Joined: Jan. 2006
|Quote (Robin @ Nov. 04 2011,13:32)|
|Quote (Louis @ Nov. 04 2011,06:08)|
|That, I think is the first hurdle to overcome. Robin mentioned a minimal definition of feminism above, here's another from the Wiki.|
|Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights. Feminism is mainly focused on women's issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men's liberation is therefore a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles. Feminists are "person[s] whose beliefs and behavior[s] are based on feminism."|
I think it's vital to acknowledge that there are a huge number of ways to be a feminist and one doesn't have to follow every literal word of every feminist that has ever lived or spoken.
As usual, I like what you wrote, Louis, and agree for the most part. I'm going to climb up on a soapbox for a moment though and complain about one thing in this concept that I disagree with:
I disagree with the use of this term. I know that the implication of the term as used by most folks in the context of feminism is impartiality. Personally I'd prefer to use that term. For me the issue is that (and I think both Kristine's and Wolfie's, to say nothing of Louis', comments illustrate this) people are not equal and in general we do not see ourselves as equal. Is it any wonder that few people treat each of us equally?
As organisms we have a highly detailed ability to analyze the world around us and a very quickly divide things into categories of "like" and "not like". I really feel it's unreasonable to then complain when we do this automatically when categorizing men and women. The part (for me at least) where I think feminism kicks in is the assessment people then make about how these two categories of people should be treated in given situations.
And personally, I think it's appropriate to treat the two categories of people differently depending on the situation because the two categories are not equal. Of course, even within the two categories there are a number of inequalities - some men are shorter (like me) than others; some women have blue eyes vs brown.
The problem, as I see it, is that for whatever reason many people (and I think mostly men in this case, but I don't know) have attached assumed attributes to each category and then interact with those two categories based on those attributes when in reality those attributes are either skewed, misunderstood, or outright don't actually exist for the majority of members. I'm sure that most of the inappropriate behavior has been leveled towards women, but I don't really think that what the women actually wanted in those cases was to be treated equally with the men. Rather, I bet most of them would have preferred to be treated as individuals who may or may not have fit certain preconceived attributes, thus preferring that the behavior be made without considering those attributes at all.
No one with a functioning nervous system has ever said that, on average, women have every specific trait identically equal to that of men or vice versa. I confidently predict I would find having a baby quite challenging.* What people are saying is that, as you mention, women and men should be by and large treated equally. I.e. women are of equal worth as men, should be granted equal access to opportunity as men etc. And of course, vice versa.
The definition used in Wiki that I quoted above makes it very clear in the first sentence what sort of equality feminism is aimed at. It's not aimed at rewriting biology.
The word "equality" doesn't imply just equality of type, and impartiality has its connotations too. For example, impartiality implies objectivity. Feminism is not necessarily impartial, in fact in certain circumstances it can and should be deliberately partial, i.e favouring women to redress a specific inequality. Neither can feminism, as a subset of social science, be utterly objective. There is, for example, going to be a degree of subjective experience applied in deciding which school of feminism one adheres to. It's not as simple and clear cut as we might like. There are ideological waters to navigate here. I think this semantic quibble is at best simply wrong, and done away with by the first sentence of the quoted definition.
Answer me this, since the claim that men and women are possessed of equal traits (i.e. equality of type) is such an obviously untrue claim, men can't have babies for example, why even attribute it to feminism?
And I suppose this is one of the questions that really interests me in any discussion about feminism: why these objections?
I don't mean to pick on you personally Robin, or anyone here for that matter, but I am genuinely interested in the objections to feminism that have arisen in just one page of this thread.
Why am I interested, well before Carlson has hysterics and accuses me of wanting to call everyone misogynists, I'll tell you: Because they were/are exactly the same objections I had. They were/are MY knee jerk objections. So I'm not being sanctimonious, I'm being selfish! Biiig difference! Hee hee.
Why do we...well okay to be strict I'm not sure anyone but me has/had them...why did/do I have these very simplistic, actually quite hostile objections to a straw feminism that is contradicted by a quick read of what is actually there?
If I'm coming across as mean, I apologise for that is not my intention. I'm genuinely curious as to why this subject causes suspiciously simplistic objections from intelligent people. Me included. I think it's possibly an important hurdle to discussion on the topic. Perhaps if we can understand this we'll understand other things. I guess I just don't know. Indulge me this navel gaze.
I'm not saying this is the case here for anyone, even me perhaps, but I'll make an analogy. Look at Forastero on the other thread. He chucks out technical sounding claims but it is abundantly clear his objections are not technical or intellectual, they are ideological or personal. The form those objections take is dressed in pseudo-intellectual garb to pass superficial scrutiny. Semantic or philosophical quibbles can be innocent and valuable, but they aren't always. Complaints about exclusion can be true, but they aren't always. Painting with a broad brush can represent reality, but it doesn't always. All together with a few other things....well that rings alarm bells. That's rarely an innocent combination. It instantly makes me think of my post signature. If and when I catch myself doing these things I try to think about how I am fooling myself. So given that the objections I've had are identical to the objections raised here by yourself and others, how, if this is the case, am I/have I been fooling myself and why?
Is it clear what I'm trying to do with this?
* Where's the foetus going to gestate? In a box?