The radical idea that women are people

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby doogly » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:51 pm UTC

It was Dirac. Of course the conversation ended there. He was not big on this whole conversation thing.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Incompetent » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:53 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:We still relate math to real world/physical applications, especially as far as learning it and teaching it go. Can you think of times textiles and such came up in examples or word problems in math classes? Quilting for example, could be an interesting way to practice geometry, crochet would be interesting to look at through calculus. I mainly remember problems relating to architecture, fences and money; unless I go back to elementary school multiplication and probability: if you have x shirts and y pants, you can make x * y outfits. There's a lot I've forgotten, and this might be completely specific to this part of the U.S., I honestly don't know.


Oh certainly, and it makes sense to relate the examples to the experiences of those learning it. Perhaps there's an unspoken assumption in education that girls will be more at home talking about fence-building than boys will be about knitting. At any rate there's certainly potential for bias here.

Math itself of course isn't gendered, but at this time and place, the field is male dominated. So are many science fields, and computer programming. Similarly, there's nothing inherently feminine about making clothes, but that's been women's work (in a number of cultures, if I remember correctly).


What I mean is, a fairly large proportion of women would at least contemplate taking up knitting, or see it as a mainstream hobby; men less so due to cultural prejudices. Only a tiny proportion of men would seriously contemplate taking up mathematical research. It's true that women face extra social pressures, but I think the across-the-board aversion to maths (or abstraction generally) is more significant than any gender issues in this case. Almost every time I mention maths in a conversation to someone, it triggers a rant about how much they resented having to learn it. Maybe if I told them it's useful for knitting they'd see the sense in it :P

I know there's a lot of mathematics in knitting that could be distilled into pure math (It happens in the physical world, ergo it can be described with maths). I don't know if it has been or not.


One thing you find here is that problems from very different areas of life are actually the same problem mathematically, and conversely what seem to be related problems are quite distinct. For instance, the problem of designing a good experiment (eg a drug trial) has attracted an algebraic/combinatorial approach and a statistical approach, which are completely different but in some cases mysteriously come up with the same answer. It's well-known to statisticians in this area for instance, but perhaps not so much to those conducting experiments, that comparing everything against a 'control group' is often far from the optimal method. The algebraic/combinatorial approach is essentially 'compare everything with everything else in a balanced/symmetric way', and is sometimes optimal. This ties in with a lot of pure maths, but probably the instance of it most people are familiar with is the Sudoku puzzle. You wouldn't really guess at these sort of connections, but this kind of thing where very different situations or approaches get stitched together is pretty much the norm. What makes maths interesting to pure mathematicians is its connection to other maths, and the result is that maths is so tightly interwoven that pretty much anything is linked to everything else, so that mathematical knowledge becomes an extremely versatile garment. (Any textile metaphors are intentional :P)

So it could be that knitting is already sufficiently well explained by existing mathematical techniques, and doesn't offer much to the mathematician especially, and conversely that the maths that is useful to knitters is easy enough that talking to a mathematician wouldn't help much. At the other extreme, it could be that the mathematical problems in knitting are far too difficult, and an ad hoc approach is the best we can hope for at the moment. Or it could be there's a lot to learn on both sides. It's hard to say though without having considerable knowledge of both maths and knitting.

For some reason, the biggest outside sources of inspiration for pure mathematics nowadays are computer science and theoretical physics. Is this because these groups have the wildest imaginations when it comes to mathematically complex models, or is it just down to who talks to whom in the coffee room? It is an interesting question how big a role the stereotypical male nerd clique has to play in all this.

I also remember reading a Scientific American article about the need for a woman's perspective in archeology, to point out things like "that Venus figurine is totally wearing a knitted cap" and "there is no way you could sew leather with that tiny needle"... you can miss out on a lot by favoring, intentionally or otherwise, one set of experiences over another.


Sounds more like the need for a knitter's perspective. If archaeologists are looking at the results of ancient crafts, they could certainly get a lot of useful insight from modern practitioners of the descendants of those crafts. I wonder if the average archaeologist (male or female) is more clued-up about metalworking, say?

More of a serious problem though is understanding ancient societies. Archaeologists are definitely at a disadvantage if they're disproportionately stuck in a small, homogeneous corner of their own society.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Midnight » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:32 pm UTC

I realize this is a radical shift from the idea of needlepoint, and I suppose technically this could go on the "cool youtube shite" thread but I think it's much more fitting hereabouts.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby EmptySet » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:35 am UTC

Incompetent wrote:
cephalopod9 wrote:We still relate math to real world/physical applications, especially as far as learning it and teaching it go. Can you think of times textiles and such came up in examples or word problems in math classes? Quilting for example, could be an interesting way to practice geometry, crochet would be interesting to look at through calculus. I mainly remember problems relating to architecture, fences and money; unless I go back to elementary school multiplication and probability: if you have x shirts and y pants, you can make x * y outfits. There's a lot I've forgotten, and this might be completely specific to this part of the U.S., I honestly don't know.


Oh certainly, and it makes sense to relate the examples to the experiences of those learning it. Perhaps there's an unspoken assumption in education that girls will be more at home talking about fence-building than boys will be about knitting. At any rate there's certainly potential for bias here.


If it's any consolation, I remember half of the examples in my textbook being completely absurd. Like, "A greased pig of mass m1 slides down a slide of height h and angle phi to the horizontal, before striking a penguin of mass m2 at rest at the bottom of the slide.

1. Assuming the grease completely eliminates friction and there is no air resistance, calculate the acceleration of the pig, its speed when leaving the slide.
2. Assuming the collision between the pig and the penguin is elastic, calculate the final velocities of the pig and penguin."

Plus my physics teacher had a habit of making up problems by mashing random bits of clip art together. Thus we end up with problems like "This 100-tonne battleship crashes into an athlete of mass 100kg. Assuming all the momentum of the ship is imparted to the athlete, do they escape Earth's gravitational pull?"

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:13 pm UTC

To be fair, putting a pig in a chute isn't that strange.

Well, it might be strange, but AFAIK it's a common practice.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby cephalopod9 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:35 am UTC

Heh, those word problems sound fairly creative. (I had more to say, but I've spent way too long browsing the internet while writing this post, I'll probably edit later)
Midnight wrote:I realize this is a radical shift from the idea of needlepoint, and I suppose technically this could go on the "cool youtube shite" thread but I think it's much more fitting hereabouts.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOv47njeLHQ
Pretty awesome. Always good to see men participating in feminism. good stuff.
Incompetent wrote:Sounds more like the need for a knitter's perspective. If archaeologists are looking at the results of ancient crafts, they could certainly get a lot of useful insight from modern practitioners of the descendants of those crafts. I wonder if the average archaeologist (male or female) is more clued-up about metalworking, say?
True, In this case it was a woman who was able to provide those insights (the article was an interview with her) and more important than seeking out expertise, a field of study needs to recognize a need for that expertise in the first place. ...I found the article I was thinking of! sort of.
Incompetent wrote:So it could be that knitting is already sufficiently well explained by existing mathematical techniques, and doesn't offer much to the mathematician especially, and conversely that the maths that is useful to knitters is easy enough that talking to a mathematician wouldn't help much. At the other extreme, it could be that the mathematical problems in knitting are far too difficult, and an ad hoc approach is the best we can hope for at the moment. Or it could be there's a lot to learn on both sides. It's hard to say though without having considerable knowledge of both maths and knitting
Exactly, we don't know unless the concepts are explored. Even if there isn't anything completely unique to be found, developing the language for it is still a useful tool, and could lead to innovations in either field. And, it's possible this already exists, but I wouldn't know where to look for it. (for one, craft blags/sights are ridiculously unstable. trying to find crochet patterns has gotten me way more attack sites than looking for po... anything else, but I digress)
I suppose it's mainly the way of thinking that gets to me. Like I just searched my local library database for "quilting math" , and my results are things like "take the math out of quilting" and that's sort of disappointing, although I still have more specific searches to try, and the math in quilting is sorta elementary. (It still kind of looks like magic when I'm watching quilting shows on t.v. and stuff.)
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby doogly » Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:47 pm UTC

I think you might get more mileage looking at physics. In math, you might notice something happening in a craft like quilting, but how would that help you make a mathematically sound statement? Consider a question like classifying the wallpaper groups, the symmetries of patterns which can tile the plane. In quilting you often use such patterns, they show up quite naturally. But how would experience in quilting help you prove the trickiest thing - that there are only so many, and we are not missing extra groups because we were not clever enough? It's very hard to show that there isn't an extra pattern.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby cephalopod9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:46 am UTC

I'm less frustrated by not having the info for myself, but by the apparent attitudes at work: people who like quilting are expected to have an aversion to math.
For some reason, the biggest outside sources of inspiration for pure mathematics nowadays are computer science and theoretical physics. Is this because these groups have the wildest imaginations when it comes to mathematically complex models, or is it just down to who talks to whom in the coffee room? It is an interesting question how big a role the stereotypical male nerd clique has to play in all this.
It's not just a problem of figuring it out, but also of making it accessible and applicable at large. I'm bothered much less by the apparent absence of books on quilting and math than I am by the obvious attitude behind it. As mentioned, quilting involves a lot of basic math, but instructional materials won't talk about the equations or methods, they'll offer you cheat sheets. Although, I am curious if that's as ubiquitous in places where they have enough sense to use the metric system, since 2 9/16 seems a bit more difficult to plug into Pythagoras's theorem than something with decimals.
Incompetent wrote:What I mean is, a fairly large proportion of women would at least contemplate taking up knitting, or see it as a mainstream hobby; men less so due to cultural prejudices. Only a tiny proportion of men would seriously contemplate taking up mathematical research. It's true that women face extra social pressures, but I think the across-the-board aversion to maths (or abstraction generally) is more significant than any gender issues in this case. Almost every time I mention maths in a conversation to someone, it triggers a rant about how much they resented having to learn it.
It definitely is part of a bigger problem with a lack of and a lack of appreciation for math and science literacy. [/quote]
I just watched this, which is also even more relevant to the overall topic of the thread at this part.
What it comes down to, as I see it, is unnecessary and counterproductive compartmentalization.

I started trying to learn about knot theory, and it's interesting, but I haven't hardly started on account of not being very good at independent study. I sort of get the impression that a fair bit is pretty recent developments, and I'm curious to find out if that's from a lack of interest, or difficulty approaching such problems without later maths...
Also, I crocheted a trefoil, and another simple 'celtic knot' that I drew.


tl;dr- check out the big link.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby sophyturtle » Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

Having clicked the big link I am very pleased. I think that framing the struggle women face with the struggle he faced as a black man is important. People are more willing to recognize racism as a social pressure over genetic differences, and having someone who experienced the prejudice point out that sexism is just as much a social problem is useful.

I am personally glad, because I am not sure I would have seen it the same way. The pressures faced because of my gender are so constant that it can be hard to compare it to that of the pressures men face.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby podbaydoor » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:15 pm UTC

Because I hate myself, I wandered down to the comments and found this gem:
Dr. Tyson is one of my favorite lay-science writers but I lost some respect for him after seeing the part about the women.

If he had done some research then he would see that the situation which African American males are in is nothing like the situation women are in.

Women are given nearly every leg up in school from kindergarten through college.

Black males are in almost the exact opposite situation as we can hear anecdotally from him(but he is backed up by studies).

The social pressures for black men would be different from social pressures for women but that's not the same as "social pressures for women are less." (And I notice the commenter has totally ignored black women.)

*facepalm*
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Mavketl » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:19 pm UTC

I did that comment thing too. :(

(But Tyson was awesome.)
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby sje46 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:21 pm UTC

Unrelated to whatever you guys are talking about, Holy crap. this turned out better than expected.

Spoiler:
Basically what happened was that a pretty female character was introduced to the series, and people started making sexual comments about her. A girl spoke out, and everyone started saying that equality means that males and females get treated equally, and since some sexual comments were made towards a few of the male characters, that makes it alright to do for the female characters.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:40 am UTC

This thread seems to have died. This makes me sad.

So, recently I saw an interview with Stephanie Coontz the author of A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s (http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Stirring-Feminine-Mystique-American/dp/0465002005). In it she is examining The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, one of the first works of modern feminist literature.

DISCLAIMER: I have not read the book. Also, upcoming paragraph is heteronormative as shit.

In the interview, Coontz brought up that men are happiest in relationships where they have regular sex and are not frequently nagged. Women in stable relationships reported (according to the interview) higher sex drives when the man did more of the housework.Therefore a man who does housework will get laid more often. She called this "chorenography". This bothered he hell out of me.

It could of course be interpreted to mean that if a woman does less work, she'll be more rested and therefore more interested in sex, but that goes for men as well. What the idea of "chorenography" seems to lead to IMO is a reward system. Man does work, woman sleeps with him. This sets a precedent where a woman may feel obligated to sleep with her SO just because he washed up. It also seems to treat the man like a child, like he's getting a treat for acting like an adult. Part of growing up is doing the dishes and cooking without getting a pat on the head and ideally housework is split up based on energy levels, who likes/is better at cooking, who's been pitching in less lately, et cetera. I'm sure she wasn't suggesting anything as crude as what I inferred, but it seemed so easy to take that away and I'm honestly not sure what she was getting at with "chorenography".
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Pterosaur » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:35 pm UTC

Disclaimer: I also haven’t read the book.

I am curious to see Coontz’s sample demographics and methodology. If the group was self-selecting, she possibly attracted (intentionally or unintentionally) the type of women who do use sex as a bargaining chip/reward system.

Even if she had an accurately representative sample, I’m concerned that her interpretation appears to be a positive (or at least neutral) one. Her catchy term “chorenography” sounds less like “this is a troubling issue in society” and more like “hey guys, do the dishes! Wimmenz will bone you!” It just reminds me of the “Porn for Women” book that pictured fully clothed men vacuuming. (Those who have read Coontz's book, please correct me if I’m wrong here.)
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby blacksheep9 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:51 pm UTC

Virtual Aardvark and Pterosaur: I think it's simpler than you make it out to be. Perhaps women who are with men who take responsibility for cleaning up after themselves, as evidenced by a willingness to do chores without being asked (as if they were children), are simply happier with their mates and therefore more inclined to enjoy intimacy with them. It's hard to be attracted to someone you resent, and in a marriage leaving all the chores to your partner to perform will definitely breed resentment over time. There's nothing actually arousing about a man vacuuming. I think the idea behind "chore-nography" is simply that not being treated like a servant will do wonders for a woman's libido.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Von Haus » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:23 pm UTC

I think this is a case of correlation does not equal causation.
There is more and better sex in relationships where both are happy and respect each other.
Work loads are more evenly shared in relationships where both are happy and respect each other.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:39 am UTC

Virtual_Aardvark wrote:A man who does housework will get laid more often. She called this "chorenography". This bothered he hell out of me.

I understand why the implication bothers you, but it was probably just raised as a selling point to attract more interest in the book. I wouldn't read too much into it unless the rest of the book was similarly trite.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Enuja » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:05 am UTC

I have not read this particular Coontz book, but I did read her earlier Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage, and it is one my favorite books. She is a historian, so she (mostly) talks about how ideas and expectations have changed over time. Again, as a historian, she totally buys the socially constructed nature of all of this, and she talks about the results and phenomena of particular social constructions of gender. She's probably not talking about her own personal position or about how things should be, but how things were, probably from the perspective of a variety of groups, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In Marriage, she did put her opinion at the end, but from what she said there I am very skeptical that she is personally applauding the idea of "chore-nography".

Instead, she's probably putting Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique in a historical context. And, since Coontz is a historian, she's not the one doing the sociological surveys she mentions. In fact, she's probably comparing results of surveys over time and tying them to particular textual evidence in Mystique.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Sat Feb 26, 2011 3:35 am UTC

I'll admit that I was definitely reading into it based on my own experiences (an ex boyfriend who expect a reward every time he did something for me or acknowledged that women is people). I guess it's the word itself that's bothering me not necessarily the concept. I also thought of Porn for Women. Maybe there's a better way to put it that couldn't lead minds to jump to the wrong conclusions?

Judging from the interview she's a very intelligent and interesting feminist and I am genuinely looking forward to reading her work.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Pterosaur » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:29 am UTC

Von Haus wrote:I think this is a case of correlation does not equal causation.
There is more and better sex in relationships where both are happy and respect each other.
Work loads are more evenly shared in relationships where both are happy and respect each other.


I agree that this is the mostly likely conclusion based on the interview results. However, it would appear that Coontz reached a different conclusion, given that she dubbed the results “chorenography” rather than “mutual respect.”

Virtual Aardvark: Do you have a link to the Coontz interview? I’m curious what else she had to say.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:28 am UTC

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/375209/february-23-2011/stephanie-coontz

This is her interview on The Colbert Report. Keep in mind that I enjoyed most of the interview and pretty much cherry-picked the one part I'm having trouble with.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby cephalopod9 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:25 am UTC

I like that he has feminist guests.
With the quote you point out, I think the problem is the oversimplification, going from general trends to daily causal relationship. The clever phrase takes it from "respect your wife enough to look after yourself and make her life easier - have an over all happier relationship" to "do chores - get sex" also reflects problems like sex as a reward, and women don't get porn.

I don't know of studies that involved having men do more chores, and then measuring the effects on relationships, but evening out the chore distribution could very well lead to more egalitarian attitudes and a more harmonious relationship.

Also people, republicans are seriously bumming me out.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Aaeriele » Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:22 am UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:Also people, republicans are seriously bumming me out.


I hear ya.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

Fer realz. Republicans in this country seem more concerned with destroying infrastructure than creating it, especially any that will actually help women and children.
F those guys.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Pterosaur » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:32 pm UTC

I watched the Coontz interview. I think that the five-minute comedy format hindered her, so I’m willing to grant her some leeway. However, most of the interview seemed very “Gee Willikers, being women in the 60’s was hard.” I got more feminist historical commentary from an episode of Mad Men. I hope that her book is more insightful than that, and perhaps she just sucks at interviews (or just this particular interview).

Then she just tacked that “chorenography” on the end without any real context or explanation. Maybe she ran out of time, or maybe she was trying to tease us with a new buzzword for the sake of publicity. I hope that she clarifies this statement at some point, or her new catchphrase may bite her in the ass with the wrong kind of publicity.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Ashlah » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:39 am UTC

The idea of men doing chores as being porn for women has always bugged me, just because, as I believe a few of you have mentioned, porn for women is porn. I am a woman. I like porn. In my porn, people fuck each other. It's just a statement that, in its own little way, furthers the idea that women aren't interested in/shouldn't be interested in porn.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:46 am UTC

not to mention furthering the idea that men are naturally slobby, useless crapheads.
If every man actually acted the way that people on, for example, TV commercials do, 1. nobody with a penis would ever smell good and 2. I would have not bothered to have a single boyfriend ever. Cleaning: It's not a female thing! It's an acceptable person thing.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Pterosaur » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:49 am UTC

Meaux_Pas wrote: If every man actually acted the way that people on, for example, TV commercials do, 1. nobody with a penis would ever smell good


*chuckle*

I remember that when I met my husband, he smelled like Dial soap and Gillette shave lotion. It’s a good thing that he knew how to clean himself and his apartment, because I lack any sexual desire without my chorenography. /sarcasm

I think that Coontz’s comment bothered me because she created a trite catchphrase to gloss over the serious issues of sexual manipulation, respectful relationships, and human sexual desire. And in applying that term to women, she is working against her own cause.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby cephalopod9 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:08 am UTC

I got the impression that she was trying to tailor her responses to what she thought her audience was; Comedy Central has kind of a dude-bro demographic, so she was trying to say "dude-bros, care about this because sex". Also, got kind of a pop-psychology-feminism vibe, I don't want to say anything that would disparage anyone for not being a particular kind of feminist or anything like that, so I wouldn't it's say shallower, but maybe not as critical or progressive some others.

<sarcasms!> But guys, this is the feminism thread, that means hating men! we're not supposed to defend men against sexist tropes! we're supposed to want to destroy them! and their society!</sarcasms> Yeah, this idea is still going around, I don't even know why. What props this idea up?
Meaux_Pas wrote:Fer realz. Republicans in this country seem more concerned with destroying infrastructure than creating it, especially any that will actually help women and children.
F those guys.
I keep hoping they'll finally get to the point where people 'snap out of it' to some extent and say "oh wait, this is completely horrifying, maybe I shouldn't go along with 'pro-life'/'conservative'/'republican' etc. ideas unquestioningly". I don't even know how to talk to people who will basically just scream "Babies!" back at me.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:45 am UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:I don't even know how to talk to people who will basically just scream "Babies!" back at me.
Tap deep into your hate-organ, coaxing forth the thick, syrup-like discharge of liquid malevolence which beats within it; force this vitriolic concoction upward into your spite-chamber and allow it to steep in the black ichor of your scorn-gland. Once it has been suffused with the appropriate amount of scorn, expose your third mouth (lined with serrated teeth), spit the resulting poison at your target's eyes, and scream. This will disorient the target long enough for you either escape or successfully attack and devour them.

If you don't have a third mouth or a hate-organ then I'm afraid I can't help you.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Kag » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:18 am UTC



I agree with you, but this bothers me:

Maybe Greg Sargent doesn’t see the woman herself as a person who is able to protect herself lawfully from harm under the law – she is only allowed to protect the product of her womb


Because, as awesome as it would be, pregnant women are not known around the world for their martial arts prowess.

Also it's a pretty cynical way to interpret something that really isn't heinous in the same way as most things that feminist bloggers write about.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:38 am UTC

What I took from it was that the law was re-describing an attack targeting a woman as an attack only on her womb; that the reason presented (to justify a pregnant woman's decision to kill her would-be attacker if his attack was targeting her womb) ignored the fact that the woman would still be completely justified in killing her attacker without this law. Rather, this law seems to shift the focus away from the fact that she's being assaulted to the fact that her womb is being assaulted.

I mean, if someone came up to a woman and started to savagely beat her with the intent of causing a miscarriage, that attempt isn't going to look much different than an attempt on her life; I don't think there are many courts who would describe her use of lethal force to defend herself as inappropriate. Even if it's nonfunctional, the womb is a crucial part of your anatomy, and sufficient trauma to it can cause death. This distinction--between attacks targeting the woman and attacks targeting the womb--seems more like an attempt to describe women as mobile wombs more than afford women greater rights. That's what I assume the author was getting at, anyway.

I could be missing something, though.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Kag » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:56 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:the woman would still be completely justified in killing her attacker without this law.


No. If someone attacked a woman with the clear intent to kill her unborn child, but not her, she could fight back in self-defense, but if she killed her attacker, South Dakota law would not deem that a justifiable homicide.

edit: oh wait no, excuse me. That would be aggravated assault, which is a felony. You can totally kill dudes committing felonies in South Dakota.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:59 am UTC

Kag wrote:No. If someone attacked a woman with the clear intent to kill her unborn child, but not her, she could fight back in self-defense, but if she killed her attacker, South Dakota law would not deem that a justifiable homicide.
Seriously? I'd toss that up to a deficiency in South Dakota law, then--because like I said, an attempt to inflict a miscarriage and an attempt to murder somebody are going to be pretty hard to tell apart. Particularly for the woman defending herself.

Edit: And even if the dude made it absolutely clear what he was trying to do ("I'm not going to kill you, I just want to inflict a miscarriage on you!"), this attempt carries with it a sufficient risk to the woman to justify the use of lethal force as a means for self defense, I'd think. If someone came up to me with an axe and said "I'm not gonna kill you, I'm just gonna chop off your hand!", I don't think many courts would look poorly on me for responding by shooting him dead. Even if the bastard had a medical kit and sufficient knowledge of first aid to stop the blood loss.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:05 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Kag » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:04 am UTC

Well, the reason I specified clear intent is that if she could reasonably assume that her life was in genuine danger, I'm pretty sure that's close enough.

But, yeah, no, I was wrong, unless of course there is a way to attack a fetus without appearing to want to afflict some kind of serious injury on the mother.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Enuja » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:<sarcasms!> But guys, this is the feminism thread, that means hating men! we're not supposed to defend men against sexist tropes! we're supposed to want to destroy them! and their society!</sarcasms> Yeah, this idea is still going around, I don't even know why. What props this idea up?
Opponents to feminism, mostly.

I think it comes from a sliver of truth in the form of the lesbian separatist movement and lesbian feminism more broadly. The idea behind lesbian feminism is that men and women are so indoctrinated with damaging gender roles and expectations that women cannot be authentically themselves while in a sexual relationship with a guy. The Woman Identified Woman, which was written to pass out during a woman's rights conference that had excluded lesbian speakers, describes lesbian feminists as more easily and authentically pro-woman than heterosexual female feminists. Lesbian separatism goes farther and creates compounds with no men at all, with the same goal of removing the damaging effect of gender roles. Even lesbian separatism is not about "hating" men: it's about hating what the binary expectations of gender roles and relationships do to women. It's not about men at all, much less about hating them. But heterosexual men hear about lesbian separatism, don't see a role for themselves, and feel threatened. There are probably less than 200 people in the United States right now living as lesbian separatists, so even if lesbian separatists hated men or were against men, they'd be completely powerless to do anything against men on a societal level.

I really think the prevalence of the "evil feminist" idea comes from people feeling threatened by feminism. Men and women who like the idea that woman should have a greater opportunity to stay home and take care of kids, if only for a few early, formative years, so that men should, on average, be paid more, because they'll be expected to work more total years and take less time off to take care of kids. Women who want guys to pay for their dinners and buy them jewlery, without having to reciprocate. Woman who like looking sexy and feminine, and fear that if there were universal standards for dress and appearance, they wouldn't be able to feel special. Men and woman who want to make sexist jokes. There are many people and common behaviors that are threatened by gender equality, so those people turn feminism into a dirty word.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Aaeriele » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:11 pm UTC

There's also the fact that groups tend to be thought of as aggregates, and oftentimes the traits of the most vocal or extreme sub-groups get ascribed to the group as a whole. The lesbian separatist movement is one example; hardcore radical feminists are another (see: radfem/trans debate). Those who are part of groups tend to know more about the variety of viewpoints expressed within them, whereas those who are simply dealing with a group as a "topic" often don't have the same in-depth knowledge, and thus rely on a generalized perception.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:09 am UTC

Enuja wrote:The Woman Identified Woman, which was written to pass out during a woman's rights conference that had excluded lesbian speakers, describes lesbian feminists as more easily and authentically pro-woman than heterosexual female feminists.
This position has always troubled me; when we say 'more easily and authentically pro-woman', what do we mean? If a significant number of women want to opt in to what we might describe as a patriarchal culture (for example, by marrying men, or by playing the role of mothers, or by taking a man's last name), doesn't being pro-woman mean supporting this decision? If this is so, then isn't a framework where we reject the patriarchy and all of those who support it (or describe those women who support it as hostages) not really a pro-woman perspective? At least, not pro-woman universally?

We can't support women as some sort of platonic ideal; rather, we need to support women as individual humans with individual needs. Those needs sometimes involve reinforcing a male-dominated culture. If that's what they want, we should support and respect that want. If they want to break away from that culture, we should support and respect that want as well.

This has always been my main issue of contention with some lesbian seperatists. I've listened to conversations where I've heard a lesbian separatist explain that having sex with a man is reinforcing patriarchal culture. So? Existing reinforces patriarchal culture. You cannot opt out of patriarchal culture, anymore than you can opt out of capitalistic culture or a meat-eating culture. You can select certain places to make a stand ("I won't eat meat, I won't buy shoes that were produced in sweatshops, I won't take my husband's last name"), but that doesn't mean everything else you're doing in that culture doesn't continue to support it (do you pay taxes? Congratulations; you support the patriarchy). I mean, I'm not arguing against making that stand, but I'm arguing against the idea that making a stand gives you a moral monopoly on the issue.

I realize you weren't necessarily saying any of that; this is just an issue I've seen come up before, and it bothers me. I beg your pardon for the rant--my point is just that if feminism wants to stay relevant, it needs to support women--all women--equally, regardless of their needs and wants.
Enuja wrote:I really think the prevalence of the "evil feminist" idea comes from people feeling threatened by feminism.
I think a small part of it is also self-inflicted--feminism has a bad history with racism, transphobia, and homophobia, for instance. I consider feminism ultimately a force for good, but some bit of its 'bad reputation' is probably deserved; like any movement, its membership has been guilty of marginalizing and nullifying the experiences of women who didn't fit into its mainstream narrative. This is probably why we get so many specialized forms of feminism (or alternate forms of supporting women outside of feminism) that deal with a specific type of experience that mainstream feminism has either ignored or nullified. The problem is that some of these specialized forms of feminism then go on to nullify or devalue other experiences outside of their framework. I've mentioned my issues with lesbian seperatism, for instance.

But I also agree that, to a much larger extent, the bulk of the hate feminism gets is probably because the idea is threatening toward men and patriarchal culture.

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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby Jessica » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:26 am UTC

I think the bulk of the mainstream hate it gets (or, more specifically, the unwarranted hate, or unjustified hate) comes from the patriarchy, and from people who don't understand what privilege is. Specifically, people who don't realize the sort of advantages they have already and see that women are fighting to be "more equal". Because they think that they are already equal. It's the whole privilege problem, and it's set up to make people who fight against it seem like they're the ones who are reaching farther. Like they are trying to get more, or like they're getting "unfair advantages".

I would say that POCs, trans people, some queer people (etc) actually have legitimate reasons to dislike feminism in it's various incarnations. But that's because they have a lot of privilege that other groups don't and the same issues come up when you have privileged people and non-privileged people interacting. Unless one is consciously aware of their privilege, it can cause problems.
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Re: The radical idea that women are people

Postby EmptySet » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:53 am UTC

Referring specifically to the "not defending guys from sexist tropes" bit, there may be a perception that feminists just dismiss that kind of thing as another ignorant man complaining that the patriarchy hurts men, too. I've also seen some feminists claim that it is impossible for sexism against men to exist in modern society because of the power differential between men and women. Under that view, feminists cannot defend guys from "sexist" tropes, because that's not really "sexism".

In general, though, I would say that knee-jerk hating on feminists is mostly due to two factors - the tendency for any group to be viewed in light of its worst/most extreme members, and because feminists do not conform to and even actively threaten a lot of people's views of society.

The Great Hippo wrote:But I also agree that, to a much larger degree, the bulk of the hate feminism gets is probably because the idea is threatening toward men and patriarchal culture.


Is feminism "threatening toward men"? I wouldn't say so. Or did you mean it in the sense of "some men find it threatening"?


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