The Discovery Institute Goes Fishing

discovery instituteThanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season is sketchy for me. I am constantly considering whether to call people on their shit or not, trying to focus on community and bridge building, while making it clear that much of what the holidays mean is not lost in bland community celebration. The KKK is a social, community building organization too you know–when it was clear it wasn’t its founder left. ISIS and other terrorist organizations provide fraternity, mutual good will, and vitality to participants. You would say that the holidays are nothing like that unless you actually remember the history of conquest. My grandfather used to say if we criticize conquest we have to go back to the first people rushing around the world. As if a long line of abuse means we should accept the last, most current abuse. I guess choosing which ancestors get the land is the question. What’s important is that we look to this history and say we must be different.

The venerable evangelical Discovery Institute fished for trolls and friends with a ridiculous article claiming atheism attracts sexist assholes while churches bring in the best and finest equally. DI ignores that churches demanded entire families go and was never oriented to attracting individuals, based on agreement rather than conformity. Further that churches have been losing male attendance so bad they are trying to develop men-oriented activities to bring them in and prevent them from falling asleep in the pews.

DI states that pony-tailed men dominated early atheist groups which is really a slam, incorrect as well, that atheist men were either effeminate, hippies, artsy, or antisocial. Real groups attract men in suits apparently; ones that keep women in place, and then in situations where women had a hope of  socializing with other women outside the home without criticism.

They continue that atheists have had to clean house and root out their misogynist assholes, some of which is really ugly. They forget the churches cherish and hold dear to their misogynist assholes, keeping them as members rather than calling them out on their shit and making them change or leave. Church leaders don’t want to  lose their leaders and bread winners after all and will tolerate damned near anything to do so. At least atheists are cleaning house, painful though that may be. The churches pretend to be inclusive but have no claim on integrity. A church had to include all as it considered itself the leader of flocks of sheep and wolves. It doesn’t matter which as long as they all go to church as if the wolves would learn to no longer eat sheep by osmosis in the face of contrary success.

The diversity of atheist groups is denied as well. The healthy growth and expansion of minority-based atheist groups shows that atheists who never did belong to a monolithic dogma can easily create healthy atmospheres, and are willing to abandon any dogma or status quo to do so.

That women didn’t flock to early atheist groups is a lie in any case though it is true that early suffragist groups decided not to discuss atheism in order not to scare away women who might not join if secularism were an issue. This only proves that the predominate gender issue in US politics and activism were (and are) so male oriented that any group faced a death knell if it even hinted it might be secular. I recently had a GOP supporter point out how certain elections had women’s issues as platforms forgetting how few they are.

I’m sure that when they learn of  all-women atheist groups church men will decry that men aren’t welcome. It doesn’t matter what women do they can’t win.

You can be sure that an atheist who was accepted into church as a sinner than needed to be reformed and never with the idea that what they had to say was acceptable. Most churches considered atheists so egregious as to not even allow them in as redeemable sinners. Atheists were beyond hope, redemption, and socializing and were often excluded inspire of all.

That women went to church is more a sign that they were so abandoned in their lot in life that they had to gain support wherever they could because they sure didn’t have the power or money to get it any other way. Raising children is difficult and the men sure weren’t there to help, assuming that women could birth, rear, and raise them while they were absent doing their important things with other men. As if a check covered for their lack of attendance, criticisms of inferiority, and desire to be elsewhere. After all as  Men’s Rights Activists continue to say today men work better when left to their own gender. It’s not surprising that some sought a separatism, encouraging apartheid, just to be able to have some gender autonomy.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s slogan not for ourselves alone is all about how women are abandoned after sex to deal with the consequences while the men find another conquest, loved or not. It’s also about how women weren’t allowed to gather into social and political groups, and were suspected of being lascivious gender-screwed whores if they did. She herself was trapped at home with children and household, unable to participate in political activism, as she hoped so much. She could of course have gone to church had she chosen because that was at least acceptable and near by. Churches being the most plentiful and elementary building in near every community.

The whole atheist-hating dilemma is so bad that too often the most aggressive of men and women could be the only ones to achieve success and then they face criticism of aggression and dominance. I guess you’re supposed to be a shirking wall flower and hope someone will notice and speak for you.

For me I am grateful for this nasty cleaning house by atheists of all ilk and know it as a positive sign of change, proof that atheism is a moral position. Let the churches take it as an example.

Jim Newman, www.frontiersofreason.com

Rape and Nature

it's not sexHalf a day yesterday was spent repairing fences. Sawing fallen trees out of the way was the largest task. Just getting tools out and getting to the fence was a task. Wild rose bushes make the work unpleasant as they claw at everything. Soon my arms are a mess because it’s just too hot to wear long sleeves. I can’t move slowly enough to not engage them as they dangle and spring about with an alacrity that is impossible to avoid.

My daughter springs live trees upright that have been bent over by falling dead ones. Later, on seeing Osage Orange sprouting in a hay field, I comment that the fields need to be free of trees taking over and she responds that trees have rights too. If I were a tree would I want to be removed? I am never sure how to respond to the inevitable clash of life. She is clear that humans have done too much and somehow nature must return. She has big empathy.

It’s difficult to say often what is natural or not. Often it doesn’t matter and is used as a talking point. I never cared politically whether being gay was natural or not. It simply should be supported as a human right.

On another front it is infuriating to see the push back against those trying to prevent rape. And that’s my trigger warning.

Camille Paglia is back in the news with a Time piece that advises us that rape is natural. I’m sure some men are pleased to hear this. Paglia lambasts the current campus drives against rape–presumably all rapes, though date rape (used to be spousal rape) seems to be the litmus test of whether one is really for or against rape as natural. Luckily, no one seems to support the rape of dead people, or rape in war, or rape combined with violence. But all sides do seem to say that rape is rape whether the subjective experience of it defines its horror, to a point. Some women seem to be less affected by their rape while others are never whole again. Men talk about being assaulted and meh, others say it defined their sexuality. Consensus is that more people, by far, are affected negatively by rape. And yes it affects nonraped men because men must help the survivors and help resolve the issue, since men are by far the largest instigators of it.

Paglia harkens back to Hobbes by saying there is great evil in the world and we all are a wisp away from outright war to whatever human elimination can be technically managed. Like animals we are. Indeed, Jane Goodall was disappointed that her seemingly pleasant chimps could become quite aggressive. Yet, bonobos seem to engage in near constant sex to sway aggression while the retiring gibbons use distance to maintain peace. The harem-oriented gorilla hides away but nevertheless maintains size, on many levels, to keep other males in their place.

I am not sure how all of this relates to human rape. Nature only provides inspiration of what has become natural because of cultural survival or what has become cultural because of natural tendencies. Humans are indeed competitive but how that expresses itself is rich with variety, including becoming less competitive. Wars have a way of rewarding the returning-valiant in more food and women. I suppose in isolated combinations of warring groups there would be changes of valiance that are favored. But this is a bit like saying that since men are naturally bigger, they are naturally aggressive to women when in some human groups the size difference is minimal, if not the opposite. Which group when, how, and why? And does that relate to another group?

Laws in democracies and republics are created precisely because people determine a behavior must stop. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s natural or not. Restorative or punitive justice decisions may be affected but not the elimination of the behavior. Law simply doesn’t care if people are naturally murderous, thieverous, dishonest, or all of the other negative behaviors we prohibit. Why a law is necessary certainly involves research and observation but in some cases not. Do we really need research to support we don’t want murder or that we would prefer consent? Well, OK, we do to some as some really do believe that war is required for human thriving. They think preserving competitive and predatory behavior ensures sufficient will to provide aggressive self-defense should war happen to occur again. That would be Paglia when she is not apologizing but promoting. Nor is it true. A peaceful warrior is less likely to go overboard, encouraging negative pushback and spiraling, escalating wars.

Science does inform that sexual crimes have a high recidivism so there is good reason to continue remediation of those who are convicted of sexual crimes. Perhaps even to restrict some who would not be recidivistic (how would we know in the individual until too late) simply because mass human management is difficult. But we haven’t returned yet to castration for sex crimes or death for murder–though some see that as a solution too.

Demonstrating that patriarchy is still alive and well helps. That men still hold the most power in our society should be obvious. Yet men feel they are oppressed too. This binary view on these issues belies the spectrums and probabilities that are part of statistics. Perhaps statistics should be taught instead of precalc in high school as that seems far more useful in life. More importantly would be bridges showing how everyone is affected as well as those who are the worst.

Paglia’s notion that men return to predatory hunting, warring, and the capturing of women does condone that behavior. Rape in war is an often used tactic. That men can rape and physically harm screaming, wounded, women is indeed a tough thing to believe is possible at all. Surely it must be some biological thing of conquest? Who could be trained to that? No. Inculcation works to any level. It’s not a good and evil thing. It’s an adaptability and malleability thing.

To say rape is normalized in some wars should not mean that it is then somehow tolerated at their homes. It’s tough enough to get veterans to not be sound shy, trigger happy, angry, reclusive, or free of nightmares. We don’t resolve those issues by leaving them untreated, as being a natural result. To further the nonsense and say that all men have these problems because of an inherent evilness in people is too much like all people are full of unresolvable sin. It continues the religious notion that sin is inevitable, a thing, and humans can’t ever change.

Evolution shows that to be wrong and the incredibly diversity of individuals within groups shows just how much so. We will most definitely change over time whether we like it or not. But by rewarding behaviors we create incentives for success that do affect how we change and who will thrive.

Carol Tavris gave a talk on the apparently too-common case of where both parties are so drunk that no one knows whether consent was asked or made. It becomes impossible to prove rape when no one can remember? Is it fair to try? That’s not really true and some courts have a lower bar of evidence for rape and sex crimes. Hell the bar is even lower in drug laws where police can forfeit your possessions-money on your person and in your vehicle until you can prove they were not gained by drug deals. By this bar a man would have to prove it wasn’t rape simply because penetration occurred. I don’t think that’s what we want in both cases for different reasons. Well, on the other hand, rape is a worse problem than drug use.

Unconscious date rape is resolved by education, law, and social cohesion. We teach not to steal or murder. What makes rape less educable? Other people simply should not tolerate what appears to be oblivious rape as it happens and they see it. Further, men (all) must be educated that getting drunk on their part is worse than a woman getting drunk. Alcohol as a date rape drug is a problem and frankly I would say men should not get drunk if undiscussed sex is even remotely an issue. If a woman is drunk the guy can still know he shouldn’t go after her. I mean really, why in hell would you want to capture-rape a drunk woman? If that’s satisfying competitive urges then buying food at the store is hunter-gathering.

Saying that men are weak provides legitimacy to isolating women and reducing their freedom. Women can well counter that they are so blinded by male sexuality that men should never be bare chested or have even a bump in their pants displayed. That dancing is too much. That seeing their eyes is too much. That simply never being in the same room would guarantee there would be no rape. Paglia is returning us to this state where genders are balkanized because there just isn’t another way.

But there is a much better way. We can educate and we can treat each other with care. We can root out ancient traditions and values that encourage negative behavior. We can reward good behavior.  Women’s studies. Sexuality classes. Morality and ethics classes. Critical thinking and statistics classes.

Jim Newman, www.frontiersofreason.com

Emma Watson Starts HeforShe Campaign

emma watson at UNEmma Watson gave a formal invitation for men to support women, calling it the HeforShe campaign. Watson stated the high level of suicide in men as indication that sexism and misogyny hurts men as well as women. It’s not one side or the other but a unified front. Sadly too many do see it as an us or them situation. It’s not surprising that many men feel like it’s an over reach. When maleness so predominates in a culture the assumption becomes that it’s normal, has always been that way, or treat it as a quaint attack against what’s already been overcome.

It’s the not me, or not all men, syndrome; I’m fair, balanced, and equal; it’s them dudes. Of course it’s not. If religion poisons everything, its henchman gender inequality and opportunity are its relics that persist in poisoning after people have left.

Atheism has had a long issue with sexism in its ranks, and still debates whether its so called thought leaders are sexist or whether there has really been stated cases of sexual abuse–it’s not abuse unless it can be legally proven beyond doubt in a court of law, and the women are shown to  have drunk, drinking,sexism  abdicating any possible victimization. Women rightly point to how there still is even in small things like atheists wondering who the next four horsemen will be, not getting that the language itself implies it will be men (horse people?) and further promoting the patriarchal system of leaders, authority, and social status.

Of course, immediately afterwards 4chan threatened to post naked photo’s of her. Its not odd that when men say be equal there are no threats of posting naked photos of them. The Telegraph talked about her wardrobe choices.

Online abuse is a war zone, including oblivious sexisms. A blog follower was abusive and another blogger asked for support. It took several tries before a *stop that*  was issued but no direct action. Meanwhile other followers said it’s not his job to police his followers. But it is. That’s the point. When we see or hear of abuse it is really our moral imperative to stop it or we are accepting it as normal.

It’s a good video. It continues efforts to raise awareness and introspection.

Jim Newman, www.frontiersofreason.com

We Need Buffer Zones

anti-abortion-activists1SCOTUS in a duplicitous and pathetic pandering to fetus lovers has claimed Buffer Z0nes are unconstitutional. That they have their own buffer zone is accommodated because, after all, someone could harass or attack them. This is a bunch of Catholic, Jewish, and Protestants who see themselves as paradigms of their faith staunchly supporting the harassment of women and men.

I’ll start worrying about SCOTUS needing a buffer zone when their doors are bombproof, staff hide behind bulletproof glass, and all supporters-visitors of the court demand escorts to make it through waves of jeering, sneering, imploring, screeching, and threatening protestors, uhhh street counselors. Until then it’s clear that these threatened people need more distance from their hot-headed protestors who have shown a wanton willingness to escalate to violence to save a few fetuses.

As if buffer zones weren’t everywhere including on public property. Crime scenes, medical scenes, emergency scenes, construction scenes, moving scenes, parades, public art, and protest scenes all have used buffers successfully to keep people out of harm’s way, or potential harm, or harm to something else. It’s not that the risk is low. If you work or use some of these clinics your life is at risk. The beauty of buffer zones is that even a small space helps prevent escalation of violence. It’s why separating fighters works. It’s why lawyers caucus. The protection of privacy is an acknowledgment of the utility of preventing contact. … By this new measure or privacy Roe vs Wade is soon doomed.

Yet these lovers of fetuses say they are not protestors, they are street counselors. How does that go? Street counsel this asshole. Yelling in someone’s face is not counseling. It’s impossible not to be angry at the judges overturning this well-precedented tradition of safety. The court has proven it is not merely a respecter of religions but sees itself as the judicial arm of the new theocracy. It’s counseling, it’s about babies, it’s about speech. Bullshit, it is about following religious dogma regardless of law. It’s about using theology to inform the basic content of law. Until all of those texts where it says breed like flies, and the hermeneutics of fetuses as adult-person life, change, the rest is political maneuvering.

I can see SCOTUS now plotting, “we’ll get rid of buffer zones but keep cellphone data private.” I guess poor women, usually ethnic don’t count.

It would have been easy to leave this to local law and kick it back. What is a good buffer zone in one state could be different than another. Now all buffer zones to abortion clinics can be made to disappear.

There are no personal space laws in the US. It’s all based on contact. The provoker is not guilty unless they have actually touched the other person in threatening or harmful ways. Appropriate personal space is very different for citizens. I can be at a rock concert and people will do the most hilarious contortions to be sure they don’t touch knees or feet. In other cultures you can’t get them off you–you will achieve contact often. This is the heart against so called inter-human speech buffer zones. Yet it is often expanded in time of protests where one side lines up over here and that side lines up over here and there is space. My first spouse was a peacekeeper at Rocky Flats Missile Base, it’s all about keeping emotions down often with carefully planned buffer zones.

It’s sad as SCOTUS again showed it’s willing to do a Christianized version of Sharia where it’s less important to help people than to make their life difficult because they are sinners. Isn’t that the real point? To disguise their basic antipathy of rights.

It would make more sense if this were like a massive war or economic protest. It is nonsense that saving fetuses will save the family and  will save the country. If more children would help the planet it would be obvious. If fetus saving were a worthy symbol of anything but being religious it would be helpful. It’s just simple abuse to mostly poor women. It’s creating an artificially high bar to exclude people from their rich, religious, white club in one more way. You have to run the gauntlet to prove you’re worthy of getting an exam, doing some birth control, or having an abortion.

The value of protest ends when violence is served pretentiously without regard. How is it we can’t even get to some basic courteousness and civility? What about the women that are traumatized just be walking through this shit? We bear the cost of their negative experiences. Is this how the religious expect to gain converts? Is this what they mean by black evangelizing?

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Father’s Day is a Good day for Protesting Family Planning Clinics

buffer zoneNearly everyone agrees the Westboro Baptist church is out there. Even many of  the religious see it as extreme. Yet, protestors at Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics create a gauntlet of jeers, prayers, and singers sometimes every day. Many attempting to get medical service at these clinics have to deal with humiliation, intimidation, and harassment–there’s an incentive. They may just be going to the clinic for a check up. Can you see some young couple seeking advice or help in this environment? I bet a lot of kids would rather just risk it–hell, as a big, white, male adult I’d be intimidated.

Protesters at the edge of a buffer zone show what fun it is to get family planning aid. This group is the Catholic “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.” Really makes you want to stay at home. While claiming they are peaceful protestors, too many employees remember Dr Tiller’s murder a few years ago. Now the ever-friendly bullet-proof glass greets you. It’s still not safe.

antiabortion protestors“I don’t wear a bulletproof vest, but I never go outside in my scrubs – not ever. I feel like that’s just smart,” said Leah Torres, MD, OBGYN and reproductive health specialist. “Every time I walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic, I have to be wary of the reality. I can’t pretend that I’m in Salt Lake City and everything is hunky dory. There are crazy people everywhere.”

The list of people murdered serves as warning.

Dr. George Tiller: May 31, 2009
Dr. Barnett Slepian: October 23, 1998
Security Guard Robert Sanderson: January 29, 1998
Receptionist Shannon Lowney: December 30, 1994
Receptionist Lee Ann Nichols: December 30, 1994
Dr. John Britton: July 29, 1994
Clinic Escort James Barrett: July 29, 1994
Dr. David Gunn: March 10, 1993

Creating buffer zones so protesters aren’t literally in your face is debated in courts. Protesting at clinics is like just something to do on the weekend–bring chips and salsa–heck, every day, all day, all night. Religious protesting is a lifestyle. And they say atheists are angry, militant, in your face?

Outside the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Boston on a recent winter day are the regulars — a small, devoted team of anti-abortion activists, handing out fliers and urging patrons to hear their message:
“Save that child.” “Every life is precious, protect that life within you.” “Please change your mind.” Several people pray silently nearby.

Clearly marked on the sidewalk, nearly 12 yards from the front doors, is a painted boundary, a line the protesters cannot cross. By state law, their First Amendment rights stop there.

What fun for all.

With a large cross around her neck, the 77-year-old grandmother often uses a baby stroller as a prop, along with a portable DVD player with images of a fetal ultrasound. On a recent day, she was seen standing at the edge of the yellow semicircle ringing the Boston clinic on Commonwealth Avenue.

In Winter Park, Fl protesters thought it would be cool to go to the homes of employees and protest there. Just so employees won’t forget their Christian love. The city created buffer zones, the police were confused, it went to court and the protestors lost. This story is repeating across the country.

Winter Park, Fla., passed the ordinance after 30 anti-abortion protesters lined up outside the home of Orlando Planned Parenthood CEO Jenna Tosh in August 2012 and would not leave until it began to rain.

They held signs with Tosh’s name showing graphic images and phrases such as “baby killer.” They shouted her name in between chants and songs.

Part of the ordinance passed the following month states: “It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to picket, protest or conduct any picketing or protesting activity within a buffer area of 50 feet from the property line of any dwelling unit in the city of Winter Park.”

The judge got it right.

“The object of the ordinance is not to infringe on the free exercise of religion, and though it may impact religiously motivated protesters, it impacts all protesters the same,” he added. “The object instead is the protection of the city’s residents in their homes from intrusive conduct, no matter the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) of the protesters outside.”

In addition to denying both a restraining order and an injunction, Dalton dismissed the complaint with prejudice.

“With Prejudice” sounds so sweet. The case cannot be retried.

Here’s a video of what a client would see on their way to the EMW clinic in Louisville Kentucky today, Father’s Day, 2014

What a great way to observe Father’s Day. But if you’re religious and you miss today there is always next Saturday, and stay the night. Jerks everywhere claiming their business is your reproductive system. But hey soon the problem will disappear as heinous laws are causing the loss of clinics everywhere. This will ensure only the rich will be able to do family planning. Go on a health vacation to another country! The rich have better children anyway, right?

If god wanted these women to be saved with proper medical care he’d do it.

The needless death of Savita Halappanavar last year, after a Catholic hospital refused to terminate her doomed pregnancy, drew a worldwide outpouring of fury against the religious dogmatism that killed her.

But as I wrote at the time, Savita’s story was only the tip of the iceberg. What happened to her wasn’t a fluke or an aberration: it was and is the official policy of the church that if a pregnant woman’s life can be saved by abortion, it’s better to let two die than to save one.

As hospitals merge the percent of them that are religion based is increasing, from 16% in 2010 to ? in 2025. You have to be lucky and not live in the wrong area. In Wisconsin it is 30%. Often in rural areas there is no choice but to go to a religion-based hospital, with only their brand of care. Half of the OB/GYN staff at religion-based hospitals have issues with their demanded standards of care.

Is it any wonder that home-remedies, homeopathy, vitamins, diet, and just plain-ass staying sick and hoping for the best is the new standard of care? Not to mention being publicly and privately intimidated for wanting to use birth control or have an abortion. Yep, the religious are so peaceful, charitable, and kind–unless you’re a woman or a man trying to help a woman.

If I didn’t live so far from a clinic I’d grab a cooler, some food and beverage, and do a counter sit-in, or be an escort, but I can’t afford the gas. Luckily, I had a vasectomy. That must be really frustrating to the prolife-misery folks.

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Appreciating Women

encourage othersZaron Burnett writes a really nice overview of rape culture and how men can dismantle it: “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Rape Culture.” Towards the end he lists examples of rape culture.

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape

Followed by a list of things men can do.

  • Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
  • Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
  • If a friend says she has been raped, take her seriously and be supportive
  • Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
  • Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
  • Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
  • Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.

Burnett elaborates a bit on what men should do which is basically confront, correct and if necessary tell xenophobic, sexist, or misogynist manspeak to shut the fuck up. Ending with the point that there are social standards for men, all men, and if you plan to deviate do it in private with consent.

I can’t find much more to say except for more specifics of this paradigm. Well, that’s not true. I would say the single most important thing men can do is to learn to like women. Odd that this has to be stated. The specifics of this vary. I say this, for example, because this piece seems to be written by a white, urban guy who doesn’t experience either poverty, commingling with people of color, or rural redneck culture, all of whom will have different takes and ways of expressing these issues. Not to mention the question of honor and its perverse issues that transcend even the desire for food and life in many men across the world.

As a specific example of cultural myopia, if Burnett feels safe walking alone at night he doesn’t share a number of male experiences where predation is near universal. Having lived in some of these circumstances I automatically scan every room I enter, always know an exit, and apprise everyone I meet carefully and track all movement. I can’t help it anymore though I learned it long ago and no longer need it so much now. Nevertheless, wherever it is bad for men it is worse for women.

My first temptation in reading his article was to translate it to “A Rude Boy’s Guide to Not Fucking with Women.” The word gentlemen always raises my shackles as it was used as a means of differentiating class, and putting women on a pedestal, an impossible gilded cage that choked the life out of women. Yet more euphemisms for silencing women.

Interesting that most of the advice, excellent though it is, reveals a male protectionist view where action is defined as a negative ontology of correction, what not to do, even when stated positively. This is good but I want more.

Men need to like women. This basic assumption sounds facile like “do unto others” or “don’t criticize until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes” or most simply “be good to others.” Yet, if men basically like women they will seek to support women and enjoy their relationships with women. On all levels if men find ways of enjoying women positively everything else follows. Yes, it is also about rights but the core of rights, their reason for existence, is a positive affirmation of their existence and presence.

It is too easy to view pretty much everything as competition and correction, even when bantering with “unconditional positive regard.” It’s not a competition, it’s a partnership. To counter this otherness it is popular to seek empathy. I’m saying go further and appreciate. It is far richer and more satisfying for everyone.

I don’t mean some superficial positivity. I mean something you truly and sincerely like and appreciate, and then act on it. Do it often and do it with care. It’s easy to muck about in finding common enemies or relating to horrible things as a means of garnering mutual sympathy and admiration. Go further. Appreciate what you admire and ascern that women, and others, all others, have done well.

Well, I considered using the term people for men, women, trans, and everyone so know that this process works for all relationships.

It has often been said that it is impossible to just be friends with the “opposite” sex(es). That really doesn’t matter. It’s not true anyway. Many things get in the way of relationships. As a man, getting a hard on, being distracted by nakedness, or stuttering when physically attracted does at least mean you appreciate them on a visceral and intuitive level. Take this further.  Women often have the same kinds of reactions. Get over it and find more. If you don’t feel attraction, fine as well, take your appreciation further. The point is to not let anything get in the way of forming relationships of appreciation.

Aaaah, I am correcting. Apologies. Learning to like specific women leads to liking women in general. Building positive relations with individuals allows you to establish relationships with groups.

I won’t discuss the mechanics of appreciation as their variance is manifold. We all have to figure it out based on where we live and what we believe. Of course there will be things that run counter to your core values that are difficult to appreciate. Seek bridges and means of relating to your own values in some way. Often we have more in common than we think.

The process of appreciation cuts through socioeconomic, class, race, and culture differences. It does means paying attention or being aware. A mindfulness towards others. Yet, the process becomes so engaging that you will seek it out naturally, instinctively and without effort .  The “goal” discussed often seems to be not to harm women but it’s really to appreciate them for themselves. Not for ourselves alone.

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com