Denying the feminist rebellion.

Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene has a new post at The Federalist titled Why It’s Terrible News That Millennials Are Having Less Sex*.  Fiene points out that the drop in promiscuity by Millennials is troubling because it likely presages a drop in marriage.

Fiene identifies two culprits, pornography and social media:

What’s causing millennials to be less sexually active, then? As with any trend, there are numerous explanations. But the two biggest factors seem to be the copious amounts of pornography that millennials, in particular millennial men, have grown up consuming, and the widespread use of socially isolating social networking. Just take a look at this profile of a millennial man, courtesy of Tara Bahrampour:

The fundamental problem, according to Fiene, is that pornography and social media are causing millennial men not to learn how wonderful millennial women are, and what godly and submissive wives millennial women would make:

As men pursue women, however, they come to develop a more robust appreciation of what women have to offer them beyond physical beauty and sexual gratification. They become more exposed to the various feminine virtues—things like kindness, compassion, selflessness, loyalty, tenderness. And the more decent men encounter “the imperishable beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit,” as St Peter calls it, the more they come to value this inner beauty over raw sexuality.

This is a very common approach, and it is founded on a breathtaking denial of what is going on in our society.  Indeed, pornography and social media are part of the problem, along with a whole host of other factors.  If you will permit me to use a metaphor, these factors are comparable to ignition sources lighting a forest fire.  Forest fires can be caused by camp fires, lightning strikes, etc, but they are only part of the equation.  The other factor is the health of the forest.  If the forest is dry, or even worse, loaded with dead wood or other fuel sources, it is only a matter of time before one ignition source or another ultimately lights the inferno.  Focusing on ignition sources is helpful only in the short term, because sooner or later something is going to cause the whole thing to go up in flames.

We have the same kind of problem with modern marriage.  Marriage has been systematically weakened for many decades.  Each new cohort of women is encouraged to delay marriage longer and longer.  No fault divorce and our family courts have replaced legal commitment with an encouragement for women to divorce, including the promise of cash and prizes.  The culture, especially conservative Christian culture, despises husbands and views men who marry and have children with contempt.  Where in the past husbands were seen as head of the household, a husband who sees himself in this way is quite literally engaging in crime-think.  Should this crime-think be reported to the police, the husband will be arrested and forced to undergo reeducation/self criticism until he learns to view headship as a moral and legal offense.  As a former facilitator explains, the facilitators of these reeducation sessions are taught**:

Confront! Confront! Confront! With the explicit threat that the probation officer will be informed of your non compliance…

So on the one hand we have a coordinated and very public feminist assault on the definition of marriage, which makes marriage far less appealing to men.  On the other hand we have new substitutes to marriage like pornography.  And all of the main factors (including pornography) trace their way back to feminism one way or another.

But feminism is the problem men like Pastor Fiene dare not whisper!  There are two reasons for this:

  1. Most people are enthusiastic supporters of feminism, including nearly all conservative pastors.
  2. Feminism is an active rebellion, so calling out feminism is scary.

What we get instead of confronting reality is a constant dripping of articles like Pastor Fiene’s complaining about the weak men who are screwing feminism up.  Make no mistake; it is true that this is happening.  Weak men really are screwing feminism up.  It is, however, absurd to focus on the problem in this way.  No amount of shoring up will make the feminist model of marriage work, no matter how much conservatives like Fiene want it to work.

Nevertheless, this approach of denial and redirect has worked for decades, so it is understandable why men like Pastor Fiene would be tempted to keep doing it.  There is, however, a growing threat to Pastor Fiene in his efforts to frame the problem as weak men screwing feminism up.  As I noted  last month, Millennials are responding to articles with this frame and pointing out the obvious absurdity of the denial based approach.  Commenter Broderick responded to Fiene’s article exposing the feminist elephant in the room:

This article completely misses the mark. Perhaps it is true that many young men and women find more satisfaction in porn than in real relationships. But this is merely a symptom. In a competition between the virtual and real wherein the virtual wins, we should instead ask why the real has fallen so far.

In this millennial generation, this has much more to do with confused gender roles than with pornography. Feminism has taught women to be masculine competitors – they are not taught any of the feminine virtues to which Fiene alludes. Modern education (installed, also, with plenty of feminism) has taught men to be feminine subservients – they are not taught any of the masculine virtues to which Fiene alludes.

As a general rule, men are attracted to femininity and women to masculinity. This is hardwired.

With the above virtues gone, what else can a man be attracted to in a woman other than her body? Likewise for women with respect to men? At this point, a man may as well just use porn, because he gets all the benefits of a virtual body without the drawbacks and costs of entering a relationship with a masculine “strong independent woman” (who, I might add, needs that man about as much as a fish needs a bicycle).

Add in legal corruptions to marriage (no-fault divorce, a hostile family court system, etc.) and you’ll find that the pornographers are being entirely rational in their choice to forgo real relationships.

Further down in the discussion Persimmon wrote a defense of masculine women:

Not all masculine women are promiscuous. I am a masculine woman who is not sexually active but I am aggressive. I would not know how else to be.

Also, Maybe the reason things have gone so haywire is because of the 50s. People, particularly women left that society because it did not make them happy. Some women were comfortable with it but others not so much. They wanted more.

*H/T Gurney Halleck

**See also page 33 in the Santa Clara County Probation Department STANDARDS FOR BATTERERS PROGRAMS AND CERTIFICATION for an example of how this is codified.

Posted in Attacking headship, Denial, Disrespecting Respectability, Domestic Violence, Duluth Model, Federalist, Rebellion, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, Ugly Feminists, Weak men screwing feminism up | 129 Comments

Setting the record straight on Duluth.

I’ve quoted from the Duluth Model document Countering Confusion about the Duluth Model in several posts, and the more I look at it the more astounded I am as to just how open the Duluth Model organization is regarding their philosophy and their goals.  This is a document intended to refute criticisms against the model, and is published on the organization’s official website (theduluthmodel.org).  The document opens with (all emphasis below are mine):

Recently, the “Duluth Model” of working with men who batter has received serious criticism, despite being the pre-eminent model internationally. Much of the criticism is based on flawed research that is contradicted by other better-designed, more comprehensive studies. Here the authors respond directly to misinformation generated by 1) a 2003 study from the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice; 2) an analysis of batterer treatment models by Babcock, Green, and Robie (2002); and 3) unsubstantiated criticism of the philosophy underlying the Duluth Model by Dutton and Corvo (2006).  The authors, both of whom have worked with the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, Minnesota, rebut inaccurate assumptions and myths about what the model is and how it works and challenge the ethics, as well as the efficacy, of avoiding criminal justice sanctions and relying solely on resource-intensive mental health treatments for batterers. Changing historically entrenched battering behavior is difficult, the authors explain, but the Duluth Model prioritizes victim safety and autonomy.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll focus on their response to Dutton and Corvo, which begins on page four with an outline of the first set of charges the Duluth Model organization wants to set the record straight on:

Critical Review of Dutton and Corvo

In their 2006 article, “Transforming a Flawed Policy : A Call to Revive Psychology and Science in Domestic Violence Research and Practice,” Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo grossly misrepresent the Duluth curriculum when they write “according to the Duluth Model, all [men] must be treated as patriarchal terrorists regardless of differences in how the violence developed.” They further state that “essentially, the Duluth Model views every man convicted as equivalent to the worst man convicted without gradations or nuance,” and “the primary goal of this model is to get male clients to acknowledge ‘male privilege ’ and how they have used ‘power and control’ to dominate their wives.”

Astoundingly, what follows is not even an attempt to refute the bolded portions above, but instead:

  1. Confirmation that the philosophy and mechanics of the model are as Dutton and Corvo have accused.
  2. An explanation of why this is a good thing.

The following is the unedited response* in the paper to the claims I quoted above.  Search carefully for any refutation of what Dutton and Corvo assert:

Interestingly, Dutton and Corvo place quotation marks around power and control and male privilege as if they don’t exist, but that is for a later discussion.

The underpinnings of the Duluth curriculum do come from a historical analysis. When Europeans came to this continent, they brought religion, laws, and economic systems that institutionalized the status of women as the property of men through marriage. From the church to the state, there was not only acceptance of male supremacy, but also an expectation that husbands would maintain the family order by controlling their wives. Various indiscretions committed by wives were offenses to be punished by husbands. This system of male dominance (like any social structure where one group oppresses another) was perpetuated by: a) a belief in the primacy of men over women; b) institutional rules requiring the submission of women to men; c) the objectification of women which made violence acceptable; and d) the right of men to use violence to punish with impunity (Dobash and Dobash 1983).

The status quo of male domination remained fully intact until the early twentieth century when state legislatures began to make wife beating unlawful. However, the practice of men using violence to control women didn’t diminish. In the late 1960s,the Women’s Movement began challenging the state to intervene in domestic violence cases and women and some men began to confront the concept of male supremacy in the home. In the 1970s, the Battered Women’s Movement emerged as the voice of victims and advocates to challenge psychological theories about the causes of violence and explanations of why victims often stayed in abusive relationships.

Do all men who batter want to dominate women? This is a complicated question. Clearly, many men who batter believe that women should be submissive to men and there are others who share a variation of these sexist beliefs—“The man is the head of the household” or “You can’t have two captains of one ship.” However, there are other men who batter that don’t believe that their wives or girlfriends should be subservient because of their gender, but they still batter. These men use violence to control their partners because they can and violence works. Violence ends arguments. Violence is punishment—it sends a powerful message of disapproval.

The final bolded part above is the most comical, as it explains that even when men don’t use violence as a tool of the patriarchy, they are still using violence as a tool of the patriarchy!  This is merely restating (with approval) the accusation they ostensibly set out to refute:

Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo grossly misrepresent the Duluth curriculum when they write “according to the Duluth Model, all [men] must be treated as patriarchal terrorists regardless of differences in how the violence developed.”

The defense continues:

Some mental health practitioners are now repackaging old psychological theories in opposition to analyses that indicate that culture and socialization shape the way men who batter think and act in intimate relationships. Although there is much of value in mental health theories that can assist the healing of victims and perpetrators  alike, we do not see men’s violence against women as stemming from individual pathology, but rather from a socially reinforced sense of entitlement. We believe that the beliefs and attitudes possessed by men who batter can be changed through an educational process.

Try to find a contradiction between this defense of the model, and the claim by Dutton and Corvo repeated below.  This is a defense of why it is good that the goal of the model is as Dutton and Corvo describe, not a refutation of the description of the goal itself:

the primary goal of this model is to get male clients to acknowledge ‘male privilege ’ and how they have used ‘power and control’ to dominate their wives.

Next they raise a new set of accusations by Dutton and Corvo that they want to set the record straight on:

Dutton and Corvo claim“the Duluth Model maintains an ineffective system where resources are diverted from other potential program responses, e.g., joint treatment of violence and chemical dependency or mutuality of partner violence.” They go on to state “mandatory arrest policies are a product of the ideologically driven view that since domestic violence is always strategic, always intentional, always unidirectional, and always with the objective of female domination by men, that it must be contravened by the power of the state. Once one removes this ideological presumption, the rationale for mandatory arrest disappears.”

And again, instead of refuting the bolded claim above, the Duluth Model organization confirms the claim and justifies the model:

They cite research on mandatory arrest policies in Milwaukee and other cities that apparently fails to demonstrate that mandatory arrest reduces recidivism(Shepard 1992). What they don’t tell us is that the cities chosen for this research had very poor prosecution rates and lacked a tight coordinated community response, which is the cornerstone of the Duluth Model. It is axiomatic that arrest without prosecution, meaningful sentencing, jail, the threat of jail and counseling will usually be less effective in reducing violence because offenders will get the message that the criminal justice system and society as a whole don’t take domestic violence seriously. And, although arrests alone may not reduce recidivism to the level we would hope for, critics of pro-arrest policies would never argue that we should stop arresting rapists or thieves who assault their victims if arrests don’t measurably reduce recidivism for those violent offenders.

From a public policy perspective, not arresting batterers essentially decriminalizes domestic violence and condemns a victim to either live with the violence or (as in the “bad old days”) be forced to press charges against an abusive spouse. Doing away with pro-arrest policies targeting the predominant aggressor (a core component of the Duluth Model) reduces the total number of arrests but increases the proportion of dual arrests. Dual arrests have proven ineffective in stopping violence, and they also have the unfortunate consequence of making victims more reluctant to call the police when further acts of violence occur.

Again, they are in agreement with Dutton and Corvo;  they explain that if it police were permitted to respond to each domestic violence incident based on the facts (instead of Duluth’s ideologically driven model identifying the man as an abuser), the police would:

  1. Arrest fewer men.
  2. Arrest more women!

This brings us to the next point by Dutton and Corvo that Duluth wants to set the record straight on:

Dutton and Corvo also contend that the “best designed studies” (Ehrensaft, Moffitt, and Caspi 2004; Moffit et al. 2001) indicate that intimate partner violence is committed by both genders with equal consequences. They point to these studies to buttress their argument that marriage counseling is an appropriate treatment to end domestic violence.

In this case they do at least make an effort to refute the quoted claims.  But this is a disagreement on data and interpreting studies.  In the process of making their argument they further reinforce Dutton and Corvo’s claims about the ideological nature of the Duluth model:

We respond that, even if surveys comparing rates of perpetration by gender are accurate, proponents of the argument that women are as violent as men fail to account for the impact of the violence (Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al. 1995; Cascardi and Vivian 1995), the severity of the violence (Hamberger and Guse 2002), the level of fear experienced by the person being assaulted (Barnett and Thelen 1995; Hamberger and Guse 2002), or motivation for the violence.

In an emergency room study, gender differences among a cohort of injured patients found that men initiated violence in far greater numbers than women (Phelan et al. 2005). One hundred percent of female respondents versus 39 percent of the male respondents reported being injured in a domestic violence incident. Thirty-six percent of women reported being intimidated by their partner’s size while none of the men reported being intimidated by their partner’s size. Seventy percent of women reported that they were very strongly afraid duringpartner-initiated violence while only one man reported experiencing this degree of fear. The majority of men (85 percent) reported not being afraid at all when their female partners initiate violence. From experience, police officers and domestic violence advocates have long understood the contextual differences between the violence of men and women, yet proponents of the “women are as violent as men” agenda downplay the significance of gender differences in the ways that men and women use violence (Dutton and Corvo 2006; Mills 2003).

Opponents of a feminist analysis of domestic violence continue to argue their theory that women are as violent as men and that the level of mutual violence calls out for changing arrest and prosecution policies as well as advocating for marriage counseling to stop the violence. This may be an attractive theory to some in the mental health field and “men’s rights” activists. The problem is that practitioners who endorse couples’ counseling while one person is still intimidating or using violence against another ignore the very real risk of violent assaults following counseling sessions. Most psychologists and therapists who have knowledge of domestic violence dynamics would concede that marriage counseling is ineffective if one party is a batterer and has power over the other. How can a victim be honest about what is happening in the relationship or talk about the violence when she fears physical retribution?

Dutton and Corvo’s notion that women are as violent as men or that most domestic violence cases are mutual assaults simply distorts the reality that any law enforcement officer, emergency room nurse or doctor, or domestic violence advocate can validate from their experiences with victims. In 1998, national statistics showed that women were the victims in nearly three out of four of the 1,830 murders attributable to intimate partners in the United States (Rennison and Wechans 2000). That year, women experienced about 900,000 violent offenses by an intimate partner, and men, 160,000. Even if there is some underreporting by men, the claim that men and women commit assaults in equal numbers and with equal severity defies common sense. It is simply untrue. We acknowledge that women use aggression and violence in intimate relationships and not always in self-defense. But we also contend that relying on family conflict studies that utilize the Conflict Tactics Study (CTS)—which simply counts acts of violence without accounting for the circumstances under which these acts occur and the size and strength of the people involved—is deceptive (Kimmel 2002). In a conflict study, a push in response to a beating would be scored as one conflict tactic for each party.

While there are women who kill their male partners for reasons other than self-defense, the numbers pale in comparison to men who kill their female partners when the female partner is trying to end an abusive relationship. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that the number of men murdered by an intimate since 1976 had dropped by 70 percent. One third of female murder victims were killed by an intimate, while only three percent of male murder victims were killed by an intimate.

Stating that domestic violence is gender neutral is not only disingenuous, but also has serious public policy implications. How often do you read about a woman killing her husband and the couple’s children because the man is trying to leave the relationship? How many men are raped by an abusive woman as an act designed to punish or retaliate? Yet in city after city, male batterers stalk and murder their partners. Men and women use violence in very different ways, and therefore our response must be different.

*I’ve included much longer quotes than normal in this post because quoting the full response is the only way to show that they never do get around to refuting the claims Dutton and Corvo make about the nature of the model itself.

Posted in Domestic Violence, Duluth Model | 145 Comments

The Duluth model is working as designed; you won’t smart mouth her again.

In the spirit of getting ready for the big game, my wife noticed that the Daily Mail has a piece up today quoting from a group of women on Facebook bragging about abusing men:

Threw a chair at him through a glass door. Door smashed and cut him the f*** up. Needless to say he didn’t smart mouth me again…

The disgraceful Facebook page was outed by Black Ribbon Australia, a group dedicated to fighting the current domestic violence paradigm that is powerfully biased to see all men as abusers and ignore violence by women against men.  The system is so biased that when men are abused by women they face a high risk of being arrested for abuse.

…Black Ribbon’s chief executive John Paul Hirst says attitudes are changing. But the law isn’t.

“They still can only remove the male from the house, not the female,” Mr Hirst told news.com.au.

“The male has to be moved and arrested and charged at the police station and only gets legal counsel when he stands before a magistrate.

“All she has to say is, ‘He slapped me and I was only defending myself’.”

This legal response of arresting men who are assaulted by women is not limited to Australia.  At The Good Men Project Joseph Kerr wrote about being arrested after his wife kicked him in the head, rendering him unconscious.

I ended up on the ground next to the stairs. She kicked my head into the solid wood base. I blacked out, came to, stood up, bleeding. My daughter was screaming, “Stop hurting daddy!”

It was over. We were over. I headed out the door to the police and then the hospital. My daughter stopped me. “Daddy, you need to go to a doctor, here take this,” she handed me a bandage. “I love you” was the last thing I said to her. It’s been almost a month.

When Kerr foolishly went to the police and reported the assault, the police reflexively arrested him:

“Is she hurt? Did you hit her…?” No. Never. I waited.

“We’re sending a car over there to talk to her.” I waited some more.

“You wife is telling a bit of a different story, as happens a lot in these situations, she says you threatened her.”

“We’re going to take you into custody now.”

“Stand up and put your hands behind your back.”

Eventually Kerr was able to see a lawyer, and asked him what a man should do if his wife assaults him.  The lawyer replied “Run and don’t go to the police”:

I sat across from my lawyer and talked about the other time. She grabbed me and ripped my shirt. Her nails cut my face. I bled. I tried to walk out the door. She blocked the door. I was a gym-every-day, active duty Marine, fearing someone a fraction of my size. If she had a penis I’d have a dozen ways to put her on the ground. Instead, I was left to sneak out a bedroom window and spend the night in a parking lot.

I tried the police and now in front of a guy practicing law for nearly as long as I’ve been alive I tried again.

“What do you do when a woman hits you?”

“Run. Run and don’t go to the police.”

His lawyer should have added not smart mouthing the wife to make her angry in the first place.  Other advice comes from the Web MD article Help for Battered Men, which advises battered men to always have an escape plan when their wife is in a mood, so she can’t trap him in a room and then have him arrested when he tries to get away:

“We tell men if they have to be in an argument, do it in a room with two doors so they can leave; a lot of times a woman will block the door, the man will try to move her, and that will be enough for him to get arrested.”

As the Web MD article explains, the domestic violence legal system and the family courts are designed to empower women who abuse men:

…perhaps the most important difference is that women who batter may have a greater ability to use the “system” to their advantage.

“Systemic abuse can occur when a woman who is abusing her husband or boyfriend threatens that he will never see his children again if he leaves or reports the abuse,” says Philip Cook, program director of Stop Abuse for Everyone. “A man caught in this situation believes that no matter what his wife or girlfriend does, the court is going to give her custody, and this greatly limits his ability to leave. While this can occur when a woman is being abused, it is more likely to happen when a woman is abusing.”

Women, explains Cook, who is author of Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence, may also be able to use the system to their advantage in that they are less likely to be arrested if police are called as a result of a domestic dispute.

The important thing to understand is this isn’t the result of a well intentioned system behaving unexpectedly.  Nearly all modern domestic violence legal frameworks in the west are based off of what is called the Duluth model.  Dr. Don Dutton, head of the University of British Columbia Forensic Psychology lab explains how the Duluth model has been used to train police and other officers of the court to automatically identify the man as the abuser:

Jaffe et al. then go on to define abuse, using the “Duluth Power and Control Wheel” that includes “Using Male Privilege” as a part of an octant of abusive strategies used against women.  Jaffe et al. then list, under “whom to assess”: Victimized mothers (p.44), Battering fathers (p.46) and “war torn children” (p. 49). Jaffe et al suggest using an Abuse Observation Checklist (Dutton 1992) and asking the victimized woman to describe the “first, worst and last” incident, followed by allowing the “alleged perpetrator an opportunity to respond”. It is not clear what response, apart from denial might be expected from an accused male. Indeed, the authors warn an assessor that (p. 42) the male perpetrator may “minimize their abusive behavior by blaming their victims or proclaiming that the abuse was uncharacteristic”. It seems that, once accused, the male can only use responses that the evaluator is already primed to see as disingenuous.

This is the very nature of the Duluth model, something its founders openly admit to.  The Duluth founders are not interested in ending or reducing domestic violence in itself;  instead they are interested in using domestic violence policy as a mechanism to change the dynamics of power and control in heterosexual relationships.  Specifically, they want to empower women and dis-empower men.  In Countering Confusion about the Duluth Model, the founders explain (emphasis mine):

The Duluth curriculum is designed for male perpetrators. In Duluth, a separate court-deferral program called Crossroads was designed for women who use illegal violence against the men who batter them (Asmus 2004). Most women arrested in Duluth have been able to document to the court a history of abuse against them by the person they have assaulted (past calls to 911 for help, protection orders, previous assaults, etc.). Those women who use violence against a partner with no history of that partner abusing them are not eligible for the Crossroads diversion program, but face the same consequences as male offenders after a conviction, i.e., a jail sentence or counseling in lieu of jail. The vast majority of women arrested in Duluth for domestic assaults are being battered by the person they assault. Most, but not all, are retaliating against an abusive spouse or are using violence in self-defense. The notion that battered women share responsibility for the violence used against them  because of provocative words or actions is a dangerous form of collusion with men who batter (Mills 2003). We do not accept that these women should complete a batterers’  program. We do agree that there are a small number of women who use violence resulting in police action against their partners without themselves being abused. This is not a social problem requiring institutional organizing in the way that men’s violence against women is. For these women, a separate gender-specific counseling program may be appropriate.

Note that they acknowledge that women use the legal framework they created to abuse men and then have the men arrested, and they don’t see this as an important social problem. Perhaps someone (but not them), should come up with a counseling program for these women.  More specifically, they are against any policy that doesn’t automatically arrest the man while not arresting the woman:

From a public policy perspective, not arresting batterers essentially decriminalizes domestic violence and condemns a victim to either live with the violence or (as in the “bad old days”) be forced to press charges against an abusive spouse. Doing away with pro-arrest policies targeting the predominant aggressor (a core component of the Duluth Model) reduces the total number of arrests but increases the proportion of dual arrests. Dual arrests have proven ineffective in stopping violence, and they also have the unfortunate consequence of making victims more reluctant to call the police when further acts of violence occur.

Some may be mislead in the above by the seemingly gender neutral terms of “batterers”, “predominant aggressors”, and “victims”.  If you assumed these terms were neutral, the quote above might seem to contradict the previous quote where they explain that women using the Duluth framework to make men afraid to report being abused is not an important problem.  However, under the Duluth model, batterers are men and victims are women:

…not every person who has used physical force against a partner is what we would describe as a batterer. A person who batters is one who uses a pattern of intimidation, coercion, and violence against a partner. It is unusual for men to be arrested for assault in cases where there has been no such history. Women call the police because they are afraid. Neighbors call because the violence is alarming. Children call because they are trying to help their mothers.

Under the Duluth model, domestic violence by women is seen as wholly different than violence by men.  Violence by men is a tool of the patriarchy, while violence by women is a tool to fight against the patriarchy (emphasis mine):

When women use violence in an intimate relationship, the context of that violence tends to differ from men. First, men’s use of violence against women is learned and reinforced through many social, cultural and institutional avenues, while women’s use of violence does not have the same kind of societal support. Secondly, many women who do use violence against their male partners are being battered. Their violence is primarily used to respond to and resist the controlling violence being used against them. On the societal level, women’s violence against men has a trivial effect on men compared to the devastating effect of men’s violence against women.

Making the Power and Control Wheel gender neutral would hide the power imbalances in relationships between men and women that reflect power imbalances in society. By naming the power differences, we can more clearly provide advocacy and support for victims, accountability and opportunities for change for offenders, and system and societal changes that end violence against women.

Posted in Daily Mail, Domestic Violence, Duluth Model | 159 Comments

Romance is sexual.

Boxer astutely notes (emphasis mine):

Some of you guys are assuming something salacious in these inappropriate father-daughter relationships, but it’s not necessary for the father and daughter to have physical sex. The problem is actually fairly well understood (Freud and Jung both wrote article after article about this stuff).

A man who is closed off from psychological feelings of intimacy by his wife will often transfer some of his libidinal energies to his daughter. In doing so he gets to transcend a feeling of shame or failure in his loveless marriage. The daughter, too, gets something out of it. She gets to regress into a more infantile state, letting daddy take care of her emotional needs, rather than learning to take care of herself and pass into adulthood.

If you’re wondering why you meet grown women who haven’t progressed beyond the emotional age of 13, well, this might be a reason in some of those instances…

Again, it’s not necessary for the father and daughter to have physical sex or anything approaching that. In a strange way, that’s why this unhealthy process is so insidious. It masks itself as a normal relationship, with nothing outwardly untoward; but, at the deep structure, it’s unhealthy for all parties.

The reason this isn’t more widely recognized as twisted is the widespread belief that sexual passion can be neatly divided into two forms:

  1. Sexual emotion (romance):  This is considered pure, non sexual, and if not outright holy then nearly so.
  2. Physical sexuality:  This is considered dirty unless sanctified (purified) by romance.

But romance isn’t non sexual.  It is always sexual.  This was understood when the concept of romantic love was originally distilled out of sexual passion, but that was nearly a thousand years ago.  The idea has morphed over time, and more importantly we aren’t even aware that we have adopted a view of sexuality that stems from a glorification of adultery in popular fiction in the 11th century.  As CS Lewis explains:

They effected a change which has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched, and they erected impassable barriers between us and the classical past or the Oriental present. Compared with this revolution the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature. There can be no mistake about the novelty of romantic love: our only difficulty is to imagine in all its bareness the mental world that existed before its coming…

Even worse, nearly all Christians believe that the idea of romance as something non sexual and sanctifying is a biblical concept.  This is why the former head of the CBMW refers to romance as “God honoring”, offering romance as a solution to the problem of sexual immorality:

Promote God-honoring romance…

But nowhere in the Bible are we told that romance is pure or “God-honoring”.  This is a modern invention, part of the religion of feminism.  Romance isn’t even a biblical concept, as the Bible refers to sexual passion as a single thing and does not artificially divide it out into sexual emotion and physical sexuality.  Proverbs 5 uses animal imagery to describe a husband’s proper frame of mind toward his wife.  Song of Solomon also describes a raw sexual passion.  And 1 Corinthians 7 instructs us that the solution to the temptation of sexual immorality is to marry and have frequent sex.

But this brings us to the root of the problem.  There is at least a decade between the age we expect girls to seek romantic relationships and the minimum age our feminist culture considers it proper for a woman to marry.  Since the biblical solution is (for most) out of the question, the next step for modern Christians was to invent a new code of sexual morality.  This new invention however needs to feel traditional, which is why the result is a form of cartoonish chivalry.

Interestingly we would understand how twisted it is to have a parent act as their child’s romantic surrogate if we reversed the sexes.  When fathers dress as grooms, give their daughters wedding rings, and pose with their daughters dressed as brides or prom dates, modern Christians can’t see how twisted this is.  But if Christian mothers started dressing up as brides or prom dates with their sons and had their sons place wedding rings on their fingers, everyone would immediately understand how sick this really is.  The reason is when it comes to men we intuitively understand that romance is sexual in nature.  It is only for women that we hold out the fiction that romance isn’t sexual.

Edit:  Donal has a post making much the same point, and Cane Caldo has a new post up in response to my previous post.

Posted in Cartoonish Chivalry, Fatherhood, Finding a Spouse, Romantic Love, Traditional Conservatives | 84 Comments

Scaring away the competition

Scott at American Dad has an excellent new post: Cartoonish Chivalry hurts daughters  Scott is responding to the popular meme on social media of fathers trying to scare young men away from their daughters:

First, you can’t be serious. Set aside all the stuff you tell yourself and probably your wife about “traditional values and gender roles” or whatever. You cannot, in todays world seriously plan on carrying out any of these threats. You are puffing out your chest to “scare” off the “bad” boys, who know you are full of crap. It feels good, because all the women around you pat you on the head and nod approvingly. You have earned your cookie.

Scott contrasts this “traditional” bluster with his own view as a father who will one day be looking for a husband for his daughter.

When the time comes for her to start looking for a husband, she already knows we are interested in helping her find one and this makes her very happy. And when a young man comes around, he will not be met with a silly cartoon shotgun dad, but a father who wants to help them both succeed at what they are trying to do. We are not setting up an automatic adversarial relationship with him before we meet. I am aware that many young men will be at a very tenuous starting point in their career, development and so forth and I will approach the situation with that kind of sobriety.

The different approaches to suitors reflects the corresponding differences in roles and objectives.  Scott will be looking to find a husband for his daughter, while large numbers of “traditional” men are instead hoping to delay their daughter’s marriage by acting as their daughter’s surrogate husband.  A man who gives his daughter a mock wedding ring, stages mock wedding photos with her, etc. isn’t going to welcome an interloper trying to steal away his daughter-wife.

But the perversion at times goes even further.  While the (hopefully unconsummated) incestuous romantic relationship has bizarrely become “traditional” under the guise of purity, very often these same fathers move from mere surrogate husband to surrogate cuckold.  Many brag about their daughter’s conquests on her carousel ride, with statements like “She’s a real heartbreaker!”, and “She’s looking for a man who can keep up with her!”

With this in mind the cartoonishness of the father-cuck comes into sharper view.  For all of his bluster warning the men rogering his daughter-wife to treat her as a queen, everyone knows this is just the cherry on top of the whole farce.

Posted in American Dad, Cartoonish Chivalry, New Morality, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye | 97 Comments