Friday, August 10, 2007

More Fan Mail

I received this comment today on my post, Some Utopia

Mike said:
"Utter sophistry. Do you want to suggest that prison rape is an element of systematic violence against men as men? When a man is raped in prison, is it related to his position in society as a man, or is it related to the fact that he's lower on the food chain inside prison?

Do you have any pictures of men abused by their wives? Any bloody faces or smashed noses? Is the damage done by women to men comparable?

Are there comparable numbers of male to female prostitutes? Is it not true that the overwhelming numbers of prostitutes are destitute women? The same goes with the wider sex industry. In porn, how often do you see "sluts begging for it" and how often do you see "studs begging for it"? You see the former a lot more than the latter.

Circumscision of women involves removal of the clitoris. It permanantly destroys any real possibility of sexual pleasure for a women. While I would never circumcise my son, the comparison of the two practices is utterly ridiculous.

Yes, men suffer injustices, but playing this "men suffer it too!" game when in fact the male version of these problems are comparably trivial is pathetic".


At least someone is trying to engage with the subject for once instead of just screaming abuse, so thank you for that Mike. You made several points and each one requires an answer. However, I notice that you have taken only three or four of the many points that I have made, and ignored the rest. Am I to assume that you agree with the others?

To take your points in order.

Prison Rape
You said:
Do you want to suggest that prison rape is an element of systematic violence against men as men? When a man is raped in prison, is it related to his position in society as a man, or is it related to the fact that he's lower on the food chain inside prison?

There are several things I want to say here. Firstly, I reject the radical feminist account of rape as ‘systematic violence against women as women’, which your comment implies that you subscribe to. I’m not saying ‘the rape of men is the same as that’. I’m saying ‘the rape of women is not that either’. There is no doubt that rape has a basis in evolutionary biology, but that must not be taken as a moral justification for it, any more than the economic basis for theft constitutes a moral justification for it. The fact that rape exists at all does not reflect something profound about the structural position of women in society, any more than car theft reflects something profound about the structural position of car owners in society. We all have a right to expect to live lives free from violence, but it is important to describe social problems in an accurate and honest way in order to have any chance of solving them, and this is something that the feminist movement has been spectacularly bad at in my view. As I said elsewhere, when my musician friend was beaten up, I did not feel the need to invent a new explanatory category called ‘Violence Against Musicians’ in order to make sense of it. I regard the feminist view that rape is ‘systematic violence against women as women’, or ‘an instrument of the Patriarchy’, as similarly spurious political fictions. I believe that these are misleading and unhelpful misrepresentations. This is not the same as trivialising rape.

You continue:
When a man is raped in prison, is it related to his position in society as a man, or is it related to the fact that he's lower on the food chain inside prison?

The two are not mutually exclusive. The fact that he is in prison at all is related to his position in society as a man. Men receive consistently heavier sentences for the same crimes; women often walk free because courts simply do not want to imprison them.

You seem to be trivialising male rape within prison, as if “the fact that he's lower on the food chain inside prison” is somehow his own fault, and the rape of such prisoners is somehow acceptable. I believe that many feminists find the idea of male prison rape funny, and certainly not worth protesting about. This makes them hypocrites. The problem is even more serious due to the fact that they have taken ownership of the rape victim support industry, and control discourse about rape. They are the self appointed authorities on the subject of rape, and yet they believe that some rapes are funny, or simply of no interest. This is at best a dereliction of duty, leading us to question whether they are really qualified to do the job at all. Worse than that, it is reminiscent of a racist police force which refuses to investigate crimes committed against a particular ethnic group. It is evidence of a politically motivated partisanship.

You say, “…the male version of these problems are (sic) comparably trivial”.
The US prison population stands at nearly two and a quarter million. Reference. Some estimates suggest that most of the rapes that take place in the US take place inside prison, where there is an endemic culture of daily rape which does not exist on the outside. If most US rape victims are in fact male, it is difficult to argue that “the male version of these problems are comparably trivial”.

Domestic Violence
You ask:
“Do you have any pictures of men abused by their wives? Any bloody faces or smashed noses?”

I think your question is intended to be rhetorical, clearly based on the assumption that ‘no such pictures can exist because no such thing has ever happened‘. If so you are wrong. I personally know men who have been beaten up, hit with blunt instruments, and even stabbed by their wives, and have indeed sustained facial injuries and broken bones. I suppose that is their own fault for being wimps. I have come across cases (not known to me personally) in which men have been murdered by their wives. One of them dialled 999 as he was bleeding to death, and told the operator he had cut himself while cooking, still trying to protect his wife.

Anyway. Even were I to show you such pictures, you would no doubt discount them as fictional. In any case, I have something much better than that to offer you. I have scientific evidence:

  • References Examining Assaults by Women on Their Spouses or Male Partners: An Annotated Bibliography. Martin S. Fiebert, Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach
    SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 203 scholarly investigations: 156 empirical studies and 47 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 185,500. Reference
  • Dominance and Symmetry in Partner Violence by Male and Female University Students in 32 Nations, Murray A Strauss. 'Violence by only the male partner was the least frequent pattern according to both male and female participants.' (Abstract)
  • Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence Daniel J. Whitaker, PhD, Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, Monica Swahn, PhD and Linda S. Saltzman, PhD "In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases." (Abstract)
  • DV Stats.Com A search engine which locates academic studies on Domestic Violence by keyword.
  • For a collection of more general links on the subject, click here

The scientific evidence clearly shows the following:

  • Women initiate domestic violence at least as often, or more often, than men do.
  • Domestic violence is just as common in the homosexual communities as it is in the heterosexual community.
  • Domestic violence affects approximately 2% - 5% of couples. In other words, it is relatively rare.
  • Domestic violence is almost always reciprocal. It is rarely the case that one partner hits the other exclusively.
  • Domestic violence collocates very strongly with alcohol and substance abuse.


You then ask, Is the damage done by women to men comparable?

The answer here is no. Women statistically sustain more injuries than men because they are smaller and weaker, and in many cases, less accustomed to fighting. They, in effect, start fights they cannot win. However, they often compensate for their size by using weapons, and/or the element of surprise.

It is a standard trope of comedy that the angry wife will greet her drunk and wayward husband clutching a rolling pin or frying pan, and hit him with it; that women will throw crockery at their husbands during arguments. This is not regarded by society as violent behaviour. It is regarded as a woman's prerogative. Feminists have no interest in seeing this being challenged. The use of weapons in domestic violence is not as funny in real life as it is in cartoons. In one case, the woman waited until the man had gone to sleep before pouring boiling fat over him, which eventually resulted in his death. I expect he probably deserved it though.

Get this: Every word that you have ever been told in your life on the subject of domestic violence has been part of an orchestrated pack of lies. The received wisdom on the subject is entirely wrong, and this is not an accident. We have been deliberately misled.

The Sex Industry
You ask:
Are there comparable numbers of male to female prostitutes?

I'm glad to see you admitting that there are some male prostitutes. Of course you are right. They serve both the male homosexual and female heterosexual markets.

The answer to your question is of course, no, there are more female prostitutes than male ones. What are we to make of this fact? Is it evidence of 'systematic violence against women as women'? It is nothing so grandiose. It is simple market forces at work. Very few women want to hire prostitutes, and heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals in the population. Consequently, most prostitues are female. That men have more of a taste for casual sex than women do is very easily explicable in terms of biology. Men and women are just different. There is no use in pretending otherwise.

Is it not true that the overwhelming numbers of prostitutes are destitute women?
That may be true at the bottom end of the market, but it is not true across the market. London has its thousand-pound-a-night call girls, and no-one could call them destitute by any stretch of the imagination. If you read my earlier post, Legalise Prostitution, my views on the subject are there. In summary, I regard prostitution as a legitimate profession, and the social problems commonly associated with it are due almost entirely to the fact that it is illegal.

I don't believe that anyone should be destitute in a country like the UK. However, what would you recommend to those women as an alternative? More especially, what would you recommend to destitute men for whom even prostitution is not an option? Did you know that over 90% of homeless people in London are men? Is this trivial? When a man becomes homeless, is it related to his position in society as a man? Ironic as it may sound, prostitution probably keeps many women off the streets. The only way to make the lives of prostitutes better is to legalise the trade. Interestingly, the International Prostitutes Collective seems to agree with me on that.

If you think that prostitution must be seen as a 'gender issue' because most prostitutes are women, then why is homelessness not regarded as a gender issue also? How can you explain this?

Circumcision
You said:
"Circumscision (sic) of women involves removal of the clitoris. It permanantly destroys any real possibility of sexual pleasure for a women. While I would never circumcise my son, the comparison of the two practices is utterly ridiculous".

Firstly, I did not refer to 'circumcision' in my article; I referred to 'the ritual mutilation of children's genital organs'. In the case of boys, this includes both circumcision and castration.

I think we will agree that castration "permanantly destroys any real possibility of sexual pleasure". The castration of males has been much more widespread throughout human history than the circumcision of females, which has been relatively uncommon.

In Renaissance Italy, talented boy choristers were castrated in order to preserve their soprano voices. 'Castrati' singers were popular in Europe from the 16th Century until 1870 when the operation was banned. A recording, made in 1902, exists of the "last castrato", Alessandro Moreschi. Reference

The Chinese, Ottoman, Mughal, and other courts retained large numbers of eunuch servants. When the 'Last Emperor' Pu Yi was expelled from the Forbidden City in 1924, his eunuchs went with him. Feminists have a lot to say about the Chinese practice of foot-binding, but nothing at all to say about the castration of eunuchs. I put it to you that this practise is as serious, if not more serious, than either female circumcision in Africa, or foot-binding in China, and it has been much more widespread.

Castration is widely regarded as a joke. Consider the Bobbitt case. If he had cut off her clitoris while she slept (domestic violence - weapons - element of surprise), he would have been hounded in the press. She cut off his penis, and this is treated as a joke. How can you explain that?

Now to take your point about circumcision. There is clear scientific evidence that the circumcision of males leads to a marked decrease in ability to experience sexual pleasure.

Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis
British Journal of Urology International, v. 99, issue 4, p. 864, April 2007. "The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis...circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis". Reference

There is also clear evidence that male circumcision decreases the sexual pleasure of the female partner. Reference

Furthermore, circumcision carries with it considerable risks. Look at this for example:

Epidemic Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus:
Dramatically Increased Risk for Circumcised Newborn Boys
Warning: This site contains some very graphic medical photographs. Reference

Consider also Bruce Reimer, the boy accidentally castrated during a botched circumcision, and subsequently raised as a girl. After an unhappy life, he eventually committed suicide. Reference

Bear in mind that this practice is carried out without any medical necessity.

I disagree with you when you say that "the comparison of the two practices is utterly ridiculous".

There is one final point to make about male circumcision. It has recently been suggested that it plays a valuable role in helping to prevent the spread of HIV. This is not only profoundly counter-intuitive, but also completely untrue.

The Use of Male Circumcision to Prevent HIV Infection
"All three studies found that non-circumcised males contract HIV infection more quickly than circumcised males. Only one study has been published. All three studies were terminated early, before the incidence of infection in circumcised males caught up with the incidence of infection in the non-circumcised males. If the studies had continued for their scheduled time, it is probable that there would have been little difference between the circumcised group and the non-circumcised group." Reference

Role of circumcision in preventing HIV infection overestimated.
Citation: Talbott JR (2007) Size Matters: The Number of Prostitutes and the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic. PLoS ONE 2(6):e543.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000543. "This paper provides strong evidence that when conducted properly, cross country regression data does not support the theory that male circumcision is the key to slowing the AIDS epidemic. Rather, it is the number of infected prostitutes in a country that is highly significant and robust in explaining HIV prevalence levels across countries".
Reference

In summary Mike, I find that the solutions to social problems which are offered by the political Left are very poor ones, and are promulgated by lies and coercion. Once we put our prejudices to one side and try to think clearly about the subject, we often find that it looks very different than we expected.