Jan. 10th, 2013

xenophanean: (Xha)

I'm feeling that I should probably make myself clear on this one, as I'm feeling that perhaps my point of view on these things isn't clearly understood. In general, I'm pro-feminist, but for reasons which I'll explain, I'm currently unsure as to whether I'd call myself one, anyway:

I  think the Patriarchy is a real thing, a kind of set of ancient mega-memes that are embedded in our, and many other societies. It comes from a long line of male rulership by force, and it tries hard to re-inforce ideas of gender, and generally makes lots of excuses for pretty awful behaviours. My personal experience of it is getting considered a weirdo by both men and women because I don't behave in certain prescribed ways. I've also seen countless much worse examples in friends, and in media, of it making men feel entitled to behave in utterly shit ways towards women. This is a big complex one, and I don't have time to go into everything which it is, but I think these memes are a an almost universal cause of suffering, feelings of inadequacy, bullying, rape and violence. I would love to see it dismantled, and am willing to actively support anyone trying to.

I have Privelege, in many ways. It's hard to see how things are hard for others when they're not for you, but once again, I've seen countless examples. Because I'm male, and middle class, and well educated all sorts of doors are open to me, which are hard to open for others. I think pushing this point on people is extremely valuable, and that cultural change is necessary to eliminate this.
  However, I don't agree with the idea that privileged people are simply incapable of any sort of sympathy with or comprehension of people who don't have it. Saying "you don't get an opinion here", or "you'll never understand, so you just have to agree with us blindly" is a good way of ending an argument on the losing side, and I think it's important that this argument is won (assuming winning involves persuading people of your point of view). I also think this idea is incorrect, as incomplete understanding doesn't equate to a complete lack of understanding.

Rape Culture:
I'm troubled by the term itself, as it seems to consider our current culture in isolation rather than in relation to all other cultures. I think, largely due to the work done by previous feminists, our culture is considerably less accepting and enabling of rape and and man-woman violence than it used to be, and probably ever has been. However, I entirely agree that this is a battle which is far from won, so if the term means, this is a culture which sometimes accepts, enables and ignores rape, well, okay. There are still tons of men finding ways to make themselves feel entitled to sex, and encouraging others to do the same (it's part of Patriarchy thinking). Several organisations, some of them governmental (once again, led by feminist campaigners) are working to try to combat this problem by changing the culture. It's a thing which I'm 100% behind, and I think could do with being stepped up.

This is far from a complete analysis of even the major points of feminism, but my point is, although I've got some niggles with terminology, I'm at least broadly onside. So why don't I call myself a feminist? I suppose it's because I perceive an attitude that to be a feminist, I have to agree with everything which is said or done by any even remotely reasonable feminist. Indeed, I feel that if I disagree with anything such a feminist says, some will judge me just as bad as someone who is completely on the other side. I'm willing to be persuaded further in, but that doesn't mean that I'm willing to blindly agree to anything to call myself part of the movement, indeed, my perception of that attitude has the opposite effect.

One of the problematic things with trying to debate this in a public forum like facebook is the other side. As a friend said to me the other day, one of the problems with disagreeing with feminist points, is that many people (mainly men) are uncomfortable with the ideas as a whole, and will take any crack in an argument to try to derail the whole cause. I think this is pretty evident, and I dislike the other side a lot more than I dislike feminism. Should I be quiet then? I don't see much traffic from the other side in the friends and family I keep in contact with, so there's not much to strike out at there. I dunno, I'm definitely more moderate than the hard lines of feminism, and it's a difficult place to be. I'm also uneasy about remaining silent if a large number of people are cheering on something which I feel might actually be wrong.


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