A critique of Feminism worth reading

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A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby melsbells » Wed Feb 22, 14:53 2017

I get the vast majority of my English language and U.S. based news from http://www.npr.org. I've been a dedicated reader of Code Switch (with an editorial staff that I greatly respect), so when I saw the article titled Today's Feminism: Too Much Marketing, Not Enough Reality, I decided it was worth reading with an open mind. The author, Amy Alexander, touches on a lot of points that reminded me of the recent threads on Bourgeois Feminist Bullshit and Dialogue principles vs. Unity.

I felt myself agreeing with everything the Amy Alexander called for in the piece.
Today's iteration of feminism might gain wider credibility by recognizing and adopting core aspects of women of color's experiences: Resilience, self-love, and fundamental understanding that one's self-worth is not defined by the same markers of success that have defined white male status since the beginning of time in America.


I was mildly surprised by how contemporary feminism was defined.
At this moment, whether expressed by the second-wave, Gloria Steinem wing, or the third-wave corporatist Sheryl Sandberg arm, or the rowdy, genitalia-obsessed Lena Dunham arm, it seems that 'feminism' in 2017 is more concerned with promoting superficial trappings of genuine equality than with doing the tough work required to address the hard, cold facts of gender and racial inequality.
I can admit to being in a bit of a bubble, no longer living in the U.S., and getting my contemporary feminist sources from here and places like Everyday Feminism, which I find to be devoted to intersectionality as opposed to merely paying lip service.

Amy Alexander points out that a Day Without Women, while having great symbolic meaning, is something that only women with power have the ability to participate in without losing their livelihood. Other things recently brought to my attention like problems with the Women's march and the article on Bourgeois Feminism mentioned earlier have been jogging me out of my Feminism-is-for-Everybody-bubble to suggest that people are rallying behind a feminism that is a disconnect from the intersectional feminism to which I came and found home.

How do we get the people carrying the banner of feminism in the upper classes to carry the banner for the lower classes? How do we get white feminists to carry the banner for people of color? What do we do to get people to care about people they aren't? How do we make true intersectional feminism mainstream feminism?

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby YesIAmMale » Thu Mar 30, 16:50 2017

Unfortunately, Feminism as an ideology has become synonymous with radical thinking, in which misandry is considered the norm as it is these people who seemingly attract the most attention, thus giving those of rational more liberal feminism a bad name. Personally, the biggest critique of Feminism as a movement is some of the people that identify with the ideology. (Please note: I am more than aware that this is not all feminists) it is simply those who identify but fail to adhere to the belief system of gender equality. It is those that push ridiculous notions such as "manspreading" that are of concern and quite frankly give a very valid movement a bad name.

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby rowan » Fri Mar 31, 9:39 2017

YesIAmMale wrote:Unfortunately, Feminism as an ideology has become synonymous with radical thinking, in which misandry is considered the norm


Only in your head.
spacefem wrote:All your logical argue are belong to us!

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby melsbells » Fri Mar 31, 13:16 2017

And now we have the follow-up, barely informed critique of Feminism that we've all heard before. And look, we're given to opportunity to be labeled as rational femnists as long as we reject a list of criteria. Then we can regain its validity as a movement (as opposed to, you know, stop ignoring the oppression of people who aren't upper-class white women that the original critique was talking about).

Hey, it's Friday!

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby Sonic# » Fri Mar 31, 14:39 2017

I liked the original post when I read it the first time, melsbells. I didn't feel like I had enough of an answer to reply, but it would've been better than that. I think if we have access to power and the availability to march and act, we should. We should also develop messaging that explicitly addressess and builds in what is so often left out. That's got to happen with education, and I think that our media reading habits today is both more selective and more self-selective. It's not that someone turns on a TV and sees police brutality in Birmingham. A lot of people avoid the news, and others still are selective about their websites, and big differences exist in gender/racial discourse at Buzzfeed, Vice, Slate, Mother Jones, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, the National Review, and on and on... I could easily see someone picking two or three sites from that list, being nominally liberal and feminist, but not remotely intersectional. More locally, could there be more subversive pushes: tracts with pussyhats?

YesIAmMale doesn't sound like they've seen true manspreading. Deep manspreading. Manspreading for the cure. You know what logic dictates? You take up as much space as you need. If you have an average frame and can't sit in a single seat on a train, knees anywhere from together to shoulder-length-apart, do you have springs in that groin?

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby rowan » Fri Mar 31, 15:22 2017

oh gosh I didn't even notice that was posted in an existing thread. Melsbells, I will go read it once I get home and have a glass of wine in hand. :)

Sonic# wrote:YesIAmMale doesn't sound like they've seen true manspreading. Deep manspreading. Manspreading for the cure. You know what logic dictates? You take up as much space as you need. If you have an average frame and can't sit in a single seat on a train, knees anywhere from together to shoulder-length-apart, do you have springs in that groin?

AHAHHAHAHAHA
spacefem wrote:All your logical argue are belong to us!

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby YesIAmMale » Sat Apr 1, 14:29 2017

[mod note - make your posts one post. Worried that there's too much text for one post? There'd also be too much text for three.]

rowan wrote:
YesIAmMale wrote:Unfortunately, Feminism as an ideology has become synonymous with radical thinking, in which misandry is considered the norm


Only in your head.

Not at all, Feminism in my head consists of normal rational discussion in which people are able to discuss genuine issues both men and women face; I have read endless articles and social media posts of people bashing feminism because of a few individuals. I'm pretty sure I quite clearly state that I'm in favour of feminism and as such I do not associate it with radical thinking... Therefore making your comment "Only in your head" invalid. That is not to say that there are not people who associate feminism with such radical ideologies, I was merely stating that people do and that, in my opinion, is one of the biggest weaknesses facing the movement in the West today.

rowan wrote:oh gosh I didn't even notice that was posted in an existing thread. Melsbells, I will go read it once I get home and have a glass of wine in hand. :)

Sonic# wrote:YesIAmMale doesn't sound like they've seen true manspreading. Deep manspreading. Manspreading for the cure. You know what logic dictates? You take up as much space as you need. If you have an average frame and can't sit in a single seat on a train, knees anywhere from together to shoulder-length-apart, do you have springs in that groin?

AHAHHAHAHAHA

I have never once seen a man purposefully take up as much space as humanly possible, it is never done to do so... quick edit: I quoted the wrong person but you get the idea :)

melsbells wrote:And now we have the follow-up, barely informed critique of Feminism that we've all heard before. And look, we're given to opportunity to be labeled as rational femnists as long as we reject a list of criteria. Then we can regain its validity as a movement (as opposed to, you know, stop ignoring the oppression of people who aren't upper-class white women that the original critique was talking about).

Hey, it's Friday!

You are free to reject and ideas you deem extreme regardless of whether or not I view them as such. And in no sense I am solely speaking on behalf of white middle class women. The oppression of women in the west has declined majorly and I will be the first to admit that there are still some areas that unfortunately affect women negatively more so than men and vice versa, and when discussing which the validity of the movement cannot be overestimated. In the east however there is an undoubted major oppression against women to a somewhat similar degree that 1st wave feminism tackled, and rightly so may I add.

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby rowan » Sun Apr 2, 8:02 2017

Oh look yet another person who thinks that just because people have it worse elsewhere we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads. Because somehow we can't work on more than one thing at once.
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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby YesIAmMale » Sun Apr 2, 11:17 2017

rowan wrote:Oh look yet another person who thinks that just because people have it worse elsewhere we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads. Because somehow we can't work on more than one thing at once.

At no point did I say not to worry about issues that affect women and men in the western world... I simply made the comparison... nor did I say that you should focus on one issue at a time, you are assuming my position on the issue at hand... which is not your intention, correct?

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby melsbells » Mon Apr 3, 12:40 2017

rowan wrote:oh gosh I didn't even notice that was posted in an existing thread.

Eh, there were a couple of threads in a similar vein not long before I posted this. I think I was asking fairly inaccessible questions as well, but I'm not quite sure how to break down the question of how to make Feminism more intersectional.

YesIAmMale, I am fully aware that my response was antagonistic. I'm sorry for my antagonism. I would like you to note that you hijacked this (practically dead) thread, instead of responding to it.

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby lexiewalt » Tue Apr 4, 7:38 2017

YesIAmMale wrote:Unfortunately, Feminism as an ideology has become synonymous with radical thinking, in which misandry is considered the norm


Where? Feminism is not radical, it is simply an attempt to give us the rights that men have had for centuries, and I don't even believe that mainstream people think it is radical. Some may disagree with it, but 90% of ppl still see it as legitamate thinking, and not misandrist.

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby YesIAmMale » Thu Apr 6, 8:57 2017

lexiewalt wrote:
YesIAmMale wrote:Unfortunately, Feminism as an ideology has become synonymous with radical thinking, in which misandry is considered the norm


Where? Feminism is not radical, it is simply an attempt to give us the rights that men have had for centuries, and I don't even believe that mainstream people think it is radical. Some may disagree with it, but 90% of ppl still see it as legitamate thinking, and not misandrist.

At no point did I say I see it as radical nor do I believe it to be, however there are some, who are growing in numbers who see it as such.

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby Nachos » Thu Apr 6, 14:41 2017

Dear YesIAmMale, have you thought of introducing yourself over in New Members first instead of diving straight in? We would appreciate that. There is a guide in the sticky in the subforum you can use if you are stuck for ideas.
Ugh, I'm tired of my signature.

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby Unvoiced_Apollo » Fri Apr 7, 10:37 2017

YesIAmMale wrote:
lexiewalt wrote:
YesIAmMale wrote:Unfortunately, Feminism as an ideology has become synonymous with radical thinking, in which misandry is considered the norm


Where? Feminism is not radical, it is simply an attempt to give us the rights that men have had for centuries, and I don't even believe that mainstream people think it is radical. Some may disagree with it, but 90% of ppl still see it as legitamate thinking, and not misandrist.

At no point did I say I see it as radical nor do I believe it to be, however there are some, who are growing in numbers who see it as such.


Words matter. Wherher incidental or purposeful, you implied that you saw feminism as radical thinking and misandry. There is a far difference from saying what feminism is synonymous with (radical thinking and misandry) and saying there are those who see it as such.

And now you've raised the questions: who are "some" that see feminism this way. Are you referring to those calling themselves feminists or those moving against it? What are the elements they or you would consider radical/misandric? What rate of growth are we talking, if it even is growing and not simply a consequence of technology meaning more access to information?

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby YesIAmMale » Fri Apr 7, 19:15 2017

Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:
YesIAmMale wrote:
lexiewalt wrote:
Where? Feminism is not radical, it is simply an attempt to give us the rights that men have had for centuries, and I don't even believe that mainstream people think it is radical. Some may disagree with it, but 90% of ppl still see it as legitamate thinking, and not misandrist.

At no point did I say I see it as radical nor do I believe it to be, however there are some, who are growing in numbers who see it as such.


Words matter. Wherher incidental or purposeful, you implied that you saw feminism as radical thinking and misandry. There is a far difference from saying what feminism is synonymous with (radical thinking and misandry) and saying there are those who see it as such.

And now you've raised the questions: who are "some" that see feminism this way. Are you referring to those calling themselves feminists or those moving against it? What are the elements they or you would consider radical/misandric? What rate of growth are we talking, if it even is growing and not simply a consequence of technology meaning more access to information?

In my personal experience the growth of people who believe as such is steady. It is for each individual to decide what they view as radical ideology, it is not objective fact. There are many things cited by these individuals as to why they believe what they do. The most common I've seen/heard are as follows, the concept of manspreading, mansplaining, the disproportionate amount of money aimed towards breast cancer research when prostate cancer kills more than breast cancer and a few others.

To state my opinion out-right: I do not believe that feminism has become a radical movement; the statement I was making is that there is a growing number of people who do, especially among young adult men. However, there are some that I view as radical that identify with feminism however, it is my opinion that they do not suit the definition nor do they represent what I believe feminism stands for.

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby YesIAmMale » Fri Apr 7, 19:18 2017

YesIAmMale wrote:
Unvoiced_Apollo wrote:
YesIAmMale wrote:At no point did I say I see it as radical nor do I believe it to be, however there are some, who are growing in numbers who see it as such.


Words matter. Wherher incidental or purposeful, you implied that you saw feminism as radical thinking and misandry. There is a far difference from saying what feminism is synonymous with (radical thinking and misandry) and saying there are those who see it as such.

And now you've raised the questions: who are "some" that see feminism this way. Are you referring to those calling themselves feminists or those moving against it? What are the elements they or you would consider radical/misandric? What rate of growth are we talking, if it even is growing and not simply a consequence of technology meaning more access to information?

In my personal experience the growth of people who believe as such is steady. It is for each individual to decide what they view as radical ideology, it is not objective fact. There are many things cited by these individuals as to why they believe what they do. The most common I've seen/heard are as follows, the concept of manspreading, mansplaining, the disproportionate amount of money aimed towards breast cancer research when prostate cancer kills more than breast cancer (I'm not saying these people are asking to stop breast cancer research), and the fact that the highest killer of men aged 18-35 supposedly due to the repression of male emotion and others reasons and then a few other concepts.

To state my opinion out-right: I do not believe that feminism has become a radical movement; the statement I was making is that there is a growing number of people who do, especially among young adult men. However, there are some that I view as radical that identify with feminism however, it is my opinion that they do not suit the definition nor do they represent what I believe feminism stands for.

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Re: A critique of Feminism worth reading

Postby Aum » Fri Apr 7, 22:50 2017

I'm assuming we're mostly talking about the United States in this thread, so that's what I'll go on in my reply. The U.S. is suffering from populism in general right now, which generally represents a modality of thinking that is a lot more superficial in its effort to draw conclusions. Some feminists are part of this, and in turn we have a media establishment that is hell bent on only representing feminism through these feminists. College campus social justice activists come to mind. They have been singled out as radicals like no other group, to the chagrin of life-long academics, and activist feminists who have been working on the ground level for many years.

Consider that a lot of us go through a namby pamby activist phase in our college years. I did. I look back at those photos now and cringe, but those were some prime years for self-development and learning (or mistaking) what the real world was about. My thoughts, feelings and actions have become a lot more succinct since then, more matured, more seasoned. I'm sure others here may feel similarly on reflection. The media establishment is taking these formative years and turning it into what the most recent iteration of feminism about, and that is simply untrue. It is part of the misogynist patriarchy and its usual agenda.

The other part to this which I already mentioned, and feel is a lot more pressing, is the populist aspect. There are people joining the feminist cause, as with all causes right now, but not really digging deep to understand the underpinnings of what they're fighting for. It's a vehicle for emotional venting, misdirected rage, and ignorance. I find myself combating these feminists regularly. They shut down talking circles with their personal offense, when really their entitlement to be offended should have no bearing on whether or not the conversation should continue. We have seasoned feminists who are being drowned out by impudence, while the media, who is all too willing to make these people the face of the movement, uses them to bait people away from their true oppressive agenda, like anti-abortion, etc. As populism polarizes people, the ones who are keeping their critical heads in a calm rational space are going to experience marginalization and exclusion. It's happening to every group right now, whether you're religious, or social justice, or queer, or a centrist politician. People who are balanced and sane are becoming the enemy.

It's a tough time to be a moderate in the U.S.
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