Uncategorized

My favorite Naipaul story has sexist undertones. My mother doesn’t like me arguing when my father is driving. This is not because that’d distract him. She just doesn’t like it. She usually changes the subject or turn silent when I argue. Or she looks here and there. When I ask why, she wouldn’t answer, or say that she knows I’m wrong. Women hate arguments. Usually, when their husbands debate me on some abstract topic, women ask them to stop. They won’t say this, but they see debates as a sign of conflict. It took me so many years to see this. Continue Reading

Books, Uncategorized

alia_bhatt_4_0There were many news stories on women making false rape accusations against men, in the recent past. When this happens, most people assume that this might be rare. Why would a woman do this? Of course, in offices, what happens often can at best be expressed along these lines: The office harlot’s attempt to nail a man, again, fell flat. Then all the contemptible mediocrities that were hiding behind the rocks for long, seething with resentment, came crawling out to ruin the superior man—to get closure.

Many columnists have pointed out that it is unfair to shift the burden of the proof to the accused, in a rape case. But, how would we know whether there should be a strong presumption in favor of the “victim” or not? Find out how common false accusations are. That seems to be the only way there is. A typical scenario:

“The ‘Rohtak Sisters’  is a curious case which started with a video upload showing the two sisters beating eve-teasers in a public transport bus. Hyped by the media, these sisters were hailed as brave hearts who fought back against sexual abuse. Haryana Government even announced that the girls will be honored on the occasion of Republic Day. Few days later a second video was released which showed these sisters beating another guy in Public Park for not so clear reasons. And then local witnesses started giving statements against these sisters blaming them of occasionally harassing and falsely accusing men of sexual abuse.”

Deepika Narayan Bharadwaj tries to find out the truth here.

Now, contra feminist dogma, evolutionary psychologists have always known that a man being victimized by rumors, gossip and ostracism, and manipulation of public opinion is very common. It is fashionable to say that there “ought to be” a change in the attitude of sexist Indian men. But then, how would we define primitivism? A primitive man rejects facts without giving it the fair hearing it deserves. The feminists are guilty here, not the lone, sane voices.

From A Natural History Of Rape:

“Women have evolved to compete for limited resources and mates not so much by direct physical aggression as by indirect and low-cost (relative to physical aggression) means. In fact, research shows that in social competition human females use a sophisticated suite of indirect, low-cost tactics. Girls and women, relative to boys and men, tell more false stories about adversaries, gossip about them, start rumors about them, and use ostracism and manipulation of public opinion as tactics. We know of no studies of social knowledge that males and females differ in these ways, but we predict that such studies would reveal that such knowledge exists. Thus, the requirement for corroboration in rape cases may reflect, in part, evolved knowledge of the tactics females may use in social competition. We suggest, also, that people are especially concerned about the credibility of women’s allegations when sex is involved. As we have mentioned, people everywhere understand sex to be something that women have and that men want. This intuition about social life arises from the sex difference in minimum investment necessary for the production of offspring. That males want sex itself appears to have selected, in human evolutionary history, for females who used sex and promises of sex to manipulate men and get resources from them. Clearly, women behave this way far more often than men. Studies reveal that, relative to men, women seem to be more deceitful about their sexual interest in individuals of the opposite sex, about sexual arousal, and about personal sexual history (e.g., claiming to have had fewer partners than the actual number). Studies also suggest that women are more deceitful with respect to mateship infidelity. Thus, especially when sex is involved (as it is in rape), there may be an evolved intuition that women sometimes lie for their own gain. This is not to say that men don’t lie about sexual matters. They obviously do, and presumably for personal gain, because a high number of sex partners is associated with high status and high self-esteem in men, and not in women. However, social intuition about women’s use of sexual allegations, in combination with their use of low-cost competitive tactics, may lead to skepticism and to reluctance to judge in favor of a woman who “cries rape.” False rape allegations have received little systematic study. To some feminists, the concept of false rape allegation itself constitutes discriminatory harassment. However, a careful study of 109 rape cases in the United States found 41 percent of rape accusations to be false as evidenced by the women’s own recantations. The women studied gave three reasons for their false reports: providing an alibi for a consensual sexual encounter that might have led to pregnancy, seeking revenge against a rejecting consensual male partner, and obtaining sympathy and attention from kin and/or friends. Kanin emphasizes that false rape allegations “reflect desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations”.

Scott Alexander has some of the best arguments I have ever read on this, and a good guesstimate:

“Many scholars critique the police’s judgment, suggesting many police officers automatically dismiss anyone who doesn’t fit their profile of a “typical rape victim”. A police-based study that took pains to avoid this failure mode by investigating all cases very aggressively (Kanin 1994) was criticized for what I think are ideological reasons – they primarily seemed to amount to the worry that the aggressive investigations stigmatized rape victims, which would make them so flustered that they would falsely recant. Certainly possible. On the other hand, if you dismiss studies for not investigating thoroughly enough and for investigating thoroughly, there will never be any study you can’t dismiss. So while not necessarily endorsing Kanin and the similar studies in this range, I think they make a useful “not provably true” upper bound to contrast with the “near-provably false” lower bound of 2%-10%. But this only represents the number of false rape accusations that get reported to the police. 80% of rapes never make it to the police. Might false rape accusations be similar? Suppose you are a woman who wants to destroy a guy’s reputation for some reason. Do you go to the police station, open up a legal case, get yourself tested with an invasive rape kit, hire an attorney, put yourself through a trial which may take years and involve your reputation being dragged through the mud, accept that you probably won’t get a conviction anyway given that you have no evidence – and take the risk of jail time if you’re caught lying? Or do you walk to the other side of the quad and bring it up to your school administrator, who has just declared to the national news that she thinks all men accused of rape should be automatically expelled from the college, without any investigation, regardless of whether there is any evidence? Or if even the school administrator isn’t guilty-until-proven-innocent enough for you, why not just go to a bunch of your friends, tell them your ex-boyfriend raped you, and trust them to spread the accusation all over your community? Then it doesn’t even matter whether anyone believes you or not, the rumor is still out there. This last one is the one that happened to me. I wasn’t the ex-boyfriend (thank God). I was the friend who was told about it. I took it very very seriously, investigated as best I could, and eventually became extremely confident that the accusation was false. No, you don’t know the people involved. No, I won’t give you personal details. No, I won’t tell you how I became certain that the accusation was false because that would involve personal details. Yes, that leaves you a lot of room to accuse me of lying if you want. So I know three men who have been accused of rape in a way that did not involve the police, and none (as far as I know) who have been accused in a way that did. This suggests that like rapes themselves, most false rape accusations never reach law enforcement. While rape victims have some incentives to report their cases to the police – a desire for justice, a desire for safety, the belief that the evidence will support them – false accusers have very strong incentives not to – too much work, easier revenge through other means, knowledge that the evidence is unlikely to support them, fear of getting in trouble for perjury if their deception gets out. So I consider it a very conservative estimate to say that the ratio of unreported to reported false accusations is 4:1 – the same as it is with rapes. A more realistic estimate might be as high as double or triple that.”

Today, we have mail archives, chat logs and CCTV footages. Many false accusations and selective representations of reality are harder to maintain. Many such women won’t get very far. But, does that matter?

Books, Uncategorized

finding-fanny-wallpaper-17-12x91When I see condemnation of the journalistic standards of “The Times of India” littering my newsfeed, a question posed by Gail Wynand whose media empire spread like bubonic plague comes back to me: “Do you think it took no talent to create the Banner? The critics of the Times of India do not know that it takes breathtaking creativity to create the largest selling English language newspaper in the world—in a country where most people cannot read, let alone read an English language newspaper.

It is an ancient method of swindling, but virtually everyone is hoodwinked because it is instinctively shrewd. But then, human nature has changed little since the 17th century frauds took to the streets to put on a show, stir up the masses and sell dubious medicines to large numbers of people. It did not matter that the show did not have anything to do with the medicines they were selling—By any stretch of imagination. But, what are the principles involved? Robert Greene tells us:

Appear as news, never as publicity

“People pay more attention to what is broadcast as news—it seems more real. You suddenly stand out from everything else, if only for a moment—but that moment has more credibility than hours of advertising time. The key is to orchestrate the details thoroughly, creating a story with dramatic impact and movement, tension and resolution. The media will cover it for days. Conceal your real purpose—to sell yourself—at any cost.”

When her new movie was released, The Times Of India reporter posted a video of Deepika Padukone’s cleavage. Continue Reading

Books, Uncategorized

Finding Fanny?
Finding Fanny?

“Yes! I am a man. I love breasts. I stare and share. You got a problem! Don’t talk about patriarchal culture if you do not know how to respect men!”

If the Times Of India reporter had said this to Deepika Padukone, would the twitterati have said, “I stand with the Times Of India reporter”?

The truth is that men’s right to stare and share has the same moral status as Deepika Padukone’s right to flaunt her boobs. A truly liberal society would recognize and celebrate both. But, the Indian society celebrates only Deepika Padukone’s rights, not that of the innocent men who love to see her boobs. Isn’t that mean?

Untitled

Why are many Indians selectively liberal? Perhaps because the mass media, universal education and popular literature have created a minority that can at best memorize, mouth and repeat cue words.

But, I suspect this is a clever trick to get people to see her new movie, “Finding Fanny”. But, Finding Fanny? (Good God!)

Read:

“When I see condemnation of the journalistic standards of “The Times of India” filling my newsfeed, a question posed by Gail Wynand whose media empire spread like bubonic plague comes back to me: “Do you think it took no talent to create the Banner?”

Sameer Jain’s Times Of India And Gail Wynand’s New York Banner

And: Gail Wynand And The Times Of India

Uncategorized

Cuteness is not negotiable.
Cuteness is not negotiable.

I gather that an actress was arrested for selling sexual services to moneyed people. She was sent to a rescue home where she is entertaining the inmates with tales of her illustrious past. Her full name is Sweta Basu Prasad. Now, many people in the film industry ask: “Why is she held up for our titillation while her rich clients are still walking the streets—and perhaps has many mistresses tucked away somewhere?

She is punished for prostitution, but her rich clients are still paragons of decency in the eyes of their wives and children. Yes, the Indian society is so damn sexist!

Now, Imagine a country “Ruritania” where selling your house is a crime.  A wealthy woman decides to sell her million dollar house. The real estate broker pockets his modest share. Soon the police hears about the deal, and locks up the male broker in a prison room. The home owner is sent to a rescue home where she entertains the inmates with tales of her struggle—with detailed descriptions of how she built her fortune. But, we hear nothing about the man who bought the house. The media reports this, and soon there is an outpouring of sympathy toward her. (Oh, the tragic fall!)

Now, is it true that in Ruritania, the police and the media are unusually biased against women? She was treated tenderly by the cops, but her male broker suffered some rough handling in their arms. He was locked up in a prison room while she was sent to a rescue home. People find the perils confronting women under the pressure of poverty heartbreaking. But, they want her male broker and client to be shamed and horsewhipped out of Ruritania. Misogynist, indeed. Isn’t it possible that they too have a story to tell? What if the broker had hoped to treat his ailing mother with his modest commission? What if her client was homeless? After all, this is a country where people are not allowed to sell houses.Hypocrisy can be so inane. This is what my mind says.

But, what does my heart say? What a cutie! If I knew that she was in so much trouble, I would have promised her a large share of the proceedings from the sales of my yet-to-be-published novel. She says that this is common in the film industry. We need betting markets to pair up talented men with cute girls. Seriously. Cuteness is not negotiable.