Moral Agency in Women- Revisted

[Note: This is an older work of mine. The ideas that I explored here have largely been replaced or rejected since I first wrote it.]

Below is re-creation from Google cache of a post that SSM put up a number of weeks back concerning moral agency and women. I am attaching my additional thoughts to the end, as before.

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An interesting conversation about whether or not women can control their reactions and responses to dominant men took place on a previous thread.

Commenter Donalgraeme wrote:

I suspect that the truth is that around a powerful, dominant masculine presence the part of a woman’s brain which is responsible for logic and reason simply shuts down. Pure biological instinct takes over, leaving the three main drives of a woman: 1) Sex with alpha males, 2) protection, and 3) provision. At this point she starts seeking to fulfill impulse #1, sex with an alpha male. No rational thought is involved. Just pure lust.

To women, the notion that a relationship might result is probably the most logical conclusion that they can reach as to their actions after the fact. The truth is that they don’t know, and don’t understand why they did what they did. So the Hamster kicks in, and draws out this solution. In other cases it resolves itself as “he took advantage of me.”

Personally, I am starting to wonder if a man with a dominant alpha frame is irresistible to women. That is, given the opportunity, she would have sex with him no matter the cost or consequences. Or what some have called “trading 5 minutes of alpha for a lifetime of beta.” Worst of all, the woman has no control over this. She cannot help herself, and really doesn’t have full agency in this kind of situation.

Deti discussed a youth pastor whose wife had an affair with an alpha male and concluded:

Looking back on it now, it makes perfect sense. Alpha dominant man targets mousy pastor’s wife for easy sex. He pushes her hard, finds her buttons, pushes some more. Milquetoast hub can’t compare; this dude has found buttons she didn’t even know existed. She can’t help herself and gives in; finds out she LOVES it. Reason and logic slowly return; the awful truth dawns on her; she offers groveling apology; all is well.

Here’s the problem — can a woman stand up under that kind of pressure, especially if she knows the sex will be off the charts; the man making the moves is more attractive than H by all objective measures; there is low risk of detection; there really aren’t any consequences to speak of; and the dude is pushing all her buttons juuuuuust right? donal, I don’t think she could. I think she’d just have to make sure she didn’t go into the situation in the first place.

And Donalgraeme replied: 

“I’m really starting to think the woman who uses this strategy is simply fulfilling the female Prime Directive:

Secure alpha seed from the best man possible, get pregnant and have babies. ”

That’s pretty much it. And the part that frightens me is this: women don’t really have any choice in the matter if they come across the right man at the right time.

Makes me understand why so many cultures hid their young women…

…Many societies hid away their young women, only allowing them out of the family home when they became married. Feminists decry this as oppression and tyranny, but the truth is that women are vulnerable to the powers of an Alpha.

Jesus taught his disciples to remove those things which bring them to temptation. Unfortunately for women, they themselves are the tempting object. Hence, to avoid sexual sins they must avoid situations where they could be subject to the irresistible power of a dominant masculine frame. In our modern world, that is nigh-well impossible.

So, whose fault is it when women sleep around if it isn’t their own fault?  Women experience a sharp increase in sex drive during the days surrounding ovulation, provided they are not using hormone birth control.  If she’s married, no problem; her husband gets to be the beneficiary of her increased interest in sexual activity.  If she isn’t married and there is a relatively dominant male in the vicinity, just how much ability and responsibility does she have to regulate her own behavior?

There are a large number of verses about sexual immorality in the Bible but let us just consider two:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Obviously we can see that, since it is God’s will, it must be possible to abstain from sexual immorality and that when tempted, God will provide the way of escape.  But I wonder…were these verses meant to cover the current situation of females spending years and years as free agents?  In Bible times, a girl married in her teens, going straight from her father’s home to her husband’s.  There were no opportunities to encounter alpha males on spring break in a sunny locale while drinking tequila (or for the Christian girl, to encounter native alphas while on a “missions” trip).  Is a twenty-year-old woman who is ovulating and has a drink or two in her really able to exercise moral agency in that situation?

And if she is not, then what moral responsibility does she have?

Given the increased risk of divorce a sexually promiscuous woman has, it is a serious question for both Christian and non-Christian women and their future husbands alike.

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Additional thoughts plus some comments:

One poster, James127, made this interesting argument:

“Neither natural selection, nor God, would have made women incapable of choice.”

After having given it some thought, I think the he is wrong when it comes to natural selection. I can see a reason why nature would want women to eventually buckle. From an evolutionary biology perspective, reproduction is essential to the survival of the species. However, for humans (and many other animals), reproduction can be a dangerous event for a female. It involves considerable risk, and exposes a woman to a lot of potential harm. From a selfish point of view, a woman might be well served to avoid having children, in order to avoid that danger. If women had a weakness, as it were, to strong dominant men that made them incapable of resisting in the right circumstances, this serves two purposes: the first is to ensure that the woman carries on with the act that brings about reproduction, and the second is to ensure that only a truly masculine man can be the biological father.  Not a rock solid answer, I’ll admit. Might be worth some further thought down the line.

Here are some of the comments I left in the post:

I have been working on this theory for a while now. The essence of the theory is this: the female brain might work in such a way that if a woman were to find herself in a position where she was under the influence of a man with a dominant, masculine frame, the rational part of her mind stops working properly. She can’t think straight. The only things running through her head are base instincts, with desire for the man being the most paramount. If the woman is isolated, away from friends and family or other sources of moral authority who might be able to constrain her behavior, then she might not be able to say “No” to the man if he presses her. She will eventually yield to him.
The important thing is that she might still be a “good woman”, or even a “good Christian woman.” She might believe that fornication is a sin, and that pre-marital sex is wrong, and that she should save herself for her husband. She might be wearing a promise ring, or whatever talisman supposedly will protect her virtue. But it doesn’t matter. Against such a man, without an external moral source, she cannot prevail.

Most importantly, he doesn’t have to force her. Just use the powerful lure of his dominant masculine frame.

I am starting to wonder if the ancients knew of this, or suspected this. Suspected that all women, or even most women, no matter how virtuous, would be incapable of resisting that kind of temptation. Hence the isolated life of most women in many cultures.
What is relevant to this is the attitude of the Churchians. When they hear of a supposedly good Christian woman who has been having pre-marital sex, they instinctively blame the man. After all, she is a “Good Christian Girl” (“GCG”) and no GCG would have sex with someone not her husband… willingly. Therefore, some man MUST have taken advantage of her. This is especially the case where they know the GCG, and knows she is in fact a GCG. Since she wouldn’t commit a sin, logic to the Churchians dictates that it must be the fault of the evil man who took advantage of her. They never stop to consider that there might a circumstance where a GCG might have sex, and the man doesn’t take advantage of her, because it would require them to consider a terrible possibility: That no amount of virtue can protect a young woman from that Dominant Alpha Male (“DMA”) if he can use all of his charms against her without interruption.

This is a terrible thing for them to consider because it means that the only way for a GCG to stay virtuous is to stay away from any DMAs. Given that such men can be found nearly everywhere, and nothing can be done by society to stop this, it means that the GCGs would have to be the ones to avoid DMAs. To accomplish this they would have to necessarily restrict where they go, when they go there, and with whom they go. In short, it requires them to give up the freedom which Feminism has taught them they can fully enjoy. A GCG can no longer act like a man if she wants to maintain her virtue. And given the feminization of most Churches, this is of course unacceptable. Hence, blame the males, the only acceptable response to this situation.

Deti linked to the following post at Dalrock’s which is related:

http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/we-are-trapped-on-slut-island-and-traditional-conservatives-are-our-gilligan/

Once again, I am not saying that the woman has no self-control at all. What I am saying is that there might be a point where she can lose her self-control. She is still responsible for her actions up to that point. If she placed herself in a position where sin was likely, then she is responsible for that sin.

What I am challenging in a way is the notion that you can just send a “Good Christian Girl” (“GCG”) out into the world and expect her to resist all temptation. In one respect that is not entirely dissimilar to the arguments by the Churchians in that the GCG will be taken advantage of by a man. However, that cannot truly be the case, because that GCG makes the choice of ignoring the perils of sin and temptation.

I think that Matthew 5:29 applies here. Women need to avoid the potential for temptation, just as men must. If that means that a woman must avoid certain activities and places that are not so treacherous to a man, then so be it. Life isn’t fair.

More later if I find it.

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20 Comments

Filed under Moral Agency, Sunshine Mary

20 responses to “Moral Agency in Women- Revisted

  1. “But I wonder…were these verses meant to cover the current situation of females spending years and years as free agents? In Bible times, a girl married in her teens, going straight from her father’s home to her husband’s. There were no opportunities to encounter alpha males on spring break in a sunny locale while drinking tequila (or for the Christian girl, to encounter native alphas while on a “missions” trip). Is a twenty-year-old woman who is ovulating and has a drink or two in her really able to exercise moral agency in that situation?”

    Yes, those verses were meant to apply to the current situation. To imply otherwise borders on blasphemy if you are a bible believing Christian. If you are a Bible Christian, you believe that the Bible was written by God as guide for his people through the ages. To imply that the verses do not apply to current modern life is to imply that God did/does not have the foresight to write a book that will be applicable for His people for as long as they are on Earth. Also, in saying that these verses are no longer relevant and applicable, you open up the whole Holy Bible to irrelevance. If these verses no longer apply, then clearly other parts of the Bible may be irrelevant as well. Who decides what is still important to follow and who doesn’t? At this point, we become modern liberal Christians who pick and choose what they want to believe on a daily basis based on nothing other then their own mood at the moment. Either you believe the Bible is Divine guidance or you do not.

    Similarly, you say that women are unable to resist temptation, but the Bible tells God will always provide us with a way to resist, no matter how irresistible the temptation. To say that all women must by nature yield sexually to Alpha Males and cannot be virtuous if they lead a public life, it to say God is lying. Women, like men, are weak and fallen. It is our sinful nature that causes us to CHOOSE sin. Sin is always a choice. Resisting it may be extremely difficult at times but God told us He gave each one of us the ability. Women do not have to give into sex to every alpha male who wants it. If a Good Christian Woman does, it is not because she has been taken advantage of, it is because we all have weak sinful nature and Satan is always on the look out for our weak moment. However, she is still responsible for her choice to sin. God in his wisdom and mercy gave us free will. This means we are responsible for the choices we make. God knew what the world would become and He wrote the Bible to guide us through ALL times.

  2. I don’t disagree that the Bible was meant a guidebook, irrespective of what time and place a Christian found him or herself in.

    But I don’t think that my theory is completely incompatible with Paul’s message in Corinthians.

    From above:
    ” God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

    Notice that Paul references temptation here. He is saying that we can resist temptation of any sort. Not that we can resist sin. As I argued in my original comments, Jesus said we should cut off our hand to avoid being cast into the pit. This meant we should avoid temptation by avoiding those things which can lead to sin.

    What I am arguing is not that women can’t resist temptation, but that the temptation comes sooner than we might think in the process of seduction by an alpha male. The temptation comes not when the alpha male is making his final moves. Rather, the temptation to be resisted by the woman is to place herself in an isolated place, without additional moral support, with the alpha male. That is where the temptation is to be found. And that is where she can resist. My theory is that if she gives into that temptation, it is past the point of no return. She knows, deep down inside, what it really means, and has decided to follow that path nonetheless.

  3. deti

    donal, good one. I had forgotten about this.

    “Rather, the temptation to be resisted by the woman is to place herself in an isolated place, without additional moral support, with the alpha male. …. My theory is that if she gives into that temptation, it is past the point of no return. She knows, deep down inside, what it really means, and has decided to follow that path nonetheless.”

    I agree. The main reason women go to places populated by alpha males is first to exercise their feminine power by attracting their attention. After that, resistance to the attraction of an alpha male pushing all her buttons will be nearly impossible.

  4. Donal: This is very interesting in light of the Steubenville, OH, “rape” case that I follow in the news lately. While I realize that the plaintiff in the so-called rape case is a minor female, the defendants are most definitely young alpha males. This young woman (by biblical accounts, a woman) was hanging all over one of the alleged rapists prior to her alleged victimization, and eyewitnesses saw it. The defendant also alleges that she “was coming on to him”. These were star football players; the “winners” in her peer group. She is even seen the following morning, lying on the couch naked next to one of the “rapists”. If she were feeling victimized, why on earth would she be cuddled up next to a rapist the following morning?

    I have to agree with you. Sometimes women are just overcome by their own fleshly desires. This is why they were under the express authority of their fathers and subsequently their husbands in times past. It’s ridiculous to allow a post-adolescent female out of the home with mixed company unchaperoned.

  5. @ Deti

    “I agree. The main reason women go to places populated by alpha males is first to exercise their feminine power by attracting their attention. After that, resistance to the attraction of an alpha male pushing all her buttons will be nearly impossible.”

    Honestly, I think that the main reason that women would go to such a place is to have sex with an alpha male. Exercising their feminine power is not difficult. What they want is the validation and emotional thrill that comes with bedding an alpha male. For them, they gave in to temptation when they went to such a place.

    @ Song

    That story gets to the heart of why I developed this theory to begin with:
    Explaining why women claim that they were taken advantage of by men time and time again, or why they later claim they slept with a man to start a relationship with him. That woman sounds like she was “entranced” by the the Power of those football players. Her mind was so filled with chemicals she couldn’t think straight. Later, when she realized what she had done, and she looked back at what happened, it couldn’t have made sense to her. So the Hamster kicked in, and spat out an acceptable result: rape. Mind you, that might not be what happened, but it sounds like it to me.

  6. the main reason that women would go to such a place is to have sex with an alpha male. Exercising their feminine power is not difficult. What they want is the validation and emotional thrill that comes with bedding an alpha male. For them, they gave in to temptation when they went to such a place.

    Dead on.

    The lack of moral agency is in making herself available to possibilities. Ohhh if PUA’s come to understand this…they really don’t need to work as hard as they do. A woman/girl who decides to go to the bar/party has already decided she’ll be giving it up to the male that catches her eye. The unsuspecting, naive GCG is VERY RARE in these environments. So rare that they are statistical outliers and don’t really need to be discussed. The problem is, women are LIARS. So, whatever I’m going to say here, is GOING to be dismissed as NAWALT by women who are going to say I am the outlier, I don’t know what I’m talking about and that there are girls that just want to go out and have fun. This is bullshit.

    The decision to go to the party or the bar IS the decision to be available for sex. She (no matter her SMV) either knows who will be the target of her interest or, should she be going to a place she doesn’t already know anyone, will enter the room, scan it, and choose who will be her target. If no one catches her eye, it won’t take long before she tells her friends she’s bored and wants to leave. She DOES NOT want to stay where there are no opportunities. She is more complicit in the hook up than the guy is. All the guy (one of them she has chosen) has to do is nod in her direction and it is on. The dance will have begun to maintain his attention – she has no compulsion to stop what progresses. She chooses him based on 1. his looks, 2. his social status in the room/reputation prior if she knows him.

    Women with low SMVs are more likely to stick around longer than a high SMV woman in the hopes of slim pickings leading to more opportunities. She knows her place. She knows the most attractive guy will hook up with the higher SMV women. She’ll wait patiently to see what is left. Often times for her, nothing she’ll consider is left (even though the guys remaining are close to her SMV) and she’ll go home not having hooked up. Thus preserving her innocence. IT WAS NOT what she intended but it will be what she touts as her virtue.

    The woman with virtue, does not go to these places. This gets back to the discussion we were having about girl’s night out. Women who are not interested in testing out their SMV’s in the market place DON’T GO. Full stop.

  7. “The lack of moral agency is in making herself available to possibilities. Ohhh if PUA’s come to understand this…they really don’t need to work as hard as they do.”

    Actually SD, most do realize this. They know why the woman is there. But they also know how picky most women are. Thus they employ their considerable arsenal of tricks to raise their value with respect to those women. Remember, most PUAs are not natural alphas, and so they used their skills to replicate those who are.

    Otherwise, your comments are spot on. However, this applies mostly to bars and nightclubs. When in truth there are many more places where women should exercise caution and restraint if the truly want to protect their virtue.

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  9. Ellie

    This is nothing new- in Prov 5:8 the son is cautioned to not even go near the door of the house of the immoral woman. Both men and women experience huge temptation, possibly even irresistible temptation, if they do not flee from it. This has nothing to do with moral agency.

    If women do not have moral agency, then how is a virgin virtuous? The woman who resists sexual temptation has no place in your theory— such a woman’s virginity should then be seen as the triumph of her father’s virtue, and not her own.

  10. Ellie

    I speak as a woman who remained a virgin until marriage— it was very hard— most men were not the slightest bit interested in you once they saw I was not “easy” and insinuated that I was frigid or repressed. You cannot act upon your own lust because you know it is wrong but the temptation is sometimes overwhelming. The other women talk about you and how there must be something wrong with you because no guys like you. Most of a young person’s social life is wrapped up in promiscuity so you have vastly fewer friends because your very presence reminds other women that their lifestyle is wrong. The social sacrifice is HUGE. If it was not through my moral agency that I chose that over sin, then what was the cause of it? My father? You leave committed Christian women who practice their faith out to dry on this one donal.

    Do men have moral agency when it comes to porn use or are they held accountable for their sin despite the temptation being overwhelming and the sin being completely easy to fall into? Just because a large number of people do something does not mean that moral agency is absent.

  11. Ellie, thank you for commenting.

    Before I forget, I would like to laud you for remaining a virgin until you were married. I understand just how difficult that can be in the current social climate. Both men and women suffer social opprobrium for maintaining their virtue in the present climate.

    If women do not have moral agency, then how is a virgin virtuous? The woman who resists sexual temptation has no place in your theory— such a woman’s virginity should then be seen as the triumph of her father’s virtue, and not her own.

    This theory is one that I have always had problems with it. On the face of it, it doesn’t seem to square with Christian teaching or free will. However, I have seen hints of it in action before, and I have talked with others who have seen it in action. One individual in question, a devout young man who goes by the moniker of Joseph of Jackson, has related stories of how women he was gaming/wooing would go all “Doe Eyed” on him. That is, they were so enraptured by him they would have done whatever he wanted. Being a sincere Christian, he didn’t take advantage of them, but he could have.

    When you get down to it, the theory is not that women have no moral agency (something I don’t believe). Rather, it says that there might be certain situations in which a woman’s moral agency can be impaired to the point where a dominant man can overwhelm her ability to stay virtuous and say no. You mention Proverbs 5, and that is a perfect example of how the same might apply to a man as well. What I am really arguing is that if we aren’t careful, we can put ourselves down the path of sin without realizing it, and by the time the open choice is presented to us, we can no longer resist. For example, deciding to go back to some man’s apartment to have drinks without any friends or family around… In that kind of situation a woman might have already begun to rationalize away any consequences of what may occur. Women I think are especially vulnerable to this, but weaker men might be as well.

    I suspect that you never put yourself in a position where you would be vulnerable to this kind of behavior. It was your prudence, and yes, your virtue, which is responsible for that caution. The key is that we should never place ourselves in compromising positions in the first place, and I would wager that is what you did. Some people, however, seem to think that they can skirt close to the danger point but never, ever risk going over, because they seem to believe that they will always, always, be able to say no. And I argue otherwise; they may not be able to say no because part of them has already said yes.

    Do men have moral agency when it comes to porn use or are they held accountable for their sin despite the temptation being overwhelming and the sin being completely easy to fall into? Just because a large number of people do something does not mean that moral agency is absent.

    Men are very much held accountable for porn use. The temptation might be great, but that doesn’t excuse them. And no, just because lot of people commit a sin doesn’t mean they are without moral agency.

  12. Ellie

    Thank you for your excellent response— I guess I got thrown for a loop by the moral agency label and didn’t see beyond it to appreciate the fullness of your argument. Everyone has to know their limits when it comes to dealing with temptation… God bless you all!

  13. Well, it wasn’t exactly a clear argument, in part because I lifted it from another site. I think that Jesus’ words about avoiding that which tempts us is important. For men and women, this means avoiding situations where sin is likely.

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  19. I was a little shocked at some of your assumptions.

    This is where correct training in childhood comes into play. Modest dressing was of paramount importance, also appropriate feminine dress, in my childhood home. I have two daughters today, who are being raised in the same manner. Have very strict standards. Most of what passes for modest among all too many Traditional Catholics is shamefully immodest. This is why 90% of the time our dining room table is covered with patterns, fabric scraps and thread ends; my husband is very happy that I finally found a cutting table! 🙂

    It is also important, if a young lady is attending college courses or the like, to remember that she is there for one purpose: to get an education. She is not there to socialize, as that would be wasteful of money and of her time. She may socialize as a result of being a member of clubs (I took four years of French and was a member of the French Club), but the reason she is in college is to obtain her degree. Keeping that firmly in place in her mind helps to banish any silliness that is unfortunately all too frequent in young ladies.

    Girls should be taught to be serious and industrious while they are at home, and the silliness that tends to creep in nipped in the bud. Don’t allow inane giggling or allow them to associate with girls who are allowed to be silly and ridiculous. Absolutely no makeup or jewelry until age 18, and even then jewelry must be small and elegant (no big earrings or hoop earrings) and makeup should be limited to only a little powder and lip gloss of natural color.

    I met a young man while in my twenties who teased me only once in a conversation about how he was “absolutely sure I was a guy-watcher”. I terminated the friendship immediately. I was deeply offended that he would consider me so frivolous and ill-bred. A girl who makes a habit of “guy-watching” is not suitable marriage material; I think most decent young men would acknowledge this fact. If my daughter were to stoop to such low behavior, I would be quite indignant, and so would her father, I am sure.

    The correct girl is a young lady who has serious pursuits, a keen intellect made keener by good reading and good occupation, and pursues excellence in all she does, including homemaking and domestic skills. She is not overly concerned with young men. She makes herself presentable and attractive while taking care to be very modest. She does not “push” herself on them, allowing them to make the first move and acting the lady at all times.

    Girls brought up in this way will have sufficient seriousness and willpower (we hope) to confront temptation when it comes their way. Having been brought up this way, I can tell you that I met in my younger years a number of young men that I admired in some way or other, but the training I received as a child stuck. You can avoid falling into sin, but it takes a combination of grace and correct upbringing, or lacking the upbringing a will trained to do whatever is necessary to protect oneself and one’s brother in Christ.

  20. @ Mom in The Shoe

    This was an older post- I have since rejected or altered most of the assumptions/theories made herein. Thanks for the reminder that I should link to my newer posts on the subject.

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