Falsifying the utility of the Feminism Label

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tomokun
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Falsifying the utility of the Feminism Label

Postby tomokun » Fri Mar 31, 13:55 2017

Ok... this post is not going to be anywhere NEAR as trolly as the subject... :p

On another forum there is a self-proclaimed egalitarian that is trying to make the argument that the label is bad and divisive, which I'm sure many of you are familiar with. This is a point I've NEVER agreed with, because I think labels as a tool for language are extremely useful, and a valid marketing approach is to CAUSE division. I mean, if its a movement for change, being divisive is sort of the point, eh?

At any rate, I think I came up with a pretty good way to shut down this type of argument from this specific type of person (or at least direct in a constructive way), and I'd like the feedback. I'd also love it if you can help me strengthen/falsify it/show me where my wording is making it intellectually dishonest. That sort of thing.

What would convince me that I'm wrong about the label of feminism being both useful and necessary? Do any ONE of these, and I'd be forced to cede the point to you.

1. IF you could demonstrate that having more specific language makes discussions more difficult to navigate.

2. IF you could demonstrate that Feminism as a philosophy does not have predictive reliability.

3. IF you could demonstrate that the LABEL of Feminism has a bigger impact than IGNORANCE of Feminist philosophy on the perception of Feminism.

4. IF you can demonstrate that Feminist views are not problematic when the label has been eschewed - for example if you could demonstrate that issues regarding the following are taken MORE SERIOUSLY or DISAPPEAR when the label is not used: wage gap, the prevailing rape epidemic, women as victims of domestic violence

5. IF you can demonstrate that Feminists are better able to work together and find allies without a name to identify themselves with.

So... there. That's me answering the question. Pretty easy, huh? If you can do ANY of the above, not all of them, just 1 of the 5... I'd agree with you. Full stop. No excuses.

Are you actually able to provide a similar list to me? Something honest, and easy to achieve?

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Sonic#
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Re: Falsifying the utility of the Feminism Label

Postby Sonic# » Fri Mar 31, 14:21 2017

In the label debate, whatever they're saying, what I overwhelmingly hear is, "Feminists shouldn't exist." Most debates about labels are by proxy debates about what the labels represent. Some guy with a Twitter feed thinks feminism sucks, at least the kind that's for addressing a wage gap and similar issues, and so suggests that if they didn't call it "feminism" he'd be on board? The only people able to make that argument have never depended on feminism for meaningful civil victories.

Maybe that's why you both try to defend the label of feminism and some of what feminism does. I think the 5-fold approach is bold in a way that you could walk away satisfied ... and all too easily dismissed. Because the person you're talking to could probably find an objection to at least one of those five things, whether it were valid or not. With 2, they could say that the burden of proof is on a system to show that it does have predictive reliability; with 5, a rather abstruse point is that feminists (or people interested in empowering women) have gathered together under names different from feminism, like Womanism. I like it in a general, glad-not-to-be-in-that-abstract-argument sense, but I'm not sure on its rhetorical effectiveness with an egalitarian.

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Re: Falsifying the utility of the Feminism Label

Postby Pikachu » Fri Mar 31, 15:25 2017

Any stigma the word Feminism carries will also be picked up by the new label. Be it HeforShe or Social Justice or whatever. The word only derives meaning from the ideology behind it. Changing the name is an argument to win support through obfuscation of the ideology. But it sounds to me this person is arguing for a change in feminist theory itself to match what he or she states to be more inclusive Egalitarianism. If one is going to make that argument than be intellectually honest and say that, don't hide behind a campaign for superficial name changes.

tomokun
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Re: Falsifying the utility of the Feminism Label

Postby tomokun » Fri Mar 31, 16:05 2017

Ah, to clarify, this guy simply wanted to do away with labels period. His point was that labels are stupid, and that Feminists should do away with the label because it does more harm than good. Which is just weird to me, because it's like an argument against the utility of language itself, rather than an actual argument against feminism, or specific feminist claims. But I agree Pika, if he was arguing that the label should be changed, that's just dumb. It's just perpetuating the "euphemism wheel", which has always struck me as rather pointless.

His response was as follows: <quote>1. If you could demonstrate how the label helps educate men as well as women better than being plain spoken about their beliefs; I would consider a change in view possibly.

2. If you could show how the label is wholly positive in its nature and not divisive; which I believe it to be.

3. If you could show how and when the term a label have voice or strength to anything... example the term has done nothing but identified and had women judged. However strong intelligent woman have done everything.

4. If you can show that the label isn't multifaceted... it means this to one lady but this to another... that the label actually has a simple definitive nature.

5. If you can demonstrate that the good of the label has created more good and brought men and women together in equality of society.

Fact is ya can't strong intelligent women did and do what they do. Not a label. The label might bring many together but it also divides. By labeling your saying I'm different, when only to a degree are we different. Its about balance understanding and communication.

It is easier if a woman says man I'm independant, and educated. I'm a strong woman, than say a woman who says I'm a feminist... I'm like what umm okay so what does that mean and what branch of the Apple tree of phemonist are you from... Its easier to just say what one means than saying I'm a label that could have a variety of meanings.</quote>

For your refutations Sonic (which I appreciate), on 2 I would simply provide examples of feminism's predictive reliability (e.g. studies on how women are actually more effective as managers because of feminine traits, how gender is a spectrum is supported by various studies, etc.).

With 5, the difficulty would be in demonstrating that to cooperation was improved by the changing of the label, which while difficult wouldn't be impossible. I just don't know that any such study has been done, because I'm not sure anyone has ever made that claim before. :p

At any rate, my main point was to elicit a similar list, which he did provide, but which I do not feel is as intellectually honest or comparibly fasifiable.

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Re: Falsifying the utility of the Feminism Label

Postby Pikachu » Fri Mar 31, 17:26 2017

I find it interesting that hes singling out Feminism here. He could make the same claims of MRA, any religious label, the word Left and Right Wing, Conservative or Liberal, trans or cisgender and countless other labels (issues) that divide and instigate debate, which also branch off into many subcategories. Why is feminism as a label uniquely ambiguous, divisive and bad or is he arguing for getting rid of labels across the board. If so it's arguing for a fundamental and impractical overhaul of the way society communicates.


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