33 comments

  1. Kayla Kennett · · Reply

    I disagree with your disdain for the term “feminism” in light of the many cases of androcentrism in the English language, e.g., mankind, “guys” to refer to a mixed-gender group of people, mailman, fireman (among other professional titles), which more than equally imply “man” as the “center of attention.”

    1. I totally agree that those terms imply man as the center of attention, and I do think that’s unfair. While I wouldn’t say I disdain the word “feminism,” – I accept it as it is, and do define myself as a feminist earlier in the article – I think that the words “feminism,” mankind,” “guys,” etc. do not promote equality between genders.

      Thanks for reading, Kayla! Any other feedback?

    2. Just wondering. What is your solution to this problem? And also, how does this fit in with what Allie was saying? This post seems to have been made for the soul purpose of disagreeing with a point that was not stated in the article.

  2. I know this may be a little excessive (try maybe longer than your article!), but I have been thinking about this issue for quite some time.

    I believe Kayla was addressing the line where Allie claims that feminism is not as good as equalitism because “the word ‘feminism’ implies that females are the center of attention” by arguing that much of our words imply men to be the center of attention.

    In regard to the word feminism creating a position of salience and attention to women, I can definitely see Allie’s point. Attention is often a good thing, and movements such as masculism and the MRA don’t get as much of it; men’s rights issues are not on the forefront. These issues also aren’t insignificant: 1)Males are suspiciously disproportionately diagnosed with ADHD. 2)Male castration is not treated with the same seriousness as FGM. Threats of it are commonplace, joked about and even condoned –theoretically and even after dismemberment has happened 3) Many laws that were originally designed to help women are abused and outdated (harrassment, rape, abuse, divorce, custody). 4) Male accusations of rape are often not taken as seriously (because of homophopia and even for reasons similar to “slut shaming”). The list goes on and this disregard for men’s issues is unfair.

    On the other hand, the non-salience of the male gender can also be a blessing in disguise. Though being the socially “default” gender has not resulted in special history weeks or majors, it does offer a certain freedom and does hold a lot of covert power. Feminism was a word that has been deliberately created. It has become a loaded and controversial term. But how deliberate and calculated are most people (including myself) when they say “Hey guys!”? In many ways the male gender has been pushed as the norm to the point that people perpetuate it without much thought at all. For a long time, men have not had to prove that they are human enough for many rights because they have been implied as the standard huMAN. Is “standard” glamorous and exciting all the time? No. But does can it offer a certain security from the need of constant insistence? Definitely.

    Women can use the word “feminism” to solely their advantage, but it would be hasty simply do away with such female biased words without thoroughly examining the words that are advantageous to men too, covertly and overtly so . Does this mean people should be attacked and censored just for saying “hey guys”? I would hope this is not a common view, but I also hope that one would recognize that phrases like this are exactly why a feminist view and much of the discourse attached to it can still be useful, even when such a view does have a tendency to get in one’s face.

    I guess what I’m basically am trying to get at is that I agree that assumptions about men all being terrible oppressors should be avoided, because often times men are also victims. Men and women both have the capacity to be benevolent, harmless or malevolent. But I do not think that having an equal society is as simple as replacing the word feminism with equalitism. And while I happen to quite like men and feel for their struggles, I am not ready to give up “feminism” just yet, especially without some hardcore thought about how else our language is gendered.

    —-

    When it comes to reproduction, I do not believe my uterus makes me better than anyone else and I also believe that it does take two people to create an embryo, which would thus lead to the creation of a baby. However, when it comes to the various risks, complications, and inconveniences that come with carrying and then delivering a baby, it is in fact one person that will definitely have to go through with them if a pregnancy is to be carried to term, and that person is a woman or girl.

    I would hope that a woman would be kind and considerate enough to consider the desires of the biological father. I also hope that the idea of artificial wombs will eventually become a real and practical option for fathers who want to complete a pregnancy when the biological mothers do not. Even more ideally, I would hope for pregnancy to be planned. In all honesty, however, I can understand why a woman would ultimately decide not to risk a multitude of complications such as weight gain, foot swelling, hormonal imbalance, incontinence, spinal issues, vaginal tearing, morning sickness, postpartum depression, death and more solely because of someone else’s wishes for her to carry the pregnancy to term. And as sickening as it is that there could be instances of women being completely inconsiderate of their partners, it would actually sicken me more if anyone forced a woman to take all of these risks against her will. Pregnancy involves a lot of sacrifice and risk on a woman’s should thus be seen as her choice (within a reasonable time frame) , not as her obligation to others. I also have a similar view when it comes to forcing men to pay child support.

    Well, I have tons more thoughts on this (that many friends have heard already), but I have a strange feeling this may need to become multiple comments as is. Thanks for this article!

  3. Sorry, I didnt realize there were so many typos!

  4. Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, Amanda. I’ll do my best to respond to your points. (BTW, you should get a blog!)

    At the point in the article where I advocate for “equalitism,” I must have been confusing. I do not want to replace feminism with this term, and therefore I don’t think that equalitism is “better than” or “not as good as” equalitism. I only think that feminists should strive for equality between genders and the destruction of stereotypes. The word “equalitism” is in fact a kind of subtext to the word “feminism.” In other words, in the perfect world, with one, you’d have the other.

    Also, interesting research about men’s rights issues!

    The security within words such as “human” and “guys” is off-putting, but is there really any solution? Feminism may be just that. I see what you mean; the word itself instills confidence in a lot of women. That’s why I introduce equalitism as a subset of feminism – a reminder to play fair, and to not shun a gender, when your gender was shunned years ago. The purpose of feminism is not revenge.

    There may not be a way to advocate for feminist rights without getting in one’s face, which is what I lament. I’m getting in your face with this article, but I hope that I’m doing it in a civil way.

    Equal society is what I’m advocating for; exchanging the words “feminism” and “equalitism” is not. As I stated earlier, feminists should all look for equality and balance in the world and genders around them. However, as you say, it’s easier said than done!

    I am not giving up on feminism. I am simply presenting it in a new light. I think a lot of feminists – male and female – would agree with my sentiments here.

    I love your argument about reproduction (as I said, get a blog!) I’m not going to give you a humongous response, but I will say this: I am pro choice. But I am pro choice not as in, “Women should get abortions!” but as in, “It’s a women’s choice whether she wants to have a baby.” I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. This also reminds me a lot of Ethics class – the only Philosophy class I’ve ever taken! You’re much better-versed, Miss Philosophy Major.

    Again, thanks so much for taking the time to respond critically to the article. It means so much to me. There may be another feminism article in these comments – and I might ask to interview you for my blog later in the school year…!

  5. Well, I actually haven’t taken an ethics class yet, but I am taking Feminist Theory and the Law this fall and I am really excited about it!

    Other than that I just spend lots of time on the internet. Reading related articles and their comments. For example I kept on repeatedly reading things like “Viagra takes on a medical issue, Birth control (when used as contraception only) is not, and is simply a lifestyle choice” OR “Viagra is FOR sex, BC is to AVOID consequences of sex”. I think it’s interesting to see how statements like this could possibly expose unfair views on male/female sexuality, even though they might not be intentionally misogynist, especially in light of insurance policies and the BC mandate debate.

    A couple other quick points. Although forgiveness is fantastic, I think most forms of rape (all genders) rates from scary to mind-alteringly terrifying. it may take a bunch of therapy to even walk outside again, never mind trust in strangers. The fact that “there are plenty of female rapists, too” may not be very helpful to a rape victim at all.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with being a housewife, but in this economy, one income just doesn’t cut it for a lot of families. This could be for a lot of reasons such as wage repression, or maybe even the fact that the influx of career women have slowly made two income families necessary and it is harder for women who don’t want a career to change their minds, or go a different way than others in the first place.

  6. That should be interesting! You’ll probably be taking Feminist Theory with most of my housemates!

    You bring up some interesting points. In the article, I focus on gender stereotypes, but not sexuality stereotypes. I’m sure you already know the difference: gender refers to the socially constructed behaviors that are attributed to a sex, and sexuality refers to a variety of things, among them sexual orientation and one’s own perceived gender identity. Those articles about Viagra could offend certain genders or sexes, for sure.

    I totally see what you’re saying about the rape issue, which is why I included it under “strength” instead of under “forgiveness.” It’s so much harder to forgive someone who has raped you than it is to forgive someone who has broken up with you, and I completely understand if a victim of rape is cautious around every man (or woman) that they meet. I would also understand if the victim decided to never forgive the rapist; I probably wouldn’t, either. But to have the strength – maybe after therapy and constant support from friends and family – to rise above and to move on is important, albeit, in most cases, improbable. By no means do I imply that every victim of rape should just get over it; I understand that situations differ, and I’m really sorry if I seemed to undermine the subject in my article. I didn’t have the time or space to give it the wide dearth of attention it needs.

    I agree! And I’m not advocating that you should or should not be a housewife. I think what’s most important is that you do what you love to, whether that be advancing in a job that is your passion, or staying home with your children. It’s the idealist in me that says this, though, and the realist in me realizes (!) that it’s not that easy. Again, it depends on the situation.

  7. Read this post: Feminists are Sexists. Misleading title aside, it is about how feminists actually are not sexist, for many reasons. Most important, I think, is that, if men want more coverage of masculinity, they should not depend on feminists – they should create an awareness group themselves.

    I’ve done a lot of reading lately, and think I will retract some statements. I hear a lot of people saying “All men are,” but I don’t always know that they are feminists. Most feminists are very supportive of men’s rights issues.

    I think I’ll be writing a follow-up to this article next week!

  8. […] done a lot of research on feminism since my post about how to be a feminist. I’ve been reshaping my views a little bit, thanks to Feminism 101. I’m definitely going […]

  9. Caitlin Hawkins · · Reply

    WHOA I think I have a lot to say. So I will do this numerically, because that just seems to make sense. Please forgive me if I re-iterate ideas that have already been posted in the comments section.

    1. I can honestly say that I have NEVER met a self-proclaimed feminist whose goal was to be better than men. Most of the men and women that I have met who think about this sort of thing would never dream of bringing down another to lift themselves up. Feminism is ALL about equality.
    And to Tommy’s point: one way to go about initiating change is through language. Culture and language are so closely intertwined that once one changes, the other will follow suit, and soon it will get to a point where we won’t know which changed first, the culture or the language. One way to change your language is to not say “hey guys”, as mentioned in another comment. Try, “hey everyone” or “everybody”. And perhaps refer to people as policepersons, etc. You know the story about the person throwing starfish into the water after they had been washed up on the beach? Another person came up and asked why bother, because there was no way he could save every one. The ‘thrower’ replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one”. Every little bit helps, and every person who just cuts down on unnecessarily gendered language bring our culture one step closer to equality.

    2. “…that is, if the individual is a young female who is begging for change.” Third wave feminism (what we are in now) is all about inclusivity of people from all races, classes, genders, sexes, abilities, and ages. I don’t really know what you were implying by this statement, but as a young female let me say that I stand up for equality in every way that I can. I think it would be perfectly silly not to.

    3. Believe me, I can understand how men might feel slighted by being called “messy” or “perverted” or an asshole, but the difference is that when men are slighted in these ways, it is almost always with a lighthearted laugh and a comedic eye roll. On the other hand, when a woman is called a “slut” or a “bitch”, it is demeaning and serious- it cuts to the core of her character. Not to mention that a woman can be called these things for doing the exact same thing that a man does. And honestly, as for your male friends, I wouldn’t expect them to understand. In the same way that I cannot ever know how it feels to be a person of color, all I can do is have compassion and know that society treats them different than it treats me. It isn’t my fault, but it is cause for compassion.

    3. I think it’s a stretch to say that we have “overcome these obstacles” of jobs, paychecks, and suffrage, because we simply haven’t. We have been behind men for so long, that it isn’t that simple for us to catch up. Sure, maybe it might be easier for US than it was 20 years ago, but what about women of color? Between studying feminist theory and working in a shelter all summer, I have seen that the number of people who lack resources are DISPROPORTIONATELY black/latino/etc. Things like poor urban public educations systems and voter id laws hold these people back. Are women of color not women as well?

    4. I wholeheartedly disagree with your paragraph about rape. I think it is LUDICROUS to tell a survivor of that level of trauma to “not judge every man she sees”. It’s a defense mechanism. When someone is raped, they will most likely spend the rest of their life in defense mode, or at the very least, being very wary of people who even vaguely remind them of the person who annihilated their sense of security in their own body. And the fact that this section concludes with that we shouldn’t judge because “there are plenty of female rapists out there, too” is utterly misleading. 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime. The statistics for men simply do not stack up. That isn’t to say that men’s experiences are worthless, but these statistics prove that we live in a culture where female rape is much more commonplace. Not to mention women in other countries! In places like the DRC, MEN RAPING WOMEN IS LITERALLY A CASUALTY OF WAR. Undermining the obvious connection of women being victims of rape by saying that men get raped too is pretty offensive, and I appreciate that fact that you allude to that in a later comment.

    5. Again, any feminist worth her salt probably wouldn’t say that “all men are lying cheaters” after a break-up. But also, please don’t leave your readers under the impression that a woman doesn’t have a right to be majorly PISSED! Since birth, our culture has been really keen up suppressing our need to be angry when provoked. Young women are told to “be nice” and do our best not to offend others. On the other hand, young men’s aggression is much more normalized.

    6. “‘We just want equality,’ I hear feminists say. But, sometimes, as you vouch for equality, you distance yourselves from men. What you really want is to be better than them, to be higher up on the totem pole. And that’s not okay.
    So this part actually doesn’t make logical sense. How do they distance themselves? How do they want to be better? In what context was this said? This is way too general to contrive any real meaning. What does ‘better’ even mean? Also, the language used also alludes to the idea that the feminists you are speaking to are the ones that partake in this. “What you really want is to be better than them”? That isn’t what I want. And that hasn’t been my experience with any other man that I have met at Wheaton.
    7. Both men and women have reproductive organs.

    8. What does needing “two people to make a baby” have to do with the fact that we are all different? Feminism obviously does not deny scientific facts, but the pro-choice (or colloquially known as the feminist) argument is that a woman’s right to choose is key. I have no idea what you are trying to say here.
    9. The disclaimer is much appreciated, but the language used in your article (as I mentioned before) could really use some work as to not sound like you’re making wild assumptions about all feminists, because up until I read this, that is what I thought you were doing.

    A theme within this article is your assumptions about how feminists act. Without expressing where these assumptions are drawn from, you only esstialize feminists and feminist arguments. My question is simply: where are these assumptions drawn from? Why are you qualified to tell the world about feminism? Do you feel well-versed enough in feminist theory and activism to make such grand claims?

    Please know that my criticisms are not a reflection of you personally, but rather, the arguments presented in this piece. I hold you up to a higher standard than most, as you reside with me in Emerson. The great thing about living in Emerson is that it gives all of us a chance to learn about the importance of feminism- and different feminist perspectives- from one another. If you do plan to write for the Wire, I do hope that you do so by proclaiming it as your own personal feminist perspective, and not that of all feminists, because we are all so different. Just like you said in your article, our different perspectives that we have acquired due to things like intersectionality means that many feminists likely have some dissimilar opinions. If you wish to take on this task, be sure to integrate the active pursuit of knowledge regarding feminist theory into your daily life. It isn’t as easy as making simply saying that all feminists believe in this or that, or trying to ‘educate’ others. This article just seems to point out and conflate obvious stereotypes about feminism, and instead of disproving them, the article mostly just enforces them.

    I think it’s great you’ve written this piece, and I definitely think you should continue to take women’s studies courses! Thank you for being so open to criticism of others.

    1. This reply could be an article in its own. I considered e-mailing it to you, but then realized other readers would want to know my response. So here goes!

      Hi Caitlin! I was waiting for someone from Emerson House to comment here. I’d like to start off by saying that, since writing this article, my views have changed a bit. I’ve done a lot of research, and found an excellent resource in Finally Feminism 101, which basically gave me a crash course in a Women’s Studies course. I’ve read many blog posts similar to, or against, this one. And my views have changed – especially after comments like Kalya’s and Amanda’s. I think it’s dishonest to edit an article completely, and out of the question to delete it, so I’m keeping this here, and I’ll be writing a follow-up some time next week.

      I’ll respond to your comments numerically, too!

      1. First, in no way was I referring to feminists in Emerson House. Rather, there are a few women that I work with that are guilty of making statements such as “All men are messy.” I do think feminism is all about equality, and that’s why equality is one of the pillars that I mention here. I realize now that, while I wrote about how to be a feminist, I seemed to write more about how not to be a feminist, and may have been guilty of making sweeping statements about the movement itself. It’s often difficult to write about something like this without making these kinds of statements; they need backing up, and all I have for that is personal experience.
      2. By writing this article, I wanted to create a stir. But I think I may have gone about it the wrong way. Not all feminists are young, or female, or begging for change, and I totally realize that, and I recognize that I was being hypocritical by over-generalizing the feminist movement while preaching against over-generalization of the male gender. I’m going to make up for this in the next article?
      3. I’m going to offer a few more perspectives, here. Maybe we’ve had different experiences, but whenever someone I know calls a man an asshole, the word isn’t accompanied by eye rolls. It’s fierce and degrading. Many men of our generation are losing their masculinity, or even their self-worth, because they’re afraid that a woman will think poorly of him. Many are afraid to speak up for fear of being turned down, rejected. I’m by no means an MRA activist, and I completely agree that the words “slut” and “bitch” are extremely demeaning, but I think it’s unfair to rate which words are more or less less detrimental to someone’s character. I think, as you stated before, we should change culture by completely ridding it of all these words! And I’ve heard Carlie, Tommy and Alex argue FOREVER about whether or not they’ll ever be able to understand different genders or races. My short opinion: I only know myself completely, so no, I will never understand what it’s like to be another person. (This doesn’t really have to do with what you wrote, but I’m hoping one of them sees it!)
      4. While I maintain that we have overcome obstacles, I don’t think we’ve overcome all of them, and that’s the main reason why I think feminism still exists. I read an article in Time the other day that showed a lot of statistics about how inequality still permeates in our society (You should check out their “State of the American Women” series!) And another article about how women certainly don’t have it all. We’ve overcome some obstacles, but not all, and we can continue breaking barriers with our strength. And we can help black/latino/other minorities to do so directly or by inspiring them and imbuing them with our strength.
      5. I’m now regretting that I even included that paragraph. I know that, if you’re going to write about rape, you need to take a lot of care and thought on the subject. Instead, I dismissed it as something I didn’t want to address completely in the article, and only gave the subject a fleeting glance, leaving readers with the wrong impression about my opinions about rape. It was really insensitive of me to mention it, except for the fact that some feminists proclaim that all men are potential rapists. Again, this would take a whole article to unravel, but I think making these sweeping statements is counter-productive to the feminist cause. I’d be interested about what you’d have to say about the statement. And I absolutely agree that rape victims should feel violated, and there’s no question that they may, as a result, pile men into a “stay-away-from” category until they’re emotionally healed at some level.
      6. True. Probably a dramatic statement. And I agree that women have the right to be pissed if wronged (or scorned!) But – especially considering break-ups – it all depends on the situation. If the woman is pissed at a guy who broke up with her because she slept with another man – well, that’s another story.
      7. Confusing, sorry. I also regret putting that part in second person – very accusatory tone. Before reading this article, I might have said something along the lines of, “Feminists are not all-inclusive of genders!” But now, I understand that that argument is ludicrous. Feminists want to rid the world of misogyny against women bringing equal status to all people. They call it feminism because being a female is what they know. It is not up to feminists to speak on behalf of men – it’s up to men to! I don’t know if Chase is reading this, but in his Wire article, he advocated for a men’s group on campus. Several feminists sent him messages urging him to do just that. He’s going abroad next year, but maybe he’ll come back to a new campus group! Or would too many men think that feminists would look down on it (as he described in his article) when they are really advocates for such a group?
      8. Okay, just realized a typo in the article. “Discretion aside” should read “regression aside.” GAH. Anyway, yeah, total regression from the topic of people being different. And sorry I wasn’t clear at all. What I had meant to say was that, just because you give birth doesn’t mean you’re better than the other gender. It probably means you’re going to have to go through a lot more pain and suffering, but that doesn’t make females a better gender. But I’m starting to think no feminist really believes that.
      9. I’m pro-choice! Yay! As in, if I choose to have a baby, nobody should judge me, and if I choose not to have a baby, nobody should judge me. Ethics class helped me redefine my position there, because it was in a lot of murkiness before, especially with my parents being pro-life. And yeah, re-reading the article today, I realized a lot of the language was inappropriate and offensive. You can sort of tell I was trying something new – to rattle the cages, to say something that challenges readers. In the process, I think I may have lost myself.

      I don’t feel well-versed in feminist theory. I’m only qualified to make this post because I consider myself a feminist, and because this is my blog. You’re going to hate this, but most of these assumptions were drawn from male friends. Since then, I’ve researched and read more about feminist theory. It also interests me that many women that I know are embarrassed to consider themselves a feminist, and don’t do so because of the stigma attached to the word, and I kind of wanted to address that a little bit in this article.

      I’m really glad that you commented, because you answered a lot of my own questions and raised some more. I definitely want to learn more about feminism so I can constantly reshape my views, as I’ve done after writing this article.

      About Emerson – I was actually afraid for a second after publishing this that I would be kicked out. Irrational, I know. Thanks for treating my ignorance with grace and reassuring me that there’s a lot left that I have to learn, and that I can learn it from members within the House, who will – hopefully – not be condescending to my constant inquiries.

      I don’t think I’ll write about this for the Wire. I’m sad that Chase’s article couldn’t have been printed sooner so this kind of dialogue could have existed then.

      Again, thanks a lot. Hopefully I’ll redeem myself in the next article. Maybe I’ll start a feminist series about the reshaping of my feminist identity? Weekly reads, memories, guest posts (would you be interested?), theories? What do you think?

  10. Anonymous · · Reply

    I was having a conversation about equality between men and women with my boyfriend, and I told him that I believe that everyone should be treated equally. There were a few things he said that really made me think. The one that was directed at me was whether I liked it when he treated me like a lady. I thought this was a joke, and said of course. I mean, I like it when he pays the dinner bill or opens doors for me. Who doesn’t?

    Now he and I both know that I don’t expect him to do either of those things. He pays because he has more money, and he opens doors because he’s polite. I know there’s the underlying reason that he was raised to be a gentleman. Most men who are gentlemen treat women differently than their fellow man. Some women demand equality, but also demand other perks, such as never having to foot the bill.The difference between these women and myself is that I both try to pay the bill and open the door for him. Sometimes I get away with it. I just wonder how many ‘feminists’ also expect men to treat them differently when it’s convenient for them.

    Equality when it’s convenient is the point he was trying to make. For example, he’s an airman in the USAF. There are women that serve as well. From his experience, the women he works with are able to get away with doing half the work he does, with more praise, because their supervisors tend to be men. Do the women complain because they aren’t being treated like the men? No, because they like being treated like that. If they were looked upon as equal, they’d have to do more work for the same pay.

    To be honest, I agree with him for the most part. I’m not saying that men are better than women, or women are better than men. But when a woman says “I want to be equal but…” and still wants more, then she doesn’t really want to be equal. Therefore, as much as I agree with your points up there, I will say here and now I am not a feminist. I like to be treated like a lady. I like helping my boyfriend feel like a man. I want to be equals with my partner in life, and as long as he doesn’t look down upon me, I really don’t care what anyone else thinks because they don’t know me or what I’m capable of. Female or not.

    1. ELISE. Hi. I was also waiting for either you or Marriah to comment, because I know you two don’t consider yourselves feminists, but do support equality. In fact, when I told Mia the other day that I was living in a feminist house, she recoiled, and said, “I’m not a feminist.” This coming from a girl pursuing a job in a male-dominated field!

      I think that the term feminism has become so over-complicated and convoluted by the media that many people actually don’t know what it stands for, anymore, and that’s what I wanted to convey in this article. For a while I was where you are. I didn’t consider myself a feminist. Your reasons may be different, but mine were that I didn’t want to be associated with the extremists within the movement. After a lot of research, and after being exposed to many different viewpoints in college, I actually realized I was a feminist all along. If you believe in equality between genders, or you want to be equals with your partner, you’re a feminist…

      That being said, I totally agree that it’s unfair for women to preach equality, but shy away from it when it may mean more work for them. I actually don’t think a lot of feminists do that. In fact, most of them do pay the bill, including me. Tommy and I usually split the bill, or one of us will pay it and the other will promise to pay at our next date. It’s not even really a feminist issue, in my opinion – it’s a monetary issue. We’re both college students, and it’s silly to make one of us pay everything. I think I agree with Caitlin in that the military has a long way to go to become truly equal. I also open the door for people because I was raised to be polite, and letting the door slam on anyone is impolite.

      However, if one feminist says, “I want to be equal but…” that sentiment does not reflect on the entire movement.

      I think a big part of feminism is not defining identity by one’s gender – which is a social construct, anyway – but by one’s individuality. You’ve always inspired me to accept myself as the weird, crazy person I am, and whether you consider yourself a feminist or not, you’ve actually informed a lot of my opinions about equality between individuals, just between our numerous conversations & your unapologetic way of just being you, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks.

      Glad to hear your response to this article – gave a non-feminist female point of view!

      1. Allie,

        Although I may be a feminist by your definition, I suppose the biggest thing that makes me different from the other feminists is that, like you said, is that I define myself by my individuality. Perhaps that’s why the word is sour on my mouth and I’m reluctant to say it. Just like I don’t go around telling people I’m a Republican, or my religious preference, I won’t make a big deal about being a Feminist. Many people define themselves based on these things. I, as you well know, am not one of those people.

        If both genders worked harder to define themselves by whether they’re honest or a hard worker, and less on their genders, we wouldn’t have this problem. Unless you make gender a big deal, it shouldn’t be.

        I’m glad that my brutal honesty has helped you discover where you stand. It makes me happy to hear this.

    2. Hello Elise/Anon,

      Let me just start with a disclaimer that I have never been in a relationship. Most of what I am about to say is based on observing rants from my facebook newsfeed, comment boards, and from my friends and peers in person. I hope my input can prove to be at least a little useful, despite it being mostly theoretical and from the third person.

      I have observed many rants from men who say that women need to stop being such gold-diggers. The confusion and anger are understandable: “Women are supposed to be equal, but I’m supposed to pay for them as if they aren’t like a gentleman.” However, I can’t help but wonder how many men are straightforward about this type of double-standard before dates occur, instead of relying on women to think against the social norm all by themselves. Of course, this “norm” seems to be disappearing more and more as time passes, but maybe some check-time anger could be avoided if all men were explicit beforehand, just for good measure.

      And I am not saying that men are the only ones who need to be more clear when it comes to dating. I have also heard plenty of women ranting that their beauty regimens suck and that all the waxing/makeup/high heels are time consuming and/or painful. They say men need to stop being so shallow and appreciate them for how they really look. I think they, like men, are also confused and angry: “I am supposed to be equal to a man but everyone expects me to look like a lady too.” And I think it is unfair when women expect men to put a stop to THIS social norm by themselves. I have also wondered why women just don’t stop putting themselves through these regimens that they seem to hate so much.

      I guess what I am trying to say is that it’s frustrating when women who claim to be feminists hold a double standard when it comes to the dinner check, but it is equally frustrating when men who claim to want equality, hold a double standard when it comes to how women are supposed to look.

      Maybe the number of men who have these beauty standards isn’t as high as I perceive it to be and my lack of dating experience has caused me to over-estimate how many men are actually like that, but I am just trying to point out something that seems to be there, to me and to these ranting women.

      I know that feminism is not perfect, and neither are feminists, but I also don’t think that a man is just as likely as a woman to exploit double standards in dating.

      1. but I also think that a man is just as likely as a woman to exploit double standards in dating.* I think it’s a bit unfair to say that feminists and feminism are the only bad guys in this situation.

  11. Hello everyone. I am here now to do something I actively avoid doing the vast majority of the time: involve myself in an online debate over a social issue.
    I never do this for two reasons:
    Firstly, when debating these types of issues I end arguing with someone who refuses to consider logical arguments assisted by moral observations – at which point I throw my hands in the air a weep for humanity as a whole. I have read through the above comments, and am satisfied that I will not have to deal with such narrow mindedness here.
    Secondly, I am a white straight male Episcopalian in a high tax bracket. Throughout most of human history I represent the least slighted and discriminated; as such, anything I have ever said in such debates has been met with suspicion. Fact: I was once accused of wanting to enslave all womankind because I stepped in between a girl and her boyfriend who was in the process of slapping her. By the girl (That was a great way to end a night out). I am equally satisfied that what I write here will be taken at face value.

    Being new to this sort of thing I will keep my remarks simple and hopefully not too adventurous.

    I’m not so sure changing the English language to be more ‘gender neutral’ is the solution to this issue. I think it is a potential solution, but I think there are better alternatives that will result in faster change. As it is, the English language is one of the more gender neutral ones out there; I am eternally thankful that American’s can’t speak French, because the vast majority of nouns fall into male and female categories, an arrangement upon which a sizable portion of the language is constructed. Ouch.

    Now, I claim that changing the English language is a non-essential solution to gender equality. My claim can strike true only if my vision of gender equality is the same as everyone else’s. Ten to one says its not, so let’s examine that…

    When gender equality comes to my slightly addled mind, I think of a world where men and women are treated equally and fairly, in a manner that reflects the individual’s quality and not their gender’s quality. To whit: a man and a woman are in a traditional workplace. They perform the same work, and they are equally proficient at their jobs. They have equal seniority and come from comparable educational backgrounds. Holding all things constant, there should be no difference between their paychecks, their vacation times, their bonuses, and so on. Period; no arguments. Let’s pretend these two people are married – the woman gets pregnant, she takes full maternity leave with pay, and the man gets some or all of the same leave with pay. And there is nothing more to it.
    I consider this equality – two people of equal ability and success being treated equally and with equal reward.
    I think we can all agree this is feminism at its best, gone very, very right.

    Obviously, however, such situations are rare. Let’s consider another situation that has historically gotten me hate from women all over: the fire fighter.
    Part of the requirements for becoming a firefighter is physical. You have to be able to carry someone down a ladder, break through a door with an axe, and so on. Do I believe that a woman incapable of meeting these physical requirements should be allowed to become an active duty firefighter? No. In my mind, this is abundantly clear; can’t do the lifting, don’t get the job – I would expect the same from a man who can’t do the lifting. The truth is, I just want to live. So when my house is burning, and I am trapped under a burning beam, I could care less about whether a man or a woman comes and saves me. I just hope they are strong enough to lift the log.

    At this point, I’m sure you are wondering why I am even talking about this. This is an article about Feminism and its various qualities. I consider the two inexorably linked (even if it only makes sense in my fairly twisted mind).
    I have described all of these situations to many people, presenting the same details I have presented here. More often than not, I have been chastised for my disgusting yet unsurprising (don’t forget, I am here to enslave you all, remember?) views on these issues. The people who say these things to me have overwhelmingly described themselves as feminists.

    I can anticipate the counter-arguments forming in one of your minds that, ‘these people aren’t real feminists, they are just angry irrational people’. I believe it was Catlin who wrote:

    ” I can honestly say that I have NEVER met a self-proclaimed feminist whose goal was to be better than men. Most of the men and women that I have met who think about this sort of thing would never dream of bringing down another to lift themselves up. Feminism is ALL about equality.”

    I agree with her sentiment, but unfortunately there are many people who proclaim their feminism, then proceed to tear asunder any statement that even slightly maligns even a single woman, regardless of intent, true meaning, morality, and logic. Then claim they are feminists. The true meaning of Feminism now becomes every so slightly blurred, methinks. So now we have to establish who is irrationally angry, and who is truly seeking equality. Too often than not, however, true feminists seeking true equality in a rational way, a la Emerson for example, will leap to the defense of a woman who claims feminism yet fails to consider logic. How am I, the socially illiterate white male who recognizes his obviously skewed vision of the world, supposed to paint true feminists and angry people with two different brushes? The ambiguity is rampant.

    I bet that if the women of Emerson developed a simple list of arguments based on fact, logic, and morality that explains in what ways women are still not equal and how it can be dealt with, the vast majority of Americans will agree. Even most of those….. Conservatives (cue the dramatic chipmunk music). So why is it that no one can successfully make these arguments heard, then accepted? Because of the irrational wome……. person disguising as a feminist. And, on the other side, because of the raving evangelical nut job (pick your favorite, for me this week its Santorum).

    The extremes will always ruin this debate. Feminism has lost its true way, just as conservatism has lost its meaning. The extremes of any argument will invariably pull the argument off course.
    This is why I found Allie’s article so refreshing. It felt like a logical re-examining of Feminism, and how blurred it now appears to us lesser evolved who seek to understand the plight of women.

    So now I call out to the true feminists, the ones seeking equality and nothing more: if you want to convince your local friendly, yet narrow minded white male to support your cause, use rationality and admit that the extremes ought to stay where they are: in the extreme. I guarantee that you will be rewarded with much, much, mmuuuuucccchhhh more support and goodwill.

    I’m sorry this was such a long post; Internet tradition demands that I offer you a potato for long posts, so here is a potato.

    1. Hi, I’m ‘Anonymous’… I started reading your response, but since you said I agreed with you, I just want to say one thing.

      Your quote: “Fact: I was once accused of wanting to enslave all womankind because I stepped in between a girl and her boyfriend who was in the process of slapping her. ”

      All I can say about this is how upset it makes me when women react like that to men who are just trying to help or be polite. It’s not your fault that your mother and father raised you to have morals. To be treated like that because you did what was right is upsetting. It infuriates me when women do that. What are men like you supposed to do? Assume that every woman can just fend for herself and not step in if she’s about to be assaulted, or not help even if it goes against everything you were told?

      I guess I would just like to reiterate that men who do things like step in or help are probably not doing it because they think women aren’t good enough – it’s because they were raised to be polite gentlemen. You shouldn’t be punished for that.

    2. First off, thanks so much for contributing to this conversation despite your history with narrow-minded commenters. Also, now I’m kind of sad you don’t go to Wheaton anymore, because I’m sure we’d have some good conversations. (If I remember correctly, when we met at orientation and I asked you what you liked about Wheaton, you said that you actually didn’t want to be there! And um, I said something about Harry Potter. Most likely.)

      ANYWAY. I pretty much agree with all of your premises: equal pay, equal work, equal days off, etc. As for the firefighter story… I work with a volunteer firefighter at Subway. She’s a little shorter than I am, but a lot buffer. I think I’ll ask her what she thinks of your story tonight. In my opinion, with the right kind of training, a woman is just as capable of doing the lifting. But that wasn’t your point, really. The point is that if someone doesn’t have the job qualifications for a certain job, they shouldn’t have the job – regardless of gender. To which I have to say: duh. I’m sad that people can’t see the reason behind this.

      Thanks for offering that my article may be providing some clarity to the feminist movement. As with any movement, there will be dissenters and extremists that addle and convolute its claims.

      & You’re the second person to say that Emerson should publish a manifesto of sorts. Maybe we should publish something like that in the Wire? I’ll ask the Editor-in-Chief.

      Potatoes!

  12. PS: while I was writing my whale of a response, ‘Anonymous’ posted her comment, so I am only reading it now. She has conveyed exactly what I sought to convey, albeit in far less words and in a clearer fashion. Much props.

  13. Caitlin Hawkins · · Reply

    Awesome posts everyone!

    Anon- I can see where your boyfriend is coming from. Does he know whether or not the women that he works with in the Air Force consider themselves feminists? A woman may want equality with men, but not consider herself a feminist (which is absolutely contrary to the definition, as every person who wants the genders to be equal is, by definition, a feminist). I ask this because if they do not consider themselves feminists (but still ask for equality), it means that they may not have given the consequences of their actions much thought. The majority of feminists will have given this sort of thing thought, but keep in mind, not everyone is as strong willed to stand up. First off, no disrespect intended, but the military is a pretty patriarchal system. The fact that they are praising women for doing less is one example that speaks to this. It’s hard to stand up when you feel all alone, or, like some of my other female friends who recently were discharged, were completely blinded by the system. The military teaches people respect, order, and to not question authority (among other things, of course). Not to mention, if a woman is being treated better than a man…well… it’s hard to tell someone that you want them to make your life more difficult. In a way of life that I would imagine is quite difficult, catching breaks where you can must feel pretty good. It takes a lot of willpower to ask someone to make your life harder.

    James- What a great response. Thank you, first off, for expressing your knowledge of the privileges you have. It means a lot to know that you are coming from a place where you realize that you may not know what women are talking about, simply because of the way society has treated you since birth. I will say this- any able-bodied person should be a firefighter if they want to be. It is SILLY AND UNSAFE to think that someone who couldn’t do the job should be offered a position- man or woman. In addition, I never meant to say that changing language was THE way to solve the problem. If I am remembering correctly, I stated that was A way to help combat the issue. If I failed in fully describing what I meant, I apologize. Because there is now “THE way” to combat societally-prescribed patriarchy.

    And finally Allie- Thank you so much for responding to me. It shows a lot of journalistic (and personal) integrity that you are able to admit where ideas may have gone astray. I think a reason why this article hurt me so much was that it seemed that you were writing pretty lightly and without much research on a topic that I consider to be my ultimate passion. I’m sure that it was not your intent, but just know that the area of Women’s Studies and feminism takes a long time to fully comprehend- I can admit that with all the effort I have put in, I am only part-way there. It hurts when people don’t take my major seriously or assume that if I’m a ‘real’ academic that I MUST be double majoring, or simply doing this as an easy way out. Please know that I understand that this was most likely not your intention, and I applaud you for wanting to continue this blog as documentation as your feminist discovery. I think that THAT is the start of something really, really cool and I would love to read it! As for contributing, I would love to (but again, please note that I do NOT know everything about Women’s Studies or feminist theory). Perhaps bring it up to Judith! Maybe everyone who lives in Emerson should have to write one blog post during the year. Or contribute some sort of feminist article to the Wire or something. I think that’s a great idea!!! I might mention it to Judith as well. Thank you for being so considerate with all of your posts and responses. The fact that I feel like you really want to know more really excites me, and I can’t wait to see what this blog turns into.

    1. Hi Caitlin, I’m Anonymous, aka Elise.

      I’m not sure if the enlisted women he’s been in contact with are feminist or not. I do think that it’s wrong that the male supervisors slack off on them, but they don’t seem to be complaining.

      I agree that the military has traditionally been a patriarchal institution. There’s a reason for that. Even now there are things that women aren’t allowed to do – i.e. Special Forces, Navy Seals, etc. There has been progress however. Within the last few years, the Navy has recruited women to the submarine force – a field that was once only open to men.

      The biggest thing that holds women back in the military is the mindset of their male superiors, and their own determination. As sexist as some (not all) of them may be, a woman can still overcome this obstacle. I know this for a fact because my own mother enlisted in the Navy, put herself through college, got a commission, became a Naval Officer, and retired as a Commander. She proves that if a woman is determined enough to succeed, she can.

  14. Anonymous · · Reply

    At the risk of life and limb, I’m going to weigh in with my thoughts. These are a combination of longstanding beliefs I hold and reactions to these comments and the Feminism 101 blog Allie linked to.

    I agree with feminism insofar as it consists of the belief, expressed in Feminism 101’s FAQ section, “Society deals with gender in a way that, on balance, harms women. This is a problem that must be corrected.” While women have made radical progress towards equality in the span of just a few decades, one need only to look at the evening news – where the older male anchor delegates less substantive stories to a rotating cast of young, attractive women whose careers last as long as their perfect figure. The professional and personal world still contains some double-standard. The recently hired woman CEO of Yahoo is pregnant and has said she’ll work through her pregnancy and return to work a few days after giving birth, leaving her children’s care primarily in the hands of their father and a team of professionals. This has been the subject of controversy, while it would be normal, and even expected, for a male executive to take only a short period of time off after he becomes a father. The feminist bromide about a man who sleeps around gets high-fived while a woman who does the same gets scorned remains true, albeit far less prevalent and extreme then in the 50s and 60s.

    Many criticisms of feminism are quite silly, often consisting of men’s wistful longing for a bygone age where they could have cooking, cleaning, and sex on demand from a woman as beautiful as she is submissive. However, some criticism is valid and some of parts of feminist dogma are invalid, with portions of it straying into the absurd. Many feminists (like many liberals, conservatives, Christians, etc) use feminism as validation for their otherwise invalid beliefs and an excuse to rant and rave without any semblance of logic. Even when these people are left out however, I have disagreements with feminist reasoning.

    Feminism often ends up as an expression of identity politics. As much as feminists argue that “gender is a social construct,” they also, at least in practice, believe gender is all-consuming. Feminism 101 argues that women are victimized by society essentially from birth; subjected to a world dominated by the all-pervasive and sister “Patriarchy” and constantly assailed by a society which wants to rape and dominate them. These expansive expressions of permanent victimization are part of a larger problem with feminism, and identity politics in general – they argue that individuals are defined not by conscious choices but by accidents of birth, genetics, and socialization. Even while feminists argue for liberation from sexism, they propagate the idea that human beings are whatever their group is. This is contradictory on its face, and the feminists reading this will argue that it is a misinterpretation of feminism, but before they do that I would ask them to read the FAQs posted on Feminism 101 and then ask themselves “Do these beliefs more resemble the argument that gender is an irrelevant descriptor invented by society, or do these beliefs more resemble the argument that gender shapes almost every interaction a woman has?”

    An example of the failings of feminism’s identity politics is the rise of Battered Women’s Syndrome (BWS) as a legal defense against murder charges. BWS argues that a woman in an abuse relationship who kills her abuser, not in an act of immediate self-defense (such as killing a man while he is the process of punching her) as normally required for a legal claim of self-defense, is still not guilty of any crime because her battered states causes her to believe that there is no other way to end the abuse besides killing the abuser. My views on this are complicated, because as a conservative with a tolerance for vigilantism, I think society is better off with deeply abusive men being dead. However, as long as our law is what it is, the success of BWS defenses directly opposes the expressed goals of feminism. Underlying the claim of BWS is the belief that women being abused are not able to take steps to end the abuse short of violence even if those steps exist. This principle is not arguing that women are equal to men, rather it argues what it claims to oppose – that women are weaker than men and need special treatment to compensate for this weakness. I understand this may make me seem insensitive to victims of abuse, but the appropriate action for society and government is to provide resources to help women in abusive situations, not to create double-standards that free them from the legal ramifications of their actions.

    Another example of feminist arguments reinforcing a double standard is their advocacy of legally mandated maternity leave. Recently, Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an article in The Atlantic lamenting how women can’t “have it all,” meaning raise a family and achieve high levels of career success, and then argued for the government to fix women’s problems by adopting the widespread European solution of federally mandated maternity leave. She’s essentially asking the government to spare her the consequences of her actions because she’s a woman. Men can’t “have it all” either, a stay-at-home Dad is going to be about as successful in reentering the workplace as a stay-at-home Mom. Women who have children ought to realize, as Yahoo’s new CEO has, that unless they want to derail their career, their children will be raised primarily by other people. Feminists correctly argue that the societal belief that the mother should stay home and raise the children while the father works is harmful to women. The solution to this is trying to challenge that societal belief, to argue that if a family chooses to have one parent stay home with the children, it can just as easily be the father as the mother. Asking for Uncle Sam to protect you from life’s tradeoffs and consequences is, just like Battered Women’s Syndrome exempting women from traditional criminal statutes, arguing for special treatment rather than equality.

    These shortcomings are harmful not just to feminism as an ideology, but harm the efforts to stop actual sexism. There are lots of things feminism gets right, but there are also things it gets completely wrong, and often in such a way that it becomes at odds with its’ professed beliefs.

    1. Brian Jencunas · · Reply

      Didn’t mean to post this as “Anonymous” it’s Brian.

  15. […] week, a lot of you commented on my Feminism: “All Men Are” article, so if you’d like to read the conversations in the comments for some enlightening […]

  16. Caitlin Hawkins · · Reply

    Hey Brian, so I completely see what you’re saying. Gender IS in fact a social construct, but that does, in no way, make it irrelevant. One problem that many feminists have with the current construction of gender is that it is very, very binary, with little room for other interpretations. This is one of a SLEW of reasons why feminism and LGBTQQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual) theory can go hand-in-hand. As a feminist, I don’t support the gender binary, and therefore, the dominance and hierarchy (read: patriarchy) that often accompanies it. While I identify myself as a cisgender female (a woman who looks and also feels like a female-has nothing to do with sexual orientation) I also realize that this is how I have been told to feel by society my entire life. I submit to it, but I also find a great deal of pride in it as well. There are others, however, that feel constricted by what society has told them, and they may identify as “queer”. Everyone IS defined by both their conscious decisions AND what they have been born with, their definition of themselves is a refection on what society has taught them. One great thing about Women’s Studies is that it teaches you to question things that most people don’t even consider- I feel that I reap the most academic knowledge when questioning the world is a creative and experimental process. In addition, please remember that while it is fantastic that there is a Feminist 101 blog out there (which I plan to read in full at some point), there is no way it can encompass or indicate the opinions and expressions of every feminist, as feminism is not just one theory, but encompasses many theories that breach a grand spectrum of different disciplines. Not every feminist agrees with every feminist theory or idea.

    I understand your qualms with BWS, as abuse is an incredibly difficult and complicated subject for many, and I applaud you for bringing this to light. In my opinion, the law should be BPS, Battered Persons Syndrome, as it is not just women being abused. Men are also abused by women and by other men that they are intimate with (Now, see, there I am being binary again, and completely neglecting those that choose not to identify as either gender or identify as both, or even somewhere in between. However, for the purposes of explaining this, I will continue in the form that I began.) The principle of this legislation is not that ‘women are equal to men’, as you say, but rather, a survivor of abuse should not be punished if they kill in self-defense. Like I said, this should be regardless of gender, however, as it stands, women are statistically more likely to be the dominated partner in an abusive relationship, so I can see why the law would be more directed at them (that is, of course, not to discount the equally painful abuse felt by male survivors). In addition, at risk of sounding sexist myself, I will concede to the fact that many women are physically weaker than men. I don’t think that to be socially equal, we must be equal in every single way. This fact of some women’s natural physique in addition to the social constructs of binary (and therefore, women as the ‘dominated’ gender) are a few of the social factors that contribute to abuse, not considering the psychological nature and nurture of the abuser.

    Now, Brian, the problem with your next point is that you are assuming a nuclear mother-father-2.5 children-golden retriever family. I understand how you are more fiscally conservative, and that may be where our differences lie in this issue, but after working in a homeless shelter for the past few months, I have seen numerous single mothers who need government assistance. You are working on the assumption that people are able to afford help when raising their children. While it would be great if every mother was well supported (financially, by family/spouse, etc.), it simply isn’t the case. This is where a test of our humanity and willingness to help others who aren’t as lucky as we are comes in to play. There was a man last night that was giving me a ride home from my Aunt’s house in his black Lexus, and we got on the topic of governmental aid. I was unable to discuss this matter with him, as we simply had a difference in opinion as to the value of humanity and the amount of privilege we were born with (him, being a white, upper-class male). His primary argument was, “Well why do I have to pay for someone ELSE’S children?!!?!?!”. My answer: because
    a) helping others is a good thing, and
    b) perhaps even more importantly, this is USA’s future we are betting on. If these kids are living in houses full of lead paint, or not having enough to eat, or not getting a proper education, etc., that is the United States of America’s future. The fact that 1 in 3 black males born after 2001 will end up in prison is an ENORMOUS problem, and let me tell you, it will be a lot more beneficial to try to break the cycle of poverty now.

    Now, yes, I believe that having a child is a full-time job that should not be assumed by one parent or another, and that a longer paternity leave would be a wonderful thing. That fact that this is currently not in existence speaks volumes to the idea that women are not equal to men in our society. If you ever have a moment, I HIGHLY suggest reading Hoschild’s “The Second Shift” as it describes this is greater detail. The fact that women are just flat-out expected to raise the children really bothers me to an extent, that as a male, you may perhaps sympathize or empathize with, but not truly understand. And you do say that a man would have just as difficult a time re-entering the workforce, however that is not necessarily true. Employers are often of the opinion that a man’s career is his main priority, where for women, they see it as one thing in a slew of others that she takes responsibility for (PLEASE read Hoschild, it will do this idea much more justice than I can!) Now, perhaps it is equal for both… shouldn’t the government be doing something to help parents who have been out of work to re-enter the work force? Isn’t it not in the interest of the government to have as many citizens as possible contributing?

    I hope that I have been able to bring to light new ideas for you, Brian. You know that I deeply respect your desire to think through an issue, and I hope that maybe I have said at least one thing in here that made you think. Let me tell you, your thoughtful response made me consider things I hadn’t fully explored. Now this isn’t to say that feminism doesn’t have it’s shortcomings, but I have tried to defend and re-define feminism for you to the best of my ability. In addition, as I mentioned before, this response is coming from one feminist, encompassing the ideas and experiences I have acquired up to this point.

    Now, Brian, just as a Republican may not believe in every thing that the party does, but still considers themselves a Republican (same goes for Democrat, Christian, Buddhist-whatever), do you consider yourself a feminist?

  17. Caitlin Hawkins · · Reply

    Clarification: In the second paragraph I would like to rephrase, “I don’t think that to be socially equal, we must be equal in every single way” to “I don’t think that to be socially equal, we must be the ‘same’ in every single way.”

  18. I feel that men and woman are not equal in today’s society. Society rules in favor of woman. This does not make me a feminist or a sexist, Im just stating the facts. Single mothers are given stipends by the state (food stamps, welfare, state insurance), yet single fathers fall by the wayside. In custody cases, the final ruling is always (in the state of RI especially) in favor of the mother no matter the circumstances. Woman have cheaper auto insurance and get college scholarships and grants easier. Again not to sound like a bad person, but i feel that woman have now become higher than men on the totem pole of society versus equal with men as it should be.

  19. Brian: I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Battered Women’s Syndrome is unfair and biased towards women; the court often ignores males in abusive relationships (or maybe they just don’t give their cases as much press!) I agree with Caitlin that it should be called Battered Person’s Syndrome, as everyone is capable of abusing or being abused. As for the other double standard, I agree that it is difficult for working parents of both sexes to re-enter the workforce after maternity or paternity leave. However, as Caitlin brought up, there are always exceptions – especially in broken families. I don’t think asking for maternity leave is asking for special treatment at all, but I do think that asking for federally-mandated maternity leave assumes that the woman in the family will be the stay-at-home parent, dropping everything for her new baby. If there is maternity leave, there should also be paternity leave, and both on a case-by-case basis, for cases of broken families. Or is that special treatment? (I haven’t fully formed this opinion, so I’m totally open to hearing what you think!)

    Nikolas: I agree that women and men are not equal in society. However, I would not say that women are always treated better than men. I do agree that in some cases it looks that way – especially in your experiences, it seems! – but, as always, there are so many more factors to take in. What about women in the workplace who aren’t getting raises for doing the same or better work than their male counterparts, or who aren’t even getting paid the same amount? What about the amount of women who are raped daily by men out of jail? (I say this because, truth is, there are more men raped than women! Most of them in jail). Also, where’s your evidence that women receive more college scholarships & grants, and that they have better auto insurance? If that’s true, it would be interesting to look into – and definitely outraging. I don’t want to label you, but it seems like you and I are looking for the same thing from different perspectives: equality despite gender, sexual orientation, etc. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a long process. For me, feminism helps me keep my eyes on that goal.

  20. Feminism” – a very heavy loaded topic

    In my view Feminism can be good or bad, depending on who is using the label, and for what purpose. My feeling is that putting a label on anything to do with equality suggests some inequality.

    A real feminist woman does not have a grudge against the opposite sex, but knows how to take care of herself with or without someone by her side.

    I believe that all people, whether female or male, should be treated fairly and equally, without preference to gender or any other means of identification. I don’t believe in categorizing people for any reason.

  21. Egalitarian · · Reply

    It is not accurate to say that women rarely rape men, if you properly define rape. According to the latest CDC (US government) survey, 4.8% of all men have been “made to penetrate” and 79.2% of the perpetrators were women. Examples of “made to penetrate” are: a woman who has sex with a man who is passed-out drunk, or a woman who forces a man to have sex with her through violence or threats of violence. There is some confusion due to the fact that their definition of rape excluded “made to penetrate” and only included men who had been penetrated. That was far less common (1.4% of men) and was mostly perpetrated by men. However, if you include “made to penetrate” as rape, which you should, since it is forced sex, women are a significant percentage of rapists, and the majority of male rape victims were raped by women. You can read the report at:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf Here are direct quotes from the report:
    “Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime”

    “For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).”

    Here are some stories from male victims: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/v73r4/men_who_have_been_raped_by_women_can_you_tell_us/

  22. […] Feminism: “All Men Are” […]

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