Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id LAA16951 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Wed, 12 Dec 2001 11:03:43 GMT Message-Id: <email@example.com> X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Pro Version 18.104.22.168 Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 18:54:51 +0800 To: email@example.com From: Stephen Springette <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Practical applications of memetics? - Part 1 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
My following response to an item that appeared on the Evolutionary
Psychology list was ultimately not posted by the list moderator. But the
thought occurred to me that if it is so easy to apply semiotics in order to
confidently refute feminist claims, is there anyone out there similarly
disposed to applying memetics? Is there any "practical" application of
memetics, or does it remain an untested, nebulous theory, without any
commonsense, pragmatic applicability?
This post is rather long, and so in anticipation of server difficulties,
I'll send it in two parts.
I'd like to provide some balance to Lydia Parnell's article, "See the
Patriarchy Tumblin' Down!: Using Sociobiology to Bolster Feminist Claims".
USING SEMIOTICS TO REFUTE FEMINIST CLAIMS
I apply Peirce's law of association of habits, in conjunction with a more
general interpretation of Heidegger's Dasein.
Charles Sanders Peirce regarded habit and association as fundamental
aspects of consciousness. Thus, he proclaimed his "law of association of
"There is a law in this association of ideas. We may roughly say it is the
law of habit. It is the great "Law of association of ideas" - the one law
of all psychical action".
I want to be more specific with the relationship between association and
habit, and that is why I would prefer to call it the "Law of association of
In summary, I apply the law of association of habits to infer three crucial
points about gender roles:
1) Gender roles are habits. Thus, we can infer that:
2) Gender roles are chosen. And from a more general interpretation of
Heidegger's Dasein (I call it the desire to be) we know that:
3) Men and women "like" the roles to which they have been assigned.
These crucial points demonstrate how men and women are complicit in their
respective oppressions. Moreover, we are now better placed to understand
why women, as the filters of variety, are predisposed to sustaining the
cultural known - while men, as the producers of variety, are predisposed to
exploring the cultural unknown.
In accordance with gender roles, men and women exercise their own logically
distinct manners of oppression. Thus, the gender whose responsibility is to
sustain the known will have, as its primary mode of oppression, the
enforcement of standards of "proper behavior", while the gender whose
responsibility is at the interface with the unknown will have, as its
primary mode of oppression, competition and assertion of ideas and beliefs.
In this way we have a cultural, semiotic expression of the Darwinian
paradigm - cultures evolve with men as the producers of variety and women
as the filters of variety.
From the law of association of habits, we know that the gender that is
provided for will habituate logics that make it difficult to
compete within the logical realm of the gender that provides. Simply put,
it is because women have it so easy that they have it so hard. Thus, the
choice prioritized by women, to be provided for, becomes the habit that
confines them, and this has nothing to do with any conspiracy by men to
hold women back. Indeed, much of the success of feminism might be better
understood from the perspective of the desire of men to have women as
equals, as comrades. After all, would not many men dream of marriage to a
comrade, an equal with whom one can share in life's adventures? Is it not
true that a typically wifely women is most likely to put a damper on such
enthusiasm, to become a ball-and-chain whereby the lives of her partner and
children are prescribed in terms of her shoulds and should-nots? It is men,
as the explorers of the unknown, who are more predisposed to liberating
women than are women. That is why women often turn to men to be saved by
them. Women are their own worst enemy. For the truth is that women oppress
women. Women as mothers, women as girl-friends and women as role-models
create the norms against which women compare themselves and each other,
judge each other, and exclude those women that dare to be different.
We are now in a position to understand the ways in which women oppress women
THE OPPRESSION OF WOMEN BY WOMEN
Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/femgen/fgm1.htm
recognizes that FGM is, in the majority of cases, women doing it to women.
Indeed, with AI's allegiance to the feminist cause, we might expect that
their tacit admission that "usually only women are allowed to be present"
might understate a harsher truth - that it is, for all intents and
purposes, ALWAYS women doing it to women, in the course of sacred women's
rituals and sacred rites of passage. We also figure that, implicit in their
reluctant acknowledgement of the part that women play is the popular
feminist message that it is men who are somehow responsible for forcing
women to perform these deeds. But irrespective of whatever ghostly
influence men are purported to have, irrespective of feminist distortions
and interpretations, the simple fact remains that, from all the cases that
I have encountered on the internet, it is adult women taking young girls to
the sacred sites. It is adult women holding them down, to prevent them from
moving, and adult women holding their legs apart to allow the knife to cut.
And it is always a woman wielding the cutting implement.
Not to mention peer pressure among the young girls themselves, as a part of
the rite-of-passage of becoming Woman.
Similarly, the witch-hunts provide feminists with more opportunities to
indulge in victimhood. Yet, inasmuch as men most often provide the visible
face of the persecution of "witches", the truth is rather more complex. Let
us, for example, briefly look at the Salem witch trials. Witches were
primarily identified and tried on the basis of testimonies provided by
people who were "afflicted" (dreams, premonitions). Without going into the
interesting details concerning the role of gossip (a primarily female
activity), let us briefly take a look at some of the numbers. All up, 37 of
the afflicted were female, and 5 were male. 5 of the afflicted were from 1
to 10 years old, and 27 of them were from 11 to 20 years old. 34 were
single, 7 were married. By a process of elimination, we might begin to see
a typical profile emerge (i.e., how does single female between 11 and 20
years old, sound?). As many of the afflicted were children, we might expect
the primary nurturer to have had some measure of input. Thus is the nature
Now let's look at the Salem trials from a slightly different perspective.
14 women and 5 men were executed. A sixth man was "pressed" (crushed by
stone weights) for refusing to admit innocence or guilt. 200 people were
awaiting trial before the process was declared unlawful, and they were
subsequently released. What was the role of gossip, a primarily female
activity, in identifying the other 200? The majority of the witnesses, as
the afflicted, were girls and young women. In this light, 14 women and 6
men murdered cannot constitute a statistically significant proof that the
Salem community practiced single-minded oppression against women
perpetrated solely by men.
The hijab (veil) is another cultural tradition actively insisted upon by
women. Muslim women WANT to wear the veil and any denial of this simple
fact trivializes them and paints them as simpleton morons. Thus it is that
the chauvanistic, western, feminist crusade - always quick to condemn the
Christian crusades of the white patriarchy - insults and interferes with
cultures of which it knows nothing and to which it does not belong. For
insights to how Muslim women actively support their Islamic faith, take a
Then go to "Current Issues" in the header. And then cursor down towards the
bottom, to explore the several articles on women in Islam, including at
least one on the hijab.
Other examples of women oppressing women, typically co-opted by feminists
for the purposes of fulfilling their own agendas:
1) Sati (bride-burning in India). There have been examples in the Indian
media where women have revolted against attempts to deny them this sacred
women's rite. Sati and bride murder are also blamed, in large part, on
economic "necessity" (the dowry system of India) and the problems
associated with providing for women without husbands. And as such,
newspaper reports implicating women (eg., mothers-in-law) as often as men
should come as no surprise.
2) Killing of female children. The role of mothers is never mentioned,
yet, if we acknowledge the fact that the killing of female children is
based in economic "necessity", as girls will never grow up to become good
providers, we might expect mothers to be at least equally implicated.
Part 2 follows:
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Dec 12 2001 - 11:10:06 GMT