The Falsity of Identity Politics: Negative Attitude is Towards Males who are Different, in Policing Sexual Access by Gate-Keeping Group Membership
Moxon, SP (2019). New Male Studies 8(2), 20-51. www.newmalestudies.com/OJS/index.php/nms/article/view/302/363
Steve Moxon, Sheffield. stevemoxon3(at)talktalk.net
Identity politics (often dubbed political correctness: PC) victim categories (protected characteristics) are shown to be false. Negative attitude is specifically towards males, and evoked by any form of significant difference. Previous findings that misogyny has no scientific basis, with the evidence instead of philogyny and misandry, extend to apply across all victim categories, trumping race or sexual orientation. This is revealed in the predominance of males as hate crime victims, the harsher attitude towards apparently more masculine subsets of sexual minority and race, and experimentally. Supposed homophobia is revealed to be a far wider phenomenon, encompassing all victim categories, manifest culturally in male initiation and scientifically evidenced across fields. It functions to gate-keep male full admission to the group, serving to police male sexual access, maximising reproductive efficiency, not to deal with out-group threat, nor to oppress (least of all females). Identity politics is extreme misrepresentation of social and inter-personal reality.
Keywords: identity politics, negative attitude, male, protected characteristic, hate crime
Following a first ever review of misogyny, showing that there is no scientific basis of a generic negative attitude towards females, and that instead there is misandry and philogyny (Moxon, 2018), this review is of how these findings impact on identity politics (or PC: political correctness, from the modes of enforcing ideological conformity). Negative attitude is presumed to be unwitting and/or intentional unwarranted prejudice, with the core victim category — protected characteristic — being target sex (or gender; henceforward simply sex). The findings re misogyny therefore should be apparent in identity politics categories, with males, being half the population, accounting for by far the greatest proportion of individuals impacted by negative attitudes. Individuals seen in terms of the other principal identity politics categories (target sexual orientation and race) would be expected to be less evident through their much lower proportion of the population. Furthermore, target sex (sexism) cannot but interact with target race (racism) and sexual orientation (homophobia, more properly, homonegativity), dubbed intersectionality in the ideology and research literature. Potentially, protected characteristics could cancel each other out, act synergistically, or, as with sex, not attract negative attitude as straight-forwardly as is supposed, either in manner and/or direction. This would be expected given the political rather than evidential basis of the ideology.
Identity politics originated in historically crude political expediency that over time has become the contemporary mythology, in being now all-encompassing and deep-seated. The wellspring is antipathy towards the mass of ordinary people by a politically-minded intellectual elite resentful over the failure of Marxist politics to be widely accepted and needing to salve cognitive dissonance and save face. A full exposition is available (Moxon, 2014); here follows an introduction with a narrower pertinent focus. The concept of a generic misogyny stems from Engels’ non-scientific claim that the family was created by capitalism, extended by European (later U.S. emigré) Marxist intellectuals circa 1930 in a non-scientific reasoning that capitalism somehow is psychogenic in repressing (the non-scientific Freudian term) the workers from engaging in revolutionary activity. As supposed agents of change, prepared to engage in violence, the workers had been envisaged as generically male, but as a conduit for supposed oppression to female intimates, men no longer could be considered the vanguard of revolution. Henceforward this had to be women. Within the U.S. Ivy League and then U.S. universities generally, over decades these ideas melded with post-modernism—the other way the intelligentsia dealt with the failure of their political theory, by retreat into a radical relativistic philosophy to deny the legitimacy of any and every system of thought, science included.
The parallel notion of generic oppression by whites of blacks didn’t emerge until the seeming-nascent revolution of U.S. civil rights in effect was co-opted by the Left in 1968. The political utility of this was a more credible alternative than just women to replace the workers of old as a revolutionary vanguard, in that African-Americans were more obviously oppressed than women. However, unlike women, who, however mistakenly, are easily envisaged as akin to a class, the oppression was of only one racial type in a particular, extreme historical context. To be of real political utility, this needed to be generalisable: expanded to encompass ethnic minority generically — to move to a universal principle of white oppresses non-white. However, Asian Americans experience significantly better education, work, and income outcomes in comparison even to whites, and outside the U.S. there are highly varied relationships of host community to an ethnic minority. Paralleling the embrace by U.S. Left intelligentsia of civil rights, at the same time (1969) another seeming proto-revolutionary movement of an oppressed group (male homosexuals) ripe for co-option emerged in the U.S. with the Stonewall riots. Again, for political utility this movement was expanded, to add lesbians, despite there being no historical, legal or other oppression of female homosexuals.
Retrospective justification of such incoherence requires theory to be built in a reverse manner to science. Inconsistencies indicating a false hypothesis, are accommodated, couched in opaque jargon and convoluted reasoning. Theory of invariable applicability of male-oppresses-female, white-oppresses-ethnic-minority and heterosexual-oppresses-homosexual dynamics creates an expectation of their always being in operation. Through hegemonic groupthink, strong confirmation bias ensures feeding by data presented in ways that appear to support the overall model even when diametrically contradicting it (being readily misconstrued as truth inversion). Over time, the various x-oppresses-y notions become self-fulfilling prophecies, despite moving ever further away from any accurate, reasonable account of reality.
A useful overview is provided by hate crime statistics
The negative attitudes supposed in identity politics are intended to be captured in the domains of so-called hate crime, as is confirmed by the U.K. Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) (2019), deeming the domains of hate crime protected characteristics to include any display of hostility or prejudice, implicit or explicit. Despite the explicit connection to identity politics, the principal protected characteristic of sex is omitted from hate crime. The addition of misogyny had been proposed in the U.K. but rejected by the CPS, in its Hate Crime Annual Report 2017-2018, as an “ineffective approach” (p.19), but no explanation is offered. Even the raw data is in line with the inversion of expectation re negative attitude and sex, as found in Moxon (2018): hate crime victims are 68% male, 28% female, according to DEMOS (Walters & Krasodomski-Jones, 2018) — more than 2:1. This is echoed in the CPS Hate Crime Data Reports, which for 2016-2017 showed totals of 6,452 male and 3,731 female victims, and for 2017-2018, 6,003 male and 3,566 female victims. Buried in the data are breakdowns by sex of victim for each hate crime domain, in each of which there are (far) more male than female victims, with the exception of the transphobic domain, where the sex differential is reversed through male-to-female transsexuals (mis-)recorded as being female (trans-women), notwithstanding that they remain clearly male in appearance (see below). The fully across-category excess of male victims of hate crime demonstrates that in the intersection of sex with other protected characteristics, sex trumps all. Intersectionality does not hold.
Despite the clear data, there is no mention within the text of the large sex differential in victimhood, either overall or in respect of any domain, ostensibly because of the proportion of cases (about a quarter to a third) where no sex is recorded. Yet in this portion of the data the profound skew would be expected to not merely continue but intensify, because of a key demand characteristic of female but not male being a protected characteristic in the politics that the concept of hate crime was set up to serve. The authors claim the data is “not robust enough to calculate proportions by gender accurately”, but this appears political opacity. The failure persists in the 2017-2018 Report, despite a decreased proportion of cases where sex is not reported. This misleading by omission is cemented in a Home Office review (Hambly, Rixom, Singh & Wedlake-James, 2018). No mention is made (even in footnotes) of the sex of victims; only that of perpetrators, who, being majority male, can hide a lack of expected male-to-female victimisation.
This data issue is compounded by hate crime data being non-scientific in that survey respondents not only are self-selecting, but in hate crime being defined by no criteria, nothing can be putative about a report, as the claim in itself is all the confirmation required. Furthermore, there are the well-known demand characteristics associated with formal reporting to police and deeming an incident a crime. Consequently, data regarding hate crime even more than usual for survey data is liable to suffer from both male under- and female over-reporting: whereas for males, displaying any vulnerability is sexually unattractive and results in loss of status, further reducing sexual attractiveness; for females, it evokes protection, enhancing sexual attractiveness.
The reporting differential according to sex of victim has not been researched in respect of hate crime, but regarding violent assaults, in marked contrast to women, “men victimized by strangers most often do nothing” (Kaukinen, 2002). If even violence does not prompt males to report to authorities, then it is likely the same for any sort of hate crime act. The finding is strongly echoed in those for crime generally, with male comparative under-reporting the principal predictor of the likelihood or not of reporting a crime (Avdija & Giever, 2012). It’s the most striking feature of domestic (intimate partner) violence, impacting the raw data possibly by an order of magnitude or more. Even in anonymous survey, notwithstanding the most strenuous efforts to remove all demand characteristics, still men under-report. (For a review, see Moxon, 2014). In health-care, men are only half as likely as women to seek assistance (Wang, Hunt & Nazareth, 2013). Male relative reluctance generally to seek help is found whenever it is investigated (Vogel & Heath, 2016; Möller-Leimkühler, 2002; Yousaf, Grunfeld & Hunter, 2015). Rasmussen, Hjelmeland & Dieserud (2018) find major barriers even prior to suicide: a feeling of total defeat, the imperative not to show weakness, and fear of (revealing) mental disorder; all concerning the shame of falling short of standards (losing status). With the very large majority of male over female victims of hate crime recorded across domains, combined with the very large corrective that would need to be applied to produce an accurate estimation of the sex differential, it is apparent that males overwhelmingly if not exclusively are the victims of hate crime, undermining hate crime data as offering support to identity politics related theory.
Domains reflect demography, but what about sex?
Hate crime reports would be expected in their domains roughly to reflect the demography of the corresponding protected characteristics, and so they do. With sex not included as a domain, the great majority of reports are in respect of the domain of race, and not only in the U. S. but also in the U. K.: almost nine out of every ten (84%); followed by sexual orientation (8%) (Walters and Krasodomski-Jones, 2018). This more than tenfold difference corresponds to the proportion of the U. K. population of an ethnic minority (circa 20% on 2011 census data) vis-a-vis the prevalence of homosexuality (roughly 2% as the mean of reliable surveys). The remaining hate crime domains are insignificant in being each a mere 1% of reports. That of transsexuality actually is a proportion of reports far above prevalence, whereas the others appear not to reflect demographics but the absence in the domain of any hate; a recognised issue (Mason-Bish, 2018) undermining the concept of hate crime. The disabled and the elderly therefore are not here discussed.
As sex, through demographics, would be the most prevalent domain by far, its impact cannot be hidden. How sex interacts with other protected characteristics is the chief question. The main intersections are of sex with race and sex with sexual orientation. If, as according to identity politics notions, sex and race are mutually compounding, then black females would greatly outnumber black males in the hate crime data. Instead, the putative effect is not merely absent but in reverse: double the number of male-to-female victims in the race domain. That’s in line with the sex differential overall in hate crime, as expected from the race domain accounting for the great bulk of all ‘hate crime’ cases. The 2017-2018 CPS figures for the race domain are 5,032 males, 2,816 females; plus 3,299 where sex was not recorded, that for reasons above-discussed would be expected to be even more in the male direction. The 2016-2017 figures are similar: 5,368 males 2,850 females (and 3,636 cases where sex was not recorded). An estimate apportioning the gender-not-recorded cases would increase male victim preponderance to at least three to one.
In respect of sexual orientation, again identity politics and intersectionality prediction is not only nullified but reversed. The 2017-2018 CPS figures for the homophobic domain are 630 males and 441 females (plus 311 where sex was not recorded). The data for transphobia is 41 male (transwomen), 25 female (transmen), and 19 where no sex is given. And again, the 2016-2017 data is similar: regarding homophobia, 668 males, 434 females and 318 non-sexed; and re transphobia, 33 males (transwomen), 20 females (transmen), and 31 non-sexed. The sex differential is substantial, albeit, without adjustment to apportion the non-sexed reports, less than two to one. That the skew towards male victimisation is less than for race likely is through the female fluidity of sexual orientation notably absent in men (Kinnish, Strassberg & Turner, 2005). Female bisexuality in some respects may be near ubiquitous. With prevalence effectively far higher for females than for males, there would be much greater scope for female (mis)construal of hate crime victimisation. The lower sex differential of the raw data in comparison to that for race is also in part through what in effect is sex miscategorisation additional to that regarding transsexuality, as seen in unpacking sexual orientation, for which reason this is here done first ahead of dealing with race.
Homophobia is towards males
Scientific investigation of negative attitude in respect of sexual orientation confirms the picture from hate crime data that its most striking aspect is of its being far more towards males than to females, which last may be mostly data noise and/or collateral — artefactual. The sex-difference applies to bisexuality as well as homosexuality, and not least transsexuality. With perpetration being overwhelmingly male, it must be suspected that the whole phenomenon at issue is male intra-sexual. Note that albeit transsexuality is not a sexual orientation, it is grouped thus in hate crime reporting and data analysis, so is dealt with at this juncture. Negative attitude across all forms of sexual minority is far more towards males (Herek, 2009), and specifically in respect of homosexuality, an abundance of studies show that attitudes indeed are more negative towards gays than to lesbians, and substantially so (Kuyper, Sommer & Butt, 2018; Sakallı-Uğurlu, Uğurlu & ve Eryılmaz, 2019; Ellis, Kitzinger & Wilkinson, 2003; Schellenberg, Hirt & Searset, 1999; Berkman & Zinberg, 1997; Nierman, Thompson, Bryan & Mahaffey, 2007; van den Akker, van der Ploeg & Scheepers, 2013; Wellman & McCoy, 2014; Oliver & Hyde, 1993). This sex differential is irrespective of methodology, not least in using a new, more refined measure (Monto & Sapinski, 2014). Breen & Karpinsky (2013) unusually find no negativity, but nevertheless find a profound sex differential, with positivity only towards lesbians. Van Leeuwen, Miton, Firat & Boyer (2016) point out that the negative attitude disproportionately in the male direction often is in respect of “tenor, content, and intensity”, with gays and not lesbians being those who face violence and notable crime. Where there is detection of more negativity towards lesbians, it is by females (Herek & Gonzalez, 2006). Neuroscientific study (Dickter, Forestell & Mulder, 2015) reveals that visual processing of a lesbian target is the same as if heterosexual, whereas gays are regarded as akin to out-group members.
The research reflects the completely contrasting way that male and female homosexuality have been treated in law, which must mirror longstanding opprobrium for male homosexuality, whereas female homosexuality has not been regarded as a problem. It must be suspected that the difficulty this poses for the identity politics model of female victimhood underpins why most studies hide the sex differential by aggregating data across sex. A more general confounding of data occurs in defining down criteria for what constitutes homophobia. Trivial putative forms of harassment and misinterpretation of what is innocuous and, indeed, well-meaning, can be elided with clear harassment and assault, further masking the sex differential.
What little negative attitude is experienced by lesbians is against the minority who are masculinised (butch or stud), as opposed to feminised (femmes), or neither (androgynous or unisex) (Cohen, Hall & Tuttle, 2009). It’s in respect of the extent to which they are perceived as male-like, by females and males alike. This nuance, though long apparent, as recorded in journalism, anecdote, and also survey (Kearl, 2014), is examined in no other scientific study, presumably because findings are anticipated to contradict intersectional compounding of negative attitudes in respect of female and sexual orientation protected characteristics—and for femme lesbians more so than butch, inasmuch as the latter supposedly benefit from the privilege attached to any perception of being male. (There is an attempt to address this in the intersectional invisibility hypothesis, discussed below in the context of race.) Its basis, Lick & Johnson (2014) find, is “gender-atypical” facial features, rendering masculinised lesbians “unattractive”. This is through actual masculinisation, by abnormal increased early exposure to androgens in butch and not femme lesbians (Brown et al, 2002), causing higher waist-to-hip ratios, greater saliva testosterone levels, less desire to give birth, and more childhood sex-atypical behavior (Singh et al, 1999); this last also being found by Zheng & Zheng (2016). With femmes effectively indistinguishable physically and in demeanour from heterosexual females, then unlike their butch counterparts they would have no apparent non-heterosexual orientation to be targetted with negative attitude. Likewise, for lesbians who are neither markedly feminised nor masculinised. Classing together lesbians of all types obscures that receipt of negative attitude is by a subset only. The inclusion of reports of hate crime by masculinised lesbians in effect artefactually reduces the sex differential in the hate crime domain of sexual orientation, contributing to why it seems not as large as that for the race domain.
Corresponding to the different types of lesbians, gays can be categorised according to sexual role and attendant demeanour and behaviours into tops, bottoms, and versatiles. However, whereas it’s a minority masculinised subset of lesbians liable to attract negative attitude, gays thus liable are all gays, especially subsets of gays making up the majority: those who are effeminate (Glick, Gangl, Gibb, Klumpner & Weinberg, 2007; Blashill & Powlishta, 2012; Ayres & Luedeman, 2013). Tops, in being overtly and exaggeratedly masculine in demeanour and appearance, appear to possess mate value in male terms (that is, they are superficially sexually attractive as if they were heterosexual males). In consequence they tend to be seen comparatively as less markedly incongruous, and, therefore, although they too attract negative attitude, it is not to the same degree as for bottoms and versatiles. By contrast, bottoms are feminised and may play up the role (campness), in what may even appear a taunting manner, inviting negative attitude. So may do versatiles, in that comparatively they too are conspicuously feminised (Ayres & Luedeman, 2013), even if less and less consistently than are bottoms. The lesbian counterparts of versatiles (unisex or androgynous) by contrast don’t stand out from heterosexual females and are effectively invisible. The mirror image contrast here between lesbians and gays still further reveals the proximal basis of the pronounced sex differential in negative attitude skewed towards male rather than female homosexuals being victims.
Bisexuals are a special case in that males and females have the same sexual orientation, leaving sex the only factor distinguishing them. However, by intersectionality reasoning, a female bisexual would attract a strongly negative attitude as a result of having two protected characteristics, whereas a male bisexual supposedly would benefit from male privilege to cancel out or at least partly offset the single protected characteristic. Contradicting this, Dodge et al (2016) find “attitudes generally are more positive toward bisexual women than bisexual men”. Herek (2002) found this to be true for male subjects, though that females don’t favour bisexuals of one sex more than the other (and rate bisexuals actually less favourably than homosexuals) is probably because of the confounding factor that for women bisexuals provoke the need for closure (Burke et al, 2017). That little research has been conducted on attitudes towards bisexuals likely is partly through definitional problems, and difficulty recruiting male bisexuals through their rarity—male bisexuality may not exist, given that in some studies a bisexual arousal pattern is not apparent in putative bisexual males.
The pattern of negativity towards males but not (or much less so) to females is also evident for transsexuals, in that those born male attract most negativity. Wang-Jones, Hauson, Ferdman, Hattrup & Lowman (2018) conducted several analyses and find that “overall people showed more implicit bias towards transwomen than to transmen,” corroborating plenty of prior evidence (Gerhardstein & Anderson, 2010; Schilt & Westbrook, 2009; Wang-Jones, Alhassoon, Hattrup, Ferdman & Lowman et al, 2017; and Witten & Eyler, 1999), confirmed by Nagoshi, Cloud, Lindley, Nagoshi & Lothamer (2019). (To reiterate, birth-males confusingly are denoted transwomen, meaning transitioning to women; transmen are birth-females.) Their further analyses revealed that this bias is also evident in lesbian and bisexual women subjects. Rudin et al (2016) conclude that male-born transsexuals face a stark work-place negativity termed penis panic. As is well attested, male-to-female transsexuals are perceived as trying but failing to be women whilst remaining detectably male in appearance and demeanour, because of the irreversible impact of testosterone on bones & cartilage, vocal pitch and speech patterns, that subsequent transitioning by feminising hormones cannot eradicate. That this is readily apparent, further undermining intersectionality, may account for why the different perception of transwomen compared to transmen is still awaiting a first study. Instead of acknowledging that negative attitudes in respect of sexual orientation are much less towards females and much more towards males, research focuses on the politically expected greater male exhibition of negative attitudes. As hate crime data reveals, this is overwhelmingly real and indisputable, but here too, expectation based on intersectionality is thwarted. Negativity is largely same-sex. Lesbians not only experience far less than gays, but much of any they receive is from females (Herek & Gonzalez-Rivera, 2006). Ready report of exhibition as sex-separate data combines with only aggregate measures across sex of receipt, facilitating false inference of male perpetration towards females.
Summarising across non-heterosexual orientations, those who evoke negative attitude, in order of its severity, are, first, gays, in their being male and seemingly markedly different (especially those who exhibit feminisation) and specifically butch lesbians, in their being markedly masculinised, therefore also seeming notably different, albeit female. Next come male bisexuals, who are also seen as significantly different, and (pointing up difference) unpredictable in being so fickle, as it were, in orientation. Third, in receipt of negative attitude most of all, are birth-male transsexuals, in their being male and maximally different in trying actually to become the opposite sex whilst remaining detectably male. Crudely stated, the issue is that being male and different attracts negative attitude in proportion to the impression of the extent of difference.
Homophobia is a misnomer for a wider phenomenon
The standard notion of not simply homonegativity but that males somehow fear homosexuals comes from the long outdated, comprehensively discredited (eg, Webster, 1995) non-science of Freudian psychoanalysis, and from where sprang the pejorative term homophobia, latterly homohysteria, and the use in this context of the expression ego defence. The supposition is the biology-denying modern mythological assertion the male is merely a gender role, that as such is held to be fragile and malleable in somehow being threatened by non-heterosexual orientation, notwithstanding its very low prevalence. This has arisen out of the extension of Marxist ideology (outlined in Background, above).
Disgust, not fear, is the response to male homosexuals (Morrison, Kiss, Bishop & Morrison, 2019; Wang, Yang, Huang, Sai & Gong, 2019) confirming multiple earlier research (Cunningham, Forestell & Dickter, 2013; Terrizzi, Shook & Ventis, 2010; Dasgupta, DeSteno, Williams & Hunsinger, 2009; Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom, 2009; and Tapias, Glaser, Keltner, Vasquez, & Wickens, 2006). Studies confirm male-specificity: that it doesn’t apply to lesbians (Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom, 2012, 2009; Herek, 1988). Fear is a response to immediate danger, whereas disgust is to avoid contamination. They are dissociable psychologically, having very different neural correlates (Xu et a., 2015). The supposed feeling of personal threat to a sense of masculinity taken to be the basis of fearing male homosexuality, is shown to be false: the evoked disgust is an expression of a general antipathy to those seen as threatening sex-related morality (Crawford, Inbar & Maloney, 2014), and not through homosexuals being envisaged as low-status out-group members. The morality evoked is not restricted to the sexual and is in the domains of authority and, especially, sanctity (Wang et a., 2019). The sense of contamination is far wider than some narrow challenge to personal sexual identity, but to group cohesion. This accords with what is apparent in the negative attitude in respect of sexual orientation: in its being deployed against males according to the extent to which they are different in significant ways. It appears to concern a mechanism of policing (as the term is used in biology) males within the social group. Non-heterosexual orientations seem to be a subset of indications of difference from group-supporting attitudes or behaviours requiring policing.
That homophobia (homonegativity) per se is more ostensible than real, being part of a much wider phenomenon, has been long apparent. Rofes (1995) found that homophobic terms are used exclusively against boys, without reference to homosexuality, and become well-established long before sexual maturity, peaking in early secondary school years. Kite & Whitley (1996) find that although men are far more negative to male homosexuals than are women, they nevertheless view gay civil rights positively. It cannot be homosexuality per se, then, that evokes men’s negative attitude to gay men. Reigeluth & Addis (2016) find a much broader policing, functioning to enforce masculine norms, elevate and preserve status, and enhance friendship. More distally it’s to clamp down on potential defection from the group (van Leeuwen, Miton, Firat & Boyer, 2016). The authors find that women no less than men see gays in this way. Homosexuality seems to be emblematic of failing to demonstrate/signal group allegiance; a wider imperative apparent in Plummer’s (1999, 2001, 2005) research of the policing of boys:
“… if they are immature, weak, wimpy, woosy, overly-emotional, pacifists; if they don’t participate in tough team sports or don’t belong to a peer- group; if they are loners, aloof, elitist or different; if they are conscientious in class or conform too closely to adult expectations; and depending on their mannerisms, appearance and style of dress. … Rather than signifying a boundary between masculine and feminine or between one masculine form and another, in the minds of boys and young men, homophobia patrols an intra-gender divide between successful collective masculinity and male otherness. … it sanctions and polices stereotypical standards of masculinity and it proscribes immaturity and peer group betrayal too. Homophobia seems to arise from a more general preoccupation that boys should not deviate from the quest to become physically mature, peer-oriented, powerful, sexually potent men.” (Plummer, 2001, p. 6)
Plummer deems it “a wider taboo” (p. 4). The negative attitude denoted anti-gay is a misnomer, then. Anti-gay rhetoric is not concerned with policing homosexuality per se. It appears to be the use of exaggerated derogatory terms to impress on the target the risk of being censured and the need to respond on pain of possible exclusion. This echoes PC misuse of the term homophobic (and racist, sexist, etc): smearing to test compliance, detect recalcitrance and oblige self-censorship; though PC is always exclusionary (a pathological extension?), rendering people en mass permanently out-group with no scope for redemption.
Social deviance research is pertinent. Specifically, male in-group deviants are punished in a particular manner: exclusion from society and incapacitating practices, these being attempts to control future behaviour, not from restorative or retributive motives (Fousiani, Yzerbyt, Kteily & Demoulin, 2019). Once deemed a deviant, the label sticks, even if the deviance comes to be viewed as less unacceptable (Chan, Louis, & Jetten, 2010). Earlier work had established the black sheep effect, where an in-group member posing a threat to group identity is treated far more negatively than is someone from an out-group (Marques & Yzerbyt, 1988; Marques, Yzerbyt & Leyens, 1988). Congruent with and underpinning all these findings is that central to in-group identification is not competence or sociability but trustworthiness (Leach, Ellemers & Barreto, 2007)—a robust conclusion from a number of studies using a variety of direct and indirect methods.
The in-group male targets in such research are in the minimal group condition, which in verging on no group membership at all is akin to being on the threshold of membership of a group proper, as is the prospective new entrant to the adult male group. Males deemed eligible to join the hierarchy need to be those amenable to living within its confines and not liable to try to circumvent it, because male hierarchy is vital to the functioning of the group in determining male sexual access, requiring lower status males to acquiesce to very restricted mating opportunities. The benefits of hierarchy membership presumably are usually sufficient to dissuade dissent; however, a prerequisite is sufficient socio-sexual orientation, hence gate-keeping membership, and in these terms.
Gate-keeping by male initiation rites
The reality of gate-keeping admission to male full adulthood is evident cross-culturally in pain-endurance initiation rites. These are much more common for males than for females (Edwards, 1992). Still extant in many traditional and even modern societies, they are inferred to have been universal ancestrally. Often central to them is male genital modification (mutilation)—circumcision, which, through denuding sexual sensitivity, reduces propensity to engage in sex, impacting specifically extra-pair sex, functioning to control young males by lowering their competitiveness with high-status males for young females (Moxon, 2017). Research into initiation is outdated, sparse, and Freudian psychobable or cultural-anthropological gender politics. Fresh thinking surfaced with a hypothesis that solidarity was required to produce warriors (Ember & Ember, 2010), though this seems to be an assumption for want of biologically based theory of male sociality. At last, a comprehensive cross-cultural review of theories was published in 2017. Schlegel & Barry conclude, “they are a form of adult male control over adolescent boys and unmarried (sub-adult) youths”. This is in line with illuminating accounts of the exclusionary experience of failed or non-initiate Xhosa males of South Africa provided by Froneman & Kapp (2017) and Magodyo (2013); the former in a traditional society, the latter among urban dwellers:
“Significant stigma is attached both to failed initiates and uninitiated people. Boys have to be successfully initiated to marry, inherit property or participate in cultural activities such as offering sacrifices and community discussions. If they are not circumcised, they are given left-over food at celebrations, are not allowed to socialise in taverns with other men, are not allowed to use the family name to introduce themselves, and are sometimes forcefully taken away from their girlfriends. Uninitiated men have less autonomy and must often obey others. They are accused first in the event of theft because ‘only boys steal’ and are often subjected to public humiliation and name-calling. They are seen to be cowards, who do not respect their culture and would incur the wrath of the ancestors for not complying with cultural expectations.” (Froneman & Kapp, p.1)
“Of particular importance is how uninitiated men face social degradation, are ostracized and ridiculed (Bottoman, 2006; Mavundla, Netswera, Toth, Bottoman & Tenge et al, 2010; Tenge, 2006). Marginalization of uninitiated Xhosa males comes about through rejection and lack of respect (Mavundla et al, 2010). These men are rejected by the community at large by being excluded from community events, and by their (already initiated) peers and women, who maintain that they prefer to form relationships with men. Furthermore, this rejection also exists at the family level, as an uncircumcised male is thought to bring shame to the family (Bottoman, 2006; Tenge, 2006). Such individuals are not afforded respect and are continuously subjected to ridicule through associations with immaturity and inferiority, by being referred to as boys or dogs (Mavundla et al, 2010).” (Magodyo, p.29).
These descriptions hardly could better reveal the function of passporting a prospective sexual participant to group membership.
Cognitive policing of male deviants by cheater detection
Gate-keeping appears to require specific psychological mechanism keenly to recognise potential deviants. Experiments ruling out alternative explanation uncover cognitive adaptations for detecting violations of rules relating to maintaining coalitions, submitting to authority and providing aid, thereby to expose unhelpful individuals, traitors, and rebels (Sivan, Curry & Van Lissa, 2018). This is a form of cheater detection mechanism, that in functioning in social but not in other contexts is demonstrably specific adaptation rather than general cognitive facility. Cummins (1996, 2005, 2019) proposes and finds evidence for violation detection cognition to police low-ranking males in a dominance hierarchy. Equally, or as actually its main function, this could be employed for assessing the suitability of males to join the hierarchy in the first place. Cheater detection is implicit already even in early childhood (Cummins, 1996c), and not regarding mere outward compliance but truth and intent (Harris & Nuñez, 1996; Cummins, 1996b). What is being assessed is in a wide sense morality, through deontic reasoning: regarding obligations, permissions and prohibitions. These are just what apply to individuals by virtue of membership of a hierarchy, depending on rank. This mode of cognition is activated more in respect of low-status individuals (Cummins, 1999a), specifically males of low status (Oda, 1997); and in particular by other low-status males (Fiddick & Cummins, 2001). Furthermore, males of low status and deemed to cheat are perceived as unattractive (Mehl & Buchner, 2008; Bell & Buchner, 2009). Note for low status could be substituted nil status, as would be those yet to be admitted into the group as fully adult. More recently, van Lier Revlin & De Neys (2013) and Bonnefon, Hopfensitz & De Neys (2013) have reaffirmed the phenomenon, with their work in turn endorsed by Cummins (2013). Bonnefon’s team notably find that males are seen as less trustworthy than females.
With converging lines of evidence showing homophobia or homonegativity a misnomer, the next question is if this new conceptualisation accounts for negative attitude in respect of the principal hate crime domain (the second-most important protected characteristic after sex) of race.
Race too is trumped by sex
Many academic studies show that discrimination against blacks is mostly against males (eg, Seaton et al, 2008; Sellers & Shelton, 2003; Garcia Coll et al, 1996). Veenstra (2013) examined self-reports of experiences of both major instances of discrimination and chronic, routine discrimination, concluding that “high levels of both kinds of discrimination reported by men in general are at odds with the additive and intersectionality-inspired perspectives which accord women the gender identity most vulnerable to discrimination”. Experiments by Perszyk, Bodenhausen, Richeson & Waxmanet (2019) reveal implicit attitudes by using young children (four-year-olds) to exclude the possibility of socialisation. Negative attitudes were found most towards black boys, followed by white boys, then black girls. Clearly, not race but sex is operative here; it is maleness, not blackness attracting negative attitude (race perhaps focusing the impact of sex). This effect previously was found in preference for own-race over other-race faces only when the faces shown are male; this in infants aged just three months (Ziv, 2012), in line with older studies. Together, the research indicates an implicit, evolved basis of negative attitudes being towards male rather than black targets; with race an intensifier. Note that in the Perszyk study, most subjects were white or near-white, leaving black a proxy for difference. This fits with the fungibility of the perception of race: neuroscientific experiment by Gwinn & Brooks (2013) demonstrates that race indeed is cognised as a continuum, not as discrete entities of African, Asian, et cetera.
In explanation, Veenstra (2013) proffers the subordinate male target hypothesis, as had Sidanius & Pratto (1999), its originators. The proposal is that negative attitude is a male-male inter-group arbitrary-set phenomenon, in line with the understanding that race is just one possible in-group marker among a non-limited range of possible others. There is the rival out-group male target hypothesis, cited by Navarrete, McDonald, Molina & Sidanius (2010). However, these between-group models do not fit with in-group / out-group dynamics being founded in affinity with the in-group, not hostility towards the out-group (Yamagashi & Mifune, 2009; Wu & de Dreu, 2014). Out-group discrimination requires conflict and competition between groups (Abbink & Harris, 2019). Out-group male threat is held to be through a fear response to dangerous stimuli, as shown by its resistance to extinction, but this appears conceptually mistaken (Dang, Xiao & Mao, 2015; Koenig et al, 2017). This evolutionary rationale for specific cognition to serve out-group negativity is anyway questionable. Human female exogamy entails ancestrally the main contact males had with out-group males would have been the pair-bond partners of in-group females, through whom they themselves may well secure out-group females as pair-bond partners. This reciprocal exogamy is considered a foundation of human sociality (Chapais, 2008), binding together smaller groups that thereby become a subset of larger ones, hence the tribe, subsuming bands, so that almost all males likely to be encountered would not pose a threat. Males beyond the tribe, though indeed threatening, would have been very infrequently encountered. Even if, nonetheless, here was a selection pressure to drive cognitive adaptation, there is no conceivable cognitive facility to distinguish at a distance stranger within-tribe males from extra-tribe males; hence the universal cultural device of in-group markings.
A much more usual context and problem driving cognitive adaptation is that already outlined to explain negative attitude in respect of sexual orientation: assessing natal-group young males for worthiness of being granted full group membership as an adult male, plus monitoring males denied membership. These last would remain minimally within the social milieu, having nowhere else to go (the corollary of female exogamy is male philopatry, so a male could not expect to be accepted into another group, and surviving alone would be near to impossible). Tolerated in effect as adult children, they would be co-resident outcasts. Note that gate-keeping admission to the group is a scenario that is neither between- nor within-group, though more akin to the former, so data interpreted in terms of out-group is likely congruent with a gate-keeping model. For example, neural activity indicating greater attentional bias to racial targets presumed to indicate out-group status, instead may indicate gate-keeping prospective in-group members.
Assessment for possible group membership, to be fairly certain that the male individual will abide by the rules of male sociality, requires a judgemental orientation. Setting a low threshold for any form of seeming transgression, entailing some false negatives, and setting a high threshold for appropriate behaviour, thereby rejecting some true positives, creates the evident anti-male prejudice, which would have co-evolved with the emotion of disgust proximally to drive it, together manifesting in negative attitude.
Intersectional invisibility is itself invisible
The evidence contradicting the notion of race-sex intersectionality has prompted an extension of that hypothesis that in certain circumstances intersectionality does not occur. The intersectional invisibility hypothesis (Purdie-Greenaway & Eibach, 2008) posits a default perception of individuals as possessing no more than one protected characteristic, with the other characteristics in combination with it being implicitly presumed to be the supposed privileged alternatives. These individuals are termed prototypical. Those with two (or more) protected characteristics are termed non-prototypical, and seen as incongruous. Although they then supposedly do not attract negative attitude, they are purported to experience another form of disadvantage in being in a special way socially invisible. Thus, the category female is held to entail a default perception of white females; white heterosexual females only, indeed. These are prototypical females. Similarly, the category black by cognitive default constitutes specifically black (and heterosexual) males only: prototypical blacks. This perception is held to be through ideological androcentricism or ethnocentricism respectively. This is highly implausible. There surely is long evolved profound cognition relating to the sexes, both male- and female-centred, as it were; and to grouping and the sense of an out-group, with either white or non-white as in-group and among a plethora of potential in-group markers.
Ethnocentrism is shown to be a misnomer by simulation experiments (Hales & Edmonds, 2019) demonstrating that it is simply in-grouping, and may happen to be based on ethnic markers, but not on these alone, or necessarily in the main, or at all; instead on any sort of a marker of group identity, which can be fluid. Bizumic (2012) reviewed a plethora of hypotheses but could not decide between them, other than that the phenomenon is a function of the group rather than the individual. The absence of androcentrism in implicit cognition is shown in there being no difference in response times to identify faces according to whether they are male or female (Stroessner, 1996), and no statistically significant difference in the accuracy of recall of statements made by men as against those made by women (Schug, Alt & Klauer, 2015). A recent literature review (Bailey, LaFrance & Davidio, 2018) is from the near-tautological premise of a supposed power imbalance the authors outline is manifest in various ways males are considered typical humans. They come to no conclusion as to why this produces androcentricity, though they proffer that plausibly it stems from men being considered agentic. The corollary that females are seen as exceptional humans, specifically through their sex, is conceded, as is that females evoke positive attitudes whereas males do not. Would this not be gynocentricism? Androcentrism is a strange interpretation of a view of males as the ordinary humans with females the special ones. Experiments purporting to demonstrate androcentrism (for example and notably, Hamilton, 1991; Merritt & Kok, 1995) merely contrive to prompt the conjuring in imagination of a male rather than a female, and do not exclude evoking accurate stereotyping of males as the more agentic sex in the wider community or civic arena—as would be expected to be evoked in the context of a university psychology laboratory—where they compete for status as the passport to sexual access. The social invisibility occasioned by non-prototypicality is held to manifest as ”the struggle to be recognised and represented”, but women have a four- to five-fold same-sex in-group preference for females (Goodwin & Rudman, 2004), they are included in the all-inclusive symbolic nature of male groups (Maddux & Brewer, 2005), and they attract the sexual interest of males. Nothing about ‘intersectional invisibility’ appears to be a fit with social reality.
No empirical work has been done by Purdie-Greenaway & Eibach. Their paper is speculation, with no explanation of the predictive failures of intersectionality. Intersectional invisibility in any case doesn’t explain attitudes to different sorts of prototypical individuals: why there is no negativity towards white females, yet especial negativity to black males. Both would be expected to be in receipt of untrammelled negative attitudes in respect of their single protected characteristic. That there have been few if any tests of intersectional invisibility is complained of by Williams (2018), who conducted three: to examine if perception of non-prototypicality does in fact lead to invisibility; to try to identify potential mechanisms for this; and to see if invisibility produces marginalization. Williams concluded, “ultimately the findings presented in these studies do little to show empirical support for the intersectional invisibility model” (p. 88). Sesko & Biernat (2010) purport to test it, yet produce no evidence withstanding scrutiny, either that black women are ignored or suffer any disadvantage in consequence. Their finding that whites have difficulty distinguishing between and remembering black faces is to be expected (relative unfamiliarity), and that utterances by black women are more likely to be misattributed to others (actually to whites rather than to black men) reveals a perceived inter-changeability, contradicting the notion that white and men are privileged characteristics. The authors concede invisibility confers the “advantage … that black women may be less likely to be targets of discrimination” (p. 357). Where, then, is the disadvantage in and the social invisibility suffered by black women?
A more concrete disadvantage of intersectional invisibility is posited by Goff, Thomas & Jackson (2008): sexual unattractiveness. They attribute this to black women being seen as more masculine, but this is a conceptual error (see next section). In any case, with male considered privileged, then would not masculine women be thought to attract less negative attitude? As for the notion of prototypicality, Ghavami & Peplau (2013) failed to find evidence (only “mixed” results) for the notion that it is a white man who is envisaged when thinking of a male. The authors comment on the apparent greater complexity of intersectionality theory than has previously been considered, which is to point to its being non-parsimonious, and, thereby, likely false.
Race can prompt the salience of sex and difference
Problems for intersectional invisibility continue when widening out race beyond simply black denoting African to encompass Asians, as only to be expected given the arbitrary extension of the identity politics race category from originally being only African-Americans. That Asians do not evoke negative attitudes as much as blacks is well known; found, for example, by Phills et al (2018). Whereas expectation of intersectional invisibility of prejudice to black males but not females is borne out by their data, Phills et al obtained “inconsistent” results for Asian males, that they interpret as further complication of intersectionality. Again, though, it’s non-parsimony—an implausibile hypothesis. Liu & Wong (2018) examine additive, multiplicative (interactive), cumulative disadvantage, and subordinate male target hypotheses, and in finding little evidence for any, opt for their intersectional fusion syndrome of uniqueness of particular intersections that cannot be gauged from the components; qualitatively different according to sex, with seven stereotypes unique to Asian men. This is description, not explanation. The authors concede nothing in their model can be operationalised into a measure. It’s not scientific hypothesis.
The relative lack of negative attitude towards Asians is attributed by Galinsky, Hall & Cuddy (2013) and Johnson, Freeman & Pauker (2012) to being perceived more female, turning intersection from prototypical to non-prototypical, thereby to invoke intersectional invisibility. However, clear evidence against inherent sex of race is provided by Kim, Johnson & Johnson (2015): three- and ten-month-old infants don’t perceive Asian or white faces as more female, nor African faces more male. There is no evidence of biological masculinisation; no continuum with Asians an intersex: sexing is implicitly binary — this being hard-wired (Baylis et al, 2019), and the first cognitive process on encountering another individual (Kimchi, Xu & Dulac, 2007). Johnson et al’s experiments use computer generated inter-sex faces to create ambiguity, forcing a choice, as revealed by slower, more uncertain sex categorisation, captured in response-time or error data. Yet mis-categorisation occurs very rarely; hence it is likely artefactual. Galinsky et al’s research is of various measures or proxies of sexual attraction (mate value), which requires sexing in the first instance. The best interpretation of the data from both research teams is that racial groups differ in perceived mate value, and may also prompt greater or lesser salience of sex. Mate value is succinctly expressed in degree of maleness or femaleness as shorthand for sexing plus sexual desirability, operationalised thus by the experimenter and subjects alike. It is not that individuals are viewed as more or less gendered. Asian males have small body frames, light muscularity, delicate-featured faces, and reputed meek demeanour; ancestrally indicating low genetic quality, and consequently sexually unattractive. Asians are more neotenised (paedomorphic) than other racial groups (eg, Bromhall, 2003; Montagu, 1989), appearing relatively non-adult, failing to evoke sex as salient. The converse is true of African males. Confounding with sexual attractiveness would explain Schug, Alt & Klauer’s (2015) results (above).
Conclusion: negative attitudes are towards males who are different
With nothing concerning race here supporting either intersectionality or intersectional invisibility, race appears in effect to be an extension of sex as inverted from how it is envisaged in identity politics, not to females but males being targets of negative attitude. Seemingly, it sharpens the focus on sex, rendering sex more salient. The operative factor in the intersection of race with sex apparently is not race per se, but difference. That is, race is a proxy for difference. This would be expected, as even social scientists acknowledge, perception of race is as an arbitrary-set. It accords with the other protected characteristic of sexual orientation likewise denoting difference. The negative attitude identity politics is held to explain instead would be accounted for by targets being simply male and distinguished by whatever significant difference(s) from the norm they happen to exhibit, whatever the realm. Beyond its being wider than sexual mores, difference may be a general attitude or a range of specific indicators of non-adhesion to adult male social rules; very likely it’s both (information redundancy). Research is required.
Identity politics is revealed to be misconceived, as soon as interpretation widens out from being reflexively in its own terms (non-circularly), providing a window on an important facet of sociality and psychology that identity politics had served to obscure: the policing of male sexual access by gate-keeping male full adult group membership. In misidentifying targets and direction of negative attitude, identity politics itself has been a principal source of the very sort of disadvantage and oppression supposedly it was devised to counter. Even worse, it disadvantages people in general: the majority, not a minority; but as this was the basis of identity politics, it hardly would have any other outcome.
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