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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » What is Feminism? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: What is Feminism?
Gumdrop Girl
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I'm really wondering. Is it a group of man-hating women wearing Birkenstocks? is it standing up for women's issues? do feminists reject all notions of gender roles? do feminists stand for equality, or special protections? do feminists burn bras and issues of Playboy?

Personally, i have never aligned myself with the feminist movement. i felt that feminists were a very exclusionary group of people with a lot of hostility. i felt like i didn't really have anything in common with them. in fact, i felt like i was their compelte antithesis.

yes, i like the woman's role in a household. i like mothers. i like men. but i am pro-choice. i am concerned with women issues. i want equal pay for equal work. i want women to receive proper health care. i want contraception to be available and covered under health insurance.

but just because i hold no animosity toward the title of "wife," does that negate my concerns for the good of womankind?

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"And who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail


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John Doe
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Why is health care a womans issue. Your post implies that women recive inferior health care than men, r that you don't care about men getting proper health care. Women tend to out live men by about 6 years on average, which would tend to imply that, on average women's health care is at least as good as mens health care.
Equal pay for equal work is already part of the law, provided of course that you are indeed talking about equal work, not just simalar work or work with simalar qualifications. Ultimately the supply and demand for workers with a given set of skills and occupations will determine what the wage levels are.
it seems like almost all of the movement in the last 30 years has been towards giving women more freedom from gender roles, but there has been almost no movement in freeing men from their gender roles. While fortunately we are not at war like we were 30 years ago, when boys were having there assees blown off but girls weren't, boys still have to register for the draft and girls don't. It is still genereally accepted that the boy or man pays for everything on a date. Women almost always get custody, or at least joint custody in divorce proceedings. Recently the supreme court ruled that children born out of wedlock overseas to american moms are automatically citizens, but those born to american dads are not.
Men could use a little equality.

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Lynne
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Feminism is a diverse movement right now. It's an umbrella term, under which fall a number of groups with differing philosophies. These groups include everything from "equal pay for equal work" moderates to separatists to anarchists to Marxists. What these groups seem to have in common is that they recognize that society treats men and women differently, with women getting the short end of the stick, and they seek to rectify that. After that, though, their views fragment.

I dug up (okay, quickly grabbed) a couple links of lists of varying types of feminism. I choose them because they were the longest and the first I found, and upon a quick glancing over, seem to be free of bias (excluding the commentary on the second link, but it's pretty obvious which parts of it are commentary from the contributors).

http://www.cddc.vt.edu/feminism/fields.html
http://www-lib.usc.edu/~retter/lst2.html

[This message has been edited by Lynne (edited 07-05-2001).]


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Rizzo
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Well, I'll admit to the Birkenstock part...

Anyway, it sort of frustrates me the way some people shy away from the term feminism just because of the way it has been falsely portrayed. Yes, there are man hating separatists. But as Lynne said, there are many different stripes of feminists. I for one, am sick of the infighting, which along with disproportionate media coverage for extremist feminists, has contributed to the unpopularity of the very word "feminist"...

Gumdrop: As long as you realize that it's not every woman's dream or destiny to become a wife, there's nothing conflicting about your desire to be one and your desire to stand up for women's rights. In my opinion, that is. But I do think that perhaps it would be good to broaden our expectations of what the roles of husband and wife entail.


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Milke
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Feminism is a movement that should also benefit men. I've identified as part of the group for about ten years, because it always made sense to me. And, as far as I can see . . . Feminists want income to be based on work done, not gender. We want health care easily available to everyeone, social assistance and child welfare to be more important to governments. We want to get rid of odd social conventions to restrict both men and women. And much of this has already been accomplished. I just believe that in a society where both men and women are allowed to be what they want to; what's natural to them, we'll all be a lot better off.
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John Doe
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Where is the evidence that feminism has helped men at all so far? How has life improved for men at all over the last 35 years (other than due to economic growth, new technology etc). Women have gained all sorts of new freedoms, what have men gained?
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BruinDan
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x

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 09-25-2002).]


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John Doe
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How long would that professor last if he were a man and said something like that about female students? He would have to pray that he was tenured, and even that might not save his butt. There is a complete double standard. By the way did your comment hurt you grade wise? Furthermore it is outragous that such a thing would be a required course.
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Dzuunmod
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As I've read through this thread, I've been slightly angered by things that have come from both sides.

Statistics can be used to show favour for almost any cause, John. A case in point: while it's true that women outlive men in most places, on average, the trend recently has been toward a closing of the gap. That's to say that men have been catching up lately in terms of life expectancy, indicating that most of the attention in recent years has gone to men.

At the same time as I say that, I'm still bothered that anyone even bothers to distinguish between men's health and women's health (unless they're talking about something specific to one sex). But to say, "I care about (wo)men's health," can and will be interpreted by some people to mean that the speaker doesn't care about the health of the other gender.

I don't know, Dan, that it's really up to feminists to help men do anything, though. Where is the structure among men? Women have been doing their own dirty work for a very long time, while men are a generally disorganized lot. If we want to change our gender roles, or our place in society, the ball is entirely in our court, methinks. After all, it took men far too long to clue in to the fact that maybe women ought to be treated like equals, so if they're not terribly interested in helping us, I don't blame 'em. And again, John, if women have gained things over the past, say century, thanks to feminism, I think the feminist movement ought to be commended. Us men shouldn't stand there saying, "Well yeah, that's all fine and dandy...but...what's in it for us?"

I have to ask anyone with that attitude, when was the last time you marched for women's rights?

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"...we're all thinking the same thing/let's not settle for satisfaction/we are women and men of action/let's stop clapping let's start doing/a dream for the teens and in-betweens and twenties yet unseen"
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Gumdrop Girl
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whoo! what a hot can of fish!

perhaps in my haste, i was seriously misunderstood.

yes, i want men to get health care, too. really, i do. but i want women to get the prenatal care that they need in times of pregnancy. i want women to get mammograms at the age of 35. i want birth control to be covered under health insurance policies that also cover Viagra -- birth control does so much more than prevent pregnancies.

i don't want to reject the notions of family. as a woman, i think someday it'd be nice if i had one. but i have seen cases in which children have been handed over to their mothers after nasty divorces when in fact, it would be better for them to be with their fathers. according to american census data, single fathers are fast growing in number. i applaud that. I wish more dads actively played a role in their childrens' lives.

imho, it's not a matter of getting preferential treatment over men. i'm very much against preferential treatment (affirmative action, quotas, the whole kit and caboodle). But maybe it's a matter of playing "catch up." And i'm sure you must be wondering how it's possible to do that without preferential treatment. Well, it is. It's about levelling the playing ground for everyone and working up from there.

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"And who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Dzuunmod:
I don't know, Dan, that it's really up to feminists to help men do anything, though... (snip)...Us men shouldn't stand there saying, "Well yeah, that's all fine and dandy...but...what's in it for us?"

No, and I am not suggesting that feminists help us do anything, I am suggesting that they not hurt men by being overly radical. I see no problem with women organizing and challenging the nation and the world to treat them with the respect and the equality they so deserve. The fact that they did so has had dramatic results in society today, and I'm convinced it has made the country more livable.

My problem is only with the radical feminist side of the coin. I feel that stereotyping men and branding them as a monolithic block known as "The Patriarchy" is just as bad as the way women were all branded as housewives and homemakers in pre-feminist days. Such ideas do not serve any useful purpose, and serve only to alienate men and some of the women that they are so concerned about. It is that particular group of feminists that I find counter-productive, and I feel that a more accepting posture of women who are not so radical (and of men in general) can only help the cause.

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Dzuunmod
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I think I pretty much agree with you, Dan. I guess it just took me some more explaining to get to that.

And, Gumdrop, I wasn't suggesting that you think that women deserve better health care than men, I was just saying that it's entirely possible (and probable, in my estimation) that people might interpret your words as such.

Further confusing me with respect to all that health stuff (and supporting your case to some degree, John) is the fact that prostate cancer funding is proportionately well below funding for breast cancer (second item). This really bugs me. In fact, the whole idea of politicized diseases (breast cancer ranking right up there with AIDS) really bugs me, but that's a thread for another day.

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"...we're all thinking the same thing/let's not settle for satisfaction/we are women and men of action/let's stop clapping let's start doing/a dream for the teens and in-betweens and twenties yet unseen"
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Laughs_Wisely
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I'm a feminist. As far as the stereotype goes, I'm a butch dyke with a fondness for cars, pro-choice, who rejects societally imposed gender stereotypes and roles.

No man-hating.

I'm proud to call myself a feminist. I guess I'm what you'd call an egalitarian feminist. I think women and men should be able to do what they want with their lives (so long as they have the means to do it), whether that means staying home and cooking, or heading out to repair bathroom sinks.

I have burnt bras, and I have torched my share of Cosmo and Playboy in my time, but I considered doing so a personal, private protest against the reinforcement of appearance bias.

I can be a nasty, angry woman when my beliefs about equality are outright assaulted, or when faced with blatant bigotry, and for that reason, I am usually branded a radical feminist. I'm not. I don't think men should be rounded up and shot. I like men. They're nice. I rather dislike radical feminists, because I think they're missing the point: Neither sex is superior in all things. Therefore, neither sex should be arbitrarily deemed superior. Opressing those who have opressed you in the past is not an answer, it's a feelgood bandaid.

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Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.
( Tr. "I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head." )


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John Doe
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I was reacting to Milke's statement that Feminism is good for men, which is complete nonsense. I am 100% in favor of equal rights. But lets stop the double standards. A professor teaching a required course at a prestegious public university should not be a hate monger. Could you honestly think what the reaction would be if there were a memer of the KKK teaching such a course? T-shirts which say "girls rule" should be just as unaceptable in schools as shirts that say "whites rule". We should be outrags when sitting members of the bench, especially family court judges are members of groups like NOW.
Equal rights fine. Where is the violence against men act? Why aren't girls signing up for the draft? Why aren't there equal numbers of fathers with primarry custody of the children as mothers after divorce? Why aren't fathers vistiation rights as vigorously enforced by the courts as child support payments? Why when men do get custody are women almost never required to pay child support or alimony? why are there police policies which state that "if a husband and a wife get into a fight, just slap the cuffs on the man"? Why is a woman allowed to strike a man with impunity but a man can never strike back. i am not suggesting that men be allowed to hit women, but that the laws be fairly and impartially administered. Assaulting your partner is assault. I am pro choice (although I really wish more women would opt for the adoption route). But where is the choice for men. Men and women are eequally responsible for contraception. But if the woman decides to keep the baby, the father has no choice about child support. If he wants the baby, but she doesn't there is nothing he can do stop her from getting an abortion. Now i am a deeply commited father, and the idea of walking away from my child is as forigen as any idea to me. But i strongly belive that emotional and financial support should be sort of a package. The idea that the only rights that an unwed father has is the right to write a check is simply not fair and it is not equal protection.
How about the right to be openly affectionate with a child who is not your own? Women can do it, but if a man does it he runs a serious risk of being labled a child molestor.

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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by John Doe:
why are there police policies which state that "if a husband and a wife get into a fight, just slap the cuffs on the man"?

Just to comment on the way the law stands...In 32 states in the Union (including mine and yours, John) there are laws which explicitly state that in cases of domestic violence, police are supposed to arrest the "Dominant Aggressor." I have arrested both men and women for cases of domestic violence, depending on who the Dominant Aggressor was. This is not necessarily the person who started the fight, but who caused the most harm or took it to the highest level. For example, the first time I arrested a woman in a domestic violence case, she had wielded a large knife and attempted to stab her husband during the course of an argument while he merely restrained her arms. Since her use of force was grossly disproportionate to his use of force, she was placed under arrest for 245/273.5 (Assault with a Deadly Weapon / Domestic Violence).

So it does work both ways, John. I know that you had a nasty incident take place in your life, and I am sorry that it happened to you. I think it is possible that the police officers who responded in your case were simply mistaken, or had to base their judgement on the few facts they had at hand. But I just do not think the law is unfair to men or selectively enforced in favor of women.

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Rizzo
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First off, I do think feminism has helped men in some ways. I think most feminists, after having fought to free themselves from restricting gender roles, are more accepting of men who do not fit into traditional roles either.

But, as has been said, feminism isn't really meant to help men. Nor is it meant to harm them. If you want to fight for men's rights, without harming those of women, good for you. I support that. But generally I fight harder for things I know about. I know more about being a woman, that's all. Men are the ones who should be organizing a men's movement.

Regarding health care, I agree that funding discrepencies are outrageous. But I'd also like to say that in recent history, the majority of doctors have been men. And I would say that this bias does have an effect on the attitudes toward women's bodies.


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Milke
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Girls and women forced into roles that are unnatural to and undesired by them will result in them becoming, stunted, unhappy, unproductive people. I live with, and love, a male partner. He's aware of my beliefs about feminism, and very supportive. Maybe it's because he believes that my being human means I should have the same rights as he does, and wants to make sure that's the case. Maybe it's because he knows that the training I'm seeking right means I should be able to get a good job, and if his health continues to be poor, be our main source of income. Maybe it's because he prefers me to be a partner, a fully-realised person, rather than a Stepford wife, and wants any children we have to grow up with two supportive parents who aren't bound to harmful conventions, and can become happy people themselves. Maybe it's because he's not fond of some of the conventions that bind men, and knows that my beliefs as a feminist are completely for getting rid of them. Or maybe it's just a combination of these reasons, and others I'll bring up when I've got a bit more time.

And John, FYI, getting offensive just because you don't agree with me -- or haven't done much research on the topic -- is really damn inappropriate here.


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Rizzo:
Men are the ones who should be organizing a men's movement...........But I'd also like to say that in recent history, the majority of doctors have been men. And I would say that this bias does have an effect on the attitudes toward women's bodies.

Two things I would like to expand on. First of all, I have a hard time believing that a "Men's Movement" would fly. I have a feeling that any such movement would be seen as nothing short of a threat to the Women's Movement, and would be fought tooth and nail. In 1998 I took a micropolitics (political science at local levels) course where we talked about a man in Arizona who was attempting to start a men's movement after being disillusioned as a result of a divorce. He was promptly steamrolled by the local chapter of NOW for his attempt. Now I know that is only one case in one area, but I think it is indicative of what would happen were there to be a nationwide Men's Movement.

As for the potential bias towards women's bodies, I think I see what you are getting at but I am still not quite certain. Could you expand on that a little bit? Being male, I was never able to see the bias up close. The only thing I did see was that when my mother had breast cancer and my grandfather had prostate cancer (at the same time), my mother had all sorts of experimental treatment options, while my grandfather had none. That is probably something that should be changed.

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Gumdrop Girl
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quote:
...a man in Arizona who was attempting to start a men's movement after being disillusioned as a result of a divorce. He was promptly steamrolled by the local chapter of NOW for his attempt.

what was on his agenda? personally, i don't like the idea of NOW squelching him like that, but that depends on the circumstances. was he outright misogynistic or something? Or was he just trying to make a case for men who are divorced and want custody or changes in alimony laws.

What about Promise Keepers? I think they're a great organization. They encourage men to empower themselves through spirituality and take on leadership responsiblities and do good in their homes and communities. As much as they are derided by certain feminist organizations, I think they are a positive force for thousands of men across America.

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"And who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail


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Heather
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I just want to poke in with something diplomatic, and perhaps more importantly, realistic, here.

The reality is -- like it or no, and I do wish it were not so -- that less men are interested in lifelong parenting than women have been, even in socities in which paternal parenting is thought of as far more important than it is here. The reality also is that women are far, FAR, more often the victims of domestic violence, of rape, and of a lack of equity in the workforce and politically based on nothing but gender or on her marital status, and that has been a LONG time going.

Really, I'd be all for both men's and women's movements which worked for their group with the greater goal of ultimate equity in mind(and I would be far, FAR more active in the feminist movement if it did). In other words, in my ideal world, I'd like tohear BOTH men and women saying: "Hey, let's start basing things not on gender, but on need, on skills, on communication and on cooperation." And I agree that some b rances of feminism have been anything BUT that, and I find that really depressing and upsetting.

But unfortunately -- to my knowledge -- even more of the men's groups have focused not on equality, nor on health issues topical to men, on parenting issues topical to men, etc, but on a certain sort of knee-jerk backlash to what "women are taking," abd often many of those men's groups are hugely discriminatory when it comes to race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status and social strata. Bear in mind statements made, for instance, by the group Gumdrop referred to (which I personally think is about as valuable to men and women as Dworkin's more horrendous ideas were), like this, "I am not suggesting that [men] ask for your role (as leader of the family) back, I am urging you to take it back. There can be no compromise here." Or the fact that the founder and leader of that group has been instrumental in anti-gay legistlation, or the pretty racist sentiment of Boone, a frequent PK speaker who said, "the black community must stop criticizing Uncle Tom and in fact should hold him up as a role model." In other words, blacks are okay as long as they act like us good'ol boys. Charming. Oh, I can feel the empowerment surging. Come on. Not only are groups like these pretty wretched when it comes to women, I'm inclined to say they are even WORSE when it comes to the message they send men and what they do not do for them.

And hey, The Promise Keepers have an annual budget of well over 100 million dollars each year, but I have yet to see them working on, say, prostate cancer, or that other big disease we've been hearing about out there that hits a substantial number of men out there, AIDS.

I don't mean to be a downer or an Eeyore here, but I think that it's important we see the realities in WHY some of these things are the way they are, and in general, the reality is that women were in a position of gross inequity (and often still are, globally) for thousands of years that men were not. And the women's movement is considerably young in the face of that history, so while I'd like to see more egalitarian work, I'd be naive to think that it's easy to get a staart on cleaning up that big of a mess. And the other reality is that thuis far in history, men have largely been mobilzed for wars, and many of them when working collectively tend to take that type of mentality on, and again, that may well be because men looking at how to define not just women, but themselves without being a counterpart to a very dualistic system, in an egalitarian model is new. I am almost inclined to say I'd guess it is MORE difficult for men to define new roles -- and themselves -- than it is for women right now.

In other words, these things take time, but our ideals very rarely can work if totally divorced from the real.

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-07-2001).]


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Rizzo
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Actually, Dan, I wasn't saying that male doctors are biased in favour of women's bodies, I was trying to say that they are less familiar wiht women's bodies, and this has a negative effect for women.

Miz Scarlet, I agree with you about the men's movement. It seems that most of them have focused on reinstating traditional gender roles and "taking back" what feminism has "stolen" from them.


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John Doe
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Dan, what i said was pretty much of a quote from the officer who arrested me. He was polite and civil, but he just explained to me that that was the policy. While it may be that the laws are written in a gender nutral manner sometimes, that is not how they are enforced. Just as laws are written in a racially nutral manner, yet I have never been arrested for diriving while being white.
Milke, I was not trying to be offensive, but a statement like that just could not go unchallenged. And yes i have done a fair amout of study into these issues.
Heather, yes women are more likely to be the victims of domestic violence than men, but no where near as much as is commonly thought. Unless you have cases like Dan's first arrest where knives are used, women on men violence does not get reported. While there is some social inhibition for a women to call about being abused by her husband or boyfriend, it is nothing comparied to that a man in the same position faces. And in cases where both are at fault, it is the man who gets dragged away, and thus the male violence is counted, while the female violence is not. That doesn' t even start to count the false accusations of DV, which is a form of violence in and of it self, with the woman just using the police and the court system as her wepon of anger and revenge. After all in most cases there are no witnesses and it is a he said she said situation.
As for the doctor question, that is very rapidly changing since over half of the med students inthe country now are women.
I am not a big fan of Promise Keepers. they seem to me to be an offshoot of the pat Robertson school of thought. Nowhere have I stated anything along the lines of a "man is the king of his castle and all his family are his servants. Some of the things i have spicifically mentioned are at the moment largely symbolic, such as the issue of the draft. However there is not guarantee that it will always be symbolic. At the time the modern womans movement got underway, it was anything but symbolic. There are lots of other symbolic things, but they are so ingrained as to be considered just part of common curtosy. For example letting a woman get off the elevator first. I do those sort of things out of habit, and because i do not wish to be rude. Other things have an econmic impact, but you just deal with them. They are not fair, but if you expect the woman to pick up the tab for a date, or even go dutch, well second dates are far less likely. In my situation its not that big a deal (not that I am dating much yet) but I'm sure for lots of readers of this board, who are in their first minimum wage job flipping burgers, it is a big deal.
The need for changes in the family court system however, are very very real and have a dramatic effect on the ives of millions of men who are routinely unfairly treated.
Look I have a little girl who i love with all my heart, and i'll be dammed if i want to see her discriminated against because she is a girl. i want her to have all the oppurtunities in the world. At the same time I have two sons who i also love with all my heart, and I will be equally dammed if i want to see them discriminated against because of their gender. As things stand now, and given the direction they seem to be going, i am more worried about my sons than my daughter.
yes, the discrimination that you personally feel and affcts you tends to be more important to you than that which happens to others. yes there were many whites who marched for civil rights for blacks, but not as many as blacks marching for civil rights, and certianly not 8x the number which is what you would expect based on population alone.

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Heather
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Bear in mind that the things I stated regarding violence and the history of gender discrimintation refers to a GLOBAL -- not national -- issue. And globally, unless someone has some statistics I have not seen (which I'd be happy to look at) domestic violence largely has women as its victims way more than 80% of the time, at a bare minimum.

That does not mean -- as I also feel with rape and sexual assault -- it's okay to dismiss the problem as it applies to men, either as victims or as perps, and I think it is very important that we DO address the problem as it addresses all genders from all sides. But I think we can address all genders while still facing the realities. I don't think we need to pad actuality in order to be egalitarian.

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Heather Corinna
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My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
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[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-08-2001).]


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Beppie
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John, I really don't think that your sons are in any more danger of being discriminated against than your daughter. I am well aware that there are some areas where men are discriminated against today, but when you look at how things occur socially (as opposed to legally), I think that women are still discriminated against more, although this is growing less all the time. However, things like "you're acting like a girl" is still used as an insult to men, while "you're acting like a boy" is more likely to be "cute" when applied to a girl.

Now, personally, I think that feminism is about women sticking up for themselves, and that doesn't necessarily mean against men. Personally, I've found that a lot of gender discrimination I've faced comes from women- for instance, when I chose not to shave my legs in high school, it was mostly girls who picked on me for it- some were even insulted by it. Now, guys did it too, but it made me think- maybe they only did that because women allowed it as acceptable behaviour. Of course the issue is far more complex than that- there are some men who are total misogynists and view and treat women in an extremely derogatory fashion. However, I think that the key to equality is women providing support for each other when we choose to do things that are not traditionally feminine.


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John Doe
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Beppie, the things that I pointed out are by and large De jure discrimination, ie discrimination which is actually written into the laws, or in the case of many of the divorce court things so ingrained into the judges as to be practically legislated. In general family court judges are granted far more discretion than are judges in criminal cases, so appeals are mostly useless. There are many family court judges who are actually memebers of NOW, which I find outrageous.
As for the social discrimination, the point you make should be turned on its head. What in effect you are saying is that socially girls are more allowed to display traditionally male traits than boys are allowed to display traditionally female traits. Being a tom boy is not the social stigma that being a sissy boy is.
In both eduaction and judical sttings boys are routinely given far harsher punishements than girls for the same infractions. In prison it is not uncommon for the mother to be allowed to have her child with her for up to two years. A man in prison will never get to have his baby with him (other than for maybe an hour or so a week on visiting days). Socially, fatherhood is not valued anywhere near as much as motherhood. Heck Fathers Day did not become a holiday for 56 years after Mothers Day became a holiday. A mother is ASSUMED to be a good mother, a father has to PROVE that he is a good father.
Why if feminism is supposed to be considered women getting together to stick up for themselves, not particlarly against men, are mens rights groups (is there even a word masculanism?) percived to be mysoginist. Can't men stick up for themselves as well, without being percived as being anti woman or is this just another case of the double standard.

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Heather
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I'm not seeing anyone here saying that all men's groups ARE seen as misogynist, John. What I am seeing is it being said is that some often ARE so.

And I think it's safe to say that any group which is basing its premise on "getting back at" or "taking away from" another group that hasn't actually taken anything from it is likely being oppressive. Fine examples of that are looking at China's treatment of Tibet, esp. Tibetan buddhists, or, more dramatically, religious, racial or national genocides.

In other words, men's groups are not de facto misogynist by being men's rights groups any more than women's groups are not de facto opressive to men unless they are, in fact, aiming to opress men, or doing so obliqely. For instance, while I don't think Andrea Dworkin may have intended to opress men with the "all penetration is rape" deal (and that certainly applies to some woman-to-woman sex, anyway), I do think that that is oppressive and negative (as well as just plain silly, but that's just my opinion, and it may be slanted by the mere fact that I have yet to find a penis that can do what a woman's fist can in that regard).

Make sense?

I really too, want to put in yet another vote to be sure we're not being ethnocentric here. The world is a very big place, and what happens in the U.S. is very small in context. I think when we're talking about gender issues, it's pretty darn important we look beyond our own backyards.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-09-2001).]


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John Doe
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I'll agree with you that I am perhaps being ethnocentric here, and should be prefacing my commments with, "in america, or in western society". The things that I have been talking about certianly do not apply to Afganistan, or anywhere in the Muslim world for that matter.

I'm not sure I get your point about movements aimed at getting back at something which has not been taken, ie Tibet. Please elaborate and clarify.

If Dwokins statement wasn't intended to oppress or insult, what was her point? I agree with you that it was silly. After all without penitration, the human race would quickly become extint. But why are people like this taken seriously. why doesn't the media ignore people like this the way they would ignore the rantings of a grand dragon of the KKK, or denounced like a Louis Farikan is.


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Beppie
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But John, don't you see that if the stigma against feminine behaviour was removed, then men wouldn't have any social restraints on their behaviour. The root cause of it is that women are still seen, by some (not all) people as somehow weaker than men are. I don't think this is men's fault. I think it's everyone's fault.

And this isn't the only thing- for instance, women are far more likely to be afraid of walking alone in the dark than men are. In courts, if a woman claims she was raped, the clothing she was wearing can be used against her, as though clothing has something to do with consent. Girls are more likely to be called derogatory terms for being promiscuous than guys are (and worst of all, it's often other girls doing the name calling).

John, I don't want to be snarky or anything, but it does seem that you seem a bit threatened by the idea that women do still face discrimination. Sure, there is discrimination against men and that shouldn't be diminished, but niether should the discrimination that still exists against women.


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John Doe
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Beppie,
i agree the stud/slut bit is a double standard, and an unjustifiable one. That is the sort of thing that is probably best changed by individual example and by talking to those you see useing such terms. I'm not sure if there is anything that public policy can do about it. I also agree that introducing what a woman was wearing as exculpitory evidnece is wrong. I know that if i were on a jury and the defense lawyer did that, it would backfire badly. I think that more often though these days, when a woman's clothes are offered into evidence in rape trials it is by the prosecutioon to show DNA evidence against the defendent.
As for the being afraid to walk alone at night, you are right that more women are afraid to do so. In part that is because women are, on average, weaker physically, then men are. However, a very big part of that greater level of fear is also irrational, men are four times as likely to be murdered on the streets as women are (I will grant you that most of the time it is done by other men), they are also about 4x as ikely to be robbed.
Part of it is that socially men are not allowed to show fear, or quite frankly any negative emotion other than anger. Men are supposed to be emotionally strong and be able to take it.
I know i grew up that way, it was not enforced by my paretns, but much more strongly by the other guys at school. Now i'm not the type who gets angry very easilly, I really don't like personal conflict. I love intelectual conflict but not personal conflict. When i get worked up about something, I have a strog tendency to intelectualize it and move as quickly as I can to a problem solving mode. In other words, what I am doing on these boards is one of my ways of dealing with the negative emotions that i have been having over the past few months. So if at times i seem a little pissed off at a situation, trust me, it is not meant personally towards anyone here. Rather than punch a wall, i punch the keys, rather than shouting I go to the library and try to figure things out. Yeah, its hard for me to express sadness, lonliness, fear, insecurity, grief. Trust me i have felt veryone of those emotions in spades over the last six months. i have also felt depression, near suicidal depression, and anger, near homicidal rage ( some of my fantisies about my ex wife would make Dr. Mengle blush). But for the most part those who see me at work have no idea that is how i am feeling. I try to channel things into more productive purposes. That is part of the reason a 42 year old fart like me is hanging around a board mostly geared at teens. i like to think that I can occasionally help someone, plus it gives me a sounding board as I vent my frustrations.
Well it is getting very late (I'm having a hard time sleeping due to the heat) and i am babbling way off topic here, so i guess i'll hang it up for the night.

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"and these three, faith hope and love abide, and the greatest of these is love"


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'rin
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i want to start an egalatarianist (?sp) movement. i want everyone to get equal pay for equal work, to have the ablitity to be drafted (but only 1 parent per 2 parent household and no single custodial parents) and have the same physical requirements for the millitary, i want everone to take shop and home ec, everyone to have the choice to take the wrestling unit in gym class (my school made girls do aerobics instead in highschool gym) and everyone to do equally well at math. at this point i don't see any of that happening. i tried to join the feminist movement b/c there really have historically been some huge slights towards women. i had some really bad experiences w/ it - trowing men out of take back the night rallys and burning my bra (i'm a d-cup, i need it thanks) while screaming "f*** the patriarchy" was the only brand of organized feminism at my college (a state university). unfortunately, that sort of thing has kind of made me bitter about feminism in general. anger is useful sometiems but com'mon waking men up in the middle of the night in finals week by screaming that all men are wastes of flesh under their dorm room windows will not decrease violence towards women....it'll just make those angry guys throw stuff out the windows at the protesters. (heck, some of the women not at the rally who were woken up by this crud threw stuff too, my roomate included). unfortuantely, through the actions of what are most likely the minority of feminists, many people associate the word feminism with that kind of rageful, anti-male behavior. there needs to be an equal rights movement that is not sepratist if we are going to get the rest of the way to equality, but i'm not sure how one could get off the ground.
'rin

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"-and i hope i'm not shooting my mouth off...again...and i pray i'm not tempting the fates....."
-james, off millionaires


Posts: 219 | From: lost in yonkers | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
'rin
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i want to start an egalatarianist (?sp) movement. i want everyone to get equal pay for equal work, to have the ablitity to be drafted (but only 1 parent per 2 parent household and no single custodial parents) and have the same physical requirements for the millitary, i want everone to take shop and home ec, everyone to have the choice to take the wrestling unit in gym class (my school made girls do aerobics instead in highschool gym) and everyone to do equally well at math. at this point i don't see any of that happening. i tried to join the feminist movement b/c there really have historically been some huge slights towards women. i had some really bad experiences w/ it - trowing men out of take back the night rallys and burning my bra (i'm a d-cup, i need it thanks) while screaming "f*** the patriarchy" was the only brand of organized feminism at my college (a state university). unfortunately, that sort of thing has kind of made me bitter about feminism in general. anger is useful sometiems but com'mon waking men up in the middle of the night in finals week by screaming that all men are wastes of flesh under their dorm room windows will not decrease violence towards women....it'll just make those angry guys throw stuff out the windows at the protesters. (heck, some of the women not at the rally who were woken up by this crud threw stuff too, my roomate included). unfortuantely, through the actions of what are most likely the minority of feminists, many people associate the word feminism with that kind of rageful, anti-male behavior. there needs to be an equal rights movement that is not sepratist if we are going to get the rest of the way to equality, but i'm not sure how one could get off the ground.
'rin

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"-and i hope i'm not shooting my mouth off...again...and i pray i'm not tempting the fates....."
-james, off millionaires


Posts: 219 | From: lost in yonkers | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
John Doe
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Equal pay for equal work is already the law, the problem gets murky when it isn't equal work but simalar work or work in related fields, one traditionally dominated by men and another dominated by women. The why should doctors make $200,000 a year when nurses only make $40,000 a year type thing. Why do computer programers earn X while primary school teachers only make Y? It would be impossible to have some governement commision regulate that sort of thing, if they tried they would screw it up royally. Ultimately the market will decide what a given job is worth based on supply and demand for that skill set.
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Gumdrop Girl
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but john, that's not equal work.

a female doctor who does neurosurgery should earn the same pay as a male doctor who performs the same neurosurgery. and often times it is the same, but someone it isn't. and we'd like to get rid of the sometimes.

a woman going into an entry level position and a firm tends to earn less money than a man entering the same job at the same firm. this poses a real problem. and this is the problem we are trying to address.

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"And who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail


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John Doe
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That is already against the law, and if you can prove it, you have a valid case to make at the EEOC. Very few employers would do that, why ecause it is not in their interest to do so. Every employer should want to get the best talent possible for the lowest possible price. Why, because the company doesn't want its competitors to get better talent than it has, and it does not want to overpay, since companies are in business to make money. it is in their self interest not to discriminate.
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Laura
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I think my favorite definition of feminism is one I saw on a bumper sticker: "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." It's about identifying the subtle ways in which women are treated as second-class citizens, that most people don't think twice about, because "that's the way it's always been."

Of course, fighting blatant discrimination is also a good thing, and there is always the danger that someone could get caught up in the little things and ignore the big things. But the opposite danger is also present: the idea that once we have equal pay for equal work and all that, that the feminist movement is no longer necessary because there are no more problems to solve.

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Banana, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya, cherimoya, coconut, carambola, mango,
tango, mambo, limbo, samba, cha cha cha!


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