Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm getting excoriated.

Over here. I started writing a comment, but really, I hate people who post comments that are better used as content on their own blogs. But if I were to leave a comment over there, pointing to people to my blog for my comment, I'd be accused of being a blog whore (if the comment ever got passed the moderators anyway). Since the point of commenting is more for one's own peace of mind than for anyone else's sake (or so it mostly seems), I've posted my latest and last comment here for... whomever. Because really, I'm kind of bored of that thread anyway.


Belle previously wrote:
>I’m not a bad sport. You can call me a ball-breaking lesbian feminist if you want. It won’t hurt my feelings, mostly because it wouldn’t be true.

Constanct replied:
"Yes, you are a bad sport, because your reaction to being contradicted isn’t to argue your position more thoroughly, but to make sexual comments about your critic."

Belle's current comment:
Thank you daddy, for chastising me publicly on the polite way to debate. Calling something stereotypical doesn't mean that it is stupid, however. A lot of intelligent people do stereotypical things. My point was that, if you were offended by my categorizing your theory as stereotypical, perhaps something in my comment rang true. If it wasn't true, then why should it bother you? If I were the type to get my knickers in a bunch, I'd say that your subsequent comments (I'm not worthy of a response, and that I'm a bad sport) are patronizing and dismissive. If I wanted to, I could further impute that you are dismissing me because I am female. But personally I don't care. I'm sorry if I hurt your itty-bitties, but I stand by my assertion. However, I do apologize for suggesting that you are 12 or that you're single.

This is my summary of this thread.
1) Some people have been arguing that sexual consent laws should lower the age for protection (hereafter "consent laws") though there's been no agreement as to what age is acceptable.
2) They argue that there is a biological imperative that drives older males to pursue younger females.
3) To be fair, there have been some explanations as to why sex outside of procreation is not desirable, offered to explain why consent laws are strawmen.
4) But then all kinds of justification have been made for why the winter/spring sexual combination isn't always predatory and should be allowed.
5) With some digression about whether scientists ever believed the world was flat. (What the!)

I don't dispute that a biological imperative to successfully procreate attracts us to each other. That is why, after all, women like short, bald, ugly guys who have a lot of money. Once she's squeezed out the baby, he provides the shelter and the protection and who's a better provider than a multi-millionaire? What bothers me is the disregard of the danger inherent in the arguments above. I'm beginning to feel like I'm the only one who perceives any.

I suppose that if one has never been a pretty and smart teenaged girl who's young adulthood was spent mistaking adult male sexual overtures for platonic camaraderie, then it makes sense that one would believe the imbalance of power theory mere rationalization. All the girl has to do, after all, is say "no," and, if the adult male is like most adult males, he will walk away without any harm having been done to anyone. And if some young pretty teenaged girls don't know enough to say "no," and get venereal disease, or unwanted pregnancies, or suffer emotional scarring, well, then that's just the price to pay for freedom. Because some 14 y.o. female out there undoubtedly has benefited from her romantic/sexual relationship with a 40 y.o. male, and she should be allowed that benefit regardless of the price paid by those other, less-fortunate 14 y.o.'s.

A dork competing against a non-dork for the sexual favors of a girl cannot be compared to a 14 y.o. male competing against a 40 y.o. The dork analogy, all other things being equal, generally doesn't raise the specter of predation. The age analogy raises it prima facie. I do not dispute that a 40 y.o. male has a biological imperative that makes a 14 y.o. girl sexually attractive to him. What I question is why the biological imperative is used to support lowering consent laws. Other factors besides beauty and procreative ability make a girl. She has emotions; she participates universally in our culture; what happens to her in childhood (including her teens) shapes her, which in turn shapes the way she interacts in our culture. And the way she touches others in our culture, in turn, affects the behavior of those others. It's a web, people! If a 14 y.o. and a 40 y.o. find themselves in love with each other (in a non-predatory way), what harms come to them if they were to wait until she turned 16 (or 18, whatever the age in your particular state) before consummating? On the other hand, a different 14 y.o. may find herself preyed upon by a 40 y.o. and then left, pregnant at the worse, emotionally scarred at the least. Maybe she suffers trauma that prevents her from being able to participate in another whole, loving relationship. Maybe the trauma is so bad as to turn her into a misandrist, so she responds to the male gender as the enemy. Neither of these situations is good. But then, if she were pass on her attitudes to her child, she catalyzes a generation of men-haters. It's better to have laws in place that protects the latter when it does no substantial harm to the former and when it can prevent a great deal of harm to the culture at large.

A 14 y.o. male competing against a 40 y.o. male in the Olympics also cannot be analogized to the same competing for the sexual favors of a girl. When one or the other wins or loses the slalom or the marathon, it has no effect on a third party's emotional being (except granting bragging rights to citizens of the winner's country) or on how that being will interact within her culture. So regardless of your hair-splitting defenses, Constant, you were comparing competition in sports, at least, with competition for sex.

These analogies offend me, because I do not want to hate men, and yet I'm handed all the ammunition to do so every day. I was at a spa with my fiancee the other day when an older gentleman struck up a conversation with me. Later, my fiancee informed me that the old geezer in the funny hat was flirting with me. But I was just being nice and thought he was just being nice. So is every conversation a man has with me a ruse covering up a sexual agenda? Of course not. But the world won't allow me to believe that, and I find myself consistently being disappointed for giving men the benefit of the doubt. So then there's this thread begun by some guy giving a young girl the hubba hubba. No big deal, in fact it's kind of funny to acknowledge the old biological imperative, until commentors start suggesting that consent laws should be lowered because of it. Just because you get a boner for a 14 y.o. doesn't mean the law should allow you to pursue her. As I argued above, there are consequences of biologically dictated behavior that are paid for by the entire culture. And biological imperative as justification for anything disregards all the ways that human kind has evolved over biology. If one is going to argue biological imperative for lowering consent ages, one might as well argue that shooting another for raping one's wife is a biological imperative, in contravention of all laws that protect civilization from vigilantism. How Ever did we manage to put aside our biological impulses long enough to build roads or write books?

As for the suggestion that consent laws are patriarchial - laws are only patriarchial if they protect those who are perfectly capable of protecting themselves. If they protect a class that is arguably incapable of protecting themselves, then they're not patriarchial. That only a small percentage of winter/spring relationships are predatory and so, therefore, the majority non-predatory winter/spring relationships should not be banned, is not a strong enough argument for lowering consent ages because, as I've argued above, predatory relationships cause a great deal of harm to the culture at large (and I'm not convince that they are a small portion of winter/spring relationships anyway) and non-predatory winter/spring relationships suffer nominal harm from consent laws.

But really, I'm too tired to care anymore. All you men out there that want to perpetuate this biological imperative thing, go right ahead. You're just digging yourselves into the new millenium Lysistrata.

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