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Old 06-12-2015, 11:51 PM   #76
xoxoxoBruce
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Which goes to show how wrong Summers was.
Burkett seems to think so, and fumes about this rally 'round the trans is feminism backsliding.
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Old 06-13-2015, 06:03 AM   #77
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After a couple of months of getting into gender politics and more or less discovering I have a near equal dislike for both the MRA and feminist movement, and choosing to resign the issue of gender politics until a movement that is neither innately incompetent or stupidifyingly counter productive can emerge... I think I finally found something I am more or less ok with: http://www.equalityagnostic.com/

A tiny gender egalitarian movement that attempts to bridge positions on gender inequality issues from both sides of isle without adhering to one particular narrative over the other... Technically right now it's tiny, but given the 67% who believe in gender equality but wouldn't consider themselves feminists, and given how little traction the male movement has, I would say this - or something like it - has the largest audience to grow on. I don't agree with quite everything the blogs of these sort have to say, but it's the right position to examine things from IMO (Except for not actually understanding what the word "agnostic" means... But you can't have everything *sigh*).

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Old 06-13-2015, 06:51 AM   #78
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I'm always uncomfortable with the idea of the, or a feminist movement. There are feminist movements I'd say - or if there is a movement it is a very disparate one.

The problem with comparing feminism with MRA is that generally speaking there is no soft wing, so to speak. To self-identify as MRA at all requires a degree of intensity that isn't necessarily needed to self-identify as feminist - in part because of the ways in which those two movements arose. Lots of people casually identify with feminism in general terms but aren't particularly part of any movement or activism - it's like classing yourself as liberal, or conservative - a secular kind of feminism. I'd venture to suggest that most people who self-identify as feminist do so at that casual level. It is understood, mostly, I think, as a statement of a desire for equality and a recognition that some of the ways we organise ourselves as a society are a little screwy.

Hardcore feminism, like any hardcore philosophy, is a sometimes necessary (this near-equality we appear to have achieved in our society was never uncontested) and sometimes counter-productive mess. A little like liberalism or conservatism, feminism is much broader than an individual party. Like those philosophies, or viewpoints, it is embedded in our political and philosophical landscape as part of an ongoing discourse stretching back almost 200 years.

MRA is a fairly recent and usually very specific reaction to feminism - it is reactionary in every sense. It hasn't yet acquired those embedded roots or broader meanings.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:58 AM   #79
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MRA is a fairly recent and usually very specific reaction to feminism - it is reactionary in every sense. It hasn't yet acquired those embedded roots or broader meanings.
They aren't going too, precisely because they are reactionary.

They all unite under anti-feminism but can't collect around any actual agenda, because they anti feminism includes everything from the most progressive gender egalitarians to the most traditionalists to actual movement of individualist feminism who have gotten thrown out of the sidelines of the movement during the 80s and 90s to MGTOWs who are pretty much an ironic answer to lesbian separatism mixed with PUA.

Take one simple issue: Father's rights in divorce law. All of the above groups can use this rhetorically as an example for unfairness. But Will they act on it if the progressives who want equal parenting rights need to get together with the traditionalists who want things to look like american 50s movies and thus outright want fathers to be the providers so that mothers can be the caregivers?

To actually get anywhere they need a movement that stands together on what they are for, not just what they are against. For men that doesn't currently exists.

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I'm always uncomfortable with the idea of the, or a feminist movement. There are feminist movements I'd say - or if there is a movement it is a very disparate one.
Do you?

I am asking because in larger scale discussions I have constantly seen how "not all feminists" used as a deflection tactics, the feminists who disagree with those "Extremists" don't actually show any actual disagreement with them publicly but will indirectly defend them from criticism through the defending the label for what it means for them, and yet there is no actual reference to the "extremist" other then that label or a full way to describe it.

Look at it from the other side: How do you criticize feminist movement within literature, feminist dogma in academia, feminist political organizations, feminist lobby groups, feminist campus activism, feminist blogosphere and so on, if you are not allowed to use the word feminism because it includes people who might not quite agree with it? And if the "casual feminists" do have disagreements the "hardcore feminists", why is saying there are not one of them more important then actually expressing your disagreements with them?

The reality is that if you simply believe in equal rights for women, well - so do 85% of americans (and an even larger portion of brits if I recall)... yet only 18% of them identify as feminists, not because 67% don't know how to read the dictionary, but because feminist academia and has grown to include a lot more then that, often at the expense of meeting the dictionary definition.
After getting downsized to 18%, the chances that if you are still identify as one of them you are closer to being among the "hard core" group then you'd think is pretty high, even if you think the criticism only applies to the even more extremists.
Most of the criticism does not require lesbian separatists in order to count, if you believe in the patriarchy as a reasonable interpretation of social exchange the chances are the criticism applies to you too.

But maybe all of this truly doesn't apply to you and you genuinely both disagree with those the criticism is applicable too - in that case why not just accept the meaning of the word and their meaning they acquire in the context used by the people saying them and allow a critical discussion of people you - according to the very sentiment of "not all feminists" - disagree with? Take a step back and look at what role your position can take within the exchange, and whether you truly want to act as a smoke screen for extremists you disagree with.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:42 AM   #80
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Well - I've had some fairly vocal disagreements with hard-core feminists in my day.

Not all feminists - not all men - not your shield. These are snappy slogans doled out in forum wars. They get used so much they lose meaning - just another set of weapons in the arsenal.

I know lots of people who consider themselves feminists - because of the historical meaning of that term - but whose feminism assumes the necessity and desirability of equality for men too. I suspect the surveys under-represent those who see feminism as a positive thing, but don't necessarily hold it at an identity level.

Feminism in academia is, I think, an over-played card. Probably more valid 10 or 15 years ago before the big shift in gender studies started to bring men and masculinities to the forefront. Feminist academic approaches have followed, or are following, a similar path to marxist academic approaches, and post-modernist approaches. That isn't to say that there is not a field of feminist study of various kinds - but the conceptual stranglehold that took hold around certain subjects has fallen away for the most part. This happens in academia - a revolution of thinking that invigorates several fields, gets a little too omnipresent, and then the next generation of scholars coming through start to overturn it.

I think it's probably on a slightly different path in the States than in Britain and Europe - there's always been something of a tonal difference between British and American feminism, particularly in academic approaches. You can see it really clearly in the historiography of feminism and the early women's movement. The American scholarship has a much more optimistic tone to it - so, the apparent social construct, in the nineteenth century, of 'separate spheres' with men leading public and women domestic lives, in the American analysis operates to foster sisterhood and shared female experience (though also limiting agency in many ways) - the British analysis is much more pessimistic in terms of the emotional payoff of separate spheres. You don't get the same reading of sisterhood when you include a larger class component.

That's a gross generalisation on my part - the scholarship went through different iterations on both sides of the pond and at various times converged with or informed each other. But - I think there was always a slightly more political edge to the American feminist analysis - or rather that feminist analysis in American academia was more tied in with the political mission of feminism. We were slower onto that here, and then we didn't stay with it as long because the world moved on.

I have a few other thoughts - yes I know it's already fairly rambling :p I'll be back later.

[eta] quick point about patriarchy: I don't 'believe' in the patriarchy as something that exists. I sometimes find it a useful conceptual framework through which to examine some power relations and social structures. It is not the only conceptual framework - nor is it the most useful. As a historian I find it next to useless. Like most of those large-scale, total solution frameworks. Interesting to have in your head when you look at stuff (along with a bunch of different academic lenses).
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:59 AM   #81
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Not all feminists - not all men - not your shield. These are snappy slogans doled out in forum wars. They get used so much they lose meaning - just another set of weapons in the arsenal.
Agreed.

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Feminism in academia is, I think, an over-played card. Probably more valid 10 or 15 years ago before the big shift in gender studies started to bring men and masculinities to the forefront.
Can you expand on that?
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Old 06-13-2015, 01:37 PM   #82
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Wrote a really long and detailed response and then windows crashed before I pressed submit.

I'll come back to it at some point :p
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Old 06-13-2015, 02:34 PM   #83
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When you do, I am also curious about these:
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Well - I've had some fairly vocal disagreements with hard-core feminists in my day.
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:33 PM   #84
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I'll have to come back to the emergence of masculinities as a field of study - having just smoked something very pleasant, i'm not sure I could give a coherent account ;p

As far as disagreements with radical feminists? God, where to start. I'm semi plugged in to the local activist scene - not as much as I used to be - in terms of party political campaigning and the like - and also some ties to the cooperative movement, women graduates assoc, and the women's assoc. Mostly left-leaning, some centrist, and in the women's organisations more of a spread across the left-right divide. I know a lot of women in those scenes who are feminist - most of them, as far as I can tell, have an eye-roll response to radical feminists.

For myself, I have several fairly fundamental problems with their approach. Most recently, I was pretty disgusted with the way many radical feminists responded to the issue of trans women in women-only spaces.

I don't like some of the attitudes I've seen from that branch of feminism towards masculinity. Aside from being deeply unpleasant, those attitudes suggest a very confused ideology. To whatever extent gender is constructed, it is constructed for both genders (and indeed all variations). It is also as complex for each. And - if we are going to throw off those essentialist chains - well, then we can't also have women as the natural civilising force for brutish men, can we? If women are not contained within a narrow gender definition, then how is it that women's presence in the boardroom is going to bring about greater harmony and a more caring attitude, purely because they are women?

Most of the problems I have with the way our society thinks about gender boil down to a belief that, whilst there are some differences in how our brains work, we are far more united by our shared experience of humanness than we are divided by our disparate experiences of gender. We focus so much attention on differences that are slight, or highly contextual and ignore the massive overlap.

Alongside that is the idea that we all have our own conception of gender - of what it means to us to be our gender. And if that is ok at one end of the spectrum of masculinity then it is also ok at the other. Masculinity is not a problem for feminists to solve.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:02 PM   #85
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Jelly on the smoke.

So this is interesting... I don't know if it's a different degree or a different perspective to construct the spectrum from to began with. I don't know about the british ones, but I have followed the american equivilents and I certainly consider them to be fanatic extremists on my spectrum (Or rather, I believe that their leadership is the result of politics, so representing feminism as an ideology gradually got replaced with representing women as a demographic), yet none of the particular beliefs you describe come across as particularly radical.

Help me get an idea of how you construct your spectrum here - You are an activist from the sound of it, at least to some degree, so what do you agree with in the feminist movement? What differentiates you from the more extremists? What differentiates you from those less?
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:02 PM   #86
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Sorry, I wasn't really clear there. I have been at various times a political and/or community activist - so, I was an active member of the Labour party for years and a local politician - and I've been involved in anti-racism activism and some local issue stuff. The two women's groups I mentioned aren't really groups for feminist activism. A lot of the people i know or am connected to in these groups are feminists and there is a baseline of gender consciousness, but there's also a baseline of class consciousness for most as well. As interested as I am in gender issues, I am not in any way an activist in the feminist movement.

That said - I have on occasion supported causes which come under the umbrella of feminist issues - but they've tended to be quite specific, such as supporting the campaign to stop funding cuts for a domestic violence support unit.

I don't mean to diss the whole movement there - I've known some wonderful people who have worked with passion and commitment to try and make our society a fairer one, or even just a more accepting one. Several of my personal heroes are women who have been active in the women's movement - but they're also active in the labour and trades union movement. One was the MP for my town up until 2005 -Alice - now in her late 70s I think. To be a female Labour MP for a northern town in the 80s/90s; man, that's a tough gig :P

One problem with radical feminism - aside fom the echo chamber effect of social media - is that feminism is not a total solution. It is not sufficient - but is treated as if it is all there is - eclipsing other, equally pressing, sometimes more pressing concerns. With the best will in the world, human beings are messy creatures - whilst i think it is useful and desirable to challenge the status quo and try to understand and tackle systemic inequality, the challenge is pointless if it is not relevant to people's lived lives.

As to the spectrum - I think the whole thing's been sent out of whack by the twittersphere.
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:26 PM   #87
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I watched a show last night (sort of. It was on TV and I couldn't be bothered turning it off till I got up from the computer) called Blinging up Baby. It was a British show about women who are totally obsessed with buying fancy clothes and putting make up on their baby/toddler/little girls.

One of the women was talking to her little girl of about 6 about wearing make up and how all women look better with 'a bit of make up on', and the child was agreeing and going along with it.

When we live in a society where grown women think like this, and actively encourage the next generation to believe it, is it any wonder that we're all confused about gender roles and equality? According to the woman on that show, a woman who doesn't wear make up isn't even a real woman anyway!
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:55 PM   #88
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When we live in a society where grown women think like this, and actively encourage the next generation to believe it, is it any wonder that we're all confused about gender roles and equality?

According to the woman on that show, a woman who doesn't wear make up isn't even a real woman anyway!
... until she's riding a bronc or driving a pick up.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:18 PM   #89
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Fair enough, they are all famous enough to have a lot written about them, but a quick WIKI check gives a rough sketch...

Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818 – June 28, 1889) was an American astronomer who, in 1847, by using a telescope, discovered a comet which as a result became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet".
She won a gold medal prize for her discovery which was presented to her by King Frederick VI of Denmark - this was remarkable for a woman. On the medal was inscribed "Non Frustra Signorum Obitus Speculamur et Ortus" in Latin (taken from Georgics by Virgil (Book I, line 257) (English: “Not in vain do we watch the setting and rising of the stars”). Mitchell was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer.

Emmy Noether we talked about before.

Dame (Susan) Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, PRSE FRAS (born 15 July 1943) is a Northern Irish astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars while studying and advised by her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish, for which Hewish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Martin Ryle, while Bell Burnell was excluded, despite having been the first to observe and precisely analyse the pulsars.
The paper announcing the discovery of pulsars had five authors. Hewish's name was listed first, Bell's second. Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with Martin Ryle, without the inclusion of Bell as a co-recipient. Many prominent astronomers expressed outrage at this omission, including Sir Fred Hoyle.

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova; IPA: (born 6 March 1937) is the first woman to have flown in space, having been selected from more than four hundred applicants and five finalists to pilot Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. In order to join the Cosmonaut Corps, Tereshkova was only honorarily inducted into the Soviet Air Force and thus she also became the first civilian to fly in space.
Before her recruitment as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur skydiver. After the dissolution of the first group of female cosmonauts in 1969, she became a prominent member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, holding various political offices. She remained politically active following the collapse of the Soviet Union and is still regarded as a hero in post-Soviet Russia.

Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin (May 10, 1900 – December 7, 1979) was a British–American astronomer and astrophysicist who, in 1925, proposed in her Ph.D. thesis an explanation for the composition of stars in terms of the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium.
According to G. Kass-Simon and Patricia Farnes, Payne's career marked a turning point at Harvard College Observatory. Under the direction of Harlow Shapley and Dr E. J. Sheridan (whom Payne-Gaposchkin described as a mentor), the observatory had already offered more opportunities in astronomy to women than did other institutions, and notable achievements had been made earlier in the century by Williamina Fleming, Antonia Maury, Annie Jump Cannon, and Henrietta Swan Leavitt. However, with Payne-Gaposchkin's Ph.D., women entered the 'mainstream'.

The trail she blazed into the largely male-dominated scientific community was an inspiration to many. For example, she became a role model for noted astrophysicist Joan Feynman. Feynman's mother and grandmother had dissuaded her from pursuing science, since they believed women were not physically capable of understanding scientific concepts. But Feynman was later inspired by Payne-Gaposchkin when she came across some of her work in an astronomy textbook. Seeing Payne-Gaposhkin's research published in this way convinced Feynman that she could, in fact, follow her scientific passions.

Lise Meitner (7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968) was an Austrian physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner was part of the Hahn-Meitner-Strassmann-team that worked on "transuranium-elements" since 1935, which led to the radiochemical discovery of the nuclear fission of uranium and thorium in December 1938, an achievement for which her colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1944. Meitner is often mentioned as one of the most glaring examples of women's scientific achievement overlooked by the Nobel committee.
A 1997 Physics Today study concluded that Meitner's omission was "a rare instance in which personal negative opinions apparently led to the exclusion of a deserving scientist" from the Nobel. Element 109, meitnerium, is named in her honour.

Caroline Lucretia Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848) was a German British astronomer and the sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel with whom she worked throughout both of their careers. Her most significant contributions to astronomy were the discoveries of several comets and in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name.
She was the first woman to be paid for her contribution to science, to be awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828), and to be named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Mary Somerville). She was also named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (1838). The King of Prussia presented her with a Gold Medal for Science, on the occasion of her 96th birthday (1846).

Rita Levi-Montalcini; 22 April 1909 – 30 December 2012) was an Italian Nobel Laureate honored for her work in neurobiology. She was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with colleague Stanley Cohen for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF). From 2001 until her death, she also served in the Italian Senate as a Senator for Life.
Rita Levi-Montalcini had been the oldest living Nobel laureate and was the first ever to reach a 100th birthday. On 22 April 2009, she was feted with a 100th birthday party at Rome's city hall.

Seems to me most of these women got screwed over for recognition. But they were lucky to make the big time, by being related to or friends with someone influential in the scientific community, or occasional shit luck. For the vast majority with neither, think of the brains and ability that's been wasted.
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Old 06-16-2015, 04:17 AM   #90
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For the vast majority with neither, think of the brains and ability that's been wasted.
This, right here, is one of the tragedies of gender inequality. And it works both ways. When we corale, with the full force of society and culture, each gender into a narrow path - how many potentially great scientists are stifled? And, on the other side of that equation, how many potentially wonderful nurses and teachers?
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