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The Woman Racket : Steve Moxon :

I do agree positive discrimination and quotas are ridiculous and likely to cause more problems than they solve. He appears not to be aware that for many women a fantasy is just that - a fantasy. Women in general do not wish to experience their fantasies whereas men do. Romances are read as an escape from real life in the same way men read Westerns or books such as those written by Andy McNab.

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The author casts doubt on the authenticity of all rape claims suggesting even stranger rape may be unconsciously welcomed by the victim. He does not however seem to be saying the same thing about men where they become victims. When writing about pornography he suggests men should not be punished for having in their possession extreme images involving children because this is punishing 'thought crime'. I find this suggestion totally abhorrent as is his comparison with reading crime novels or watching films depicting crimes.

ISBN 13: 9781845401092

He seems to forget the moral condemnation which is usually present in such work and which is totally lacking from the extreme end of pornography. I found his descent into name calling against certain women in the later chapters undermined his whole thesis which is a pity. If he had maintained the objective tone of the first few chapters his argument would have been more persuasive. He quotes far fewer sources in the later chapters, which appear to be largely his own personal opinions, and he fails to quote from some of the great classics of feminist writing such as Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer.

His sources, listed in the lengthy bibliography, seem to represent disproportionately male writers and researchers and he appears to regard the word feminism as denoting a man hating virago. He forgets that the term patriarchy is not a term of abuse but a description of the society in which we still find ourselves. Overall this is a very interesting and thought provoking book which I would urge all men and women to read if they are at all interested in the issues covered. I agree with some of his points family courts are unfair to men, and women in the workplace is a very complicated subject , but over-all I get the feeling that for some reason he just has an axe to grind.

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Further, this separation reflects divergences in ability between the sexes. The 'genetic quarantine' theory, Moxon claims, should lead us to expect that males, as testers of genetic innovation, will be over-represented among both geniuses and morons, while females tend to be solidly mediocre. The principal illustration here is the singer-songwriter phenomenon, where given the current glut of female performers, he supposes we should find female excellence. One might suspect some subjective assessment here, but Moxon dismisses as mediocre most of the female singer-songwriters of recent history, with the exception of Joni Mitchell, thus 'demonstrating' his claim.

This seems intended to support the claim that the male drive for status accounts for differences in success in various fields, though one might wonder by what criteria Moxon identifies social status such that it also turns out to be genetic excellence. Do those on top in our world really reflect the best nature has to offer? By now, doubtless, some of us are simply beside ourselves: what about the possibility that most of this reflects social factors?

Moxon unabashedly defends a reductive approach: "All science At one point, Moxon articulates what seems to be a principle of his approach, stating " What goes for the gametes also goes for the adults they produce. One might think this a rather spare basis for rejecting an important approach to some very complex matters, so if these assertions fail to convince, he offers the following reductio :.

If, as the theory must insist, it too has been socially conditioned, then it begs the same question about the person who had in turn socially conditioned the social conditioner Ultimately there has to be a real reason A neat QED if ever there was one.

And to think of the social scientists who could have spared their efforts. This is the substance of Moxon's argument Honestly, it is somewhat hard to tell: it may be that whatever sense this makes is a product of my 'reading in'. For throughout the chapters presenting the science behind his views, Moxon employs colloquial and metaphoric expression, including at key points of his argument, as well as extensively using an intentional idiom effectively presenting evolution as purposeful , making it difficult to tell what mechanism he thinks is operating. Also, in the discussion of gamete dimorphism, it is often ambiguous whether by 'male' or 'female', he is referring to gametes or individuals, though perhaps the principle identifying individuals with their gametes is meant to clear that up -- presumably they are interchangeable.

This, combined with his references to 'higher' and 'lower' animals a basic misunderstanding of evolutionary theory , do not build much confidence in the soundness of Moxon's grasp of the scientific matters he is recounting. True, he claims to be 'dumbing-down' his material, but given the quality of the material so 'dumbed-down', one might well fear the original was not very 'smarted-up' to begin with.


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The book as a whole is rife with non sequitur and jaw-dropping claims of the must-be-seen-to-be-believed order to believe they are in print, that is. But the oddest thing about the book occurs in the issue-focused chapters. As I suggested, we might expect that having outlined a bold new theory, Moxon would be showing it to advantage in a productive application to specific topics.


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Perversely, the 'gametes are destiny' theory is quietly dropped for most of the rest of the book. Rather, in the chapter on suffrage, for example, the discussion is entirely of the history of various suffrage movements and the political and legal changes that took place from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century as suffrage was generally extended. His argument here is that when you consider that suffrage historically was not exactly general among men, and female suffrage in some countries closely followed male suffrage but was not grounded in similar qualifying requirements, lack of female suffrage does not seem the most glaring case of oppression.

The other chapters on sexual assault, pornography, bias in healthcare, and pay equity similarly invoke concern over specific mostly British legal and political regimes, statistical misrepresentation of the issues and biased social mores. In other words, having dismissed the relevance social factors, he proceeds to base his analysis of these issues on factors that, at least on the surface, seem 'social'. Now, I suppose the way we are meant to take the argument of the issues chapters is that having revealed behavioral structures based in the evolution of the sexes, he is now illustrating these structures at work in society, to clinch his case.

Be that as it may, this approach is rather unconvincing, for the reason that it would seem to transgress an important difference between being able to 'see' one thing as another and something's actually falling under a given general law. For example, big bang cosmology may well 'look like' theological creatio ex nihilo , but this appearance ends soon as you consider explanatory power, whether you can make predictions, how the mechanism is to be understood and how well either theory integrates with the rest of our scientific theories.

There is, after all, a difference between analogy and causality. Moxon's case in the later chapters is at best analogical and provides no analysis that could support the causal claims he seems to intend. This certainly should be a major problem. Scientific theories depend on detailed description of the mechanisms that bring things about, but a theory that doesn't provide even a hypothetical mechanism isn't scientific at all. It's not good enough that one thinks one can see similar patterns in society and in the functioning of gametes, since it is all too easy to see what one wishes. On top of this, there are myriad concerns with the details of the science he invokes.

For instance, the notion that the different 'costs' of gamete production lead to differences in reproductive behavior has been questioned and, I think, debunked. Even if a dominance hierarchy functioned in sexual selection, how could a single hierarchy select traits with very different kinds of excellence, such as intelligence and physical strength? And how could this theory account for society valuing one over the other at different times?

Further, given that women of widely different degrees of attractiveness and nubility seem to have little trouble conceiving, isn't it overly simplistic to connect beauty and youth with fertility? And as to Moxon's view that reproductive chances might somehow be constrained by status, shouldn't we think it odd that the lowest status members of society also tend to over-reproduce? Finally, perhaps we should just be skeptical of the notion that anything in evolutionary genetics corresponds to hierarchies of social status.

Maybe there are no upper- and lower-class genes at all. One other major criticism of the book as a whole must be the utter lack of any serious effort to address criticism or alternative views, apart from quick-and-dirty dismissal, of which I have given a couple of examples. Rather, Moxon treats debatable claims as if they were simply received wisdom, and offers simplistic solutions to some very thorny scientific controversies. Moxon simply ignores, and possibly doesn't understand, the gaps in his account of matters, the most glaring example of which is his treatment of the topic of power.

As indicated above, he defines power as tendentiously toward his own views as he pleases, so that by fiat, it turns out that men do not have power over women, and then ignores all the ways in which men really do have power over women. A measure of scientific competence is surely an appreciation for the demands of theory choice, exhibited in balanced treatment of dissenting views.

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