On Chivalry and Sexual Violence

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    The proposition, from The Volatile Mermaid↱:

    • "... if you would take never having a man hold the door for you again over being raped once."

    This actually comes from something, or, rather, someone. More directly, this is what it takes to defend Harvey Weinstein. Donna Rotuno, attorney for the accused sex offender, explained: “I feel that women may rue the day that all of this started when no one asks them out on a date, and no one holds the door open for them, and no one tells them that they look nice.”

    The context, from Maureen O'Connor↱, for Vanity Fair:

    When we first spoke in September, Rotunno told me that Weinstein had jokingly anointed her the “Harvey whisperer,” but when I brought the nickname up again last week, she stuttered: “We, um, we get along. Harvey called me that at the beginning.” She has since become the “bad guy” on occasion. Like, say, when she learned that Weinstein had given a self-pitying interview to the New York Post, in mid-December, without consulting her. Responding to accusations that his new reliance on a walker was a ploy for sympathy, Weinstein invited journalist Rebecca Rosenberg to his hospital room as he recovered from back surgery. He described himself as a “forgotten man” who had “pioneered” gender equity in Hollywood. The subsequent media coverage of Weinstein was unsparing, calling him tone-deaf and desperate. Nearly two dozen of Weinstein’s accusers, including actors Arquette and Ashley Judd, signed a letter calling Weinstein an unrepentant abuser.

    One week later, Rotunno published a Newsweek op-ed that argued that the media and activists had destroyed Weinstein’s chance for a fair trial. Sounding alarms familiar to #MeToo skeptics, she painted Weinstein as the victim of a “one-sided media rampage,” then spiraled into an argument about male safety writ large, extrapolating his case—and his dozens of accusers—into a threat to brothers, sons, and fathers the nation over. “There is nothing preventing you from being next,” she wrote. “Long before you stand before a judge, the claims of a few can upend your life and destroy your reputation.”

    “The pendulum is swinging so far in the overly sensitive direction that men can’t really be men, and women can’t really be women,” she told me. “I feel that women may rue the day that all of this started when no one asks them out on a date, and no one holds the door open for them, and no one tells them that they look nice.”

    †​

    Life in human society will provide the examples, if we really, truly require them. Anecdotally, there's a guy I know, and it's complicated, but I think of him in the moment because here is a defense attorney essentially making his point, but in a way he never really seemed to comprehend. And it's true, to the one, that it is hard to explain the connection 'twixt holding the door for someone and rape culture. To the other, I never really thought one needed to be a woman in order to understand. Donna Rotuno may be a woman, but we can also argue she's just a defense attorney doing her job.

    Even still, that guy I know would resent the implication that his expectation that a woman will smile and acknowledge him nicely for the sake of ritual obligation is on any sort of common spectrum with Rotunno and her client; but his was a creepy objectification in its moment, fulfilling the primary criticism against the ritual. That is, if the reason he is holding a door for her is so that she will smile at him, or some such, he is expecting a return for his actions. And it's true, he just doesn't see how it is problematic to oblige or define other people for them, like that. And the connection to rape culture?

    Here we have it from the defense attorney: Consider what Weinstein is accused of, and propose: If men can't [___], they won't hold the door for that pretty li'l lesser thing who looks so much prettier when she smiles.

    Every accused deserves an opportunity to defend. But this is how Weinstein's defense goes?

    †​

    Hence, the question. What would you rather, that no man ever held the door open for you; or men holding the door open for you, sometimes, because they expect a reward, but you have to be raped once in order to get that?

    The Mermaid wasn't just pulling her question out of the ocean.

    †​

    The unfortuantely requisite disclaimer: Yes, in fact, many are aware of the manner by which one holds doors open for other people, regardless of sex, as general courtesy, and without expectation. And it's true, most people will, under such circumstances, pleasantly acknowledge the courtesy. But this aspect is absent from point we're examining.

    †​

    What is Rotunno's version of how it goes? Who knows? The end result, apparently, is that if men can't behave as Weinstein is accused, women will regret the lack of men holding doors doors or randomly telling them how nice they look.

    What is my acquaintance's verson? Pretty run of the mill. Indeed, we might wonder if he just got too worked up in the moment and forgot the point about general courtesy, and thus embarrassed himself with pretenses of sexist obligation and expectation. And we can rabbithole that last, because many are offended at the idea that they can be sexist without intending, which in turn only starts parsing the queston of what it means to intend. But when we tie his chivalry of holding doors into his expectations of a smile, or the courtesy of complementing a woman on her appearance, or giving her random advice on how to be prettier in order to strike up a conversation and hit on her, well, right. The anecdotal punch line: A woman observed, at one point, that he changed the subject; he went trembling cold, told her she didn't own the conversation, accused her of trying to bully him, said if he wanted to change the subject, then he'll do that, and told her that will be entirely enough of that.

    Seriously, we could ask for a creepier demonstration of chauvinism, but why?

    †​

    It's also the weirdest indictment of men, albeit, what, once-removed? My acquaintance's underlying complaint has to do with targeting everybody, which, itself, was just another hint, because the subtext was targeting all men. Even still, the presupposition that we should target abusers instead of simply targeting everybody, presupposes the legitimization of some abusive conduct, because that happens to be the discussion he was having.

    Rotunno's version legitimizes inappropriate conduct; the long debate over chivalry and telling women how nice they look starts with the point of such behavior being problematic. But if men can't [___], then they won't hold doors for women, tell them they look nice, or ask them out, and why does that start to sound like an incel bawl?

    Still, the connection might seem hard to grasp, but probably ought not be, and in this case the confusion rests in whatever it is Rotunno intends to accomplish. But both, what my acquaintance would justify, and this defense of Harvey Weinstein's alleged predatory behavior—(as well as being a prominent aspect of such predatory behavior in and of itself)—is nearly a gaslight disregard for the people who become the subject of discourse, i.e., women.

    That guy I know tends to respond to what a woman says about issues like colloquial misgendering, notions of chivalry, and even street harassment, as something to be corrected, because he knows her existential reality better than she does. And, sure, he's not Harvey Weinstein, but that disregard for the existential reality of woman is a common element, and, per Rotunno, intrinsic to Weinstein's defense.

    One way to say is that in order to justify what is inflicted against woman, we are to erase her from consideration.

    "Long before you stand before a judge," Rotunno portends, "the claims of a few can upend your life and destroy your reputation". This pitch, on behalf of this client, ignores history, both general and particular. Her public relations pitch is to men, warning, "There is nothing preventing you from being next."

    †​

    In our present moment, though, the Mermaid asked, and a particle physicist↱ answered:

    Things that wouldn't happen to me as a result of no men ever holding the door for me again: depression, anxiety, PTSD, gaining 40 lbs as a result of those, spending thousands of dollars on therapy

    Things that have happened to me because a man raped me: all of that.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @nuDocES. "Yup. Things that wouldn't happen to me as a result of no men ever holding the door for me again: depression, anxiety, PTSD, gaining 40 lbs as a result of those, spending thousands of dollars on therapy Things that have happened to me because a man raped me: all of that". Twitter. 7 January 2020. Twitter.com. 8 January 2020. http://bit.ly/2N5eyO4

    @OhNoSheTwitnt. "A little experiment. Retweet if you would take never having a man hold the door for you again over being raped once." Twitter. 7 January 2020. Twitter.com. 8 January 2020. A little experiment. Retweet if you would take never having a man hold the door for you again over being raped once.

    O'Connor, Maureen. "Who Would Defend Harvey Weinstein?" Vanity Fair. 5 January 2020. VanityFair.com. 8 January 2020. http://bit.ly/39T3kpE

    See Also:

    Rotunno, Donna. "How the Media Is Keeping Harvey Weinstein from Getting the Fair Trial He Deservers". Newsweek. 21 December 2019. Newsweek.com. 8 January 2020. http://bit.ly/2QC2h6c
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Just as true:

    Things that wouldn't happen to her as a result of a man holding the door open for her: depression, anxiety, PTSD, gaining 4o pounds, and spending thousands of dollars on therapy.
    Things that wouldn't happen to her as a result of a change in US IP policy: depression, anxiety, PTSD, gaining 4o pounds, and spending thousands of dollars on therapy.

    Preventing that rape would stop all those things for her. Doing a billion other things, or not doing a billion other things . . . would not.
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Okay, and if my first thought in response is to reiterate something about a nearly gaslight disregard for the people who become the subject of discourse—i.e., women—what am I missing?
     
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    The lack of a connection between opening a door for someone and rape. Here's your false choice:

    "What would you rather, that no man ever held the door open for you; or men holding the door open for you, sometimes, because they expect a reward"

    Those are not opposite choices.

    Here's an equivalent (and equivalently bad) choice for you to make:

    What would you rather, that a woman is civil to you and you are mugged by her boyfriend, or that no woman was ever civil to you again?
     
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  8. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Healthy-minded men don't expect a ''reward'' for holding the door for women, or for anyone. They don't merely view women as a means to a sexual end, as if part of a transaction. Men (and I use the term loosely) like Weinstein, are predators, psychopaths and/or misogynists. The word ''chivalrous'' doesn't even enter their vocabulary once, because to be truly chivalrous, means going out of one's way to help another, without expectation of reward. (think ''knightly'' behavior, as when the term was originally used)

    Men who view sex as a ''reward'' for some ''good behavior,'' aren't really men that most women want to have anything to do with, to be honest. Weinstein isn't ''your average guy,'' who is just looking to get laid. He's a misogynist who likely was rejected a lot before he came into wealth and power. Give a misogynist wealth and power, and you have Weinstein. I don't like the subtle message here (warning?) that ''all'' men have rape on their minds, if they don't get their ''reward'' for simply being a kind soul to a woman. Healthy-minded, quality men don't think like this, at all. They may desire sex like the next guy (I'm a woman and desire sex, too - it's part of being human) but, they're not conflating rape with masculinity.
     
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Thank you. My response remains to reiterate something about a nearly gaslight disregard for the people who become the subject of discourse, i.e., women.
     
  10. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    fascist
     
  11. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    sexual predator/abuse psychiatric specialists have been saying for years that rape is about power, not about sex.
    the sex is simply the drug to provide the fix.
    like a slave owner they need to be in control of another living thing and make it suffer and watch it suffer.

    the inner sadist must be fed with the misery pain and suffering of another living thing.

    confusing kindness with sadistic lust/addiction...

    kindness to such people is not kindness
    it is a transaction to obtain a direct benefit
    "kindness" is the word that means sociopathic moral license to own future abuse

    work place psychopaths are a very good study zone for this sexual predator behaviour set.
    predominantly male yet still has a good high proportion of women that gives a far better clarity into the true human nature of the sadistic drives
     
  12. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    is a myth
    the word holds little use other than historic reference like using the words "Spanish inquisition"
    the true meaning is a muster of personal associated moral abstract splain-ism to socialise the value back to group acceptance
     
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    When you hold open a door for an old woman, or a family with small children, what transaction are you involved in? Do you really expect sex from the old lady, and do you plan violence when you don't get it?
     
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  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Your desperate need to change the subject in order to tell these women they're wrong, and you know better, is showing.
     
  15. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Are you suggesting Tiassa, that most women believe that this is what men are thinking when they hold the door for us? Or when they perform a ''random act of kindness?''

    I don't go into my interactions with men believing they have nefarious reasons for engaging in dialogue with me, or offering me support of some type. Some may have bad intentions, but if I start believing that 'all men if given the chance would do this or that,' I'd be bordering on misandry, to be honest.
     
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  16. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    The idea of chivalry (not in the knightly sense that wegs quite appropriately mentions, but in the sense of 'gallantry': men holding open doors, pulling out chairs, etc. ) stems from the assumption that women are at a physical disadvantage. Originally, because they were usually carrying a baby inside or outside and needed protection from wild predators - that made sense in subsistence-level societies, where every life was precious and endangered. Later, male-dominated cultures deliberately put women at a disadvantage by making them wear impractical clothing and footwear and turned them into barter goods and servants.
    Many of our present assumptions, habits and customs derive from long outdated social arrangements. How they form patterns of etiquette, empowerment and expectations is far more complex than dates-for-rapes.
    It's no easy matter to adjust human relations to changing societal requirements.
     
  17. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Good points ^

    For me personally, I'm appreciative of anyone who offers to perform a random act of kindness, and I hold doors too for anyone behind me. I think that we are very caught up as a culture, in ''gender roles'' and while I do believe men and women are different, we still appreciate acts of kindness in pretty much the same way. I don't see it as a man's ''responsibility'' to hold the door for me, simply because I'm a woman. Nor, do I feel that men should expect women to cook and clean for them, simply because these were roles ''assigned'' to women for decades.

    But, in relationships, I'm attracted to strong men...physically and mentally. [Perhaps what physically attracts us, is an entirely different topic.] But, in terms of general interation with men, I don't have ''expectations'' of random strangers.
     
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  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Excellent job of intentional misunderstanding!

    To be clear, I am telling YOU you are wrong. Not these women.
     
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    To reiterate the disclaimer:

    The unfortuantely requisite disclaimer: Yes, in fact, many are aware of the manner by which one holds doors open for other people, regardless of sex, as general courtesy, and without expectation. And it's true, most people will, under such circumstances, pleasantly acknowledge the courtesy. But this aspect is absent from point we're examining. (#1↑)

    Or, from the setup:

    • This actually comes from something, or, rather, someone. More directly, this is what it takes to defend Harvey Weinstein. Donna Rotuno, attorney for the accused sex offender, explained: “I feel that women may rue the day that all of this started when no one asks them out on a date, and no one holds the door open for them, and no one tells them that they look nice.”​

    And considering the comparison:

    • … that guy I know would resent the implication that his expectation that a woman will smile and acknowledge him nicely for the sake of ritual obligation is on any sort of common spectrum with Rotunno and her client; but his was a creepy objectification in its moment, fulfilling the primary criticism against the ritual. That is, if the reason he is holding a door for her is so that she will smile at him, or some such, he is expecting a return for his actions.​

    Thus:

    Q: Are you suggesting Tiassa, that most women believe that this is what men are thinking when they hold the door for us?

    A: No; rather, I am examining an issue put before us by a defense attorney for an accused sexual predator, and comparing its overlap with a similar iteration.​

    I call certain disclaimers turd because of the coincidence; such disclaimers are, as I see them, unfortunately requisite. And in the moment, we see why: We have a question, from a woman, responding to a statement made in defense of a sexual predator, compared to another iteration of chauvinist pretense similarly structured; the next thing that happens is that along comes that expected sleight dispensing with the original pretense. It's one thing to reject the defense of Weinstein, but that's not what happened. Now here we are, recalling in order to dispel a false pretense already disclaimed against.

    The original question, and, effectively, the woman who asked it, are silenced in the subsequent discussion.

    Imagine that.

    • • •​

    #startmakingsense.


    (Edit: Revise and extend my remaks, 10 Jan., 10.46 PST)
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  20. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Lawyers get paid to create doubt in jurors’ minds. His attorneys stand to make obscene amounts of money if they are able to clear his name and a jury acquits him.

    The fact that a woman is being paid to create doubt, doesn’t negate the fact that her allegiance is to her client, not women. She’s hoping her tactic works on a jury, and creates enough “reasonable doubt” to set a rapist free.

    Imagine that.
     
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Yep. And imagine further that someone takes such a legal gambit as . . . akin to reality.

    I've been on perhaps half a dozen juries, and in every case, there are two attorneys presenting wildly exaggerated premises - that their client is nonviolent and perfectly sound of mind, despite the attack against the guard 12 months ago while he was in a psychiatric hospital. That the (drunken) accused knew with precision what all the harm his actions could cause in the future. That their client simply had no idea that the heavily armed people he was driving to, then from, a house in the suburbs intended to burgle the home. Indeed, that's why we have juries - to try to find the truth that, at best, was somewhere between the extremes they present.
     
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  22. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly. I’m not surprised he hired a woman at all. Coupled with his “walker,” maybe he hopes juries will see him as just another misunderstood guy who was simply trying to support women in their careers.

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    Every psychopath has a backstory, though. I wonder what his is? I do believe he is a psychopath - has all of the hallmark traits of one: liar, no conscience, no empathy, entitlement, unusually high sense of self importance, insecure, etc.

    Usually misogyny isn’t “born,” it typically stems from a lack of nurturing from a guy’s parents, or perhaps his mother never made him feel secure. Or his dad treated women poorly, and that helped to shape his views. Of course, Weinstein has agency and needs to be held accountable for his choices, but everyone has a backstory...a first cause if you will, a catalyst that starts a domino effect of behaviors to come.
     
  23. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    I honestly cannot figure out what most of the responses here have to do with the OP. Summarizing... Tersely.

    Donna Rotunno, Weinstein's attorney, said:
    "All this" being women objecting to Harvey Weinstein raping them.

    Someone on Twitter asks:
    Tiassa compares the above to an acquaintance who, apparently, objected to women who don't acknowledge his kindness in holding open doors for them. Not exactly the same thing, sure, but the expectation there is creepy, none-the-less.

    There ain't no talk of women ostensibly thinking or assuming that men expect to rape them in exchange for holding a door, or anything of the sort.

    So what am I missing?
     

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