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Post Info TOPIC: Questions on Feminism


Honoured Mook

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Questions on Feminism


Long story short, I have this acquaintance. Let's call him Pugwash. Pugwash is, like his namesake, an affable bastard. He insists on calling women "wench", once "ruined a Christian girl's life by making her fall in love with [him] and then psychologically damaging her to the point she failed her exams". He's bad news. 
Sadly, because I'm bereft of companions I've been indulging our mutual love of gory schlock horror over the Christmas break.
He's set me some questions, horribly phrased, about feminism, and I was wondering if any of you would like to verbally tear him a new one? I'm working on my responses, but it's difficult to get past the sheer amount of "WTF". 

1. What are you willing to admit Feminism offers you that Egalitarianism cannot?

2. Can you name one Feminist stance that doesn't blame men as the cause?

3. If Feminism is really about equality, then what have Feminists ever sacrificed to help men achieve equality?

4. If Feminism is about equality, why do Feminists believe it's never okay to hit a woman, but sometimes it's okay to hit a man?

5. If Feminism is about equality, why is it only named after women?



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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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On the bright side though, he is terribly ignorant -but asking questions. With a bit of patience and a cool head you have a golden opportunity to educate someone, yay!

1. What an odd question. A large chunk of Feminism is an aspect of Egalitarianism, so you might as well ask "What does the anti-fur movement offer you that animal welfare organizations cannot?". Or "What does anti-racism offer you that Egalitarianism cannot?"

2. Uh, most of them? The Patriarchy does not equal "men". Although the Patriarchy gives (some) males of our species privileges, that does not mean that all males of our species are to blame for it. Patriarchy is a cultural institution which individuals from all genders participate in upholding, "man" is a gender. It seems rather ignorant to confuse the two.

3. Sacrificed? This is about getting results, not a martyr competition ;) As for positive changes for men I think that the most obvious ones in my cultural sphere are access to "traditionally female" arenas and activities without being shamed back into macho bullshit roles. One significant arena is child-rearing which is extremely important to some men and the lack of access that fathers had to their own children just a generation ago is heartbreaking. A lot of women and some feminists have to be dragged kicking and screaming to give men this access, but it is doubtful if the questions would even have been raised without the history of feminist demands of egality.

5. Because it is an aspect of Egalitarianism that first and foremost addresses the inequality of women as a group in society. See question one. Being a feminist does not exclude involvement in other movements that seek to increase egality and freedom for the individual. If you are a feminist you can for example also be an anti-rascist, socialist, libertarianist, anti-ageist, fighting for LGBT issues and so on and so forth. Indeed, it is perfectly possible to be both a feminist and fighting for men's rights. Most people have the mental capacity to keep more than one thought in their head at the same time, although less intelligent people often make a lot of noise.

It is not hard to find a lot of loud louts who are terribly busy fighting the war of the sexes. Personally, I prefer to focus on how we can change our society to give more room for diversity and individual differences rather than excessive labelling of others.

 

Edit: I forgot to answer question four. Possibly because the only way to answer it is to choose which logical fallacies it employs.  Definitively the "straw man" one, possibly more?



-- Edited by Irilar on Saturday 28th of December 2013 01:30:30 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Haha jaysus. Right I'll give this a crack. Just gonna offer my broad personal insights on this one, feel free to disagree with me at any point.

1: "What are you willing to admit feminism offers you that egalitarianism cannot?"

Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favours everybody as equal or that seeks equality for everybody. It's not a movement like feminism is. When was the last time you heard of the egalitarian movement bringing about change for oppressed people of any sort? :P feminism is part of egalitarianism. The two aren't mutually exclusive. The feminist movement offers women a platform to speak about their experiences of oppression based on their gender, and opportunities to begin dialogue to address lived experiences and hopefully bring about change.

2: "Can you name one feminist stance that doesn't blame men as the cause?"

Feminism largely blames patriarchy for the cause of the oppression of women. Not men. Big difference there

3: "If feminism is really about equality, then what have feminists ever sacrificed to help men achieve equality?"

Primarily, feminism is about women's liberation. It is a movement dedicated to liberating women. It is not about men. Men are not oppressed because of their gender. They may be oppressed for other reasons, such as their race or sexual orientation - and many feminists are very interested in race and queer issues. Most feminists despise gender roles - for example, society teaches men not to show emotion and to suck it all in. And we hate that shit. So you could say we want to break down harmful gender roles that effect men. But primarily feminism is and should be about women, I think. 

4: "If feminism is about equality, why do feminists believe it's never okay to hit a woman, but sometimes it's okay to hit a man?"

I don't know any feminists that think it's okay to hit men. Personally I don't think it's okay to hit anybody, unless it's properly in self defence. If you're a feminist because you want to enable women to abuse men, then you are doing feminism very wrong.

5: "If feminism is about equality, why is it only named after women?"

Feminism is about liberating women - liberating them from oppression and the normalised, systemic hatred they face every day simply for being women. Of course it's going to be fucking named after women.

 



-- Edited by Indigo Empress on Saturday 28th of December 2013 01:20:58 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Uh, what a prick!

1. Every gender equality reform ever. Egalitarianism doesn't focus mainly on that, therefore what it offers in the way of gender equality will never be enough to solve the problems that feminism focuses on. The two ideologies complement each other.

2. Ask him to name one that does, and then counter it, because none of them do. This sounds like derailing.

3. What has he ever sacrificed for anyone else? Feminists are a heterogenous group that have nothing in common except their ideology. There is nothing to "sacrifice". Men have unfair privileges only because they are men, that they can very well give up, or at least try to remove themselves from.
It's like saying "What have people who vote for the Tories ever sacrificed to help the working class.".

4. Ask him for quotes on that. I've never heard a feminist say that. Nobody should ever think that's it's ever okay to hit anyone else.

5. This is a lazy- ass derailing excuse not to do anything. I've heard it before. The politically correct answer: Because when the movement started women had no voting rights, no owning rights, no nothing rights whatsofuckingever. It was obvious that is was for women's sake. But society changes and ideologies change with it, and nowadays men's rights have started creeping into the feminist movement as well. But changing the name of a world-wide, huge ideology, that's not really realistic. Feminists have better things to worry abut than a name.The snarky answer I often give when asked this question is: "You're right, I agree with you that we should totally change the word Feminism to something more gender neutral. As long as we gender-neutralize words like human, mankind, lording, kingdom, and every other unnecessarily masculine word as well. That's totally easy, right?"



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Seasoned Mookster

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1- Egalitarianism lacks focus and is a nice ideology, but isn't actually doing anything. Feminism is a movement that actively works to improve the lives of people through seeking rights we don't yet have, and defending the ones we've successfully obtained. Like the right to control how many children we have - something won within living memory, that is continuously being attacked.

2- None of the stances blame "men" as a cause. What we blame is a system, commonly called the patriarchy but more recently being referred to as a kyriarchy, that creates an artificial heirarchy between people and sets rigid expectations for everyone. That said, all that is something of a chunky mouthful and not a terribly accessible phrasing. Of course, that doesn't mean men aren't often the ones benefiting most from this system, and therefore the ones with the most power to perpetuate it, which means they will come up in conversation. As an example, consider newspapers. Pick up any given paper and, chances are, most of the serious articles will be written by men, and most of the fluff pieces, style pieces and "woman things" articles will be written by women. Chances are the editors and the people in charge of the newspaper are mostly men. The notable exception being when the serious issues being discussed are about some "special interest" subject - in which case you'll usually get a mix of men's and women's voices in the paper. Now, the (mostly male) editors in charge of the newspaper might not be consciously choosing to exclude women's voices from the normal dialogue, but there is unconscious sexism going on there, and the end result is that people are more often exposed to women's voices only when they are talking about something trivial, or something "special interest". This has an impact on the way a man's voice can automatically add legitimacy to an argument - just look at how many of the more prominent pop culture feminist writers are men.

3- Why are feminists required to help men achieve equality? Now, we do help men achieve equality in many ways. We try to get involved on anti-racism, LGBTQ equality, ableism and the whole gamut. All stuff that can effect men as much as it can effect women. But this is an argument I hear all the time and I always wonder... why are we expected to drop whatever we're fighting for in the moment to then go and instead fight for something for someone else? It's like asking what have MRAs sacrificed to help women achieve equality. Actually, it reminds me of the commentary on this comic... uristmcdorf.tumblr.com/post/44746582790/gailsimone-witchsistah-popelizbet

4- Feminists DON'T say that. The idea that it's okay for women to hit men, but not for men to hit women, has its roots in the idea that women are weaker, more vulnerable, more fragile. That women's violence is funny, or cute, or non-threatening. It's something that sexists say, and sexists perpetuate. It's from the most sexist corner of chivalry, where putting women on a narrow pedastal of specialness is treated as somehow being better than treating them like people. Feminists believe no one should hit anyone - that violence towards anyone in any circumstance other than self-defence or defence of another is not justifiable.

5- Less than 100 years ago women could not vote. Women could not own property or inherit it. Women could be legally raped by their spouses. Women could be beaten by their spouses. Women were excluded from massive areas of education and the workplace. Feminism is a movement borne out of that struggle, which continues to try and protect the things we've fought for - things that are continuously being attacked, and which we'd lose quickly if we didn't keep up the fight. And we're working to help feminists in other parts of the world, who aren't yet where we are in the West, to fight for the things they want. Why wouldn't we base our name on the thing we're focused on?

 

***

 

I have a lot more thoughts on this, because actually you could write an essay detailing the complex histories and relationships between things just so answer one of these questions, but yeah.



-- Edited by UristMcDorf on Sunday 29th of December 2013 12:32:50 PM

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