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Category Archives: Eradicating Divisive Discourse
Hugo posted on MRA’s (Men’s Right’s Activists) and marriage on his thread, Querying the MRAs about marriage. He quoted a few of his resident MRA posters, and I decided to address a (possibly unintentional) implied undertone to one of the quotes about not wanting to be yet another person’s plaything. To which I asked the semi-rhetorical question, “But, somehow, it’s ok for women to go through this?”
For those of you unfamiliar with MRA’s, they’re men belonging to various specific organizations that focus primarily on men’s rights (or lack thereof) in the family court system. On the surface, it seems like a noble goal. And I’m sure for some in their ranks it is just about achieving equal representation in the way the legal system views divorce and child responsibilities. However, where the disconnect happens for me is that most of the MRA’s I’ve come in contact with have wrongfully blamed feminism, and sometimes Western women in general, for their problems. Continue reading
I’ve suffered from yet another Attack of the 50-line Comment, so I decided to make a post about it instead of cluttering Jenn’s comment box. Jenn has done what I’ve come to believe is tantamount to death in many feminist circles: she has spoken up for her rights as a non-parent in her post, baby wars. She was firm in her opinions, harsh (perhaps too harsh) in her judgement, and made the mistake of bringing up breastfeeding. Her criticism of our baby-worshipping cultures brought the attention of Dru Blood, a mother very much concerned about parental rights. If you can stomach the tense exchange, I recommend reading it. Just keep in mind that this post is a general response to the arguments, so I’m not pulling quotes or anything. Anyway, on with the show.
One of the main arguments from the non-parents is that we don’t hate parents (or kids), we hate bad parents. The kinds that refuse to teach or discipline their kids, who let them run wild in inappropriate places (sometimes to the point of endangering the kids and those around them), and who freak out at even the most polite suggestion that they, I don’t know, at least keep an eye on where their children are. Overall, I support this stance; kids are kids and therefore it’s the adult’s responsibility to make sure they’re protected and as well behaved as possible. This is, more-or-less, the stance that Jenn took. Dru, arguing for the parents’ side, pointed out that there’s a fine line between parents trying and failing and not trying at all. In many cases it simply is not easy, or possible, to tell which is which. And, she’s right. If the world were black and white, we wouldn’t need to be having these kinds of conversations. Continue reading
For so long I’ve wanted a good way to articulate the battle feminists wage over gender. Too often we are accused of wanting to make everyone “the same” (aka. “like men”), but that’s neither possible nor, in my opinion, a helpful discourse in any way. People are not the same. Period. It has very little to do with the sex that they are born into and a whole lot to do with their individual traits, which are influenced but not dictated by primary and secondary sex characteristics. Thus far, I’ve used the terms “cult of masculinity” and “cult of femininity” as shorthand for society mandated gender roles, but they reference more the specific traits seen as “essential” to either gender and less the reality of what forcing people to follow these strict gender binaries really is.
Enter a comment on a mostly unrelated post on the feminist LJ community [emphasis mine]:
There are feminists who believe that the way to solve sexism is to do away with gender, but i think a more practical, interesting, and diversity-friendly approach is just to make gender voluntary or democratic, as opposed to the rigid “caste system” we have now, where your gender is determined by a doctor at birth and is seen thereafter as eternally immutable.[From Not a REAL FEMINIST!!!, comment by sophiaserpentia]
Maybe I’m just ornery because my surgery got postponed (my doc wanted to do some more tests because my initial bleeding time test came back abnormal), but I was just reading a post on a blog I recently found (Athena’s Legacy). The post, written by Saralah, was entitled Haters Suck and was a defense against some pretty nasty ad hominem attacks that were sent her way.
I was with her all the way, feeling her pain and outrage, until I read this:
I am not a raging feminist. I do not scream about equality in the industry at the top of my lungs without pause, as some people seem to believe. Occasionally, I will post something on the topic here on the blog, and if those posts seem to get more attention, it’s because they usually draw the most comments.
Over at reappropriate, I was half responsible for hijacking one of Jenn’s threads, The Sexism of Father’s Day, with a lively debate on gender roles and choice. I highly recommend reading through the post itself, as well as all the comments, because there is a lot of interesting discussion on all sides.
phillyjay drew me into the debate when he said:
I just don’t think it so bad if men and women live up to their gender roles.
I responded with:
I would just like to say this outright: there is nothing wrong with people choosing what is best for them, whether it fits in the accepted gender roles or not, what the problem is that society in many ways forces it on us.
And, really, that sums up what I think is one of feminism’s biggest points: people should have the right, and opportunity, to choose to do what’s right for them. Now, there are obvious limits; my ability to choose ends when it impedes someone else’s life. Debates within and outside of the feminist community arise because that division is not a simple line to draw, but, at the root of it all, the feminist ideal is that of choice. Continue reading
I recently stumbled across a post from Danny from adventures in cultural politics about a debate he and David from Lawyers, Guns and Money called Feminist men respond. The subject of “male feminists”/”pro-feminist men” is one that I consider to be a cause of mine, so my attempt at commentary blossomed into a full-blown article. Continue reading