Women Having Sex vs. Serial Killers, Redux.

Loyal readers will recall my recent post entitled Women having sex are like serial killers. It’s true!, in which I regaled Palace fans with the amusing tale of some dumbass wingnut with a blog who analogized women and other peoples’ long and continuing struggle to redefine sexual morality as egalitarian and consent-based as the same, in principle, as letting serial killers define morality for themselves.  To recap, here is the blogger’s brief take on Irin Carmon’s piece in Salon:

Irin Carmon says we get to just make up whatever moral rules please us:

“The Rush Limbaughs of the world don’t get to define the boundaries of appropriate sexual or moral behavior. But something is happening: Women are defining those boundaries for themselves, with many men alongside them, and they’re being reminded that there’s a concerted movement to take that right of self-definition away. And we’re mad.”

Hey, and let’s have serial killers define their own morality for themselves as well. It’s hard to see how Carmon could object to that, except to say it doesn’t fit her definition.

I submitted a comment in reply, which went straight to moderation:

Oh, absolutely. Women and other enlightened peoples’ long and continuing struggle to redefine sexual morality in terms of enthusiastic consent is exactly like letting serial killers define morality for themselves.

Sad to see so many tragic cases of Conservative Personality Disorder making asses of themselves on the internet, but what can you do? Oh wait! I remember: I can laugh my ass off!

HILARIOUS.

I am excited to announce that the Internet gods of entertainment have interceded our behalf, and caused my comment to not only pass moderation, but to elicit a reply of sorts from the very blogger himself!

Iris, since you’ve decided to come here and be insulting, let me note that you are too stupid to recognize a reductio ad absurdum or to recognize how one works. The point of a reductio is to present an extreme case, and show that it follows from one’s opponents principles. The value of the example is precisely that it is quite UNLIKE, and not “exactly the same,” as one’s opponents example. And yet, from the *principle* used by one’s opponent, it follows that s/he ought to reach a conclusion that obviously s/he doesn’t want to reach.

So the question is, if there is a *right* to “define one’s own morality,” why *don’t* serial killers have the right as well? But too dull-witted to even realize that was the question on the table, all you could do was resort to name-calling.

Gosh!  And it isn’t even my birthday!  But when the Internet gods are smiling favorably upon you, it is always wise to appease them — which I did by replying with the below comments (currently awaiting moderation). (Note: I have made minor formatting changes here: certain HTML tags that this template employs do not work in the blogger’s comment section.)

* * * * *

Iris, since you’ve decided to come here and be insulting, let me note that you are too stupid to recognize a reductio ad absurdum or to recognize how one works.

Right:  I’m the one doing the insulting by deliberately conflating women’s and other enlightened humans’ evolving sexual morality toward an egalitarian, consent-based paradigm with serial killers deciding on their own (or is it a union rule?) that their murderous actions are moral because they deem it so.

And I’m clearly too stupid to recognize a reductio absurdum argument, albeit one that is so wildly inapplicable as to be positively deranged.  But thank you for patiently explaining that difficult concept to my inferior ladybrain.  I think I need a nap now to recover from my strenuous exertions in trying to understand it.

So the question is, if there is a *right* to “define one’s own morality,” why *don’t* serial killers have the right as well? But too dull-witted to even realize that was the question on the table, all you could do was resort to name-calling.

Wow. You are a dense one, aren’t you.  The question on the table is <i>not</i>:

if there is a *right* to “define one’s own morality,” why *don’t* serial killers have the right as well?

The question is actually:

if there is a *right* of individual women and men, as part of an evolving society, to redefine a traditional standard of sexual morality (i.e. from strict submission of women to men’s dominion in a heterosexual, monogamous, church-sanctioned, life-long marriage to an egalitarian standard of enthusiastic consent between adults), then why don’t individual serial killers, as part of the same evolving society, have the *right* to redefine the traditional standard of not indiscriminately killing innocent people?

That is the question on the table.  And to pose it does not reflect well on the witted-ness, dull or otherwise, of the questioner.

Further, had you read and understood Carmon’s piece instead of quote mining the last paragraph to build your amoral strawfeminist, you might have noticed that the part you quoted is a conclusion based on points she develops in detail elsewhere in her essay, and those points are incorporated by reference therein. That’s how writing works. For example, Carmon says:

[The fierce backlash] is also because of the growing realization that [attacks on women’s reproductive rights and bodily integrity] aren’t isolated incidents, but rather systematic attacks based on a worldview that is actively hostile to female self-determination.

And in the sentence immediately preceding the part you quoted:

When attacks on birth control coverage imply that women who use it are greedy whores… it’s important to note that married women use contraception and that it’s used for non-sexual purposes too, but it’s also important to stand up for the fact that women have a right to equal access to healthcare even if they are having sex five times a day.

So when Carmon says, “The Rush Limbaughs of the world don’t get to define the boundaries of appropriate sexual or moral behavior,” she is making a direct reference to that previously-mentioned traditional (and slave-like, BTW) view of women’s sexuality shared by Rush and his ilk — in contrast to the more egalitarian and consent-based moral view that has now eclipsed it in mainstream society. (Although not necessarily here on this blog.)

Likewise, when Carmon says “Women are defining those boundaries for themselves, with many men alongside them,” this refers to mainstream society which is made up of — get this! — individual men and women, who have collectively, over many decades, pushed to redefine traditional sexual morality.  And not, as your serial killer analogy disingenuously suggests, as “whatever we say is moral is moral because we say so,” but in a <b>very specific way</b>: as egalitarian and consent-based. That view is now dominant in society, and will hopefully triumph as anti-slavery views once did. Today’s wingnut shrieking about women’s autonomy is nothing more than an echo of the 19th century Southern plantation owners’ whinging we now so righteously disdain.

The narcissistic myopia on display here is truly impressive. How do you think you came to your current moral view on slavery? I’ll tell you how: because long before you were born, individuals, as part of an evolving society, pushed to redefine slavery as morally wrong (despite biblical approval of the practice). Though it certainly could have gone either way, their view ultimately triumphed, and such is the society you happened to be born into.

Of course moral standards change in societies. Do you think you alone would have found slavery morally abhorrent had you been a Roman soldier in the Middle East in the second century BCE? Please. That’s as silly as positing that someone with Ann Coulter’s obvious impairments would not be a fundamentalist jihadi if she were born in Saudi Arabia.

I suspect the problem you’re having is with the notion that “women” are actually a subset of “society,” and a powerful one at that.  At least presently, they are more powerful than dittoheads, Catholic bishops, and wingnut bloggers.

But if you think there is some “absolute morality” when it comes to women’s sexuality, I would love to hear what it.  Just so, you know, the laughs keep coming.

3 thoughts on “Women Having Sex vs. Serial Killers, Redux.

  1. Iris, you are (one of) my idol(s). I am so happy I found you in the madness of the internet and thank you for giving reasoned take downs like this, and showing that the USA contains people who are both sane and gutsy.

  2. Thank you Becky, and welcome. I am presently in a good mood and feeling all benevolent and shit (i.e., I have not read the news yet), so I fixed your brackets.

    I must admit I was sorely temped to “fix” your comment to read:

    Iris, you are my greatest idol! I worship you above all others!

    But it just seemed kind of pointless, since I hear that all day every day. ; )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s