Friday, 29 July 2016

"Sexism Isn’t Like Racism. It Isn’t A Prejudice. It’s A Fact."

Sequentially reprinting Dave Sim's letters and faxed correspondence to me, with occasional annotation from me.

10 June, 2008

My point is: If it is extremely unlikely as we both agree that female representation would be much above 1 to 3% on police forces if they had to meet the same standards as men, then how can saying women are inferior be sexist or misogynistic? That’s why I pitched Rick on asking people to name their percentage -- on the Yahoo Group.

I’m calling it my Compassionate Outreach to the Reality Challenged and it is an uphill struggle. Does anyone seriously believe that if men and women competed for police jobs that women would win or would win half of the time? Why not have one Olympics and forget the sexism and misogyny of having men’s and women’s events?

The bottom line is that sexism isn’t like racism. It isn’t a prejudice, it’s a fact.

That’s the topic that I wish people could stick to and clearly people won’t stick to it.

That’s the reason that I got hacked off at you for the half-dozen distractions and digressions in your fax. Fourteen years of being the only person in the room making sense and people are still calling me schizophrenic.

Maybe you could do a survey and then point out that any percentage below 50 -- how many policepersons who are women would there be if they had to pass the same tests as men -- means either a) we’re all sexists and misogynists because we all believe the figure is less than 50%, CONSIDERABLY less than 50% or b) women are inferior to men.



Travis Pelkie said...

Now I'm confused.

I doubt I could pass a test to become a police officer.

Does that mean I'm actually a woman?

Or merely inferior?

James said...

"Inferior" is not synonymous with "weaker". I doubt Dave could pass the physical requirements to become a police officer, is Dave calling himself a sub-par male? If only 1-3% of interested women (according to Dave) being capable of passing the male physical requirements to be a police officer makes them inferior, does the fact that 0% of men can give birth mean that men are inferior? Birth is an incredibly painful process after all, surely its a sign of inferiority that one sex can't experience that pain and come out the other side unscathed. Its just stupid and illogical.

Men and women are not the same, that is the fact Dave has latched onto but his conclusions are ridiculous. A person isn't a numeric value, just because two different people aren't perfectly equal in all aspects doesn't make one objectively superior and one objectively inferior. They may be be inferior in terms of a specific trait but casually saying "they're inferior" as a general statement is ridiculous and of course a woman would take umbrage at being called "inferior". No one wants to be insulted, Dave should be able to sympathize considering he refuses to speak to anyone who doesn't sign his petition promising not to insult him.

Dave Sim said...

Travis - it means you don't have what it takes to be a cop. Neither do I. It definitely makes us inferior to the guys who pass the very high standards to become a cop. Not being able to see the inherent reality I'm describing definitely makes you a feminist. Trying to make it sound as if I'm crazy or ridiculous for pointing out the self-evident definitely, to me, is a female attribute. Your call, if that's the kind of guy you want to be. God gave you free will the same as he did me.

Dave Sim said...

James - "inferior" IS synonymous with "weaker" if the subject is physical strength -- which is a BIG part, THE CENTRAL part, of the discussion when you're discussing cops and soldiers. At least 97% of women -- AT LEAST -- are going to be OBJECTIVELY inferior in that discussion. You and I are both objectively inferior to the men we're talking about IN THAT DISCUSSION.

It is a female trait and a Feminist Theocracy vice to not be able to actually STICK WITH a fact-based discussion. You always have to jump sideways somewhere. It's unhealthy for ALL discussions to not be able to stay on topic, but to always have to retreat to side issues and irrelevancies.

The petition is not about sympathy or insult. It is about objective reality as the signatory perceives it. I'm not a feminist because feminism isn't fact-based. Feminism is wishful thinking. Seeing that as misogyny is, again, jumping sideways to another discussion. Saying a woman is insulted by being called inferior to cops and soldiers who pass tests they can't pass is jumping sideways to another discussion.

If you can't pass the tests to become a cop or a soldier -- and women, almost universally, can't -- you are inferior to those who can. Period.

Acknowledge that. Don't try to turn it into a different discussion.

ChrisW said...

Dude, it's not about being superior or inferior. It's about recognizing that other people are better than you and getting on with your life, job, work, relationships, hobbies and sleep despite that.

I've spent the last decade working with Alpha Males who are objectively better than me in almost every possible way, except maybe intelligence, work ethic and competence. Good for me. Doesn't mean that I could pick one of them up and carry them on my shoulders for five or ten or twenty or fifty miles behind enemy lines. Doesn't mean I can fire a gun better. Doesn't mean that I know the best option when you're surrounded by enemies in a burning building. Oh, but I'm smarter than that guy. Yay me. Let's all have a big round of applause for me and ignore the guys who are literally doing what I couldn't possibly do, and carry you for twenty miles as well.

"Inferior" isn't the right term. "Not being able to do what those men do" is better, and it isn't inherently shameful to not be able to do what those men do. If you think it is, that's your problem, not theirs. They can't do what I can do. Doesn't make them inferior, it means we have different skill sets. Women don't have those skill sets either.

The first time I knew I was truly getting old was when women were passing me in a running test. I've been smoking and drinking half of my life, and a guy did try to make me feel better by pointing out that those much younger women had been on track teams and athletics in high school and college. That helped my ego, but it's still a fact that the physically-best young women are now capable of outperforming me in physical competition.

That's not about "superiority" or "inferiority," it's that the most physically trained females cannot surpass a very unathletic male until he gets old [and smokes and drinks and avoids physical effort.] That's a fact. You want to apply that to police or fireman standards, ok, let's let the women do all the heavy lifting from hereon out. No man should ever lift a finger to save anybody if a woman can do the job. Because women are "equal."

Erick said...

I get it.
I get what Dave is scared of: Change.
Change of perceptions of women in society.
A slight digression is in order.
During WWII Blacks were mostly relegated to segregated units. They proved themselves capable and patriotic. Both were traits that military men of the times thought they lacked. With the integration of the military starting in the 1950's, perceptions began to change. Damn sure still isn't universal but if the military can change so can society in general. Now, women are being integrated into combat military roles. Women have been police since the 1900's, but that has not really made a difference to some. But now as more and more become front line officers instead of desk bound, perceptions have changed. Some folks do not like that. They trot out the same tired excuses for why women should not be police, but fail to mention any reasons why they should be police. But lets just talk about the safety aspect of women being officers. Has crime risen in the past 20 years? Nope. Has murder rates risen in past 20 years? Nope. Have police officers being killed in the line of duty risen in past 20 years? Nope. Oh and check out the url at the end for police being killed in line of duty rates.
But what do women officers bring to the table? Change. Change in the way we as a society perceive women and their traditional roles. Having more respect for them and what they can do outside of a gender limited and biased manner. Yes a societal change in gender role perceptions driven by their admittance and acceptance in non traditional roles. But it is not a change that will happen easily. But change will happen. Some men can't handle that, and they never will.

Dave is an emotional being. No one who demands that people sign a petition affirming that they do not think he is something that others may think he is,operates without emotion driving the request. Otherwise he simply would not care. And caring is emotion. Seems pretty simple saying that, but Dave and some of his sycophants try to say they can leave emotion at the door. Nope. Unless you have lived in a vacuum your entire life, emotion will have some bearing no matter what. Is it fear Dave?

Chris said...

So, three things:

First, I think it's reasonable to question the fairness of any system that sets a pass threshold based on sex or race or, well anything at all really.

The trouble is that, even though it is unfair to some, historically affirmative action is used to right, or counter act, a greater unfairness or ensure representation of a minority group who would otherwise be excluded.

Is this the case here? No, I don't think so.
In the case of the police, there are clear benefits to having women on the force in terms of representation (letting the public see that they are representative of them) and through acting as an interlocutor for those in situations where talking to a man would not be ideal. Plus, and I'm obviously using a particular caricature of women's qualities here, soft skills...

The problem then would be that if you accept there may be benefits how to get women to join the force? If you have (now I'm making up figures) 10 times the number of men applying for a job than women and women (as a gross generalization) perform less well on a test designed with men in mind, what do you do?

And more importantly is the test just a test or does it really tell you how good someone would be at a job?

I imagine the logic is similar for the army, and it also wouldn't be the only type of "affirmative action" that the army indulges in. The army in the UK values doctors so if you sign up you become a commissioned officer pretty much immediately.

Second: Women are on average generally not as strong as men, that doesn't mean they are inferior. The way you are using inferior here is as a general all encompassing term running parallel to the actual physical test. If we were to talk about someone being inferior based on the number of hairs on his head, we would rightly ask what the hell does that have to do with "inferiority?"

For such a good writer this is incredibly clumsy.

Lastly: Excluded middle. It s common for people to embrace binary options (often with a side salad of poisoning the well) when in fact there are many more options available. The last paragraph is an obvious example. There are many reasons why women may not be interested in joining the police in the same way that there are many reasons men don't want to teach in infant schools.

Interestingly, wikipedia also says this:
"For around seventy years departments were allowed to discriminate against women wanting to go into law enforcement because they were women and are physically weaker. When women were allowed to get jobs within law enforcement, they were often given administrative or traffic jobs rather than actually going out on the street. Today that has changed; there are more women who are getting jobs within the tactical departments, such as S.W.A.T."

Which, leads me to another reason why men may have wanted women on the force: To be secretaries.

Travis Pelkie said...

Well, let's go back to what Dave is saying in this letter. Reduce it to the ol' 2+2=4.

Police officers must pass a rigorous physical test.

More (many more) men than women can pass this test and become officers.

Because of this, women are inferior to men.

Those seem to be the main points Dave's making here.

So if 100 police officer positions are open, and an equal number of men and women apply and take the test, somewhere between 1-3 women will qualify.

Which shows the amount of police officers who would be women, if the standards are equally applied.


I think you're looking at it wrong way around.

The question to determine if women are inferior to men in this should be how many women vs how many men would be police officers, not how many police officers would be women vs men. There's a difference.

If all able bodied adult men and women took the rigorous physical test to become a police officer, what percentage of women would pass? And what percentage of men?

Let's say only 1-3% of women could pass.

But what percentage of men could pass?

If that percentage is considerably less than 50%, what does that indicate?

To me, I don't see where you can declare one gender inferior if half or less of the other gender can't meet the same standard that you're using to declare women inferior.

iestyn said...

Part 1

I think there are a number of things here.

This letter seems particularly lacking in context - it's not clear whether Dave means women are inferior 'on the whole' as a gender,


whether Dave's comment relates to the specific scenario of female police applicants being physically inferior to male one's. From Dave's later comments - it would appear that he is talking about the physical aptitude of female applicants ONLY.

I'd say 'inferior' is a very loaded word to use, but in the given scenario he has lined up he would be totally correct.

That scenario seems divorced from REALITY in a number of ways, one of which, admittedly, may be something that has changed since his comments were made.

Firstly they are divorced from reality because physical standards are the same for male and female police officers in the US. In fact here the UK there are no differences, not for gender or age, and so are fairer than US standards.

I note that in the US each state sets their own requirements, but those requirements seem to be a fairly consistent template. That template allows for age variance, but not for gender variance at least in the 4 states and the general guidance that I reviewed.

That means that the women on the US police have had to meet exactly the same standards as the men, so not 'inferior', but 'as able'. This may have changed in recent years, can't prove that, so Dave's point may have been valid at the time.

So, whilst, potentially there are states that are inferior to other states, there are definitely male officers who have passed tests 'inferior' to those passed by female officers who are younger than them. Will you alter your conversation to include the unfair 'advantage' given to older people?

So Dave is talking about a REALITY that does not exist. Possibly Jeff as well - can't say as his comments aren't here.

Otherwise, their statements are generalisations that do not apply to the specific set of circumstances encountered in reality by those individuals becoming police officers.

They ignore that recruitment standards aren't 'employe the most physically fit officers available at each recruitment', they are, 'officers are required, amongst many other skills, to be at least as fit as this'.

Further they ignore that there are, in reality, women who are fitter than men. In my case, many women who are much fitter than me. I run marathons (badly) and there are at least 2,000 women who were physically fitter than me in the 5 years I've been running. GENERALLY I SHOULD be fitter than them, in REALITY I am not. I presume neither Jeff, nor Dave are concerned that there have been male applicants physically fitter than other male applicants who have not been recruited because they scored lower on other tests required to become police officers?

iestyn said...

Part 2

Also - How have Dave (and Jeff?) arrived at there assessment of the 1-3% is it through statistical analysis of the fitness of Men and Women in the American population that apply to become police officers?

Unless the answer is 'Yes' then you are making assumptions with no FACTUAL basis. So it is not REALITY it is OPINION. And you held the OPINION that women pass 'inferior' tests, and you were wrong. So that's not a sound opinion to base that on.

Sexism, like racism, relies on taking generalisations and applying them AS IF they were universal truths applicable to all circumstances, rather than sweeping generalsations not reflecting the specific REALITY of the individuals circumstances being encountered.

That means that Dave's statement that "Sexism isn't like racism" would, in my opinion, ne wholly wrong.

As a further aside. It would appear that Feminism has failed, by Dave's standards of assessment, as equality of requirements has been achieved in the police application process. Either that, or, society has moved closer to Dave's opinion that a two tier approach was unfair and has addressed and resolved this issue in a manner that addresses the objective reality previously denied.

lylemcd said...

The fact is this, in most physical qualities, women show a decreased response to men. Does that make them inferior? Only by male standards. By other standards, women show a greater response (they show better endurance for example and actually OUTPERFORM men in cold water swimming and ultraendurance events).

People tend to confuse different with superior/inferior and women and men's strengths tend to be the other's weaknesses. What men are better at women are generally worse at and vice versa.

But the simple fact on this topic is this: if a standard is X and that X is the physical standard required to do the job (i.e. carry heavy equipment), then whether or not you are a man or woman who can't do it is irrelevant: you don't get the job. that women are, on average, less likely to meet the required physical standards is due to biology and nothing more.

Because physics doesn't change due to ideology.

Women can't say "we are equal to men....but lower the standards." They can't have it both ways but they want to do exactly that.

I supsect that is Dave's point in the aggregate.

And it's not sexist, it's just biological reality. The extremists blame all differences on society but here's the other fact: until puberty little boys and girls are mostly indistinguishable physiologically.

The changes occur at puberty when hormones change. Extreme feminists, who ignore and are ignorant of science, seem to think this doesn't matter.

Consider also that the men transitioning to women will start spaking women in sports. Because they have the biological advantages in terms of muscle mass, bone density, body structure from having been men in the first place.

That's biology and it's not sexist to say so.

Brien Patch said...

Apologies in advance for posting this in several parts - I was unaware Blogger had such a ridiculously small limit:

I don't think it's controversial even amongst more radical feminists to admit 'In terms of physical strength, women are generally inferior to men'. Their position is generally that sex (i.e. the body type and associated organs) is biological but gender (i.e. what people with male or female bodies are expected to like, want to do, or think) is largely socially constructed. For example, I don't think you would have a difficult time persuading a radical feminist that men have traditionally taken military roles within societies because of their increased strength and aggression.

Is the view 'men are generally stronger than women' generally considered part of the package-deal called 'sexism'? I'm not sure it is, even by the most strident Women's Studies types. If sexism is defined very loosely as 'Men and women are physically different' (and wherever there is difference between two things one will be 'superior' to another in at least one situation) then sexism is indeed a fact. And Dave Sim, Jeff Seiler, feminists, the Pope and myself would all be sexists.

However, this is a sideshow - and I find it hard to believe Sim isn't doing it deliberately. Sexism, at its root, turns not on the supremacy of the body but on the supremacy of the mind (after all, men in wheelchairs were not denied the vote; even though a congenital victim of muscular dystrophy is demonstrably 'inferior' in the above sense, all else being considered, to a woman). Is one sex capable of perceiving reality more accurately and acting upon that information more effectively? If supremacy of the mind is ceded, on what basis does one claim supremacy of the body? Your opposite number can claim you have misunderstood the statistic, misread the tape measure, failed to operate the stopwatch effectively. His mind works better than yours; you've admitted it.

Brien Patch said...

Part 2:

Sim, make no mistake, asserts men are superior, not in terms of brute strength but also in terms of the mind. Now, he can point to other information; men score on average 5 points higher on IQ tests than women. They are the vast majority in politics, science, and the arts. This is the evidence by which he can claim supremacy of the mind.

Now, Sim says "Sexism Isn't Like Racism. It Isn't A Prejudice. It's A Fact." So, there's an inherent distinction between sexism and racism, which we should be able to determine. In particular, he says racism is a 'prejudice'. It's worth considering what that means; pre-judice means pre-judging based on some particular attribute. A racist white man might pre-judge a black man based on his race. Based on that attribute he infers the black man is:
- Physically superior (perhaps)
- Intellectually inferior
- Possessed furthermore of poor character traits such as laziness, sexism (oh?) and a tendency to violence

Does our hypothetical racist conclude based on his prejudice (pre-judging) that the black man is his superior? Of course not. Supremacy of the body is subordinate to supremacy of the mind; in fact, he feels a certain cunning pleasure in 'ceding' supremacy of the body; it lets him feel like he is being 'fair', somehow, even though he knows supremacy of the mind means he can take that back any time he feels like it and assert the bodily supremacy of the white man, Lovecraft's "predatory rover of Hengist and Horsa - a conqueror of Celts and mongrels and founders of Empires".

Now, let's ask our racist 'On what basis do you hold your views? Is it 'just a prejudice'? Or is it a fact?' Well, what a preposterous dichotomy. No-one ever held a prejudice they didn't think was informed by fact. Possibly our racist responds (in the same vein) 'Racism isn't like, well, sexism. It isn't a prejudice. It's a fact'. Well, we might ask, what evidence could possibly lead you to the conclusion that any black person you might meet, before you even knew anything about them as an individual, was inferior to you? 'Well,' he admits, 'some black people might be as good as white people. But statistically, there's no question.' He proceeds to reel off his evidence: white men score on average 15 points higher on IQ tests than black men. They are the vast majority in politics, science, and the arts. White people, he says, are superior, and no-one should be upset or angry about that. It's simple fact. This is the evidence on which he can claim supremacy of the mind.

Brien Patch said...

Part 3:

Well, you might respond, that's due to centuries of oppression, and before that slavery, coupled with the accident of geography that led to European countries having access to near-surface coal deposits, ample iron supplies, etc. Oh nonsense, he sighs, society went downhill when it gave black people the vote. Then he pauses, and, lowering his voice, says he knows it by objective means that are totally non-reliant on surveys, IQ tests and the like. You see, God has told him through the Bible that black people are evil beasts who try to seduce white women. What? Where the heck did he get that from? Well, he says, Adam derives from 'awdawm', which means ruddy, or able to blush; i.e., a white man. Eve was 'beguiled' by the nachash (which he says means 'sorceror') of the chay eretz, which he says means pre-Adamic humans. And what was the nachash's curse? To crawl on his belly and be stepped on (i.e. enslaved) by the descendents of the woman. The tree of life, in his view, was of course sex; specifically miscegenation, which he considers to be the Original Sin. He's made his own translation of the Bible that translates 'ruach ha'Kodesh' as 'mentality of separation' (Holy Spirit, y'see). He then sends you studies showing how white people are declining as a percentage of American and European countries. Soon, he says, we will be extinct. The pre-Adamics, who have no soul and thus (?) are possessed by demons, who cannot think and cannot create, will take over. He says anyone who disagrees with racial identity has been brainwashed by the Jews (who he says are not the biblical Israelites but descended from Cain; it's apparently too complicated to get into just now).

(I have made none of this up. It's the basis of the Christian Identity movement)

Brien Patch said...

Part 4:

So, we meet another man - an intelligent man, a writer, a 'creative'. He considers racism mere 'prejudice' (pre-judging someone before he meets them on some assumed commonality based on a characteristic) but considers sexism simple fact. Well, let's ask him why. At first he acts very cagey - he plays word games around the concept 'superior', and says if men are physically stronger they are 'superior' by definition, all else being equal. Well, do you believe all else is equal? Well, no - men score 5% higher on IQ scores, are the vast majority in every serious profession, etc. Well, you say, that's the result of hundreds of years of oppression, preceded by virtual slavery, coupled with the accident of evolution that left men physically stronger and able to seize control of society through the warrior class. Oh nonsense, he sighs, society went downhill when it gave women the vote. Then he pauses, and, lowering his voice, says he knows it by objective means that are totally non-reliant on surveys, IQ tests and the like. You see, God has revealed to him through the Bible and Koran that women are intrinsically inferior to men, and moreover, are aligned with the evil goddess at the heart of the planet, literally existing to destroy and drain the creative force that resides, almost entirely, in men. What? Where the heck did he get that from? Well, he says, you notice how in Genesis 1 God is 'Elohim', but Genesis 2 God is 'YHWH'? And the way the narrative seems to dip back on itself - almost but not quite the same? Yes, you say, it's a pretty big piece of evidence for the Documentary Hypothesis; that Genesis was not written by Moses but assembled from different religious trad- 'They're TWO DIFFERENT GODS.' He pauses for effect. 'YHWH is the bad one.' And you know the way there are several different accounts of the life of Jesus in the New Testament, and they don't quite line up? Different Jesuses. The Synoptic one is the bad one. Although it might not be as simple as that. He points to how egalitarian ideas are taking root in different parts of society. Soon, he says, thinking men will be a thing of the past. Anyone who doubts his views, he says, has been brainwashed by the Marxist-Feminists (who do awful things like thinking of people as collectives, rather than individuals).

It's easy to understand why decent people would oppose the first man, no matter his other accomplishments. His beliefs have conclusions, and even if he isn't acting them out now, he will, if he truly believes what he says. It's especially understandable why black men might oppose him. It's also easy to understand why decent people would oppose the second man, no matter his other accomplishments. His beliefs have conclusions, and even if he isn't acting them out now, he will, if he truly believes them. It's especially easy to understand why women might oppose him.

Both men believe they have formulated their theories based on fact, on evidence. It is clear that they have not done this; instead, they have created a theory based on pattern-matching in ancient, self-contradictory texts and the way it makes them feel, then interpreted the rest of reality to match their theory. They haven't noticed that the framework didn't come from the world around them but from within. And that's a fundamental error; an error of epistemology. Truth cannot originate from within you; you cannot make a fact true by feeling, wishing, or hoping it to be true. Both men likely bridle at this; it's what they say to multiculturalists, New Agers, collectivists, feminists. Nevertheless, they have made the same error.

Brien Patch said...

Part 5:

To conclude, does Sim believe racism is bad because:
a.) He is unaware of the studies and religious arguments used by neo-Nazis;
b.) He is aware of the studies but concludes any apparent inferiority on the part of non-white people is due to centuries of oppression, and before that slavery, coupled with the accident of geography that led to European countries having access to near-surface coal deposits, ample iron supplies, etc.;
c.) He is aware of the studies but because he considers the religious framework false thinks they cannot therefore be true (being summarised 'the negative religious case');
d.) He is aware of the studies but because his reading of Scripture affirms equality of the races thinks they cannot therefore be true (being summarised 'the positive religious case');
e.) He does not want to be considered a racist, or feel like racists are supposed to feel;
f.) He considers it illegitimate to make a sweeping conclusion about a specific individual based on a characteristic or characteristics shared with other individuals

f, by the way, is not the 'loaded' answer, the one I consider to be correct. That would be b, identifying reality on the basis of reality, and not on the basis of ignorance - a; fairytales - c and d; or feelings - e. Option f is Rand and Ditko's pitfall; they fail to recognise that prejudice, pre-judging based on shared characteristics, is an integral part of the mechanism of conceptualisation, without which you just have floating perceptions. The stove is glowing red; other things that glowed red were hot - maybe this is hot; other things that look like a stove have been hot - maybe this is hot. The issue would be incorrect stereotypes and incorrect generalisation from anecdotal experience to broad classes of entity.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Brien: Bravo! Excellent points that Dave will dismiss, because you're possessed by a demon.

Iestyn: You said, "Dave is talking about a REALITY that does not exist." That is often the case. It's often also reason enough to read Dave's "thinking": interesting to see what it looks like to live in that reality.

It's charmingly naive that some of you seem to think that cops are recruited from the fittest of the fit. Almost every non-disabled individual can pass the fitness tests for police -- or basic training in the armed forces, for that matter; it's only because we're so unused to exerting ourselves (in body, mind, or character) that it seems hard.

-- Damian