I love this infinitely. Truth to tell, I almost joined in with the applause, but I would have disturbed my flatmates . . .
Tag Archives: feminist wiles
I recently discovered Finally Feminism 101. I recommend it all, though I found Rape Culture 101 particularly thought-provoking. Catherine Redfern’s “Feminists Are Sexist” essay on The F Word is also nifty.
I don’t talk much about my feminist wiles, but I can! I can talk for hours on feminism, sexology, &c. And there are a few issues arising from misconceptions surrounding feminism that I seem to run into and that always, always, to varying extents, piss me off.
(This is not a rant, but I will ramble on like all get out.
If you want to flee, now would be the time.)
Firstly, that I, as a feminist, want female supremacy. I don’t, actually. I’ve never believed that gender is binary, so that makes the idea hard to put into practice and I don’t know what exactly it’s supposed to achieve. Not that I think giving women control over the known universe would lead to havoc and ultimately the Apocalypse. I just don’t think that power should be based on biological sex. Or wealth. Or background. Really, I think it should be based on intelligence and qualifications (and, dare I say it, integrity, but that last one’s probably a pipe dream and I don’t take it with me when I vote in general elections).
Some call this elitism. But you know? I am a goddamn fucking elitist.
Secondly, that MEN and WOMEN are wildly, wildly different and utterly incapable of communication or understanding, that only men and all men understand each other and likewise only women and all women understand each other, that both groups exist as Collective Consciousnesses and not as individuals, and that gender is synonymous with sex.
For example: time and time again, my male acquaintances suddenly wail, “I don’t understand women!”
I have developed two responses:
- “Don’t worry, neither do I.”
- “Well, maybe you should try to stop thinking about women as having One Single Collective Brain.”
One of my fellow thesps responded to #1 with, “But if you don’t, what hope do the rest of us have?” Of course there’s hope! Have long, interesting, enjoyable conversations with women and respect them as individuals and stop whining because you haven’t got a copy of the Female Blueprint, because there isn’t one.
This leads me on to female acquaintances who whine about the way their male friend is behaving and finish up with, “It’s because he’s a MAN.”
Chances are it’s not. It could be any one of a number of things. It could be because he’s an idiot. It could be because you just haven’t take the time to find out why he’s behaving the way he is. It could be because he is not you. It goes that way.
Once, at the beginning of one of my lectures, right before the actual lecturing started and everyone was still talking, I was inadvertently eavesdropping on my neighbours’ conversation. One guy & two of the girls in my year were discussing relationships from a making-assumptions-about-psychology point of view. He said, “Deep down, girls like to be treated mean.”
Naturally, I was indignant.
Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill them right back.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds
I don’t know how that guy got the idea that treating women like shit was a surefire way to their hearts. It’s actually a brilliant way of making them leave & never return. For the record. (And it’s a disturbing example of gender stereotyping + prevalence of rape culture.)
Thirdly, that feminism means that I should support all women, blindly and indiscriminately, in their every endeavour. E.g. Sarah Palin. (Don’t, won’t, actually can’t for geographical reasons.) And that if I don’t, it’s somehow unkind and hypocritical and symptomatic of some female rivalry thingie.
Fourthly, that feminists are sexist towards men (as discussed in the above essay by Catherine Redfern). I haven’t encountered such feminists myself, and I don’t know anyone who has, but the rumours abound.
. . . feminists are not biological determinists. Feminists are the least likely people to say ‘all men are bastards’. Some of them might say ‘many men behave like bastards’. But they don’t imply that such behaviour is acceptable because its genetic or ‘natural’ for men to behave that way, like those arguments defending rapists which imply that men are really all just stupid cavemen who can’t be blamed when they rape because, hey, men just can’t help it when they see someone in a mini skirt. Feminists don’t write books about how men are genetically incapable of picking up an iron. Feminists don’t write books about how men are from another planet, one where men have to be left ‘in their cave’ because they just don’t have proper emotions like women do. That’s because actually, feminists think men should be treated as fully functional human beings with brains and morals who should be held responsible for the choices they make. If I was a man, I’d rather have that than the shallow and insulting implication that ‘men can’t help it because they’re naturally stupid.’ If I was a man, I know which I’d find most offended by. If I was a man, I know who’d I’d accuse of ‘man-hating’. And yes, yes, for the hundredth time YES, feminists disapprove of advertisements that stereotype men as ignorant buffoons. These ads are nothing more than macho caricatures which, as Holly Combe said to me recently, ‘make fools of men, whilst simultaneously making excuses for them.’
Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
Catherine Redfern, “Feminists Are Sexist”
Without feminism, gender stereoptyping &c. would never have become a subject for discussion. That gender stereotyping still exists shows how far the whole thing has to go. And male privilege exists. It’s not an individual privilege, it’s an institutional privilege, like white privilege, heterosexual privilege, able privilege and so forth. Thusly, it’s not the individual’s fault what privileges society has or has not given them, but we can recognise them & attempt to do something about.
In a nutshell, the existence of male privilege is why feminists focus on how women are viewed/represented/treated in society. Hopefully, it’ll all get sorted out someday and there won’t be any sexism at all. That’s the dream.
Privilege is not: About you. Privilege is not your fault. Privilege is not anything you’ve done, or thought, or said. It may have allowed you to do, or think, or say things, but it’s not those things, and it’s not because of those things. Privilege is not about taking advantage, or cheating, although privilege may make this easier. Privilege is not negated. I can’t balance my white privilege against my female disadvantage and come out neutral. Privilege is not something you can be exempt from by having had a difficult life. Privilege is not inherently bad. It really isn’t.
Privilege is: About how society accommodates you. It’s about advantages you have that you think are normal. It’s about you being normal, and others being the deviation from normal. It’s about fate dealing from the bottom of the deck on your behalf.
Fifthly, that feminism is to feminists what the One Ring was to Sauron, if you’ll forgive the nerd analogy. Throughout my childhood & some of my teens, I had the impression that all feminists were obsessed with loopy conspiracy theories about the Patriarchy and therefore really, really bad company. I figured I couldn’t be a feminist because 1) I was interested in other stuff and 2) I thought that feminism meant always “siding” with women. Eventually I realised that it doesn’t, and that it was entirely possible, and natural, and sensible, to be well-adjusted and have plenty of interests and be a feminist.
(I like to think I’m well-adjusted. It’s debatable.)
It frustrates me deeply when someone who agrees that men & women should be equal describes him- or herself as “not a feminist”. If you’d like to live in a world where one or the other is treated as inferior, by all means, call yourself a non-feminist. Otherwise please stop thinking of feminism as something divisive and dreadful and unflattering. Feminism is a good thing. It’s necessary. It’s not a clique of neurotic women complaining about being hard done by. It’s not a case of women vs. men. It’s not just an ideology.
My Whedonism isn’t exactly under wraps, so here we are.
feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests — feminist n or adj — feministic adj
Above, the dictionary definition of feminism — the entire dictionary definition of feminism. It is quite straightforward and concise. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.
Yes, you are.
Sarah D. Bunting, Yes, You Are
It depresses me that so many people dislike the idea of feminism instead considering the goals & achievements of the movement. I would hate to live in a world that needed it & didn’t have it. I’d love to live in a world that didn’t need it.
I suppose we’re coming down to my own personal idea of feminism. So, yeah. To me, feminism is about not being defined — intellectually, morally, socially, professionally — by one’s biological sex. It needs to combat misogyny, misandry, homophobia & transphobia and it must not stop until it has. It involves recognising that there may be other genders beyond masculine and feminine; it involves recognising the possibility that an individual may experience more than one gender, and the possibility that an individual may not experience any gender at all. It’s not about being a woman. It’s about freedom and equality.
I do earnestly wish to see the distinction of sex confounded in society.