Open Thread: Black women and THANKING Kanazawa

You KIDDING me?

One point that has yet to be noted — Kanazawa’s post may have helped to start a dialogue that ultimately may be particularly valuable to black women. First, he was the messenger of bad news (let’s not shoot him), but, news about data that (if correct) needs to be heard. Social psychologists have demonstrated the huge impact physical attractiveness has on many aspects of peoples’ lives. If black women suffer further discrimination because, for whatever reason, they are still generally seen as less attractive, the first step to dealing with this inequity is to acknowledge it.

Well, thank you, Dr. Kanazawa for starting a conversation black women were already having. Asshole.

Had his post been censored from the outset (and assuming the effect is real), we may not have seen this problem — we may have simply assumed that it was a non-issue.

Whatcha mean “we?”

So Kanazawa’s post alerts us to a issue of particular concern to a group of people that have already experienced a great deal of discrimination. If there are current cultural factors that are further exacerbating this, our consciousness needs to be raised, and these issues need to be confronted if cultural biases and perceptions are to be challenged, and, hopefully, changed over time.

Y’all. I’m officially OUT OF WORDS.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, here we go again. Fucking white dude telling black women to thank this turd for…. aaagghh!! And he understands the issue so poorly that he thinks if Kanazawa used more qualifiers, it would be less controversial? Yeah, that would not quite cut it.

    This magazine is like the biggest case of not getting it. Is it entirely staffed by ex-film people or something?

    Whatcha mean “we?”

    ROFL, that’s beautiful.

    I keep cracking up at your wording (sticking “asshole” with a link on the end of that sarcastic sentence), and then I remember what’s really being discussed here and I get a little depressed.

    We talk a lot on here about not meeting a Hollywood standard of beauty, which is something lots of us of all races here know the feeling of. We also talk about not meeting anyone’s standard of “beautiful” and still thinking we’re worthwhile. But I see so many black women who are beautiful. What are other people seeing when they look at them?

    I don’t think at this point, in 2011, I give a shriveled ball about cultural indoctrination and programming. If you’re not in touch with your basic animal sense of aesthetics enough to see beauty where it’s not, ahem, politically correct* to see it, then where is your humanity? If it becomes unfashionable to love your kids, will you stop that, too?

    *Returning that phrase to its original meaning.

  2. Harrison Murray says

    It’s less likely that it’s staffed by ex-film people than by “evolutionary psychologists” and maybe some “pickup artists” who think there’s an evolutionary justification for “game”.

    (for the words in sneer quotes, just substitute “dogmatic genetic determinists with unacknowledged male privilege” for “evolutionary psychologists”, “rapists” for “pickup artists”, and “psychological coercion” for “game”.)

  3. says

    Oh geez, for a long moment, I thought the first quoted paragraph was you and not a quote. I can’t even tell you how much of a heart attack I just had! I’m sending you the bill from the cardiologist ;)

    Seriously, I’m really afraid to hit the link because I’m running out of outrage at the insanely bad blogging at Psychology Today’s site. They’ve got a marketing dude who thinks atheists just haven’t been frightened enough and they’ve got Kanazawa…how much worse can it get? (Don’t answer that.)

  4. Maria says

    Jennifer Kesler: What are other people seeing when they look at them?

    My words! I found them! :)

    But seriously, I have this theory that beauty for majority culture = “fragile women that should be protected and only raped by a few” and fuckable = “scary women that should be avoided and rapeable by all.” And I think the way they reconcile it is by saying that one feeling of aesthetic appreciation is “love” and the other is “lust.”

    But, I’m also really bitter.

  5. Maria says

    Mara: Seriously, I’m really afraid to hit the link because I’m running out of outrage at the insanely bad blogging at Psychology Today’s site. They’ve got a marketing dude who thinks atheists just haven’t been frightened enough and they’ve got Kanazawa…how much worse can it get? (Don’t answer that.)

    SERIOUSLY. It’s like they’ve given up all pretenses of being a for-real magazine.

  6. says

    Maria,

    I know it has to have been serious at one point, because the magazine was briefly owned by the American Psychological Association, who lost a metric buttload of money and sold it.

    Now…I’m just afraid to even look.

  7. Attackfish says

    Whatcha mean “we?”

    Best line in the entire piece. His assumptions of who has value in the conversation are disturbingly unconscious.

    Maria: I have this theory that beauty for majority culture = “fragile women that should be protected and only raped by a few” and fuckable = “scary women that should be avoided and rapeable by all.” And I think the way they reconcile it is by saying that one feeling of aesthetic appreciation is “love” and the other is “lust.”

    This explains the sheer volume of creepy guys asking me out when I’m at my sickest. I epitomize the white standard of feminine beauty… half dead.

    It also explains the China Doll fetish. East Asian women are stereotyped as even more fragile than white women. And other nonwhite women and some ethnicities of white women are “passionate.”

  8. says

    Well, it’s obvious Kanazawa’s fail at Psychology Today is not alone. I can see why he thought it’d be okay, in that kind of environment.

    Did anyone else see that he might lose his job from the London School of Economics over this? The student union voted unanimously and the administration is still considering.

  9. says

    Attackfish,

    Me, too!!! If I go out feeling and looking good, guys run like startled rats. If I go out sick, looking like I might fall over any minute now, they’re all over me, and it’s like, “Dude, I’m going to puke on your shoes.” I always thought that was just the 1% of men who are super creepy predators sniffing “vulnerable” from a mile away.

    And Maria’s paragraph there is just painful to read, not least because it’s what I’ve always suspected too. And it’s horrible. :(

    Harrison Murray,

    Your word substitutions are pretty sobering. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how this society is shaped, and how many rapist personalities must actually have been involved in shaping it to get it like this.

  10. says

    I just clicked over the Pharyngula to read his takedown of this, and… this Kanazawa thinks Africans have more mutations than other races and that should make them less attractive (which is why he can’t understand black men being attractive… um). Myers points out there’s absolutely no basis for that conclusion, and we’re ALL mutations from Africa, actually. But did I totally misunderstand biology class, because I thought mutations were random and could be good or bad, but that typically the better mutations are the ones that survive. Does this not suggest that a group or species that’s been mutating for a really long time might be closer to ideally suited for its niche than one that hasn’t? And therefore more attractive, since sexual attraction is necessary for survival?

  11. Korva says

    If I recall my Biology classes right, most mutations occur in the non-coding DNA, simply because that’s what the majority of our DNA is, so they (usually) don’t have an effect. And purely beneficial mutations are rare, most are neutral or negative. Still, we’re ALL “mutants”. The sheer amount of genes and cells means we all have many of those genetic hiccups in us somewhere.

    Ugh. I love biology, and reading such utter drivel by some wankstain who can’t be bleeding arsed to do the simplest research because all he really wants is some feel-good “scientific” sugarcoating for his hate of The Other makes me want to throttle someone.

  12. Shaun says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Species that have a faster life-cycle have more mutations and are generally more… efficient than those of us with lengthier life-cycles (there’s very little junk DNA in a single-celled organism).

    I don’t see how the hell this relates to Africans or anyone else. Even if Africans had been completely culturally stagnant for hundreds of thousands of years and were all reproducing younger than the rest of the world I don’t think that would make a blip genetically. Chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas all start reproducing at the age of 10-15, much earlier than humans generally do, and their DNA is hardly different from ours, or more efficient.

    Also there isn’t really any such thing as a superior trait. Any trait has a tradeoff, even if the loss is just energy used to maintain it. So chimpanzees are light-skinned, and humans evolved dark skin with the loss of body hair to protect from the sun. When some humans moved into colder climates that evolved light skin again to make better use of sunlight, while humans in Africa evolved different traits to continue to suit them to their environment. But even then considering the climate of parts of Africa has changed over hundreds of thousands of years it’s not like the humans who live in Tanzania have just been sitting pretty perfecting the formula either.

    tl;dr I don’t know wtf is up with Kanazawa, I suspect his views on race are either part of his alleged desire to be seen “only as American,” or a way to deflect racism onto people of African descent to uplift his own ethnic group rather than taking the riskier move of dismantling the system in the first place.

  13. Attackfish says

    Korva, Shaun, Jennifer Kesler,

    Having more mutations is Kanazawa’s way of saying more genetically diverse. Populations that moved out of Africa did so late in terms of the existence of human beings as far as anyone is able to tell, and took with them only a small piece of the human collection of genes. Since mutations occur at a somewhat steady rate, the number of mutations in a population (i.e. amount of genetic diversity) can theoretically be used to judge how long that group of people has been out of Africa/settled in a region. Since the vast majority of these genes are as Korva said are in non-coding DNA, the number of mutations in a population doesn’t affect appearance, and if it says anything, it says we people whose ancestors came out of Africa are just a bit inbred. Also, contrary to Kanazawa’s understanding, it doesn’t mean that individual people of recent African decent have more mutations off some sort of pure DNA. That would require having any idea what that pure DNA is, firstly, and everybody is probably equally pretty far off in terms of non-coding mutations from our first truly homo sapien ancestors. Kanazawa’s understanding of good science is bad.

  14. Harrison Murray says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    re: rapist personalities, such personalities often have an animal charisma (“alpha male”) to them that can enthrall people who don’t recognize them for what they are, plus the ability to guiltlessly use fear, intimidation, and violence to silence those who do recognize them, and thus sociopaths tend to get a disproportionately large share of leadership positions. So most assuredly many, many rapist personalities have had a hand in crafting our social systems.

  15. alex says

    Yeah, the point of the pharyngula piece is:
    a) Those researchers are NOT making objective judgments about the subjects’ attractiveness. Attractiveness is subjective by its very nature. The only legitimate conclusion that could be drawn is “our researchers found black women less attractive” which is like, so what? I guess if these researchers find black women so unattractive then they shouldn’t date them.

    b) Kanazawa then tries to “explain” these “objective” results with some hand waving about mutations. While Africans may have more genetic diversity than other races, that doesn’t mean they have more mutations, i.e. from the point that the races split both offshoots have the same rate of mutation so we are just as “mutated” as any other human, whether we have more genetic diversity in our gene pool or not. And superficial mutations can make you closer or farther away from cultural ideals of beauty, no matter what your racial makeup is. However, beauty is a social construct, and attraction is a personal and individual thing, so one person’s “ugly” mutation is another person’s “sexy” mutation.

    c) Bollocks! All of it! Psychology Today is clearly crap if they’re publishing shit like this and calling it science. Not to mention the clear implications of doing this sort of “study” in the United States rather than, say, Kenya. Objective my ass!

  16. jennygadget says

    “Y’all. I’m officially OUT OF WORDS.”

    yeah. I have plethora of expletives, but that’s pretty much it.

  17. says

    To everyone about the dna: thanks for the clarification and additional info. The more I read, the more surreal it gets. This guy may actually be less rational and logical than Stuart Brody.

    Harrison Murray,

    Yeah, we actually talk a lot about these types of personalities. NPDs and APDs make up about 2% of the general populace, collectively, and I doubt they make up more than, say, 3-5% of leadership positions – disproportionate yes, but not huge. But then it doesn’t take a majority of assholes to wreck a system – just a few assholes leading a lot of sheep will do the trick.

  18. Maria says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Particularly when those assholes do things that are useful to a goodly percentage of the sheep — remember, rape is a form of sexual terrorism. You only have to rape a few women to let ALL women know they’re vulnerable to it, which means that the average, non-NPD male-privilige having asshole gets the benefits of a rape culture without having to sully his hands.

  19. Maria says

    Kind of like how for many civilians in the US, we have the benefit of living in a militarized society (both technologically, part of the military industrial complex, and economically in terms of the price of raw materials and manufactured products) but don’t all have to confront that, or actively participate in it.

  20. says

    Maria: You only have to rape a few women to let ALL women know they’re vulnerable to it, which means that the average, non-NPD male-privilige having asshole gets the benefits of a rape culture without having to sully his hands.

    Yes, and I don’t think anyone realizes quite how much this benefits even the truly nice guys. We really ought to put together an article on this – maybe one that looks at things that might NOT happen in a world without rape culture. I’m not sure I can even imagine.

    And yes, it is like the benefits of living in a militarized country – I know I’m not aware of most of those benefits. I would assume this ties into our imperialism too – military backing allowing us to confidently exploit entire nations and regions to make the lifestyle of our citizens just a little bit more satisfying.

  21. Nicky P says

    alex,

    The guy who wrote that article is kind of awesome, and the comments in general are also pretty refreshing. Thanks for the link. O.o

  22. Ida says

    It blows my mind how many people cry “censorship” because somebody refuses to publish their crap. “Free speech” does not mean people are enforced to publish something on demand against their will because you say so.

    By the way, this blog is amazing. I just discovered it and spent my evening on an archive binge. Thank you!

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