My friend James has apparently decided to try his hand at being a regular when he gets back from “Summer Sales”…which is where, I can only assume, either self-esteems or consciences go to die.
Now just as a short background…James is not a feminist. He’s just a guy who likes to cook. (But to be fair…dude makes some mean curry.)
An Aside: If thinking women are perfect, babies are disorientingly adorable, and cooking is fun is all it takes to qualify as a feminist…then I am disqualified on all three counts.
James thinks he’s a feminist though, and frankly, I’m not one to walk around stripping people of their self-proclaimed titles… in public…to their faces.In the campaign of Mormon Feminism, I’ll take all the allies I can get.
But I find in James a common type of Femi-missed that I would like to discuss now.
The Chivalry Monkey.
So James likes to post things on my facebook page which, I surmise, are meant to impress me ( not even in a romantic way, but just a friend way) with his progressive male ideas.
Now, just to spare you if you don’t want to read it, the author’s main point is that men are naturally inclined to rape and murder women pretty much all the time. Only socialization and chivalry are able to curb this hardwired, unstoppable rape and murder and beat women gene inherent in the “animal” inside all men.
How did he come to this conclusion? By his very careful study of monkey behavior.
Now, this “men are naturally cruel, sadistic animals” thing rates up there with “crystal meth” and “shoes with bows glued on them” on my THINGS I DON’T BUY list.
I don’t buy it.
But just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that we really all are monkeys who are only kept in line by a thin strand of social mores which we just made up in one part of the world, at tops, 400 years ago.
Let’s see what else I’m inclined to do, besides get beat up and raped by dudes all the time.
Well, according to this article, I’m inclined to eat other people including my own young , enjoy a high status in my community as a result of being female, and use sex as a casual greeting for both males and females (“Oh…uh…Hi honey! This is our new home teacher, Brother Jackson. We were, um, just saying hello….And this is is Sister Todd…just um…welcoming us into the neighborhood…).
And according to this article, kill and consume infants.
And I’ve purposefully used only articles from Bonobos, which are the most human-like of all apes. If I’m going to identify my natural inclinations from my monkey relatives, I thought I’d get as close as possible.
Now, I’ve gotta admit that I’ve never felt terribly inclined to throw my own feces around, but I’m just speaking for myself here. What you want to do in the privacy of your own chivalry caged brain is your business.
Now, if it is James’ intention to impress me with how well he treats women by suggesting that he is, at this very minute, busting at the seams to beat me to a pulp and rape me, but is using all of his manly effort not to do so- then I don’t think he has thought this out very well.
I mean, if I had a toddler and I told her or him “Mommy is, at this very moment, fighting every imaginable urge to tear you limb from limb and EAT you…which is something Mommies are inclined to do naturally.”, would I honestly be surprised if they were prompted to avoid me for the next decade or so?
AND another thing…the acts of male on female monkey cruelty like the “concubine ritual” mentioned in the Chivalry article can be found nowhere in any of my research on ape behavior, or in any database or online ( except on your blog, Ringo), which leads me to believe *leans forward and whispers* that you just made it up. * shifty eyes back and forth*
Now, I understand the appeal of making up cruel, power hungry and violent “natural tendencies” against oppressed groups. I think it becomes easier to feel good about one’s own behavior, sexist or racist or whatever, when you can point and say “look at what I COULD be like.” And we’d all like to think that God judges us in comparison to all the bad things we COULD be doing…but I think it is much more likely that we are being judged by all the good things we should be doing.
I’m pretty sure that male human beings are not naturally hardwired to beat up and rape women…and neither, frankly, are monkeys as far as I can tell.
There is monkey rape, but it actually doesn’t seem all that more common than western human rape ( with its chivalry to protect us and all), and does not seem to be really male on female based ( male monkeys rape male monkeys, female monkeys gang up and force themselves on male monkeys, both sexes of monkeys rape young monkeys of either sex…let’s just not compare ourselves to isolated cases of monkeys, k? It’s disturbing.). Monkey’s are mean, and violent to each other based on intent to intimidate and out of a sense of empowerment, regardless of sex.
I think that human beings, are, if anything, inclined to being domineering ;violently exercising their power over others who are less empowered than themselves…but who is empowered and who is not has almost nothing to do with hard-wiring. It has a lot to do with history and circumstance and geography and time.
The “I’m naturally inclined (read, entitled) to beat the crap out of you.” idea is, in itself, a form of intimidation.
And if you say, one more time, Monkey Man, that you are naturally inclined to beat me up and rape me I will tell you that I am naturally inclined to eat my neighbors and have sex with everyone.
I mean, it’s taking all of my socialized effort , right now, to keep from eating you and sleeping with your room mate. You are one lucky guy to have found a lady as in control of her natural tendencies as me.
And no, no you’re not naturally inclined to be violent or unfair towards women. I’m not even going to let you use that to feel better about your lack of actual feminism.
You are inclined, as I am, to protect your sense of power and entitlement over others. And even then, I would argue that you might actually be more inclined to seek peace with your conscience and “do the right thing”, if the world-wide spread of peace-promoting’ religious ideologies among humans has anything to say about it.
But thanks for the curry.