy spent some time in jail, but the couple was reunited IIRC.

  • Jenny Islander

    Couldn’t find that one, but here’s a comparable case: 

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/02/illinois-romeo-and-juliet_n_830301.html

    Couple, 14 months apart, fall in love, agree to marry, start a baby, and get a place together.  Cops come around investigating a burglary and in the course of taking down their basic information note that she was technically a minor when they started the baby.  They promptly arrest him.  He is back with his family, but on the sex offenders’ list for ten years (as of 2011), so he can’t even take his own kids to the park.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     There are also states, or at least there were in my memory, where the laws were straight-up gendered, so that if a 14-year-old boy had sex with a 17-year-old girl, he had committed a crime and she hadn’t. If memory serves, there was one state where the result was that there was a certain range where even if two partners were the same age,  whether one, the other or both had committed a sex crime depended entirely on their genders (And yes, technically, gay male couples could legally have sex at a younger age than hetero couples)

    (There were also states where the age of consent was tied to the specific sex act. This presumably could lead to very complicated things happening)

  • stardreamer42

    I disagree. As our society is currently structured, a 22-year-old man who seeks out a 16-year-old girl as a sex partner is a sexual predator. Yes indeed, it used to be the case that men didn’t marry until they were established and women were expected to marry before their mid-20s, and therefore the customary age difference between husbands and wives was 7-15 years. That isn’t how things work any more.

  • Amy

    I haven’t been here long, but I recognized you from reading other, similar comments posted under this user name.  I can’t help wondering if there’s some personal experience behind your point of view that’s clouding your perception.
    If you or someone you love got a raw deal from the legal system I’m sorry to hear that, but it doesn’t mean that statutory rape laws are “draconian”  or disproportionately punish men.  (Men are kinda disproportionately guilty.)

    So-called “statutory” rape laws are being strengthened and enforced
    more often (and being re-named, thank God) because our society becoming more aware
    of how common and how damaging sexual abuse is.  Some of us view this as a step in the right direction.
    Even so it’s quite rare to find a prosecutor willing to take a young man to trial for simply having sex with his girlfriend.  Because they know that unless the victim is severely injured, a jury of his peers won’t convict him even if he’s guilty of “rape-rape” (uck).

    At least- according to the Orange County prosecuting attorney who spoke at one of the classes I took in my training to become a state-certified sexual assault counselor/victim advocate/rape crisis hotline volunteer. 
    He said they won’t go to trial unless they’re 98% sure of getting a conviction or it’s considered a waste of taxpayer money.  (Actual conviction rate= 94%. Which I believe includes plea-bargains but I’m not sure.)

    “We punish the 22yo guy who gets a naked text message from his 16yo
    girlfriend more harshly than we’d punish a man who molests children.”
    No, we don’t. 
    In many states (if not all, I’m not sure), the sending & receiving of photos/text messages is subject to child pornography laws, but you can’t just send somebody a naked picture out of the blue and then get them convicted of a sex crime and registered as a sex offender just because their phone worked the way it was supposed to.  No.  Not buyin’ it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What makes you so sure that cases that should be dismissed under the de minimis rule  are actually being dismissed instead of being used as a quickie notch on the prosecutor’s belt?

    There is a real and serious problem with the increasing levels of Puritanical moral prudery being used for things like cheap entertainment (“Why don’t you just have a seat over there?”) as well as a way to direct the drive for control that exists in society.

    I read it years ago and never saved the link, but the basic point being made was that if society cannot control the economy, society will try to control the people.

    There is, for lack of a better word, a kind of free-floating desire to regulate and maintain society. Forgive the very amorphous concept, but it’s hard to describe well.

    The basic point is that this desire to regulate has to find an outlet somewhere and in the last 20 years it has found expression in social-control laws like increasing criminalization of petty acts formerly disregarded, like vagrancy/loitering, use of public property at all hours*, anti-“cruising” laws (If you drive around the block more than once in Portland, Oregon, that is now technically a ticketable offence), and so on.

    And then there’s whole classes of increasingly harsh levels of Pedo Hunting to the point where anecdotally fathers and uncles will no longer take their kids out by themselves because they keep feeling like someone’s going to accuse them of being a kiddie diddler – as irrational and absurd as that feeling is, it’s a reflection of the trends of society generally.

    And these trends are in the direction of trying to keep hold over something because people feel safer if they can.


    * In some places it is now illegal to enter a city or state park after dusk.

  • Michael Pullmann

     Wait, we’re calling thinking grown men who want to sleep with teenage girls are gross “Puritanical moral prudery” now?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    No, but the fact that it is suddenly a Huge Thing to be Alarmed About is. Nobody condones it, and we already have laws that deal with the problem.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    It seems to have suddenly become a big deal overnight. Numerous celebrities many people still think fondly of were famous for exactly what we now consider ‘molestation’.

    Bill Wyman, the rest of the Stones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis…

    Wyman is a special case because even compared to the rest of the Stones he’s pretty famous for young girls. It got highlighted in the UK press some years ago when his son began dating Wyman’s girlfriend’s mother — who was about the same age as the son! Tracking out a potential family tree from that point became very amusing. 

  • Daughter

    (If you drive around the block more than once in Portland, Oregon, that is now technically a ticketable offence), and so on.

    So if you’re looking for a parking space, too bad?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    As I said, technically. I imagine the real use of such a law is to allow police to ticket anyone who a cop thinks is a gang member and/or a john.

  • Daughter

    So if you’re a young man driving around looking for a parking space, too bad because the cops might think you’re a gang member, and if you’re a middle aged man, too bad because they might think you’re a john?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Bingo. It’s a social control tool since the anti-“Cruising” law cannot possibly be enforced fairly or impartially. So the real effect is to stealth block the Constitutional right of free mobility that a citizen has.

  • Arachne646

    You must remember, however, that the USA is not the whole world, and that its statutory rape laws are, shall we say, eccentric. Their general spirit and purpose, granted the fact that they vary significantly from state to state, is unusually severe and seemingly has progressed little in importing any ability to consent to any sexual activity of any kind to female persons who are of the age to assume other responsibilities, like driving privileges, emancipation, or elevation to adult criminal court.

    In Canada, for example, there is no such offense as statutory rape, and sexual assault cannot occur if there is consent for sexual activity between two young people of approximately the same age, or if the younger is, I think, 15 or so, and the elder person is no more than 10 years older. There is, though, a caveat, in case of the older person being in a position of authority: a teacher, minister, employer, relative, coach, or similar role–then the possibility of consent is not present, and the Crown prosecutor might choose to lay a charge of sexual assault in that case, if the younger person were not yet 18 years of age. The sexual activity that took place would have an effect on the degree of the charge. Any physical violence would be a different, additional charge of assault and battery.

  • http://twitter.com/mumbly_joe Greg

    Right, but “vocal fringe”, “not actually the mainstream of the movement”, etc. etc.

    Never mind that Rick Santorum, who voiced the indentical sentiment -repeatedly- in the context of the “dangers” of contraception, and how Griswold v. Connecticut was improperly decided, was a frequent frontrunner for in the 2012 GOP primary.

  • Jim Roberts

    Sorry, it appears I wasn’t clear – there was a time when the “mainstream of the movement” was at least a little reasonable, but that time is, in most places, gone. The people who say that they’re “anti-abortion” are all about hating the sluts and very little else.

  • http://twitter.com/mumbly_joe Greg

    No, that was clear enough.  I wasn’t actually responding to you, just a victim of poor timing.

    What I was referencing was those of Fred’s detractors who have in the past suggested that people like Fagan and groups like FRC are merely a vocal fringe of the movement, and not thought leaders, and to suggest otherwise is to be complicit in anti-Christian slander.

  • DCFem

    We’ve seen the anti-choice rhetoric  ratcheted up to 11 this year because it just might be starting to sink in with the woman hating zealots that the culture wars are over and they lost. But they are going to stay on the battlefield, kicking and screaming and totally giving away their game until there is finally no one left who is insincere or willfully ignorant enough to argue with people like Fred over what really motivates anti-choice zealots. The FRC guy said in his own words, “stop, punish, corral, shame”. That’s less ambiguous than, “shut that whole thing down”. Fagan stated in plain English that the goal is to shame people, to punish them for having sex.

    Fred (if he so choose) could also provide his detractors with plenty of evidence of these same people who claim to care about children not doing one thing to stop the tide of entitlement program cuts that directly harm kids. Let’s start with the draconian cuts to food stamps that leave 48 million Americans (many of them children) going to bed hungry every night. Where is there outrage about that?

  • Jim Roberts

    “Where is there outrage about that?”

    Right here. I don’t get to spend as much time on it as I’d like, but I work with the local WIC program to help kids get better access to  good nutrition, particularly food in the schools as that’s a major problem in my hometown. My boys go to a private Christian school and so aren’t affected by the flaws in the program but, well, you help feed all the hungry, not just the hungry you know, right?

  • DCFem

    Amen, Jim. And they don’t even feed the hungry that they know. My husband’s hometown in Ohio had an article in the paper that was basically an ad begging people to support the local food bank. They profiled one woman who received a miserly $16 per month in food stamps who frequented the food bank because otherwise she would have starved to death. Do you know what one of the letters to the editor about this article said? It said, “She should have saved more when she had a job.”

  • Carstonio

     Very true, but that’s still an assumption. Fagan explicitly advocated punishing people who have sex. Based on the history you mentioned and his euphemistic language, inferring that he meant women is eminently justifiable.

    Reading his rant, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have a low tolerance for vague or euphemistic language, regardless of the agenda involved. And with demagogues who use dog whistles, I long for Perry Mason to cross-examine them, just to watch them struggle to deny the meaning behind the euphemisms.

  • Daughter

    To be fair, there are some stories by men among the stories I’ve read in the “Raised Quiverful” series posted Libby Anne (the Patheos blogger of “Love, Joy, Feminism”). And they mention plenty of punishment, corralling and shaming they experienced as teens for struggling with lust, porn or masturbation.

  • SergeantHeretic

    These aleged people are pro-life and when I saythat I mean Pro the life they imagine was in the 1950’s.

    They hate women, they could give less than a shit about children and families and they are all about the power, privelidge and hegemony of old rich white men to do whatever the hell they please and everyone else can eat a dick.

    They have become at this point absurdly obvious in their goals and aims especially in the shameless and shamefull nature of the cuts they want to make to the federal budget, to whit, if it kills people or hurts people or locks people in cages, they’re all for it, spend to the limit. If it feeds people or educates people or heals the sick or cares for the needy, the it’s socialism and a threat to America.

    And on top of all his, these worshiper of war, power wealth and privelidge, claim to be devout disciples of Jesus who was called the Christ.

    Holy Fucking SHIT!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    These folks sure seem to talk a lot about young people having sex.

    I don’t want to use the “not getting any” as a measure of a human’s worth, and I’m not going to joke about penis sizes or anything like that.

    What I will say is that it seems like a kind of displacement.

    Whatever these people appear to lack in their lives they appear to imagine that others who have that/those thing/s are less worthy, or maybe less.. I don’t quite know how to put it.

    Basically it’s crabs in a bucket all over again with the people in power wanting to take away something so nobody can have it.

  • Lliira

     I don’t want to use the “not getting any” as a measure of a human’s
    worth, and I’m not going to joke about penis sizes or anything like
    that.

    I won’t joke about penis size, because it’s not the size, it’s what you do with it that counts. And these people may very well be getting a lot of sex.

    But I am very sure that they are not getting good sex. You cannot have good sex with a person whom you do not consider a person, nor can you have good sex if you do not consider yourself a person. And I am very sure that the men are terrified that if women aren’t somehow forced to feel they need to marry, they will not get women to marry them. And they are terrified that if women start being allowed to have sexual standards and demanding equal time in the bedroom, then the men will have to actually start paying attention to women and treat them like human beings in order to get laid. And, maybe most of all, they are terrified that women will realize we have the right to consent, or not consent, as we choose.

    Their fear is that they’ll have to actually give a damn about those icky yucky slutty disgusting horrible baby-making things they like to stick their dicks in. Instead of changing themselves, they do their best to brainwash the rest of the world. They managed to get sex ed thrown out of most schools, which was a huge step toward their goal. But they didn’t take the internet into account. They’re losing and they know it.

  • stardreamer42

    What you’re saying here is that it’s not (or at least not primarily) about sex, it’s about privilege. And I agree. The very idea of having to treat women as equal partners (at the risk of not being able to have sex if they don’t) terrifies them.

  • Lliira

     I would say it’s about privilege as it relates to sex, and vice versa. When people see sex with other people as their right, things get extremely nasty and weird extremely fast; imo, that’s a huge reason why so much of history is extremely nasty and weird. The way antebellum slaveowners acted is another example. People will certainly send other people to die over money. But they don’t hold on with teeth and nails unto their last dying breath for money.

    “A man does not have himself killed for half-pence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify him.” ~ Napolean

    If there’s a better and easier way to speak to the soul than through sex, I don’t know of it. I believe shrouding sex in mystery, fear, and shame is the electricity that keeps misogyny, homophobia, and tribal hatreds running.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    @fd03798c4a89342e888e5ab07b211dc4:disqus  If there’s a better and easier way to speak to the soul than through sex, I don’t know of it.

    Perhaps someone who is asexual could suggest alternatives. Or several.

    Not everyone considers sex to be “all that.”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    On the other hand, is it really desirable to have people who have as little sex as possible make recommendations for what everyone else should be doing with their sex lives? Isn’t that half the problem now?

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Where did I say anything about making recommendations for what people should be doing with their sex lives? When I said, “Someone who is asexual could suggest an alternative or several,” I was responding to the assertion that “I can’t think of anything that speaks more strongly to the soul than sex.” I thought that was perfectly clear, what with my having quoted the statement — a statement which I think makes asexual people invisible, much as any statement that talks about woman as all having vaginas makes transgender people invisible.

    Just in case we’re still not clear here: To say that sex is THE MOST POWERFUL WONDERFUL SOUL-SPEAKING THING FOR EVERY HUMAN EVER is to deny the existence of people who don’t, in fact, find sex to be the most powerful wonderful soul-speaking thing ever. That’s pretty much all I was saying.

    We good now?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Re-reads, reconsiders* I didn’t think of it from the perspective of an asexual person. You’re right about that. To them, there are inevitably alternatives to sex. I apologize to anyone who I’ve forgotten (I know there’s at least one regular here who identifies as asexual, but I don’t recall who).

    I took slight to how I read your response. I apologize for that too. It sounded more antagonistic in my head.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     Eh, well, to be fair, I *was* being antagonistic – but only against the specific idea that I was specifically challenging. Unearned generalizations, the ones that are only true if whole swaths of real people don’t exist, cheese me right off. If I’m not careful, it causes me to speak and post intemperately.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Well, I read her statement as saying that, if there’s a better and easier way to speak to the soul than through sex she does not know of it.  How on earth does that make “asexual people invisible”?

    If I write “if there’s a better treat after coming home from a long walk in the cold that a nice hot cup of coca with whipped cream on top, I don’t know of it” am I “denying the existence of” people who are lactose intolerant?  Or maybe people on a diet?  Or maybe people who just don’t like chocolate?  Of course not.  I’m making a conversational statement of something that I have found, in my personal experience, to be true.  It”s also true that I think there will be a lot of people who agree with me (hot chocolate is pretty popular)  but it’s not the same insisting that anyone who dislikes hot chocolate does not exist.  Anyone who reads my statement and happens to disagree is free to chime in and say, “For me, it’s Horlicks”,  or “I prefer Gin!”, or whatever.

    It is reasonable to expect every contribution to a conversation to be held to the same standard as a sermon?

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    It is reasonable to expect every contribution to a conversation to be held to the same standard as a sermon?

    No, but it is reasonable to expect that conversations held in a community acknowledge the existence of others in the community. For instance, given that there are several people in the Slacktivist community that identify as asexual and have, over the years, been obliged to speak up and say “Hey, we exist,” it might be nice not to make great generalizations (no matter what rhetorical device one couches them in) that imply the speaker has forgotten those people are part of this community and have even contributed to it.

    And to answer your question, yes, it might well be tactless to say “If there’s anything better than a hot cup of cocoa with whipped cream on top, I don’t know of it” when you’re conversing with a friend whom you know is vegan. If I wanted to express such a sentiment, I’d just say “That’s my favorite thing.” And I might ask my vegan friend what her favorite thing is, because I do actually give a damn about people who aren’t me and experience life differently from me.

    But that’s kinda irrelevant, though. As I understood Lliira’s comment, it wasn’t about personal favorites but about Things Universal To Humanity. About how talking about sex in a certain way has a certain effect on society because sex has a special place in the human soul, to paraphrase roughly and (not particularly well, I admit). I felt it was important to remind us that sex did not, in fact, hold the same special place in all human souls.

    (The “in reply to” link is missing from my reply, sadly, but if you want to reread the comment I was responding to, try Page 3 and search for “Napolean”, that being something that only shows up once on the page.)

  • Trixie_Belden

    Well, Lliira is perfectly capable of making her own reply regarding her comments and her intentions if she so chooses.  However, I will state that as I read it, when she said,  If there’s a better and easier way to speak to the soul than through sex, I don’t know of it. she’s making an “I” statement; you’re claiming it”s a “rhetorical device” that masks an “unearned generalization” and your interpretation of her comment is that she’s actually saying ” that sex is THE MOST POWERFUL WONDERFUL SOUL-SPEAKING THING FOR EVERY HUMAN EVER.“.

    I think that making “antagonistic” challenges based on your own interpretation of someone’s comment could be just as detrimental to conversations held in a community as an alleged failure to “acknowledge the existence of others in the community”. 

     because I do actually give a damn about people who aren’t me and experience life differently from me.

    I can say that, based on the many comments I have read here on Slacktivist over the years, just about everybody who comments here ( except for the obvious trolls) gives a damn about people who aren’t like them  and experiences life differently from them.  And that is not an unearned generalization.

  • Isabel C.

     For that matter: I’m sexual, I *do* think that good sex is (for me) all that and a bag of chips, and I wouldn’t say that it innately speaks to or has a special place in my soul.

    It can, especially in certain ritual contexts*, but it can also just be a fun thing to do on a Friday night. It’s sort of like eating or dancing that way. Sort of like a lot of human activities, really.

    *And a lot of my spiritual path is tied to sexuality.

  • Nathaniel

     The really terrifying thing is I believe that there are people out there where the only good sex  is sex with someone they don’t respect nor consider an equal.

  • Carstonio

    “Corral people”? Obviously Fagan meant the Great Oklahoma Slut Drive of 1879. What an experience. I still remember the Bible-toting preachers sitting proudly in their saddles. The hundreds of women in short shirts, low-cut blouses and garish makeup being herded along the dusty trail. (Slow going since they were wearing what we politely called love-me heels.) And then at the end, the women would be auctioned off to God-fearing husbands who would rule over them with a strong but gentle hand.

  • Magic_Cracker

    “Corral people”? Obviously Fagan meant the Great Oklahoma Slut Drive of 1879.

    Keep movin’ movin’ movin’, Tho’ liberals be disapprovin’Keep those harlots movin’ — Slut-drive!Don’t try to understand ’em, Just rope and throw and grab ’em, Soon they’ll be pregnant, thick and wide. 

  • Tricksterson

    Here have this shiny internet.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    That sounds very similar to a scene in one of John Norman’s Gor books…..

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Yeah. Really, it was all funny until the line about ‘auctioned off to god-fearing Christian husbands’. That took it from joke to ick.
    Humor is hard. 

  • Launcifer

    I just want you to know that, after the cattle drive comment, I’ve spent about an hour trying to work this horrible statement into an analogy concerning brands, mavericks, open ranges and rustling, but all I achieved was to make an appalling statement sound even worse. So thanks for that ;).  
     

  • Launcifer

    Just to clarify, since I can’t edit my damn post, I meant Fagan’s statement, not your comment. That made chuckle. 

  • Magic_Cracker

    I thought the cattle drive statement was brilliant because of the horror. (I think it was Derrick Jensen who observed that the horror in most horror movies comes from people treating other people the same way we treat animals and nature in general, when axes and chainsaws and flesh eating and whatnot) Fagan’s statements clearly point toward a belief that people in general (and women in particular) are little more than livestock to be corralled and controlled for their own spiritual safety.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    (Possible Trigger Warning)

    Piers Anthony wrote a short story called “In The Barn,” which Harlan Ellison included in his second Dangerous Visions anthology.  It was a detailed description of what goes on in a dairy barn, and the reader slowly realizes that the diary is actually milking  HUMAN WOMEN and treating them like animals.  When someone complained to Piers about the story, he said that all the details about the dairy’s operations were true to life.  The only difference was that they were using human women instead of cows to generate their product.

  • Jim Roberts

    Piers Anthony confuses me. I can’t tell if he’s a misogynist pretending to be a feminist or a feminist pretending to be a misogynist or just utterly confused. I tend to go with the third. When he writes a strong female character, she kicks unholy amounts of ass, but most of the time they’re just there to be deflowered by the male lead.

  • Lectorel

     I tend to fall on the side of ‘misogynist with vague feminist tendencies’. The HBIC female lead is, as far as I’ve seen, the archetype of choice for writers who are just starting to figure out women can be interesting characters too.

    It’s a nice, safe character model that doesn’t challenge the core assumption of sexism (that having power and being forceful and unilateral in your interactions is the best and most laudable way of being) while still allowing them to explore the idea of an engaging female protagonist.

    It doesn’t hurt that people in general like seeing/reading that archetype for the same reasons.

  • Victor

    (((I tend to go with the third.)))

    In that case, he and/or she should probably have a bumper sticker saying something like;  “Live and let live”!

    Right Jim?

    I hear YA!  (((“Do you have a minute? I have some questions for you first.”)))

    Go Figure! :)

    Peace

  • The_L1985

     I honestly think he’s confused.  The fact that he’s in his 70’s, and thus grew up in the 40s and 50s, probably also accounts for a lot.  A lot of the stuff in his more recent books reminds me of my grandmother’s view of black people–an older person desperately trying to shake off prejudice learned in childhood, while also blind to some of the aspects of that prejudice because they’re so deeply ingrained.

    His earlier novels, like Ox, I found wholly unreadable.  He’s definitely come a long way in his view of women, but he still has a long way to go.

  • Beroli

     He’s said that he opposes sexism, and I think he meant it, as far as his perception of himself goes. I think…he’s a very dedicated gender essentialist who believes a lot of really backward things about the sexes in general. He doesn’t, at least consciously, believe men are better than women. He does believe they’re completely different, in all sorts of ways, including women not really enjoying sex for its own sake and men being barely controlled beasts where sex is concerned.

  • Lliira

     including women not really enjoying sex for its own sake

    I bet Piers Anthony sucks at sex. In the bad way.

  • stardreamer42

    IMO Piers Anthony is a hack, writing what he knows will sell. I don’t blame him for this — he’s got bills to pay and kids to put thru college. But I think it’s a waste of effort to try to analyze his writing for anything beyond what’s immediately obvious on the page, because I don’t think he puts that much thought into it.

  • The_L1985

    I know for a fact he outsources coming up with all those puns in the Xanth books, and has done for quite some time.  (I’m in one of them, by the way, for “wearwolves” and “wherewolves.”)

  • The_L1985

    I know for a fact he outsources coming up with all those puns in the Xanth books, and has done for quite some time.  (I’m in one of them, by the way, for “wearwolves” and “wherewolves.”)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    He’s trying to get better, but he has a very, VERY deep-rooted problem with misogyny. Try reading Bearing an Hourglass for what’s probably the worst of it

  • The_L1985

     Trust me; it isn’t the worst.  The worst would be a lot of the stuff he wrote in the 60’s.  I’d argue that Chameleon from the first Xanth book is also pretty bad: she can be either smart or beautiful, but never both at once.

  • Beroli

     Chameleon is a model of enlightened thinking compared to Crombie, particularly–but not limited to–his “relationship” with Jewel.

    (If I elaborated it would likely be highly triggering. Anyone who has read the books and knows the characters I’m referring to likely knows exactly what I mean.)

  • Beroli

     Chameleon is a model of enlightened thinking compared to Crombie, particularly–but not limited to–his “relationship” with Jewel.

    (If I elaborated it would likely be highly triggering. Anyone who has read the books and knows the characters I’m referring to likely knows exactly what I mean.)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Nods* I’ve read all the Xanth books up to around Cube Route or so and, yes, they’re often pretty bad. Bearing an Hourglass is still the worst in my opinion, though. It features several women being told that their primary purpose is sex and them pretty much just nodding their head and saying “Makes sense,” and also features a married women contemplating having sex with a complete stranger because “it could be fun.” Sex is automatically assumed to be the main thing on every single female’s mind.

    For bonus points, it also features a feminist who’ gets confused for a prostitute — and decides she doesn’t mind that automatic assumption because the man in question is big and strong, so she decides sex sounds like a great idea even before learning his name.

    It’s absolutely terrible.

  • Madhabmatics

     Not to mention that like half of that stuff involves minors.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I have only read his Incarnations of Immortality series and his Firefly (not to be confused with the Joss Whedon show.)  Both were at the advice of others (the Incarnations was lent to me by a female friend who was fond of fantasy, the other by a then-girlfriend who thought I seemed like the guy who was hired to keep the grounds.)  The take away I got from those books was, “Wow, this guy seems to go through a lot of contortions to try and find moral justification for underage-girl-on-older-adult-man sex.”  

    I decided not to pick up any more of his stuff, which is kind of unfortunate because there is some good stuff in what I read, just mixed in with the bad.

  • Rae

    Wow… so far he’s been somewhere in the middle of “classic sci-fi authors I maybe should read sometime” list, but after reading all of this, I think I’m just going to forget it, because there’s so much more SF than anyone can ever read in a lifetime and I’m pretty sure there still is (and will be) more good SF with better gender politics than I can read in my lifetime.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Nods* I’ve read all the Xanth books up to around Cube Route or so and, yes, they’re often pretty bad. Bearing an Hourglass is still the worst in my opinion, though. It features several women being told that their primary purpose is sex and them pretty much just nodding their head and saying “Makes sense,” and also features a married women contemplating having sex with a complete stranger because “it could be fun.” Sex is automatically assumed to be the main thing on every single female’s mind.

    For bonus points, it also features a feminist who’ gets confused for a prostitute — and decides she doesn’t mind that automatic assumption because the man in question is big and strong, so she decides sex sounds like a great idea even before learning his name.

    It’s absolutely terrible.

  • Original Lee

     IMO, Piers Anthony is capable of writing very strong characters of either gender.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of his characters are boring as all get-out because he is generally much more interested in his plot idea and therefore just plops a name with a chalk outline into the story.  I think it’s related to how much time he has to send a finished novel out the door – a few of his books have multiple well-defined characters.

    I remember reading the barn story.  One of the few stories I’ve read that keeps coming back to me in nightmares.

  • The_L1985

     I’ve found it:  http://www.lycaeum.org/mv/BX/piers_anthony_stories.html

    MAJOR trigger warning, though, and not for the usual Piers-Anthony reasons.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hogeez, that story. D-:

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    That’s like PETA-level insensitivity to humans. It’s also an incredibly disturbing fetish I run into a helluva lot among fantasy-oriented BDSM types. Sorry, I try not to be judgemental, but that one kinda squicks me. 

  • SkyknightXi

     {shudder} Just reading Jensen’s name gives me a chill…What did he think the first civilized were supposed to do instead, LET Fate and/or Chaos toss them about every which-way?! The biological imperative doesn’t exactly take well to letting that happen. (I’d also like to see if any hunter-gatherer peoples share his low opinion of Hope and high opinion of Despair…although I have a hunch the word he actually wants is Fatalism. They were probably actively pressing against the barricades the Ice Age environs placed on survival LONG before its wane. The impulses that ultimately led to civilization, and its attendant attempts at safety, are probably ancient in the extreme. But unlike Jensen, I’m not willing to condemn the past, even just the past few millennia, as evil. Desperate, yes…And the idea that original peoples were originally at peace even with the woes, I worry that a form of Stockholm Syndrome is involved, although the tormentor in this version is VERY unknowing and unintentional about what it’s doing in any fashion. Still, I sometimes worry if he and/or Zerzan might deem anything beyond instinct as inherently evil…)

    But back to the point…In a sense, non-apex-predator animals also have to worry about getting cleaved by a predator’s claws and teeth, so their idea of horror would perhaps look the same. No creature could possibly look forward to theirself being sundered and devoured. So it’s probably not so much anything like projection as a primal fear dating back to when humans had to sometimes worry about getting crosshaired by lions, bears, crocodiles, or smilodons. And primal fears that, say, chipmunks have about getting crosshaired by lynxes or hawks.

    The problem is how well humans CONSCIOUSLY understand themselves as apex predators. Raising creatures JUST to feed upon their flesh is definitely a quandary, but I can see how it was an attempt to get away from the chanciness inherent in hunting. Pain, sadly, seems to be bound up in life from the first heterotrophic archaebacteria onwards (a plant may not be sentient, but I doubt IT would look forward to being sundered and devoured by a rabbit). The problem is how to interdict pain for both predator (pain from being unable to find proper prey in hunting and the attendant starvation) and prey (the woes of factory farming et al.).

  • William Lamm

    Rawhide!!
    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
    ((OK I really didn’t try to resist.))

  • Evan Hunt

    Here’s another similar quote, from Phyllis Schlafly: “It’s very healthy for a young girl to be deterred from promiscuity by fear of contracting a painful, incurable disease, or cervical cancer, or sterility, or the likelihood of giving birth to a dead, blind, or brain-damage [sic] baby even ten years later when she may be happily married.”

    Healthy.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Evan yeah, even back then they were never shy of advocating terrible things happening to total strangers in service of the Purity/Rape culture.

  • Hexep

    Yeah, these people are turds. Got no meaningful contribution, just wanted to, y’know, kinda +1 that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    I get the point. On the other hand, it’s also healthy for a young girl to be deterred from driving  while drunk or texting by the fear of getting paralyzed, disfigured or killed, or the likelihood of doing this to her friends.
    Reminding people to use common sense is not necessarily control over them.

  • Loquat

    If a car company started selling a computer-controlled car that could avoid crashes while being driven by a drunk person, would you then advocate against it on the grounds that drunk driving OUGHT to be as dangerous as possible so as to deter people from doing it?

    Because that’s basically what Schlafly was doing in that quote – advocating against STD vaccination on the grounds that making premarital sex less dangerous is bad.

  • smrnda

     The problem is you should be honest to people about risks and also steps that can be taken to minimize them. Exaggerating the risks, or failing to discuss actions that can reduce risk in a situation is dishonest and manipulative.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    True, yet any good PSA will tend to play up the risks. Consider the anti-tobacco ads; and for all that, people still smoke and still even enjoy it. I guess my thoughts are giving people all the info, and make it accurate, but also ask them, “Is this really worth it?” 
    It’s important to be able to protect yourself, but it’s no less important to be able to avoid bad situations.Like I said, the real importance is common sense.

  • smrnda

     I think that for most people, sex is worth it quite a lot of the time, and a few simple precautions can minimize the risk to fairly acceptable limits. The problem is the abstinence crowd wants to make sure young people don’t get correct information.

  • fraser

     Yes, but Schafly is closer to saying we should remove seatbelts to make people drive more carefully.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Sad thing is, a lot of people don’t like or use them anyway. I wonder how much the No Seatbelt crowd overlaps with the Anti Birth Control one.

  • Daughter

    Back in the late ’90s, I was working with a group of teens in a health program. And when asked what they wanted to learn more about, they said, “STDs.” They said that they hear a lot of messages about HIV/AIDs in school, but none about STD’s.

    So I invited an adolescent pediatrician in to discuss the topic. He showed a slide show that was – well, gross is too mild a word for it. And the discussion that followed was very sobering. It probably had a bigger effect on helping those teens to choose either abstinence or consistent use of condoms than any “Just say no” or abstinence curriculum ever could.

  • Jenny Islander

    Absolutely!  Kids who laughingly traded stories of how to hack Baby Think it Over or putting it under a mattress while it cried went dead silent while Mrs. Sugita explained the transmission and treatment of genital warts.   The word “squick” hadn’t yet been coined, but there was a mass squick going on in that room.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     My advanced biology teacher in high school had a friends who was an oncologist specializing in oral cancer, and asked him to come in one day and give a slide show.  Not that I was ever likely to take up smoking them anyway, but I’m sure I’m not the only one in the class who didn’t look at cigars the same way again.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I had one of those in middle school that had a profound impact on me, but I was probably one of the few. A lot of the rest of the class kept laughing at the man with the hole in his throat trying to blow out a candle.

    This contributed greatly toward me feeling no connection whatsoever with my generation.

  • The_L1985

    Wow, she’s not even TRYING not to sound inhumanly cruel there.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Gee, I thought God was going to punish all the sluts in the next world, so why does Fagan insist on punishing them in this world? I find his lack of faith disturbing.

  • Carstonio

     Great pull from Rawhide. I also imagine a mashup of Ghost Riders in the Sky and I’ve Never Been to Me. (Symptomatic that a song written by two men would lambast single women as selfish.)

  • Magic_Cracker

    A single-girl went jogging on a bright and sunny day,
    Her shorts were all short-shorty and her hips were all a-sway,
    When all at once a mighty heard of slut-shamers she saw,
    “Why don’t you buy yourself a treadmill,  girl? Save us from temptation’s draw…”

  • Cathy W

    …is this guy seriously under the impression that nobody had premarital sex before the Pill? Or is it just that we’ve depopularized the institution of the shotgun wedding?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Aside: Has anyone noticed it’s usually the worst crabs in the bucket who accuse “socialists” and “communists” of enviously wanting to take things away from others?

    Talk about projection and a half.

  • Anonymous

    So…according to Fagan, premarital sex is a bad thing that was invented in the 1960s, presumably by hippies?  I did not know that. 

    I suppose we have gluttony because of Julia Child on PBS, overweening pride because of, oh, let’s pin that one on Bill Clinton, avarice because of Roosevelt (the bad one who redistrbuted wealth, not the good one who punched bears for fun), sloth because…well, frankly I don’t have the energy to figure out who he’d blame that one on.

  • Launcifer

    Sloth’s obviously the fault of Richard Nixon, ’cause if only he could be bothered to burn those damn tapes…. 

  • AnonaMiss

    avarice because of Roosevelt (the bad one who redistrbuted wealth, not the good one who punched bears for fun),

    Nah, even Teddy was a bad Roosevelt. Wouldn’t even shoot a damn bear cub, not to mention the national parks and the trust-busting. Feh.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t think Roosevelt all the way through, obviously.  He also signed off on the creation of the Food and Drug Administration, which was (a) an egregious trampling of the rights of job creators and (b) inspired partly by that Communist Sinclair and his anti-makers muckraking.

  • P J Evans

     I really, really, want these idjts to spend, say, a year finding everyone they can on their family trees. I can just about guarantee they’ll find seven-month babies, children born out of wedlock, divorce, desertion, and a few other things that they’re going to be shocked, shocked, to discover happened to people they thought they knew. (They’re also going to find out how many people died young, how many never married or married but had no children, and how many married after the age of 50.)

    And that’s just the 19th century….

  • konrad_arflane

    Family Research Council senior fellow Pat Fagan

    Am I the only one who initially misread the senior fellow’s name as “Fat Pagan”?

  • The_L1985

     I was too busy thinking of the Dickensian Fagan.

  • Lectorel

    “Anti-Shame: Trust women. Support families.”
    Of course, that leaves out that non-female trans* people can become pregnant, and it doesn’t cover everything I’d like it to cover, but for a bumper-sticker, I think it’d work.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    “Non-female trans* people”? Is that really possible with today’s transition technology? Because if it is — SCIENCE! but to me it sounds a bit out of our current medical tech. 

    Or is there just a definition I’m not thinking of? 

  • Daughter

    Not an expert on trans people, but transitioning is expensive, and I would imagine that not everyone can afford it. (And many insurance policies don’t cover it).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    Transitioning is really expensive, and yeah not everyone can afford it. As a demographic, trans* people are disproportionately poverty-stricken (between workplace discrimination, depression and anxiety disorders… there are a lot of interlocking reasons). It’s kind of an “oh thank god” moment for at least a few trans* people who do get insurance that covers it.

    The expenses pile up for therapy (generally mandated by any transitioning program), hormones, surgery, and related procedures if you’re physically transitioning. Even on top of the costs, navigating the whole process can be really daunting, especially with all the controls that seem to have been put there by people who didn’t quite seem to have believed that gender dysphoria is a thing. At least it’s getting better on that front, if slowly.

    (Not an expert either, but I’ve been at least casual acquaintances with several at once in an online community, where some were actively transitioning and talked about the day-to-day things they were dealing with. And somewhat longer discussions with one as a friend as he dealt with the medical system, and in relation to a similarly trans* character he was playing in a game I ran to make sure I didn’t bungle representing how the whole thing might intersect with the PCs’ adventures and daily lives.)

  • lectorel

     …? I’m not sure what you mean. Non-female trans* people = trans* people born with uteruses (uteri?) whose gender identity is something other than female. (e.g. trans* men, people under the umbrella of genderqeer or genderfluid)

    Or are you thinking non-female-bodied tran* people? I’ve picked up a somewhat specialized vocabulary for discussing GSM issues because I’ve got a bunch of queer and/or trans* acquaintances from tumblr, and I sometimes forget other people don’t speak fluent queer theory.

    Although, in terms of uteruses and the possibility of obtaining one late in life – there has been a successful uterus transplant, from mother to daughter, though they’re not sure if the daughter will carry to term yet, last I read about it. If she does, I imagine it may be possible to do a uterus-transplant to people of all sexes at some point in the future, though how difficult their pregnancies will be I don’t know.

  • Jenny Islander

    This essay can’t be disseminated too widely:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2012/12/modesty-body-policing-and-rape-culture-connecting-the-dots/

    But even this article doesn’t light up the true Stygian depths of the modesty-body policing-rape culture mentality.  Somewhere at No Longer Quivering is a rundown of things that people remember being taught in church about how to tell a slut on sight.  They amount to assorted trivial physical characteristics that some people develop as they pass puberty.  I think walking with a sway was one of them.  Pouches under the eyes was another, IIRC.  I hesitate to use the word “crazy” to describe anybody, but this is full-on insane.

  • http://snarkthebold.blogspot.com/ Edo

    You could capture the same set of connotations neutrally by just calling it “pathological.” It really is.

    This Lent I’ve been discovering a need to speak about and against pathological theology, and it’s really scaring me. Partly because it’s so much more widespread than I think of it as being. But mostly because I can’t shake the feeling that we’re about to see a lot of people live out the implications of bad theology, with ugly results.

  • LL

    Eh, I no longer waste time time trying to parse these people’s reasons for the dumb shit they say and supposedly believe (though by all means, other people who feel compelled should continue to do so; parse, that is). 

    I just operate from the assumption that they’re idiots and/or colossal assholes and that’s pretty much it. Trying to come up with some sort of misunderstanding loophole (whereas either I don’t understand what they’re motivated by or they don’t understand the implications of what they’re saying) is giving them far too much credit. They’re just stupid. Or assholes. Or both. 

  • Lliira

    They don’t just want to punish women who have sex. They want to punish women, period. If a woman is raped, they don’t care, it was probably her fault for being a woman anyway.

  • MaryKaye

    A lot of 1950’s science fiction has very strong gender essentialism.  I read a lot of this when I was a kid (my father had an extensive library of it) and even at the time it bothered me.  Piers Anthony has a series of books in which a sentient critter can body-swap with another critter of drastically different species and kind, but *not gender*–you have to body-swap with something of your own gender, and your species has to have gender, even if it has only one.  One of the b0oks has a species which changes gender at some point during its life, and when this happens, an individual who had previously been body-swapped is quasi-magically forced out of the body s/he is occupying because it is now of the wrong gender. 

    James White, to do him credit, has female-sounding aliens being interstellar doctors.  But female humans have to be nurses.  As a kid that actually bothered me even more.  (In retrospect I can’t remember if he called Prlicla “she” or “it”.  I certainly thought of the character as “she,” partly because I parsed the name as a variant on “Priscilla”.)

    And there is that scene in the Lensman novels where Mentor explains to the woman Lensman-candidate why she can never be a Lensman.  That one bothered me terribly.  Yes, there is one token female Lensman later, but I didn’t identify with her, I identified with the novice girl whose hopes were destroyed for (I knew, even then)  no good reason.

    I think Anthony grew up with that mindset, and he writes by the seat of his pants, so that’s what comes out in his books.

  • P J Evans

     White has a lot of major characters who are female and do things.

  • banancat

     It’s interesting how some people view gender as this strict dividing line.  I had a DM for a dungeons and dragons game that made sure to tell everyone they can’t play a character different from their gender in real life (even though nobody wanted to).  I could play an orc or play a character who shoots fireballs out of her fingers, but playing a male character would just be going too far somehow.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I have encountered people like that as well. I often tell them I consider that a weakness in their ability to GM well. 

    On the other hand, I had a player in one of my own campaigns whose character I only discovered was female months in when I finally got around to doing character audits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Been there :/ I still remember the first time my group discussed playing in the Wheel of Time setting, and I made it clear that if we did, I wanted to play an Aes Sedai (Blue Ajah). Most of the other players tried convince me that I could play an Ashaman instead, as if the two were anything alike.
    Hmm….Come to think of it, I’ve only ever actually played a female character once. Maybe it’s time to change that.

  • David Starner

    I’ve heard a lot of stories  about guys (and it’s usually guys) that take playing cross-gender as an excuse to get very skeevy and sexual in ways that make the other players uncomfortable.  So it may not be gender as a strict dividing line as much as let’s just not go there.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That was pretty much the house rule in an RP room I used to haunt. It was pretty much a given that if a male played a female character, lesbian sex would be happening. Too few players were mature enough to not make it obvious “horny male teen” was behind the wheel, regardless of the character.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     Unless of course you have a gay man play a woman charater, then plays her straight, which is the only way I’ve seen men play women.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    If such men existed in that room, they never made themselves known, which I could understand — maturity really was in short supply. OOC drama was absurdly common.

  • MaryKaye

    PJ Evans writes:

    White has a lot of major characters who are female and do things.

    Yes, he does.  But you can also see the unquestioned assumptions:  Murchison is “the red-headed nurse” when no male human characters are ever tagged that way, they’re “the pathologist” or “the surgeon” or something.  And while Murchison does things, lots of them, there are still no female human doctors in the _Sector General_ novels, or at least I never found any.

    (You can see from the fact that I remember her name thirty-five years later that I was fond of this character, despite the societal limitations she was under.  And from the fact that I remember “red-headed nurse” that I was also upset about how she was described.)

  • Greenygal

     Murchison is “the red-headed nurse” when no male human characters are ever tagged that way, they’re “the pathologist” or “the surgeon” or something.  And while Murchison does things, lots of them, there are still no female human doctors in the _Sector General_ novels, or at least I never found any.

    Murchison is a doctor.  She’s introduced as a nurse in 1963; she’s a pathologist by 1966.  I was astonished when I pulled out the books and did this calculation; I hadn’t remembered it being anywhere near that fast.  Maybe somebody took White to task for her introductory novel, which is where the “girls are nurses and nurses are girls” sexism is most obvious.

    But aside from her, no, I don’t think there are any female human doctors.  There aren’t a lot of male human doctors in the series, admittedly, but the number is higher than one.  And Prilicla turns out to be male when we get a book from his viewpoint.

  • P J Evans

     I was thinking of his other stuff, in  particular the Telzey stories and the Trigger stories, where the females are dangerous even when they aren’t armed.

  • Greenygal

    I was thinking of his other stuff, in  particular the Telzey stories
    and the Trigger stories, where the females are dangerous even when they
    aren’t armed.

    Telzey and Trigger were written by James Schmitz, not James White.  James Schmitz is definitely all about Women Doing Stuff.

  • auroramere

     Thank you. Man, was I confused.

  • P J Evans

    My bad. Still, White wasn’t what I’d call sexist.

  • DavidCheatham

    Abortions are ‘bad’ in the sense that in an ideal world, they would not exist.  Abortions are bad in the same way that first aid are bad, and we’d be better if we didn’t need them at all.

    I think this is where _some_ of the confusion is coming from. It’s possible to say that abortions are ‘good’ in that someone sees no moral issue whatsoever, and other people are thinking they are ‘bad’ in the same sense that having to bandage someone’s arm is bad.

    Granted, some pro-choice people see abortion as a moral wrong but as a _lesser_ moral wrong that removing bodily autonomy.

    But even someone like me, who thinks first-term abortion has no moral repercussions (And is somewhat dubious that later ones might have any.) still think of it odd to call abortion _good_, simply because it is a _solution to a problem that we could solve 95% of the time before it was needed_.

    Sure, we _need_ to keep a first aid kit around, and the people who attempt to outlaw such a thing are assholes who are clearly lying about their motives, and who really want people to bleed to death. However, we should also look into doing something about the fact we keep slicing our hand open on the refrigerator door, and that’s 95% of the reason we use the first aid kit!

    Of course, in this analogy, the exact same assholes who want to take away the first aid kit wander around sharping the refrigerator door by taking away sex ed and contraceptives. And then claim that we shouldn’t eat.

  • Isabel C.

     I love the first two lines of this post, BTW, and may quote them every time the “abortion: good or bad” debate comes up. Because word.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Looks like Disqus just rolled out new email notifs. In which whoever posted the comment saying “I love the first two lines of this post, BTW, and may quote them every time the “abortion: good or bad” debate comes up. Because word.” is identified only as “An unregistered user”.

    FUCKITY.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That was Isabel C., if you don’t get access to the site proper before seeing this. I’m not sure if I like the way the new format, but I definitely don’t like the lack of proper author citation.

  • EllieMurasaki

    At least I can see that you used italics? So they fixed something. Even if they broke other things in the process.

  • banancat

     Please don’t do that.  It’s very common already and makes me roll my eyes every time.  Nobody claims that first aid is bad.  Nobody ever makes a point of how they wish first aid were never necessary but since it is, they support it.  If you truly believe that abortion is analogous to first aid (which I agree with), then describe it in a way that you would actually describe first aid.  (That is, don’t draw attention to it being bad and then put it in quotes that you don’t really mean it.)

  • Isabel C.

     I was thinking of it more as a reply to the “but abortion is a bad thing!” handwringing, rather than an argument in and of itself. I’ve ended up having to explain, a few times, that no medical procedure is a walk in the park, but having a root canal (for personal example) beats the hell out of the alternative. 

    I personally don’t lose any sleep over abortion, but I end up in enough arguments with people who do take the But It’s So Unfortunate When It Happens line that a succinct comeback is nice to have.

  • DarcyPennell

    I have to push back against the idea that we could eliminate the need for almost all abortions. Think for a minute about what would be required to make that happen. We’d have to:

    –end poverty throughout the world
    –invent 100% effective birth control
    –provide universal access to that 100% effective birth control throughout the world
    –reshape human personality so that no one would ever fail to use their 100% effective birth control

    We could do all that to make abortion less necessary. (Not *un*necessary; just *less* necessary.) Or we could acknowledge that unintended pregnancy is a fact in this world and  let women make their reproductive health care choices. 

  • Isabel C.

     In practice, I think Option 2 is good and necessary.

    I think all of the first three steps are good ideas in their own right, though, so I’m all for working towards them. I’m also for making whatever form of birth control we’re talking about something that doesn’t require much preparation or memory, and for reshaping society such that getting said birth control is not a shameful thing, which I think would take care of most of Step 4.

    So yeah–I’m pretty hardcore on the side of abortion being a woman’s decision *and* nobody having the right to dictate how an individual woman should feel about that *and* personally considering it no more significant than any other costly-and-unpleasant medical procedure, and I take all steps I can to back that up, because we live in the world we live in.

    But would I like a world where everyone was in full control of whether or not they conceived during sex, and also we had no poverty? Hell yes. And I’m all for working toward those three-and-a-half things too, because they’re good things in and of themselves.

  • Carstonio

    That’s my position as well. I don’t even hold a belief as to whether an individual woman’s abortion is a good thing or bad thing, because that would be passing judgment on individual women for their decisions either way. Only the woman herself can judge whether her abortion is good or bad. One can favor the goal of fewer unwanted pregnancies without labeling individual abortions as good or bad.

  • Isabel C.

    I’m not *that* nonjudgmental: if pressed, I’d probably say that I think abortion is the “best” way to handle all unwanted pregnancies. But that’s a very abstract sentiment, and I encounter a lot of situations where people I respect and like don’t take what I think of as the best way to handle Situation XYZ, and everyone seems to be happy in the end, so…y’know, if people need my input on their personal situations, they’ll ask me, and if they don’t, I have other things to think about and they’re grown-ups.

    This does not keep me from having rather incredulous opinions about such-and-so’s choice of hairstyle/boyfriend/after-dinner-mint, but I try and express those only to like-minded friends. Everyone needs a vice or seven. 

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Or we could acknowledge that unintended pregnancy is a fact in this world and  let women make their reproductive health care choices.

    I don’t think anyone is arguing differently. The fact that I would prefer a world without cancer doesn’t mean I want to defund chemotherapy.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Abortion is a medical procedure, the health benefit of which is preventing a woman from having to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

    The important thing isn’t the procedure. The important thing is the health benefit.

    If we develop a new improved procedure that provides the same benefit more safely, for example, I see no reason for us to keep practicing an outdated medical procedure that is more dangerous. The important thing is the benefit.

    Now, maybe you’re right that there is no such improved procedure, even in principle. In which case, sure, we keep using the medical technology we have to provide the health benefits we can provide.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    You forgot effective prenatal care and genetic manipulation along with nutrition and health care to remove the possibility of genetic defects and pregnancy complications. Yes, this is a near-impossibly tall task, but there’s no reason we can’t push for it while still demanding abortion remain a choice and work to accomplish both a long term and short term goal at the same time.

  • DavidCheatham

    I have to push back against the idea that we could eliminate the need for almost all abortions. Think for a minute about what would be required to make that happen. We’d have to:
    –end poverty throughout the world–invent 100% effective birth control–provide universal access to that 100% effective birth control throughout the world–reshape human personality so that no one would ever fail to use their 100% effective birth control

    Erm, no. In places that people cannot afford birth control, they usually cannot afford abortions either. (At least, not any sort of _safe_ abortions.) Likewise, in places that don’t have legal access to birth control, they usually don’t have legal access to abortion either!
    You seem to be asserting everyone in the world currently has some sort of  magical affordable abortion, but that world-wide contraceptive access would be too hard and too expensive? This is slightly baffling.
    In actual fact, contraceptive access is much more widespread than abortion access, and contraceptives themselves are cheaper. (Although society sometimes manage to structure health care where contraceptives cost more. I will avoid speculating on why this is.)
    So saying ‘People need access to abortion because they often don’t have access to contraceptives’ is just odd. People without access to contraceptives almost never have access to abortion either! People need access to both, and by providing contraceptives we can reduce abortions hugely.
    As for the ‘100% effective’…I said we can get rid of _95%_ of abortions in my post.
    You might have a _slight_ point in that there are people who fail to use contraceptives even in a world where they are actually accessible and not costly. Uh, yes, we will. Just like we’ll always have people who don’t pay attention when they grab a knife from the drawer, or who fail to wear a bicycle helmet. This is why I, again, said we can eliminate the need for _95%_ of abortions. (And, of course, included in there is also the women who become pregnant without choosing to have sex, and the women who do choose to be pregnant but something goes wrong.)
    You want to take issue with 95%, feel free. Perhaps it’s only 90%, or even 80% of abortions could be stopped in advance. But the simple fact is that abortion is a medical procedure that happens when things have _gone wrong_ and, like a lot of medical issues, it is worthwhile to try to act _earlier_ to stop the problem from happening in the first place.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There’s no reason that we can’t strive to both inrease the quality of pre and post natal care, and have widespread access to safe, legal abortions for those who need them.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The analogy I like to use about sex is this: It’s important, powerful, and in some cases amazing – when used correctly.

    Well, in the world over we have important, powerful and amazing tools to accomplish jobs. And when someone uses such a tool, they would get an instruction manual and maybe even a training course, because it’s crucial that people learn how to use them properly so they don’t hurt themselves or other people. In short, they learn to use the tool correctly.

    So why on this planet do some folks out there think the proper response to sex instruction is to not have any? That’s like letting a person who’s only ever driven small sedans have the keys to a Mack Truck and saying to them “go for it”.

    Only a fool would let an inexperienced person use something that requires care and attention and yet it seems the fools are in charge of how we perceive and think about the necessity of teaching about the joys and dangers of sex.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    So why on this planet do some folks out there think the proper response to sex instruction is to not have any? 

    I mostly try to understand this as different beliefs (not equally valid beliefs, just different ones) about what constitutes sex instruction. Some people do in fact believe that “avoid anything pleasurable involving genitals, and anything that might lead to something pleasurable involving genitals, until marriage, and then you’re on your own” constitutes better sex instruction than anything else out there, for example.

    They’re wrong. But they think that anyway.

     

    That’s like letting a person who’s only ever driven small sedans have the keys to a Mack Truck and saying to them “go for it”.

    It would surprise me if a significant proportion of the people who oppose centralized sex education didn’t also oppose centralized driver’s education.

    For my own part, I’m willing to let people opt out of centralized education if they so choose, as long as centralized evaluation and licensing is still mandatory for skills that the population in general depends on individuals having, and as long as the education remains available for those who don’t so choose.

    That this will result in some people exercising their freedom to remain ignorant saddens me; that it will result in people exercising their freedom to keep their children ignorant saddens me still further.

    In most cases I accept that cost, though, and in the exceptions I prefer to remove the children from their parents care altogether.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I always say that on the one hand, abortions aren’t desirable because they are only necessary when something has gone wrong: Someone is pregnant who doesn’t want to be. In an ideal world, no one would ever be pregnant without they wanted to be. But this isn’t an ideal world. So abortions are good because they solve that problem that in an ideal world we wouldn’t have.

    I think other medical procedures, from first aid up through chemotherapy, are great analogies for it. They’re solutions to problems that in an ideal world we would not have. Nobody wants to be in a position to need first aid. Nobody undergoes chemo for fun. But this isn’t an ideal world, so it’s a good thing we have tools to deal with problems like cancer, or slips of the kitchen knife. Or unwanted preganancies.

  • Guest

    TW: child sexual abuse

    Surprised to see the subject of Piers Anthony’s skeeviness come up, even tangentially, without mention of Firefly, the novel in which he posited that a five-year-old girl could totally consent to sex with an adult man. 

    In the novel itself that could be explained as a Nabokovian unreliable narrator, but some editions included an afterword from Anthony with creepy weasel-word apologia about the pedophilia subplot: “it was nevertheless abuse by our society’s definition (not necessarily that of other societies)…”

  • The_L1985

     I’m surprised Two to the Fifth hasn’t been brought up, for similar reasons.

  • DarcyPennell

    Maybe I’m reading folks wrong — the handwringing about how bad abortion is, and how it could be made unnecessary almost all the time (I think the number 95% was used above), sounded to me like a slightly more subtle way to condemn abortion by proposing an impossible alternative. For instance no one would ever say “Well I suppose some people have to have chemotherapy, but it’s really a bad, immoral choice since we could just cure cancer.” And I felt like that’s what was being said about abortion. I tried to reply to a specific post but it’s not showing that, so maybe I pushed the buttons wrong. Anyway if I’m misunderstanding then I apologize. 

  • Isabel C.

    Depends on context, I’d say.

    Most of the make-abortion-unnecessary arguments I’ve seen are actually responding to pro-lifers, and it’s a way of saying that if you personally feel that abortion is wrong, and if the theoretical life of the fetus is your actual concern, here are the things you can do or advocate for to reduce the rate at which people get abortions. If you’re trying to make abortion illegal instead of doing those things, you’re being a dick. Or it’s saying that some women find abortion personally difficult, and you yourself don’t believe it’s a good thing, but you don’t think it’s any of your business to judge how someone else handles an unwanted pregnancy, so really your solution is to try and reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies out there. And that seems fine: it’s not my worldview, but it’s a helpful rather than a harmful one as far as I can tell.  

  • DavidCheatham

    And that seems fine: it’s not my worldview, but it’s a helpful rather than a harmful one as far as I can tell.
    It’s not my worldview either, I don’t think abortion is wrong, but I still think it ought to be reduced simply because it is a medical procedure, and all medical procedures have risks. (And all _pregnancies_ have risks, and those risks add on top.) if we can preemptively stop the need for a medical procedure via a pill or a small implant, we should.

    Plus, it saves money. And as someone who thinks that medical care should be a right, I’m all for society saving money with preventive measures.

    If you’re trying to make abortion illegal instead of doing those things, you’re being a dick.

    That soes work, but the _best_ way to find out if someone is just being a dick is slightly different. There are people who have a moral opposition to contraceptives. This is completely and utterly stupid, but they do exist.

    So the way I always used to test dickishness was to avoid the contraceptives issue. Instead, after pointing out that a large amount of abortions are for financial reasons, I’d propose free pre-natal care all the way to birth and ask if the person would get behind that. (The legislation in the article manages to do almost exactly this, but not even cost tax money! So from now on I may use it instead.)

    It appears, in my completely random observation, that about 90% of the pro-life(1) people are just dicks. Seriously, it’s that high.

    1) By ‘pro-life’ people I mean ‘forced birth’ people, aka, people who would make getting and/or performing an abortion illegal in some manner. I am aware that some people wander around calling themselves ‘pro-life’ and think abortion should be legal, and I will call them by their chosen descriptor of ‘pro-life’ as soon as they start calling me by my chosen descriptor of ‘God-Emperor of Dune’.

  • Isabel C.

    I’d believe you. I’d also count having a moral objection to other people using contraceptives as being a dick, because there really is no justification for that except wanting to control women’s sexuality in a…well, a dick way.

    But I’m basically with you worldview-wise.  I would like there to be less need for abortions exactly the same way I would like there to be less need for root canals. I’ve had several of the latter, and they’re both expensive and a total lack of fun; I would imagine, based on hearsay and every someone-messes-around-in-my-plumbing-with-instruments experience I’ve had, that the former is comparable.

    Apparently there’s a male BC procedure developed in India that’s permanent-until-reversed, reversible, and has like no side effects. FDA: approve that already. Don’t make me come over there.

  • Clevelandchick

    There was an article in The Nation about Alito and his “pro-life” movement work as a lawyer/jurist during his nomination hearings for SCOTUS. Alito wrote the blue-print to whittle away at reproductive rights and one of the strategies of that blueprint was portraying hormonal birth control as a ‘abortifacent’. As well as the medical misinformation about breast cancer.

    There is a minute chance (.01%) of the pill allowing an egg to be be produced during a cycle and there is an even more minute chance that egg ‘might’ be fertilized if a woman has unprotected sex….if that happens unbeknownst to a woman and she continues to take her BC, there is an extremely minute chance it will cause that fertilized egg to abort.

    THAT ginormous stretch of the imagination is the “scientific” basis upon which pro-life movement bases it’s opposition to hormonal birth control. That one in a billion chance it might cause a fertilized egg to abort..ergo, all birth control causes abortions.

    So yeah, obviously opposition to BC is utter dickishness and ONLY about punishing women for having sex.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I tried to reply to a specific post but it’s not showing that, so maybe I pushed the buttons wrong.

    Disqus does that sometimes; it’s no fault of yours.

    And yeah, I agree with you that the disingenuous  “it’s such a pity that you feel forced to do this awful awful dirty evil thing; I wish you weren’t trapped into making such a awful immoral evil bad dirty thing; you poor tainted thing you” rhetorical trick does sometimes get pulled, and is worth fighting when it does.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Actually, I’d say it: Chemotherapy is terrible. It should be a last resort. It’s basically the idea of fighting fire with fire, and it kills as many people as it treats. The fact that our medical system seems to resist finding an alternative to chemotherapy (I’ve seen two new treatments that seemed very promising; one of them will probably never make it to human testing despite a 100% success rate in animals, and for the other, human testing isn’t even on the radar) is immoral.

    I’d call chemotherapy worse than abortion any day of the week for one simple fact: several of the drugs used in chemotherapy are carginogenic. Chemo is an attempt to cure cancer with cancer-causing treatments. Cancer isn’t just tumors, it’s a disease which causes tumors to develope, so a treatment which causes or worsens the root cause of the ailment can become a vicious and fatal cycle.

    Abortion leading to promiscuity and more pregnancy is a strawman in the minds of anti-abortion protestors, but this is something we can verify — chemotherapy can lead to the development of leukemia and other cancers.

    However, simple fact: Take chemotherapy off the table and the situation will get worse, not better, because we don’t have alternative treatments yet. I consider it fully logical to hate the current method of treatment, but consider it necessary to remain in place while we research new forms of prevention and treatment.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    On a related note, what is this I don’t even

    Why are 15 and 17 year olds coming up with new cancer treatment options?! They may be brilliant, but don’t we have brilliant adults working on this too?

    The answer seems to be “If we do, they’re being shunned just as deeply as the kids.” Jack Andraka developed a means of detecting cancer within the body by means of a paper sensor. He asked 197 scientists for help developing this and was rejected by each and every one of them, told that his thesis had no chance of actually working.

    Not only does it actually work, but he’s not even the first person to have thought of it — two other groups published papers regarding similar types of sensor system years ago.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Y’know, this starts to give credence (as much as I deplore conspiracy-theorizing) that big pharma doesn’t want to get off the chemo gravy train too soon.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There was a program I caught one night that made this their central theme, following the development of an alternative cancer treatment program and the opposition it received from everyone else. To this day, I don’t know what to think about it — popular concensus is that it’s pseudo-science homeopathy.

    It is to be noted that there have been pretty much no improvements to the chemotherapy delivery system or the drugs used in decades.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam
  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     Burzynski is a hack and he PAID for that “documentary” FYI.  I agree with you about how terrible chemo is, and that it is truly no solution, but unfortunately he does not have the answer. 

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    At this point, it’s sad that I have to admit that I’m uncertain simply because I don’t trust third party researchers. I don’t know who’s in the pockets of the system. It looked like their attempts to reproduce the treatment never actually recreated the circumstances which he claimed were most effective — early diagnosis patients. The researchers apparently used terminal patients instead, when any treatment might already have been doomed (which was probably the only reason why they were eligible). It sounded very like they set him up for failure and I can’t help but wonder if that’s the point.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     Interestingly, another blog I follow, Science Based Medicine, had a post about this just today:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/

    I think there are quite a few issues with the way modern drug development is funded — it certainly incentivises treatments over cures, expensive new medicines over cheap old ones, and searching for new drugs for comparatively easy-to-treat conditions over searching for new drugs for harder-to-treat ones.  But I don’t think it’s a conspiracy.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    One rather egregious example I remember is that a simple, cheap, commonplace drug used to treat a disease that only appears in Africa was discontinued in 1998 and wasn’t “resurrected” until someone found out the active ingredient also cures some forms of male pattern baldness.

  • banancat

     Do you remember the name of either the drug or the disease?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    No, which is the problem. I think I read it in one of the Linda McQuaig books I have, but they’re print, not e-books. I will keep exerting all my Google-fu, however.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Given that a lot of the companies doing reviews of the products are themselves funded by the companies producing those products, I don’t think “conspiracy” is the right word. “Self-policing” comes to mind. Companies which rely on internal investigations never seem to be fully honest.

    He might very well be a quack, but for me, the well was poisoned before he ever got there.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     From what I’ve heard, it’s not like any of the alternatives proposed won’t also make big money for big pharma. They’re primarily things that would turn cancer into a chronic, controllable disorder, and big pharma loves those. I suspect it’s closer to “No one wants to be remembered as the guy who mistakenly claimed he’d found the cure for cancer”

  • banancat

    Or maybe it’s that nobody can find a cure for cancer because what we call cancer is actually hundreds of different diseases with different causes and different treatments and anyone who claims to find a “cure for cancer” is almost certainly lying or delusional.

    ETA: Also, plenty of cases of cancer are cured, either by chemo or other treatments.

  • P J Evans

    That’s what I think, too: that there are many kinds of cancer with many causes, including random-chance mutations.

  • P J Evans

    It’s because it’s what they want to do.

    I’d congratulate a teenager who comes up with stuff like that: they’re very very bright and if they don’t get turned off by being stuck as a bottle-washer in a lab, they’ll go even farther.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s unspeakably awesome. Like I said, they’re brilliant. But why do they seem to be the only ones? These kids ought to be bringing ideas to scientists and getting told “Your thesis is impressive. I did something like that months ago; here are my published results. Why don’t you intern with me?”

    Am I wrong for wanting the industry not to be driven by kids who haven’t yet graduated high school? ._.

  • Daughter

    From what I know of chemotherapy, you could call it a bad choice, because although it can cure cancer, it comes with a lot of really bad side effects. (I’m not comparing chemotherapy to abortion, just pointing out that sometimes cures aren’t an unalloyed good).

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    In the interest of turnabout being fair play, I wonder if then we should punish, corral, and shame people who engage in slut-shaming and obstruction of comprehensive knowledge of and self-agency in sexuality and reproduction.  Participate in slut-walks (preferably on a Sunday morning that takes the walk by several churches) and shut down those who would shut down sexual expression.  

    The number of people willing to shame others for sex is rapidly shrinking, no doubt due to the irritating policies of intolerant joy-kills like Pat Fagan.  It occurs to me that in their attempt to build a corral around the sexually liberated, all that they are doing is building a cage around themselves, since they are just a small island that nobody wants to come and be part of.  

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of crime and punishment, Alberta (of all provinces!) is diverting more first time offenders into non-judicial programs (while federal criminal law is more or less uniform, provinces are given the responsibility of running part of the criminal justice apparatus) and the extreme right-wing party there, the Wildrose Party, is throwing a shitfit over it.

    I personally like the fact that Canada continues, in small but important ways, to refuse to keep aping the US wholeheartedly.

  • Rae

    “…functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever.”

    That quote made me recall this Cracked.com article that involves unusual beliefs that cultures have about sex. Some of it’s unrelated, but it’s interesting how some cultures deal with extramarital sex, and in a couple of those cases there’s no cultural idea of “illegitimate” children: http://www.cracked.com/article_20180_the-6-craziest-beliefs-entire-cultures-have-held-about-sex.html (Sorry for the link, I know Cracked is nearly as bad as TV Tropes)

  • sunmusing

    A curse upon these…..people….”may they never, ever get laid nor blown, evah again”….

  • Bonnie

    But, they only punish the women. The men get off with remarks like “sowing their wild oats.” Men are entitled to do that not women.

  • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com/ Chris

    Whaaaa…? I, uh… well, I… um… hmm…

    It… I… I… hmm. Hmmmmmm. I don’t even… Just… no.


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