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NEW YORK TIMES: WHY ARE WHITE MEN SO PARANOID AND UNHAPPY WITH THE CULTURE?

ALSO NEW YORK TIMES: Requiem For White Men. And yet even this sorry Maureen Dowd piece winds up being nostalgic for what’s lost: “He reflects many of the values that America once proudly stood for: toughness without belligerence, charm without smarminess, loyalty without question. He is masculine yet chivalrous.”

All the stuff that the Dowds of the world wanted to extinguish — because, you know, chivalry was a system, one that demanded certain behaviors of women as well as men. And demanding behaviors of women might limit their options, or hurt their self esteem, or make them regret their life choices, all things that are not allowed.

THOUGHTS ON CHIVALRY AND CIVILITY. “It is pure madness and entitlement to expect to receive the deferential treatment expected under chivalry or civility when you openly mock the obligations for you to return the favor.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Professor says she plays “chicken” with men while walking to empower women. “The idea of patriarchy chicken is as follows: by refusing to move out of the way to avoid collision with men going in the opposite direction, women are somehow empowering themselves.”

It might be more aptly renamed “presuming on chivalry.” But then, “feminists” do that a lot.

MORE FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Dave Hardy’s Dred Scott: The Inside Story. I read it last night and it reads like a mystery thriller. No, seriously, there are lots of longstanding questions about the Dred Scott case, and Hardy has dug up some answers.

Plus, I love this vignette about John Sanford’s brother in law, an anti-slavery member of Congress named Dr. Calvin Chaffee.

It related one incident by Rep. Preston Brooks, who had severely beaten Sen. Charles Sumner with a cane on the Senate floor. Brooks, drunk, told Chafee, “I thrashed one Massachusetts man today, and I’d like to thrash another.”

Chaffee responded by buying a revolver, the story continued, adding that Rep. Aiken of South Carolina saw Chaffee slide the revolver out of his pocket and into his desk on the House floor. Startled, Aiken asked if Chaffee was ready to use it and Chaffee responded, “If any of your chivalry irritate me, I shall certainly use this revolver.” [The report concluded] “After that, Dr. Chaffee’s southern friends were not only civil but cordial.”

As a man who might have been in Congress said in the following century, you get more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone. And they made Massachusetts men of stouter stuff back in those days, apparently.

I also like Hardy’s description of Scott’s attorney, Roswell Field: “He seems to have been the type of attorney that appellate lawyers dread: An idealist. A fellow that believes that if an impartial view of the law favors his side, he must inevitably win.” Hardy, no slouch of an attorney himself, knows whereof he speaks.

THE RISE OF THE UNCHIVALROUS CHRISTIAN. “From the very beginning chivalry’s teaching on men and women was a parody of Christianity.”

OUT: RAPE CULTURE. IN: CASTRATION CULTURE: Feminist Pours Bleach On Over 60 Men’s Crotches To Fight ‘Manspreading.’ That’s a chemical assault, and I’m surprised no one punched her. Ironically, her abusive behavior is protected by chivalry.

Related: Jimmy Kimmel Suggests Cutting Brett Kavanaugh’s Penis Off If He’s Confirmed.

HEATHER MAC DONALD: Drive to destroy Kavanaugh is the worst of feminism.

The most salient fact about this alleged episode will never register on elite consciousness: the sexual free-for-all environment, which may or may not have given rise to an assault by Kavanaugh. The sexual revolution declared that the traditional restraints on the male libido — norms of male chivalry and gentlemanliness and of female modesty and prudence — were patriarchal and oppressive. Men should stop protecting women and putting them on a pedestal. Males and females were assumed to desire easy sex with equal fervor, and to be able to walk away from a one-night stand with equal complacency.

With regard to students, adults should remain nonjudgmental and as far out of the picture as possible. Chaperones were relegated to the relic pile, as fusty as a mothballed corset. Starting in the 1970s, affluent parents often absented themselves from their teenagers’ parties, leaving the house liquor cabinet unattended. Popular culture became hyper-sexualized.

The results were not pretty: the male libido, free to act as boorishly as it wanted; females getting drunk to reduce their innate sexual inhibitions, unprotected by any default assumptions against casual premarital sex. Whether a 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh took advantage of this putative sexual liberation, many other teenagers have, and in so doing, merely followed the new script for sexual relations.

Those derided Victorian values of chivalric paternalism are now being reimported covertly on college campuses, however, where male students are deemed responsible for female well-being during drunken hook-ups, even if the male and female student are both equally inebriated.

The old system restrained both men and women, but the developing system places all the responsibilities on men — because apparently third-wave feminists must be protected like children.

HEADLINES FROM 1488. Male Feminist Declares: ‘End Chivalry Now.’

(Classical reference in headline.)

SUZANNE VENKER: Chivalry Is Dead Because Women Killed It.

Well, yes. Chivalry was a system, which imposed responsibilities on both men and women. Women didn’t want the responsibilities it imposed and, after a while, neither did men.

50 YEARS OF WAGING WAR AGAINST THE VERY IDEA, AND NOW. . . . America Needs More Gentlemen:

All the stories we’ve read the past few months about predators—not those accused of rape and sexual assault, which are crimes, but of general piggishness, grabbiness, manipulation and power games—have a common thread. The men involved were not gentlemen. They acted as if they’d never heard of the concept.

We have lost track of it. In the past 40 years, in the movement for full equality, we threw it over the side. But we should rescue that old and helpful way of being. The whole culture, especially women, needs The Gentleman back.

A person of the cultural left would say that is a hopelessly patriarchal thing to say. But one thing the #MeToo movement illustrates is that women are often at particular risk in the world, and need friends and allies to stand with them. That would be men. And the most reliable of them are gentlemen. . . .

David Gandy, a fashion model, wrote a few years ago in London’s Telegraph that his work had taught him “being a gentleman isn’t about what you do or what you wear, it’s about how you behave and who you are.” A gentleman “holds chivalry and politeness in great regard. He holds the door for people; he gives up his seat; he takes off his coat to a lady on a cold evening.” These are old-fashioned actions, but a gentleman still holds to them “even though the world has changed.”

Yes, a gentleman does.

A man once told me it’s hard to be a gentleman when fewer of the women around you seem interested in being ladies. But that’s when you should step up your gentleman game. We are all here to teach and inspire.

I know I keep saying this, but the thing about chivalry is, it’s a system. It’s not just a bunch of rules for men that are designed to benefit women. It’s an entire social approach that lays expectations on women too. Overthrowing those very expectations was at the core of the feminist project. And now the response to the consequences thereof is that . . . men should try harder?

To be fair, that’s the response to pretty much all gender issues these days. Which is also part of the problem.

PEGGY NOONAN: America Needs More Gentlemen.

Here is why we’re discussing this. All the stories we’ve read the past few months about predators—not those accused of rape and sexual assault, which are crimes, but of general piggishness, grabbiness, manipulation and power games—have a common thread. The men involved were not gentlemen. They acted as if they’d never heard of the concept.

We have lost track of it. In the past 40 years, in the movement for full equality, we threw it over the side. But we should rescue that old and helpful way of being. The whole culture, especially women, needs The Gentleman back.

A person of the cultural left would say that is a hopelessly patriarchal thing to say. But one thing the #MeToo movement illustrates is that women are often at particular risk in the world, and need friends and allies to stand with them. That would be men. And the most reliable of them are gentlemen.

There are a million definitions of what a gentleman is, and some begin with references to being born to a particular standing. But in America any man could be one who had the guts to withstand the demands.

The dictionary says a gentleman is a chivalrous, courteous, honorable man.

As Glenn wrote a few years ago, “chivalry was a system, which imposed numerous obligations on women, as well as on men. It is, I think, impossible to critique what has happened to notions of masculinity, without thinking about what has happened to notions of femininity in our culture. But that could lead to dangerous heresies.”

And get you banned from Britain’s Channel 4 TV.

WELL, IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’RE A GATEWAY DRUG TO PATRIOTISM, CHIVALRY, AND CLASSIC NOVELS, OR ANYTHING: Millennials don’t really care about classic movies.

That explains why landmark films are being banned because of their problematics, which is why the reels that contain Gone with the Wind are now currently smoldering in the Memory Hole. In Casablanca, Ingrid Bergman’s character once refers Dooley Wilson’s Sam as being Rick’s “boy.” Time to ban that one as well, despite the counterculture falling in love with Rick’s coolness in the 1960s?

Found via Kathy Shaidle, who writes, “This is literally the cause of all our problems…I’m not being sarcastic. You can learn almost everything about life from movies,” adding, “You will learn, for example, that you are not the first generation to have Problem X or ‘Solution’ Y.”

Creationists believe that life on earth began 5,000 years ago. Millenials seem to think it started with the Beatles. Or maybe Star Wars.

SORRY, I THINK YOU SPELLED “TOXIC MASCULINITY” WRONG: Hurricane Harvey photo proves chivalry is alive and well in America. But, snark aside, it seems downright transgressive for a major newspaper to publish something like this today:

The reality is that our culture is hungry for chivalry. But chivalry demands as a starting point an understanding that women are deserving of it. And that requires acknowledging that women are different. It requires a celebration of their differences, particularly those that enable them to bring the next generation of life into the world.

The AP photo is important. In it, the man and woman each do something the other cannot. They are co-equal contributors who in their own way have given of themselves so that someone more vulnerable might live. And all of this points towards what’s at the center of the photo, a child. Men and women are different, and we help each other be our best selves by helping direct our focus towards those who are more vulnerable.

It’s just one picture, and yet it’s so much more. It’s the inarguable reminder when things get real, and get real fast, we men and women are very much not the same. And yet we love it. We love it, because when men and women work together, unthreatened by those differences, it is a beautiful sight to behold.

People have been fired from Google for less.

CHIVALRY WAS A BALANCED SYSTEM, SO YES: Has Feminism Killed Chivalry?

MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Why Do Feminists Cook Up Stories About ‘Misogyny’ When They Lose Debates? To garner sympathy and attention, of course. I’ve often found that when lefties complain about all the “abuse” they’ve received on Twitter, an examination of the actual tweets reveals nothing more than simple disagreement.

UPDATE: From the comments:

Why Do Feminists Cook Up Stories About Misogyny When They Lose Debates?

Because feminism, in its current incarnation, rests massively on a presumption of male chivalry.

A strong, independent, woman doesn’t need to be “paid as much as a man”. If she’s unhappy with her pay, she’ll go out and find another employer who’ll pay her what she’s worth.

A strong, independent, woman doesn’t care what some idiot on the internet says about her. She knows her own worth as a human being and can judge the world and what people say accordingly.

A strong, independent, woman doesn’t need to have her sexuality mired in victimhood. She owns her sexuality and, if she makes mistakes, owns those as well.

Modern feminism, in contrast, relies almost entirely on the notion of women as children, without intellectual or moral agency. If something makes them unhappy, Daddy (or his surrogate) has got to come and make a woman’s boo-boos all better.

Chivalry.

MEN WHO DON’T PAY: “Though the men described above had been educated at the nation’s top universities or were professionals who worked at respectable institutions, none had any qualms about behaving without chivalry, courtesy or decency. The reason? Their attitudes are widely shared by their contemporaries across the country.” Chivalry, as I never tire of pointing out, was a system, one that imposed obligations upon women as well as men. When women kicked over the traces, why should men have remained in harness?

SABRINA SCHAEFFER: Chivalry Is Dead, Long Live Feminism.

THAT CATCALLING VIDEO: It’s a racist production about white women not wanting attention from black and Latino men. “The video also unintentionally makes another point, that harassers are mostly black and Latino, and hanging out on the streets in midday in clothes that suggest they are not on their lunch break. As Roxane Gay tweeted, ‘The racial politics of the video are fucked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?'”

Maybe she did.

UPDATE: Catcalls And The Death Of Chivalry.

After a brief search on social media, the video was being shared by several flamboyantly contrite men and enraged women. “Wow! I guess men still don’t get it.” “Men are disgusting animals.” “All you men should be ashamed of yourselves.”

I didn’t have the slightest shame watching the video, nor should any male with whom I associate. We don’t catcall. Of course some guys are boors as are some women. I don’t need a video to prove that human nature is a thing.

In the young woman’s 10-hour stroll through New York City, the video shows 20 incidents of harassment (two per hour), while text at the conclusion alleges more than 100. Some of the behavior is downright creepy while much isn’t disturbing at all.

Apologies to the video editor, but “how you doing today,” “how are you this morning,” and “have a nice evening” hardly count as harassment. If they do, I’m violated by polite tourists, panhandlers, and assertive shopkeepers every time I stroll along a busy city street.

All gentlemen agree that catcalling is a bad thing. In fact patriarchal Victorians were so disgusted by such rudeness, they enforced an elaborate public morality that elevated women with a higher level of respect. Thank goodness feminism and secularism drove a stake through chivalry’s heart.

Chivalry was a system, which imposed behavioral obligations on both women and men. Women found those obligations too onerous, but still expect men to shoulder them.

And let’s be honest. What makes these catcalls offensive isn’t that they come from men. It’s that they come from low-status men. Like an unconsented kiss from President Obama, if the catcalls came from George Clooney there’d be much less female outrage.

In fact, maybe these catcalls are a way of striking back at privilege. Any grievance-studies major should be able to flesh out this line of thought . . . .

WHAT WOMEN WANT:

Democrats are running against monsters. They are running to protect American women from the hostile, patriarchal, domineering men of the Republican Party. (Chivalry is not dead!) In the Democrats’ ghoulish caricature, Republicans are not just wrong on the issues that women care about, but are barely above criminals. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, used rhetoric only slightly more florid than the Democratic norm when she said of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, “What Republican Tea Party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.”

Republicans who think they can avoid women’s issues, or blunt their power by talk of entrepreneurship or free markets, are rewarding the Democrats’ tactics. Silence gives consent. Moreover, they are conveying their fear that the Democrats’ interpretation of women’s wants is correct. They may even believe it more sincerely than Democrats themselves.

They should try looking at the polls.

I’M SORRY, BUT IF YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO IMPOSE BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS ON WOMEN, it makes no sense to defend chivalry. Chivalry was a system, in which the male behavior the writer favors was embedded. Demolishing the system and expecting the male behavior to remain is like knocking down the walls and expecting the roof to stay up.

CHIVALRY, IT TURNS OUT, isn’t entirely dead.

GENERALLY SPEAKING, THE LEFT IS ANDROPHOBIC: Ross Douthat on The Left and Masculinity. “They look at the state of sex and gender, masculinity and femininity, and see an uncomplicatedly progressive social revolution that just hasn’t fully succeeded yet — that hasn’t brought men, especially, into the sunlit uplands of egalitarian enlightenment — because far too many ‘traditional’ concepts and constraints still perdure. I see a social revolution that has brought good and bad, intermixed, and whose supporters could profit from the realization that some of the human goods they seek are actually more clearly visible behind us, somewhere back in a cultural past they still insist they’re fighting to overthrow, whose actual details the darkness of forgetting has almost swallowed up.”

And in passing, I’ll just note again that chivalry was a system, which imposed numerous obligations on women, as well as on men. It is, I think, impossible to critique what has happened to notions of masculinity, without thinking about what has happened to notions of femininity in our culture. But that could lead to dangerous heresies.

WOMAN LAMENTS LACK OF CHIVALRY:

Has anyone ever helped pop my bag up into the overhead compartment? Nope. Have I seen any other woman helped? Nope.

This week, an engineer in his 50s just stood there in the aisle, his hands clasped, as I played Olympic weight-lifting with my suitcase right in front of him. Just stood there, looking intently at the sticky carpet. Probably afraid to chip a nail or something.

Has the women’s liberation movement really scared the bejesus out of men this much?

When did it become chivalrous to steadfastly look away and not bother to help?

If a 6am flight is anything to go by, you’d think the concept of a gentleman was well and truly dead.

I promise you, I won’t get angry or defensive or give you attitude, I’ll in fact be super-grateful and flash you an extra-big smile despite the lack of sleep.

Chivalry was a system, which imposed behavioral obligations on women as well as on men. Women were happy to cast their obligations off, yet seem perennially surprised that men haven’t stayed exactly the same.

SARAH HOYT: When Men Hoist The Pirate Flag. “It all comes down to men hunted and women gathered. . . . Chivalry and the code thereof was the laying down of those good reproductive (and civilizational) rules that make for a functioning society that passes on its values to its young: men who put their strength at the service of the weaker; women who praised them and admired them for it; and children who were raised to do the same. Tearing it down might seem like freedom, but you can’t remove the walls and wish the roof would remain standing.”

IN RESPONSE TO THIS PIECE ON BEING A GENTLEMAN, let me reiterate: Chivalry was a system, in which obligations fell on women as well as men. If you wish for men to behave as they did in past times, you may have to live with women behaving as they did in past times, too. In the age of Miley Cyrus and Sandra Fluke, that doesn’t seem especially likely.

CHIVALRY: A VIRTUE WE SHOULD ALL ASPIRE TO? At the risk of being tiresome, let me repeat: Chivalry was a system, and one that made demands on women every bit as much as on men.

WHEN WOMEN COMPLAIN ABOUT THE DISAPPEARANCE OF CHIVALRY, I’m prone to point out that chivalry was a system, one that imposed obligations of behavior on women and girls as well as on men. Likewise, when David Brooks complains that Edward Snowden is an unmediated man, I must note that in the civil society Brooks invokes, Presidents and other leaders were also mediated; they were not merely checked by Congress, courts, etc., but they were also checked by themselves, and a sense of what was proper that went beyond “how much can I get away with now?” Obama, too, is unmediated in that sense. That Brooks couldn’t see beyond his sharply-creased pants to notice that when it was apparent to keen observers even before the 2008 election is not to his credit. If the system of civil society has failed, it is in no small part because its guardians — notably including Brooks — have also failed.

RICH HAILEY: I’m A White Knight. Is That So Bad?

As I’ve noted before, chivalry was part of a system, in which expectations were imposed on women and girls, as well as boys and men.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Do Men Just Want To Get In My Pants? Is Chivalry Really Dead? Answered by a “Certified ‘Rules’ Relationship Coach.”

THE DEATH OF CHIVALRY. Chivalry was a system that imposed expectations on women as well as men. If women are uninterested in meeting those expectations, men certainly shouldn’t feel bound.

21ST CENTURY MOTHERING: I Don’t Want My Preschooler to Be a ‘Gentleman.’ “Start to complain about your preschooler adopting gentlemanly behavior and you quickly discover how out of step you are with the rest of the world. Almost everyone I mention it to thinks it’s lovely and sweet. What’s the harm in teaching little boys to respect little girls?”

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Notice that the author, the teacher, and the female commentators, don’t expect the little girls to do anything in return. And we get the pay myth right away. Her objection isn’t her son is being taken advantage of but it’s not feminist doctrine. I’d suggest therapy but that’s probably part of the problem.

We are doomed as a civilization….

Well, in for a rough patch, anyway. But yes. Chivalry was part of a system, in which expectations were imposed on women and girls, as well as boys and men.

JENNY ERIKSON is okay with this chivalry stuff.

EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH: Let’s Give Chivalry Another Chance. Just remember, chivalry was a system, which imposed behavioral expectations on women as well as men.

CHIVALRY: Three Men Died Taking Bullets For Girlfriends in Aurora Theater Shooting.

UPDATE: “That is, out of 12 individuals who died, 3 were men instinctively performing the traditional, masculine protective role.”

Plus, from the comments: “If Obama’s Julia were in the theater, who would have dove in front of her? A bureaucrat from the Social Security Administration or perhaps someone from Planned Parenthood?”

I DON’T KNOW, WHAT EXACTLY ARE MEN ENTITLED TO EXPECT FROM WOMEN THESE DAYS? Do Women Have The Right To Expect Chivalry From Men?

Chivalry, after all, was a system that involved expected behavior from women, too.

IS CHIVALRY DEAD? Male and Female Perspectives. My observation is that chivalry can exist only when embedded in a larger social structure that supports it in various ways. Abolish that structure — as has been done quite deliberately — and chivalry is unlikely to survive.

DUDE, WHERE’S MY LIFEBOAT? In the Italian cruise-ship disaster, another death knell for the age of chivalry. Well, that was just a bunch of dead-white-male stuff anyway. But, you know, you can’t expect chivalrous behavior from men if you don’t expect its counterpart from women.

ANN ALTHOUSE: Local journalist Bill Wineke demagogues the Wisconsin Supreme Court story… and slimes me. “What I want, and what I think good feminists should want, is to be treated as an equal in a sane workplace, where nobody gets in anybody’s face, and nobody thinks they can taunt or threaten or hit — or choke! — anybody. Ironically, Wineke is spouting sexism. If men and women are really governed by such different standards, that would be sex discrimination. And on the whole, it would hurt the advancement of women in the workplace. We are not fragile flowers in need of old-school chivalry. If we were, it would justify discrimination.”

UPDATE: More details arise in Wisconsin’s “Chokegate.” Justice Abrahamson isn’t coming off too well. But then, who is?

Really, if I had tried to come up with a plan to undermine the institutional authority of the judiciary I don’t think I could have done better than the Wisconsin Supreme Court has managed to do. And, apparently, Shirley Abrahamson has played a starring role.

SPIDER SEX MOVES are very intense. And don’t you think the spideress — drugged in the video — makes a strong — implicit! — argument for female passivity? (That’s the conversation I’m starting over on my blog this morning.)

JANELLE HARRIS: Chivalry Is Dead, And You Killed It, Ladies.

UPDATE: Reader Donald Gately writes:

Ms. Harris has it completely backwards: chivalry isn’t dead because women stopped demanding it – it is dead because women (or at least the feminists they let speak for them from the late 1960s on) decried chivalry as being sexist and unacceptable, even to the point of being discriminatory in the legal sense.

I especially like how she tries to signal that she’s not one of those horrible conservatives by casually bashing GWB at the start of paragraph four.

Bush always struck me as being a gentleman in spite of the horrid treatment he received, whereas I imagine that the only place Obama has ever held the door open for a woman is at an abortion clinic.

Ouch.

ROSS DOUTHAT IS rethinking the sexual revolution.

UPDATE: Related thoughts from Mr. Chivalry himself.

LATEST ZERO TOLERANCE IDIOCY: A Virginia middle school student has been suspended for . . . opening the door for a woman whose hands were full. Really, why not just abolish public education, if this is what it has come to?

UPDATE: Reader Christopher Bell writes:

I was struck by the juxtaposition within a few of your posts highlighting ridiculous ‘zero tolerance’ policies where no sense seems evident and prison rape where officialdom is quite content to look the other way. My less optimistic friends would suggest this is a sure sign of a society in self-obsessed decline, but could it be that it’s just driven by a growing bureaucratic class used to operating in the dark with an unearned benefit of the doubt from too many citizens busy trying to get by?

Following the Porkbusters model, we need not just an Army of Davids, but Armies of Davids to tackle more and more of these issues and expose more of this to light.

Yes, we need a zero-tolerance approach to bureaucratic idiocy and self-dealing.

JESSICA WAKEMAN learns to appreciate chivalry. “Just like I have a hard time reconciling my feminist beliefs with my desire to be with a more dominant, alpha male, I also have a hard time reconciling my feminist beliefs with my enjoyment of chivalry. I am now figuring out that the two are not mutually exclusive.”

DANA LOESCH: Newsweek is acting like a jealous sorority girl.”

CHIVALRY IN THE 21ST CENTURY: CNN Analyst Jeffrey Toobin Graciously Offered to Pay for Mistress’ Abortion. Well, her body, her choice, right?

I LINKED TO THIS JEFF JARVIS POST EARLIER, but here’s an interesting bit from the comments:

I’m transsexual, and jumped the fence from male to female about six or seven years ago; so I’ve seen this one from both sides.

One of the biggest joys (“comforts” might be a better word) of my new female status is that I no longer am the recipient of all the subliminal hostility. Which wasn’t all that subliminal, if you get right down to it.

As a man walks down the street, pretty much everybody is evaluating him for potential danger. It’s mild, but pervasive. I hear young black men have it even worse; but even middle-age white men get it.

I find it much more peaceful over here on the women’s side. Your mileage may vary.

Enough people have made this jump that it would be possible to interview a meaningful number and see what could be learned. Has anybody done that?

UPDATE: No, this doesn’t count.

ANOTHER UPDATE: But this email from transsexual reader Laura Riccio does:

In response to your wondering about the experiences of transsexuals and the treatment we’ve experienced living as each sex, I thought I’d quickly share some of mine. In essence, it’s a very mixed bag either way. By way of background, I’m 30 years old, a health insurance actuary, politically centrist with strong libertarian sympathies, and thoroughly bourgeoise. I changed sexes, from male to female, five years ago, and live in San Francisco. Of course, I’m excluding the approximately two years in which I was obviously a transsexual and was treated as such from my comments below, which reflect only my subjective experience.

On the “men have it worse” side:

– I agree with the commenter of Jarvis’s. Since I’ve changed, I seem to represent much less of a potential threat to people, both male and female, and people trust me more easily. The air of suspicion really was not noticeable until it was gone, as is the case for many of these issues.

– People are generally nicer and more considerate of me now, and seem to be much more sparing of my feelings, even to the point of telling obvious lies. This is in addition to the obvious typical male chivalry things like opening doors and the like, which, I’m happy to report, is still quite common even in San Francisco. People will actually go out of their way to be gratuitously kind, which was certainly not the case beforehand.

– People are far, far less likely to accuse, or (as far as I can tell) believe in actual wrongdoing or malfeasance on my part now. The flip side of this, as a I mention below, is a strongly increased tendency to assume that I’m incompetent.

On the “women have it worse” side:

– As I said above, people’s apparent estimation of my intelligence has dropped significantly, despite the fact that I’m quite certain the quality and coherence of my thoughts (not to mention my professional qualifications!) have improved greatly since transition. This isn’t total and complete; if I have an absolute knock-down argument, people will eventually believe it, but only after much expenditure of effort on my part. If I *don’t* have a knock-down argument, people are far less likely to trust my intelligence and judgement than they had been. This tendency is rather uneven; I’ve noticed it most strongly in older people (over, say, 50), and in certain religious groups (the usual suspects:
conservative Christians and Muslims of all stripes).

– While normal citizens now view me as less of a threat, and therefore as a better person, it is true that criminals now also view me as less of a threat, and consequently, as a better target. I’ve managed to stay out of trouble in this regard, but it’s much more of a concern these days.

– When I am genuinely angry or upset about something, or even when I disagree with a colleague on a factual or logical point, there is a far greater tendency among the general populace to attribute it to some one-off hormonal effect, or to it being “that time of the month.” Since, as a transsexual, I do not menstruate, I find this latter belief extremely amusing, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Overall, I’m much (much!) happier as a woman, but I think that has little to nothing do with a fundamental societal preference for one over the other and everything to do with the fact that I’m a male-to-female transsexual. I can’t really say that either men or women have an overwhelming advantage in societal treatment these days, at least not that I’ve noticed.

So there you are. Very interesting stuff, at least to me.