Thursday, April 08, 2010

Staring at Breasts: A Reaffirmation of Conservatism.

By now I imagine that most of the conserve-o-sphere have heard about the moronic protest march in Portland, Maine. Despite the best intentions of its organisers the "Breast March" backfired:

Ty McDowell, who organized the march, said she was "enraged" by the turnout of men attracted to the demonstration. The purpose, she said, was for society to have the same reaction to a woman walking around topless as it does to men without shirts on.

However, McDowell said she plans to organize similar demonstrations in the future and said she would be more "aggressive" in discouraging oglers.

Guess what Ty, your exercise in social engineering was a failure. Men will always stare at a woman's breasts for the same reason we will stare at an attractive womans bum, legs and walk, because that is what we are "hard wired" to do. It's got nothing to do with social conditioning: Gender is innate and not a social construct. You've got to force yourself not to look.

And that's the whole point of her exercise. She wants us to act contrary to our natures; to live a lie. Pretend that we don't find breasts attractive to appease the social program of Ms McDowell, a social program based upon lies with regard to human nature. Modesty stands on far more solid intellectual ground. The underlying assumption of modesty was that men are attracted to a woman's sexual markers and that she should cover up otherwise she was going to get a lot of attention, a theory congruent with human nature and so convincingly demonstrated at the march.

Interestingly the harridan's response to the abject falsification of her theory is not a change in her views but a demand to speak power to truth and the call for punitive action against displays natural human nature, typical Lefty response.

Conservatives have much to learn from this little debacle:

1) Trying to argue with these shrews is pointless. They are are not interested in logic or reason, all they are interested is in having things done their way.
2) Given power, these individuals will use it to enforce their vision. There is no benign exercise of it.
3) These individuals need to be fully exposed to the consequences of their folly. To paraphrase Mencken, you've got to give these people what they want, and you've got to give it to them good and hard. If these people won't listen to reason then they should fully suffer the consequences of their actions. Protecting them from their stupidity only serves to strengthen it.

Feminism's strongest odium has arisen not from conservative argument but the spectacle of feminists themselves. The horror of feminism will sear the collective conscience when the hordes of "sex and the city" spinsters, embittered by their ideology incarnate, stand as a collective witness to the Andrea Dworkin cat lady existence that is the natural end of these ideologues. In hoc signo vinces.


Will S. said...

They never learn, do they? From the French Revolution, to the New Soviet Man, to the Nazis' Ubermensch, to the modern day attempt to build a new Liberal, Progressive, Feminized Human, they all fail to realize that human nature is ultimately immutable, that people are what they are, always have been, and always will be, no matter how much tyranny is used to try to remold humanity, no matter how many millions of resisters killed, it simply can't succeed, ultimately.

Men appreciating feminine charms, as they always have, is indeed an encouraging reminder, that the other side will not ultimately win.

(BTW, I can already hear Larry Auster's appalled reaction to your wonderful title.)

The Social Pathologist said...

I don't think Auster is in the audience.

Will S. said...

Really? Too bad for him; it occurred to me after I commented that this actually might perhaps be something where he ends up in agreement with the manosphere.

Don't worry; I'm sure he'll see this after Ferd and/or Alki/Talley link it this weekend.

Tom said...

*sigh*. Murder, rape, theft are *all* part of human nature. Do we decide that they're all acceptable?

Of course not. In fact I'd say that civilization itself *is* the triumph our our intellect and behaviour over our nature.

Does this mean we can mold human nature into any shape we please? NO, but nobody is trying to and it's somewhat disingenuous to imply that they're attempting to do so. They're trying to mold *behaviour*. And every law on the books and every cultural "norm" is doing exactly that.

Secondly, there are a number of cultures that *don't* particularly perceive breasts primarily sexually, which pretty much puts the lie to the concept that it's man's immutable nature to be sexually titillated by the women's breast.

Now, I agree that it's pretty silly to get upset when you try to turn *cultural* sexual norms around instantly and fail, but I'm awfully glad that we actually have managed to change cultural norms over the last few thousand years in direct defiance of human nature.

Aren't you?

Will S. said...

Tom, when the heck were murder, theft, and rape cultural norms? Just because they are sadly part of the human experience, esp. amongst the uncivilized, does not mean they were ever normative; they've always been viewed as
aberrant behaviours (we Christians call them 'sins', and consider those ones fairly major ones, in comparison to others), which virtually every tribe, culture, and civilization has condemned. (Even amongst uncivilized barbarians, while killing one's opponents, taking their wives, and belongings, has generally been deemed acceptable in warfare, such actions have almost never been permitted within the tribe / village.)

Human life may be valued more cheaply in some societies than in others, but I don't think there are any that have considered murder as an acceptable practice (except, in terms of possibly overlooking revenge killings (e.g. vendetta), or killing one's spouse and lover if catching them in flagrante delicto - it is well-known that Latin American police will often look the other way at such 'crimes', which may horrify some, but one can't argue that murder in general can be gotten away with there; that's a specific exception). Same with rape, and theft - again, Gypsies may have practiced ripping off and stealing from outsiders, but not from within their group, and their acceptance of theft from outsiders does not mean that there hasn't been an otherwise universal condemnation of theft across cultural boundaries, so it proves nothing - as does your example of cultures that don't perceive breasts are particularly sexual - I assume you are reasoning from the fact that various tribal peoples have not had the taboo about display of human breasts that civilized peoples have. But you would be wrong to assume they don't have their own standards for female beauty which do take note of the female breast - the Dogons in West Africa, for example, believe a woman's nipples should point straight down, that such is a sign of desirability. This is quite different from just about every other culture out there, but it shows that even a culture which doesn't mind open, public display of female breasts nevertheless has men having opinions about what is sexually desirable in terms of shape of their women's breasts.

We in our Western society don't see women's legs as sexual objects in the same manner we do their genitalia or their breasts, but nevertheless, men have often been turned on by an attractive pair of legs. Or the small of a woman's back. Or the look in a woman's eyes and her smile when she is signalling 'come hither'. And so on; straight men are attracted to all different parts of women's bodies, and always will be, and can be turned on by all manner of body parts, not just genitalia. That is natural, and universal, even if certain standards of beauty have more local variation than others.

Utopians of various stripes have thought they could create a New Man, which would be free of the supposed deficiencies of the old, i.e. would be in line with their programs, and not have contrary thoughts. The whole eugenics movement, which was a very progressive cause in its heyday, was constructed entirely around such ideals of human nature's supposed malleability. It was thought one could simply breed out negative traits like criminality, propensity towards alcoholism, etc., same as we breed animals and plants for certain desired characteristics. And all utopian schemes are always predicated on the Voltaire / Rousseau conception of man as a blank slate, able to be good with the right encouragement, simply in need of guidance from the State in order to realize perfection.

Those of us, like SP and myself, who are Christian, know better; man has gone astray, and must be encouraged to do right rather than wrong, and can do so, but will never be perfect in this life.

The Social Pathologist said...

Now, I agree that it's pretty silly to get upset when you try to turn *cultural* sexual norms around instantly and fail, but I'm awfully glad that we actually have managed to change cultural norms over the last few thousand years in direct defiance of human nature.

The assumption that you make Tom is that men were living naturally before. In fact many of the rude and barbarous tribes of men could be said to be living unnaturally. A civilised man is a natural man and man in his barbarous state unnatural. It took me a while to realise this, but this speech from Henry V quite shook me.
(Duke of Bergundy speaking)

My duty to you both, on equal love,
Great Kings of France and England! That I have labour'd,
With all my wits, my pains and strong endeavours,
To bring your most imperial majesties
Unto this bar and royal interview,
Your mightiness on both parts best can witness.
Since then my office hath so far prevail'd
That, face to face and royal eye to eye,
You have congreeted, let it not disgrace me,
If I demand, before this royal view,
What rub or what impediment there is,
Why that the naked, poor and mangled Peace,
Dear nurse of arts and joyful births,
Should not in this best garden of the world
Our fertile France, put up her lovely visage?
Alas, she hath from France too long been chased,
And all her husbandry doth lie on heaps,
Corrupting in its own fertility.
Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleach'd,
Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,
Put forth disorder'd twigs; her fallow leas
The darnel, hemlock and rank fumitory
Doth root upon, while that the coulter rusts
That should deracinate such savagery;
The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet and green clover,
Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility.
And as our vineyards, fallows, meads and hedges,
Defective in their natures, grow to wildness,
Even so our houses and ourselves and children
Have lost, or do not learn for want of time,
The sciences that should become our country;
But grow like savages,--as soldiers will
That nothing do but meditate on blood,--
To swearing and stern looks, diffused attire
And every thing that seems unnatural.
Which to reduce into our former favour
You are assembled: and my speech entreats
That I may know the let, why gentle Peace
Should not expel these inconveniences
And bless us with her former qualities.

An uncivilised man is an unnatural man. Those same men who would not find a woman's breasts attractive would probably not know what to do with Shakespeare either.

Tom said...

Tom, when the heck were murder, theft, and rape cultural norms?

I obviously wasn't clear enough. My entire thesis was that murder, theft, and rape are part of human nature, but *not* a cultural norm.

In other words, our cultural norms are often at odds with our natures.

I don't think that the seemingly futile attempts of a few women to avoid having their breasts viewed sexually is an attempt to change human nature. It's an attempt to change *behaviour*.

And obviously, behaviour does change.

So, men (in general) will obviously find women sexually attractive (although exactly what part of female anatomy is viewed primarily sexually seems to vary by society).

But there's nothing that says that men *have* to acknowledge or act upon that perception.

Think that's unreasonable?

An older adult male who acts upon the sexual attraction of an 18 year-old is acceptable. However, if he acts upon the sexual attraction of a 17 year, 355 day old, then society comes down on him with a long jail sentence.

In other words, we all expect that regardless of man's innate nature, he can and will behave in a different fashion.

If that dichotomy between nature and expected behaviour is acceptable (and I hope it is to all present :-)), then it's not absurd to think that the same dichotomy between nature and action might one day occur with respect to women's breasts. No utopian, perfectable man necessary.

In fact, it does already. At least in any people I deal with, expressing a sexual interest in a women involved in breast-feeding their baby would not be greeted particularly well.

The silliness of the women you quoted was not in their goal, it's in expecting it to succeed without many long years of slow cultural change.

Tom said...

SP, one of the great things about growing older is finally being old enough to truly enjoy Shakespeare. Pity it started ten years after I finished studying it...

I think the grave danger of using "natural" is that it is defined by speakers the world over as meaning "what I like" and "unnatural" as "what I dislike".

This has been going on for thousands of years (usually with a concomitant call to destroy one's 'unnatural' neighbours :-)).

As such, despite Shakespeare's beauty, I am reluctant to use it to describe anything but the most fundamental of human nature that predates any society beyond the most basic, lest the debate become tautological.