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Thursday, 23 October 2014

New Darwinian Gender Studies/ Paula Wright blog launched

Hi, I have a new Wordpress blog. Please pop over and have a look, let me know what you think!

The first post is a unique perspective on the #GamerGate controversy.

"#GamerGate: The Players and the Played"

I will be continuing the theme of "The Fight for Feminism" in future posts.

Thank you for all your support.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Jennifer Lawrence and the Fight Against Everyday Cynicism

Poor Jennifer

No, I'm not being sarcastic.

Another day, another sex scandal. It would be easy to react with the same ennui as the Kardashian and Hilton cases. It would be easy to be cynical. But in an age where some women can make fortunes from leaked, explicit erotica it does not follow that women who don't should be expected to tolerate such a gross violation of privacy. Jennifer Lawrence is not some reality show attention-whore. She is celebrated and respected worldwide for her talent, wit, charisma and beauty. She is at the top of her game. She chooses her work carefully. She is rich beyond most people's wildest dreams. She has nothing to gain from this.

Yet cynicism prevails. The provided us with a snapshot of the commentary from cynics to moralists, to feminists, to sexual purists, to feminist sexual purists. Ricky Gervais, a man similarly admired internationally for his talent, wit and charisma appeared to lead the cry of the cynics with a tweet that was subsequently thought better of and deleted. But, as happens in this day and age, someone was watching and waiting for him to slip up. A screen cap was made and the tweet redistributed for public consumption. The gaping maw is ever hungry. 

Many cynics have asserted that this leak was manufactured. I have seen two of the photos. Lawrence is beautiful in them but also desperately exposed and vulnerable. A young woman in an intimate encounter with a trusted, chosen partner. They are sacred moments. That emotional exposure is itself is a devastating violation separate from the physical.

But what of Lawrence? I feel a lot of compassion and sympathy for her. I'm a researcher in human sexuality. I have to keep an open mind, so I'm an egalitarian not a feminist. I find feminist theory lacking in nuance and complexity, too dependent on archaic, unfalsifiable hypotheses, too narrow minded and, yes, cynical, to offer any useful insights into human sexuality. I am fascinated by both male and female sexuality and my research has shown me that one sex cannot be understood in isolation from the other. Picking a side doesn't appeal to me.

As a researcher, I am aware of the body of scientific work built up over the last 100 years on the similarities and differences between male and female psychosexuality. Similarities and differences which remain robust even after individual differences and a myriad of gender identities are accounted for. How will Lawrence be feeling? Based on this knowledge and the law of averages, I will take an educated guess and say she will be devastated and very likely in acute distress. She will need to adapt to this distress, but it will be difficult. This isn't an age where deals are made, money exchanges hands, photos ripped up and negatives destroyed. Oh, for such innocent times!

And what of radical feminists and their use of Lawrence's humiliation as grist to the mill in their frenzied war on male heterosexuality? I do not agree that this event is akin to digital, ahem, rape or that men who look at these photographs are misogynists, as they assert. The thief, or thieves, who did this, may be. But your common or garden male who simply looks? No. They are just men. Male sexuality is not inherently bad – it's just different from female sexuality. What healthy heterosexual man would not want to see Jennifer Lawrence naked? They can also recognise the violation and choose not to look or share. But looking does not make them haters of women.

When news of this broke, the first thing I saw was the feminist hyperbole. I almost let my weariness of radical feminist caterwauling take me down the path of the cynics. But I caught myself in the moment and saw this or the act of theft and the gross violation of privacy that it was. Thankfully, Lawrence's career will not be destroyed by this as it would have been a few decades ago. We have many things to thank for this, not just 1st and 2nd wave feminism – before the radical takeover anyway, which has been good for nothing. That is a sign of huge progress. Don't let the radical feminists drag you down. As for Lawrence, I hope people will offer her their sympathy and compassion, not their cynicism.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Unradical Feminism: An Old Sexual Manifesto (R/P)

Orwellian Feminism                       copyright Paula Wright 
One might be forgiven for thinking the recent rumblings of feminist agitation within the pages of The Guardian signified a progression of some sort. In Moral panic? No. We are resisting the pornification of women, Gail Dines and Julia Long take up arms against the old foe of the 'pornification of culture'. They repeat scripts written by feminists of decades past, “(P)ornification...perpetuate(s) myths of women's unconditional sexual availability and object status, and thus undermine women's rights to sexual autonomy, physical safety and economic and social equality.” This asserted in spite of the fact that women in the West enjoy unparalleled levels of sexual autonomy, control over their fertility, physical safety and economic and social equality. A similar campaign has been hosted on the pages of The Guardian before. That too ended with a live Guardian debate. That one, like this one, was basically a book promotion dressed up as feminist activism. Lets take a step back in time...

'Woman' is not my slave name. (R/P)

Anne Snitow, Gender Diary in Conflicts in Feminism By Marianne Hirsch

I agreed with Naomi McAuliffe in her worry that feminism is doing itself no favours with its choice of high profile campaigns this year in Is the Muff March a cunning stunt? (For more on cunning stunts masquerading as feminism see this blog post) Where we differed was with the principle behind the march; in this case “the very real issue of cosmetic genital surgery.”

A real issue? I understand the personal is supposed to be political, but this is just a bit too personal. It may be the statistical case that “Labiaplasty, vaginal tightening, and hymen reconstruction are all on the increase”, but if women are choosing to do these things with their own highly evolved brains, where is the issue? The (apparently) oppressed women inside the Harley Street clinics were not privileged a voice to enlighten us. If they had, a curt, 'Get stuffed and mind your own muff business', might have been the response.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Darwinian Gender Studies Stand up at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013

I'm performing my comedy set about how gender feminism has sorely abused the humble breast at the Bright Club preview show on July 31st at the Edinburgh Fringe, Assembly Rooms. Get tickets here!

Monday, 22 April 2013

My Stand-Up Debut!

Looking forward to my first stand-up gig at #brightclub #newcastle tomorrow where I will talk about how orthodox feminism has sorely abused the humble breast!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

'Woman' Is Not My Slave Name - The Musical!

Taking aim for the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe, 'Woman' Is NOT My Slave Name is a show combining music, comedy, drama, social science, bad feminism and Darwinian gender studies.

It's the battle of the sexes laid bare.

Ladies and gentleman, we are at phwoarrr!

Monday, 25 June 2012

50 Shades of Human Sexuality?

Trying to unpick the arguments here but am struck (is it just my imagination?) by the conflation of 'men' and 'rapist' referent. At face value, the man she describes in this passage is very likely a sociopath, but she seems to be saying that this is a trait of masculinity itself - I think.

There is an unequivical grey area with rape which is absent from other crimes. For one, a person does not generally meet someone, feel an attraction, then proceed to share out the contents of their wallets with that person - change their mind - and then get mugged. In other words, in no other crime does the victim climb into bed with the attacker (as with aqualintance rape, the most common rape in the West). Right there is the 'grey area'. It isn't a grey area when a sociopath targets a victim; it is when humans misread signs.

It also occurs to me in her discussion of social signals and misreading of signs that women also misread the signs these men are giving out. Why else would they put themselves into such vulnerable positions with men, if they did not trust them? It would be nice to discount the grey area in rape, but in human terms, it simply is not possible. Also the statistics used in the piece aren't sourced and are not reliable.

We also need to take the title with a pinch of salt as when cases come to court (in the UK at least) jury's convict over 50% of the time. I really have no idea why many feminists don't want to publicise this as it would be very likely to increase incidence of reporting.

Comments most welcome!

The Stern Report

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

EP Ahoy!

This was a response to a recent study which seemed to suggest that the chivalry of 'women and children first' as reported on the Titanic was exceptional, rather than the general rule. The concept will be familiar to EP'ers.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

New cartoons!

Very proud to reveal five new cartoons which will be in the next edition of Baumeister and Bushman's Social Psychology and Human Nature published by Cengage. Big thanks to Roy, Brad and Jeremy at Cengage. Cartoons are copyright Cengage Learning.
'Bystander Effect'
'Cake Versus Pi' - illustrating high/low thinking which is a concept Roy discusses in his recent bestseller 'Willpower'
'Panda Love' illustrating error management theory and the tendency for men to mistake friendliness for sexual interest.
'Savannah Stereotypes'

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Dissent of Women - Robert Wright

"What feminists can learn from Darwinism." A rather mischeviously titled paper by Robert Wright (no relation) in the fab EP resource from Demos - Matters of Life and Death: The world view from evolutionary psychology. Page 51.  And a pretty routine feminist response to this paper by Lynne Segal here