Thursday, March 11, 2010

Roissy on Conservative Delusions

Roissy was in high form in yesterday’s post, about which I have no comment to offer.

11 comments:

Thursday said...

The big gap in his analysis is that a lot of social conservatives think women are inherently good because they only have experience with women who actually are good. I go into this here.

Novaseeker said...

For older ones, yes. But how can today's younger socons, the ones under say 45, have spent their lives around women who are only "good"? That sounds hard to believe, really.

Φ said...

I see your point, Thursday. If 30% (or whatever) of married women are adultresses, then 70% are remaining faithful. If 50% (although this number is exaggerated) of married women sue for divorce, then 50% do not, etc. So there are, in fact, plenty of women living their lives by the Book, and I would wager that SoCons come disproportionately from these environments.

Two points though. First, it really, REALLY bad theology to uniquely invest women with some kind of Edenic innocence in sexual matters. Yes, many women behave themselves, as do many men, but we all are subject to sexual temptation. Roissy argues that sexual behavior is solely a function of opportunity, but he neglects that the opportunity to sin is itself created or avoided by a host of upstream decisions about the way we live our lives.

Second -- and here I offer myself as an example -- we SoCons seem especially prone to this particular delusion in the teeth of even our personal experience, for the reasons Roissy gives and for others that I can't quite articulate. But believing in the innate sexual purity of women fulfills a deep psychological need, and like all such needs it is highly resistant to contrary evidence.

Thursday said...

For older ones, yes. But how can today's younger socons, the ones under say 45, have spent their lives around women who are only "good"? That sounds hard to believe, really.

No, if you've mainly socialize with church girls and have only dated church girls and your best friends have only dated church girls and your mom and sisters are church girls, its pretty easy to have had the overwhelming amount of contact with women be with good girls. In those circumstances, it is fairly easy to think of women who behave badly as exceptions.

Thursday said...

Younger socons doubtless have contact with badly behaved women at work, school etc., but unless they went out to the bar or out to a party with them, or got into a relationship with them, they would generally only see these women on their best behaviour. Most women can put up a good front in public.

Novaseeker said...

Maybe so Thursday. I grew up Catholic and there are many Catholic socons, and frankly there were quite a few slutty girls throughout the whole Catholic educational system. Trouble was we were taught to see them as "exceptions" -- and we bought it. I suspect that might be the dynamic. But having that last through decades is just insane.

Second -- and here I offer myself as an example -- we SoCons seem especially prone to this particular delusion in the teeth of even our personal experience, for the reasons Roissy gives and for others that I can't quite articulate. But believing in the innate sexual purity of women fulfills a deep psychological need, and like all such needs it is highly resistant to contrary evidence.

Rather obvious explanation for this (not to trivialize your comment, which is pretty honest I think) is that we *want* them to be like that. The world would be so much better if they were like that -- I think we all agree. But they aren't. We hate that answer, because it means life just got a whole lot more complex and difficult and risky. And that sucks. So it's understandable why we try to avoid it. Women, by contrast, are taught that many/most men are worthless and bad, and their trick is to find the one worthwhile man -- so they approach the whole thing from a totally different perspective than we do.

samsonsjawbone said...

It's very well-written; an enjoyable experience to read. Roissy at his best. What I found particularly insightful was his list of reasons why conservatives might have a naive view of women. Indeed, I think his reason #1 was certainly the biggest obstacle in my way on the journey towards understanding woman's true nature. It's creepy and unsettling to think about your mom, sisters, et al. once you've “swallowed the red pill”, as they're saying in the Roissysphere these days.

Hence:

But believing in the innate sexual purity of women fulfills a deep psychological need

Like, the need to believe your mom's not a ___? Yeah. (FWIW, I truly do believe my mom is/was one of the better ones.)

Still, what Roissy's piece essentially boils down to is: Women are not pure snowflakes; he says they “are vile creatures at heart, just as men are.” And I think this is where his analysis is mostly correct yet incomplete, because he doesn't acknowledge the reason why men and women are “vile”, and since he doesn't, he also fails to grasp the reason why some women are genuinely not so debased as he seems to think.

Let me explain. Like Phi, I'll use myself as an example. Do I, as a man, have “impure thoughts”, desires, etc.? Yes - but here's the thing: as a Christian, I am deeply, truly ashamed of those thoughts, which I regard as part of my sin nature, and try to banish/minimize them as best I can. (Or at least, I try to try.) Genuinely, I wish I did not have those thoughts/desires – not because I fear social pressure or what have you, but because I actually believe that those desires are hurtful to God, to my wife, to others, etc.

Men, then, do indeed think vile things, but there are some of us who truly resist that path, because God's grace has enabled us to pursue a more repentant way. I know this because I am a man who combats his sinful nature. And I believe that some women are this way as well. Do I agree that woman's natural state is as wicked as man's? Yes. But I also affirm that there are women who, through God's grace, hate their sin every bit as as much as I hate mine. I believe my wife is one. (Yes, I know what Roissy would say about that. I feel confident enough, partly in her, but mostly in God, to disagree.)

And so, I think what I am trying to say is that because Roissy does not view woman's “vile” nature as the manifestation of sin, he likewise does not believe there can be a Godly redemption from the vileness. I think he does not grasp that God's grace enables some women to truly combat their female desires. I , on the other hand, believe that there are virtuous (in a relative sense) women who, even if they have those desires, also attempt to combat them, just as I struggle with keeping my own sinful desires in check.

samsonsjawbone said...

And, after writing all that, two things occur to me. Firstly, I don't want to put words in Roissy's mouth; I know he agrees that some women are (relatively) better than others. I guess I just get tired of the view, ubiquitous in the Roissysphere, that all women will cheat, etc. No, they won't – I will stand on that, just as they will stand on their view. Secondly, it occurs to me that really, Roissy's view on women is not that different from our own, anyway. After all, what does he describe but “total depravity” of both men and women? I think any Christian man should vigorously affirm this. Certainly the bible gives no contrary argument. Indeed, for a long time I have been saying that even a secular audience can draw a good lesson from Genesis 2-3, wherein Woman lies in order to shift the blame off of herself and subsequently is yoked with the curse of constant subversive rebellion against her husband's authority. Even if you don't think the bible teaches any religious truth, surely you can appreciate that even 3000 years ago, the writer of Genesis knew that women were “like that”.

Φ said...

Samson: that was . . . outstanding! You should totally start posting to your wordpress blog.

trumwill said...

If we, as a society, start looking at women as though they are vile creatures, this will certainly lead to superior social outcomes. After all, look at how things improved when society started considering men to be vile creatures. The very definition of social progress and betterment.

/sarcasm

samsonsjawbone said...

Trumwill:

If we, as a society, start looking at women as though they are vile creatures, this will certainly lead to superior social outcomes. After all, look at how things improved when society started considering men to be vile creatures. The very definition of social progress and betterment.

Ha! Again, I believe this illustrates that the only solution to the problem is to understand why men and women are the way they are. But you know my view; I won't re-hash it.

Phi:

Samson: that was . . . outstanding! You should totally start posting to your wordpress blog.

Well, Phi, I have thought about doing that, and you may have spurred me into it just now. It's mostly a time thing - I am already fairly swamped In Real Life.

Then again, consider that part of the reason I comment on blogs is that I genuinely enjoy essay-style writing and argumentation. Maybe I can, in fact, view blogging as an enjoyable, relaxing hobby?

Well, let's try it: I'll begin posting to my Wordpress blog, using my comment above as my first post. We'll see how it progresses from there. It may go at a Hermes-like pace. :)