Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recently on feministing...

It is always interesting when something that goes in the direction of men´s rights comes up on feministing:

The bumbling man and/or dad---if you've watched a sitcom chances are you know him. He almost always does something wrong during any given episode; his most common offenses include lying, forgetting, breaking, ruining dinner, or saying the wrong thing. The wife or woman is often smart as a tack, well-balanced and all-knowing. She comes through the door with kids in tow and groceries in hand to find that "dad" couldn't even handle the simple task of putting the lasagna in the oven to heat up (the stupid male let it sit out on the counter, fed it to the dog, used it as a chair cushion---the more absurdly moronic the better). He is chided, belittled, and given a kiss---she still loves her husband even if he is a stupid man.

Now of course, I'm generalizing. There are sitcoms out there where the man isn't a complete moron, or the wife is a bit dumb as well. But I see a disturbing proclivity of men who simply cannot handle a task if it doesn't involve sports or drinking. This is a direct reciprocal of the stereotype that women can't handle anything that is outside of fashion or caring for the home. The airhead wife has been replaced by the bumbling dad. And the problem isn't restricted to the realm of sitcoms.

Through my own personal experiences, I have seen women echoing the male stereotype message conveyed on tv---men are dumb, shallow slobby simpletons who can't be relied upon to do something right. At best, men are just a little more dull-minded, possessing a mind that is permanently stuck to one of four channels: sports, sex, cars or video games.

Many women would likely agree to the bumbling man stereotype with a laugh and a nod of the head. I sense an air of righteous retribution in the smirking agreement that follows around the stereotype, and it is disheartening to think that a turn-of-the-table has been packaged and accepted as a step forward.

Ultimately, that the bumbling man stereotype is not sternly denounced by the feminist movement only feeds into the problems they aim to fight. For if the feminist movement and women in general are seen as belittling and divested of the positive male, there is little incentive to meet in the middle.


Maybe I'm naive, but I believe that if the feminist movement was seen more as an safe-haven for progressive males as much as it was for women---that they had the same support-system---that we would see improvement in greater numbers. Males need to bring about the change themselves as well, of course, but when other males celebrate the stereotype and women are seen to validate and reinforce it, the room can feel pretty empty.
From here

What I found more interesting (or revealing) are the comments. It is often said feminism is for everyone and one of the comments give us a similar description:

feminism is about gender equality and ending harmful gender stereotypes of both men and women.

bell hooks definition of feminism: "Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression."

Honestly after reading a whole lot of feminist blog entries I can tell you, this is not the case. But I´ll let the feminism101 clarify this for me:

No one is saying that discussions on men and masculinities shouldn’t go on. It is absolutely important to have dialogue on men’s issues, including discussions on violence done towards men. The thing is, a feminist space — unless the topic is specifically men’s issues — is not the place to have that discussion and neither are spaces (feminist or otherwise) in which the topic is specifically focused on women’s issues.


What it boils down to is this: Men, not women, need to be the ones creating the spaces to discuss men’s issues.

Many men are entirely comfortable with calling themselves feminists, and many feminist women are very happy to accept them as fellow feminists working for the end of sexist oppression.


However, there are also men and women who are ideologically uncomfortable with men calling themselves feminists, because it seems to be a co-option of movements built by and for women.

From my own understanding and from reading more feministing in the last few days, the tenor of feminists is usually "empowering women" and discussing men´s issues usually doesn´t empower women much.

If you are interested in a discussion about men´s issues or MRAs with feminists, the feministing post is open for comments.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why don't more women call themselves feminist?

I found this in a porn discussion on feministing and it was just to good to ignore. Kudos to the writer, known as Steve:

I am going to try and answer the question "Why don't more women call themselves feminist? for you as best I can. It might be off topic, but so has much of the conversation on this thread. The following is based off of conversations with and observations of female feminist and female's who believe much the same as feminist, but decline the label.

The reason so many women decline to call themselves feminist is because so many feminist are dogmatic, sexist petty and hypocritical. petty. Non-feminst women do not see themselves as dogmatic, sexist, petty, and hypocritical so they decline the title.

Lets take each in turn.

KSM appears to be the embodiment of a dogmatic feminist. She has decided that all porn is uniformly bad, and any attempts at discussion or to articulate one's point is met with more impenetrable dogma. Dogmatic thinkers like KSM see the world in black and white terms, and igmore gray, yellow, orange or anything more complex. I think it is becuase they lack the ability to think any other way.

And the groupthink in feminist circles is suffocating, sometimes even for moderate feminist. And feminist actually seek out groupthink. And despite many feminist being college educated, and presumably intelligent, they lack the perspective to see that they engage and thrive on group think.

Many of you would do yourselves a great service if you read Irving L. Janis' Groupthink: The Desperate Drive for Consensus at Any Cost, published first in Psychology Today 5 (November 1971). One story therein relates how a meeting with the president Johnson's staff during the Vietnam was was planning to use bombing to soften up the North Vietnamese. They thought that six weeks would be enough to break the North Vietnamese spirits. When someone asked what they would do if the bombing did not work they were met with the reply that another four weeks would certainly do the trick.

That kind of groupthink has found its home in feminism, and it gets to the point that you cannot see why so many people don't agree with your propositions. You are just continuing the bombing campaign.

Feminist are constantly confronted with the claim that they themselves are sexist. As it has been discussed on other threads, there is being sexist, and acting sexist. Absolutely I think many feminist act sexist. When KSM goes off on one of her sarcastic rants, she shows that she has prejudiced views of just about every man. She does not respect their opinions enough to have an actual conversation. When you eat up her hateful rhetoric you show your sexism.

When at least five women post a comment about returning the conversation to civility and you imply the one male who also says there should be a return to civility gets his shit jumped then you show how sexist you are.

When the voting and comments on this site shows that when a man and a women have the same view but the males responses are attacked, or the women's comments are receive more votes for the same thought you show how sexist you are.

And many of you are so suffocated in group-think and dogmatic thinking that you completely lack the self awareness of how sexist you are. And you still have the gall to say that "men just need to be made aware that some of their actions are sexist." The lack of self-awareness is staggering, and it is one reason I swing by here from time to time.

Next up is the pettiness, which once again can be displayed in the sarcastic dismissiveness of anything that does not coincide with your dogma, or when men point out what they think is an injustice you say "TEH PORRR MHENZ!!!!!!!!!!.

Most people don't undertand the pettiness of feminst. Most women would understand how a parent, a father would feel hurt that the mother of his child refuses to let him see his children. And many feminist mock that man, and others that think the system can be unjust.

That is disgusting behavior on the behalf of those feminst, and it is no wonder that other women do not want to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. Absolutely disgusting.

Once again dogmatic group-think and sexism has reared its head. Many feminist spend so much time 'othering' men and self identifying with feminist (and don't forget many feminist don't believe a man can truly be a feminist, even if he believes the exact same dogma) that they think that behavior is acceptable.

The combination of the dogmatic thinking, sexism and pettiness is the general hypocrisy of many feminist. They argue for equality but whenever someone makes a valid arguement that women have a some benefit or privilege the common response is a refusal to correct the inequity. Either it is not their problem to fix, or they are not going to give anything for equality.

So, by all means, enjoy KSM sarcasm. Just don't wonder "Why don't more women consider themselves feminist" or wonder "why more men are involved in feminism". Don't wonder why you cannot convince the main stream to go along with you when you cannot even convince your target audience to take the same title as you.

Peace out.