Archives for category: Feminism

I got sucked into Reddit recently. I’ll get back to you later on whether this is a good thing or not, in the mean time it has been educational!

One of the first things I did when joining Reddit was seek out some feminist forums. One of the first things I found on r/feminism (which is distinct from r/feminisms, if you embrace intersectionality I advice avoiding the latter)..anyway, one of the first things I found on r/feminism was a man asking why there couldn’t be a middle ground between feminism and the Men’s Rights Movement.

The main response he got, from one of the forums moderators, was that MRM and feminism are NOT two sides of the same coin because the Men’s Rights movement is trying to turn back the clock and strip away the hard-won rights of women everywhere, and can never have any middle ground until members of the men’s rights movement admit that woman’s grievances are justified and start support real equality, not “men first” equality.

Now, I’ve visited several men’s rights websites that do in fact say exactly that kind of shit. But I’ve also seen the feminist websites that claim every straight woman is tool of the patriarchy just because they like dick, and every instance if PIV sex is always rape. We feminists have our own Kool-Aid we desperately need to stop drinking.

I also know far to well that there are areas where men are discriminated against. The side of feminism I support looks at this and says, “Yes, gender roles and gender stereotypes fuck everything up for everyone, we need to fix this shit.” The really loud side of feminism that I wish would die says, “Oh, the poor menz, dey got der feeling hurt. Suck it asshole.”

Anyway, I decided that just because a couple of men’s rights websites were misogynist crap didn’t mean all of them were and decided to do some research, starting with r/mensrights.

In the Men’s Rights subreddit there is a big, bold link right in the sidebar about the difference between Men’s Rights and Feminism. I decided this was probably a good place to start. I was hoping to find something a bit more open-minded and nuanced than the feminist version. What I found was a very well thought out explanation about the various forms of legal discrimination many men face, and this concluding paragraph:

So for all of you men and women who support the MRM and to all of you neutral parties who can’t seem to figure out why MRAs and feminists can’t find common ground; to everyone who thinks The MRM and Feminism are two sides of the same coin, take a closer look at the damn coin. One side endorses legal bigotry while the other seeks to end it. You can’t get any more different than that.

–Jared White, http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/whats-the-difference/ sourced on 7/4/14

Basically, both sides are saying the same damn thing, just swapping who is the victim and who is the bad guy.

Every one of the issues that Jared says men face discrimination in? I fully agree on. Blaming feminism for them? Eh…look, when the custom of women automatically getting custody in a divorce developed in the 19th century, when women couldn’t vote or be judges and feminism wasn’t even a thing yet? Yeah, there are definitely some ways feminism has made things worse for men, if only by emphasizing women victims of domestic violence and rape but ignoring men victims. But blaming all men’s problems on feminism is going a bit far.

Sometimes it isn’t a matter of feminism being out to get men, sometimes it’s a matter of men being screwed by gender stereotypes.

At the same time, feminism needs to wake up to the fact that it has largely been successful. The big battles–for the vote, for non-discrimination, for women’s health to be treated as a real thing, are largely over. Oh, I’m not saying that women aren’t still facing discrimination in various ways. The fact that the anatomy of the clitoris wasn’t mapped until the last 20 years is a sign that we still have far to go in having women’s health taken seriously. So is the fact that more has been done to study and treat erectile dysfunction than a medical condition–a “woman’s condition”–that nearly killed my mother three times before she could get her doctors to take it seriously. So is the fact that not one state-level legislative body has reached even parity between men and women, and the average state legislative body is 75% men.

I remember a disturbing conversation I had with my kids after watching MegaMind. At the time my kids were 6 and 7 years old. I asked them what they thought about MegaMind “getting the girl” as a prize for saving the city. Both of them, one boy and one girl, saw absolutely nothing wrong with that. “Well he won, didn’t he Ima? So of course he gets the girl. The hero always gets the girl.”

Not even 10 years old and already convinced that a woman was a prize, and not a person who made her own choices. Thankfully, I managed to correct that impression…temporarily. I don’t kid myself that I’m not fighting an up-hill battle against the majority of media. And since I don’t have custody, I can’t control their media either.

But if that kind of casual misogyny is built into our culture, it’s equally true that every time we talk about rape culture as being part of a war on women, we are erasing male victims of rape. It is equally true that for decades rape was legally defined as something that only happened to women. It is equally true that male victims of domestic violence are the butt of jokes while women victims of domestic violence are rescued and supported.

I had two friends who were having a very rough marriage. I’ll call them Alice and Bob. One day when they were fighting, Bob tried to leave the room. He was getting angry and knew he needed to cool down before he said or did something he would regret. Alice didn’t want him to leave and planted herself in the doorway, physically trapping him in the room.

Bob pulled Alice out of the doorway, tossed her on the bed, and ran out of the house. Bob’s own mother offered Alice sympathy and support and said she almost called the police on him.

If the situation was reversed? If Bob had trapped Alice in the room? You know anything she needed to do to get herself out of that room would have been applauded as “standing up for herself” and “getting out of an unsafe situation.”

So I am a feminist. I believe that there are and remain areas of life and culture where women are discriminated against, and that all people should be equal. But because I am a feminist, because I believe ALL people should be equal, I support men’s rights.

Because no one deserves to be discriminated against, belittled, or denied justice because of their gender.

I believe–I hope, that in spite of all the voices on either side saying that men’s rights and feminism are inherently opposed, I am part of a silent majority who thinks we all need to work together to fix the way people in our society are treated.

After some time to think and recharge, rather than collating links here, I’m going to folks on summarizing major stuff in various social activisms that I feel should be part of a wider conversation and occasionally personal thoughts and ramblings. I will also be building up the 101 pages to provide a place to find information both about various identities, and how can happen when they intersect.

If you follow what’s going on in feminism at all, you will have heard about Hugo Scwyzer. If you haven’t, here’s background.

Short version: Scwyzer has a long history of abusing people, and especially women. His history of abuse has long been ignored by feminist media (let me put this in perspective: 3 years ago, when I didn’t know anything at all about feminism, I had heard of Scwyzer and knew he was an abusive asshole who I didn’t want within a mile of me, my daughter or any other woman I knew. There is no way feminist media missed this. They ignored it.) Now he’s finally gone ‘too far’ and people are trying to make excuses for him based on mental illness, while shutting down or ignoring the WoC he abused, pleading for understanding about his illness and calling upon ‘community’.

I am told (haven’t read it myself) that some places are even raising the cry of ‘ableism’ in Scwyzer’s defense. Flavi Dzodan’s has a very good response to that shit. The abuser getting a pass due to his mental illness while the abused is victim blamed and their illness – which is caused often caused by the abuser – is ignored and swept under the carpet. Anyone who is familiar with rape culture recognizes this pattern. It should not be happening within feminism.

Mental illness is not an excuse for abuse. It is not a reason for abuse. If my mentally ill partner ever hit our child because the kids screaming during an anxiety attack cause him to lose control (something I have no fear of him ever doing, but work with me here) I would be out of this place so fast the carpets would catch fire and my partner would be talking to the police and/or the residents at a psych-ward. The fact that he is mentally ill would hopefully get him treatment rather than jail time, but it would not excuse his abuse.

And using his illness as an excuse to shut down my voice is not protesting against ableism, it is aiding and abetting an abuser.

Which is exactly what mainstream feminism has done to WoC who had stood up to demand Scwyzer be held accountable for his actions.

Scwyzer was allowed to brand himself as a feminist, to build a media career on the backs of the women he abused, and was aided and abetted in this by the feminist media who should be rights have denounced him for the way he behaved.

WoC color have been harmed repeatedly by this man, and by the brand feminism that supported him. WoC have a voice, have a right to be heard, have a right to be able to name their abuser without getting further abuse from the very people who should be supporting them. WoC have a right to not be erased by mainstream feminism.

If you aren’t in the habit of listening to the voices of WoC, then Red Light Politics and Tiger Beat Down are good places to start.

ETA: For more on this, check out twitter hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen

 

Mother Russia is not actin very motherly, at least not to her LGBT children. I will not link to the sickening shit that has been going on over there in the wake of the anti-LGBT laws that were recently enacted. Those who are familiar with history are loudly noting the similarity between the actions of Vladimir Putin and the early days of Nazi Germany. And anyone who wants to start crying about how what’s going on is nothing in comparison to the Holocaust, educate yourself on 1935-1939 in Germany. The Holocaust didn’t start as the Holocaust either.

Ironically, and furthering the parallel, Russia is scheduled to host the Winter Olympics this year. Varying Olympic committees in different countries have reacted in less than ideal ways, such as saying that if LGBT athletes don’t feel safe going to a country where LGBT people are being beaten to death while the police look the other way, they shouldn’t compete. Athletes who take action to protest the anti-LGBT laws or support gay pride, such as wearing rainbow pins, have been threatened with fines.

Thankfully, there is one huge difference between now and 1939. LGBT has far more support around the world than Jews did during Kristallnacht or the 1939 Olympics. From sidewalk graffiti to political protests people are speaking out.

For a wonderful summary of the situation and why the Olympics don’t belong in Sochi this year, check out Stephen Fry’s open letter to British PM David Cameron.

Multiple petitions have been started, asking the International Olympic Committee to relocate the 2014 Olympics to Vancouver.

And Colinology is looking ahead, to what may need to be done if Russia truly is walking in the Nazi’s footsteps.

Also, the first link in this section raises some alternatives ways to challenge this development.

As a bisexual, Jewish woman who studies history, this in parallel with some of the developments in Greece is terrifying. Because as bad as what is happening to LGBT in Russia is right now, if those of us looking at the parallels are right, it is only going to get worse.

 

There is a slightly disturbing trend in non-monogamous discourse. In short, it’s become all about polyamory.  Mainstream media has latched on polyamory as the ‘ethical’ non-monogamy and that many other forms of non-monogamy (which are just as ethical as polyamory or monogamy) such as swinging, open relationships, and the many, many other varieties non-monogamy can take are getting swept under the rug. Some folks inside polyamory (myself included) are disturbed by this and see a parallel to the way L&G interests have dominated LGBT discussion to the point of erasing or abusing B&T folk. Its a complex mess with no easy answer, but I’m putting out an invite for folks who practice a non-poly form of non-monogamy to contact me. I’d like to get a Yahoo! Discussion group going for people who formulate their relationships in any way that doesn’t match mainstream monogamy, so that we can start building an umbrella that can fit all of us and the political and social strides being made can begin to extend beyond polyamory.

ETA: If anyone knows of such a group or umbrella that already exists, please let me know!

For now I’ll be doing one post a week with links to a specific form of activism.I’ll probably change this format as time goes on.

 

Death of Men’s Rights Activist  was not caused by feminism

“Western” Feminism isn’t the only feminism

Transphobia has no place in feminism

Relaunch of Spare Rib – a 1970s radical feminist magazine

What feminism isn’t

Even women who say feminism isn’t important still benefit from it

Is feminism a bad word?

An open letter addressing the silencing of indigenous women by a white feminist

Students taking notice – and taking action

The wide world of black feminism

One woman’s theory on why feminist fight each other so much

Does feminism have a race problem?

Cambridge Jelly Wrestling – misogynistic or distraction from bigger problems