Feminism and Egalitarianism

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Re: Feminism and Egalitarianism

Postby crayzz » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:13 pm

I'm sorry it's too hard for you to understand how terminology alone can drive mindsets.


This blatantly contradicts some of your earlier posts.

If you missed the irony, I'm sorry you're not very bright.


You apparently missed the preceding sentence, where I explained that the effort doesn't actually accomplish anything of worth. Honestly, the attempted parallel needs to actually be parallel.

MysticWav wrote:Does feminism commit its own labeling sins?


Not really. At least not as far as I can tell. Words like "fire man" and "congressman" (as well as the prevalence of similar words) implies that "man" is the default, or that such things can only be done by men. The same can't be said for feminism.

Also, the phrase "fire man scholar" or "fire man advocate" makes no contextual sense. There's no set of ideas, thought and theories behind words like "mailman"; it describes a vocation. Indeed, that's the very problem. Those terms are common, everyday terms. "Feminism" isn't. It's a label for a set of ideas.

As far as I'm concerned, complaining that the label "feminism" isn't completely accurate at face value is about as useful as complaining that "the big bang" isn't an accurate label for the theory.
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Re: Feminism and Egalitarianism

Postby RyukaTana » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:06 pm

crayzz wrote:
I'm sorry it's too hard for you to understand how terminology alone can drive mindsets.


This blatantly contradicts some of your earlier posts.


My earlier posts regarding gender applied to me. This is a social issue. There's a difference between 'can' and 'does'. Words don't inherently force people to think something, however, they do regardless. Beyond that, I am arguing something here which is not remotely as subjective as sex and gender, egalitarian is the proper term.

Beyond which, I said that's not the only issue, it's just the one being vocalized because the others are far more complicated and I don't want to bother with them.

McKathlin wrote:Anyway, it's a shame that the term "feminism" is so divisive yet so frequently used. I suppose that ideological labels in general have a way of polarizing people in a way that obstructs working toward a common cause, so I'd best use them sparingly.


Thank you for your consideration of my point, even if you aren't conceding my point. It's unfortunate that I cannot expect this sort of rational behavior in arguments. I apologize for being hostile due to my predisposition towards discussing with people who are too stubborn or ignorant to consider my points. I also apologize that because of the 'public' nature of forum discussion that I default to a certain method of speaking because of the general nature of the audience (the internet itself).

I would also note, I'm not suggesting you should concede my point, even if I still believe I'm right. I am just appreciative that you considered my point and took away your own lesson. Personally, I hate 'labels' of all sorts, which is why this goes beyond terminology (but is still rooted in the concepts behind that terminology). If I were advocating, rather than making points related directly to the topic only, I would say to eschew categorization as much as possible (or more correctly, as much as can be seen as reasonable).

Labels aside, I support the common cause of fighting for the rights of all genders. I fight for the idea of having more female role models (of all varieties, 'tough', 'heroic', 'shy', 'effete', 'sexy', and not just 'male replacements'), as well as trans role models, asexual role models, polyamorous role models, and whatever other sort I can encourage.
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Re: Feminism and Egalitarianism

Postby lemma » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:26 pm

tl;dr: just read the bold text
boldtext tl;dr: Don't commit the etymological fallacy; don't confuse a feminist position -- which could easily be termed egalitarianism -- with the discourse in which that position exists, which is feminism; it's counterproductive to distance yourself from the word feminism, because if you're interested in issues that are, by definition, feminist, you don't want to undermine and discredit the historically rooted discourse that has given you the tools to talk about those issues; yes, the term is flawed and I wish we had a better one, but for now sticking with 'feminism' seems to be the best action you can take as someone who more or less subscribes to the ideals of the mainstream egalitarian feminist position.

A name is not a definition. "Science fiction" can refer to a vast number of things, which can have any number of relationships to science including a very loose one. The word "Sonata" might similarly be a good example of a genre that is largely defined historically. Those who attack feminism based on its name are committing the etymological fallacy.
Historically, there have been feminists who have thought men were inferior to women. This is not what feminism in general is. Historically there have been feminists who have thought that women should cast off all signs of traditional femininity. This is likewise not what feminism is. Feminism is a discourse on how we should handle gender, coming as we do from a society with significant problems in that department, problems which in particular have disempowered and disenfranchised women -- but it's a discourse the ideals and tools of which apply likewise to the problems facing men. A feminist idea is one that comes from that discourse; it is a tool for thinking about the things feminist discourse is interested in -- i.e. gender relations and structures in general.
When wanting to rename or redefine feminism, it's important to be aware that you are not operating in a vacuum. Feminism has a history. It has come / came in waves (first, second, third). It has sex-positive and sex-negative divisions. There has been academic study of specific backlashes to feminism. The word does not just mean the belief that genders should be given equal opportunity, equal empowerment, and equal freedom from the forcing of gender roles (though not the freedom from gender roles necessarily). It refers to discourse with a history, not a single ideological stance.
Even if abandoning the word feminism and using 'egalitarianism' for the kind of feminism we like weren't problematic, I'm not convinced it's the right word. For one thing, there is still a lot more work to be done on the women's side of the equation. And to me the word feels too complacent, not angry enough -- it feels calm, like we've solved most things.
There is also a problem (and I know that no-one here has been specifically advocating this) with the "men's right's" idea -- that if some people can just work on women's rights, why don't I go and just work on men's rights. The first problem with this is that, apart from issues with divorce and custody, there are very few actual rights issues for men. There are also not that many women's rights issues anymore, apart from ones pertaining to reproductive health. That's why we mostly talk about feminism and not women's rights. But more significantly, "men's rights" implies an oppressor: "give men their rights! Stop oppressing them, feminists!" It's because of these implications that I consider the term largely reactionary and anti-feminist, not 'co-feminist' or 'equalist'.
'Feminism' is far from ideal, and I wish we had a better word. I do confess a certain uneasiness using the term feminist when I want to talk about actual problems with modern American masculinity and being a man in America. I admit that there is a terminological problem here, and while to me 'equalism' and 'egalitarianism' by themselves feel too complacent, if and as we make more gains, the word feminism will start to feel like a worse and worse fit. I'll even concede that on a practical level, in terms of what people think of when they hear it, the term is problematic. It suggests, when first looked at, that it is necessarily an advocacy for women over men. It may be partially responsible for some backlashes.
But the fact is that the useful -- the needful -- tools to think about gender and sexuality -- including men's issues -- have come out of what called 'feminism' (also queer theory). That is its name. To distance oneself from that term is to subtly undermine the credibility of the discourse to which it refers. To use it as a pejorative is perversely ahistorical and incredibly unhelpful, if one actually supports the/a feminist project. Some people here have talked about 'egalitarianism;' what they're talking about is a school of thought within feminism. It's a school, in fact, to which I adhere. Feminists, male, female, and other, fuck up all the time. They get their feminism wrong like one can get one's mathematical proof wrong. But I, as a male feminist, don't want to pretend that I can go it alone without the power of all the past feminist thinkers behind me. Many of the things those feminists criticized and criticize are still present and problematic. Certainly the intellectual tools they pioneered are still useful. That's why I'm not comfortable giving up the name and the discourse and history that that name, unambiguously, refers to.

EDIT: I want to clarify what I mean by a problem with the men's right's idea. I don't mean that those who are actively working on men's issues, which are very real and deserving of attention, are anti-feminist and reactionary. I'm talking about the use of "men's rights" as an alternative to feminism: I'm not a feminist, I'm a masculist/men's rights activist. I'm talking about the use of the term "men's rights" to frame the feminist movement as for women, against men, to soothe the feelings of men who feel, understandably though mistakenly, attacked by feminist accusations of privilege and patriarchy, to provide a shield for those unwilling to examine their own behavior and position, and to mask misogyny and sexism. In fact, I am concerned by the fact that in much of the internet, any mention of the real men's issues out there tends to lead to the assumption that the mentioner is using "men's rights" or "men's issues" as I have just described. Actual men's issues include divorce/custody; body image problems' stereotypes that men are constantly looking for sex and food; the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and harassment double standards; and a whole host of truly appalling gender role aspects like the suppression of emotion, the suppression of the need for non-sexual loving physical contact, and for any form of sexual contact other than mechanical stimulation leading to ejaculation (i.e. the idea that foreplay is only for women), the difficulty showing affection for male friends because of homophobic mores, etc.
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Re: Feminism and Egalitarianism

Postby Alex Starkiller » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:17 pm

RyukaTana wrote:I said what I thought, that's what I do. Obviously it lead to Alex considering what I meant, unless he was being facetious. However, actually arguing the point with people who will justify what they already think no matter what I say isn't worth the time.

No, I wasn't being facetious. I more or less agree with you.
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Re: Feminism and Egalitarianism

Postby sethtriggs » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:50 am

I am curious about this hatred of feminism, being a guy and all...

How are guys oppressed? The major issue I am aware of from Men's Rights Activists would be the whole child support/custody bias. As a general rule of thumb (in the United States), custody in a dissolved partnership is apparently biased towards women. Though I do also think this comes out of a cultural idea of "Women are nurturers thus must be the best parent" despite any issues of invididual fitness.

That issue, in and of itself, doesn't seem to amount to severe oppression. Are guys rejected from jobs because of being male, are they rejected from jobs after a question of "Are you going to have children," as a class? I do think things have gotten better all around when it comes to discrimination in general, but it's definitely not perfect.

I guess what I'm also kinda getting at is that a sizable number of people I know seem to imply that women have it easy nowadays and are in better position than men in general.

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Re: Feminism and Egalitarianism

Postby RyukaTana » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:47 am

Okay, based on that mentality, women in America can't complain because they aren't thrown in prison when they get raped like in other countries. That some people have it worse (which is an entirely subjective concept), does not make it okay that others still get shit. Not to mention, just because there aren't as many legal issues surrounding the way men are treated, does not mean that there aren't a lot of cultural ones.

All that being said, this isn't about men's rights versus women's rights and that this many people think it is, is exactly why feminism (as both a word and concept) is bullshit.

The hostility of this statement is not directly aimed at you, Seth. Your statement is merely the trigger. You're generally respectful in your arguments, whether I like them or not, and so I mean no offense to you personally.
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Re: Feminism and Egalitarianism

Postby sethtriggs » Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:35 am

That's an interesting perspective on it, the cultural issues.

What do you feel are cultural issues with the way men are treated, and what would be the way to resolve them? Are the cultural issues a result of actions of women or of men?

I guess in my estimation, I hadn't thought of feminism necessarily negating the existence of men. I had thought that the feminist movement, as an umbrella for the breadth of opinions in it, was a response to perceived negative treatment of women in society as a large. (Though this would surely not apply to all women). And thank you for not being hostile to me personally, RyukaTana.

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