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Author Topic: Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth  (Read 10174 times)

another_someone

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #25 on: 24/10/2007 17:11:15 »
oops, i did mean to add that some of the "extra" wives are between the ages of 11 and 17. Simply put it does not matter if the "wife" is a child. This does still happen, and is happening right now in places in the US.

The notion of an 14 year old as a child is a fairly modern notion (the exact age at which someone moved from childhood to adulthood does vary, but we have had kings who were young teenagers, but would lead their armies into battle).

Clearly, the problem in the US is particularly acute because it is, by necessity, beyond the reach of legal control (a little like the problems with drugs - once they are outside of the law, they are outside any legal control).

I believe that in Peru, girls are still allowed to marry at 12 years of age (but crucially, it must be without coercion - although it may be reasonable to speculate how easy it is to enforce such a caveat in practice).

In most countries where girls may marry below the age of 14, they are also I suspect countries where the woman generally has little say in the choice of husband (although increasing the age of consent does not automatically remove the pressure for arranged marriages - but then, there are also people who argue that arranged marriages also have their virtues).
 

another_someone

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #26 on: 24/10/2007 17:22:43 »
No, don't think I said that. I think what I said was that it wasn't ideal. What I meant to imply was that, as with so many things, technology has now moved on and we ought to be able to do better.

Not even sure if we can say we might do things better, but where I would certainly agree is that we would be better to do things differently.

I take your point about the difference between intention and outcome, but I would say that if we're going to compare systems at all it has to be the outcomes and not the intentions (in whatever woolly way we define intentions... whose intentions? those of the writers of the rules? those of the people implimenting the rules?)

There are two types of judgements involved - the judgement of how things should be changed, and the judgement of the people who made things the way they are.

Certainly, in terms of judging what it is that is ripe for change, then outcome can be the only criteria we should use.

When judging the people who made things as they are, then intention must be at least one factor in that judgement.

And about independence vs responsibility... don't see how you can have one without the other...

I don't think I said anything to the contrary (although one has to ask who is truly independent - but more specifically, I have always argued you cannot have power without responsibility).  The two issues is, firstly to identify where true power lies (which is often a very complex question), and secondly, to whom should they be responsible (unless they have power over me, then have I the right to demand they be answerable to me)?

 

another_someone

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #27 on: 24/10/2007 17:42:09 »
The whole thing is about spheres of influence. Women, often older women, may have dominance in the home (not sure how this applies in different cultures), especially where several generations live together, but if men have control over who leaves the home and when then they have a much more important form of power.

Thinking about animal models with regard to this (and I recognise this will be controversial, since some may accuse me of anthropomorphising animal behaviour), if one looks at social bees.  The queen bee is regarded as the controlling influence on the hive, yet it is the worker bees who are the ones who leave the hive.

Again, as with the human position, it can always be argued that the apparent allocation of power can be deceptive (is the queen really controlling the hive, or is she a slave of the hive? the same questions can be argued about gender power in humans, who is really controlling whom?).  I suspect that any answer one gives can be answered just as legitimately from the exact opposite position.
 

lyner

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #28 on: 24/10/2007 19:05:14 »
Sometimes I think these threads fail the Turing test.
 

lyner

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #29 on: 25/10/2007 09:50:31 »
Quote
But, really, A-S, you are just kidding us.
You really do have some empathy with the oppressed,
You don't really excuse abuse on the grounds of tradition.




Do you?
 

another_someone

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #30 on: 25/10/2007 10:57:23 »
But, really, A-S, you are just kidding us.
You really do have some empathy with the oppressed,
You don't really excuse abuse on the grounds of tradition.

Do you?

I like to think I have empathy for most people; I just have a reluctance to view the world as having deserving 'oppressed' people, and others who are undeserving of any empathy.  People are people, and it is in my view unjust to label huge swathes of them as evil oppressors undeserving of our concern and empathy - that is the way to developing unwarranted prejudices about race and gender.

I am also wary of allowing my emotions to blur my judgement, but that is not to say I am devoid of emotions - we all have prejudices, and knee jerk emotional responses, but I try to step back from that and think about my response is truly rational or merely the response to a knee jerk emotion.
 

lyner

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #31 on: 25/10/2007 12:04:57 »
Quote
it is in my view unjust to label huge swathes of them as evil oppressors
It may be taking 'justness' a bit far if one doesn't condemn what is clearly a cruel  action on the grounds that it 'may' involve a judgement of the person carrying out the action. Whoever is setting fire to a woman, the experience of the woman, surely, deserves at least some sympathy. The man may be following accepted tradition but that takes none of the woman's pain away. There must be a stage where the analytical approach can be set aside and an emotional response is quite appropriate.
Is it possible to visualise the  above scenario without one's emotions telling  you that is is just plain WRONG? I should have thought that it would not be too much to admit to.
 

another_someone

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #32 on: 25/10/2007 16:19:04 »
Quote
it is in my view unjust to label huge swathes of them as evil oppressors
It may be taking 'justness' a bit far if one doesn't condemn what is clearly a cruel  action on the grounds that it 'may' involve a judgement of the person carrying out the action. Whoever is setting fire to a woman, the experience of the woman, surely, deserves at least some sympathy. The man may be following accepted tradition but that takes none of the woman's pain away. There must be a stage where the analytical approach can be set aside and an emotional response is quite appropriate.
Is it possible to visualise the  above scenario without one's emotions telling  you that is is just plain WRONG? I should have thought that it would not be too much to admit to.

But you have not met my point at all.

Ofcourse, setting light to people is wrong - but then, by the same token, most acts of war are wrong (setting light to people always has been, and remains, a tool of war) - although some people (people include women) may argue that war may be a necessary evil in certain contexts (this despite the individual person not actually having done anything personally to deserve such an outcome).

But the point is that you are asking me to condemn an act (difficult, without a specific context, but in general I would agree that it is not an acceptable act in times of peace in any society); but I was arguing about the condemnation of large groups of people within society (I would not condemn all men in any society, merely because one man sets light to one woman).  My objection was primarily about the assertion that there is a collective evil amongst large groups that are selected purely by race or gender.

I am not even saying there are not cases where large groups of people do something wrong - but while I can accept that one person who acts wrong may be a wrong person, when lots of people do something wrong, then one has to look at the environment in which they are in to ask why do they all do that.
« Last Edit: 25/10/2007 16:28:10 by another_someone »
 

lyner

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #33 on: 25/10/2007 18:55:46 »
Quote
setting light to people always has been, and remains, a tool of war
What has that got to do with the woman - the individual, in a bad situation? And how does your statement justify anything?  How can you condone a culture where this is accepted as just? Do you have no absolutes in your life? Try imagining it was happening to you. Would you be quite as uninvolved? Would you excuse the act on the grounds that you couldn't really condemn your torturer as being a bad person? I don't think so.
I can't continue this. Every time I introduce an idea based on personal suffering , you  skate around the subject with abstract ideas and intellectual fencing.

My point is that all this stuff should be taken very personally and, where possible, openly condemned - not just discussed like how many angels there are on a pinhead.
When politicians and rulers  can divorce themselves from what they are doing, they order many unspeakable things.  Unspeakable in an absolutte sense - not just relatively unfortunate or not in the best interests of someone, they are actually bad things. Sometimes the unspeakable act represents the lesser of two evils but, in many social situations, the acts carried out against oppressed sections of society have no justification at all. A disinterested  attitude is  not justified, either. I cannot see how you  can reduce every moral statement or question to simple logic. Isn't humanity part of your vocabulary?
We will have to stick to dry, inanimate subjects like Physics - about which you have some very respectable views, A-S.
 

another_someone

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
« Reply #34 on: 25/10/2007 20:34:13 »
Quote
setting light to people always has been, and remains, a tool of war
What has that got to do with the woman - the individual, in a bad situation? And how does your statement justify anything?  How can you condone a culture where this is accepted as just? Do you have no absolutes in your life? Try imagining it was happening to you. Would you be quite as uninvolved? Would you excuse the act on the grounds that you couldn't really condemn your torturer as being a bad person? I don't think so.
I can't continue this. Every time I introduce an idea based on personal suffering , you  skate around the subject with abstract ideas and intellectual fencing.

My point is that all this stuff should be taken very personally and, where possible, openly condemned - not just discussed like how many angels there are on a pinhead.
When politicians and rulers  can divorce themselves from what they are doing, they order many unspeakable things.  Unspeakable in an absolutte sense - not just relatively unfortunate or not in the best interests of someone, they are actually bad things. Sometimes the unspeakable act represents the lesser of two evils but, in many social situations, the acts carried out against oppressed sections of society have no justification at all. A disinterested  attitude is  not justified, either. I cannot see how you  can reduce every moral statement or question to simple logic. Isn't humanity part of your vocabulary?
We will have to stick to dry, inanimate subjects like Physics - about which you have some very respectable views, A-S.


I am finding that you are leaping about all over the place, from the generality, to the specific, and then back to the generality - so please excuse me if I take such leaps with a certain amount of caution.

We started with a generality - that your assertion was that men used taboos concerning menstruation as a means of controlling women.  You then leapt to an argument that this is somehow proven by the fact that some men set light to women.  This is why I am being circumspect - I am reluctant to make such a leap.

With regard to the specific - ofcourse there are actions that I would condemn - but to condemn something, you have to be sure you understand what it is you are condemning - I am afraid I have seen too many convictions by headlines in tabloid newspapers that have fed soundbites of information, devoid of context, and most people accept that to be the whole truth.  The place to find someone guilty is in a court of law, where time is allocated to see the whole story, and not rely of soundbites to bring in a guilty verdict.

Ofcourse, this is not to say that I cannot be guilty of jumping prematurely to conclusions, and sometimes the wrong conclusion (sometimes allowing myself to be caught up too much in those soundbites and headlines), but I at least try and be aware of the risks involved in doing so.

As for jumping back to the generality, and making some link with "politicians and rulers  can divorce themselves from what they are doing" - I really don't see the link at all.  Very few politicians really don't care about the consequences of their actions, but many become so obsessed about what they see as a specific wrong they wish to right, that they overlook the wider picture, and create an even greater wrong in trying to correct what they perceive as being a specific wrong that they feel personally about.  That is why I do believe that looking at the bigger picture is always wrong, and trying to make general policy by using the emotions evoked by a very specific incident will always lead to bad policy (look at the dangerous dogs act, or the prohibition on the legal, but heavily licensed, ownership of handguns - neither policy achieved much positive, and both policies were driven more by emotion than by clear overview).

As for the specific hypothetical case you suggest I might be a victim - would I excuse that (in fact, the irony is that victims in many cases, where the perpetrator is a member of the same family, often do excuse the perpetrator - that is often an issue in cases of domestic violence) - in reality, I cannot say how I would, with any certainty, react in such a situation, but I would imagine that I would react with fear, and do what I felt was necessary to protect myself, but that thoughts of justification or condemnation would be furthest from my mind.

When it was all over, and I could stand back, in safety, and think about it; my first thought would be whether I had made a mistake to allow that situation to arise (if the perpetrator was a person I had trusted, then my thoughts would be whether I had been in error to trust that person).

OK, these are personal responses - some people seek to take responsibility (and by inference, blame) themselves, whereas other people seek to deflect blame and responsibility.  You may say that the right policy is to find the correct balance between the two, but we each have our own comfort zone where we feel the balance is right for us, and maybe my comfort zone is closer to take personal responsibility rather than attributing blame elsewhere (others tend to go to the opposite extreme - that is their nature, as this is mine).
« Last Edit: 25/10/2007 20:46:29 by another_someone »
 

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Gender power distribution - was Moon & Hair grwoth
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