Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why I Am Not a Feminist

 Because I am a humanist.  A humanist treats all people as individuals with the dignity and respect they have earned as a human being regardless of any group they may have been born into, chosen, or indoctrinated into at some point in their lives.  A humanist recognizes that humans come with a lot of baggage some of which may not be functional in a modern society, but a humanist recognizes that it is what the individual has unpacked from that baggage which is important, not the baggage itself.  Many men and women from religious and social indoctrination carry a heavy load of baggage of paternalism and misogyny, but to the extent that they have or have not left some of it behind, the humanist will accord respect for the human accordingly.

 As unpacking religious and social baggage is a difficult and frequently impossible human task, castigating all those who have not done so because of their baggage is neither functional nor humanistic.  Those who have managed to unpack and leave behind some of the more dysfunctional bags need all the respect and help from others they can get, and not be thrown under the baggage bus.  For those still carrying dysfunctional bags education and ostracism are about the only options for a rational humanist, but these options are generational in impact, and those individuals that have unpacked a bit are critical to the education role. They deserve all the dignity and respect they can get in spite of some residual prejudices.

 Men and women are fundamentally different biologically, emotionally, and in the roles they play in insuring that the next generation of humanity is an improvement over the last which is a fundamental evolutionary drive for all sexual animals.  The mating dance in most species is clear evidence that females will refuse to mate with less than the best male available.  Whatever being the best means the female and the male will invest significant time, energy and genetics in being best.  Males tend to be show-offs, brightly colored, bigger and more aggressive (expendable) while females tend to be drab, and blend into the scenery so they still can get the offspring to self-sufficiency even in the absence of the territorial protection of the male.  The male's primary role in the progeny project is to provide a safe and bountiful space for the female to nurture the young.  

 In pre-industrial societies the division of labor between men and women was unforced, with women taking on the productive jobs that were compatible with child care, clothing provisioning, gardening, feeding the family, and housekeeping.  Generally the productivity of women was an investment in the family, rather than income producing.  The men, relatively more expendable after conception, took on the more time and labor intensive jobs on the periphery of the settlement that were also dangerous:  Hunting, grain farming, herding, and warfare.  Men also took on the local jobs that were essentially uninterruptable, smithing, building, etc.  For this productivity men were paid so that they could exchange their labor for other useful items they couldn't make. Most of the pay was spent on things useful to provide the safe and bountiful space for the family.  Some may have been reserved for capital improvements in his own productivity, or hiring others to boost his productivity.

 Industrialization had a profound effect on the economic value of the productivity of women in the home. The 18th century mills were primarily devoted to production of cloth mainly cotton which effectively eliminated the economic productivity of spinning and weaving in the home.  The sewing machine and the clothing factories was the final nail in the coffin of homemade clothing as a value producing industry compatible with child raising.  In the early 20th century home appliances mainly the washing machine improved the home productivity of moms to the point that homemaking, shopping, cooking and serving were the last remaining home economic activity that were compatible with raising children.

 Industrialization had an equally profound effect on the economic role of men.  No longer could the smith compete with a home forge, he had to tend an industrial forge that was running 24/7.  A wagon wright (archaic terminology intentional) no longer could produce a wagon, much less a mechanical vehicle in his shop at home; he was tied to an assembly line metaphorically catching a wheel bouncing off the floor to attach it to the axle.  The wagon came on schedule and the wheel bounced on time, and the worker could not even pee until a relief showed up. This set the pattern for a man's job in any role in industry.  Inflexible long hours on the job, that were well compensated as wages were relatively inconsequential compared with productivity of the enterprise.  If the genetic imperative of producing a reproducing adult carrying his genes was a need for a man, the Faustian bargain of enabling a less physically demanding but more important parenting role in the absence of a functional father for their parenting partner in exchange for the long, demanding job outside the home to provide the resources for caregiving, nurturing, and socializing their children to reproductive adulthood.

 Management of these soul crunching enterprises reinforced some of the more antisocial characteristics of males: competitiveness, aggression, and lack of concern for their fellow humans of either gender.  It has always been known that "Nice guys finish last."  Not that it was necessary but science has caught up:    From a SciAm Book

Research shows that nice people are more likely to get and keep a job, but they tend to earn less and get passed over for leadership positions more often than their more demanding colleagues.  
 They earn less because nobody really wants to be an asshole, and being an asshole is a necessary attribute for a leadership position.  From supply and demand theory a soulless enterprise will have to pay more to induce people to be assholes.  It therefore follows that assholes make more than nice guys or nice gals.  Human females fall heavily into the nice gal part of the humanism curve and it would seem reasonable for feminists to be trying to raise compensation for all in the nice people jobs.  Instead feminists seem to be pushing to compete for equal access to the high paid asshole jobs.  There are a few women that fall on the asshole end of the humanism curve and since they are competing with the average male asshole they generally do well in proportion to their distribution on the curve. Adequate pay for equal work in the nice guy positions primarily occupied by moms and people of both genders with more important things to do than being an asshole like students, artists, and care givers does not appear on the feminist agenda.

 A few feminists advocate for parental leave for both genders, but being a parent or a potential parent is a disqualification for leadership unless your name is Zuckerberg or you are in a comparable situation. While the interviewer may not ask if you are sterile or a non-parent, there are other ways of determining if your loyalty is to the corporation rather than humanity.  Note that a male active parent carries the same disability as a mom or a potential mom. Take too much time off to referee or even cheer a child's game or take herm to a tournament and watch the promotion bait for a salary increase fly off the hook.

 There is a reason that moms are mostly women.  As a male mom at times I can attest that raising children to be productive and responsibly reproductive humans demands a lot of time, energy and emotional investment in those children.  From oxytocin, to breast feeding natural forces have generated a strong emotional bond between women and their children.  The nurturing investment in the gene pool is natural for women as they know for sure that the genes of the children are at least half hers given modern biology knowledge and instinctively for biologically naive women. 

 The medical revolution which reduced maternal and infant mortality to insignificance and relatively reliable conception planning which became possible in the early 20th century had a profound effect on the last remaining home activity: child raising. When one conception could be reliably considered to be one reproductive adult, and women could reliably control their own fecundity without the consent of any man, a family size of 2 to 4 children became optimal socially, further freeing up women from the ties to the home.  Nonetheless, the demands of proper parenting of even a few children limit the kinds of work outside the home that women can consider even after the last child is in (pre) school when the father is in the socially traditional and absent provisioning role or as unfortunately all too common absent in any role.  The soulless corporate enterprise managed by assholes insures that most of these jobs that allow time for parenting are minimum wage or less (see tipped servers) and are generally held by moms either voluntarily or of necessity.  Just another reality for most women that is ignored by feminists and one of the major reasons I object to the label.  The men and women fighting to raise the minimum wage do not call themselves feminists.

 A major waste of time and effort by feminists is trying to change the nature of the mating dance of humans as sexual animals.  Normal male attention getting behavior: What used to be called chivalry; commenting on the attractiveness of a female; offering trinkets, food and drink; displays of their male prowess to strange women; even quiet appreciation of the attractiveness of a woman are all condemned by feminists as treating women as sexual objects.  In other words they are trying to change the mammalian male view of the female of the species. Men may come to appreciate other attractive attributes but the first thing a dry prick looks at are the secondary sex attributes.  They don't even need to be conventionally attractive but they have to be female.    

 Everything that feminism has done since it became a movement in the last half of the 20th century has at best hindered women in fully participating as sexual humans in society.   Changing the language to pretend that male dominance does not exist.  Male dominance is a historical artifact of the dependence of reproducing women in many cultures, and in an industrial society.  Demanding access to asshole positions and the pay that goes along with them.  And suggesting that moms working or stay at home are an affront to feminism. 

 Finally and probably the most important reason I am not a feminist is that almost all feminists of all genders discourage successful women from contributing to the human gene pool whether they choose to become stay at home moms, or continue to be successful in contributing economically in the society while parenting. The mommy wars are not over.  A proper feminist of either gender is childless, usually permanently so, in order to avoid the parenting penalty inherent in any job.

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