The false "Facts" of the MRA movement.

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Master of the Skies:

Amazingly enough nothing found in his post saying this. Nowhere do I see him saying that we just TELL people this.

Meh. You hear these arguments all the time. "Teach your son not to rape." "Teach your son to be nice to women." Etc. It's ridiculous. You're completely ignoring the factual causes of violent behvaior.

Even if we did accept that it's "masculinity" that makes men abuse women. (And I guess "femininity" is what makes women abuse men. But since they're "feminine" they abuse in a much "nicer" way. So we shouldn't really care about the poor nice abusive women.) What do we do with that knowledge? If it's masculinity, wouldn't that mean it's a biological consequence of being a man? And if it's not, where does the idea of "masculinity" come from? Did some guy just sit down and say one day, "oh, I know, let's make men abuse women." And then everybody said, "yeah, great idea. Masculinity! Weee!"

And if we just decide, "nah, we don't want that anymore" it will somehow magically go away.

If violent men are a social construct, why aren't all men violent that identify as males? Or did only a few men get the memo that they're supposed to be abusive?

tobbAddol:

Even if we did accept that it's "masculinity" that makes men abuse women. (And I guess "femininity" is what makes women abuse men. But since they're "feminine" they abuse in a much "nicer" way. So we shouldn't really care about the poor nice abusive women.) What do we do with that knowledge? If it's masculinity, wouldn't that mean it's a biological consequence of being a man? And if it's not, where does the idea of "masculinity" come from? Did some guy just sit down and say one day, "oh, I know, let's make men abuse women." And then everybody said, "yeah, great idea. Masculinity! Weee!"

And if we just decide, "nah, we don't want that anymore" it will somehow magically go away.

If violent men are a social construct, why aren't all men violent that identify as males? Or did only a few men get the memo that they're supposed to be abusive?

I don't think you and Evilthecat view masculinity the same way.

You are the one who appears to think masculinity is inherently linked to violence, which is why you consider men would have to be "less masculine" to reduce violence. To the people you are arguing with, masculinity is a fluid concept that could express more or less violence whilst still being every bit as masculine. They don't believe there is anything inherent about masculinity that means a tendency to violence. However, masculinity in certain cultures, forms and times might express violence which could be reduced.

Arguably, this has been happening for centuries. 200 years ago, if someone insulted your honour as a man you might challenge them to a duel. Nowadays you'll more likely just tell them to fuck off. You're not any less masculine for doing so, but much less violent.

tobbAddol:
If violent men are a social construct, why aren't all men violent that identify as males? Or did only a few men get the memo that they're supposed to be abusive?

Why must all social issues apply to all people (or in this case, all men) all to the same extent?

Violence based on race is a social issue, and yet not everyone in the same society is racist, or even violently racist to the same degree.

thaluikhain:

tobbAddol:
If violent men are a social construct, why aren't all men violent that identify as males? Or did only a few men get the memo that they're supposed to be abusive?

Why must all social issues apply to all people (or in this case, all men) all to the same extent?

Violence based on race is a social issue, and yet not everyone in the same society is racist, or even violently racist to the same degree.

Exactly. So what causes some people to be more violent and racist than others? Can you combat racism by pointing a finger and saying "racism is bad!"? It hasn't stopped the national socialist party in my country from gaining power, at least. And I would argue that the governments complete lack of interest in discussing the immigration issues that the party is concerned with are a large part of the reason why. But of course, things like social status, lack of education etc. will also do much to promote racism among select cultural groups. Ability for empathy, which has a lot to with how one has been raised, plays in as well, etc.

This doesn't mean that there isn't an inherent psychological trait that makes human beings fearful of groups of people that aren't their own. This is a result of how we evolved, where a different "tribe" could pose great danger to us when we used to live in caves, and was therefore something we needed to be prepared to defend ourselves against. This is what's causing friction in modern society, where it's no longer a useful trait. And it's important to be aware of this.

Agema:

You are the one who appears to think masculinity is inherently linked to violence, which is why you consider men would have to be "less masculine" to reduce violence.

I never said that. That was evilthecats words.

Quote:

"By blaming masculinity (or rather by blaming aspects of masculinity which are socially harmful) we actually do more to enable men to be human beings than shrugging our shoulders and coming out with some boys will be boys psychononsense."

Though, sure. I'm willing to accept that there are biological factors which can lead to violence. Testosterone for example has been causally linked with violent behavior. Disregarding that would be silly. So if we have this pretty blatant proof that the hormone that makes a man a man is linked with violent behavior, do we tell the man to be less "testosterony", or do we look at the causes for what makes a man (or any other human being) violent (which is usually things like poverty, abusive upbringing, fatherlessness, as well as a bunch of other factors)? Or do we simply expect people who are raised in these conditions to "man down" and just be nice to everybody anyway?

And even so, we might have to accept that to some degree this kind of behavior won't be possible to erase completely. Millions of years of evolution probably can't be undone simply through saying, "this shouln'd be". Even though the brain is highly plastic and adaptable.

thaluikhain:

Kakashi on crack:
Circumcision- I can't bring this up here without being disrespectful to someone, but lets put it like this: The MHRA (from which I am a part of and donate towards) believes that if female genital mutilation is wrong (which they very much agree IS wrong), then so is male genital mutilation.

Something of a false equivalency there. FGM is generally more severe than male circumcision, about which doctors are still arguing if there are health risks, and done on children without their consent in a higher proportion than male circumcision.

I'd quoted the same block of text in a previous reply, but I was shown something that I thought was worth linking on this specific subtopic: http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1113&context=iph_theses

To quote from it:

INTRODUCTION: Kenya like the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be plagued with
high rates of AIDS/HIV. Research has shown that cultural practices have serious implications
for the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as other communicable diseases. One of the practices that
have been speculated to have an impact on AIDS/HIV is female genital mutilation (FGM).
Despite efforts to eradicate the practice, prevalence of FGM in Kenya remains relatively high.
Researchers have postulated that various forms of FGM may be associated with the spread of
HIV/AIDS.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between FGM and
HIV/AIDS using a representative sample of Kenyan girls and women.
METHODS: Data (n=3271) from the Kenya 2003 Demographic and Health Survey was used
for this study. Chi-square test was used to examine the distribution of selected risk factors across
HIV/AIDS status. Odds ratios from multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to
determine association between FGM and HIV/AIDS.
RESULTS: This study shows an inverse association (OR=0.508; 95% CI: 0.376-0.687) between
FGM and HIV/AIDS, after adjusting for confounding variables.
DISCUSSION: The inverse association between FGM and HIV/AIDS established in this study
suggests a possible protective effect of female circumcision against HIV/AIDS. This finding
suggests therefore the need to authenticate this inverse association in different populations and
also to determine the mechanisms for the observed association.

I was linked another piece regarding a similar analysis of the 2003-04 Tanzania
HIV/AIDS Indicator Survey, but that was in the form of a summary of the findings, came to more or less the same results, but it was someone doing a presentation on the results rather than the analysis itself so I'm not going to include it.

Isn't that one of the same supposed medical benefit associated with chopping bits off infant boy's genitals? Specifcally the one that causes WHO to encourage it be done more often?

tobbAddol:
Though, sure. I'm willing to accept that there are biological factors which can lead to violence. Testosterone for example has been causally linked with violent behavior.

No, it hasn't.

This is another common sense thing which people assume but actually has no basis in evidence. It's completely unclear, at this point, whether there is a relationship between testosterone and aggression (which isn't quite the same thing as violence anyway, but never mind).

tobbAddol:
..or do we look at the causes for what makes a man (or any other human being) violent (which is usually things like poverty, abusive upbringing, fatherlessness, as well as a bunch of other factors)?

If those things are the causes of violence then why are men and women not equally violent? After all, approximately equal numbers of men and women live in poverty, approximately equal numbers of men and women have an abusive upbringing, approximately equal numbers of men and women are fatherless.

Even if these things have a role in producing violence (which they almost certainly do, apart from "fatherlessness" of course) why are they having such a differential impact on men and women? Why do they result in men not only being vastly more violent overall, but also engaging in very specific forms of violence against women which are often very different from the ways women are violent towards men?

There is a huge gender difference here. Any explanation you produce for it which does not also explain that difference is an incomplete explanation. You cannot ignore the elephant in the room just because you don't like what it's saying.

So yeah, let's go back to your fundamental misunderstanding here.

tobbAddol:
If it's masculinity, wouldn't that mean it's a biological consequence of being a man?

No.

Masculinity is not the same thing as maleness (otherwise, everything men did would be masculine, everything women did would be feminine and there would by extension be no need for these concepts) it is a recognizable "character type" associated with men in a specific culture and generally placed in opposition to other recognizable character types associated with women.

Masculinity is not just "how men are", it is "how men discipline themselves". A body builder or pro strength athlete doesn't naturally grow 60 pounds of muscle because he's a man, he works out and forces his body to grow that much muscle in order to be a particular "type" of man, a man who is big and strong and physically powerful. A broker who works long hours of overtime and makes high-risk trades to try and make his company money isn't doing that because he's a man, he's forcing himself to do that in order to be a particular type of man, a man who is competent and dedicated, who puts his work before the "soft" areas of his life and can make the tough decisions. These men do this not because they are driven by mind-controlling hormones, but because there are concrete rewards in terms of self-esteem, social admiration, material advantage or presumed access to women in being seen as a particular "type" of man.

As this example also illustrates though, there's more than one character type associated with masculinity. In fact, men are staggeringly diverse, and not all of their behavior can be explained simply as an aspirational quest to succeed at "true masculinity". Indeed, not all "types" of men are associated with violence, authoritarianism and instrumental power. Some men do treat women as equals. Some men do care for their children. Some men do look after their physical well-being. Some men are not violent. Rather than simply labeling those men as "unmasculine" and declaring without evidence that men cannot change their behaviour as if this absolves them of responsibility for what they do, why don't we instead recognize that much of men's behavior is the result of disciplinary practices which are unnecessary and often very destructive, both for men and for women.

Schadrach:

Isn't that one of the same supposed medical benefit associated with chopping bits off infant boy's genitals? Specifcally the one that causes WHO to encourage it be done more often?

Protips on using scientific papers to make points:

1) Ensure you report what a paper actually says. For instance, a paper that makes no study of medical benefits should not be used to claim medical benefits.
2) Cite more than one paper for major claims - papers can be rubbish. They can also be cherry picked. A corollary is:
2a) Cite papers from more than one research group if possible.
3) Be honest and thorough: cite dissent and controversy as well as support. Rarely does every paper and researcher agree.
4) Newer is frequently better, as errors are usually eliminated through additional research over time.

So, try something simple like Googling "HIV female genital mutilation" and let's see what the first ten scientific studies (actual studies, not other media reports of) say collectively.

Agema:

Schadrach:

Isn't that one of the same supposed medical benefit associated with chopping bits off infant boy's genitals? Specifcally the one that causes WHO to encourage it be done more often?

Protips on using scientific papers to make points:

1) Ensure you report what a paper actually says. For instance, a paper that makes no study of medical benefits should not be used to claim medical benefits.
2) Cite more than one paper for major claims - papers can be rubbish. They can also be cherry picked. A corollary is:
2a) Cite papers from more than one research group if possible.
3) Be honest and thorough: cite dissent and controversy as well as support. Rarely does every paper and researcher agree.
4) Newer is frequently better, as errors are usually eliminated through additional research over time.

So, try something simple like Googling "HIV female genital mutilation" and let's see what the first ten scientific studies (actual studies, not other media reports of) say collectively.

Reading and understanding more than one paper takes an awful lot of time and skill, though. Many of these papers are quite dull or technical. It's no surprise that people get it wrong on a debate-forum.

I'm far too tired to try and get in on this discussion, so I just have to ask something: Is it possible that you are just using very vague definitions of 'masculinity', and each person understands it just slightly differently, and you are all talking past one-another?
Perhaps you should all agree on a definition before you start a discussion leaning on the definition.

"Rather than simply labeling those men as "unmasculine" and declaring without evidence that men cannot change their behaviour as if this absolves them of responsibility for what they do, why don't we instead recognize that much of men's behavior is the result of disciplinary practices which are unnecessary and often very destructive, both for men and for women."

This is the same straw man you keep coming up with. No one is saying that nobody is responsible for their own actions. I'm just trying to be honest about the causal factors which result in such behavior. Of course men can change their behavior. Everyone is able to do so to some extent. The best way is through psychiatric care or counseling. (Even though socioopaths for example don't respond to any kind of psychological treatment, because they have no interest in complying with it. Sociopathy is also another mental disorder which is most commonly linked with genetics, rather than upbringing.)

Sure, diciplinary practices have a part to play. I don't think anybody's ever denied that. If you beat a child or somehow treat it in a negative way, that's going to affect the way they grow up.

"Even if these things have a role in producing violence (which they almost certainly do, apart from "fatherlessness" of course) why are they having such a differential impact on men and women?"

Because there's a fundamental genetical difference. There are also genetical differences between men as individuals, which make them react differently to cultural "programming". Every human being is different, both because of their experiences, and because of their genes.

(And, since you mentioned it, it most certainly does: http://fathersforlife.org/articles/Baskerville/politics_fatherhood.htm#Kamarck)

You'd have an argument that men are violent because of cultural programming and some kind of arbitrary definition of "masculinity" if men were encouraged by society to hit women. Which they aren't, quite the oposite. And even if they were, they'd still need a genetical and psychological predisposition to be willing to hit women in the first place. So what's interesting here isn't what men do because of what they're told, but what some men do in spite of what they're told.

And in the end it's irrelevant to the point anyway. Because both men and women can be the recepients as well as instigators of abuse, as the statistics prove.

I recommend this link if anybody's interested in learning more about male victims of domestic abuse, rather than bitch about how dumb people are for actually caring about it:

http://www.shrink4men.com/2013/09/30/domestic-violence-awareness-month-the-invisible-victims/

tobbAddol:
You'd have an argument that men are violent because of cultural programming and some kind of arbitrary definition of "masculinity" if men were encouraged by society to hit women.

You mean they aren't usually being explicitly and overtly told. That is nothing near the same thing.

By comparison, "I'm not racist, but" in front of something doesn't make it, or you, not racist.

tobbAddol:
And even if they were, they'd still need a genetical and psychological predisposition to be willing to hit women in the first place.

Citation needed on that.

tobbAddol:
And in the end it's irrelevant to the point anyway. Because both men and women can be the recepients as well as instigators of abuse, as the statistics prove.

People keep bringing that up as if it proves something. Neither having the monopoly on either hardly makes gender irrelevant.

tobbAddol:

Sure, diciplinary practices have a part to play. I don't think anybody's ever denied that. If you beat a child or somehow treat it in a negative way, that's going to affect the way they grow up.

I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding here in regards to "discipline". I am pretty certain Evilthecat was referring to social discipline, not discipline in the sense of "disciplining your kids".

tobbAddol:

Because there's a fundamental genetical difference. There are also genetical differences between men as individuals, which make them react differently to cultural "programming". Every human being is different, both because of their experiences, and because of their genes.
...
And even if they were, they'd still need a genetical and psychological predisposition to be willing to hit women in the first place. So what's interesting here isn't what men do because of what they're told, but what some men do in spite of what they're told.

If you want to discuss genetics, you need to explain how genetic differences matter. A tiny proportion of the population, for instance, are sociopaths. Many of them aren't violent, and plenty non-sociopaths are. Throwing around an argument like "because genes" when genetic science does not readily explain an issue satisfactorily is making an empty statement.

What makes for a psychological disposition to hit women (or anyone else)? What makes you think they have been "told" not to hit people? For instance, when you discipline a child by smacking him or her, you are at some level teaching that child it's okay to enforce your will with violence. When boys are told to stick up for themselves with their fists (as I was by my father, as most of my peers also were) they are being taught violence for dispute resolution. Media regularly portrays violence as heroic, a means to make the world a better place, or even something to be enjoyed in and of itself. There is a lot of excused or supported violence in society.

Furthermore, different messages come from different places - society generally might tell you not to hit your spouse. But many people are not mostly learning from general society, they are mostly learning by the words and deeds of their families and peers.

tobbAddol:
I'm just trying to be honest about the causal factors which result in such behavior.

..while also ignoring the most blindingly obvious one?

tobbAddol:
Of course men can change their behavior. Everyone is able to do so to some extent. The best way is through psychiatric care or counseling.

tobbAddol:
Sure, diciplinary practices have a part to play. I don't think anybody's ever denied that. If you beat a child or somehow treat it in a negative way, that's going to affect the way they grow up.

Okay, two things (which other people have already picked up on, but which I'm going to clarify too).

Firstly, you seem overly concerned with psychopathological explanations for violence. Not everyone who uses violence is a sociopath, not everyone who is non-violent is not a sociopath.

Agema already made this argument very well, but just to add to it.. violence isn't something people do because they simply enjoy or derive random pleasure from violence, it's also something which has a purpose. Violence can be a way of getting your own way, and this includes violence in intimate relationship. There are plenty of ideas floating around in society to the effect that men should be able to control or exercise authority over intimate partners. There are plenty of ideas floating around in society to the effect that men should not allow themselves to be humiliated or to have their authority challenged by anyone, and especially not by women.

If you genuinely want to be honest about the causes of intimate partner violence, it strikes me as fairly fundamental to admit that most people who engage in it are not randomly hitting people out of pure sociopathic whim, and such violence actually serves a function for the people who use it.

Secondly, and I'll admit this is my fault because I imagine I sometimes use words in ways which don't match up with how most people use them (I figured the examples would make it clear) but a disciplinary practice doesn't just mean "how you discipline a child". As Stephen Sossna said, it's also about how a person controls and regulates ("disciplines") their own behavior, even as an adult. Being a body builder, for example, takes enormous discipline. You have to eat a very controlled diet, you have to engage in extremely intense strength exercise, you might have to use drugs to reach the level you want. In extreme cases, you might even have to do things which appear to undermine the very masculinity you're trying to embody, like selling sexual services to gay men in order to fund your lifestyle. These things are going to be at times painful, damaging, unpleasant, but for some people the rewards of embodying a particular type of masculinity are worth it.

tobbAddol:
Because there's a fundamental genetical difference.

Not always.

But yes. Normally, a man has an Y chromosome. Of course, all the Y chromosome (or rather one tiny part of it) actually does is to cause the undifferentiated gonads to become testes. Ideally, the testes then produce androgens, or male sex hormones. The androgens are then taken up by receptors in the body and cause certain parts of the body (most notably the male genitals) to develop.

There's absolutely no evidence of a relationship to aggression or violence in this process. Indeed, from what we know androgen deficiency is far more likely to produce feelings of irritability, unhappiness and therefore aggression than whatever (unconfirmed) correlation might be imagined to exist between androgen production and aggression.

tobbAddol:
(And, since you mentioned it, it most certainly does: http://fathersforlife.org/articles/Baskerville/politics_fatherhood.htm#Kamarck)

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00678.x/abstract

Too easy.

Incidentally, if you want me to take you seriously don't associate yourself with family values lobbyists. I may be broadly unsympathetic to the notion of "men's rights" for reasons I think I've already covered, but the people who espouse it are nonetheless infinitely preferable when compared to the fetid swamp of lobotomized tadpoles that comprises the conservative family values lobby.

I realize that the line is sometimes blurred, but I try very hard to differentiate the majority of MRAs (who I choose to believe are at least sincerely gender critical even if they're trapped in the 1970s) with the small minority who explicitly align themselves with family values politics, and who are neither critical, rational or in any way committed to intellectual honesty.

You are not helping me in this pursuit.

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