Monday, December 17, 2007

Today's college women more accepting of pornography: it's all men's fault

The purpose of this entry is to continue a discussion from another blog which it was not possible to continue there, and to illustrate to my fellow traditionalists who are not as familiar with the evangelical world the kind of liberal thinking that often occurs among evangelicals.

At Boundless Line, the blog of Focus on the Family's webzine for young single Christians, Steve Watters commented on a study finding that today's college women are more accepting of pornography. He wrote the following:

My hunch is that the mainstreaming of pornography is making it easier for both men and women to cover over their hunch that something's inherently wrong with porn with the fig leaf that it's just entertainment. For every problem we'll come across in life, there will be two camps -- one camp that says we just don't know how bad the problem really is and another camp that says the problem is really not a big deal and in fact the real problem is those prudish people who think it's a problem.

It's my perspective that the "porn is not a big deal camp" is clearly beginning to win the day -- and we just don't know how bad that problem really is. No woman is going to experience meaningful sexual intimacy by expanding her tolerance of material that "educates" men to treat her like an object of their self-centered fantasies. It might seem sophisticated for some to tolerate porn as mere entertainment, but it's a lot like saying, "oh, it's just a cute little kitty" while letting a fox into your house.

I submitted this comment:

Ah, the view of women as innately good rears its ugly head again. Unlike Loris, I'm going to make the case that those women really were okay with it.

Steve Watters wrote the following:

"No woman is going to experience meaningful sexual intimacy by expanding her tolerance of material that 'educates' men to treat her like an object of their self-centered fantasies. It might seem sophisticated for some to tolerate porn as mere entertainment, but it's a lot like saying, 'oh, it's just a cute little kitty' while letting a fox into your house."

What makes Mr. Watters think that these women's primary goal is to experience meaningful sexual intimacy, as opposed to physical pleasure? What makes him think that they are merely trying to seem sophisticated, instead of genuinely seeing pornography as benign or even empowering to women? The fact is that women's sexual attractiveness to men gives them enormous bargaining power with us. The sexual revolution didn't just "liberate" men, it also unleashed this power of women in a radically new way. When men are slaves to their lust for women--and relations between men and women are not tempered by pre-sexual revolution traditional morality, in which sex was considered inextricably linked to marriage and childbearing--men will go to great lengths go obtain women's sexual favor. Thus, modern feminists are right to view pornography as empowering to women. Women are out becoming doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, and elected office-holders, while men are sitting at home in front of their computers masturbating. Those same men are willing to go to any lengths, including disavowal of traditional morality and manhood, to get modern liberal women to allow them access to sex. How is that not "empowering" to women?
Another commenter named Carrie Lea then responded to me:

Jacob M.,

"Ah, the view of women as innately good rears its ugly head again."

On the contrary, Jacob. I wish that my opposition to porn were motivated purely by the fact that it is wrong and harmful. However, I realize that my strong reaction against it occurs largely because of my very human need to feel secure in my desirability as a woman (to my husband, in particular).

"What makes Mr. Watters think that these women's primary goal is to experience meaningful sexual intimacy, as opposed to physical pleasure?"

Obviously, Mr. Watters understands the female psyche better than you do. Here's a hint: Don't assume that women are driven by the same things that drive men.

"Women are out becoming doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, and elected office-holders, while men are sitting at home in front of their computers masturbating."

I'm sure that you love the idea of porn being "liberating" to women, since that seems to justify your own acceptance of porn (and, I would venture to guess, your own use of porn). Nevertheless, your above statement is ridiculous. You imply that the widespread acceptance of porn has led to women's ability to obtain certain careers, but this is nonsense. In fact, it is insulting. I did not obtain two degrees and a career in engineering because my male counterparts were too busy watching porn.

Also, you further betray your misunderstanding of the female psyche. Different women feel differently about their careers, but from my perspective as a woman (even in a male-dominated career field), your above statement is like saying, "Women are out being overworked, overstressed, and struggling to keep their families intact, while their husbands are sitting at home having affairs with the next-door neighbor."

"Those same men are willing to go to any lengths ... to get modern liberal women to allow them access to sex."

To what lengths did my husband go to get access to sex with his beloved? He married me and continues to reject pornography. Your argument in the above statement is incoherent at best.

For your sake, I hope that you will one day look past the phony justifications that you give yourself for using porn, and start spending your time focusing on what makes a woman truly happy. You wouldn't believe what you're missing out on.

After several more replies, including some in which other commenters came to my defense, I attempted to submit the following response. I was informed that the comment was not accepted because it had been determined by Typepad's anti-spam filter to be potential spam. (Of course, the software does not tell you why your post is considered spam or give you the opportunity to fix it. I suppose that would defeat the purpose of the filter.) That is why I am posting it here.

Oh, boy. A lot has been said for me to respond to, and I really don't have time to respond to everything. I think Adam T. did a good initial job of answering Carrie's criticisms of me; I wouldn't change much of what he wrote. There are, however, a few of Carrie's misunderstandings I need to correct.

First, when I used the word "women" here, I was referring not to evangelical Christian women who believe that pornography is morally wrong, but to the women in the study who say that they find pornography acceptable. Presumably those two groups don't overlap.

Second, I want to clarify that I do not look at pornography, nor think that it is good or morally neutral, nor want it to be legal or even exist at all.

This would appear to confuse Carrie, since I said that pornography (and the sexual revolution in general) is "empowering to women." That this should cause confusion highlights the essentially liberal nature of our entire society, and the fact that even most people today who are considered "conservative" (e.g., evangelical Christians) are really liberal. Conservatives today are always trying to appeal to liberals by saying that they agree with liberals' goals, they just don't agree that the methods proposed by liberals to reach those goals are the most effective. For example, you'd be hard pressed to find a conservative or evangelical Christian today who would argue that women's "empowerment" is a good thing. The only difference between the liberal and "conservative" points of view on the subject is that liberals believe that women are best empowered by being made totally independent from men and being free from the bonds of traditional sexual morality, while "conservatives" think women are best empowered by having lasting marriages, maybe staying home with the children while they're young if their financial situation allows it, but otherwise pursuing careers and advanced degrees just as liberal feminists advocate that women should.

The problem stems from the fact that modern liberal society separates men and women into discrete groups with competing interests. I, as a traditionalist, believe that we should not view these issues in the light of "men's interests," vs. "women's interests," but rather that the family, not the individual, should be considered the basic unit of society, with men's and women's interests unified under the banner of the interests of the family. And in those families, women would occupy a generally subordinate role to men. So I do not regard the "empowerment" of women as a good thing.

I could have been more clear on the issue of women being innately good. It's not that women's acceptance of porn means that they're innately good; it's that women's acceptance of porn is explained away by the supposition that they're innately good, a supposition that often crops up on Boundless and among modern Christians in general. My point wasn't obvious perhaps because the belief is stated only implicitly in this entry, but I was referring to Mr. Watter's statements that "No woman is going to experience meaningful sexual intimacy by expanding her tolerance" of porn and that "it might seem sophisticated for some to tolerate porn as mere entertainment." I take this to mean that even among women who accept porn, their goal is still to experience meaningful sexual intimacy and they are accepting porn only because it makes them seem sophisticated to do so. Mr. Watters seems to be saying that when men say they like porn, it's because they do, because they're lustful and tainted by sin (a true statement, don't get me wrong.) But when women say they like porn, well, they don't really like it, they're just saying they like it to gain the acceptance of porn-loving men so that men will marry them, because deep down the true desire of their pure innocent hearts is to be stay-at-home-moms and enjoy the life of domestic tranquility God intended them for.

When you look at the world realistically, and you see a survey finding that 49% of college women find porn acceptable, this interpretation is laughable. Why not take women at their word? We know that all people, men and women, are stained by original sin. Why not simply assume that if women say they find porn acceptable, they are saying it because they really mean it? Then we can work to understand the reasons and implications of that, and try to deal with it realistically, instead of trying to explain it away with our premises of snips and snails and puppy-dog tails vs. sugar and spice and everything nice.

If you would like to continue this discussion at a different venue, feel free to visit my blog, which should be linked to my name in this comment's header. There you will find a link to email me, and I'll create a new blog entry for the discussion.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Philadelphia commission: limiting the language a shop conducts its business in is "hate"

Philadelphia is my home town. The cheesesteak is one of its hallmark foods. In 2005, Joe Vento, the owner of Geno's, one of the two biggest tourist-trap cheesesteak shops, posted signs in the shop's window which read "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH." Vento is now being charged with "discrimination" by an ominous-sounding entity called the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. According to the Associated Press article,
After extensive publicity in 2006, the commission began investigating whether Vento violated a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

In February, the commission found probable cause against Geno's Steaks for discrimination, alleging that the policy at the shop discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there.
First of all, there should not even be a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing, for such prohibitions interfere with our right to freedom of association. Even so, on what basis does this ordinance forbid a business owner from insisting that business in his store be conducted in English? Is ordering a cheesesteak from a private business now a form of "public accommodation?" Here we are seeing the leftist tendency to eliminate the private and make all things public.

Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Vento's signs harken [sic] back to the "Whites only" postings of the Jim Crow era.

"The signs give a feeling of being unwelcome and being excluded," Charles said.

So we see that liberals want to use the power of government to forbid people from doing anything that might make other people feel unwelcome and excluded. I suppose if I had a party and didn't invite the guy upstairs, he might feel unwelcome and excluded. Should I then be prosecuted for "discrimination?"

Or if I went to France, and encountered a sign in a sandwich shop which read (in French) "This is France: When ordering please speak French," would I have a legitimate grievance against the owner?

Well, at least Professor Charles didn't mention Hitler. Maybe that would have been too trite.

I hear that Philadelphia, like most northeastern cities, has been deluged by Hispanic illegal aliens over the past ten or fifteen years. Indeed, to borrow Professor Charles's terminology, they are not welcome here, and should be excluded. I applaud Joe Vento's effort to maintain America's identity as an English-speaking society, and I hope this case is thrown out.

(Note: I see upon spell-check that either Professor Charles or Bob Lentz the AP writer do not know how to spell the word "hearken." A sign of the deterioration of English in our society, perhaps?)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Conservatives entertained by nihilistic propaganda

View from the Right had a good discussion today on people not noticing the liberal messages that surround us in modern society. A commenter mentioned meeting "conservatives" who enjoy movies like Pleasantville without even realizing that these films are leftist propaganda.

By far the most egregious example of this phenomenon, in my experience, is how so many conservatives are fans of the television show The Simpsons. I used to watch it sometimes in college, before I became mature and discerning enough to realize how destructive it was, and I honestly don't think it's possible to pack more nihilism, cynicism, and scorn for all things traditional into one half-hour than the producers of this show do. Appallingly, I have even met evangelical Christians who are fans of the show, despite the fact that mockery of evangelical Christians from a clearly atheist or secular-left perspective has been one of the show's longest-running and most prominent themes. When I pointed this out to one of them, he replied, "well, they pretty much make fun of everyone." I can't imagine how one can consider oneself a devout Christian and think that mockery of, say communism, or alcoholics, or Indian culture, somehow excuses mockery of Christianity.

Another example is the movie The Golden Compass which recently opened in theaters. Now, I have not heard conservatives or Christians express admiration for this film, but it is certain that many people are completely unaware of its anti-traditional religion message. To be fair, the message may not be clear from the first movie alone. I read the first two books, before the author's intentions in writing them became known, and if I recall correctly, at the end of the first the message is still unclear, but by the end of the second it is obvious that the trilogy is intended as an anti-Christianity diatribe, which is now well-known to anyone who cares to read reviews. As I understand it, in the fictional world of the books God is really just the most powerful of angels, and he wrongly usurped power long ago and convinced everyone he was God, and now he must be killed so that mankind can be free from his tyranny. The author, Philip Pullman, has stated in interviews that he hates C.S. Lewis and the Narnia books (not to mention Christianity), and essentially set out to write an anti-Narnia. Despite this, I recently overheard someone describing the movie as "basically another Narnia, except instead of a lion there's a bear, and instead of a witch there's a [something]," and he listed several other superficial differences without which, he was implying, the movie is very similar to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I wonder if what is going on here is that people have lost the ability to think beyond any but the most superficial level. The Golden Compass is a fantasy movie featuring talking animals based on a series of children's novels, so therefore it must be like the Narnia stories, even though it suggests that the Christian God is evil and can and should be killed. The Simpsons makes fun of people doing foolish things, so it's funny; it doesn't matter who it makes fun of or why it considers what those people do foolish. At the moment, though, I can't figure out how this happened; how supposedly educated people, and especially professing conservatives, lost sight of the fact that ideas have consequences.

A final note: I was about to claim that I had never seen commentary from a traditionalist or conscientious cultural conservative on the topic of this "conservative" adoration of The Simpsons, something that should outrage us. But after searching, I came across another VFR discussion in which Sage McLaughlin, the same commenter who made the Pleasantville point, wrote a good comment about it. It's about halfway down the page.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Another reason women should not be in the military

Our weekly liberalism seminar provides plenty of fodder for a blog, perhaps too much. The more I discuss specific goings-on at my school, the more I fear revealing which school I attend, a dangerous possibility in the era of thoughtcrime. Still, for the time being I can't help it; these things are just too interesting to write about. Last week, the topic was intimate partner violence. (Did you know that "domestic violence" has been rechristened "intimate partner violence?" I suppose those concerned with this phenomenon decided that the word "domestic" wrongly excludes violence that occurs outside of the home or between, uh, partners who do not live together.)

The session began with a group interview, in front of the whole class, of three women, all of whom had suffered child abuse, not "intimate partner violence." Go figure. Two of them had served in the military, where both had experienced sexual harassment and one had been the victim of rape. One, the sole white woman, had been in the Marines, where, she complained, the sense of camaraderie they claim to want to instill in recruits isn't really honored because of the sexual harassment that takes place. The other military woman, who had served in the now-defunct Women's Army Corps, said that women who joined the military were assumed to be "loose," there was a sense that as the few females present they had an obligation to provide the men with sexual favors, and that men who attempted to protect them were subject to blanket parties.

Later, when we had convened in our small groups, one of our facilitators, a social worker, remarked that what we had heard was a sad commentary on how the military treats women. Since I still have not had the courage to reveal myself as someone who would surely be considered a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot, an enemy of all that is good and right, an oppressor who wants to throw humanity back into the dark ages, I did not say what I was thinking, which was that this is one of the many reasons women don't belong in the military. Think about that for a minute: that the military, and indeed not just the military but every institution within our society, must spend hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, erect vast social structures, agencies, and bureaucracies, and devote untold numbers of man-hours to the Sisyphean task of fighting human nature, is taken for granted by everyone and assumed to be the solution to problems such as these. The simple, obvious solution, which should occur to anyone thinking rationally and objectively--don't have women in the military--is not only considered offensive and beyond the pale, but doesn't occur to people.

I could be wrong about that last assertion. I can't read people's minds, and its possible that many more people have common sense than are willing to speak up. But from what I have observed of liberal thinking--and most people in our society, certainly most in the upper echelons, one of which is medical school, are liberals--commonsensical non-liberal ideas really don't occur to them at all. That, more so than their being considered offensive, is what I find so interesting. One of the most striking things that happens when one leaves mainstream conservatism and becomes a traditionalist is that one begins frequently noticing this vast gulf between sane, rational thought and the prevailing thought of our society. Ideas that present themselves to the mind immediately and effortlessly--like the idea that in military training we are trying to teach young, rowdy, mostly aggressive men how to fight, and we keep such men in extremely close quarters, and these experiences create a strong sense of male camaraderie among the trainees, and therefore it would be best for the men, for the women, and for our country not to throw women into the mix--are utterly foreign to large numbers of people.

Curiously, although moving from mainstream conservatism to traditionalism makes it easier to debate liberals honestly, it also makes doing so much less convenient, since one could face sanctions from one's employer, school, or what have you. When I was a mainstream-con I might have objected to the statement about how the military treats women, saying that yes, while there is room for improvement and the military should do all it can to reduce and eliminate rape and sexual harassment of female recruits, we shouldn't let our judgment on this issue overshadow the progress we've made, how much good the military has done for our country, how much better off women in the military are today than they used to be, how such behavior is considered unconscionable by ever-larger numbers of people, how the vast majority of women in the military do not experience such problems, and so on. But now, I would be lying if I talked that way. As a traditionalist, one often must hold one's tongue and be extremely careful about opening one's mouth, because truth and common sense are so foreign and horrifying to the regnant liberal thinking of our time. This makes it difficult to get the word out when one is under the authority of liberals.