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October 13, 2005

Comments

ginmar

Gee, Mr. Bad posts a link to lots of sites but not to any one cite. How nice. Mr. Bad, I've been in combat. Go fuck yourself. Individ-ewe-al got banned from my site for repeatedly criticizing feminists for the things they opposed. She's been looking for a dishonest excuse forever. How nice to see some familiar faces. Stanton is also another anti-feminist who's been banned from Trish Wilson's site---and yet Hugo lets them go off constantly. Some feminist.

Joseph

Well, feminism is an ideology, and we might question why anyone should be required to believe in any ideology. Just as logically, we might ask "Why would a man reject masculinism?"

One reason feminism might be rejected is that it plays fast and loose with the facts, reconstructing reality to suit its own ideological agenda. We see many feminists claiming that "A woman never lies about being raped." Hence, my website at:

http://home.earthlink.net/~jamiranda/whyLie.htm

An ideology which routinely lies is not going to last in the long run.

Joseph

Another reason to reject feminism is its general failure to give women much in the way of real power. Despite the fact that the entire feminist has been more or less implemented -- affirmative action, womyn's studies programs, Title IX, "sexual harassment" laws, etc., women still have been unable to compete with men in the positions of power: politics, CEOs, IT, etc.

A non-feminist approach, say emphasizing a capitalistic "dog eat dog" agenda for women, might push more females to the top (it worked for men!). Look at the rise of Ayn Rand, Anne Coulter and Phylis Schafly.

One can argue that the feminist agenda itself is flawed insofar as it gives women so much eyewash without granting any real power. (Feminist) women are bought off by a few programs. Same old story, the establishment buys off the leaders of a rebellion with a few concessions and those leaders then keep the masses in line.

But then, men in power implemented the feminist agenda, and they knew what they were doing.

Joseph

In the above post, I meant to say:

"Despite the fact that the entire feminist agenda has been more or less implemented -- "

(Hugo, we need an edit button!)

Individ-ewe-al

Ginmar, you had no need to ban me. Asking me to stop commenting was perfectly adequate. I fully respect that you are the arbiter of what comments are acceptable on your blog. I haven't even attempted to reply to the attacks on me that followed my comment (which I agree was over the line between polite disagreement and snark).

Hugo, thank you for responding to my input so courteously. One of the things I appreciate about this blog is that you give all commenters all the benefit of even the slightest degree of doubt. There are people posting in this thread I would consider trolls, whereas Ginmar apparently considers me someone that a feminist should not allow to join in a discussion.

*shrug* Blogging is cool that way, it lets each blogger set what level of disagreement / rudeness is acceptable, and lets readers decide which subset of blogs generates discussion that's worth reading. It may be that feminists ought to set that line in a particular place, but since I don't regard myself as a feminist I'm not bound by that. I'm happy to lurk on Ginmar's blog and keep my disagreements to myself, and I'm happy to scroll past the trollisms and learn from the good debate here.

stanton

Stanton is also another anti-feminist who's been banned from Trish Wilson's site... (ginmar)

I was banned by Trish? I am humbled to be in such fine company. Actually, I had no idea. I only posted there once - after Amanda was on the Sacks radio show. Ms. Wilson quickly ended the thread, due to excessive MRA posting, which I had thought to be rather civil. There were some unanswerable challenges thrown out to the silly assumptions of the natives, of course, so that's probably why she did it. Did she ban all of us outsiders that day? I wouldn't know, as I concluded she was not interested in facts that may disrupt her happy delusions and left her alone after that.

Paul

Wow, over 150 comments, and not one has addressed what I think is a significant factor in why many women, especially the example described by Hugo, would want to disassociate themselves from the Feminist label: it's perceived as having a strong academic flavour.

Now, I realise that there's a right-wing campaign against academia, and that some study and analysis is necessary for social change. It's important that there are people like Hugo who are looking in-depth at gender, and that their findings then filter out into the general culture. But let's look back at Hugo's original example, the woman at the Apple store:

"I mentioned my courses in Western Civ, as well as Women's History. As soon as I mentioned the latter class, the gal remarked "Well, I'd never take a class like that. I'm not a feminist. I'm all about being a homemaker, and I don't like sitting around listening to a bunch of women complain about how unfair the world is." We had a movie to catch, and I almost never argue with folks in public, so when I heard this, I just smiled my most indulgent smile and said "Well, if you take my class, you might be surprised", and I left it at that."

Hugo addressed the implication that she didn't want to be associated with victimhood. But no-one seems to have noticed the other negative implication of what she said: that feminism is all about sitting around listening. There was no awareness of feminists working in rape crisis centres, state legislatures, indigenous communities or overseas to raise the status of women. To her, feminism = academia, and as a homemaker and non-academic she didn't feel the movement had a place for her.

Again, there's a place for feminism in academia and vice-versa. But when there's a strong public perception that the two are synonymous then we have a problem, because the majority of people have little interest, myself included. I have friends in Women's Studies and I love them dearly, but so many of our conversations about feminism devolve into analyses of whether the Third Wave was an advancement on the Second and whether biology is gendered and how Hitchcock films embody the Male Gaze and then it's on to the meaning of Masculinity and Literary Cultural Theory and Postcolonialism and Poststructuralism and on and on and on. My affectionate name for them is FemiNerds. The Second/Third Wave debate in particular reminds me of arguments nerds have about the Golden and Silver Age of Comics. To most people it's boring and irrelevant.

I'm an academic myself, with a strong interest in science, but I would never argue that one needs a 4+ year Physics degree and a thorough understanding of Quantum Mechanics to debate Governmental science funding. But there's a strong perception that feminists are people who undertake Women's Studies degrees and write books and go to seminars and debate. Most feminists who people recognise by name are academics. I fully respect people who take the time and effort to examine in-depth the inner workings of gender relations. But I think everything an ordinary person needs to be a feminist can be read on one A4 pamphlet. Or that little book by bell hooks that I've forgotten the name of.

Hugo: please don't take my comments as an attack on your career as I appreciated reading your site. As a man I'm very interested in practical information on how I can improve my relationships with women and other men, and I've found a lot of that here. I'm very interested to read your response to my comment.

Caitriona

Paul, my perception is that you left off the most important part of that particular statement:

I don't like sitting around listening to a bunch of women complain about how unfair the world is


It's not about not wanting to listen. Women listen ALL the time!. It's about not wanting to hear all those complaints. Complaints are tiring. Constant complaints are exhausting.

mythago

A non-feminist approach, say emphasizing a capitalistic "dog eat dog" agenda for women, might push more females to the top

From personal and up-close experience, let me tell you that this is wishful thinking.

Yes, it's true that in a capitalist system, there shouldn't be invidious discrimination; if Company A refuses to hire or promote women, then Company B will snap up all the unhired qualified female talent Company A rejected and B will eat A's lunch. Yet, there is discrimination. It's a real paradox and the way free-marketers usually resolve it is to pretend discrimination really doesn't much exist, or to suggest that the discrimination is reasonable (i.e. all those women/blacks/foreigners weren't ever qualified for the jobs in the first place).

Caitriona, I think you're also missing that the young woman believes feminism is nothing but sitting around and complaining about how unfair the world is. She also apparently thinks it means you can't be a homemaker.

stanton

Paul,

Some very interesting thoughts to ponder. And I believe Caitrona is correct as well, about constant complaining.

The hooks book is, I think, "Feminism is for Everybody". You are probably correct that it contains everything that "an ordinary person" needs to know about feminism. It also contains enough nonsense to impel the average reasonably intelligent and unbiased reader to reject the movement out of hand.

The Gonzman

Yes, we all know about the radicals who do advocate an end to the nuclear family, but they are no more representative of feminism than Pat Robertson is of Christianity. I know, Caitriona, you can call yourself a Christian without feeling that ties you inextricably to Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell; why is it so hard to call oneself a feminist without feeling lumped in with Shulamith Firestone or Mary Daly?

I'll field this one, Hugo.

As a disclaimer, my theology, being Catholic, is not one which uses a literalist exegesis of the Bible as a foundation for doctrine; in fact there are sound "Bible-Based" arguments for rejecting what we call the sola scriptura heresy.

When one derives opinions which violate the spirit of the law, as opposed to the letter of the law (remembering Jesus admonition that the law should be writ upon the heart, not graven in stone) I find many of the things Herrs Robertson and Falwell espouse to be decidedly un-Christian.

Are they right of times? Occasionally, but as the saying goes even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time as well. I do not, however regard them as particularly good Christians, let alone exemplars of Christian thought, because their theology is fruit from a poisonous tree; where they tangently have sound theology it is mere happenstance, despite, and not because, of their foudational errors.

Hence, when I find Mssrs. Falwell and Robertson to be in error - which is frequently - I CALL them on it. I don't merely use terms of mild disagreement, if they are expressing racist views, I call them racuists. I have been known to describe Falwell as "His Satanic Majesty" and have suggested in the past if anyone is the candidate for the False Prophet from Revelation in these times, he is a leading candidate. (Though I don't agree with the apocalyptic interpretation of Revelation which modern Protestantism does - I think it makes for good horror movies - though not sequels - but poor theology).

I'd like just once to see some feminist describe the anti-male works of Dworkin, Brownmiller, Morgan, et al as "Repugnant" and say in no uncertain terms that such people are poison, an embarassment to feminism, and that they should be de-canonized as feminist icons; and use similar reasoning to arrive there. Unfortunately, it's only the "iFeminists" and "equity Feminists" I see doing this - and it's them I see being de facto excommunicated by mainstream feminist thought.

Silence gives assent. And as I have said before, a condemnation that contains the word "but" is no condemnation.

stanton

Gonzman, I believe that what you have just described represents the key failing of feminism, and the precise reason why the movement itself is morally bankrupt and currently incapable of producing anything other than bitter fruit, to use a Christian analogy.

One sees the same thing among Moslems when it comes to terrorists. Individual Moslems will decry acts of terrorism, and occasionally there will be a cleric who will denounce it. The "buts" abound, however, and there have been no fatwas issued against any of them. Fatwas are reserved for authors and such. They have this weapon at their disposal (the fatwa) to root out, or at least neutralize, all terrorists, wherever they may be, but there is a good reason why this weapon will never be weilded - and that reason is that these terrorists are very much in tune with Islam.

While there is no feminist fatwa per se,the parallels with feminism are clear. Those feminists who have the courage and integrity to deplore these extremists for what they are, find themselves rejected by the main body - because the Dworkins and MacKinnons are very much in tune with modern feminism. Sad, but obvious.

Mr. Bad

mythago wrote: "Yes, it's true that in a capitalist system, there shouldn't be invidious discrimination; if Company A refuses to hire or promote women, then Company B will snap up all the unhired qualified female talent Company A rejected and B will eat A's lunch. Yet, there is discrimination. It's a real paradox and the way free-marketers usually resolve it is to pretend discrimination really doesn't much exist, or to suggest that the discrimination is reasonable (i.e. all those women/blacks/foreigners weren't ever qualified for the jobs in the first place)."

Except that some of the best minds in the feminist movement have not been able to successfully argue in an open, honest debate that disproportionate discrimination against women exists. And myth, as I've heard here before, serial anecdote is not evidence. On the other hand, examples of formal and informal institutional discrimination against men abound, and we've discussed this many times so I won't belabor this issue any more.

Therefore, given the above, I have to reject your argument against the capitalist approach because it's based on the false premise that discrimination against women is anything other than rare, isolated and many times trivial when compared to what men experience.

Braidwood

I love this post! I've noticed my 16 year old cousin who was raised by an anti-feminist mom will often say, "I'm not a feminist or anything, but..." when she wants to express certain opinions. It's a disclaimer. I truly feel that if you are glad that women get to vote, get to own property, get to legally run in marathons,(which was allowed for the first time the year I was born,) than you are a feminist, ignorant, or ungreatful. I did a full course of women's studies in college. I needed to educate myself and feel my girl power. (And true to the stereotype, I was angry at the time. I had a lot to be angry about and I felt really angry for myself and others.)Now feminist ideas aren't the focus of my life although they certainly inform most of my life. I understand people who don't want to be in feminist clubs, or go to rallies, we can't all do anything, but we can all at least aknowledge that someone else fought and won some basic rights for us, and/or women we love.

Braidwood

oops, I meant "we can't all do everything..."

stanton

Braidwood, you have the most inclusive definition of feminism that I have ever seen. Hugo himself held that distinction before, but yours bests his, hands down. (I don't believe that women ever faced legal restrictions against participation in marathons, though. It was atheletic associations that barred them, and no legislative action was required to change the rules - just some common sense.) Every person I know is thus a feminist. That's okay by me.

Are you still angry?

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Laura

'I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to think of herself as "oppressed," '

I think this assumes that women who are not routinely raped, battered, made victims of sexual harrassment and the pay gap and who did not grow up being taught that the most important thing they have to offer society is their appearance (necessarily augmented by expensive and often dangerous beautifying processes) and their services as sexual objects and reproductive machines, have suddenly decided, for no particular reason, that they want to think of themselves as oppressed. This is not how it happens. Society shows women again and again that they are oppressed; women don't suddenly decide to be oppressed for no reason.

I think it is interesting how quick people can be to attribute women's belief in their own oppression to women, as if women somehow invented their own oppression for shits and giggles. I think this both rests all responsibility on the woman (if only she didn't think of herself as oppressed, she wouldn't be, or at least that she has the choice of thinking of herself as oppressed or not oppressed) and succombs to the time honoured idea that women create such problems as oppression inside their own heads, or that women are crazy.

alexandra dence

Well this post was written a long time ago but I guess I feel like I'd like to add my two cents worth. I'm trying hard to realise that I owe a lot to feminism and do realise that in some measure that is true. But it has cause, IMO a lot of heartache as well. I wish I could articulate clearly why it has been quite so bad -- I can't. I was force-fed -- and it sure felt like that-- feminism in highschool and university. My stepmom subscribed me to MS magazine for years. I hated the issues -- all said that homemaking was a choice that was respected. Never did I experience that as completely true. I also got in trouble in university for daring to suggest that some differences between men and women were not simply the result of socialisation. I can't tell you how hard it was in the academic world to say that. I was even told that being heterosexual was teh result of my socialisation. Well, I won't go on -- I've learned that there isn't any point. I've had to teach articles in English class that I know are hooey because the feminist perspective must be dominant -- ones that talk about the 'rape culture' and the belief that all men are potentially rapists and to think otherwise is betrayal to women. I think many don't really believe this kind of militant feminism either exists or still exists -- but oh boy, it does. To me it has become really oppressive. You may not, under any circumstances, vocally disagree with any of the party platforms without risking ex communication. I think feminism is a bit like Marxism was in the 1920's or the ideas of the enlightenment in the French Revolution -- necessary, enlightened and important and in overturning one system of oppression, introduced another. Sure has felt that way.

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