Libertarian feminism. So why aren't there more Kellys speaking out?

ragdish
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Libertarian feminism. So why aren't there more Kellys speaking out?

Personal freedom, the right of adults to engage in any consenting sexual activity, the right to view sexually explicit imagery, reproductive rights, equal rights under the law, protection of person and property and individual rights without interference from the state. I find that the majority of rational atheist women uphold these libertarian values. Yet they are silent while the religious right and radical feminists get their days in the sun. The utopian ideals of equality whether based on religious or secular doctrines have always exacerbated the oppression of women when collectivism trumps the rights of the individual.

I work at a teaching hospital and I often meet fellow medical students and residents in various social settings (eg. pubs, restaurants). A large segment of liberal secular female physicians similar to their male counterparts like to blow off steam. They enjoy dirty movies, strip clubs and even casual sex. I am not implying that the genders are in any way interchangeable. Simply put, we have culturally evolved to a more permissive environment wherein womens' desires are no longer repressed. Yet even though my female colleagues uphold the ideals of equality, they are labelled as either antifeminist or that they are brainwashed by patriarchy for venturing to places of ill repute. Fortunately, the college town where I reside is liberal and relatively free of those who are right wing religious zealots.

What I find puzzling is that among the many secular women I have met, even though they are libertarian and feminist, they maintain silence like secular muslims who fear to speak out against their religion. So why don't they speak out? Why aren't there more Kellys expressing their libertarian views?

 

 


BrainFromArous
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Because...

...of ideology.

Broadly speaking (ha! get it?), there are two kinds of "feminism"

One kind, known by various names but commonly as Equity Feminism, holds that women should enjoy legal and social equality with men and constructs a politics/ethics around this belief.

The other, known by various names but frequently as Gender Feminism, goes beyond that and holds that de jure equality will never be de facto until and unless various things about men and the world they've made are 'fixed.'

For many GFs - not all, but many - open sexuality and especially unapologetic male heterosexuality is one such problem in need of repair. Something like an erotic dance club is inherently bad no matter the particulars of the place - the dancers are well paid and have no trouble with the work, the customers are respectful, the management is not abusive, etc. - because the mere act of women 'selling' any aspect of their sexuality somehow oppresses all women, everywhere.

Boards don't hit back. (Bruce Lee)


Hambydammit
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I've addressed this topic

I've addressed this topic before, but maybe it's time for an actual research paper on it.  I'll think about it and see what kind of research I can actually dig up.

In the meantime, my general thoughts on the matter:

Religion hits women harder than men on the sexual morality front.  There are several reasons for this.  The first is purely biological.  Women are "designed" to be much more sexually choosy than men.  All things being equal (in the feminist sense) fewer women will engage in frequent casual sex than men.  Also, women are designed to be receptive to intellectual stimuli much more than men.  In other words, in a default state, women don't often get horny from looking at a guy.  They get horny from hearing him talk or watching him demonstrate prowess at something or other.  As you're well aware, it just takes a naked picture of a woman for most guys to get at least a little aroused.  Finally, women are geared farther towards emotional sexuality than men.  That is, most women desire emotional intimacy as much or more than sexual intimacy until they are turned on.  As any guy knows, you have to warm most women up to physical intimacy, or they're going to be perfectly happy sitting at a coffee shop talking about their feelings... for hours.

When Christianity preaches its message of sexual purity, restraint, and propriety, it taps into the normal biological sex drive of women far more than that of men.  Since women are already geared towards choosiness, reluctance, and nonsexual intimacy (relative to men... I know women get horny... I'm talking about relative measures!) they are easily indoctrinated into a system that exaggerates their normal drives to the point of absurdity.  Men, on the other hand, tend to ignore a lot of the sexual mandates, particularly when they are not being watched by nosy church women.  After all, men are not geared to be easily indoctrinated into chastity, reluctance, and choosiness.

The second reason women are less likely to "come out" about liberal sexual values is that even outside of religion, there is a really nasty competitive streak among women, and it's usually a pretty bad idea to give them more ammunition.  That is to say, women are far more likely to call other women sluts than men.  It's pretty obvious if you think about it.  Men want every woman except their own to be sexually promiscuous.  That way, they get to father a child with relative certainty and have affairs on the side.  Women, on the other hand, want other women to be as sexually chaste as possible because that reduces the competition for their man.

To restate this concept, it is in a man's interest to cloister one woman as completely as possible to ensure parentage.  After all, a man can never be completely sure he's the father, but a woman always knows she's the mother.  Even so, there is no harm whatsoever in a man having sex with as many women as possible, so long as he's able to keep the one woman (or two, or three, if it's a polygamous society).  To this end, men want most women to be sexually promiscuous, increasing their chances of easy sex.  Men's interest in women (biologically) is basically short... however long it takes to copulate.

Women, on the other hand, have a long term interest in a man.  Any old man will do for the copulation, but for the pregnancy and childrearing, a man with an emotional commitment to both mother and child is the best case scenario.  For this reason, women have every reason to reduce the competition as much as possible.  Consider that historically, all a man has had to do is lock the door when he leaves the house, and his woman is safe from the competition.  For a woman, it's much tougher, since the competition is out there where the man works.  This state of affairs probably extends back to near the beginning of humanity, since men have probably always been the ones to go out hunting, raiding, raping, and pillaging, and women have probably always stayed in relatively protected areas.  So, for a woman to reduce the competition, she must discover something more indirect, like.... for instance... sullying the reputation of the women around her...

See how it works?  Women are programmed to try to reduce other women's sexual appeal.  Since they're trying to sell themselves to their man as loyal and devoted, it makes sense that they would paint other women as promiscuous, slutty, and skanky.  Thus, there is a biological explanation for the social behavior of repressing sexuality through cultural standards.

A woman need not be consciously aware of all this evolutionary psychobabble.  If she feels emotionally reluctant to buck the system, she's probably not going to buck the system.  Add to this the fact that bucking the system sexually is not nearly as important to a woman as it is to a man, and you've got a recipe for exactly the situation we see now.  Remember, women are programmed for more subtle sexual stimulation than men, and are not as drawn to the blatant visual sexuality as much as men.  They prefer romance novels to porno mags.  It's simply not that important to most women to have the social freedom to have sex with a different man every night or to go to a strip club.  Frankly, most women have bigger fish to fry, and would be more emotionally supported if they tackle other issues like job equality or going after deadbeat dads.

So, in summary:

1) Women are more susceptible to religious sexual morality than men.

2) Women are less biologically inclined to act like men sexually.

3) Women have a vested interest in promoting sexual restraint among other women.

4) Women generally have bigger fish to fry than liberating themselves in the way you're talking about.

 

Finally, consider that you as a man have more interest in women sexually liberating themselves than women do.  The more sexually liberated women there are, the easier it's going to be for men to get laid when they want.  In general, any woman can get laid whenever she wants already, so there's not that much added benefit to being really open about it.

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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anniet
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Hambydammit wrote:4) Women

Hambydammit wrote:

4) Women generally have bigger fish to fry than liberating themselves in the way you're talking about.

I like all of Hamby's response to your question.  Item #4 is a huge one for me.  My sexuality is what it is and I don't worry about limits to expressing it as that's never a big problem.  My big problems are child care, elder care, lower-pay than similarly educated males, access to adequate health care (including abortion, birth control, etc.), etc. 

"I am that I am." - Proof that the writers of the bible were beyond stoned.


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Isn't it just a case they

Isn't it just a case they while all women and all men generally want the same legal rights that there isnt a consensus beyond that.

There isnt a voting group 'women' or a voting group 'men' in the same way there isnt a voting group 'atheist'

 


Hambydammit
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Quote:My sexuality is what

Quote:
My sexuality is what it is and I don't worry about limits to expressing it as that's never a big problem.

Exactly.  Here's another way to look at this.  Most women want one man.  If a woman isn't religious, and doesn't have emotional issues with having sex, it's highly likely that she's going to be able to find a man that's sexually compatible with her.  I mean, really, how hard is it to find a man who's willing to conform to whatever the woman wants, so long as it means getting regular sex?  Where's the big impetus for a woman to fight for her right to not be gossiped about if she goes to a strip club?  Why does she need to worry about that when she's got a man who will fuck her anytime she wants, and she's making less money than her peers, and her cousin was forced into having a baby she wanted to abort, and her teenage daughter can't get the HPV vaccine because some religious nutcase doctor refuses to administer it on religious grounds?

Again, you talk to an average man on the street, and one of his biggest concerns is when he's going to get laid again.  Ask any woman, and that's not going to be high on the list of priorities.  Sexually liberated women are great for men, but not so beneficial for women.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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ragdish
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Hambydammit wrote:So, in

Hambydammit wrote:

So, in summary:

1) Women are more susceptible to religious sexual morality than men.

2) Women are less biologically inclined to act like men sexually.

3) Women have a vested interest in promoting sexual restraint among other women.

4) Women generally have bigger fish to fry than liberating themselves in the way you're talking about.

 

Finally, consider that you as a man have more interest in women sexually liberating themselves than women do.  The more sexually liberated women there are, the easier it's going to be for men to get laid when they want.  In general, any woman can get laid whenever she wants already, so there's not that much added benefit to being really open about it.

All are valid points. As I have stated before, I am in complete agreement with sociobiologic explanations of human behavior. Yet the evidence ways heavily against any biologic essentialist notion of herd mentality among women. Also it is in our hardwired nature to place the needs of the self and one's family over and above the needs of the masses. Yes, we are indeed selfish by nature. Men and women want their personal freedoms to come first before anything else. We are all libertarians which is why in the long run collectivist ideologies have limited success. In contrast to libertarian feminism, often mainstream feminism like orthodox religions expects conformity to a rigid cultural ideals ie. women should not engage in the free market, women should not become sex workers even if those professions are freely chosen. Not all women want to become CEOs, neurosurgeons or tenured professors working at the NIH. Some want to be stay at home moms raising children. Yet this would be an affront to mainstream feminism's goal for equality. Although there are a variety of feminisms, they can all be distilled to those who are libertarian and those who are collectivist. And these ideologic differences (the latter being more mainstream) are due to the fact that many women don't want the state to interfere in their lives. I so no biologic basis for women choosing a specific ideological stance. A lesson should be learned from male homosexuals who want greater inclusiveness in society but are highly resistant to any intrusion by the state.


Hambydammit
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Quote:Yet the evidence ways

Quote:
Yet the evidence ways heavily against any biologic essentialist notion of herd mentality among women.

Um... what evidence would that be?

Quote:
Also it is in our hardwired nature to place the needs of the self and one's family over and above the needs of the masses. Yes, we are indeed selfish by nature. Men and women want their personal freedoms to come first before anything else. We are all libertarians which is why in the long run collectivist ideologies have limited success.

Actually, no.  We are primarily herd creatures.  You're familiar with the Milgram experiments, right?  Even if you're not, you can demonstrate this to yourself.  Go to any mall sometime and just watch people.  If you can do that for an hour and still say that we are all primarily interested in individual liberty, then I'd be really shocked. 

I've recommended this book so many times, I think I could insert the graphic in my sleep:

The Authoritarian Specter  

The Authoritarian Specter by Robert Altemeyer (Hardcover - Nov 15, 1996)

If you have not read this book, then you are not qualified to speak to whether or not humans are primarily concerned with libertarian values.  I'm not trying to be rude, but this is revolutionary stuff, and it's essential to understanding many of the otherwise baffling behaviors of people in large groups.

Quote:
In contrast to libertarian feminism, often mainstream feminism like orthodox religions expects conformity to a rigid cultural ideals ie. women should not engage in the free market, women should not become sex workers even if those professions are freely chosen.

And still you insist that humans are individualists.  The evidence is right in front of you, and you're not seeing it.

Quote:
...they can all be distilled to those who are libertarian and those who are collectivist. And these ideologic differences (the latter being more mainstream)...

You just said it again!  The majority of women who subscribe to feminism are collectivists!  The majority of women who are not feminists are conformists.  I think you need to take a step back and decide if your view of humanity is based more on what you'd like it to be than what it really is.

Quote:
I so no biologic basis for women choosing a specific ideological stance.

That's because biology is about genes, and genes are not so specific.  To be certain, women are biologically predisposed to have certain emotional reactions to certain kinds of situations.  Women don't cry more than men because of upbringing.  They do it because they are programmed differently than men.  The environment is the X factor.  Each woman lives in a unique environment, having been the only person in precisely her location at each moment of her life.  Each woman's brain is wired slightly differently, so you will certainly find some deviation from the norm, but the norm will be a representation of what the genes have programmed brains to feel and want on average.

But, you have to remember that a brain is not a blank slate.  For instance, regardless of the logical reasons against having children, nearly all women will have children.  That's because their genes weight their emotions heavily in the direction of childbearing.  In the same way, you will find that most women, regardless of the logic of being sexually liberated, will tend not to place it high on their priority list for exactly the biological reasons I mentioned.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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anniet
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ragdish wrote:Not all women

ragdish wrote:

Not all women want to become CEOs, neurosurgeons or tenured professors working at the NIH. Some want to be stay at home moms raising children. Yet this would be an affront to mainstream feminism's goal for equality. Although there are a variety of feminisms, they can all be distilled to those who are libertarian and those who are collectivist. And these ideologic differences (the latter being more mainstream) are due to the fact that many women don't want the state to interfere in their lives. I so no biologic basis for women choosing a specific ideological stance. A lesson should be learned from male homosexuals who want greater inclusiveness in society but are highly resistant to any intrusion by the state.

 

I think it's great that you are willing to take a look at what feminism is as men are a part of the lives of women and we need support from men in the quest for a more equal society.  I would suggest that you spend some more time looking into feminism before making judgments regarding the movement as a whole.  The mainstream media has much fun painting the movement as stuck in the 70's.  After all, if the movement has grown and changed as the lives of women have changed then it may have to be taken seriously and the patriarchy may have to give even more ground.  Better to portray feminists as bitchy, old women stuck in the past who want mind control over all other women.  This is not an accurate portrayal of feminism, but rather of a divide and conquer strategy that has been rather effective.

There is an old guard in feminism that does not automatically look to my concerns.  Given their life experience, that is to be expected.  That doesn't mean they don't know how to listen though.  I saw a huge shift in the 90's as more women came of age that did not see children and/or marriage as the prison sentence it had been for many of the old guard.  There was definitely some resistance to this point of view at first as feminist activists were used to having to fight hard for small gains and always be on the defensive.  That resistance has greatly dissipated.  It is understood that child and elder care, division of work in maintaining the home, and other "domestic" issues do have a great impact on the lives of women and need to be addressed.

I appreciate the reminder of what a sexually repressed, divorceless, marriage only based culture cost women of previous generations as we do not need to be returning to that model.  I very much appreciate the willingness of childless, elder women to fight for my needs in caring for my family.  The inclusion of expectations for men in the home and fighting for government support for child and elder care are wonderful changes that society needs.  At the same time, they still fight against state intrusion into my body.  What more could I ask for?

"I am that I am." - Proof that the writers of the bible were beyond stoned.