Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On the hidden enemy lurking within 49.3 percent of the U.S. population

Okay, so The Boy and I got into a lengthy discussion recently over a blog post by Dilbert cartoonist and all-around dickweed Scott Adams asserting that recent "tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive" by some "powerful men" is really just them giving in to their manly urges, urges that are "shameful and criminal" in a world that values only the natural instincts of women.

The Scott Adams part of this post

In Scott's words,
The current view of such things is that the men are to blame for their own bad behavior. That seems right. Obviously we shouldn’t blame the victims. I think we all agree on that point. Blame and shame are society’s tools for keeping things under control.

The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn’t ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, “Here’s your square hole”?
By all means, correct me if I'm drawing weird connections here, but I'm digging through my limited and dusty knowledge of propositional calculus to make sense of whatever the hell he's saying. If someone could please, in comments or via e-mail, characterize it some other way than "raping and cheating are only bad because society caters to women," I'll give you a nickel. The whole lion-and-zebra thing really reads like "Some dummy put rapey men and rapeable women in the same habitat! Man, whatcha gonna do, right?"

Anyway, the discussion with The Boy centered around whether men are, in fact, inherently rapey-cheaty. And here's the upshot:
ME. So you've got Woman 1, who's gagging for it, and Woman 2, who absolutely isn't interested. You're uncivilized man, lacking in any social contract to influence your behavior and thus going entirely on instinct. Which one do you go for?
HIM. Woman 1. It's easier.
ME. Okay.
HIM. And then maybe Woman 2.
ME. Seriously?
HIM. Well, maybe I'm not done yet.
ME. That makes me uncomfortable.
HIM. It shouldn't. The social contract is what makes us look past what we want to behave in a way that's best for the good of the overall group. Without that, we have no reason to think of anything but our own desires. If our desire is to fuck, we fuck until we don't want to anymore. People want what they want. As part of a society, we are required to belay our impulses to fit in with the norm--so I confine my fucking to only those women who are willing.
ME. That actually makes some kind of sense.
HIM. See?
ME. That also makes me uncomfortable.
And it's true--without the influence of society, left to nothing but instinct, we're serious assholes. All of us are. Society is what makes us (or some of us, anyway) consider the wants and needs of others alongside our own. It's not a matter of instinct--it's a matter of adhering to the social contract, and we're all confined by the same societal norms, and it's left up to us to game society to get as much of what we want as we can within those norms. While Scott Adams claims that the system is stacked against men, what he's basically arguing is that men just aren't as good at gaming the system and thus should be excused from it, and that just don't hold water.

That was weeks ago, though, and the only reason I thought of it was that today, I read something that made it seem comparatively reasonable. Shudder.

The Dan Rottenberg part of this post

Holy fucking fuckety-fuck.
But in practice, rape and the notion of sexual conquest persist for the same reason that warfare persists: because the human animal--especially the male animal--craves drama as much as food, shelter and clothing. Conquering an unwilling sex partner is about as much drama as a man can find without shooting a gun--and, of course, guns haven’t disappeared either. [emphasis mine]
So it's not just a matter of wanting what you want and wanting to take what you want to have--men want to take what they want specifically from an unwilling sex partner because they crave… drama. Lara Logan was raped in Egypt because of a gown she wore on a red carpet in Hollywood, and Rottenberg's neighbor got her daughter molested by wearing a halter top while she cleaned the living room, and they both should have known better, because they both should have known that men want to commit rape as much as they want food and shelter. Congratulations, Dan Rottenberg, for making Scott Adams's characterization of men look like schoolboys in propeller beanies. You're an asset to your gender.

(A note to Scott: Hugh Hefner is probably not the best illustration of your thesis statement. Yes, he's gone between single and married several times without making either of them stick for any substantial period of time. He's also spent the past five decades surrounded by the hottest, nakedest, in many cases willingest women God and science ever created, which one would think you'd consider a lion-bad-boy-manly-man's round-peg dream. At the risk of sounding crass, though Hef may well have his own problems to deal with, finding a round hole is definitely not one of them.)

(A note from The Boy to Scott: You should stick to trying to be funny and not making social commentary.)

No comments: