On the concept of rape culture

I talk about two ways of defining rape culture and explain why the milder version is still disturbing and is clearly at play in my social circles (U.S. middle-to-upper-middle class millennials in a university setting). I look at the realm of dating to argue that notions of male superiority contribute to a rape culture and discuss alternative ways to frame dating to avoid naively absorbing this rape culture.

Incongruent dichotomies: Smart vs. pretty

It's possible that people might think that looks and smarts trade off. In this post, I talk about where this false dichotomy seems to be at play, why one might intuitively believe it, why such a belief is mistaken, and why this belief can wreak havoc on one's self-esteem and one's relationships.

On Involuntary Celibacy

When people talk about incels and when incels talk about their plight of being sexless, there is a temptation to focus exclusively on the sexual aspects, and understandably (given the name of the community) that seems to be what it's all about. In this post I discuss the emotional, social, and cultural aspects of having sex and being in a romantic relationshp and how reducing the incel problem to sex obsession is not honest, moral, or helpful.

Caliban and the Witch (2004)

Witch-hunts are a phenomenon that are not only understudied but commonly not well understood or even misunderstood. I attempt to summarize a book that (among other things) is a fairly detailed treatment of the phenomenon of witch-hunts in Europe as well as later witch-hunts that have occurred and are occurring in other parts of the world. Caliban and the Witch links the ramp-up to witch-hunts to class struggle and political unrest, depopulation, early modern statecraft, privatization / enclosure of commons, and conquest in the New World, among other things. I summarize some of the book's historical content in this post.

Genteel racism

For some reason, people have a mental image of racism as violent, ignorant, lower-class, crude, crass, and irrational. I talk about what racist beliefs look like when they're held by genteel, polite, educated, upper class, scientifically-minded people, and why we should care about this form of racism.

Marriage Markets (2014)

This book is a detailed analysis of the puzzle of why (some) marriages in the U.S. are becoming increasingly unstable. It argues that changes in job opportunities create bifurcated marriage markets which lead to bifurcated marriage behavior. In doing so, the book touches on issues of gender, race, and class, and argues that this bifurcated marriage behavior can exacerbate societal inequality.