Jim Crow laws and feminism

Note: This article is also available in Spanish.

There is something to be said of remembering the past, in that we are often doomed to repeat those same mistakes very much into our future if we do not learn from them. Indeed women have quite considerably “Come a long way, baby”. We live in a society circa 2015 whereas a woman can vote, hold office, drive a car, excel academically, own property, have an income, own a business, the list is almost endless considerably in a westernized society such as the United States of America.

One question I have always begged with respect to modern feminism and in particular Third Wave is what is the endgame? Politically speaking there are no more “rights” to grant women, we can argue over what is good social policy that may happen to impact women more but certainly the question of “rights” as it pertains to women has been long since settled.

The more a long journey comes to an end and as victory nears, what then becomes of the soldiers too hardened on the social battlefield? For those who benefit directly and indirectly from having grievances, the fight can never leave the blood as it is addictive and has to be exercised. Fighting for the right to vote, to be educated, to be validated, to not be raped in a marriage, to get equal pay laws, to have an abortion under the right to privacy….what battles become left as all the great battles have already been fought?

Such is the case with modern third wave feminism. There are no more great battles to be fought politically or in the court room any longer say perhaps for keeping abortion legal which truly is nothing more than saber rattling by most conservatives, it boils down rather succintly into the social grievances between men & women which often lay far beyond the doors of any courtroom and far from any policy that can ever be truly enforced. So what happened?

Read any current article, gripe, or blog post on modern feminism  and it has waded down into rallying cries over “man-spreading”, “mansplaining”, t-shirts with certain depictions of women, private dongle jokes overhead in conversation, clapping being too traumatic, video games…you name it. Much of this is hardly the business of any government or political system, let alone can be solved by one.

Boys and men allegedly have to be taught not to rape (assuming rapists would take to such lessons to start with), while idealistically it cannot hurt to make mention of such and point out what clearly may not be consent we shouldn’t be in the enterprise of just educating  boys or men on this subject. In addition we should also be educating girls and women how words, actions or body language can be misinterpreted as “consent” and that stating “NO” quite forcefully and verbally helps to lower any resulting ambiguities if we are dealing honestly between the genders to solve a problem.

Yet we seem to be living in this climate wherein these social-justice warrior types are prodding men to act a certain way around and towards women. Such actions go beyond mere manners and courtesies to be extended to a person, but identify specific behaviors towards women that men should exhibit. The mere act of saying “hello” to a woman in the street or remarking her beauty is being written off as “harassment”, sitting with your legs spread is being called “aggressive posturing” rather than it just simply being personal style or comfort, interrupting a woman, while certainly rude to interrupt anyone, is being mischaracterized as a gender-isolating behavior. Being loud or obnoxious somehow is being morphed into a specific and social affront to women and women alone.

There is history here, a parallel if you will….in the pre-Civil Rights Era. During that time there was a specific code of conduct that was to be observed in public venues by African Americans under Jim Crow. Keep in mind Jim Crow in specific was not just about a legal system of discrimination, but a social one with very devastating impacts.

Jim Crow laws in the United States, for example, mandated the racial segregation of public schools, public places such as a library, restrooms, restaurants, and even drinking fountains.  One common rationale for the systemic exclusion of Black Americans was that it was for their own protection. It was argued that having blacks in white schools would mean constantly subjecting them to adverse feeling and opinion which might lead to morbid race consciousness.

Contrast this with laws such as VAWA, or the Violence Against Women Act, and primary aggressor laws. A primary aggressor is defined in the US as the party who is the most significant or primary aggressor and police must determine which party is the primary aggressor in order that the true victim can seek safety and so that offenders are held accountable.

To determine if one is a primary aggressor police must consider:

  • offensive and defensive injuries
  • seriousness of the injuries received by each party
  • whether a party acted in self defense or in defense of another
  • “height and weight” of the parties
  • which party has the “potential” to seriously injure the other party
  • whether a party has a “fearful demeanor”
  • whether a party as a “controlling demeanor”

And these are just to name a few. To the logical mind it’s very easy to see how such can be misread by the police or manipulated at worse by the alleged victim. We can also see how it is much easier for the police, especially male officers to view women primarily as victims and men as perpetrators which is in part reinforced by advantageous-sexism on behalf women to this narrative. What you end up creating, much like the Jim Crow laws of the south, is an environment that has a disproportionate impact on men, as many “judgment” calls have to be made without the complete presence of factual knowledge. Bias can inform many judgments unfortunately – just ask anyone who is Black and lives in America.

If a man who is 5 ft 10 and 200 lbs is bloody, yet his 5 ft 4 inch 98lb wife has a broken nose, chances are the man is more likely to go to jail even if the woman assaulted him first and more savagely because his injuries may not be as visible. He also has a distinct height and weight advantage, the woman may show signs of fear, all chipping away at the logical possibility that he in fact may be the “victim” while she is the aggressor.

Just as Jim Crow laws justified white people’s irrational “fear” of Black people, and Black men in particular, so feminists and SJWs justify modern behavioral constraints on men, based on women’s irrational, and unfounded, fear of men.

Specifically:

Men are never to assert a woman is lying about rape or sexual assault/harassment.

Men are not to be skeptical of her claims of sexual assault. Even if they listen and believe her, they are certainly not to confirm and verify first in pursuit of evidence and facts.

Men are never to suggest a woman is being too emotional and irrational, even if what she says is highly emotional and irrational.

Men are to never to find a type of woman attractive, and we don’t get to define beauty individually by the choices and associations we keep. But women are free to judge men on their appearance such as weight, height, wealth, hair, chest, dick size, etc.

Men are not to speak to women in public they do not know or pay them a compliment (which granted may run too coarse), and anything he states, even “good morning” may be interpreted by women as harassment.

A man is to presume full social responsibility while in the company of a woman, even if she is drinking and an “adult”. It matters not if neither could not give proper consent prior to sexual conduct. He is not only responsible for himself, but also hers when he has to shield her from her own actions while in a state of inebriation. #HeForShe

Men cannot have any “valid” opinion on something as complex as abortion, which is not even fully settled among women in terms of religious and philosophical leanings.

Men can never strike a woman, even in self defense, because she is the fully capable equal “weaker” sex. When asserting herself physically, a man should still temper his strength and be in constant understanding she is still a “woman”.

Of course these are just mere examples not meant by any means to cover every seemingly new social affront claimed by women to which a behavior pegged as “male”, yet exhibited by both genders. The logic of Jim Crow is rearing its head in current society and strictly relegated gender conduct is fast approaching, with men playing the role of deferential Negro appeasing women’s irrational fears. We must maintain a watchful eye when trying to improve relations in society. While we wish to cultivate our best behaviors, it’s a slippery slope once we start dictating all behaviors into a strict regime of codified conduct in which men are the controlled and women are the controllers. Sexism is not materially different than racism.

One more lost irony here is that in the Victorian era you had codes of conduct as well – behaviors that were to be observed by men and women. There was and are entire manuals on social conduct which had to be observed, adhered to and followed by members of that society. One can argue this again is history repeating under the guise of “improving” society.

It matters not from which mountain social commandments are shouted. The fact they are shouted at all, and not negotiated and discussed among individuals based on evidence, facts and rational interpretations of the social environment is the issue.  Feminists and SJWs attempt to impose controls on men based purely on what is and is not acceptable to their tastes.

Irrational fear of gender is no different than irrational fear of race.

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