Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Is Chivalry a Protection Racket?

In today’s ever-more-anarchic dating world, where no one knows the rules or the roles, young people are increasingly being abused.

Time magazine reports:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 9.4% of teens in a recent survey reported being physically abused by a romantic partner in the past 12 months — that included being slapped, hit or intentionally injured.

Since the survey focuses on a relatively narrow time frame, I assume that the overall number is much higher.

To address the problem, Emily Esfahani Smith recommends that we should bring back chivalry, a code of gentlemanly conduct that requires men to perform actions that signify a willingness to protect the fairer sex.

Smith errs, however, when she calls on feminists to embrace chivalry. Feminism has been at war against customs like chivalry for decades now. Smith would do better to stop clinging to the feminist label.

Writing on Jezebel Katie Baker calls out Smith for not being a good feminist. She retorts that she is “down” with politeness but abhors chivalry because it is not best for feminism. She does not seem to care about what is good for women; her concern is her own cult.

Commenting on the concept of “benevolent sexism” Baker rejects the benefits it provides because it is inimical to her ideology.

In her words:

Nice try, but just because the study's authors concluded that "274 college women and 111 college men" like it when men are polite to women doesn't mean chivalry is good for the feminist movement. 

Baker would do better to ask whether the feminist movement is good for women.

A married couple that lives as feminists would wish, sharing housework equally is 50% more likely to divorce.

When, as feminism would want, both spouses work and contribute more-or-less equally to the family treasury, the woman is twice as likely to suffer abuse.

Now, teenagers and college students who live in the gender-neutered world that feminism has produced report significant levels of relationship abuse.

For her part Smith argues that chivalry correlates with biological realities that feminism refuses to accept.  

In her words:

Chivalry is grounded in a fundamental reality that defines the relationship between the sexes, she explains. Given that most men are physically stronger than most women, men can overpower women at any time to get what they want. Gentlemen developed symbolic practices to communicate to women that they would not inflict harm upon them and would even protect them against harm. The tacit assumption that men would risk their lives to protect women only underscores how valued women are—how elevated their status is—under the system of chivalry.

Baker responds by filling her column with tough talk and obscenities. She seems to believe that pretending to be tough is going to make her and her sisters invulnerable.

Chivalry functions as a deterrent to violence against women. If a woman is under her husband’s  or her father’s protection a man who would think of abusing her knows that he will have to answer to them.

This has a greater deterrent force than the possibility that Katie Baker is going to curse him out.

The notion of protection deters violence against women.

If women are not being protected by their male relations, then the culture will have to fall back on laws criminalizing different types of violence against women.

You might imagine that the threat of police action is a stronger deterrent, but evidence of contemporary behavior suggests otherwise.

The law has its limits. Sometimes abuse is too subtle to register on the law’s radar. Sometimes the prosecution of insults and slights is too costly to worth the trouble. Sometimes women do not want to be subjected to the abuse that is involved in a criminal prosecution of a sex offender.

Compare the complexity of prosecution with the simplicity of the threat of her brothers exacting retribution.

In a culture that sees women as needing male protection, men are duty bound to right wrongs committed against women. They are obligated to defend the honor of their women.

Offenses may involve violent abuse but they can also involve a panoply of insults that are too trivial to prosecute but not too trivial to inflict pain.

When a male family member rights such a wrong, there is no due process, no public testimony and no defense attorneys.

Obviously, this it feels like rough justice, but defending a woman’s honor need not involve violence.

Baker is also offended that chivalry sees women as more “valuable” than men.

In her gender-neutered world, everyone is equally valuable. She explains:

It is awesome to value and protect others. We are down with that. But what makes a woman more "valuable" than a man? What, exactly, are we protecting? 

Allow me to explain. Darwinian science has observed that a man has far more reproductive potential than a woman. Meaning: a man can father far more children than a woman can mother.

In terms of reproductive calculus, the loss of a woman is far more damaging to species survival than is the loss of a man.

Since science has established that women are more vulnerable and more valuable than men society has often asserted that they ought to receive greater protections.


Dennis said...

The machinations of a philosophy in its death throes. Ever more distancing itself from the real needs of women both young and old. The same old tired drivel and humbuggery.

n.n said...

Yesterday's progressive is today's conservative. It happened to the classical liberals. It will happen to the generational progressives, too. They will be shunned by the rebels with a cause and without a clue.

What gives these fanatics common cause?

Feminism, like other reactive movements, may have been conceived on principles, but it is an unprincipled movement. It cannot be sustained without violating civil and human rights. It happened to the human rights movement. It happened to the civil rights movement. It happened to the environmentalist movement. It is progressive corruption.

n.n said...

As for chivalry. I expect mutual respect. I am willing to offer consideration to a woman or man, young or old, as circumstances permit and require.

It really isn't as complicated as some people lead us to believe, is it? My impression has been that people are generally reasonable and even gracious.

DeNihilist said...

Stuart, your position on family retribution is spot on. I have a theory, that back in less civilised times, most of the deviant type personalities were weeded out by frontier/instant justice. If they had not procreated before their death, their deviant genes died out with them.

I wonder what your take on this is?

Dennis said...

I suspect a large percentage of us start out being gracious and have a degree of respect for another's humanity. People normally have to demonstrate that they do not deserve that respect by being disrespectful themselves.
I started out with a degree of respect for early feminists which I think was deserved, but the more success they had they less respect they had for others. Feminists were and are incapable of giving what they themselves expect. They have reached the point where they are dangerous to themselves, the women they supposedly represent and to the species as a whole.
There is a reason why any society that expects to maintain itself and serve the needs of its citizens need attributes such as manners, politeness, chivalry, respect, et al. These attribute contribute to the health and well being of the society and culture and ensures the perpetuation of the species. To undermine these attributes is to destroy oneself and much of what most of us hold dear and ultimately leads to the strongest ruling everyone else. That is why no matter how much radical feminists attack these attributes these attributes keep coming right back because most women, et al recognize that it improves their lives.
Also I suspect that both of us started out as classical liberals and the path to conservatism came through maturity and the desire by many academics to be mainstream by changing what the definition of where the center was actually at. It does not take much study, more experience with life or just plain common sense to recognize that the Left, radical feminism, et al, are inherently violent. Just a perusal of what are called the "intellectuals" action and lives demonstrate that violence. There is a fascination for humanity, but a hatred of humans. I am truly amazed at how anyone with even a modicum of intelligence could believe this drivel and humbuggery and I mean the word in its classical sense.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

RE: Denihilist... this depends on what you mean by deviant... do you mean strange or different or sociopathic?

If it's about strength or weakness, are we talking about physical strength or cunning. A man might be physically weak but sufficiently cunning to make a good living.

And then, some cultures which may or may not be deviant value the production of many children. Some prefer the production of few children. Nowadays, the developed world seems to be reproducing at below the replacement rate, while the underdeveloped world is producing at a rate where they will not be able to feed their children.

Good questions...

DeNihilist said...

Re Stuart: Thanx.

DeNihilist said...

Love the last quote in this article:

Dennis said...

It is interesting that when ideas become more important than people we all lose.