The radical idea that women are people

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby GraphiteGirl » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:09 am UTC

Hugo Schwyzer also covers some of the more positive aspects of some of the various movements that have been characterised as "men's movements" here. (For background, he's a cis male college professor who teaches courses on feminism and also on men and masculinity, and also is a Christian, of the more open and tolerant variety.)
Spoiler:
Folks often ask what the “men’s movement” really is. Part of the problem in answering that question is that there isn’t one “men’s movement” — there are several, with radically different approaches to men, women, feminism, masculinity, and society. So this will be a very long entry. You were warned. Skip it if you like!

Men’s studies is a very new field. Though women’s studies dates back to the 1960s as an academic discipline, men’s studies as a field did not get underway until the mid-1990s (though many were quietly working on issues of masculinity far earlier). If men’ studies has a leading light, it is surely the marvelous Michael Kimmel, who teaches at SUNY Stony Brook. I use his “Manhood in America” in the Men and Masculinity course I teach, and it is truly magisterial.

Kimmel, however, is very clearly identified with just one of four groups within the modern men’s movement: the Pro-feminists. Pro-feminist men are by far the group within the men’s movement most closely allied with the women’s movement. XYOnline is an excellent pro-feminist men’ site; they provide this nifty FAQ sheet on pro-feminist men. Here’s some of it:

Pro-feminist men are sympathetic to feminist understandings of society. We believe that women as a group suffer inequalities and injustices in society, while men as a group receive various forms of power and institutional privilege. The current, dominant model of manhood or masculinity is oppressive to women, as well as limiting for men themselves. We also recognise the costs of masculinity: conformity to narrow definitions of manhood comes with the price tag of poor health, early death, overwork and emotionally shallow relationships. We believe that men must take responsibility for our own sexist behaviours and attitudes and work to change those of men in general. Both personal and social change are vital.

Feminism is a movement and a body of ideas developed primarily by, for and about women. Men can never fully know what it is like to be a woman. If we call ourselves “feminists”, we run the risk of colonising feminism or looking like we’re saying we’ve got all the answers.

Some feminist women argue that men CAN call themselves feminists, as long as they live up to the same standards as women who are feminists — to support the equality of women and men. Nevertheless, most pro-feminist men use the label “pro-feminist” rather than “feminist”. We believe that there is plenty men can and should do to support feminism, and we don’t need to call ourselves “feminists” to do it.

Some of the best work in men’ studies today is done by the pro-feminist wing. I’m very sympathetic to pro-feminism, but it has its flaws. The chief flaw lies in pro-feminism’s kneejerk hostility to all aspects of traditional masculinity. Pro-feminists tend to see traditional gender roles as straitjackets to confine men and to oppress women; as Michael Flood, another noted profeminist, puts it: we must dismantle the whole system of dividing people into two “opposite sexes”, “male” and “female”. In other words, part of the problem is the two-gender system itself, one fundamentally based on hierarchy and privilege.

I know of no Christians who have published within the pro-feminist tradition. When I attended a weekend training seminar run by the outstanding profeminist outfit Men Can Stop Rape, I identified as an evangelical. The men at MCSR were fascinated; no one “like me” had ever darkened their door. Though they were friendly and warm and kind and gentle (very gentle), they had little sympathy with the notion that traditional gender roles might, just might, have some healthy aspects. Needless to say, it was an odd but enriching weekend!

The second group is the “men’s rights” movement. What Michael Kimmel is to pro-feminists, Warren Farrell is to “men’s-rightsers”. Farrell was a 1970s pro-feminist who underwent a metamorphosis, becoming convinced (as men in his movement generally are) that men suffer more in contemporary American society than women do. He wrote the bible of his movement, The Myth of Male Power. In addition to running for California governor during last year’s recall, Farrell is associated with the two main men’s rights outfits: the National Coalition of Free Men and the National Organization for Men. The latter group has a good summary of the men’s rights movement’s goals:

The long term goals of NOM are to reverse destructive social trends of recent decades. These trends have demonized the male image and marginalized men’s roles. In the process they have been destroying the family and our collective sense of social cohesion. These trends declare that history merely teaches a story of oppression and that men are responsible for all that is evil in the world. But history is many things, including the record of countless examples of human excellence, exemplary values, noble achievements, boundless courage, and immeasurable good. NOM does not see the struggle as men against women; rather, our effort is against the deterioration of basic values.

We, as citizens, may not wish to admit the broad scope of influence that a small highly organized coalition of radicals has forced on society. Members of radical groups – many of them bitter and resentful has misandrists (men haters) – make a living by sowing the seeds of dissension. But we must admit that, although it will take time, energy, money, and intelligence, we must reverse the negativity and social decay that has gripped our society.

Among NOM’s short term goals are to prepare a “Status of Men Right’s” report and submit it to the united Nation Center for Human Rights in Geneva Switzerland. This is being done through the research foundation established by NOM, The Institute for the study Matrimonial Laws. The report, among other objectives, is documenting tyranny of the false accusation movement – a movement made possible by the negative climate created against men – that includes false charge of rape, false charges of domestic violence, false charges of child molestation, false charges based on so-called “repressed memories” and false paternity charges. Men (and women) who commit terrible antisocial acts must be punished to the full extent of the law and this must include “bearing false witness.” Running rampant in our country and going unpunished, false accusation have ruined the live of millions of men, many of them languishing in prison. The report will include other highly important concerns.

Another of NOM’s short term goals is to bring test cases to the Supreme Court under NOM’s recently established Men’s Legal Defense Fund. Men are not provided equal protection under the Constitution, and NOM is currently fostering the protection of men’s rights by developing court challenges to protect the right of men. At a time in out society when very few men had to endure family court, the number of casualties – men being raked over the coal and deprived of their paternal right was small. But the number of male victims of the family law justice system is staggering in comparison.


And there you have it. The vast majority of men who come into the men’s rights movement do so during divorces and child custody battles. They are convinced to a man that the “system” is rigged against men in this country, and that feminists (misandrists) are largely to blame. An undercurrent of anger and bitterness, remarkably similar to that found in certain strains of radical feminism, runs through the Men’s Rights Movement. What they do best is identify ways in which men too can be victimized; where they fail is in their choice to lay blame for men’s victimization at the doorstep of the feminist movement.

The third group is the mytho-poetic men’s movement. It too is largely associated with one man: poet Robert Bly, author of “Iron John“, a huge bestseller from the early 1990s, and a book I assign in my classes. Other major authors of the mytho-poetic movement include Sam Keen and Shepherd Bliss. Everyman Magazine is the main publication of the movement; the Mankind Project is the main current focus of the movement.

Mytho-poetic men’s groups are similar to pro-feminist groups in their compassion for women, but are far more willing to see masculinity as inherently “good”. Here’s a snippet from Mankind Project’s website:

Our stated mission is to assist men in “reclaiming the sacred masculine for our time through initiation, training, and action in the world.” Interaction with the MKP begins with an experiential weekend “training adventure.” The weekend is followed by ongoing, supportive and self-led “integration groups” formed from the weekend participants which help integrate the men’s changes and new choices into their daily lives. In addition, there are numerous workshops offered throughout the year to further assist men’s development. Since 1985, more than 10,000 men from diverse races, faiths, nationalities and sexual orientations have completed New Warrior Training Adventure weekends.

The ManKind Projectâ„¢ is a progressive and non-sectarian, non-partisan alternative to other men’s organizations. The Project has two goals. The first is to initiate men into a mature masculinity, to lead lives of integrity, connection to feeling, and a renewed responsibility for their personal mission in the world. Through weekend “training adventures” and continuing on into post-training “integration groups,” men are challenged in deeply personal ways to look at who they are and how they make choices and live behaviors which work and don’t work for them. (Bold emphases are Hugo’s).


Mythopoetic men, heavily influenced by Jungian psychology, are ardent believers in essentialism: our masculine nature is bred into our bones, not merely acquired through socialization. They bemoan the loss of unique men’s rituals, of father-son intense relationships, and of the very notion of masculinity as “sacred.” Unlike the men’s rights movement, mytho-poets aren’t angry at women; unlike the pro-feminist men, mytho-poets have no desire to deny what they see as essentially good and positive aspects of truly traditional masculinity. They believe, as I wrote in my post about men early last week, that only another man can change a boy into a man – and that men will only change their behavior when they are in close relationship with other men.

In case you can’t tell, I am very sympathetic to the mytho-poetic movement.

The fourth and final group is the Christian Men’s Movement. By far the best known group within this branch of the movement is Promise Keepers, founded just over a decade ago by former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney. Though PK (as its devotees refer to it) has lost membership since its peak in the mid to late-1990s, it remains a vital force and has led to a number of spin-off groups. The Promise Keepers and other Christian men’s groups are convinced that men in our culture have been led astray by everything from pornography to racism to workaholism to isolation from other men. In many ways, PK has built on the work of the three older branches of the men’s movement, and given that work an explicitly evangelical focus. PK is noted for its “seven promises“:

A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.

A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19-20 ).


Promise Keepers became famous for huge stadium rallies (they don’t draw like they used to), where men would gather together across ethnic and class lines for a day of repentance, prayer, and encouragement. PK’s greatest success, even its critics agree, is in integrating non-white men into a traditionally white men’s movenent. There are more men of color in PK than in the first three groups put together. But critics both within and outside of the Christian tradition point to what they see as PK’s uncompromising acceptance of traditional gender roles, a hostility to feminism and to gay rights, and a noted fondness for military language. ( Their 2002 rallies were titled “Storm the Gates”, and featured images of knights in armor riding to battle!) Very conservative Calvinist Christians are uncomfortable with the high number of Pentecostals and charismatics in PK leadership.

Promise Keepers does great work in restoring marriages. Among traditional Christians who see heterosexual marriage as the bedrock of society, PK is literally a godsend. Its primary focus always seems to involve strengthening men for marriage, helping them to avoid the temptations of infidelity, pornography, work addiction, and rage. Countless testimonials from men and women bear witness to PK’s success in this area. But perhaps PK’s greatest influence has been the proliferation of men’s groups within the broader church, often subtly modeled on PK.

Whew. So next time someone mentions the “men’s movement”, ask them which men’s movement they mean. I appreciate the work of all four. (There are still other groups — such as socialist men’s groups — but their numbers are too small to count here). Though at this stage of my life, I am closest to the mytho-poetic movement, I am glad that I began my journey as a pro-feminist and have spent time in and around Promise Keepers. (I’ve never had much time for the men’s rights groups, but I honor their commitment to advocating for the rights of fathers.) I don’t know where the men’s movement in this country is headed, but I suspect it’s headed in a good direction.

Me? I just bought the Bill Clinton book. I know what will take up plenty of my time the next week or two!

Edited to make it clearer which bits are quotes. (I don't agree with all of Schwyzer's assessments of the movements, but thought the quote might be useful to understand them anyway.
Last edited by GraphiteGirl on Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:20 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby JayDee » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:10 am UTC

setzer777 wrote:5. Therefore I think it is okay for a guy to say (for example): "I want to combat gender-based restrictions/norms in this society, but (because I am selfish) I want to focus on the ones that are more likely to negatively impact me personally, even though such negative impacts to men do not measure up to negative impacts against women"
There are organisations out there focused on specific "men's issues". Dads in Distress is one example.* The Movember foundation raises money for men's health issues (depression and prostate cancer from memory, in Australia.) Specific issues create a need for support groups and such organisations focused on dealing with those issues. These types of groups are parallels to groups doing the same sorts of things for "women's issues", they aren't in conflict with them or feminism. There isn't a need to generalise from "help for men's issues is necessary" to "a masculinist movement is necessary", and Gmal's post outlines some of the serious problems in attempts to do so.

As well as that, I don't think people move from ideological support of feminism (or gender equality) in general to active support of some specific issue or set of issues. I do think the opposite happens - people become involved in a particular issue, usually for direct personal reasons ("I saw what happened to someone I know..." type reasons) and then some of those move to the general position. But I could be totally wrong about that.

*
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Dads in Distress is a dedicated support group of men (in Australia) whose immediate concern is to stem the present trend of male suicide due to the trauma of divorce or separation.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby OverBored » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:44 pm UTC

Perhaps, in hindsight, I should have actually checked the word masculinist, since I thought I was making it up. :oops:

My point, however, was that the transfeminist movement is actively seeking to integrate itself with the feminist movement, rather than objecting to it on the basis that cisgendered females undoubtedly have greater advantage than transgendered individuals. I fail to see why the whole feminist movement cannot do this.

I have no problem being called pro-feminist, when dealing with issues which primarily affect the feminist movement, but I would like to be able to call myself a masculinist (or possibly something with less history) if I am supporting people with regards to custody issues, or paternity leave. I'm not excluded from being both, but I needn't support both either.

TheSkyMovesSideways wrote:
OverBored wrote:Question to feminists: Would you object to a "masculinist group" which aimed to remove "Female privilege"/"benevolent sexism"?

Does feminism aim to remove male privilege? If not, your question might need rethinking...


Perhaps this was a bad question. I meant rather a group which specifically tries to benefit men in issues which they are at a disadvantage in.

Ultimately, I think the fragmentation of sexual equality campaign groups is harming the very objectives they are trying to achieve.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:05 pm UTC

Things feminists like:

-Fair custody arrangements (feminists don't support custody for mothers reflexively)
-Paid parental leave for both sexes

So why do you feel the need to dissociate yourself from the feminist position on those things, given that they seem to be things you like?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby setzer777 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:54 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Things feminists like:

-Fair custody arrangements (feminists don't support custody for mothers reflexively)
-Paid parental leave for both sexes

So why do you feel the need to dissociate yourself from the feminist position on those things, given that they seem to be things you like?


Well, I can understand people in any given feminist space wanting to avoid having too many people who are primarily focused on things that negatively impact men directing the conversation away from the (larger number of) things that negatively impact women. As some feminists rightly say to men in those conversations: "it's not about you". So if some men do want to focus primarily on things that affect them personally, there might be an advantage to them doing so in a place focused on that.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby OverBored » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:46 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Things feminists like:

-Fair custody arrangements (feminists don't support custody for mothers reflexively)
-Paid parental leave for both sexes

So why do you feel the need to dissociate yourself from the feminist position on those things, given that they seem to be things you like?

Feminism 101 wrote:What it boils down to is this: Men, not women, need to be the ones creating the spaces to discuss men’s issues.


I have no doubt that the majority of feminists support these things, but any changes in these situations need to be heavily supported by men, as well as women. Unfortunately, feminism is by no means focussed on these things (and given what feminism is, rightly so). I see two solutions to this, one large anti-sexism group which campaigns for the rights of people regardless of where they are on the gender spectrum, or we fragment, and achieve a lot less as individual groups.

The former would be my ideal, but it would require a large group of feminists being unhappy with the change of focus of the group, since I have no doubt there would be a disproportionate focus on issues which were paramount to the males which joined the movement. I don't have a solution, but to me I'd like to see feminists acknowledge that cisgendered males need to deal with some issues, and not be offended by the existence of a group attempting to rectify issues that everyone sees as a problem.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby bigglesworth » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:51 pm UTC

Wait, wait, where are the feminists who are offended by Dads in Distress or similar?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:59 pm UTC

Silly bigglesworth, it's the strawfeminists!

Paid parental leave in particular is a very big deal to feminists. Paid maternal leave is important for reasons that ought to be obvious, but there are powerful social factors at work as well. If both sexes were to take parental leave, it would lessen the stigma on parents on leave as insufficiently dedicated workers, which disproportionately affects women right now. Also, it allows fathers* more time to bond with newborn children. Often, because the mother is the one to take care of the child in the first few months of life and to learn its preferences and habits, the rhythm gets established that moms are responsible for childrearing, even if that wasn't intended or desired by the family. When fathers also take parental leave, they get a chance to interact with the infant as well in a way that promotes childrearing arrangements that work for the individual family, which isn't always "mom taking over everything the first couple years of life."

Also? It just makes workers happier and more productive, and that's A Good Thing.

*Or non-childbearing partners in general, like the non-childbearing mother in a lesbian partnership
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Velict » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:55 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Also? It just makes workers happier and more productive, and that's A Good Thing.


Wouldn't more or less doubling the number of workers on parental leave reduce overall productivity?

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Postby Rilian » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:57 pm UTC

pkuky wrote: woman are conscripted

In what country?
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Re: Post yo' fess - Sponsored by the NBA

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:32 pm UTC

Rilian wrote:
pkuky wrote: woman are conscripted

In what country?
Israel; note that his location is Jerusalem. Not that you should be responding to a comment on the first page of the thread when we're on the mother-loving 58th.

Velict, it's a matter of sacrificing short term loss of bodies for long term increases in productivity. Unless you think poorly-slept new fathers are really exceedingly productive workers. You also, as it happens, attracted better talent to companies with family-friendly policies.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:02 am UTC

Kewangji wrote:Religion is more of a choice than race or sex is.
It's no great surprise that most people conform to the religious choices of their parents, such as their nationality is also usually the same as their parents. It's also really difficult to change things that have been a part of your life since your early childhood... hence why most deeply religious couples tend to have children who are also deeply religious. It's a part of their life, something that's impossible to be without, and hell, even if they wanted out it's often easier just to keep putting up appearances so as to not have uncomfortable and awkward conversations or, in some cases, various states of disowning.

So yes, it is a choice when compared to race or sex or sexual preference, sure. Doesn't mean it's always a choice that can be made. So no, it's not cool to use it as a point of mockery, even if the person's involved in Scientology. Mostly because that one's just too easy for good comedy.
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pkuky wrote: woman are conscripted
In what country?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:21 am UTC

Velict wrote:
Chai Kovsky wrote:Also? It just makes workers happier and more productive, and that's A Good Thing.
Wouldn't more or less doubling the number of workers on parental leave reduce overall productivity?
Slightly, perhaps, but how many parents at any one time would be on leave, anyway?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby EmptySet » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:13 am UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Things feminists like:

-Fair custody arrangements (feminists don't support custody for mothers reflexively)
-Paid parental leave for both sexes

So why do you feel the need to dissociate yourself from the feminist position on those things, given that they seem to be things you like?


As a male, I have been told repeatedly that bringing up my manly concerns or viewpoint in a feminist setting is inappropriate and an assertion of male privilege, because it turns the focus from women to men and implies that those silly women need me, a man, to tell them what's what. Also, there are issues which are more specific to men - prostate cancer being the most obvious example - which are even less likely to be welcome at a feminist meeting. Setting up a separate men's space allows men to deal with issues that affect them without it being perceived as an attempt to take over the feminist movement and make it all about men.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:35 am UTC

Which means it's not a dissociation at all.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby OverBored » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:12 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:Silly bigglesworth, it's the strawfeminists!

Paid parental leave in particular is a very big deal to feminists. Paid maternal leave is important for reasons that ought to be obvious, but there are powerful social factors at work as well. If both sexes were to take parental leave, it would lessen the stigma on parents on leave as insufficiently dedicated workers, which disproportionately affects women right now. Also, it allows fathers* more time to bond with newborn children. Often, because the mother is the one to take care of the child in the first few months of life and to learn its preferences and habits, the rhythm gets established that moms are responsible for childrearing, even if that wasn't intended or desired by the family. When fathers also take parental leave, they get a chance to interact with the infant as well in a way that promotes childrearing arrangements that work for the individual family, which isn't always "mom taking over everything the first couple years of life."

Also? It just makes workers happier and more productive, and that's A Good Thing.

*Or non-childbearing partners in general, like the non-childbearing mother in a lesbian partnership


That's fine, but given an issue which clearly hurts women more than men, I can easily list off a few ways in which it might hurt specific men. Ultimately, it seems to me that the feminist movement will prioritise this well below issues it sees as more important, leaving the need either for a different structure within feminism which does look at issues affecting everybody equally, or we get Dad's in Distress (or similar).

Dad's in Distress is undoubtedly a fantastic charity, but it would be a lot more effective in achieving its goals if it were backed by the whole feminist movement. These groups have the same goals, but because there is a systematic bias for one gender, the issues (which one could argue are far more important) which affect the other are disproportionately ignored. If a masculist* group began to gain popularity, then these specific charities would benefit due to the backing of a larger body of people, unfortunately I was told here that feminists object to masculists. I am not sure whether they meant the masculists with a bad connotation for their name, or the very idea of an equivalent male run group. If both groups do form, you can easily end up with charities being backed by both the masculist movement and the feminist movement.

I suppose ultimately I just want to see as many people as possible trying to achieve gender equality, and forming this group would perhaps be the best way to do that.

*I am using this term to mean the analogue of feminist, not the actual group of bigoted morons that have commandeered the name. In fact, a bit of research indicates that progressive masculist is the more accepted term for what I mean.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby sophyturtle » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:47 pm UTC

I am pretty sure I don't know any feminists that think having men kill themselves is a good thing. I think some (like myself) might have more of a focus on stopping domestic violence (against everyone, not just women) but that does not mean suicide prevention is any less important. I can only tell you my priorities.

Talk of what the 'movement' wants is a tricky thing. I don't think feminism is as groupthink as all that. Similar goals, strength in numbers, fighting for every woman because we are women. People decide who and how they want to fight. Some people have groups with meetings and stuff. Like back in college there was the FU (Feminist Union), and their shirts listed tons of reasons to be a feminist and fight (because being a girl does not mean I'm weak, because boys can wear pink, etc).

I have always seen gender roles and the constriction of them on everyone as a feminist issue. And the rights of every sexuality and gender identity. And racism actually, me being white does not mean there are not women who are dark. And that was how I was raised by my feminist parents (mother, father, and mom's wife).

I personally called everyone in the fight a feminist because my parents did. If you are willing to stand next to me and put yourself in danger to do so, I count you as being on my team (Go Team Feminists!)

I do not speak for everyone, I speak for me. I do, however, fight for everyone I can.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:09 pm UTC

sophyturtle wrote:I personally called everyone in the fight a feminist because my parents did. If you are willing to stand next to me and put yourself in danger to do so, I count you as being on my team (Go Team Feminists!)

I do not speak for everyone, I speak for me. I do, however, fight for everyone I can.
Yeah, like I said there's no one consensus among feminists themselves about who can/should use what label. My personal thoughts on the issue are reflected well by Ani Difranco: "Why can't all decent men and women call themselves feminists, out of respect for those that fought for this?"
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Oregonaut » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:48 pm UTC

I wish I could call everyone humanists. From what I've gathered, to me, that term means the same thing as what it means when Gmal says "feminist". Someone who wants equality for all, and to end discrimination based on predisposed notions created by anything you may or may not have between your legs.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Belial » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:59 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:I wish I could call everyone humanists. From what I've gathered, to me, that term means the same thing as what it means when Gmal says "feminist". Someone who wants equality for all, and to end discrimination based on predisposed notions created by anything you may or may not have between your legs.


http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/faq-why-feminism-and-not-just-humanism-or-equalism-isnt-saying-youre-a-feminist-exclusionary/
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Rinsaikeru » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:12 pm UTC

What Belial said..or rather what Belial linked.

It's definitely not an either/or debate for any feminist I know. "Oh dear, if only I wasn't feminist I could be an equalist!"
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:15 pm UTC

Also if you don't like feminism, you're going to hate humanism.

Well, you might not I don't know. But it's been used and linked with some pretty nasty things.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby podbaydoor » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:17 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:I wish I could call everyone humanists. From what I've gathered, to me, that term means the same thing as what it means when Gmal says "feminist". Someone who wants equality for all, and to end discrimination based on predisposed notions created by anything you may or may not have between your legs.

Anyway, with activism you can focus your energy on only so many issues. I mean that you can stand for equality for all philosophically, but if you spend your time fighting for a woman-centered issue - I don't see the problem with identifying as "feminist" then.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
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a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Oregonaut » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:20 pm UTC

You know how people get to create their own self-concept? How one person's self concept does not impinge on another person's or devalue others? Such as a man who was born a woman, or a woman who was born a man, may decide to refer to themselves with the alternate gender address?

By viewing myself as pro-equality (and since equalist sounds like a food sweetener) I feel the right is my own to refer to myself as a humanist. I've spent some time discussing with several people on the board, and that's pretty much what I've come up with. I feel the same way they do, and they refer to themselves as feminist. I don't feel it necessary to put myself in a role that feels odd simply to belong to a larger group. Feminists will, by virtue of being human, gravitate towards those issues that mostly affect women. I'll gravitate towards those issues that affect the downtrodden and unlucky, being as I'm both. But, I'm sure that feminists will help me along the way, the same way that I'll help them along the way. Abuse victims, social stigmas, unequal treatment, <shrug> those all affect both genders, just in different ways. I figure that some people will work towards changing the system from the top, I'll head towards the bottom and start fixing what damage I can to the foundation. Educating people, feeding homeless, volunteering time with children. <again, shrug> I'm not saying that you can't call yourselves feminists if that is what you feel is appropriate. Hell, call yourselves mangaloes if that's what works. Same war, different battles.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:29 pm UTC

Oregonaut wrote:You know how people get to create their own self-concept? How one person's self concept does not impinge on another person's or devalue others? Such as a man who was born a woman, or a woman who was born a man, may decide to refer to themselves with the alternate gender address?

Nobody is telling you that you can't choose your own political identity. They're more likely responding to the statement "I wish I could call everyone humanists," which is decidedly not about what you choose to call yourself.

Also, the phrase "man who was born a woman, or a woman who was born a man" pretty severely misrepresents the experiences of most trans people.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Oregonaut » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:39 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Oregonaut wrote:You know how people get to create their own self-concept? How one person's self concept does not impinge on another person's or devalue others? Such as a man who was born a woman, or a woman who was born a man, may decide to refer to themselves with the alternate gender address?

Nobody is telling you that you can't choose your own political identity. They're more likely responding to the statement "I wish I could call everyone humanists," which is decidedly not about what you choose to call yourself.

Also, the phrase "man who was born a woman, or a woman who was born a man" pretty severely misrepresents the experiences of most trans people.


<head desk> No, I'm doing this to myself here. I'm having one of my "I can't make sense" moments. I'm saying I wish I could make it easy on myself by deleting the code in my mind that has been written to make it:

If "feminist"
...Then "female"
...Then "onlyProWomen"

And re-writing it:

If "feminist"
...Then "pro-equality"

It is a problem created by an amalgamation of linguistics and problems with the stereotypical "hairy legged feminazi" behavior of some of my current coworkers. As I posted elsewhere, I know in part of my mind that this is not indicative of all feminists, however the natural synapse firing sequence is the code written above. Which isn't made easier by my viewing the world through my own lens. In my mind, the concept of a humanist is just that, someone who believes in the fundamental betterment of humans as a whole, instead of focusing on just one class of humans. I realize that there is a movement out there with the same name, and that's irritating to me because I'm not sure I agree with them on all points. So I'm lacking a singular personifying identity of what I can call the concept. So I'm stuck with the choice of names.

Also, if you want to PM me about the trans thing, knock yourself out. In my work with people that's what I've found to be the reasoning that has applied to whatever term you wish to call people who feel they were born with a mind/heart/soul of one gender, but have the outward characteristics of the opposite.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby JayDee » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:55 pm UTC

OverBored wrote:Dad's in Distress is undoubtedly a fantastic charity, but it would be a lot more effective in achieving its goals if it were backed by the whole feminist movement.
I had a google yesterday, to see if I could find some hatred or offense. Seems there are folk like this mother's rights group who'd want some doubt in your undoubtedly.
sophyturtle wrote:I am pretty sure I don't know any feminists that think having men kill themselves is a good thing.
I've known people who would happily lump groups likes Dads in Distress in with "Men's Rights" groups in general, and not approve on that basis. With reactions along these lines:
Shakesville's McEwan wrote:3. Really? Father's rights groups? Really? Really? Really? Really? Really? Really? Wow. Aligning yourselves with father's rights groups is an awesome idea. Way to convince people you're not just the College MRA Brigade.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Silknor » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:40 pm UTC

Hi everyone.

I'm a feminist who has read this thread and has some questions. At the moment I'm only going to focus on one area of those: the ones regarding consent.

I suppose what confuses me the most is the idea that when two people have sex while drunk, both are raping each other. I think it's natural to see rape as a crime which has a perpetrator and a victim (victim may or may not be the best word due to some of it's connotations). Two people, both legally drunk beyond the point where they can legally consent, are now both criminals. I don't think this fits the situation very well. You can assume for simplicity that neither would've slept with the either had they been sober.

Does it matter, ethically, if one person was the initiator here? Should it matter legally? Are both at fault? I suppose I struggle with the view I thought was expressed earlier that someone incapable of giving consent due to their drunkenness is none the less responsible for their actions to the point where they can be jailed for them. Is there some reason to think that the gender of the two participants should affect the answer to any of these questions?

As part of this, something that seems to make little sense to me is that people here have seemingly been taking the view that the law is necessarily aligned with morality when it comes to consent, and yet, quite reasonably, would reject that position out of hand in other areas, such as those where the law privileges men.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

Silknor wrote:people here have seemingly been taking the view that the law is necessarily aligned with morality when it comes to consent
No, I don't think we've taken that view at all. If the law makes no allowance for the possibility of spousal rape, for example, then it definitely isn't aligned with morality because a spouse who commits rape is as morally culpable as a stranger. And if the law says that two consenting underage people having sex with each other are both equally guilty of statutory rape, then I don't think that lines up with the moral views of anyone in this thread, either.

And in your unlikely hypothetical where both people are equally drunk and equally unlikely to have sex while sober, I'd personally say that ethically they've both just had regrettable sex, whatever the law might say. Luckily, in this case I doubt either person would press charges and so what the law would say if they did isn't really important. (And if rape accusations are made, it's usually because one person was significantly more drunk than the other or would have been significantly more against having sex if they'd been sober.)
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Silknor » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:30 pm UTC

I only was talking about consent in this specific issue, which I realize I didn't make clear at all. I could probably go back and find examples, but I think grouping it undifferentiated with other forms of rape (I swear I saw something along the lines of, "of course this is wrong, it's rape") seems to be falling into the fallacy that it's morally equivalent to other forms of rape because the law uses the same term for both.

I agree with you that they've both had regrettable sex, but I'm not sure the rest of what you say excuses the law on that point. The law still defines it as a crime and allows prosecution for it if someone wants to report it and press charges. That to me doesn't seem like an ideal situation even if it's a facet of the law that is rarely abused (and yes, I think in the example I laid out, pressing rape charges would be abuse of the law on the part of either party even if there was some major consequence to the sex such as an STD transmission or pregnancy). And even if the charges didn't stick, an accusation of either party raping could seriously affect them.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:34 pm UTC

Silknor wrote:That to me doesn't seem like an ideal situation
Well sometimes there are borderline cases where the law gives us no good way to answer a question. What do you propose anyone do about it? Do you have a better suggestion of how the law should treat a (very unlikely hypothetical) situation when two people are identically situated with regard to some mutual act that one of them presses charges about?

Regrettable sex isn't an ideal situation for anyone, regardless of what the law says. But unless you have any idea how to change the law, I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Silknor » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

The example I gave isn't an end, it's a starting point. Starting with a simplified, but relatively clear example, you work back towards more realistic cases. The simplified case is a flashlight that illuminates more difficult cases.

Now I can answer your question simply by saying I think the law fails in that situation and should be changed, but I think it's more interesting to unravel the simplified case instead.

For example, if the case where both people are equally drunk and wouldn't have sex with the other sober is not unethical and should not be illegal, then how does changing it affect those conclusions?

If both are drunk beyond the point where they can legally consent, does it become an unethical taking advantage of the other person for the one who is drunk but not as drunk to initiate the sex? Does it matter if the less drunk person is male and the more drunk person female, as that begins to trend towards more stereotypical images of rape culture.

Alternatively, does it matter if one would have sex with the other sober and the other wouldn't? Even if the one attracted to the other didn't get the other drunk? What about if it's a drunk guy who would normally want to have sex with the even more drunk woman?

Now personally I have a hard time ascribing guilt to either party in any of these cases. When you combine a lack of intent to get the other person drunk, with sufficient alcohol on both sides, it's hard to say that one person is blameworthy and the other simply a victim. This seems true even if you engineer the situation (to what may be the most common in practice), where there's an attraction differential and a power differential that line up.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Kag » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:03 pm UTC

because the law uses the same term for both.

Real-ass rape (or, for that matter, real ass-rape) and two drunk people having sex are not legally equivalent.
US Code - Chapter 109A: Sexual Abuse wrote:Sexual Abuse
Spoiler:
Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of
the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the Attorney General (!1) knowingly -
(1) causes another person to engage in a sexual act by threatening or placing that other person in fear (other than by threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping); or
(2) engages in a sexual act with another person if that other person is -
(A) incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct; or
(B) physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, that sexual act; or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.


Aggravated Sexual Abuse
Spoiler:
(a) By Force or Threat. - Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the Attorney General (!1) knowingly causes another person to engage in a sexual act -
(1) by using force against that other person; or
(2) by threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping;
or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both.
(b) By Other Means. - Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal
prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or
agreement with the Attorney General (!1) knowingly -
(1) renders another person unconscious and thereby engages in a sexual act with that other person; or
(2) administers to another person by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of that person, a drug,
intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby -
(A) substantially impairs the ability of that other person to appraise or control conduct; and
(B) engages in a sexual act with that other person; or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both.
(c) With Children. - Whoever crosses a State line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who has not attained the age of 12 years, or in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with
the Attorney General (!1) knowingly engages in a sexual act with another person who has not attained the age of 12 years, or
knowingly engages in a sexual act under the circumstances described in subsections (a) and (b) with another person who has attained the age of 12 years but has not attained the age of 16 years (and is at least 4 years younger than the person so engaging), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both. If the defendant has previously been convicted of another Federal offense under this subsection, or of a State offense that would have been an offense under either such provision had the offense occurred in a Federal prison, unless the death penalty is imposed, the defendant shall be sentenced to life in prison.
(d) State of Mind Proof Requirement. - In a prosecution under subsection (c) of this section, the Government need not prove that
the defendant knew that the other person engaging in the sexual act had not attained the age of 12 years.



Anyway, I would contend that someone sufficiently drunk as to be incapable of giving consent would also be incapable of being convicted of knowingly doing much of anything.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:40 pm UTC

Yeah, while the US Code doesn't apply to things that are in the states' jurisdiction, most sexual conduct laws have different terms or degrees for different kinds of sexual crimes.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Silknor » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

Looks like my mistake then. I still think it's probably problematic to use rape as short hand for violent sexual assault, one person drugging another to have sex with them, and two drunk people who might not be together otherwise both agreeing (even if they can't legally consent) to sex because it seems to me to imply a moral equivalency between the last case and the first two that I don't agree exists.

I would agree with you Kag on that's how it should be, but is that how it is?
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Incompetent » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:23 pm UTC

I seem to recall hearing that under English law at least, if you knowingly and voluntarily get intoxicated, then you're still fully punishable for any potentially criminal activity when intoxicated, even if you can no longer give consent for others to do things with you. If it's bad to take advantage of someone else's drunkenness, it's still bad even if you are drunk yourself. The important thing though is 'guilty mind', whether or not the person intends to do something bad (in the case of rape, it's intending to do a sexual act, not intending to commit rape - consent OTOH is subject to the question of how a 'reasonable person' would assess the situation, and of course a reasonable person is sober).

Seriously though, we're not talking about people who are slightly drunk and suffering from 'beer goggles' here - we're talking about people who are so drunk as to be only partly conscious, and hence only dimly aware of what is going on. I doubt that two people in this state could intentionally do much of anything. So it's theoretically possible for two people to rape each other in this situation, but not very plausible.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Kewangji » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:18 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Kewangji wrote:Religion is more of a choice than race or sex is.
It's no great surprise that most people conform to the religious choices of their parents, such as their nationality is also usually the same as their parents. It's also really difficult to change things that have been a part of your life since your early childhood... hence why most deeply religious couples tend to have children who are also deeply religious. It's a part of their life, something that's impossible to be without, and hell, even if they wanted out it's often easier just to keep putting up appearances so as to not have uncomfortable and awkward conversations or, in some cases, various states of disowning.

So yes, it is a choice when compared to race or sex or sexual preference, sure. Doesn't mean it's always a choice that can be made. So no, it's not cool to use it as a point of mockery, even if the person's involved in Scientology. Mostly because that one's just too easy for good comedy.

Oh, of course. It's more of a choice, though, and I thought the analogy was bad. I apologize if it sounded like I felt it was okay to mock people for that. Mocking people for choices (even bad ones) isn't that cool most of the time, especially if one does not know the background. Understanding is always better than mocking.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Tiglette » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:13 am UTC

I've recently joined and have read some (not all, so apologies if there was a previous discussion) of this thread and would like to go back to tangent off something above. Though it is on the 58th page.
When looking at a father's (or other partner's) possibility for maternity leave, should the parents be expected to go on leave at the same time, or have leave back to back? I think the second would be preferable as the child would have more time to have a parent in home before having to arrange for child-care. But if it was back to back, there might be the potential for companies to shorten the original maternity leave, since the child could still have a parent there. Thoughts?

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby sophyturtle » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:41 am UTC

I personally would think the best way to do it would be to take turns (each getting one month at a time and alternating). The issue of length, I don't know. Many places with both maternity and paternity leave have more leave per person than you can get in the US (where companies can give 0 weeks).
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby viscusanima » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:59 am UTC

I didn't quite know where to put this, so I thought I'd put it here, because it mostly concerns the idea of gender roles.

I've been looking for a job recently. I'm happy to take one absolutely anywhere, I just need a job for a couple of weeks because I've blown all my money on flights.

I went into a supermarket which was looking for 'full-time staff' yesterday, and was told they were looking for 'check-out girls'. Instead of saying 'ok' and walking off, I just stood there, clearly making the woman uncomfortable, so she explained the whole job to me and gave me an application form.

I thought this would be an isolated incident of gender roles. I was wrong.

I went onto Facebook, expressing my frustration at how hard it is to get a job. I was then told that 'tim, you need a serious haircut. Its rare for bars to employ guys cuz customers want to b served by girls'. This call for a haircut was then backed up by another person. I understand why they're saying it - they think that all men should have short hair and conform nicely to society's standards. I just happen to think that it is complete and utter bullshit. The idea that they should hire someone of a certain gender just because it attracts a certain gender of customers is, again, bullshit - most of the bartenders I saw in the UK were male! I don't quite know how to express my rage at this properly, I just guess I wish that we didn't have such stupid gender roles in our society, or such pressure to conform in every regard.

The gender roles thing is more of what pisses me off here - why should I not get a job in a certain establishment on the basis that I happen to be male? Now I know exactly how women felt (and, in some places, still feel) when they were told that certain jobs were only for men. It annoys me no end, why can't we just get rid of these awful preconceptions and... ugh, I can't even articulate myself. This is pissing me off.


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