"Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

General_Norris
Posts: 1399
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:10 pm UTC

"Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby General_Norris » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:17 pm UTC

On another thread this disccusion came up. Basically, is the "Lady on distress" trope always sexist? Is the Super Mario Bros. franchise sexist because Mario saves the princess? Let's debate it here.
(To those that posted in the other thread, I prefer not to copy-paste our posts here so as to make the thread more readable, you are welcome to do it in your posts)

My opinion:

The portrayal of a man saving a distressed woman is, in no way, sexist unless there's indication that the man is saving the woman for sexist reasons. In other words, saving a person can't be sexist because one of the parties involved is part of a determinated sex. It would be quite sexist to think that the portrayal of men saving women is sexist while women saving men is not.

Now, this doesn't mean there is not a sexist bias, there are far more men saving women that women saving men in media which is proof of a sexist society. However while we know that there's a bias towards the former we can't correlate men saving women as sexist because it's more common. In other words, society as a whole is sexist but that doesn't mean you are. It's a fallacy. For example there's a sexist bias because most action heroes are male but that doesn't mean that every male action hero is sexist.

This is no easy topic either because of trends, tradition and copies. Donkey Kong had it's "story" copied by lots of other arcade titles, until then the games had no real plot. This can be seen in Dragon's Lair and Ghosts'n'Goblins among other games and the latter Super Mario Bros which have a very similar theme. Also Death of the Author, Author avatars and similar topics apply making it harder than it seems at first to know what is sexist and what is not.

In the Donkey Kong example there's no reason to think Jumpman is saving Pauline (Not Peach, they are different characters, Pauline is the girl from King Kong even if Nintendo managed to get away with it) for other reason than she is being kidnapped by his pet. There's no reason to think Pauline being "weak" means women are weak.

Also note that it's very possible to have a sexist character!

That's all. Comment and post your concerns


Title fixed. -Az

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7588
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Zamfir » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:32 pm UTC

if you have a coin that comes up tails 90% ofthe time, you can claim of any individual throw that it would have come up tails anyway, and that this individual throw is not proven to be biased.

guenther
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby guenther » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:00 pm UTC

I think defining sexism based purely on actions is flawed, just like it's flawed for racism.

The more important thing is the meaning behind the message. If it's not meant in a sexist way, it's not sexist. Culturally we shouldn't have a problem with men saving women. Sexism comes in when we view women as needing to be saved, and are ineffective without a man to save them. So the damsel in distress story might perpetuate that sexist stereotype, but it's not inherently sexist. But if the author of the story is sending that message, then it is sexist. Intent matters.

I think we get a much better picture of sexism when the gender roles get flipped. As I said, we should be OK with men saving women, but are we OK with women saving men? If someone can't get immersed into a story because a man being saved by a woman is inherently implausible, then that might be a sexist perception.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

User avatar
Flagpole Sitta
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:27 pm UTC
Location: luminiferous æther
Contact:

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Flagpole Sitta » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:38 pm UTC

guenther wrote:If it's not meant in a sexist way, it's not sexist.


I didn't mean to call you a dumb cunt, it just slipped out!

I feel like I've had this argument already, but authorial intent, while not totally irrelevant, is less important then the message it's self, particularly when I can't talk to the author myself and ask them when they meant.

And the men saving women trope is sexist. It is sexist because the reverse is almost non-existent in media. Claiming that it is not sexist if you take it out of context is specious. Context is essential when determining meaning.
Poxic is, like, awesome. She's my favorite.

Kapojinha is pretty awesome too. <3

General_Norris
Posts: 1399
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:10 pm UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby General_Norris » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:00 pm UTC

Flagpole Sitta wrote:I feel like I've had this argument already, but authorial intent, while not totally irrelevant, is less important then the message it's self, particularly when I can't talk to the author myself and ask them when they meant.


Using the Donkey Kong example, do you find any sexist message in the game? Honest question.

And the men saving women trope is sexist. It is sexist because the reverse is almost non-existent in media.


Those arguments are not logically connected. What is sexist is the huge difference in numbers not the trope itself. In other words, engineers being mostly male doesn't make them sexist or the career sexist or something similar, in this example what is sexist is gender roles but not engineering.

Claiming that it is not sexist if you take it out of context is specious. Context is essential when determining meaning.


Nobody argued otherwise.

@Zamfir

Given an individual throw of an unknown coin you can't know if it's biased or not. Also I don't quite get you, are you claiming that this trope is played 90% of the time for sexist reasons?

User avatar
Mokele
Posts: 775
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:18 pm UTC
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Mokele » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:08 pm UTC

The trope is, itself, sexist because it treats the woman as an object with no agency or power, a helpless prize to be 'claimed' by the hero after negotiating the given obstacles.

Those arguments are not logically connected. What is sexist is the huge difference in numbers not the trope itself. In other words, engineers being mostly male doesn't make them sexist or the career sexist or something similar, in this example what is sexist is gender roles but not engineering.


By that logic, rattlesnakes aren't venomous because they give 'dry bites' about 40% of the time.
"With malleus aforethought, mammals got an earful of their ancestor's jaw" - J. Burns, Biograffiti

User avatar
folkhero
Posts: 1775
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:34 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby folkhero » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:10 pm UTC

Man saves woman- very common
Man saves man- very common
Woman saves woman- uncommon
Woman saves man- uncommon

I don't think the sexism comes specifically from the "man saves woman" trope, so much as the prejudice for culture to say that men do the saving (of whomever) and women don't.
To all law enforcement entities, this is not an admission of guilt...

guenther
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby guenther » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:35 pm UTC

Flagpole Sitta wrote:I feel like I've had this argument already, but authorial intent, while not totally irrelevant, is less important then the message it's self, particularly when I can't talk to the author myself and ask them when they meant.

And the men saving women trope is sexist. It is sexist because the reverse is almost non-existent in media. Claiming that it is not sexist if you take it out of context is specious. Context is essential when determining meaning.

Do we want to eliminate stories of men saving women? Do we want to have an affirmative action to set it at 50/50 balance with women saving men? How do we measure the problem in your lingo? How do we know if we've won?

For me, sexism is about perception of women being inferior to men. That's what we want to eliminate. We get data on perception from actions, but fundamentally it's the perception that matters. If we mislabel the problem, we'll get bad results.


Mokele wrote:The trope is, itself, sexist because it treats the woman as an object with no agency or power, a helpless prize to be 'claimed' by the hero after negotiating the given obstacles.

It treats one woman in one situation that way. You applied your interpretation to expand it to women in general. Every story doesn't have to follow the PC stereotype to be OK.

And looking at the portrayal ratio in media may not be the best example. There may not be a sexist resistance to having women save men more often, it might be that it just simply isn't preferred storywise by viewers. Just like men and women like male trailer narrators more, the barrier isn't the sexist perception, but the preference of the end product.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

User avatar
Rinsaikeru
Pawn, soon to be a Queen
Posts: 2166
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:26 am UTC
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:45 pm UTC

The barrier IS sexist perception of a sexist society.

Those in media tailor make media that will appeal to a vast majority of people. If we strip down everything else--it essentially means they make media for male, white, middle class and everyone else is just along for the ride.

If people prefer male movie announcers....why do they prefer female GPS and subway stop announcers? (Genuine curiousity)
Rice Puddin.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7357
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:49 pm UTC

guenther wrote:Do we want to eliminate stories of men saving women? Do we want to have an affirmative action to set it at 50/50 balance with women saving men? How do we measure the problem in your lingo? How do we know if we've won?
No, but a 50/50 balance - with some wiggle room for variation - would indicate to us that there was no longer a problem. We're under no obligation to address sexism in our personal lives (A writer, for instance, does not have to write stories with strong female characters - there's nothing wrong about being interested in dabbling in culture as it exists), but we are under an obligation to be honest with ourselves and the world around us. And part of that honesty is saying that: "Yes, a situation where the vast majority of stories involving rescue involve a man rescuing a woman... That's sexist."

I don't want to control the choices of my fellow humans; I just want them to be aware of what those choices are.
guenther wrote:And looking at the portrayal ratio in media may not be the best example. There may not be a sexist resistance to having women save men more often, it might be that it just simply isn't preferred storywise by viewers. Just like men and women like male trailer narrators more, the barrier isn't the sexist perception, but the preference of the end product.
And isn't a preference for stories where men save women revealing of a sexist trend in the audience? Not that this makes the audience evil, or bad - but if I prefer to hear stories about white males, are my preferences not discriminatory on the basis of race and sex? Isn't that the very definition of racism and sexism? And isn't it fair to say that part of this preference is a result of all the narratives I've been exposed to all my life being ones that reaffirm sexist concepts?

There's nothing wrong with wanting to hear stories that validate your culture and perspective, but there is something wrong when you deny that this is what those stories are doing.

User avatar
Flagpole Sitta
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:27 pm UTC
Location: luminiferous æther
Contact:

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Flagpole Sitta » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:04 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:Using the Donkey Kong example, do you find any sexist message in the game? Honest question.


Sorry, I've never actually played the game.

In other words, engineers being mostly male doesn't make them sexist or the career sexist or something similar, in this example what is sexist is gender roles but not engineering.


Actually, engineering, as a field, is very sexist. One of the reasons is that there aren't very many women in it, one of the reasons is that a lot of individual engineers are sexist. It's a self-perpetuating problem.

General_Norris wrote:
Flagpole Sitta wrote:Context is essential when determining meaning.


Nobody argued otherwise.


You did, here.

General_Norris wrote:The portrayal of a man saving a distressed woman is, in no way, sexist unless there's indication that the man is saving the woman for sexist reasons. In other words, saving a person can't be sexist because one of the parties involved is part of a determinated sex. It would be quite sexist to think that the portrayal of men saving women is sexist while women saving men is not.


In this quote you are ignoring all of the context of a society where women are consistently construed as helpless. In this society any portrayal that reinforces the status quo is sexist.

guenther wrote:Do we want to eliminate stories of men saving women? Do we want to have an affirmative action to set it at 50/50 balance with women saving men? How do we measure the problem in your lingo? How do we know if we've won?

For me, sexism is about perception of women being inferior to men. That's what we want to eliminate. We get data on perception from actions, but fundamentally it's the perception that matters. If we mislabel the problem, we'll get bad results.


No, we do not necessarily want to eliminate anything, except, obviously, sexism. What we want to do is remain mindful of what messages are being propagated in media. We want to think critically and honestly about what we see and hear and think about and how it effects us, and we want to encourage the producers of media to create socially positive and equal media. What that is, exactly, can only be determined on a case by case basis. We've 'won' when we've eliminated sexism and racism and every other kind of prejudice. There is no neat check list for when that happens, and honestly, it will probably never will happen. But we can try.

And part of the way we change perceptions is by changing how the media portrays people. Society both shapes and is shaped by media.

Also, what on earth is my lingo and how is it different then yours?

guenther wrote:It treats one woman in one situation that way. You applied your interpretation to expand it to women in general. Every story doesn't have to follow the PC stereotype to be OK.


But it's not one woman in one situation, that's the whole point. It's many women, in many situations with very few examples of women not needing to be rescued.

guenther wrote: There may not be a sexist resistance to having women save men more often, it might be that it just simply isn't preferred storywise by viewers. Just like men and women like male trailer narrators more, the barrier isn't the sexist perception, but the preference of the end product.


But these preferences uncover a sexist bias in society!

And to quote the Great Hippo:
"I don't want to control the choices of my fellow humans; I just want them to be aware of what those choices are."
Last edited by Flagpole Sitta on Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Poxic is, like, awesome. She's my favorite.

Kapojinha is pretty awesome too. <3

H2SO4
NOCTUNICUS, LORD OF SLEEP
Posts: 931
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:36 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:06 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:If people prefer male movie announcers....why do they prefer female GPS and subway stop announcers? (Genuine curiousity)

That one guy's voice is TOTALLY EPIC, that's why. I mean, not to totally come off as sexist, but "In a world! Where one man stands alone!" and similar announcements wouldn't sound as awesome and exciting if it were a woman's voice.

And I think for the GPS and subway thing, it's because people are more likely to respond to a smooth, feminine voice as opposed to an often gravelly or in-that-annoying-range male voice. Though the Portland, OR equivalent of the subway (MAX), the Spanish voice is male ("Doors to the left" "Puertas a la izquierda"). I will admit, if they could get James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman to do the voices, I would be more inclined to ride that subway or buy that GPS.

But here's something I want to know along similar lines. So, people don't like the man saving the damsel in distress because it portrays women as objects/helpless/whatever other reason you can think of. A very less dramatic version of that, however, is called chivalry (opening doors, pulling out chairs, not hitting them, etc.). I frequently hear women complain about how chivalry is dead. Am I the only one that thinks this is a sort of double-standard?
But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7357
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:09 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:But here's something I want to know along similar lines. So, people don't like the man saving the damsel in distress because it portrays women as objects/helpless/whatever other reason you can think of. A very less dramatic version of that, however, is called chivalry. I frequently hear women complain about how chivalry is dead. Am I the only one that thinks this is a sort of double-standard?
When a woman says it while simultaneously being opposed to sexism? Yes. But that's not relevant to a discussion about whether or not the trope itself is sexist. Please try to stay on topic?

User avatar
Flagpole Sitta
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:27 pm UTC
Location: luminiferous æther
Contact:

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Flagpole Sitta » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:10 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:I mean, not to totally come off as sexist, but "In a world! Where one man stands alone!" and similar announcements wouldn't sound as awesome and exciting if it were a woman's voice.


But why? Why would you think a woman's voice sounds less exciting? Is there something inherently passive about women's voices? I am not accusing you of being bad, I just want you to think critically about your sub-conscious impluses.

H2SO4 wrote: I frequently hear women complain about how chivalry is dead. Am I the only one that thinks this is a sort of double-standard?

...yes?
Poxic is, like, awesome. She's my favorite.

Kapojinha is pretty awesome too. <3

H2SO4
NOCTUNICUS, LORD OF SLEEP
Posts: 931
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:36 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:20 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:When a woman says it while simultaneously being opposed to sexism? Yes. But that's not relevant to a discussion about whether or not the trope itself is sexist. Please try to stay on topic?

It is on topic. The OP mentioned how sexism is based on intent. When a man is chivalrous, I've seen his intent interpreted two different ways:
1. He is being nice and respecting women
2. He is being a chauvinist pig because he thinks women are too weak to open their own doors, pull out their own chairs, hold their own in a fight, etc.

Either way, chivalry is very closely related to the "damsel in distress" trope that apparently many are against, but I'm curious as to how many that oppose the damsel in distress also oppose chivalry. Opposing one and not the other is quite the double-standard.

But why? Why would you think a woman's voice sounds less exciting? Is there something inherently passive about women's voices? I am not accusing you of being bad, I just want you to think critically about your sub-conscious impulses.

It's just not as exciting. The higher range of the women's voice doesn't create as much suspense as the movie-man's lower range does. Even if a woman were to say it in the exact same way but in her octave, it's not as dramatic. For example, imagine if Darth Vader had voice even one octave higher. It doesn't create the same effect.
But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7357
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:28 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:Either way, chivalry is very closely related to the "damsel in distress" trope that apparently many are against, but I'm curious as to how many that oppose the damsel in distress also oppose chivalry. Opposing one and not the other is quite the double-standard.
It's irrelevant because it's obvious, and no one here is going to disagree with you. Yes, it's a double standard to oppose man-rescues-woman narratives while holding up chivalry as a proper method of behavior. Of course, I've heard people say it sarcastically before, so I wouldn't accuse someone of saying it aloud of holding a double standard (besides, they might LIKE the man-rescues-woman trope, so the statement might be wholly in line with their wants and needs).

Anyway, if you want to focus on people having double standards, go ahead - I don't think it's on-topic, though. There are people who oppose racism but then find nothing wrong with taking or supporting racist action, too. Bringing that up is just as irrelevant, and usually part of a rhetorical ploy to shift the discussion away from facts to how people on one side of the discussion are "so hypocritical!".

Chen
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Chen » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:31 pm UTC

Flagpole Sitta wrote:Actually, engineering, as a field, is very sexist. One of the reasons is that there aren't very many women in it, one of the reasons is that a lot of individual engineers are sexist. It's a self-perpetuating problem.


Just not having many women in the field hardly automatically makes the field sexist. I'll easily admit there may very well be sexist reasons why women don't go into engineering (either at the societal or even closer in at the university/college level). As for the second part do you have any type of citation for that? In my experience AS an engineer I haven't found that fellow engineers are any more or less sexist than any other professional.

guenther
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby guenther » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:we are under an obligation to be honest with ourselves and the world around us. And part of that honesty is saying that: "Yes, a situation where the vast majority of stories involving rescue involve a man rescuing a woman... That's sexist."

That's belief without evidence. Or simply defining terms to make it true.

To me the honest thing to say is "There is an imbalance, and why don't we investigate if it comes from sexism (i.e. a perception of inferiority)."

The Great Hippo wrote:And isn't a preference for stories where men save women revealing of a sexist trend in the audience? Not that this makes the audience evil, or bad - but if I prefer to hear stories about white males, are my preferences not discriminatory on the basis of race and sex? Isn't that the very definition of racism and sexism?

I don't think discrimination is bad. Bad discrimination is bad. How many people voted for Obama simply because he was black? Was that bad?

Racism and sexism are about intolerance. If you can link black men wanting to see stories about black men to intolerant behavior, then OK.

The Great Hippo wrote:There's nothing wrong with wanting to hear stories that validate your culture and perspective, but there is something wrong when you deny that this is what those stories are doing.

I don't deny they validate our identity, I deny that they're inherently sexist/racist/etc.

What matters is how we treat each other. If men and women want to watch a story about men saving women, there's nothing that needs to be fixed. If that imbalance causes men to treat women badly, then there's something that needs fixing.

And I think racism/sexism/etc. should represent concepts that need fixing, not one that are situationally OK. Otherwise it's confusing because of all the negative stigma associated with the words.

Flagpole Sitta wrote:Also, what on earth is my lingo and how is it different then yours?

If we look at a specific element to decide if it's sexist, I want to know how it affects perception (and more imporantly behavior). If it comes from an author's sexist perception, it's sexist. If it perpetuates a sexist perspective regardless of intent, then it perpetuates sexism.

You seem to want to attach the "sexist" label using other criteria.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

User avatar
Rinsaikeru
Pawn, soon to be a Queen
Posts: 2166
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:26 am UTC
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:34 pm UTC

Also, there's a thread for that. In which, at length we discuss how chivalry is sexist. I wish chivalry were more dead myself. Down with chivalry, in with general politeness.

Back to topic.

I don't think there's anything less exciting about women announcers--I think it's just cultural innertia really. "But a guy always announces action movies, girls can't do that."
Rice Puddin.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7357
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:41 pm UTC

guenther wrote:To me the honest thing to say is "There is an imbalance, and why don't we investigate if it comes from sexism (i.e. a perception of inferiority)."
Why else do imbalances arise, except for either the perception - or the reality - of inferiority? Can you give a convincing explanation for this trope that doesn't rely on women being seen as in need of rescuing - possessing an inferior status?
guenther wrote:I don't think discrimination is bad. Bad discrimination is bad. How many people voted for Obama simply because he was black? Was that bad?
Yes, but that's another discussion.
guenther wrote:Racism and sexism are about intolerance. If you can link black men wanting to see stories about black men to intolerant behavior, then OK.
I don't think it's bad that a black man wants to see stories about black men, but I think that the black man should acknowledge that he wants to see stories about black men, and that this is discriminatory behavior. Quite often, we hear discussions of discriminatory behavior where people work to clarify how they aren't discriminating - how my desire to see a strong, white male protagonist has nothing to do with the fact that I am a white male who likes to see depictions of other white males as strong and independent. Rather, we should embrace the truth, and then decide whether or not it's something we want to change.
guenther wrote:I don't deny they validate our identity, I deny that they're inherently sexist/racist/etc.
But you certainly don't deny that they're discriminatory - so the honest question becomes, "does this do damage to anyone?". Quite often, this is a question we're not prepared to ask - we're too interested in arguing about whether or not discrimination is happening to realize that yes, it clearly is, and what we need to discuss is whether that discrimination does significant harm.

guenther
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby guenther » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:44 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:I don't think there's anything less exciting about women announcers--I think it's just cultural innertia really. "But a guy always announces action movies, girls can't do that."

If that's why, then I agree it's sexist. We've linked the result to perception. However, I'm not going to assume that's true.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

User avatar
JBJ
Posts: 1263
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:20 pm UTC
Location: a point or extent in space

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby JBJ » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:12 pm UTC

Flagpole Sitta wrote:And the men saving women trope is sexist. It is sexist because the reverse is almost non-existent in media. Claiming that it is not sexist if you take it out of context is specious. Context is essential when determining meaning.
folkhero wrote:Man saves woman- very common
Man saves man- very common
Woman saves woman- uncommon
Woman saves man- uncommon

I don't think the sexism comes specifically from the "man saves woman" trope, so much as the prejudice for culture to say that men do the saving (of whomever) and women don't.
Even before looking up the trope, I was able to think of a number of movies and TV shows that feature a female saving a man. Hell, it's a main element of the TV show Chuck. Even when portrayed in the typical "damsel in distress", the trope is often subverted by the woman managing her own escape, assisting in her own rescue, or rescuing the male character when he falls into the "trap" of coming to rescue her.
I don't think it's fair to say this trope is sexist when modern media rarely portrays a female as truly helpless. Calling it non-existent or uncommon as a blanket statement needs some support.
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
The second cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker I've sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.

guenther
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby guenther » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:21 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Why else do imbalances arise, except for either the perception - or the reality - of inferiority? Can you give a convincing explanation for this trope that doesn't rely on women being seen as in need of rescuing - possessing an inferior status?

Maybe because they enjoy the mental imagery of being a hero. Maybe the romantic notion of helping a woman in need makes them feel great. Maybe the notion of elevating a woman to a value that worth risking one's life is good.

I think of inferiority as a negative emotion, and these fantasies don't have to be about the negatives. It's like with national pride. We can build an image built on positive stuff, or we can build it by casting other nations as inferior. The tropes could be about the positive aspects and have nothing to do with the perception of inferiority.

And furthermore, what's more important isn't what fantasy is lived out in a movie, but rather how people treat each other. If there's a link between a trope and a poor behavior, then that's bad and should be addressed.

The Great Hippo wrote:But you certainly don't deny that they're discriminatory - so the honest question becomes, "does this do damage to anyone?". Quite often, this is a question we're not prepared to ask - we're too interested in arguing about whether or not discrimination is happening to realize that yes, it clearly is, and what we need to discuss is whether that discrimination does significant harm.

I completely agree it's discrimination, and I completely agree that we should be honest about it. But I don't have a problem with it. In my view, the problem is treating others badly. If the discrimination causes that, then it's bad. And that's when I'm ready to label it racist/sexist/etc.

And I think "does it do damage?" is important, but a separate issue. Doing damage to women isn't sexist unless it comes from a sexist perspective. However, it doesn't have to be sexist to be bad. (We can call it sexist in the same way that we can say breast cancer is sexist, but that's more metaphorical.)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

somebody already took it
Posts: 310
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:03 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby somebody already took it » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:46 pm UTC

I don't have much time but I really wanted to post something in this thread, so apologies if this post is a little sloppy.

Chen wrote:
Flagpole Sitta wrote:Actually, engineering, as a field, is very sexist. One of the reasons is that there aren't very many women in it, one of the reasons is that a lot of individual engineers are sexist. It's a self-perpetuating problem.


Just not having many women in the field hardly automatically makes the field sexist. I'll easily admit there may very well be sexist reasons why women don't go into engineering (either at the societal or even closer in at the university/college level). As for the second part do you have any type of citation for that? In my experience AS an engineer I haven't found that fellow engineers are any more or less sexist than any other professional.


If you redefine the male/female imbalance within the field of engineering to be solely a societal problem, rather than a problem within the field of engineering, who is responsible for fixing it?
I agree with you about Flagpole Sitta needing a citation to back up the claim that engineers are sexist.

H2SO4 wrote:
But why? Why would you think a woman's voice sounds less exciting? Is there something inherently passive about women's voices? I am not accusing you of being bad, I just want you to think critically about your sub-conscious impulses.

It's just not as exciting. The higher range of the women's voice doesn't create as much suspense as the movie-man's lower range does. Even if a woman were to say it in the exact same way but in her octave, it's not as dramatic. For example, imagine if Darth Vader had voice even one octave higher. It doesn't create the same effect.

The generalization you are perpetuating confines the collective voices of women to a narrow strip of the audio spectrum, characterized only by higher pitch and a lack of being dramatic. Your claim that women are not capable of mimicing the movie-man's lower range, is based entirely on that generalization.

User avatar
Azrael
CATS. CATS ARE NICE.
Posts: 6491
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Azrael » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:07 pm UTC

Flagpole Sitta wrote:Actually, engineering, as a field, is very sexist. One of the reasons is that there aren't very many women in it, one of the reasons is that a lot of individual engineers are sexist. It's a self-perpetuating problem.

Actually, the pay gap in engineering is significantly smaller than average (which is currently around 75% per numerous google-able sources). Although it's not a perfect measure, it's better than measuring merely the gender ratio which has a significant lag -- since there is such a small percentage of female engineers with 30 years experience, ratios remain skewed by the practices of 30 years ago.

As for "a lot of individual engineers are sexist": So are a lot of everyone else, regardless of career. So ... way to marginalize a segment of the population based on a stereotype that isn't supported by fact. Lets try to avoid that?

User avatar
Rinsaikeru
Pawn, soon to be a Queen
Posts: 2166
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:26 am UTC
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:01 pm UTC

Annecdotal: I know lots of male engineers who aren't very sexist at all. They'd love more females in their area of study/work too. They try to encourage girls to go into engineering programs, but there is still a sort of boys club stigma associated, that and girls in highschool aren't encouraged into prereqs.

In and of itself not really related to Damsel in Distress stuff though....end digression.

And I think "does it do damage?" is important, but a separate issue. Doing damage to women isn't sexist unless it comes from a sexist perspective. However, it doesn't have to be sexist to be bad. (We can call it sexist in the same way that we can say breast cancer is sexist, but that's more metaphorical.)


Doing damage to women by encouraging the stereotype that we are 'weak and in need of being rescued' is harmful AND sexist however, so I'm not sure where you're diverging from the topic of the thread. Breast cancer isn't sexist, it's something that happens to both men and women it's also not caused by centuries of disparaging women in order to make men feel more powerful....
Rice Puddin.

stevey_frac
Posts: 947
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:27 pm UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby stevey_frac » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:17 pm UTC

Flagpole Sitta wrote:Actually, engineering, as a field, is very sexist. One of the reasons is that there aren't very many women in it, one of the reasons is that a lot of individual engineers are sexist. It's a self-perpetuating problem.


Isn't there at least a part of the difference in gender ratio because men and women are not biologically identical?
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with women in engineering, or any field. I say to anyone, go forth and do whatever you want, whatever you love, whatever you are good at! I am all for equality of rights. But that does not make both sexes the same. I can provable show that men, on average, are bigger. I can show that men, on average, are taller. That dosen't mean that there aren't some women who are taller then some men, Or some women who aren't bigger then some men. It just means that the averages are different.

To call in some support, I cite from "http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html" url tags are good. -Az

"At the time I started writing this book it seemed clear to me that any between sex differences in thinking abilities were due to socialization practices, artifacts, and mistakes in the research. After reviewing a pile of journal articles that stood several feet high, and numerous books and book chapters that dwarfed the stack of journal articles, I changed my mind. The literature on sex differences in cognitive abilities is filled with inconsistent findings, contradictory theories, and emotional claims that are unsupported by the research. Yet despite all the noise in the data, clear and consistent messages could be heard. There are real and in some cases sizable sex differences with respect to some cognitive abilities. Socialization practices are undoubtedly important, but there is also good evidence that biological sex differences play a role in establishing and maintaining cognitive sex differences, a conclusion I wasn't prepared to make when I began reviewing the relevant literature."

Perhaps this will label me sexist, but the truth should not be sexist. I believe to be totally free of sexism, we should enforce the idea that you cannot judge someone based upon their sex, but we should abandon the idea that both sexes are equivalent. They are not the same idea.

No doubt, socialization plays a role, and we should combat that role. But that does not mean that our goal should be: if you look at statistics broken down by sex, that both columns should have the same value.
__Kit wrote:
Also, who the fuck wants to be normal? You got one lifetime, why be like everyone else?

User avatar
mmmcannibalism
Posts: 2150
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:16 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:29 pm UTC

Spoiler:
stevey_frac wrote:
Flagpole Sitta wrote:Actually, engineering, as a field, is very sexist. One of the reasons is that there aren't very many women in it, one of the reasons is that a lot of individual engineers are sexist. It's a self-perpetuating problem.


Isn't there at least a part of the difference in gender ratio because men and women are not biologically identical?
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with women in engineering, or any field. I say to anyone, go forth and do whatever you want, whatever you love, whatever you are good at! I am all for equality of rights. But that does not make both sexes the same. I can provable show that men, on average, are bigger. I can show that men, on average, are taller. That dosen't mean that there aren't some women who are taller then some men, Or some women who aren't bigger then some men. It just means that the averages are different.

To call in some support, I cite from "http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html"

"At the time I started writing this book it seemed clear to me that any between sex differences in thinking abilities were due to socialization practices, artifacts, and mistakes in the research. After reviewing a pile of journal articles that stood several feet high, and numerous books and book chapters that dwarfed the stack of journal articles, I changed my mind. The literature on sex differences in cognitive abilities is filled with inconsistent findings, contradictory theories, and emotional claims that are unsupported by the research. Yet despite all the noise in the data, clear and consistent messages could be heard. There are real and in some cases sizable sex differences with respect to some cognitive abilities. Socialization practices are undoubtedly important, but there is also good evidence that biological sex differences play a role in establishing and maintaining cognitive sex differences, a conclusion I wasn't prepared to make when I began reviewing the relevant literature."

Perhaps this will label me sexist, but the truth should not be sexist. I believe to be totally free of sexism, we should enforce the idea that you cannot judge someone based upon their sex, but we should abandon the idea that both sexes are equivalent. They are not the same idea.

No doubt, socialization plays a role, and we should combat that role. But that does not mean that our goal should be: if you look at statistics broken down by sex, that both columns should have the same value.


I have to agree here

Part of the reasoning any field will have a gender gap is a. social factors b. men and women generally have different interest sets. If men are slightly more naturally inclined to something mechanical(on average) then it logically follows more men are going to end up in engineering. The only thing that is "bad" is when there is strong pressure put on a man or woman to pursue a career that a man or woman should be doing.
Izawwlgood wrote:I for one would happily live on an island as a fuzzy seal-human.

Oregonaut wrote:Damn fetuses and their terroist plots.

guenther
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby guenther » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:38 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:Perhaps this will label me sexist, but the truth should not be sexist. I believe to be totally free of sexism, we should enforce the idea that you cannot judge someone based upon their sex, but we should abandon the idea that both sexes are equivalent. They are not the same idea.

This is completely my view. If sexism is about perception (and more generally about how we treat others), then stating the truth is never sexist. (However cherry picking truths could be, but that's separate.)

If people want to define sexism how they define racism, then it's about propagating harmful stereotypes. So if the harmful stereotype happens to be supported by evidence, then it gets censored in the name of anti-hate.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

User avatar
Flagpole Sitta
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:27 pm UTC
Location: luminiferous æther
Contact:

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Flagpole Sitta » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:41 pm UTC

But no one has stated any truths yet! You've just made some unsubstituted claims!

Maybe my engineering comments were inaccurate, but the fundamentals of my argument are not. Showing women as consistently helpless is sexist.
Poxic is, like, awesome. She's my favorite.

Kapojinha is pretty awesome too. <3

guenther
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby guenther » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:53 pm UTC

Flagpole Sitta wrote:But no one has stated any truths yet! You've just made some unsubstituted claims!

Maybe my engineering comments were inaccurate, but the fundamentals of my argument are not. Showing women as consistently helpless is sexist.

But the question was whether the trope is always sexist, not if there is a sexist trend. Those are separate. If you can have a single story where the man saves the woman and have it not be sexist, then it's not always sexist. If every instance is sexist, then I presume you would like to see an end to those types of stories. (Assuming that you view sexism as something that should be eliminated.)

As for whether there's a sexist trend in the media portrayal, I think we have to link it either to sexist perception of the author, or to sexist behavior of the audience as a result of ingesting it. If an imbalance in public portrayal can't be linked to sexist perceptions, then it's not sexist. That's why I think the predominance of men's voices in trailers is not (I read an article stating that focus groups just found that women's voices were not received as well).
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

EmptySet
Posts: 1196
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:33 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby EmptySet » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:37 am UTC

In relation to the original questions about sexism in the Mario Bros. franchise... I think it becomes more telling if you look at some other Nintendo franchises. Zelda also has an unfortunate tendency of getting captured and needing a man to go around saving the kingdom. However, I think the most glaring example is Star Fox Adventures. For those who don't know, it was originally planned as an entirely unrelated game called Dinosaur Planet; Krystal was going to be one of two playable characters, and go around saving the day and whatnot, as PCs do. Then Nintendo slapped the Star Fox licence on it, and Krystal got demoted to Damsel In Distress to make way for the male protagonist. There was also a scene in which Fox ogled Krystal while she was helpless, the pillock, thus allowing Nintendo to get in some sexual objectification as well. And of course when she gets rescued, she offers the traditional reward, which is to say, she immediately drops everything to be the protagonist's girlfriend.

Anyway, I don't think the trope is always sexist, as such. One way to avoid sexism is to show the woman rescuing the guy as often as he rescues her and generally being useful and competent, for instance, making it a more equal partnership. I also think, however, that there is clearly a trend towards showing females as weak and helpless, and furthermore there are many, many examples where the trope is used in a sexist manner irrespective of any trend.

stevey_frac
Posts: 947
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:27 pm UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby stevey_frac » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:16 am UTC

There is definitely a trend of portraying women as helpless, and needing rescuing. There is also another trend that portrays men as useless, and women as empowered. Just think about a lot of the commercials, and comedies you have seen.

Think of Eddy Murphy, in Daddy Daycare... He looses his job, and when he is forced to take care of the kids, he is terrible at it, and a lot of the comedy comes from that.
There are many other examples, for instance one commercial in which, a man is hopelessly trying to repair a leaking drain, and his female partner accomplishes the same task with ease (using some new drain plugging agent). These are exactly the same idea, flipped around.
For some reason it's funny to show men as helpless, fumbling creatures, and women as these super-women who outstrip their male counterparts in all ways.

Given how the latter exists, I'd say, the former should be allowed to exist, with the acknowledgment that both are sexist.

There is also reverse sexism in other ways. For instance to quote the Wikipedia Article:

"In 1997, the Canadian Advertising Foundation ruled that a National Ad campaign that featuring Nicole Brown Simpson's sister Denise with the slogan, "Stop violence against Women" was in fact portraying only men as aggressors, and that it was not providing a balanced message and was in fact contributing to gender stereotyping. (The murder of Nicole Simpson also included the murder of Ronald Goldman)."

Also: Men are required to register for military service in many countries, and can be drafted, while women can not. This is a form of reverse sexism that is pretty significant.

My stance on the issue is, Yes, the damsel in distress motif is probably sexist (though not always) but there is enough reverse sexism going around too that most are probably unwilling to acknowledge. You want rid of one, fine, but lets get rid of the other too.
__Kit wrote:
Also, who the fuck wants to be normal? You got one lifetime, why be like everyone else?

User avatar
TheSkyMovesSideways
Posts: 589
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:36 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:36 am UTC

guenther wrote:But the question was whether the trope is always sexist, not if there is a sexist trend. Those are separate. If you can have a single story where the man saves the woman and have it not be sexist, then it's not always sexist.

Spoiler:
Image
I had all kinds of plans in case of a zombie attack.
I just figured I'd be on the other side.
~ASW

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:29 am UTC

A trope, by its nature, indicates a trend, because a trope is defined as "a common or overused theme or device." So, no, the trope and the trend are not separate. You could consider whether an individual instance of the trope is sexist, but others have already described problems with trying to separate the parts from the whole.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

Carnildo
Posts: 2023
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:43 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Carnildo » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:01 am UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:If people prefer male movie announcers....why do they prefer female GPS and subway stop announcers? (Genuine curiousity)

I don't know about anyone else, but for me it's purely practical: in low-quality listening environments (bad speakers, road noise, loud music, etc.) female voices are easier to understand.

Aetius
Posts: 1099
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:23 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby Aetius » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:13 am UTC

Re: the engineering issue.

A big thing being glossed over is the simple fact that women don't have to be engineers. Our society places much more pressure on men to succeed financially and professionally, and that's why they, at a much higher rate, are willing to go into a major/profession that is very difficult, less glamorous, and with a lower that's-really-interesting/work coefficient, but with greater financial security. They don't have the same financial fallback options if they pursue something more in line with their passions but less marketable.

User avatar
TheAmazingRando
Posts: 2308
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:58 am UTC
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:08 am UTC

If you could pull it completely out of the context of society and other works, than a story where a man saves a woman in distress is not necessarily sexist. On its own, using only two characters, it isn't making any generalizations about the sexes of the characters in question.

However, it is impossible to do this. You can't look at a damsel-in-distress sort of story without looking at it in its historical and contemporary context, and the attitudes that it is influenced by and that it influences. The idea that men are strong and active and that women are weak and passive is alive and well in our society. Assertiveness makes men into role models and women into bitches. Men are meant to pursue women, and not the other way around. Women are expected to leave their sexual desires unexpressed, to secretly want it, to say no but mean yes. Sexually assertive men are champions, sexually assertive women are whores. The persistently expressed dichotomy of men as strong and sexually aggressive and women as weak and sexually submissive promotes rape, and once you throw in the stereotypes of men as intellectual and women as emotional (in most games and stories the male hero, at some point, is in a situation almost as or more dire than the damsel, yet still manages to overcome it, and she always responds to his heroism with affection unless the story is intentionally subversive) it isn't difficult to see why women are discouraged from things like science, engineering, and law.

Basically, the damsel-in-distress trope and the stereotypes it is fed by and that it influences helps to uphold a variety of institutions that are very much harmful to women. Is something like Donkey Kong, on its own, responsible for this? No. But it's supporting the trend and doing nothing to oppose it, and is therefore causing some degree harm.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7357
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:41 am UTC

stevey_frac wrote:There is definitely a trend of portraying women as helpless, and needing rescuing. There is also another trend that portrays men as useless, and women as empowered. Just think about a lot of the commercials, and comedies you have seen.

...

Given how the latter exists, I'd say, the former should be allowed to exist, with the acknowledgment that both are sexist.
I'm thinking of calling this the 'Sexism Equivalency Fallacy'. Or has anyone already nicknamed it? Anyway:

No. With this argument, you have literally built yourself a time-machine and flown back into the 19-motherfucking-50s. Back then, a woman's place was in the kitchen - but this was okay, because men had to work hard to support her. A woman had to raise the kids, but that was okay, because men had to fight the wars. A woman might get beaten by her husband, but that was okay, because her husband might have to fight a ruffian who threatened her. Because gender roles existed for both women and men, it was fine - one role justified the existence of the other.

The primary contention of modern third-wave feminism1 is that all gender roles must be deconstructed. Regardless of their place, regardless of their context, regardless of who they impact. The largest challenge is deconstructing them in a way that does no damage to those who wish to occupy them (women and men)2. Both the portrayal of a woman as helpless and in need of rescuing and a husband as bumbling and stupid before his wise-and-all-knowing wife are enforcements of gender roles that we want to see end, because both do damage to us (women and men). The existence of one does not justify the other, and the fact that you think it would makes me think that you might really be from the 50s (how's Elvis?).

Anyway, I'll probably look at this thread again tomorrow; there are a few other things I want to address.

1As I understand it, anyway. I'm a dabbler in matters of feminism, so I might be a little off. But part of third wave feminism is destroying the notion of 'female mystique', or that femininity exists only in the woman's sphere--or that the woman's sphere is not intrinsically permeable.

2One way we accomplish this: Don't attack the people who occupy those roles; rather, simply attack the notion of enforcing these roles. If a woman wants to be rescued, that's her business; but we must simultaneously undermine the notion that women need to be rescued while emphasizing that there's nothing wrong with her wanting to be rescued. This is sometimes... a tricky balancing act. But it's very, very important.

guenther
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 am UTC

Re: "Damsel in Distress" and Sexism

Postby guenther » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:32 am UTC

TheSkyMovesSideways wrote:
Spoiler:
Image

How about the notion that every raindrop thinks every other raindrop is the cause of his problems?

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:A trope, by its nature, indicates a trend, because a trope is defined as "a common or overused theme or device." So, no, the trope and the trend are not separate. You could consider whether an individual instance of the trope is sexist, but others have already described problems with trying to separate the parts from the whole.

Well, I mean the use of a trope, which I think is what the OP meant too. And it sounds like you agree with us. As for the trend, I've listed my criteria I use for judging. It seems a lot of people are ready to jump to conclusions without the evidence. Or they use a definition of "sexist" that doesn't require evidence.

TheAmazingRando wrote:Basically, the damsel-in-distress trope and the stereotypes it is fed by and that it influences helps to uphold a variety of institutions that are very much harmful to women.

How do you know this? Is it just reasonable conjecture? Or are the studies that link consuming those types of stories and harm towards women? My theory is that it's not those stories, but the lack of other stories. So by adding in other tropes we open up people's minds to other perspectives.

The Great Hippo wrote:The primary contention of modern third-wave feminism1 is that all gender roles must be deconstructed.

I just can't muster the faith required to believe this is good. To me it sounds way too simplistic. This structure does something that we dislike, therefore the structure must be removed entirely. (I see this argument applied a lot, and I don't think I've every been convinced it's right.)

However, I don't have any problem with people who want to go this route. I like the concept of the free market of ideas. But people who think gender roles are good shouldn't be marginalized be being called sexist or misogynists. And people who don't want to participate in the roles shouldn't be marginalized for being non-conformists. Really the problem is fundamentally how we treat people.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests