Feminism general thread

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Alex Steacy
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Feminism general thread

Postby Alex Steacy » 10 Jul 2014, 18:36

From some pieces of discussion on twitter, I figured that moving to a better suited medium would help the talk.

What are your thoughts re: feminism? Are you a feminist? Why or why not? Feminism vs Egalitarianism, etc. etc.

The floor is open.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Vaelith » 10 Jul 2014, 18:41

I've always been behind feminist ideas but I've never really been comfortable calling myself a feminist. I kinda feel like as a guy I can't really understand what life is like for women so to call myself a feminist is a bit disrespectful.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Prospero101 » 10 Jul 2014, 18:42

I personally take issue with the idea of "Feminism vs. Egalitarianism." People who call themselves egalitarians (at least in arguments pertaining to feminism) reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of what feminism actually is.

Feminism is not about the elevation of women above men in society. Feminism is about equality. FEMINISM IS EGALITARIANISM. Women are oppressed, exploited, and ignored in every single facet of our society. Men don't need activists. Men have plenty of rights. Women, on the other hand?

You bet your ass I'm a goddamn feminist.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby auberginequeen » 10 Jul 2014, 18:42

I am feminist in principle but I don't advertise it. Not because I'm afraid of being labelled a "feminazi" or what have you, but because often it seems the stigma against feminism makes it difficult to have a legitimate discussion about equality and so on.

i.e. some people hear "feminist" and their ears shut. If I approach the subject without mentioning feminism people tend to listen more, and it's the message, not the label, that's important (at least, to me. I have a friend on Facebook who is quite vocal about feminism and transphobia/genderqueer/etc in a negative way and often I wonder if their hostility gets them anywhere).

EDITED for pronoun correction.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Alex Steacy » 10 Jul 2014, 18:45

I think Prospero sums up my feelings on Feminism. It's feminism and not equalism or egalitarianism because it's a lopsided problem. If men and women were being institutionally shitty to one another in prescisely equal measures we would have a strong case for egalitarianism - but as it stands even with examples where women are supposedly favored over men the whole picture is that men are in charge of this world, and that sucks.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby bubblegumnex » 10 Jul 2014, 18:50

I do consider myself a feminist. To me it's fighting for decency and equal treatment for women, which will make society better in the long run. That said, I do need some help on it.

I feel that I don't know enough to form a better viewpoint/opinion on it. I tried diving deeper but most of the resources I found felt like they were talking down to people that were reading about it and instead treating the reader like a child. Could anybody point me to some good stuff? I tried looking into Anitas stuff but it's very off putting for some reason. People I do read/follow are Erika Moen and Kate leth just to name a few.

One thing that irks me though is that writers/devs/what have you, feel that they need to inject a female character into something just because she is a woman. That to me is extremely sexist since the character is only defined by her gender and is the wrong to do it. I could be wrong on this.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Duckay » 10 Jul 2014, 18:50

I am terrible at these kinds of discussions without direction so forgive me if I go wildly off track here.

I identify as a feminist, under the definition (since there exist many interpretations of the term) that I believe that people deserve equal rights regardless of sex, gender, etc. my best friend told me based on this that I'm not a feminist but a "social justice"-ist because I apply the same logic to issues of race, class, sexual orientation, disability, mental health and so forth, but I don't believe the terms are mutually exclusive.

Also to be honest I'm probably terrible at it because I'm not good at expressing myself, as I've proven here in the past, especially when I get fired up.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby hascow » 10 Jul 2014, 18:52

I'm absolutely a feminist. This is something I've come around on a lot lately after not really understanding it. Once it clicked, I was all in.

I've had multiple discussions with a couple friends of mine about this, trying to talk through what it means and trying to help them understand.

It sucks. I don't have a clue about how to respond to many questions, because I'm just not good with words. I can grok the concepts easily enough, but can't explain them. I wish I could.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby RvLeshrac » 10 Jul 2014, 18:53

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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby LordAnski » 10 Jul 2014, 18:53

The most insidious thing I've noticed about trying to discuss feminism is people who try to curtail discussion about feminism and strictly limit what you can call a feminist problem.

Pretty recently I was talking about the UCSB shooting with someone, and though he was at least somewhat in support of discussions about misogyny and how to solve these problems, he would frequently try to redirect conversations away from feminism and try to explain how problems didn't directly relate to equality of the sexes.

It just struck me as another "not all men" thing, where instead of trying to address problems, people reclassify it so they don't have to deal with it.

I dunno, I'm just spitballing.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby J_S_Bach » 10 Jul 2014, 18:54

Thanks for making this thread Alex (I'm @Matt_Brown_Bear). A longer time ago then I like to think about, back when I was in highschool I had my first interaction with a very vocal feminist. (I grew up in a small town of New Brunswick, diversity wasn't a huge thing). I took her Women in Media Studies class and was introduced with some exciting new ideas and opinions. However, because there wasn't a huge variety of different opinions on feminism I had the knee-jerk reaction of rejecting everything, not my best move.

Her opinion wasn't that women should be treated equal but deserved better treatment as back payment from past wrongs. She once gave me a talking to for holding a door open for her the phrase "just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I need a man to allow me into a building" is one in particular that sticks out. She did apologize to me when I explained that I was holding the door, not because she was a women, but because she was coming into the school behind me and I had been raised to hold doors as a point of courtesy. (In her defense she was quitting from smoking so that might have been a reason she was so snappy).

Once I went off to University I was able to meet and talk with other people and their views on feminism, it was a great experience, but I personally started being pulled more towards egalitarianism. I had been raised in a family where my mother was a lawyer (a professional where the "boy's club" is still very much alive and well) and I have also seen the many, many hoops my father had to jump through in trying to gain custody of my half-sisters from his first wife. I saw how unfairly the family court system in Canada treated men compared to women, and I have been the victim of racism towards Native peoples.

My personal problem that I had with feminism was the early impression of "female first" (and I know that is not the true case and not every feminist believes that). I believe that everyone should be treated as humans, equally and I like to call that egalitarianism.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby CaptainEnder7 » 10 Jul 2014, 18:56

Under the definition above, absolutely I'm a feminist though again it's not a term I use for myself much.

As a teacher it's something I try to subtly instill in the younger generations (I can only do so much being a music teacher and only seeing the kids once a week). There have been many times that my students have pleasantly surprised me.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Duckay » 10 Jul 2014, 19:03

Okay, here's the thing...

I see the whole "opening doors for women" thing come up a lot and I can't speak for any one but myself but this is my take on it.

I've had men and women open doors for me when I have my hands full or they're using the door right before me and it would be more awkward to let it close, and I think that's great. Thank you for being nice! But I've also had men deliberately pick up their pace to get to the doorway before me so they can open it, or make a fuss about how nice they're being or, once, actually get in my way so they could open the door. I hate that, both because it's actually more rude and inconvenient than letting me open the door would have been, and because if I express anything other than gratitude, it plays into the "feminazi bitch didn't appreciate my chivalry" narrative, and I hate that. :/
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Matt » 10 Jul 2014, 19:04

Prospero101 wrote:Feminism is not about the elevation of women above men in society. Feminism is about equality. FEMINISM IS EGALITARIANISM. Women are oppressed, exploited, and ignored in every single facet of our society. Men don't need activists. Men have plenty of rights. Women, on the other hand?


I think it's more than just "feminism exists to make women equal to men, and so feminism *is* egalitarianism."

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of issues that genuinely negatively impact men (like child custody issues, lack of mental health support, and so on) draw their root causes from patriarchal power structures, and structural misogyny.

Toxic masculinity and rigid gender roles are byproducts of social systems we have established and enforced over decades and centuries, which value the masculine and devalue the feminine. Those systems privilege, in men, actions and traits seen to be "masculine", while punishing traits and behaviours seen as feminine.

In women, feminine behaviour is expected (though, it is not privileged to near the extent that masculine behaviour is in men - devaluation of the feminine, recall) but masculinity in women is also often punished.

These forces act on people in such a way as to disempower women and restrict men, and encourages (or requires) conformity and gender performance. Deviation from expected gender roles is discouraged - to the extreme detriment of men and women alike.

By aiming to break down the structures that value the masculine at the expense of the feminine, feminism advances women's rights, but it also unshackles men.

Patriarchy damages all of us. And feminism provides a comprehensive platform from which we can combat that.

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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Gamercow » 10 Jul 2014, 19:05

I'm with Vaelith, I am in favor of feminist ideas and ideals, but I don't think I could call myself a feminist because I can't really know what it is like. I can only empathize with women, support women, and speak out against and to the men who are behaving badly.

Speaking of those men, I used to be one myself, 20 years or so ago. I was a "nice guy" who saw women as objects to be obtained, and to be discarded if they didn't see my "niceness", and put me in the "friend zone". Fortunately, there was not much of an Internet back then, so my hateful words are not permanently emblazoned in the annals of history, but they happened and I admit it.

With time, education, patient female friends, and a couple failed relationships, I was able to extract myself from that thinking and was able to improve my outlook and mode of thought. It wasn't easy, but I did it, and I hope that at least some of the men that we see today acting, talking, and thinking horribly will listen, learn, and become more tolerant and less abusive. First though, they need to break free from the horrible echo chamber that is the MRA community.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby MyNameIsIe » 10 Jul 2014, 19:13

I had a phenomenal teacher in high school. He asked us all "who here is a feminist?" I raised my hand along with one other person- a guy doing it for the lols. Another student asked him to define feminist. He said "A feminist is someone who thinks men and women should be treated equally and aren't. If you're not a feminist, you're either a bigot or a moron. Now who's a feminist?" It was awesome. (He and his partner refused to marry in solidarity with same sex couples. This was a school in Massachusetts, so naturally he had a merry war with the married lesbian teacher across the hall teasing him for living in sin)

I'm all of the above. I want to have conversations about how to fight inequality for the rest of my life. When someone has a negative idea of feminism, I like to have a personal even headed conversation about it. People have generally come around. Some of my friends have changed their opinion on feminism in re: my using the term without burning my bra or anything.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby gremcint » 10 Jul 2014, 19:13

I'm male and I consider myself a feminist. I've always had feminist leanings but was terribly misinformed on a few of the issues until a few years ago.

I actually can sympathize a little bit with the some of the #notallmen people but most of them are idiots. I kind of get it in that sometimes it does feel like you're being lumped in with them and being told you're a bad person due to your gender but I also realize that these complaints are coming from somewhere and while there are problems facing men the problems facing women are much more serious so I suck it up and try to help fix the problems rather than just complaining. In other words when someone starts complaining about men my eye twitches but unless they say something horrendous I suck it up and try to prove them wrong.

There are some things I do not put up with from either gender:
-do not deny/trivialize what I've been through
-don't tell me my life is easy (easier but not easy)
-don't tell me who I am
-don't tell me I can't be a feminist because I happen to have a penis
-don't call me a feminist ally, I am a feminist dammit
-don't tell me that women can't abuse men, I've experienced it first hand then been accused of lying
-also when I tell you of my experiences don't you dare say "well now you know what it's like" That is victim blaming and saying I deserved what I've been through. I'm not sharing details because this isn't the place but suffice to say being a white male doesn't make you immune to things.

Most of the people I've run into that are feminists are good people it's just there's a few bad apples that give it a bad name and then the rotten apples take those bad apples around and parade them in front of everyone.


For a few specific issues here's my stance
-gender should never influence salary at all ever
-gender should influence hiring until the levels are more equal
-birth control, parental leave and healthcare for all
-a vagina doesn't mean you are a woman, a penis doesn't mean you are a man (referring to transgender people here)
-women should have the right to determine whether or not they are having the child
addon to that I wish there was a way for the father to have a say on whether or not they have a kid as well but the current situation doesn't allow this without removing the rights of the mother. I do think the father should be heard and informed
-there are no blurred lines, both parties should have equal ability to consent.

That's off the top of my head.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby J_S_Bach » 10 Jul 2014, 19:15

Matt wrote:
I think it's more than just "feminism exists to make women equal to men, and so feminism *is* egalitarianism."



Unfortunately if that was true I wouldn't be criticized for saying that I'm an egalitarian, not a feminist.

What I'm getting from this discussion is that feminists and egalitarians believe in the same things so why does it matter the name for it? Perhaps we should think of a new name for "People are not treated equally or fairly but I believe they should be and will be working to make that true in my life."
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby hascow » 10 Jul 2014, 19:20

J_S_Bach wrote:
Matt wrote:
I think it's more than just "feminism exists to make women equal to men, and so feminism *is* egalitarianism."



Unfortunately if that was true I wouldn't be criticized for saying that I'm an egalitarian, not a feminist.

What I'm getting from this discussion is that feminists and egalitarians believe in the same things so why does it matter the name for it? Perhaps we should think of a new name for "People are not treated equally or fairly but I believe they should be and will be working to make that true in my life."



I think the name matters because it feels a lot like #notallmen. It's trying to change the name to take the focus away from the massive amount of issues that women have to deal with. Yes, men have to deal with some, but they have to deal with less, and there's no societal biases keeping them back. It's really easy to trivialize the actual women's issues if you change the name from "feminism".
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Alex Steacy » 10 Jul 2014, 19:25

I think there's a lot of consternation about the actual term feminism and the movement it represents. I feel that this is because it means something different, sometimes entirely different depending on who is identifying with it or referring to it. When I hear about shitty things feminism is supposedly up to, I think "not MY feminism." Like everything else, its kind of this spectrum, and you can point to any number of a thousand shades and say what it is or isn't.

When an MRA thinks feminism, he imagines a group of evil witches bent on taking away his ice cream and chopping his dick off.

When I think feminism, I think of treating women like people and a dream world where nobody has an institutional advantage on being an asshole to anyone else.

When a radfem thinks feminism, she imagines taking away men's ice cream and chopping their dicks off.

I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do about it.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Alex Steacy » 10 Jul 2014, 19:28

RvLeshrac wrote:Dissenting view erased.


I don't think this is helpful to the discussion.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Matt » 10 Jul 2014, 19:29

J_S_Bach wrote:Unfortunately if that was true I wouldn't be criticized for saying that I'm an egalitarian, not a feminist.


Basically what hascow said.

Egalitarianism is a nothing word. It is a platitude.

It is a word that was coined to distance the user from feminism, and give them a chance to says, "well I'm an egalitarian, I support the rights of both men AND women."

The term has come to be co-opted by Men's Rights-ers, who want to find a way to undermine feminism, and the term is frequently weaponized in exactly that way. It is a distraction.

If you value gender rights, and you would like to see men and women made socially equal, there is a body of academia and advocacy that is striving toward that end. That body of work is feminism, and it is not in need of being re-labeled.

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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby auberginequeen » 10 Jul 2014, 19:29

When a single label comes to mean a whole spectrum of opinions, it calls into question whether the label itself still serves its purpose.

I have no answer as to whether the label is still worth the effort. I do know some people put a lot of stock in particular words.
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Duckay » 10 Jul 2014, 19:31

This might be getting a little off track but I have to say, I find the term "radfem" to be pretty overused. While I'm sure that people like that exists, the term loses a lot of power and relevance when slung at anyone who is public about their feminist views (even when those views are really moderate/innocuous).

Does that make sense or is it just me?
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Re: Feminism general thread

Postby Alex Steacy » 10 Jul 2014, 19:33

I guess the best one can do is try to increase the middle of the feminism bell curve, so that the extremism that gives it a bad name falls further to the fringes.
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