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 The History of Sexual Exploitation

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Temperance
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PostSubject: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 07 Nov 2017, 16:12

Carl Sargeant, top Welsh Labour politician, has died. The BBC has reported today that it is believed he has taken his own life, following allegations of sexual misconduct.

I have decided to delete two light-hearted, but perhaps inappropriate (they certainly seem like that today), messages I sent to the Rant thread yesterday in which I quoted one of the panelists on Friday's Have I Got News For You. In a discussion of the latest row over sexual harassment of women, I think it was Ian Hislop who warned against a hypocritical New Puritanism that seems to be developing. It is not so much a question these days of the danger and misery of being female, but rather about the sheer terror of being a male. Jo Brand, in the chair, disapproved strongly of what the four male panelists were saying and told them off. They all looked suitably sheepish after her rebuke, but I wonder was Brand correct to condemn them so roundly -  was a fair point being made by Hislop and the others?

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2017-11-05/jo-brand-have-i-got-news-for-you-sexual-harassment/

I wonder what we should make of all this, especially in the light of the suicide of a man like Sargeant? Are men being unfairly treated here? We all know that women - especially female slaves and working-class women - have been sexually exploited through the ages by men in authority, but - and to suggest this causes howls of outrage if one is in the company of some females - have some women been guilty of exploitation too? Many women have undoubtedly turned men's sexual vulnerability to their own advantage - I'm thinking of Cleopatra, Elizabeth Woodville and the mistresses of rich and powerful men - women who have done very nicely, thank you.


Who have been the notorious sex-pests of history and have young men also suffered from unwelcome advances (thinking here of MM's thread about Duke of Buckingham and James I)? I immediately think of Henry VIII, of course. Anne Boleyn did all she could to make him understand "No!" - and she later admitted that she had ‘never wished to choose the King in her heart’. I wonder if any of the women he pursued did wish to "choose him in their hearts", except, perhaps, Katherine of Aragon? And fathers, brothers and uncles, certainly at Henry VIII's court, were well aware of the "use" that could be made of their female relations. Here's Thomas Wyatt from his Satire 3:


In this also see thou be not idle

Thy niece, thy cousin, thy sister or thy daughter,

If she be fair, if handsome by her middle,

If thy better hath her love besought her,

Advance his cause, and he shall help thy need:

It is but love, turn it to a laughter.



PS Wonder what Lloyd George would make of all this?


Last edited by Temperance on Tue 07 Nov 2017, 18:33; edited 1 time in total
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 07 Nov 2017, 17:10

@Temperance wrote:
Are men being unfairly treated here? We all know that women - especially female slaves and working-class women - have been sexually exploited through the ages by men in authority, but - and to suggest this causes howls of outrage if one is in the company of some females - have some women been guilty of exploitation too? Many women have undoubtedly turned men's sexual vulnerability to their own advantage - I'm thinking of Cleopatra, Elizabeth Woodville and the mistresses of rich and powerful men - women who have done very nicely, thank you.

Who have been the notorious sex-pests of history and have young men also suffered from unwelcome advances (thinking of MM's thread about Duke of Buckingham and James I).

Certainly young men - and the not so young too - have also always been liable to sexual assault. But I do find it interesting that only now, when there are widespread revelations of male-on-female sexual assaults in entertainment and parliament etc ... are there also emerging exactly equivalent incidents of male-on-male assaults (eg. supposedly by Kevin Spacey, and that MP on the UK para-Olympic committee who's name escapes me). And there's also the far too common yet largely ignored occurrence of simple domestic female-on-male assault.

In my experience such abuse is all too common, but somehow it is never deemed as particularly important, or it is simply treated as a just bit of a joke: like that classic figure-of-fun, the down-trodden, hen-pecked husband ... or the 'sensitive' boy that gets brutally humiliated by his peers but supposedly 'likes it really', and if not anyway it'll supposedly 'make a man of him'!

I rather think it has less to do with sex per se, but is more about the wielding of power, the display of might, control and the domination of others.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 08 Nov 2017, 08:03; edited 2 times in total
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 07 Nov 2017, 18:39

MM wrote:

I rather think it has less to do with sex per se, but is more about the wielding of power, the display of might, control and the domination of others.

I agree with that - it's about being bullied; and both men and women can be bullies.

Weren't men at Westminster terrified of Maggie Thatcher?


PS  Mitterrand famously delivered to our former PM the backhanded compliment that she had the "eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe". Mitterrand was acknowledging, with typical Gallic elegance, Thatcher's status as both a woman of some sexual appeal and a ruthless political leader (and scourge of the EU).
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 07 Nov 2017, 19:14

Yes, of course the important issue is power imbalance but historically that has usually been in favour of men be it by their social status, their physical strength or by their role in administering the rules imposed by whatever cultural and  - sorry Temp - religious organisation to which they belong.

I'm sorry you deleted your post regarding HIGNIFY, it was relevant - the constant, low level harassment and denigration that has ground down generations of women dismissed as somehow silly and a subject for adolescent humour, at least until it escalates to rape or violence (preferably by some anonymous stranger) and then it can also be compartmentalised as being, although very serious and reprehensible of course, nothing to do with nice, civilised men  like us.

MM is correct in comparing this to the treatment of gay or even less overtly 'manly' men as well, in fact anyone not measuring up to the prevailing stereotype of acceptable masculinity. I am not denying that women have, and do, behaved as badly but even that is treated differently as being some kind of role reversal aberration carried out by harridans upon inadequate men so managing to blame both parties for not behaving as is expected by their respective genders.




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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 07 Nov 2017, 20:36

@Meles meles wrote:
@Temperance wrote:
Are men being unfairly treated here? We all know that women - especially female slaves and working-class women - have been sexually exploited through the ages by men in authority, but - and to suggest this causes howls of outrage if one is in the company of some females - have some women been guilty of exploitation too? Many women have undoubtedly turned men's sexual vulnerability to their own advantage - I'm thinking of Cleopatra, Elizabeth Woodville and the mistresses of rich and powerful men - women who have done very nicely, thank you.

Who have been the notorious sex-pests of history and have young men also suffered from unwelcome advances (thinking of MM's thread about Duke of Buckingham and James I).

Certainly young men - and the not so young too - have also always been liable to sexual assault. But I do find it interesting that only now, when there are widespread revelations of male-on-female sexual assaults in entertainment and parliament etc ... are there also emerging exactly equivalent incidents of male-on-male assaults (eg. supposedly by Kevin Stacey, and that MP on the UK para-Olympic committee who's name escapes me). And there's also the far too common yet largely ignored occurrence of simple domestic female-on-male assault.

In my experience such abuse is all too common, but somehow it is never deemed as particularly important, or it is simply treated as a just bit of a joke: like that classic figure-of-fun, the down-trodden, hen-pecked husband ... or the 'sensitive' boy that gets brutally humiliated by his peers but supposedly 'likes it really', and if not anyway it'll supposedly 'make a man of him'!

I rather think it has less to do with sex per se, but is more about the wielding of power, the display of might, control and the domination of others.


Meles meles,

you are right positions of power, might, domination tend to abuse of others and sexual harassment is one of them. But I agree also to Ferval, during history all cultures were cultures with men domination and as such I think that sexual harassement happened more by men why the women were culturally subordinated...
There was a long thread on Historum: Decline of Europe due to dechristianization. A Turkish contributor said to me that the European women wanted to be "women at the hearth" and that it was true that due to the loss of religious belief, I guess he wanted to say contrary to the Muslim belief, that Europe was in decline...you see still a "manly" culture overthere and the women in an inferior position.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 07 Nov 2017, 21:29

@Temperance wrote:
Carl Sargeant, top Welsh Labour politician, has died. The BBC has reported today that it is believed he has taken his own life, following allegations of sexual misconduct.

I have decided to delete two light-hearted, but perhaps inappropriate (they certainly seem like that today), messages I sent to the Rant thread yesterday in which I quoted one of the panelists on Friday's Have I Got News For You. In a discussion of the latest row over sexual harassment of women, I think it was Ian Hislop who warned against a hypocritical New Puritanism that seems to be developing. It is not so much a question these days of the danger and misery of being female, but rather about the sheer terror of being a male. Jo Brand, in the chair, disapproved strongly of what the four male panelists were saying and told them off. They all looked suitably sheepish after her rebuke, but I wonder was Brand correct to condemn them so roundly -  was a fair point being made by Hislop and the others?

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2017-11-05/jo-brand-have-i-got-news-for-you-sexual-harassment/

I wonder what we should make of all this, especially in the light of the suicide of a man like Sargeant? Are men being unfairly treated here? We all know that women - especially female slaves and working-class women - have been sexually exploited through the ages by men in authority, but - and to suggest this causes howls of outrage if one is in the company of some females - have some women been guilty of exploitation too? Many women have undoubtedly turned men's sexual vulnerability to their own advantage - I'm thinking of Cleopatra, Elizabeth Woodville and the mistresses of rich and powerful men - women who have done very nicely, thank you.


Who have been the notorious sex-pests of history and have young men also suffered from unwelcome advances (thinking here of MM's thread about Duke of Buckingham and James I)? I immediately think of Henry VIII, of course. Anne Boleyn did all she could to make him understand "No!" - and she later admitted that she had ‘never wished to choose the King in  her heart’. I wonder if any of the women he pursued did wish to "choose him in their hearts", except, perhaps, Katherine of Aragon? And fathers, brothers and uncles, certainly at Henry VIII's court, were well aware of the "use" that could be made of their female relations. Here's Thomas Wyatt from his Satire 3:


In this also see thou be not idle

Thy niece, thy cousin, thy sister or thy daughter,

If she be fair, if handsome by her middle,

If thy better hath her love besought her,

Advance his cause, and he shall help thy need:

It is but love, turn it to a laughter.



PS Wonder what Lloyd George would make of all this?


Dear Temperance,

oops and I forgot to say to MM that I hadn't to seek in my dictionary for the meaning of "harassment" (although that I thought that it was "harassement" (could it be French? and indeed it is French as I looked in my French-Dutch but there it is translated by "exhaustion", "fatigue" Wink )

Now serious again. It is that "actual" nowadays the last weeks. Every day in the news...it's like a "hype" in the fashion world...
And yes you are right...all history long there were those stories...perhaps nowadays with the emancipation of women in Western culture...now the equals of the men and being more in the news than before...they know their place nowadays and they want that men know their place too...finito with the old tacitly toleration...if men use their hands they have to be sure that it is with the consent of the woman...but how to be sure...poor men...the same with the men-men relations...I wonder with the women-women relations...when will we have revelations about sexual harassment of women on women?...
And I am serious: I know today a former sport teacher, who had to teach girl classes. He changed job to representant banker to avoid  accusations of "ongewenste intimiteiten" (also such a word as "harassment" nowadays ) (unwanted intimacies, familarities?)

Kind regards from your friend Paul. (I hope not an unwanted intimacy)

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Wed 08 Nov 2017, 08:59

Is the question related to exploiting people's weaknesses in order to procure sex, or exploiting sex in order to further exploit people? Both can be termed "sexual exploitation" but they represent two quite different motives and ambitions on the part of the exploiter, and vary considerably in terms of historical moral equivocacy - one having been pretty consistently judged in purely moral terms as rather blatant abuse or at least an invitation to abuse in anyone's language, however much it may also have been tolerated or condoned as acceptable behaviour in the past when it came to actual possible legal retribution for the victim. The other one however has always been and remains largely equivocal morally, and in fact can often even be demonstrated to impute some benefit to both parties, though by far the greater benefit generally of course to the exploiter who initiates the action.

Both, I imagine, can historically be demonstrated to have been around for as long as sex has been around, and both have seemingly survived as two quite separate practices distinguished one from the other within common parlance and legal definition. Recent high profile cases receiving massive media attention however show that at least in western society the line between both is now being blurred in terms of identifying victimhood in each instance, its level, its effect and its entitlement for the victim to retributive measures enforced by law. Though I am normally suspicious of such intentional obfuscation, especially one promoted largely through media frenzy, this homogenisation of victimhood and its implications is not necessarily a bad thing in my view, especially for those most vulnerable who have always derived little benefit from being thus exploited and often suffered great harm. In such cases any small benefit deriving to them from being exploited was often used to invalidate their requirement for compensation and retribution, both within general social mores and within the law itself.

The conflation of victimhood in terms of perceived sexual intimidation however has now been extended to include being the recipient of any unsolicited sexual attention, or attention which can thus be construed at any point in time afterwards, and this raises a particular concern. The simplistic equation of victimhood status in terms of definition, without adequate distinction related to motive or actual effect examined in the process, is a worrying trend in my view too. A penal system that neglects full contextual evaluation when judging terms of retribution and the actual extent of injury and offence, and especially one operating against a background of witch-hunts orchestrated through media manipulation of public opinion, always ends badly for the society which adopts such an approach - instead of protecting victims it can actually lead to the creation of even more. This appears to be the case at the moment with this issue and it will be interesting to see if common sense constraints on such exploitation can in fact be imposed through normal legal methods without the witch-hunt mentality deteriorating even further into a moral abyss equally as disturbing as the crime it is supposedly addressing.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Wed 08 Nov 2017, 21:40

nordmann,

"The conflation of victimhood in terms of perceived sexual intimidation however has now been extended to include being the recipient of any unsolicited sexual attention, or attention which can thus be construed at any point in time afterwards, and this raises a particular concern. The simplistic equation of victimhood status in terms of definition, without adequate distinction related to motive or actual effect examined in the process, is a worrying trend in my view too. A penal system that neglects full contextual evaluation when judging terms of retribution and the actual extent of injury and offence, and especially one operating against a background of witch-hunts orchestrated through media manipulation of public opinion, always ends badly for the society which adopts such an approach - instead of protecting victims it can actually lead to the creation of even more. This appears to be the case at the moment with this issue and it will be interesting to see if common sense constraints on such exploitation can in fact be imposed through normal legal methods without the witch-hunt mentality deteriorating even further into a moral abyss equally as disturbing as the crime it is supposedly addressing."

Exactly. It was that what I wanted to explain with my examples and I think that it was what Temperance meant too?. But as usual you explained it that much better.
And I know even a more bitter example. One of our tenants was brought to court for alleged sexual abuse of their two children by his former wife. But the real thing was that she sought a reason to divorce and to keep the children with her and her new friend...he had to meet his children years after each other under supervision in another city than his one. At the end both he and the children were tired to go to these meetings and the children grow older and were more under inlfuence of the mother. It went that far that he came in a deep depression and there was a self help group of men encountered the same problem, but some 200km from his residence...now he is married again and has one son...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Thu 09 Nov 2017, 12:19

Sex as a weapon comes in many many different guises, yes, and no amount of legislation or even imposition of overly politically correct values on behaviour will ever eradicate its use, I reckon.

What we are witnessing in our own culture at this moment in time is a long overdue recognition that many of the victims which such aggression has produced (and it is simply another form of aggression, however it's dressed up) could have been saved from their fate with just a small increase of awareness and responsibility for one's own actions on the part of everyone, and this is commendable. However what we are also witnessing appears to be a rather cynical and opportunistic "hijacking" of this trend by certain parties for absolutely despicable reasons - to advance their careers, to raise their public profiles, to increase newspaper readership and sales, and even as a weapon equally as unfair and indiscriminate in its aggressive application as all but the most violent sexual harassment could be claimed to have been, and with hugely disproportionate punishments meted out to the "transgressors" in many cases.  

It's not of course the first time that what might be called a "mass moral re-evaluation" has been undertaken within a society, and also with rather traumatic consequences for many individuals within that society whose behaviour up to that point had been tolerated - even though this tolerance was often grievously misplaced. Roman writers recorded at least two similar phenomena within their own civilisation's history when a form of moral backlash followed periods in which morality was seen as having declined - the Sulla regime (ironically given the man's own dissolute personality) was couched by its own leading participants in terms of a moral crusade, and Augustus Caesar also availed of such a meme to justify his riding roughshod over the republican political institutions for which he had no use - levelling charges of decadence rather than obsolescence against their members in the knowledge that this would sit well with a puritan class from where he drew most automatic support.

However "real-time" punishments and retrospectively assigned "guilt", as the Romans also discovered, carries with it real social dangers much more injurious to that society's fabric than the worst excesses of immorality had produced beforehand. Sulla's moral crusade resulted in one of the most chaotic and bloody periods in Roman civic history which came very close to collapsing the whole civilisation from within. Augustus's crusade survived only as long as he and his named successor Tiberius reigned and resulted in so many "disappearances" of prominent citizens that the latter's death occasioned a power vacuum in which Caligula was not just the logical successor but in fact just about the only credible successor left standing when he assumed the throne. And whatever one wishes to believe about Caligula there is no doubting that his reign coincided with a period of Roman history when that society's fabric was stretched very thin indeed.

A shift away from complacency and misplaced tolerance when it comes to the type of behaviour that sexual intimidation and harassment represents is a welcome change, and in fact one that I hope extends beyond such limited definitions of intimidation. However I am keeping a very close eye on those who have elected to "champion" this development, and especially those whose virtuous claim to be putting an end to intimidation is prosecuted through equally intimidating and very non-virtuous behaviour indeed, though the irony of this is lost on them.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Thu 09 Nov 2017, 13:36

@ferval wrote:
...the constant, low level harassment and denigration that has ground down generations of women dismissed as somehow silly and a subject for adolescent humour, at least until it escalates to rape or violence (preferably by some anonymous stranger) and then it can also be compartmentalised as being, although very serious and reprehensible of course, nothing to do with nice, civilised men  like us.

We all deplore sexual harassment (but how should we define that word "harassment"?); and rape, of course - or any violation of the weak and vulnerable - is a totally unacceptable crime, being vicious sexual violence that both men/boys and women/girls have endured through the ages. But the part of your post which I have highlighted disturbs me rather. There are indeed "nice, civilised men" out there - decent people who all their lives have tried to treat women - and other men - with respect. What is worrying me is the anger - the misandry and the misogyny - that is now being gleefully stirred up. The Daily Mail is doing its bit, as we would expect: see link below. The "pervert" story here - and the photos of that "innocent" young barmaid - are sickening in their cynicism and hypocrisy: the editor of the Mail - and the editor of the Sun where the story and pictures were apparently first published - should be ashamed. And I'm sorry, but the young woman featured should be given a copy of The Crafty Whore (published 1658 - some things in the bawdy politic don't change). Whatever happened to common sense, ordinary decency and  good humour in the relations between men and women?

Men who grew up during the 1950s and the early years of the 1960s must be very confused by the hate now being directed at men by women. The following clip from the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was the sort of thing that was accepted as perfectly normal back then, and the lyrics of Two Little Girls From Little Rock are worth reading. They are actually pretty shocking. I wanted to post the next scene from the film, but I can't find it now: it shows the bespectacled young man who is "courting" the character played by Monroe rushing, foolish and eager and totally conned, to her dressing room to offer her a diamond ring. In true postmodern fashion I wonder about the other - untold - story here: his. He is made to appear utterly ridiculous - the stereotype of an exploited male. Gosh, do ironies abound in all this. Yet how beautiful and innocent and vulnerable Monroe looks - and indeed was. I'm reminded of an old saying: "Men pretend love when what they want is sex: women pretend sex when what they want is love." Certainly true of her - the ultimate female sexual and sexualised victim. But spare a thought for the men who lusted after her: perhaps a bit more compassion and understanding are needed - for us all, male and female.

The past is a foreign country - they do things differently there, and not always wisely or well, that's certainly true. But are we judging all older men too harshly - by 21st century standards that were simply not the norm when they grew up? And am I judging the girl in the Mail story too harshly - or should she be advised to act more like a child of her times?



We're just two little girls from Little Rock
We lived on the wrong side of the tracks
But the gentlemen friends who used to call
They never did seem to mind at all
They came to the wrong side of the tracks

Then someone broke my heart in Little Rock
So I up and left the pieces there
Like a little lost lamb I roamed about
I came to New York and I found out
That men are the same way everywhere

I was young and determined to be wined and dined and ermined
And I worked at it all around the clock
Now one of these days in my fancy clothes
I'm a going back home and punch the nose
Of the one who broke my heart (the one who broke my heart)
The one who broke my heart in Little Rock, Little Rock, Little Rock...Little Rock

I'm just a little girl from Little Rock
A horse used to be my closest pal
Though I never did learn to read or write
I learned about love in the pale moonlight
And now I'm an educated gal

I learned an awful lot in Little Rock
And here's some advice I'd like to share:
Find a gentleman who is shy or bold
Or short or tall, or young or old..
As long as the guy's a millionaire!



For a kid from the small street I did very well on Wall Street
Though I never owned a share of stock
And now that I'm known in the biggest banks
I'm going back home and give my thanks
To the one who broke my heart (the one who broke my heart)
The one who broke my heart in Little Rock!






PS I remember a much older woman telling me in the 70s - when we were all indignantly reading Germaine Greer and The Women's Room: "My dear, remember a man is not necessarily insulting you when he makes it clear he finds you attractive." I wonder what would be the reaction to her advice today?


PPS Here's the link to the Mail article. The story was the lead headline earlier - no longer. I wonder if there have been many complaints?

Hounded By Perverts


EDIT: The article has been toned down since this morning and the banner headline and pictures changed. Mmm.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Fri 10 Nov 2017, 08:14

I think you are both right, Temp - ferval in her assessment of "low level" harassment as it has existed and you to be worried about what implications there might be when retrospectively assessing as despicable what had for a long time been classed historically as acceptable behaviour.

If one looks at this in a purely historical context and without moral judgement then I reckon what one is looking at is a very normal process in which society applies a retrospective watershed moment in relation to previous practice, something which it does for a variety of reasons and often for a complicated combination of reasons, but when it does so the result can have profound implications for many individuals within that society. The trigger for this event is not easy to identify either, but one feature it almost always exhibits is a general awareness of the about-to-be jettisoned social more defined within quite specific terms with which all members of that society can at least agree are intelligible, even if those same members do not actually agree with any particular aspect to the change apparently inferred or could ever define that change in terms with which a majority could be said to be in complete accord. It is a change prompted and defined by a specific identification of an issue rather than any necessary or naturally following agreement through methodical means that any change should be implemented at all.

In fact it is this phenomenon which Socrates (and Aristotle) once identified as the reason that democracy itself could not be trusted to ensure good government - namely because this "innate" democratic principle which society expresses in the form of changing fashions, trends, shifting mores and retrospective criticism of its own once acceptable behaviour, is what an artificially contrived democratic system tries to emulate but can never reproduce except in a very stilted and procedural manner which inevitably misses the actual mark. Democracy, he argued, works when applied to unemotional or cerebral policy decisions that a majority may be invited to adopt within certain exigencies, but once it dabbles in attempting to steer social mores or emotive issues will likely come a cropper.

Socrates actually identified women's status within his own society as one of these issues which democracy should never be allowed address (he had his reasons, not all of them very savoury or acceptable to modern minds, and which in fact overlapped with his views on slave ownership). However he was essentially correct in that any general reassessment of societal behaviour by that society in relation to such issues carried with it an almost inevitable trauma which itself could destroy the society altogether, no matter how demonstrably laudable the trigger and motive which had sparked this in motion. Even worse, any artificially contrived means of abetting or accelerating such a re-evaluation would only make this dire consequence a certainty. This was probably more true within his own societal context than in ours, but his view was backed up with some good examples and arguments which still hold true, even in today's vastly more extensive and complicated modern western society.

On the evidence of how the issue of sexual intimidation and harassment is currently being presented and addressed it appears that western society may very well be about to embark on such a trauma - one in my view that society will hardly fall apart over and in fact which I reckon has more chance of being improved by, but one in which quite a lot of retrospective assessment will be conducted - both personally regarding one's own behaviour and attitudes, and generally as the societal frameworks in which injustice is identified and justice is dispensed attempt to adapt. Left to its own natural evolution as yet another instance of innate democratic principle being applied it will produce victims who, in almost any other circumstance, could easily have demonstrated their innocence and the injustice being done them but now will be denied the consensus required to persist in that claim. However with the artificial contrivances through which the necessary awareness of the issue is promulgated this - as Socrates also identified in his own context - will actually lead to even more victims, many who in fact deserve societal consensus in their favour but who will still be denied this, and in many other ways that are almost impossible to accurately predict at this point in the social evolutionary change currently taking place.

The Daily Mail article is an example of such a contrivance as Socrates had once identified, media being an adjunct of government in any society and an essential component of the debate within the context of our modern society. However the ludicrous hypocrisy it also advertises when making this contribution to the promulgation of the awareness of this issue is probably even more important. Seemingly unaware of what it is saying about itself when making such statements this media organ in particular is bound to advertise even more (and even greater) hypocrisy as it continues to contribute, as are quite a few other contributors thus far in the public media, and in fact one part of this evolutionary change in western society may be a general recognition of the immense harm such hypocrisy can inflict in its own right. A long overdue adaptation of general social mores which I, for one, welcome immensely.

And that is only one small example of the aspects to this issue which are seemingly peripheral but are in fact collectively an integral feature of the phenomenon, and which make this phenomenon very unpredictable in terms of its final outcome every time it has occurred historically.

Interesting times.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Fri 10 Nov 2017, 15:02

One of US Marine vets interviewed on the Vietnam War recalled a story during the Tet Offensive, in the middle of the Battle for Hue,how one of his colleagues arrived with a girl who, he said, " Would **** all of us for C-Rations".
The interviewee admitted that he had taken part, and it was the one thing that happened in Vietnam that he regretted doing.

The War also caused massive disruption in South Vietnam as millions of peasants flooded into the cities to try and get away from the fighting. The population of Saigon mushroomed from 1 million in 1960 to 3 million in 1969. Many of the incomers ending up living in shanty towns. The only work available for the young women who arrived in the cities was as bargirls and/or prostitutes.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Fri 10 Nov 2017, 17:38

That was heinous behaviour, but even in the 60s it would have been a very weird American citizen who believed they were from a society which condoned it. It demonstrates however what is often just a sheen of civility covering a multitude of seriously despicable traits that even a highly moral society succeeds only in lending its individual members, and exposed as such when they themselves are exposed to situations in which they often so readily assume their society's mores and principles can be ignored or need no longer apply to them. We've all seen variations of this tendency, maybe not quite as heinous as his, but different only in grade, not nature. He expressed regret for his actions, which shows he was cognisant of these strictures on his behaviour even as he was ignoring them, or maybe was reminded of them when he came home. However he still ignored them when it suited him.

It is this all too common aspect to humans - the ease with which they can adopt the most extremely opposite double standards in highly subjective and opportunistic ways - that lends the lie to the volume of censure we are currently hearing expressed in relation to the high profile sexual impropriety cases associated with well known people and receiving extremely high public exposure. The censure may be heartfelt, and it may even be correct in every case in that it reflects what we think and hope is our most empathetic and moral nature, but it may also simply be just the other side to the same coin of subjective adoption of double standards as that which the Marine in your example also exhibited.

We have a long way to go before any of this current opprobrium will actually translate into a society safer for females to exist in when it comes to abuse, intimidation and exploitation based on their sex. And along the way I imagine we will discover some equally unsettling and objectionable sides to our character, and to our society's character, which will also require some addressing before this can ever come to pass.

The Daily Mail article highlighted by Temp would seem to indicate that just such an ugly facet of those who actually claim the moral high ground in this current phenomenon is already coming into sharp focus too. Bring it on, I say! Rampant hypocrisy is something I've always thought was probably one of the worst aspects to what we smugly and quite incorrectly assume is a caring society with a refined sense of social justice. We've a way to go yet before we could ever make such a claim, I feel. Maybe however we're looking at the first few baby steps towards one - though we've a few of Socrates' predicted ructions to encounter on the way, I reckon.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 09:06

Your comments are very interesting, nordmann; I just wish I understood more about what Plato and Aristotle (and you) say. Plato was not always consistent in his attitude to women, I believe; and wasn't Aristotle dismissive of his teachers's more radical views about women's right to be included in the serious business of government? I have found the following link useful, but I still need to find out more. As ever, I feel horribly ignorant (not because of gender, I hasten to add, but because I just haven't read enough).

https://www.classicsnetwork.com/essays/the-nature-of-women-in-plato-and/786


Plato, in the Republic, argues that women should be able to take on the same social roles equally with men in his ideal state. His ideas are based upon the view that women and men have the same nature in respect to acting as guardians of the state, except that the one is weaker while the other is stronger . However, just one generation later Aristotle returns women to their traditional roles in the home, being subservient to men. There is no equality in nature for Aristotle, and in the "Politics" he declares:

"...as regards the sexes, the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject. And the same must necessarily apply to all mankind. "


Later, in the same article, I read this:

Yet it is also possible that Plato really did believe that women were inferior. The derogatory comments that he occasionally slips in - where he still sees women as sex objects given to brave warriors - may show he has a misogynistic tendency. However, unlike most men of the period, perhaps Plato was prepared to advocate equality because of the demands of his form of justice. Several of his other works are quite disparaging towards women, though, with only the Republic really showing any inclination towards true equality. In the Apology Socrates call those who plead in court "no better than women" ; and in the Phaedo he talks of the distractions of female lamentations. Perhaps the most damning thought of all occurred in the Timaeus (42b-c) where Plato clearly stated that if men lived immorally then they would be reincarnated as women.

@ferval wrote:
Yes, of course the important issue is power imbalance but historically that has usually been in favour of men be it by their social status, their physical strength or by their role in administering the rules imposed by whatever cultural and  - sorry Temp - religious organisation to which they belong.  



Interestingly enough - and I am not "dragging" religion into this - the information given in the Gospels would suggest that Jesus of Nazareth actually had a radical attitude to women. The man would no doubt have been appalled at how a Church, claiming to be acting on his teaching, later treated women. The famous story of the woman taken in adultery, with its shutting-up of the hypocritical men who were so eager to hurl abuse - and rocks - at a wretched woman -  "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone" - was a pretty interesting lesson. And his teaching that the casual divorce of a wife for trivial reasons (because she had failed to produce children or had lost her looks or had just generally been found to be a bit of a dead loss) -  was revolutionary. Jesus was an early champion of women, maintaining that a woman should not be abandoned by her husband - thrown to the wolves - but should have a protection, a consideration, a respect which the Mosaic law did not offer. He enjoyed talking with women and did not seem to think, like Paul, they should "keep silent".


On a lighter note, did this really happen? Being married to Socrates must have been a bit of a trial at times, what with the drink and the endless arguing - not to mention that gorgeous young Alcibiades always hanging around.



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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 10:21

It is futile to explore Greek philosophy in an attempt to find proto-feminism or even recognition that equality of females to men was an idea worth pursuing - these were very largely just men of their time from a certain social stratum who may have broken new ground in how one could interpret the universe and its constituents, of which people are one, but it is noticeable that when they applied their minds now and then to reshaping society they were in fact tremendously conservative and constrained in their ideas. Nor is it of huge relevance to bring "Jesus" (in inverted commas as his historical provenance is suspect) into the discussion. As you say, his reported attitude towards women may have been radical (or rustic - see below) but this was not consistent even within that narrative either - he was not above calling women "the wife of ..." now and again and forgetting they had a name, for example. In terms of social history however his reported views on this subject are even less important - it would be a difficult argument to prosecute if one should attempt to describe the institutions founded in his name and supposedly based on his teachings as being at the vanguard of feminism at any point in subsequent history. In fact their role has been rather the reverse in all significant cases.

But if you're looking for feminist traditions in western culture then you're pretty much barking up the wrong tree concentrating on prominent men's musings on the matter anyway. Excluding the small number of notable queens and their more modern equivalents, where European women traditionally had room to manoeuvre and where they held real power over their own affairs (and often men's too) was not at the economic levels of society which interfaced most readily into political or religious institutional systems. It was at the rustic level, as mentioned above about "Jesus" too. While for many centuries after the introduction of feudalism (by men) these layers of society could be dismissed as "peasants" and visibly excluded from all contribution to society except to create wealth for their "owners", this term covers a huge variety of social function, social class, local custom, local self-governance and, it must be said, local philosophy and belief. The pattern in fact was extremely complex - the peasant that evolved from the Gaelic rustic (a society in which women were incredibly equal compared to elsewhere by the way) was not the same as one evolved from the Slavic, or the Anglo-Saxon, or the Scandinavian, or the Italian, and so on. And within each of these broad categorisations were a myriad variations too.

But what is interesting when studying these peasants on those rare occasions when we can access their own words and records of their deeds without it having been previously interpreted by their "masters" is how much status women often appeared to have, even when compared to today. And this seems to hold true almost regardless of which predominant culture these people inhabited. This cannot be a coincidence. It must reflect how power is interpreted at levels in which access to territorial acquisitional power and governance is excluded for those inhabiting these social strata. It must also reflect how function and personal worth are also interpreted at these levels, with all the implications this has for what constitutes justice and fair treatment of others.

When "power" is taken not just to mean the refined institutional power-wielding which establishes and maintains territorial control and wealth extraction on that basis but to mean in fact a real power over day-to-day life-or-death decision making processes which the bulk of us actually live under, then history shows that women have very often held this power as much as their male counterparts and sometimes even more, have wielded it as well if not better on occasion, and in fact if one looks around society today and explores who is actually using individual power at this basic level to keep society functioning in any shape or form amongst and on behalf of the most disadvantaged (the modern "rustic") you will find women as well as men, and often more than and better than men, performing that powerful role.

Very few of the women throughout history who have performed this hugely important and powerful role in society will have regarded themselves as feminist per se, and even less may have acknowledged the power they wielded, but it is undeniable that we would not have any type of society today at all - despite the grand posturing of the powerful elites over millennia - worth inhabiting without this powerful role having been played by women.

Those at the bottom rungs of political and social power systems devised and defined by those above them have never had any real problem acknowledging this very real role played by women. And maybe even in Socrates' time the same was true among the rustic and non-academic class. The utterances and actions ascribed to the Jesus character which today are used to indicate this character's "feminism" may also be simply an expression of this attitude, one which would have been shared and readily understood and appreciated by any rabbinic audience composed of society's poorest people no matter whether their "masters" thought Mosaic Law was that which held sway or not. And thus has it ever been, in every society, as far as I can see.

But the important thing in the context of this thread's title is that throughout this time the basic idea that women were still fair game for exploitation based on their sex, and consequently enjoyed little legal protection from intimidation and abuse, still held sway and has survived right up to our time. My argument is that this reflects less on a basic human tendency to discriminate against women than on a history of societies which in turn have adopted and absorbed the notion that intimidation, exploitation and even abuse - regardless of who the target of such actions may be - are intrinsic to the acquisition of power over others. The only loud and consistent social refutation of this notion, when it has been visible enough to have been recorded in practice, seems to have been concentrated among the lowest ranks of any society along the way. Once potential mobility through those ranks comes into play, and once the notion that one holds a stake in the power structure as represented by the ranks above one also comes into play, then this refutation has been traditionally overridden and suppressed (sometimes with great vehemence and cruelty). And in this way the rather blatant abuse of women, blatant at least to the ancient rustic classes and their later equivalents, has become and remains an integral part of society itself. Its expression, extent and degree changes as time goes on but its presence has been a depressing constant, at least when one looks at history.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 12:40

Oh well, I thought the picture was funny, even if no one else did.

For those who don't recognise the characters, the image shows the unfortunate domestic incident when an infuriated Xanthippe (Ms Socrates) tipped the entire contents of a chamber pot over her husband's head. He no doubt had been wittering on about something incomprehensible. We have all been there, if not with an actual chamber pot.

Whether the character of Jesus of Nazareth actually existed or not is immaterial: the ideas and attitude to women, so very unusual in any literature of the time, do exist and are recorded in the Gospel writings: that is the point I was making.

I shall go away and think about the other very interesting points you raise.

PS Xanthippe is usually considered to have been a shrewish woman who abused her husband dreadfully, not always by brandishing a chamber pot at him.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 13:00

@Temperance wrote:

Whether the character of Jesus of Nazareth actually existed or not is immaterial: the ideas and attitude to women, so very unusual in any literature of the time, do exist and are recorded in the Gospel writings: that is the point I was making.

If you read what I wrote above I attempted to explain why I thought these sentiments found themselves into the gospel narrative, and even why - as you say - they were pretty much unique expressions found in contemporary literary form in their day. I did not dismiss either assumption contained in your point as incorrect, I simply wished to point out that you maybe should consider that bringing "Jesus" into any historical discussion requires rather more analysis as to how and why he may have been invented as a character than standard theological analysis entertains. In terms of the context of this thread the character's main function, in my view, is as an expression of then contemporary values and attitudes towards the role of women within certain social classes which otherwise may never have been recorded in that place and time but which do in fact find parallels elsewhere and in other contemporary cultural contexts - something which is of huge historical importance as it has not traditionally been properly addressed even by historians in my view, let alone theologians (who can at least be forgiven for their frequent omissions of pertinent historical fact when it suits them).

Xanthippe - if you examine sources from which we know anything about her at all in chronological order - can be seen to descend from being once regarded as a good woman and supporter of her husband to a comical abusive shrew, a process which continued over centuries but which seems to have begun with one of Socrates' own pupils who was attempting to ingratiate himself into top Athenian society, a process which by his own maturity meant distancing himself from his earlier tutor in as many ways as he could.

Xanthippe's literary fate is in fact by no means unique, and in this way she probably stands today more as a noble and eminently symbolic indictment of traditional male traducement of females - a crucial aspect to the very topic under discussion here in fact - than as the comical and archetypal shrew so many later literary men (!) chose to interpret her as.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 13:04

We have had some well reasoned postings on this matter which delve deeply into the thread's title.  Mine will be less profound.

I may have mentioned this on another thread previously but a few years back at the monthly meeting of the local U3A (University of the Third Age - nothing to do with universities; it's an organisation for retired or semi-retired people) somebody gave a talk on Lord Nelson and Emma, Lady Hamilton.  According to that account Emma's mother "pimped her out" at what would seem to be a prepubescent age (though I can't remember exactly what age).  When I was finding my feet in London I stayed with some friends who had a copy of each of both London's Underworld and London's Poor by Henry Mayhew. I don't which book (or the exact number) but Mayhew stated that there were a number of prostitutes of both sexes working in England's capital at the time.  (He also said that some of the female prostitutes contracted good marriages).  I don't think political spin-doctors talk so much about returning to "Victorian values" these days - I do remember somebody challenging the spin, asking why, if life was so wonderful in the times of Queen Victoria, the Ripper murders had taken place.

As nordmann points out (in different words) " 'Twas always thus".  Stories have surfaced in recent years and still continue to surface about children in "children's homes" (which theoretically ought to have been the safest place for them) being abused, not necessarily solely in a sexual manner though that did go on).

Now, I'm not saying I never had a "crush" on a pop star or actor in my younger days but I never got around to meeting any.  Of course it's come out in latter years that some of the matinée idols of the big screen were gay, but not all successful actors or pop stars were and there was the phenomenon of the "groupie" who granted sexual favours to the objects of their admiration.  Were "groupies" exploited or were they complicit?  Of course not every successful actor or pop star would make use of young ladies who "threw themselves" but some did.  Nowadays when some female pop stars become extremely wealthy and successful do some of them make use of male "groupies"?
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 13:06

Temperance, I thought the picture was amusing - as I did your insertions of pictures of Larry on another thread.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 13:15

It is amusing, LiR. But who originated the joke and why?

(Xanthippe, I mean, not the cat - that's a whole other aspect to humour as a contemporary defence against the insanity and inanity of our so-called "leaders" which also merits historical discussion, but isn't quite related to the topic in hand)

(or is it? hmmm ....)
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 13:38

I'm sorry nordmann but I haven't a clue (re: Xanthippe).
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 13:42

Ah, bless you, LiR.

@nordmann wrote:
(or is it? hmmm ....)

Well, everyone knows Larry's a bit of a male tart. Apart from the incident involving Cameron's knee, he lay down in Downing St. (in full view of the world's media) and allowed Laura Kuenssberg, Political Editor at the BBC and a real tough cookie, to stroke his tummy. She just melted, reporting that this shameless feline was "adorable". May doesn't dare reshuffle Larry knowing that the dangerously powerful Kuenssberg has a soft spot for him.

Larry is a survivor and is totally without scruple.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 18:07

I apologise for my flippancy, nordmann: your post sent at 10.21 am today was indeed a detailed and most thoughtful one. I acknowledge the truth and erudition of your contributions to this thread, especially your observations in that message. Comments about political cats are perhaps not relevant after such a missive, but nevertheless I shall not delete my comment to LiR: I still believe it is important we are allowed to keep our sense of humour in this discussion.

I shall try to address the points you raise tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Sun 12 Nov 2017, 12:52

@nordmann wrote:
Xanthippe's literary fate is in fact by no means unique, and in this way she probably stands today more as a noble and eminently symbolic indictment of traditional male traducement of females - a crucial aspect to the very topic under discussion here in fact - than as the comical and archetypal shrew so many later literary men (!) chose to interpret her as.

Such an aspect can also be a double-edged sword. It could even be argued that without such traducement then, say, the concept of an assertive woman would itself be meaningless. This is also the case (as mentioned earlier by Meles relating to the sensitive boy and the bully boys) with regard to other interactions between human beings of whatever gender. Whether it be male on female or female on female or female on male or male on male etc then there will nearly always be involve some form of dominance and subservience in the equation. Any interpretation of who is dominant and who is subservient in such a situation (or even who is active and who is passive) is often greatly dependent upon the intention and the perception of each party let alone any third parties. Needless to say it is a highly subjective issue. With regard to sexual exploitation as such, then quite often the predatory exploiter (or would be exploiter) is as likely to become unstuck as a result of their own bullying character (i.e. inverted cowardice) as anything else.

An example of this can be seen in a story told by Lauretta, one of the storytellers featured in Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron from 1353. In the Third Novel on the Sixth Day, Lauretta relates how a young Catalan diplomat by the name of Dego della Ratta came to Florence on business. Messer Dego a handsome bachelor also fancied himself something of a ladies’ man although this self-evaluation was not necessarily shared by the Florentine ladies themselves. He nevertheless set his sights on a beautiful woman who was married to a vile and miserly man - il marito ... avarissimo e cattivo - and Dego made a deal with him whereby he promised to pay the caitiff ‘husband’ 500 gold florins in return for spending a night with his wife. The wife was against the arrangement and received Dego contro al piacer (without pleasure) indicating that it was in fact rape. Dego then added insult to injury by paying 500 pieces of silver gilt rather than gold as promised.

The wife happened to be the niece of the Bishop of Florence who was also Messer Dego’s host in the city. Yet the Bishop ignored the incident even though it was the talk of the town. Some weeks later while out with Dego at the races, the Bishop spots among the crowd a newly married young gentlewoman Nonna de’ Pulci una fresco e bella giovane e parlante e di gran cuore (a fresh and pretty young woman, chatty and big hearted). Putting his hand on Dego’s shoulder the Bishop asks Nonna what she thinks of Dego and if she feels that she might ‘make a conquest of him’ - crederrestil vincere. Appalled at such an impertinent question and in such a public place too with many ears listening, Nonna nevertheless maintains her composure to reply:

"Sir, he’ll not make a conquest of me for I should wish for real money".

In that one short sentence she manages not only to deflect the slight but also to publicly humiliate both Dego and the Bishop - the former as a low life and a cheat, and the latter for not defending the honour of his niece and for also assuming to similarly mistreat Nonna. Furthermore she also humiliates Dego and the Bishop in the eyes of each other. They literally dare not look one another in the face – senza guarda l’un l’altro – and take themselves off in shame and silence – vergognosi e taciti - before the eyes of the crowd.

The narrator Lauretta concludes that Nonna, having received such a slight to her own honour - mordesero la sua onestà – was minded to return it blow for blow – a render colpo per colpo. And not only that but that her quick-witted response to the slight was well within her rights - non le si disdisse il mordere altrui motteggiando - and was the least she could do.

The tale certainly offers no redress for the Bishop’s niece (for having been sold into sex slavery) nor does it exact any retribution on her vile so-called ‘husband’. It does, however, illustrate a point that sexual predators and exploiters (such as Dego and the Bishop) often assume (and even rely upon) any sense of shame only being felt by their victims. When the tables are turned, however, and the spotlight is upon themselves along with attendant public opprobrium then (as with all bullies) their crumbling is all the more acute and their weakness all the more evident.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Mon 13 Nov 2017, 09:14

This story could be categorised, Vizzer, within a broad category of tales - fictional and factual - in which the punch line is how the female thwarts unwelcome sexual advances from the predatory male. The genre is extensive, and even includes children's fairy tales - no doubt so that the idea that this is both necessary and possible can be inculcated in young minds at the earliest opportunity. Little Red Riding Hood for example, in its earlier versions before she is "rescued" by the good-hearted woodsman, had two endings, both of which involved her being seduced into climbing into bed naked with the wolf but with two outcomes - in one she is eventually devoured (the moral being that it is a good idea to be wise to the man's intentions long before catastrophe strikes) and in the other she manages to extricate herself through a deception without the help of any third party and even inflicts revenge on the wolf (the moral being that one will have to be resourceful, hard-headed and quick-witted in life to avoid such catastrophe or, better, surmount it and defeat the threat permanently).

The point I made earlier however is that this - your cited story and even the fairy tale above in the version in which it is now relayed to us - represents a mentality which has always applied in particular to what we would now call in class terms "lower middle class and upwards". For peasants - or to use the old Latin term "pagans" (the "rustic" I referred to above because I did not wish to confuse the issue with a term which now has so many redacted definitions that it has sadly lost its initial quite concise meaning) - it is really only Little Red Riding Hood's first ending which applied, no surprise given that the tale originated as a peasant fable. The fatalism of the earliest version is in fact reproduced quite a lot within such moralistic fables originating at that social level throughout history, and the requirement to cheat death at the earliest opportunity was implicit in all of them, regardless of the threat or immorality addressed in each story.

Not for the first time I'd recommend anyone who as yet hasn't read it to have a look at Le Roy Laduries's book "Montaillou", which is in essence an exact transcript of a series of interviews held by a church inquisitor - bishop Jacques Fournier - with members of a peasant community in Meles Meles' neck of the woods in the 14th century. Given that he was investigating a heresy (Catharism) of which every single member of the community was suspected as having adopted and the dire consequences facing everyone thus interviewed, the candidness and frank admissions of deviation from what passed for morality as understood by their "superiors" in society is a feature of every single interviewee. The testimony concerning one of his prime suspects, the local self-appointed priest Pierre Clergue, elicits the most astonishing revelations regarding how sexual predation and women's response to it functioned at that level.

Clergue saw himself as above his peers, the Clergues were "peasants made good" but really only in the strict context of this remote village. In every other respect they were still very much peasants, unable to be accepted as anything else should they stray outside their limited territory and social class. Pierre's major conquest was the only female in the community who, through her marriage and relations, could be deemed "middle class". However the other eight "mistresses" he bedded (his chat-up lines included that he could help make babies for couples otherwise having a barren time of it, or that he could absorb their sins through sex since he was guaranteed - as a Cathar priest - to avail of a "one confession gets all" cleansing of his soul when the time came to meet his maker), when interviewed, were conspicuously non-condemnatory regarding Clergue's predation, his morals (the area in which his own fate now hung most precariously in the balance), or indeed his potential heresy though they never broached this subject unless specifically requested to by the interrogator, even though just one small accusation from them would most likely have sealed Clergue's fate. However they were all, every single one of them, equally open about every detail of the predatory act, every aspect to his morality, and every instance in which he - by his own admissions - had preached heresy, though they only acknowledged that this was heresy if Fournier said so, none of them had a strong opinion on this matter at all. They were equally open and non-judgemental regarding their own role in all of these accusations too - a point that the interrogator, the cleric Fournier, admits many times in his otherwise literal, detailed, and non-annotated transcripts, reveals an honesty he had never before encountered - even among heretics - within his own class.

What Fournier was scratching the surface of was the peasant mentality - the fatalist but incredibly frank approach to a life which was in many ways simply a series of threats and ill fortune which inevitably ends in death anyway, a gloomy sequence punctuated only by rare good fortune on occasion and by what one can forcefully extract through one's wits on a few more occasions, none of which in the end will help one avoid one's ultimate fate. This, Fournier remarked in a very sage comment in his letter to the archbishop who had sent him, he did not believe was typical of the Cathar heresy as much as it was typical of these people themselves, and in that he was quite correct - in an age when peasants had no voice he had given them one, and though startled by it faithfully recorded it for what it was, one of the rare occasions when this voice of what must have been about 90 percent of the European population actually makes it into the written record.

We have vestiges of this fatalism still within the English class system and the language it uses to distinguish levels within it, which itself evolved from this pronounced disparity in world views recognised openly and recorded in ancient times (and which for this reason actually makes a brief but welcome appearance within the gospel religious narrative), but which feudalism (and to a large and ironic extent the institutional Christian churches) basically obliterated from the written record as power became ever more concentrated and systemic within fewer people's control, reading, writing and recording along with this, and the bulk of the people ever more regarded as possessions rather than sentient beings with any deserved investment in posterity at all.

In the context of the specific topic under discussion here I would suggest that the peculiar English use of the term "I fell pregnant" is one such vestige (variations of the same expression exist also in other languages). I doubt Queen Elizabeth or her fellow travellers within the upper echelons of class society would ever have been so unfortunate and at least might acknowledge that some impregnation occurred. However for countless centuries this is exactly how women had to regard the event and stay sane within the life dealt out to them. And it was in this harsh  life subject so much to vagary and fickle fate that the vast voiceless bulk of European women (and men) lived. Our literary record however, and indeed our historical philological record, does not fairly reflect this view. However any historical examination of sexual predation, intimidation, exploitation and abuse really requires to at least acknowledge it - at least if the point of knowing history is to help us know ourselves today.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Mon 13 Nov 2017, 22:36

Vizzer and nordmann,

only a few days away and already that deep analysis on these boards.  When reading these texts I feel a bit humble and out of my depth in such an erudite environment. But nevertheless I will try tomorrow to comment it all from my low level status.
Vizzer, last time I see you more overhere and seemingly you add to bring up again the already high level of this board. I thank you for that.

Kind regards to both from Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 15:08

@Vizzer wrote:
Such an aspect can also be a double-edged sword. It could even be argued that without such traducement then, say, the concept of an assertive woman would itself be meaningless. This is also the case (as mentioned earlier by Meles relating to the sensitive boy and the bully boys) with regard to other interactions between human beings of whatever gender. Whether it be male on female or female on female or female on male or male on male etc then there will nearly always be involve some form of dominance and subservience in the equation. Any interpretation of who is dominant and who is subservient in such a situation (or even who is active and who is passive) is often greatly dependent upon the intention and the perception of each party let alone any third parties. Needless to say it is a highly subjective issue.


I do so agree with that, Vizzer.


@nordmann wrote:
...the comical and archetypal shrew so many later literary men (!) chose to interpret her as.


Nordmann is always erudite (I think we should ban the use of that word for the next month) but, interesting and illuminating as his above posts undoubtedly are (as ever), he is in danger of disappearing up his own backside with all this PC feminist stuff. Women of all classes have been exploited through the ages, but men have been, too. Clever women - as Chapuys observed of Anne Boleyn - have always been able to "manage" (his word, not mine) their men.

That said, I should like to point out that we can surely learn a great deal from literary men's (!) (with or without nordmann's exclamation mark) presentation of women. Especially with William Shakespeare, too simplistic a reading is never, ever wise. His The Taming of the Shrew is most definitely not a misogynistic play - see the Guardian link below, and please note the interesting and apposite references to the imagery in the play that are taken from falconry.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2012/jan/17/taming-of-the-shrew-rsc

Shakespeare's attractive female characters - whether the strong, assertive, witty and feisty (bolshy?) ones like Rosalind, Beatrice, Cleopatra (who is a richly comic character as well as a tragic one) and yes, Katharina, or the gentle and gracious and more "feminine" ones like Desdemona, Cordelia and Ophelia - all have one thing in common: they respect and love the men in their lives, even if, like the women of the first group, they delight in fighting them; and even if their men are, at times, as neurotic, foolish or as vulnerable as women can be. Katharina - the Shrew herself - in her great monologue at the end of the play, is not delivering an essay in pathetic female submission: hers is rather a declaration of love between equals.  The falcon - strong and free - has returned to the falconer. Nowt wrong with that, lads!

The foul women in Shakespeare - Regan, Goneril and Lady Macbeth, for example - are aggressive, terrifying and vicious; they are female bullies who despise, hate and belittle men - whether husband or father. These women are as bad as the worst of men: indeed Regan's and Goneril's ideal man - with whom they are both in lust - is that arch-villain, Edmund (who, ironically, is probably homosexual - see Richard Eyre). Edmund is calculating, cruel, power-hungry and totally lacking in that loveliest of human hormones, oxytoctin - which WW calls in Macbeth "the milk of human kindness".

What can we learn from these musings from the 16th century? Well, what worries me these days is the misandry I see all around me, especially in young women, girls who seem determined to be either co-dependent victims or exploitative men-haters. Many, significantly, have been raised without a father, or without an effective father-figure: these "strong" girls aspire to outdo men in what they perceive as successful male power-grabbing and triumph. I distrust these women and what they think they want. We could well in the near future find ourselves facing what John Knox feared so much: a monstrous regiment (in both senses of the word) of unhappy, unforgiving and angry women. Monstrous (unnatural in its lack of compassion) regiment (rule or power) - whether imposed by males or females - is not a good idea and should be avoided at all costs - in whatever century we find ourselves.


—But, mistress, know yourself. Down on your knees

And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man’s love...






Last edited by Temperance on Tue 14 Nov 2017, 20:19; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 17:41

Temp wrote:
Nordmann is always erudite (I think we should ban the use of that word for the next month) but, interesting and illuminating as his above posts undoubtedly are (as ever), he is in danger of disappearing up his own backside with all this PC feminist stuff.

Can I suggest the next time you wish me to refrain from adding my point of view to a thread on this site that you send me a PM to that effect? I will gladly oblige as I do not wish to antagonise anyone, and especially not whoever had started the discussion in which my contributions obviously prompt such rude response. There is really no need for such crass and extremely personal nastiness, Temp.

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 17:48

You must forgive me: I have been taught by masters.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 17:56

Nordman, quoting Temp, who was quoting Nordman, .... Enough!

This site is getting like the Daily Mail online comments sections: I'm now never sure whether people are being playfully satirical, mildly ironic, brutally honest, nastily devious, or just plain stupid.

I'll assume - though I personally fail to see it - that some of the above digs and reposts are supposed to be humour. Only sorry, I ain't seeing the funny side ... all too often this sort of bitchy banter has turned into bitter misunderstandings, grumps, huffiness and then departures.

So stop it, everyone ... or I'll flounce out in a sulk as well.


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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 18:21

I'm not trying to be funny - I'm well p*ssed off with all this. I've been told I'm too sensitive, so I'm trying very hard to be robust. But I've obviously failed dismally yet again and am apparently just rude, crass and nasty - and too sensitive. Well, well, well.

But you are right. This is just getting silly. You dursn't disagree with anything anymore around here, and far from being funny, we all seem to have lost our sense of humour - which in the old days kept us all afloat.

And there was me thinking my Shakespeare comments were rather good. Serves me right.

EDIT: If you think this place would be happier and more welcoming without me, MM, just say so and I will delete my membership - again - and will try to make my deletion work this time. God - I can't even delete myself without mucking it up.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 18:57

Temp ... I don't want anyone to leave this site, least of all you. I was, am, trying to be even handed, and don't really want to drag all this up here, in what up to now has been an interesting, and yes, erudite, discussion.However, while it is certainly not for me to cast the first stone ... but Nordmann? ... if you really have an interest in keeping this site running I'd advise you to show a little bit more sensitivity and understanding to some of your most loyal contributors and supporters.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 19:10

Not the "E" word again  - aaaaaaahhhh!!!

Seriously, I wonder why we are all so sensitive and mardy these days? I suppose I shouldn't have said nordmann was in danger of disappearing up his own backside, especially when he had obviously spent ages on a detailed and very thoughtful - and interesting - post, but it was a careless rather than an insultingly crass comment. Most comments just get ignored these days and that's really dispiriting.

Sign of the times, I suppose -  everyone's quick to take offence and slow to apologise.

But I suppose being called crass and nasty and insulting is a sign I'm toughening up a bit at last - gosh, where will it all end?


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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 19:23

The E word, whatever's that? ... empathic? or erinaceous? epicaceouus? elverine? ... ooo, or, exotic, erotic, enormous, engorged, and elephantine ... no?
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 19:36

Deleted.


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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 19:58

deleted - a silly joke - not funny
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 07:01

Cold, grey and miserable November dawn here in the Sceptered Isle, and I've deleted my last post too - for the same reason MM has given, although his comment was funny.

I really don't understand what happened yesterday, but, as always after any ill-tempered exchange, I regret any offence or hurt that I have caused. It would be nice to think the other party involved feels the same way. Censure was perhaps required, but having one's post called rude, crass and nasty was pretty damning. Buttons pressed all around, it would seem.

I am honestly beginning to think it would be better if I disappear for a bit - not in a huff or a flounce or with dramatic and bungled attempts at deletion of membership, but just that I shut up for a while.


Definitely better for Res His that I disappear rather than that the Boss does.


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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 07:54

I apologise if I was too direct in expressing my annoyance with being accused of "disappearing up my own arse" - when one puts a fair bit of thought into what one thinks is a reasonable response it is quite galling that it should be so rudely dismissed (as you have often said too, Temp, so I know you understand).

Disappearing - as in not contributing to discussions further - is not a good plan, not just for the sake of the site but as a general rule of rhetoric anyway, the teaching of which in monastery schools in the Dark Ages and early medieval period often involved locking the classroom door from the outside until those trapped inside whittled their arguments down into one cogent expression. It didn't have to be a correct cogent thought, just proof that intellect triumphed over the "fight or flight response" when disagreement occurred.

Now, while I'm here where you have rhetorically consigned me, I suppose I'd better make a good fist of it (pardon the pun) and get that prostate examination over and done with.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 08:59

I am genuinely sorry you got galled by the bottom references - they were a tad uncalled for, I admit - just sort of slipped out in an unguarded moment. I didn't say "arse" though - that sounds so much ruder.

Can't find a suitable picture of monks enjoying fisticuffs during a rhetoric class - but I bet they did.





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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 09:16

That little biddy behind you grabbing a quick feel of your woman bits is heading into one serious sexual molestation lawsuit! Fair play to you for maintaining a cogent thought under such unwelcome duress.
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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 09:19

I decided to delete it - it's Heloise - I hadn't realised. Embarassed

But I see what you mean  pale.  Wish I could pretend it was me having my cogent thought of the week, but alas, no!

Your comment is actually very funny (should I admit that?), so here's the picture again:

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PostSubject: Re: The History of Sexual Exploitation   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 10:25

@nordmann wrote:
That little biddy behind you grabbing a quick feel of your woman bits is heading into one serious sexual molestation lawsuit! Fair play to you for maintaining a cogent thought under such unwelcome duress.

Thank goodness you reposted the picture, Temp, otherwise nordmann's comment would have had me confused and not a little disconcerted. I do hate finding deleted posts, not only have I lost the thread of the discussion but I feel I have missed out on something.


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