Friday, May 29, 2009

owh

I'm having a dry spell. Exams and assignment deadline to look forward to, so I am excused.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

follow-up

It's no coincidence that all my feminist posts come after a conversation with Li May. That's what I like about discussions - they get me thinking, and I come up with stuff better than if I had tried to do so on my own :) so here's to you li may! (Young too, for being so open-minded and genuinely interested :D)

I'm just rearranging my thoughts (and conversations) into a readable format. This will probably make for dry reading, so pardon in advance :p

point to clarify:
1. I consider myself a feminist. Sorry if that was vague in the previous post. I realize I come off as reluctant to admit that sometimes. That is not due to shame of being one, but the shame of feeling like I don't do enough to deserve being called one. But like Young said, it's a principle, and I may not be an activist or doing anything significant to help women, but I am still a feminist.

On to misconceptions.
I don't know if most of you admit to this, but the general idea I get from your dismissive responses is that:
feminists = man-hating female supremacist

Okay...I wonder what that says about what you people think of me =.= But in the interest of maintaining cordial relations *ahem* I shall assume that you do not have that impression of me. Logically, from that you should realize then that it is not true. That if I contest that image, surely there's something wrong with it. I'm not likely to contest it just for the heck of it. Hell, the whole definition of the ideology itself doesn't advocate female superiority. Anyone who tells you that it does is wrong. That there may be people like that who call themselves feminists, doesn't make it feminism.

It's not "extreme feminism". It's not feminism, period.

Next: feminism isn't needed anymore.
Men and women are equals. Women should be entitled to the same opportunities as men. Those are pretty much the basic tenets. So when it's said that feminism isn't needed, it can be one of two things:
1. women shouldn't need to be entitled to the same opportunities.
2. women already have the same opportunities.

I'll go with 2, since 'anymore' should mean 1 isn't what you guys have in mind (hopefully).

So women are considered equal to men already? Really? Then why is there still gender discrimination in the workplace? Why aren't men and women getting equal pay? Why do women face more hassle/obstacles/stigma trying to acquire contraception? Why have I grown up being told not to swear, to smile (seriously when my brothers don't smile they're just being guys, when I don't I'm being sullen), not to xxx because I'm a girl? Don't bother telling me none of these stuff are true. And don't bother saying double standards are intrinsically human; we're better than that. We've gotten this far, we can go further.

Also, check out the male privilege checklist compiled by Ampersand. I'm not entirely sure about all of them, but most of it hits the spot. Andrea Rubenstein has external links to the issues. Ampersand:

Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases - from a boy being bullied in school, to a soldier dying in war - the sexist society that maintains male privilege also does great harm to boys and men.
In the end, however, it is men and not women who make the most money; men and not women who dominate the government and the corporate boards; men and not women who dominate virtually all of the most powerful positions of society. And it is women and not men who suffer the most from intimate violence and rape; who are the most likely to be poor; who are, on the whole, given the short end of patriarchy’s stick.
I also quote Ampersand's reference to an essay by Peggy McIntosh:
McIntosh observes that whites in the U.S. are “taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.”
I believe it's the same thing with the denigration of women. Feminists don't only stand up to physically substantial threats (the abusive husband, the sexual harrasser at the workplace), they stand up to harmful ideas that society and the media perpetuate. It's about bringing light to issues that we would otherwise gloss over, them being so ingrained in society. But anyway, these people explain it better than I do. Andrea Rubenstein again, in case you missed it up there ;)

Further thoughts:
- Why do rapists use the excuse 'she led me on'? People are entitled to change their mind. Thinking it justifies rape suggests that they think those women owe them something. See the problem with that line of thought?

- Statistics vary from country to country, but generally more than 50% of rapists are known to their victims. For Australia, the stats given in my criminal law lectures show that only 17% of the rape cases were perpetrated by complete strangers. And those are only the ones that are reported. How much more likely are you to not report someone you know compared to a total stranger?

- There's something wrong here. Most of these cases aren't about strangers in dirty alleys treating a random unfortunate passerby as a sex object. A lot of them are men who know their victims as a person, have probably even conversed with them like a friend, sometimes in a position of trust...and these men have apparently given no thought to how they hurt them. Why is this? I don't really think it's such a stretch to suggest a relationship between violence against women (sexual or otherwise) and a perceived inferiority of the sex.


...wow it feels good letting all that out. When I should be doing my microecons. Shit. Anyway, this is messy and unedited at best, but I think it comes off best that way? Screw eloquence, this is how I feel: raw and passion and not without reason. Still, don't take the things I say here for granted. Go do a little googling of your own. I only hope I've managed to better explain why I am a feminist, in conjunction with the previous post.

Edit: random question - What would you think of a father who says he loves his wife more than his kids? Following that, what would you think of a mother who says she loves her husband more than her kids?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Feminism, what?

random fleeting thoughts on it -

I am woefully ignorant, but I do try. I scour feminist blogs and I read and read and read and my head spins and sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't. But on the whole, this is what feminism screams to me: that you can be whatever you want to be. Screw gender roles, screw societal/media ideals; hell, screw other 'feminists' telling you what to do. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn't so self-absorbed as to completely ignore men either (but yes, most focus on females because well, there are a lot more issues for us). So guys, if you somewhat fit within the acceptable idea of male, good for you; if you don't...join the club. Not that you have to be a misfit to be a feminist, of course.

I think feminists approach issues that impede us in reaching that goal i.e. being whatever what we want to be. Most of us gloss over them in everyday life, the media, (I know I do) as an inevitable nuisance, and a lot think feminism isn't needed anymore (you've already got your vote, place in the workforce, and your liberal sex life - what more do you want?). In a lot of small ways and quite some big ones, it still is. I'll say this first, I can't answer why well enough; did try but I'm not so well-read or great in stringing my for-now-incoherent thoughts together. Will try again in the future ahaha. But if you are curious about what feminists gather to talk about other than plot Ze Downfall of Men, here. Or google; I'm sure you'll find something.

By the way, writing off feminism as a whole as two-faced is akin to assuming the whole organized religion represents the individual church/believer/whatever. I'm sure any of you who are believers of a particular faith have once upon a time writhed in agony over the antics of a supposed fellow believer. It shouldn't be too difficult to comprehend it might be the same for feminists too. Feminism is an ideology and duh, it's bound to have dissenting factions. The basic tenets are...arguably the same, but the different ways people go about putting it in action still invite criticisms from within and without. So don't be too quick to dismiss it. There is thinking and evolving and debating and people putting up with all the stigma because they believe that it's a worthy cause; that yes, you can be all you want to be.

I can certainly get behind something like that.