Friday, November 28, 2014

I get comments

Difficult as it may be to believe, people outside of my family sometimes read this blog. It's true! Unless, of course, I have a bunch of family members in Ukraine who nobody told me existed. Stay strong, imaginary Yookie relatives.

Sometimes people even leave comments. It only happens about once or twice a year, but it's usually nice when they do. I say "usually" because spam bots have been known to visit, and recently a new breed of slimeball stopped by -- the unapologetic misogynist. While I normally respond to comments where they're posted, this one deserves its own thread for several reasons. I'm posting the comment below the fold because it's needlessly bone-headed and nasty.

The comment popped up on this post. Here it is in its entirety:
I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

The comment also had a URL that I'm not including for obvious reasons. I took a look at his site in the interest of accuracy and curiosity -- it's an empty Wordpress blog. How disappointing.

Nevertheless, I would be remiss if I didn't address and rebut some of this gentleman's claims, if only as a public service. I've seen his assertions made elsewhere by others, and the proper knee-jerk response is a big, fat "citation needed".

"Wikipedian Protester", from Randall Munroe's XKCD

Lots of assertions, nothing in the way of support. As the old saying goes, that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

But let's take a look at his claim that American women are the most likely to cheat and divorce you. Reliable evidence on infidelity can be hard to come by, but what studies there are appear to show that cheating is both a worldwide phenomenon and one in which Americans rank in the middle of the pack. Author and researcher Pamela Druckerman suggests sub-Saharan Africa is the world capital of infidelity:
Beginning in the 1990s, researchers tracking the spread of HIV began extensively mapping sexual behavior in sub-Saharan Africa. Their findings were astonishing: in the tiny West African nation of Togo, with a population of less than six million, 37 percent of married or cohabiting men said they've had more than one sex partner in the last year (the figure includes polygamists). Trailing just behind the Togolese were men in Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Tanzania. In South Africa, even the AIDS educator at a Cape Town metal company told me that of course he had a girlfriend as well as a wife.
Surveys by condom maker Durex have pegged Thailand, Ghana, Nigeria, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong as the world's most promiscuous or most likely to cheat in recent years, though given the opaqueness of Durex's methodology and the fluidity of their findings, it might be wise to take their numbers with a large amount of salt. What about China? It doesn't sound like things are much better in the Middle Kingdom.
Indeed, a 2012 study conducted by Chinese and Western researchers revealed rates of infidelity—both commercial and non-commercial—among Chinese men and women of 13.6 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively (respondents, aged 18-49, were either married or in a stable relationship). While Chinese men hovered around the median 13.2-percent infidelity rate of the 36 other countries included in the report, Chinese women were far more likely to cheat than women elsewhere—well above the median of 0.8 percent and trailing only Norway, Britain, and Cameroon (while topping the U.S., France, Australia, and Italy).
And let's not forget those sexy, sophisticated Europeans. A survey of about 5,000 people from France, Italy, the UK, Germany, Spain and Belgium found that "Fifty-five percent of French men and 55 percent of Italian men surveyed said they had cheated at least once in their life -- but only 33 percent of French women and 44 percent of Italian women said the same". Yes, our friends in France more than live up their stereotype in this area.
Just 47% of the French say it is morally unacceptable for married people to have an affair, the lowest percentage among 39 nations surveyed in 2013 by the Pew Research Center. In fact, France was the only country where less than 50% of respondents described infidelity as unacceptable. Instead, four-in-ten think it is not a moral issue, while 12% say it is actually morally acceptable. And there is essentially no gender gap on this issue, with 45% of French men and 50% of women saying affairs are unacceptable.
Across the countries polled, a median of 79% consider infidelity unacceptable, including an overwhelming 84% of Americans.
Of course, it would hardly be groundbreaking news that Americans said one thing about sex but behaved in a quite different manner. US popular culture has the remarkable ability to be both saturated with sex yet prudish and sex-negative at the same time. As Dan Savage is so fond of saying, "Canada got the French, Australia got the convicts, we got the Puritans".

Looking at the numbers, it appears our anonymous commenter's attack on American women fails to hold water. The odds of a committed relationship in the US experiencing adultery in a given year? Around 6 percent. According to the General Social Survey, while American women are closing the infidelity gap, American men still cheat at a greater rate (21 percent to 14.7 percent). And those randy, unrestrained Canadians? Not all that different, it turns out.

American women most likely to divorce? Hardly. According to the United Nations Statistics Bureau, the US barely makes the top 10 in world divorce rate with its 53 percent mark. That pales in comparison to Belgium, where more than seven in 10 marriages end in divorce. Most likely to get fat? Again, no. America is tied with Saudi Arabia for 18th place in adult prevalence of obesity. Most likely to not want children? Strike three. World Bank statistics show the US with a crude birth rate of 13 live births per 1,000 people, well ahead of last-place Japan and Germany (eight) and many other developed nations. His other claims are so subjective as to be meaningless, though the World Health Organization may take issue with the whole "highly unchaste" bit.

At the risk of matching anecdotes with anecdotes, it's been my experience that foreign women are just as capable as their American counterparts of being vapid, shallow and materialistic -- and men, too, for that matter. The borders of the United States are not some line of demarcation between wholesome, foreign women and the painted jezebels of America. At the very least, the commenter has an extremely idealized image of foreign women that may not last long once it's exposed to the real world.

It's fairly clear what this guy wants. He'd prefer a stereotypical attractive foreign bride from Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia who knows how to cook, clean, keep her mouth shut and give him sex on demand. He, of course, would counter that he just wants a woman in tune with his "traditional family values". Never mind that sharing such values does not obviate cultural clashes and misunderstandings, or that going fishing for a bride in Eastern Europe could just as easily leave him empty of both hand and wallet. No, the demure, domesticated yet desirable love of his life is waiting for him in some foreign land, and he will find her just as soon as he throws off the shackles of the loathsome, oppressive feminist scourge that has left America a barren wasteland for Real Men (TM).

On behalf of American women -- and feminist men everywhere -- I'd like to cordially invite our dear commenter to go fuck himself, because he won't be fucking anyone else anytime soon.

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