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What Do You Have Against Women?
A reader plays the gender card.

Copyright © 2008, Paul LutusMessage Page

What Do You Have Against Women I | What Do You Have Against Women II

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Among the obstacles to gender equality are those women who demand equal treatment in public while demanding unequal treatment in private. This is an example.

What Do You Have Against Women I

As I was reading "Asperger's by proxy," I couldn't help but notice that you had a real problem with women. In fact, this was so glaringly obvious that for me it overwhelmed your article. So, according to your analysis, because I was victimized by a particular woman, this means I have something against all women? How do I describe my encounter with a sociopath in a story whose social and clinical value is undermined if her gender isn't revealed (for the reason that M√ľnchausen Syndrome by Proxy [hereafter MSP] sufferers are virtually all women)?

It isn't possible to tell the story in a realistic and useful way without revealing "Joan's" gender. Maybe if I rewrite the story so she is a carrot, and her son is a turnip, I can avoid the accusation you've put before me, but then I'll hear from outraged vegetarians.
"Joan" is certainly a twisted person, and I don't object to how you have described her. In fact, for the most part you were careful to stick to facts when discussing your interactions with her.

What bothers me is that you seem to view women in general is pretty much being just like "Joan."
I am sure I have said this 100 times in 100 contexts, but ... where is your evidence? Show me where I assign "Joan's" characteristics to all women, as opposed to describing her and a minority of women similarly afflicted. You could have avoided this by simply saying "people" instead of "women."
  1. By lodging this complaint and by ignoring my similar descriptions of men, you have just demanded that women be treated differently than men. You clearly haven't considered the implications of your stand, so let me spell it out for you — as long as women demand to be treated differently than men, men will respond by treating women differently. Think about this the next time you notice you're making half what a man makes for the same work.

  2. Your request is absurd. My article discusses two issues — MSP, which objectively is a mental condition suffered by women, and false sexual accusations, a behavior limited to women. Saying, "I met a person who makes false sexual accusations" without revealing her gender is as pointlessly politically correct as saying "I met a person who is a serial rapist."

  3. If I write that a certain number of Americans suffer from sickle-cell anemia and would do well to seek treatment, and if a public-spirited team of doctors approaches me intent on doing something about it, how shall I tell them that the Americans I am speaking of happen all to be African-Americans, without hearing from someone like you who feels that I am unfairly characterizing an entire race as harboring a crippling genetic predisposition?

    By the same token, if the devastating social problems caused by MSP are to be realistically dealt with, someone has to bell the cat. Someone has to be willing to utter the W-word, without reservation or apology — it is a behavior essentially limited to women, and its persistence springs in part from misplaced chivalry on the one hand, and misguided feminism on the other.
I've gone through your article and pulled out a number of examples:

"I revealed some things Jim couldn't be expected to know at his age. I explained that, regardless of the facts, any position Joan took mattered a great deal, because she was the mother of minor children and because of something women sometimes do — they make a false claim of vile behaviors society rightly rejects, cause a great deal of trouble for everyone around them, then when it is discovered that they are either crazy or lying, they virtually always escape any consequences for their behavior."
I describe this as "something women sometimes do." That is a fact and a matter of public record. If I say "rapists are mostly men," does that allow you to draw the inference that "men are mostly rapists?" And if not, if this represents a false inference, the same judgment must apply to my description of "Joan" — it's a description of an individual and a small class of women, and it cannot be used to falsely infer something about all women, as you are trying to do.

As it happens, false sexual accusations are a documented MSP behavior — it's part of an effort by the perpetrator to deflect attention from herself. This is well-established and is one of many dangerous behaviors associated with MSP. To conceal this fact can serve no one's interests — except, of course, for the perpetrator's.

On the topic of concealment, "Joan's" prior victim decided to keep his mouth shut, which freed "Joan" to choose another victim — me. I chose to publicly reveal the entire episode in gory detail, on the ground that this kind of mental aberration can't stand exposure to sunlight. As a result, I get to hear from people like you, people who have difficulty constructing logical inferences from objective facts.
"There are any number of accounts of people jailed on the word of a frustrated, irrational woman, only to be freed years later after some test reveals that the original witness was lying." Shall I list my sources for this statement of fact, or will you type in your own Google query (1.3 million hits), to discover what I already have? The above is a statement of objective fact. There really are any number of accounts of female false accusers, just as there are any number of accounts of male rapists, but this objective fact about some men cannot be used to draw a false inference about all men. I have never done that, therefore you can't do it either. "Women who make vile false accusations expect their victims to retreat in silence, because (as shown in the infamous Duke University case) even a false accusation can cause tremendous damage. Joan's first victim gave her what she expected, which only encouraged Joan to choose another victim. But she chose her second target (that would be me) very badly — there is a small risk that a victim won't coöperate with the accuser's sociopathic game plan, will say the woman is lying and challenge her to substantiate her claims." That is clearly a statement about an individual and a small class of women and it is demonstrably true, therefore it is not evidence for your claim that I am falsely characterizing all women. "First, when a woman makes the kinds of claims Joan did, it's nice to have a fall-back position once people realize she is lying, and being mental is an excellent way to avoid responsibility. It worked for the accuser in the Duke University case, a woman who managed to destroy a bunch of lives, then was discovered to be lying but escaped punishment on the ground that she is mental." See above. These statements about individuals are not statements about an entire gender. There were more, but I think you get the idea. What is dramatically clear is that you did not "get the idea," and you need to learn certain principles of logic. Based on the foregoing, you think the statement "all B are A" can be justly rearranged as "all A are B." The statement that (virtually) "all MSP sufferers are women, and those women regularly make false sexual accusations" cannot logically be used to construct the statement "All women are MSP sufferers who make false sexual accusations", but you have tried to do just that — and even worse, you are trying to hold me responsible for your defective logic. Sorry — no sale.

Let's say I write an article about serial killers. I list some examples — Albert DeSalvo, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Charlie Manson ... then I pause. How shall I do this without being accused of disparaging men? So I acquire an objective list of serial killers:

List of Serial Killers/United States

A brief examination of this list shows that women are virtually never serial killers. It is an objective fact that most serial killers are men. To hide this fact is to mislead the public about a matter of public concern. But for someone to use my truthful narrative as a reason to accuse me of "having a real problem with men" as you put it above, is a facile diversion from an account the public might find useful.

That hypothetical but sadly common accusation has in common with yours the logical absurdity of taking "most serial killers are men" and mistranslating it as "most men are serial killers."
It seems to me that your perception of those exhibiting signs of Munchausen's by proxy has completely grown out of proportion. My perception? This is not about perception, this is about public records. Let's look at both issues — false accusations and MSP:
  • According to public records, between 20 and 40 percent of sexual accusations made by women are false:

    "... even a skeptic like me must credit a DNA exclusion rate of 20 percent that remained constant over several years when conducted by FBI labs. This is especially true when 20 percent more were found to be questionable. False accusations are not rare. They are common."

    — Wendy McElroy, editor of ifeminists.com and research fellow for
    The Independent Institute, as reported by Fox News.
  • As to the prevalence of MSP, I refer you to the official FBI report on this topic, which concludes that MSP is more common than had been believed a few years ago. Here is a quote:
    "The majority of people associated with MSBP are women. Often, investigators, along with friends, family, and neighbors, view these women as very caring and loving parents who try to do everything they can for children afflicted with devastating illnesses. Offenders usually exhibit knowledge of diseases and medical procedures beyond what most parents may know ... The satisfaction sought from misleading caregivers at the expense of their children is thought to be the sole reason for committing the abuse ... MSBP perpetrators convincingly fabricate and lie even when confronted with contrary information."
    This describes "Joan" to a T, and to leave out any part of the story would constitute intellectual dishonesty as well as rob the public of a useful narrative. But according to your complaint, I should leave out the first sentence — "The majority of people associated with MSBP are women" — and then systematically change all "women" to "people" in the body of the report. But that would be dishonest and misleading.

    Reading this official report, do you now think the FBI "has a real problem with women" to use your words, or are they accurately describing a dangerous mental condition that threatens the safety of children?
To assign "Joan's" characteristics to all women ... Stop. First you have to offer evidence that I have ever done this, anywhere. Evidence first, conclusion second. Not the other way around.

But since you feel comfortable making this accusation, will you now drop the other shoe and accuse the FBI as well? After all, according to the above quote, "The majority of people associated with MSBP are women." How dare the FBI accuse the majority of women of being MSP sufferers?
... is not only insulting to me personally, but it reduces the value of what would otherwise be a thoughtful and interesting essay. It is you who are assigning "Joan's" characteristics to all women, not me, and you have managed to insult yourself without any outside assistance. You have listed a number of my descriptions of an individual's behavior and tried to claim they constitute indictment of an entire gender. This is the feminist version of playing the race card. I have no way of knowing if you were like this ... Like what? Like the baroque oil painting that now decorates your imagination? Please think — if I really believed women were beyond reclamation, why would I write an article whose only purpose is to alert the public to a remediable problem that involves a minority of women? What would be the point? I have a revelation for you — it is men who witness behaviors like "Joan's" but do nothing, who stay silent, that "have a real problem with women." ... before your encounter with "Joan." I can't help but wonder if she did accomplish her goals, although maybe not in a way she would understand. By making you bitter against an entire gender, it seems to me she has drastically limited your worldview.
  1. You have yet to begin making your case that I am "bitter against an entire gender."

  2. Believe me when I tell you, Joan has only limited her own world view, and to some extent that of her son, not mine. My heroes are still women like Jane Goodall, Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosalind Franklin, Lisa Randall and Marie Curie. I think your list of heroes might differ from my own — my list tends toward technical and scientific accomplishment for personal and professional reasons.
Then again, perhaps you've always felt this way. If this is the case, I doubt a message from me is going to change your attitudes. You haven't made a case about my attitudes, you have only made a case about your own — in a public debate involving the safety of children, you think women should be beyond criticism.

Please remember that you are a moral agent (as we all are). Your behavior has consequences. As women are given the rights they deserve, as they become more comfortable with social authority and status, they will (and must) learn to avoid behaviors that will surely backfire against them. Ironically, this is exactly the lesson "Joan" needs to learn, and you need to learn it too.
I'd certainly appreciate some light on the matter, regardless. You have come to a number of unwarranted conclusions, coincidentally about someone who has defended women's rights for decades — someone who, among many other things, singlehandedly funded a desperately needed Planned Parenthood clinic in rural Oregon, and who received regular death threats as a result, from people who firebombed the offices of every doctor who tried to help him.

Think about the fact that if the genders in this story were reversed, no man would dream of accusing me of unfairly disparaging all men based on the story of one man or a small class of men.

And be honest — ask yourself whether you would make your accusation if the author of the article were a woman.

I don't know how to get through to you ... (long pause) ... okay — here is a slice of bread. It has two sides. On one side are women's rights, and it is about time. On the other side are women's responsibilities. Take it in your hand. Turn it over. Now realize that you cannot have only one side of the bread.

Enjoy your bread. It's yours, you've earned it ... both sides.

What Do You Have Against Women II

Nowhere did I say that you couldn't refer to "Joan" as a woman...I just objected to the times that you used "women" or "woman" in places where "people" or "person" could have sufficed without losing the clarity of your article. Yes, and my reply is that, because virtually all MSP sufferers are women and because virtually all false accusers are women, this requirement would undermine the value of the article. Imagine that older, more experienced women are obliged to warn young women, "Some people will try to rape you" without adding a crucial fact — those "people" are virtually always men.

In point of fact, women have no hesitation in saying the most rapists are men. The reason? It's an objective fact — most rapists really are men. But if I say that most false accusers are women, someone will certainly complain that I am saying most women are false accusers, as you have done.
I have no problem with you stating that most people with Munchausen's by proxy are women. I am also not saying that you need to go through and replace every instance where you pointed out someone's gender. It simply started to seem a little odd as I was reading your article and kept being told how my gender does this or that thing all the time.
  1. I have never made the claim that an entire gender does "this or that thing all the time," and you need to be more precise in your claims, particularly in a post that exhorts me to be more precise in mine.

  2. Now you know how men feel. How can you not realize this is how many women talk about men, without any hesitation or expectation that they will be called on the behavior, and without any sense of irony?
"I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as incompetent as some of the men who are already there." — Maureen Reagan
Do you know why I chose this particular quote? First, it makes a true statement — some men in office are incompetent — and second, Ms. Reagan uses the phrase "some men" to make her point, just as I have used "some women" to make mine. I await your complaint that I am unfairly characterizing all men with this quote, as you have done with the content of my article that never says or implies "all women".
I'm not necessarily trying to start a confrontation here, although I suppose I could have picked a better subject line than "What do you have against women?" You need to realize I would never respond to an article about sex crimes against women with the subject line, "What do you have against men?" But when the tables were turned you did this without hesitation, and the irony was completely lost on you. It really is possible to write an article about a woman with Munchausen's by proxy and state that women are more prone to this than men without sounding bitter. Again, evidence first, conclusion second. You have not presented any evidence to support your claim. I don't think it's too "PC" to take the time to clarify the sentences that are apparently (and yet in no way obviously) related only to women with Munchausen's by proxy.. What? The article isn't about women — it's about a particular woman, that woman's specific behavior, and how it relates to the behavior of a minority of women. The article is perfectly clear about this. There are no references to women in general, despite your valiant efforts to locate one.

As to the problem of discussing mental conditions unique to women, do you realize why "Recovered Memory Therapy" became a disaster? It started as a harmless fantasy in which some clients of clinical psychologists "remembered" nonexistent memories. But it quickly became a way for those particular individuals to retaliate against family members by whom they felt slighted — they started "remembering" that they had been raped by them.

In some cases, the accused were tried, convicted and jailed by sympathetic courts. Then most of the accusers realized they had been talked into their "memories," did the right thing, recanted their accusations, and the innocent were freed.

Prosecutors and courts now realize they were swept up in a psychological fad, sometimes in circumstances where the accusations were absurd (in one case, the accuser was a virgin at the time she made her accusation, something the prosecutor didn't bother to check before charging her father with rape).

As a result of this disaster, U.S. courts have ruled they will no longer consider cases in which "Recovered Memories" are the primary evidence. Now let me ask you — how do I tell this story without revealing that virtually all the accusers were women? This fact is clinically significant and the anecdote is robbed of its meaning if that information is excluded on grounds of political correctness.

The exact same scenario played out in the "Facilitated Communication" fiasco. In this practice, severely handicapped people were supposedly able to communicate with loved ones by way of a "facilitator," someone who helped the victim type out words and sentences at a keyboard. As public trust began to accumulate for the method, some facilitators exploited this trust by "facilitating" accusations of rape (by guiding the victim to type things that were actually in the mind of the "facilitator," not the victim). As before, after a number of very public false accusations and trials, this practice was exposed as a fraud, and again, it is not possible to tell this story in any clinically useful way without pointing out that the accusers were virtually all women.
I'm not asking that you add examples of how some women don't do things like this, nor am I asking you to point out statistics about men and rape. I simply believe that some of your wording could be a little more precise. My wording is very precise ("most false accusers are women") but this didn't stop you from drawing an absurd conclusion ("most women are false accusers"). I have never made a general statement about women, but you have valiantly tried to accuse me of making a general statement about women, with no evidence. This tells me it is you who needs to be more precise. Even if you do not have anything against women as a gender, your writing comes across in a way that says otherwise. As does a writer who only wants to protect women from rapists, most of whom are men. But such writers never hear the complaint, "what do you have against men?" If this were an article you were trying to get published, there's a chance an editor may question you about your potential bias. Yes, that's true, that would be very likely, but the same editor would have no concerns if the genders were reversed. The reason? As a general rule, men don't make ridiculous accusations of bias. Editors know this, so they publish virtually anything if it's only offensive to men, not women. Before you ask "where's your evidence?", a request to which you have every right, here it is:
"All men are rapists, and that's all they are." — Marilyn French, in "The Women's Room" (1977)
The book was published without hesitation and still sees brisk sales.
If this is not something that matters to you, then I suppose I have wasted my time. On the contrary, your intellectually bankrupt position is a matter of great scholarly interest. But the problem you have brought to my attention is yours — it bears no relation to my article or to me, and it objects to the free flow of ideas about matters of public concern.

You have objected on specious grounds to my accurate description of a particular woman and a small minority of women, and you have demanded that women be treated differently than men. Remember this when you are denied promotion based on your gender, or when you discover your paycheck is half the size it would be if only you could be treated the same as a man.

Too bad you aren't pretending to be a feminist. That would have been perfect.
I've had many conversations like this over the years. They follow this general pattern:
  • "You can't say that about women!"
  • "Can I say it about men?"
  • "Uhh ... sure, why not? Men are animals."
 

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