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Sex Positive Stalemate: Is our activism setting the mood for failure?

Sex Positive Stalemate: Is our activism setting the mood for failure?
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When it comes to introducing sex positive ideas and concepts to mainstream America, are we “setting the mood” for a failure of communication?

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LilyLloyd  

[italics|In all debates, the facts will come out...Only facts – cold, hard, inalienable facts – can challenge other people’s understanding.
And if we could frame our understanding differently, and set a mood for respectful, open-minded dialogue with skeptics, instead of stonewalling them right from the beginning, we might find we reach more people than we ever could by yelling at them, chiding them or accusing them of misogyny.]

Afraid not:

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

That's why I don't bother to talk to conservatives anymore. I don't want to have a conversation with them. I want to defeat them at the ballot box, full stop. I don't actually have to persuade a single person who disagrees with me to do that. All I have to do is make sure the people who do agree with me vote, and that I identify people who agree with me who aren't voting.

Debates and devils' advocates columns are pointless, because you'll never move the center an inch by engaging the two extremes.

If you want to build a movement behind your idea of female privilege, for example, go organize the people on the mens' rights activist Reddits. Get them to march in the streets. Posting on a site with feminists isn't going to convert a single feminist, and is likely to just entrench each side in its worldview. You'll become -- if you haven't already -- a rallying cry for the other side.

05/14/2012

Interesting idea - but I actually strongly disagree. In fact, your tactic is precisely why the GOP is loosing more and more electoral edge with each passing year. They mobilize their core, seemingly unaware that the core is shrinking as more and more people broaden their minds. Just look at Obama's view on gay marriage, and how support went from 40% to 60% nationwide in just a few years. People have the capacity for rational change of opinion IF you engage them respectfully. We, as a community, do exactly what you suggest - which is why we fail time and time again.

05/14/2012
LilyLloyd  

C&B: The thing is, Obama (who I voted for) isn't going out trying to win over Tea Party members, because it's pointless. They've succeeded in two ways:

1. Getting apathetic people who have liberal views to vote. See the broad uptick in youth voting.
2. Getting people who aren't extreme to shift in a liberal direction.

"Debates" between extremists -- and the efforts of "devils' advocates" are pointless and counterproductive. The only options are swaying people who aren't already opposed to you, or are weakly opposed to you, and getting the apathetic people who share your views to get off their ass and vote.

05/14/2012

Don't get discouraged, Roland. The problem with the internet is that people believe that the only types of people who exist are those who have extreme beliefs. The truth is, it's mostly those with extreme opinions who usually voice them. The middle of the road folks are broadly lurkers who take pieces from every argument and decide what opinions they want to have.

You also have the occasional victory in swaying people from one extreme to a more moderate or opposite leaning opinion. There will always be extremists in every group, but the majority are mostly centered. The point of these discussions is to try to shift that center.

05/14/2012

I agree with Roland whole heartedly. You cannot go into a debate .. or any disagreement, with a closed mind and an expectation of immediate change. If you are not willing to listen to their argument, don't expect them to listen to yours. If you resort to flinging insults and accusations, like in any fight, you will have lost by default. This is a clear signal that you are full of shit and have no idea how to back up your information.

Not only will this enable you to open up a dialogue with people who might otherwise have blown you off; but you will also learn enough about them, to find out what you could say that would have the most impact.. Teach a person something, and they can share their knowledge just as you did.

05/15/2012

I agree with Roland whole heartedly. You cannot go into a debate .. or any disagreement, with a closed mind and an expectation of immediate change. If you are not willing to listen to their argument, don't expect them to listen to yours. If you resort to flinging insults and accusations, like in any fight, you will have lost by default. This is a clear signal that you are full of shit and have no idea how to back up your information.

Not only will this enable you to open up a dialogue with people who might otherwise have blown you off; but you will also learn enough about them, to find out what you could say that would have the most impact.. Teach a person something, and they can share their knowledge just as you did.

05/15/2012
Do emu  

Roland, you're on the right track. Recently I gave up a few arguments that seemed unwinnable because my audience was opposed to my opinions of gender neutrality, feminism, and institutional racism. I tend to get frustrated because I can't convey my beliefs across to others who seemed to me - for the majority of the time that I had known them - pretty intelligent people. When it came down to a debate on something I could back up with statistics and facts, though, I was accused of not havi reputable sources. A university study isn't a reputable source? Until I can find a better way to approach these kinds of debates, I'm stepping out because all I can do is educate or at least try to. If people don't want to learn or open their minds up to different ideas, then that's on them.

05/15/2012
Jaimes  

Beliefs are feelings. Strong, but easily blinded. One cannot impart beliefs onto another without challenging their audience's core and raw morality. Beliefs are black and white, unbending. Beliefs are forces of nature.

Ideas are thoughts. They are easily and effortlessly shared. They are happily discussed, and then easily accepted or calmly rejected. Ideas can be transformed, perfected, executed, and continuously nurtured by logical, thinking people.

Beliefs are personal, individual, and ultimately unique. They are our moral foundations, and no two are completely alike. Why should we expose our foundations of self, our beliefs, to the elements called Negativity and Judgement? Ideas, which are free-flowing and malleable are so much less venerable to judgement and negativity, and can adapt to their environment. They can change with new information, new perspectives, new experiences. Why can't we share our minds and ideas with each other, and leave our beliefs to protected by our hearts?

Perhaps if we all took a deep breath and listened to each other's ideas, rather than expressing our beliefs with an iron club, we could change the current trend of negativity.

05/17/2012

Thanks so much for the comments!

The reason I KNOW I'm right about this is because of how facts, logic and reasonable argument have altered a lifetime's worth of belief in so many areas of my life recently - from topics like abortion, to global warming politics and beyond. On SexIs, I don't write Devil's Advocate to merely be controversial - I always have some strong belief in what I write - but people HAVE challenged my ideas and made me alter those beliefs; or even flip them entirely.

So I DO believe that people can have their minds opened to opposing opinions. The fact is, though, that angry cries of "mysogonist" or a refusal to engage at all will never win those minds over; and that's why we, as a community, are failing in our goals.

05/17/2012

"standing by the facts instead." is problematical in fact the entire premise of this articles miss a key point; a key point I learned not in the sex positive community but from having a degree in dietetics and nutrition. You mentioned beliefs, fact, and ideas; here is the problem be it nutrition or sex I don't really care that much about any of those. In fact one of my professors said if she had her way those terms would be forever stricken from any academic researcher on lay people never to be measured again. Why? Here the thing be the advocacy for nutrition or for sex-positivity there is only one measure that matters to me: behavior change.

Although one may preceded the other changing minds is not the same as changing behavior. Unless you've spent several years of your life having the concept drilled into your head I not sure people really understand how important this distinction is. It not just semantics. In nutrition I really don't care if you understand even one fact about nutrition, I care about what your eating, giving you facts is a means to an end not an end on to itself. And usually it takes far more the facts to change a behavior, people aren't eating Big Macs because they lack facts about it being high in fat. If I don't change the behavior all I'm is your Nutritional Trivia Master. Same here I don't honesty care if people know "concepts like The Patriarchy, Rape Culture and Male Privilege exist"; teaching those concepts are one means to end.

This renders your entirely article mostly irreverent, it not very useful to discuss how sex-positivity is failing it goals if those aren't the right goals in the first place.

05/18/2012

namelesschaos - You might want to proofread what you just wrote! ;-) I got a little confused in parts. Like are you accusing me of being "irreverent" (whoohoo!) or "irrelevant" (booo!) I know you always like to disagree with whatever I write, but you might need to tighten that criticism up a little.

It's funny - diet and nutrition actually inspired this article. I grew up on a farm, eating bacon for breakfast, lamb for lunch and beef for dinner. Then I got into weightlifting, so supplemented that with protein shakes made of whey and milk. I was VERY firm in my beliefs about the best nutrition for a man - until my wife turned me onto a book called Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

Suffice to say, being presented with the facts and evidence, in addition to anecdote, changed the way I eat completely, in the space of about a week. A complete 180 degrees. Which made me realize that facts and respectful argument CAN and WILL win ANYBODY rational over.

Your claim that changing minds is not the same as changing behavior - in terms of nutrition, at least - is 100% inaccurate from my perspective. It might not be the same for everybody, but it happened to me and that basically validates 1000% the approach I suggest in taking.

05/20/2012
ANewWay  

People are not convinced by the facts alone they are moved by how issues are framed morally and by way the person speaks.

People listen to others that are calm and confident, not making it too personal, who have enough empathy to to be trusted.

How values frame facts in politics has been explained by George Lakoff. What the different moral perspectives are has been explained by Ken Wilber, and applied to dating, for example, by Martin Ucik in his book, Integral Relationships.

People listen for language what reflect their values: are those values true equality and empathy, or blaming and scapegoating men?

I agree with the poster who said many people are in the middle and willing to see different sides, so they switch moral frames based on what makes sense. They also respect leaders who can respect different points of views, someone who sees what it is like to be male and female, the downsides and privileges of each, someone like Roland.

Most people don't like politically correct leftists and what they call feminazi's. Although many leftists talk about cooperation and compassion, they can be the most competitive, self-righteous and nasty people around--especially feminists who hate men.

This is the only way to progress politically is to coalitions to the center to fight back against the super rich who have taken over the Republican Party and do not believe in democracy and even get Obama to do their bidding.


05/24/2012

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