Mar 27, 2008

Feminism for Typical clueless Males

That would be the Other version of Shazam- Selene, Hera, Athena, Zoroastra, Artemis, and Macha ...

Uh, did I mention that I'm from West Texas?
whenever I say that, it means I was raised clueless, and sometimes it takes a lot to clue me in...

While I was commenting on the subject that's been on my mind quite a bit lately, (Marriage) on Alternet , someone mentioned that I might be clueless as to what feminism meant. I support feminism and even claim the title of feminist from time to time. I decided I would set this person straight for attempting to set me straight, and I'd do it with by first providing the definition of feminism to them.
Oops. The danger of researching facts when setting folks straight- is that you might set yourself straight. And I guess that's what I did. This morning my personal definition of feminism was simply "A movement to advance women's rights." What I found first was:
Feminism Feminism: 1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
2. The movement organized around this belief.
Wait, I thought, that's not right. It doesn't mention women specifically at all. So I dug in again, and I found something that fit a little better with my personal interpretation (which we all know is what the internet is REALLY good for).
Merriam-Webster had this: 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests
That was a little better, because it mentioned women. And Fem is the latin root for woman, and that's what it's all about- giving women equal rights with men. And because I believed it was ALL about women, I had some misconceptions about the concept and how it has evolved, uh, in the last 100 years or so. And maybe I'd even held some inner contempt for what I believed feminism was, on some levels. This feeling was intensified by some of the times that I had been soundly thrashed over at Pandagon by some commenters for basically just saying what was on my mind. Anyway, realizing there was something that I was missing, I dug in to the concept feminism once again today.
As it struck me that Feminism has a broader scope, a couple of doors opened in my mind, and I realized what the commenter had subtly (and I thank them for the subtlety) tried to guide me towards. And I also realized that a lot of beliefs that I had of the man's role - were in actuality Feminism. So, I learned some things today, not the least of which was that I truly am a Feminist!
I know, I'm a dumbass. But I'm less of a dumbass than I was yesterday ;) and that's what's important.


PoliShifter said...

I'm keeping my mouht shut...

Liberality said...

nice post. that last paragraph should read I'm smart and I'm smarter today than I was yesterday ;) just saying...

angry ballerina said...

Fade, you really need to stop trying to educate the masses. It makes you look like an asshole

Fade said...

Damn, can't win when I'm ranting and raving, can't win when I'm humbly edujamacating...

Frederick said...

Heh. Tell me about it.

Anonymoustache said...

Right on, Fade!

---"But I'm less of a dumbass than I was yesterday"----
Man, that's my basic daily goal; to be able to say that every night before dropping the ol' noggin on the pillow.

Targa said...

Well, at least us guys can stand proud and still proudly claim that Canada still sucks.

I got nothin'.

Anonymous said...

You a dumbass? I'm not buying it. A dumbass wouldn't have bothered to look up feminism.

The Poor Blogger said...

Feminism is another toughie for me. I can entirely agree in absolute equality for all human beings. I am less enthusiastic about government solutions to fix social inequalities of any kind. That is, if the owner of a privately owned business wants to hire only one type of person, or pay other types of persons less, then I think that's their business. Freedom includes the freedom to be a jackass.

The problem with feminism for me is that almost everyone agrees with the basic definition. But what about those societal inequalities? What does one do with those? That's where radical feminism comes in, and I still can't see if they're wrong or right. They notice things like there are no positive words for sexually active women (a male is a stud, a female is a whore). There are no positive words for a single female (a male is a bachelor, a female is a spinster). Even the word "virtue" comes from the Latin (or Greek, can't remember) word for "man."

But "man" in any language never meant just "males." The radical feminist replies, with Simone de B. (can't spell the last name) that women are considered "other." We have "Women's History" and "Women's Literature", but no "Men's History" or "Men's Literature." Why? Because woman are considered "other" from the standard ... the male. I find that argument hard to gainsay.

And so, they seek a radical change in society. If women are ever to truly be equal, they has to be a shaking up of human culture at its foundations. No more "Iliad" or "Epic of Gilagamesh." No more Bible. Rewrite the language and rethink everything that has ever been thought.

So, while I feel compelled to accept their arguments, their solution scares me.

Fade said...

Kester- I appreciate your opinion on the matter. But I think that giving a woman equality doesn't mean throwing out historical fiction like the Iliad, Epic of Gilgamesh, or the Bible. If you are living your life by any of those books in the first place, you are living thousands of years in the past.

You can respect and revere those works without blindly following them. And anyway, we are "rewriting the language" and "rethinking" every single day. As you said on another post, today's knowledge is the future's dark ages. But the truth is, there is Always some truth in the present, you just have to sift through the bullshit to get to it.

The Poor Blogger said...

The problem is that, no matter what I individually do, this society (according to the radical feminist theory) has institutionalized sexism built in. We are sexist without even realizing it.

For instance, in every commercial featuring a cleaning product, it is clearly marketed toward women. This is not because companies that sell cleaning products want women to stay home and clean, but because that is what is societally expected.

Fashion is another example. Women can wear pants now without anyone looking twice, but if a man wears a dress he has become "lesser." A woman can be a CEO and she is applauded, but a man can't be a "house-husband" except that he is laughed at. Man = Power, Woman = Wimp. If Hilary becomes president, just watch the scramble to find a fitting term for Bill which is somehow more manly than "First Man".

All those ancient works I mentioned are part of the "source material" which makes people think men are a certain way and women are another way. There is no human, Greek equivalent to Achilles for females. The only truly respected mythological females are goddesses.

My point is not that I "live by" those stories (although I think they give us some examples we should emulate), but that in those stories are contained the wisdom of the past 8,000 years. To radically revamp society in a way that would give women a chance at equality without societal strictures working against them would mean, in essence, wiping the hard drive.

As for "dark ages," I was talking specifically about science. The reason I like those stories, the old ones, is that you find themes and understandings about the human condition which are the same then as they are now. In Gilgamesh, I see the same struggle with death that I see in Harry Potter. In the "Iliad", I see Achilles attempt at immortality. And, in the "Iliad," I see what happens when you have corrupt, incompetent leaders. Bush all but equals Agamemnon.

The reason I mistrust the stuff of the present is that it hasn't been tried and tested yet. Out of all the drek that our modern era has produced, a bit of it will stick and help to shape future generations.

And, God help us, I think it's going to be Superman!

Fade said...

Sigh. If only I could become a house husband and quit my job. But those damn masculinists will call me a weenie!

I am not arguing that Women and Men are not different= Some people may have that opinion, but I certainly don't. I just think that the roles we play don't have to be so defined by gender. Of course, as a man, if you don't give a damn what people in general think, you can do what you want. Women have a harder time in the workforce, for one example, because they have less experience there. Have women been kept down as far as equal pay and equal oppurtunity? yep. What does a woman have to do to correct this? Well, be more like a man. Take less shit and fight harder for what they want. And take up more traditional male roles in order to get paid as much as a man. Well - that's the workforce solution, as much as I can see it.

Will it make for a better world? Does it make for a better world the more capitalists? I think it would be a much better world if we had the opposite occurring in more frequency- more men adapting into traditional women's roles- being better parents, spending More time at home instead of less, focusing more on non-monetary issues.

Of course, in a country ruled by money, power and possessions, this will not happen. Expect more shitty parents in general as we (men and women) are forced to work harder and harder for less and less.