Misguided post on feminism

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phoebe
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Apr 8 2006 16:40

Bisexuality and to a lesser degree homosexuality are largely invisible, and yet bisexuals and homosexuals are both subject to oppression in certain areas (as are people with numerous "invisible" disabilities).

dot
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Apr 8 2006 16:53

so are certain racial groups (there are blond indians for example) and jews...

Quote:

True yer average drag queen and some transvestites maybe adopt a stereotypical posture, maybe even some transsexuals do too. But the vast majority of TSs I know are just establishing what's right for them

it is interesting to think of the preponderance of exaggerated gendered behavior/presentation as a response to the desire to be seen, i.e. not to pass. better to be targetted than to be invisible.

phoebe
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Apr 8 2006 16:57
dot wrote:
so are certain racial groups (there are blond indians for example) and jews...
Quote:

True yer average drag queen and some transvestites maybe adopt a stereotypical posture, maybe even some transsexuals do too. But the vast majority of TSs I know are just establishing what's right for them

it is interesting to think of the preponderance of exaggerated gendered behavior/presentation as a response to the desire to be seen, i.e. not to pass. better to be targetted than to be invisible.

In the case of drag queens I thought a lot of it was about sattirising gender stereotypes in one way or another. In the case of TV's it's about eroticising them (often in conjunction with other fetishes). Whilst being a drag queen is clearly about performance, transvestism was (as far as I was aware) just about autoerotic-objectification. This plays out with the vast majority of TVs not dressing up in front of anyone else. I don't really see your point about wanting to be seen.

Many transsexuals on the other hand go to great lengths to try to pass (including falsifying documents and life histories in the case of stealth transsexuals).

dot
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Apr 8 2006 17:01

i am certainly not saying that anything like public presentation could ever be narrowed down to a single motivation.

obviously it is complicated and personal for everyone.

just noting that being invisible can be a horrible thing.

and that (public) presentation has to be a part of whatever conversations happen around the idea of identity.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 8 2006 23:18
phoebe wrote:
Women get constantly told that they shouldn't be outside by themselves at night, they shouldn't do this that or the other because they might be attacked or raped. It puts the burden on the victims rather than the perpetrators and that's a fucking joke.

Or maybe a practical response to a shitty situation, motivated out of concern for a dearest's safety rather than a condoning of the status quo?? roll eyes

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jef costello
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Apr 9 2006 00:47
phoebe wrote:
In the case of drag queens I thought a lot of it was about sattirising gender stereotypes in one way or another. In the case of TV's it's about eroticising them (often in conjunction with other fetishes). Whilst being a drag queen is clearly about performance, transvestism was (as far as I was aware) just about autoerotic-objectification. This plays out with the vast majority of TVs not dressing up in front of anyone else. I don't really see your point about wanting to be seen.

A drag queen is a caricature of femininity, in that whilst a drag queen is instantly recognisable as a 'woman' this recognition is based upon the fact that 'she' is not. I think exaggerated behaviour is a sign of a need to form an identity, which is probably why so many young gay men go through the horrendously camp and annoying phase (especially ones that lisp angry ). When you come out, in many cases, you are giving up at least a part of your own identity and it is when you lose a part of yourself, even if it was an external perception, that you are in most need of identity. I think dot has a point, a Drag Queen is someone who feels that a part of their identity has to be realised through performance, suppressing the fact that you are gay might lead to that, even once you're out it would probably still be there.

re Alan. Got a point there, personally I am worried as hell about rape, its a nasty crime and I don't want it to happen. I think the issue is about self defence. I wouldn't blame someone who got drunk or in a bad area for getting mugged but I would advise them not to get that drunk or go to that area. Realistically women hae to worry more about things like going home alone, or drunk. It doesn't always mean having a man there, but don't exclude it. I have walked loads of friends home in my time, its never really bothered me. But I just look on it as a level of self defence. I'm fairly big and fairly strong and on a dark night can look fairly imposing, so I think I am less likely to have problems and someone who I'm with will feel, and most probably be, safer. This doesn't mean that if I'm so pissed I am barely conscious that I would expect a mate to abandon me. You look after people, that's how it fucking works. If I was alone in a dodgy place and got mugged I wouldn't think it was my fault exactly but I'd be aware that I had taken a risk. It is unfair that for women the risks are higher but that unfortunately is the way it is. I assume Alan is coming from a similar standpoint, I think Phoebe is perhaps thinking more of the general mood, characterised by the recent survey which suggested that wearing a short skirt, being drunk made a woman "responsible" for her own rape.

I suppose with a small group men might be excluded initially, to provide women with an open space, but if they can't handle the presence of men, or manage to get rid of ones that are not helpful, then they have already failed.

I know this is possibly a very annoying example re transexuals but I remember watching 'The Crying Game' and wondering how the hell you deal with having fallen for someone then finding out that she isn't quite what you think she is. I always wondered what I'd do, because, watching the film, she still remained a woman, to me at least, so it was a bit unexpected. Would you feel betrayed, or would it be like any other big secret that pops up when you're with someone?

re Revol and Serge Forward, good points lads. Identity is constructed by a decision on waht is and isn't part of the identity. The rejection tends to be the main focus. It is difficult for people with stable identities to understand what it is like not to have one. If you have certainties, or at least points of certainty then it is easier to construct an identity positively, even thought those points of certainty might be defined negatively.

phoebe
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Apr 9 2006 08:23
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
phoebe wrote:
Women get constantly told that they shouldn't be outside by themselves at night, they shouldn't do this that or the other because they might be attacked or raped. It puts the burden on the victims rather than the perpetrators and that's a fucking joke.

Or maybe a practical response to a shitty situation, motivated out of concern for a dearest's safety rather than a condoning of the status quo?? roll eyes

It might be "practical" but it doesn't do anything to fix it and in most cases it's the only thing that anyone tries to do (other than support longer sentances and less legal rights for defendants in rape trials which may or may not be a good thing but doesn't really do anything to fix the social issues behind rape).

Jef wrote:
I know this is possibly a very annoying example re transexuals but I remember watching 'The Crying Game' and wondering how the hell you deal with having fallen for someone then finding out that she isn't quite what you think she is. I always wondered what I'd do, because, watching the film, she still remained a woman, to me at least, so it was a bit unexpected. Would you feel betrayed, or would it be like any other big secret that pops up when you're with someone?

I know a person who has a boyfriend that doesn't know. As far as said person cares, it shouldn't be an issue so they won't let it come up in their life (even in terms of letting people close to them know about it). I know of another woman who is involved in a women-only group who don't allow transpeople to take part (and was one of the most vocal people against letting transwomen into the group, perhaps for fear of being outed). Because having known people like this, I find the whole issue of aggressively covering trans status up a bit weird, and there seem to be more and more people who are open about their transsexual history as things get better for transpeople in society. Maybe it'll become a non-issue one day.

I like the philosophy of some of the stuff queeruption have organised in the past where they've had disclaimers about not making any assumptions about the contents of other people's pants, but I don't see it catching on very quickly.

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Apr 9 2006 09:59
Jef Costello wrote:
It is unfair that for women the risks are higher but that unfortunately is the way it is.

Actually, they're not. The group most at risk of being attacked or murdered is young males between 16 and 25.

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Serge Forward
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Apr 9 2006 10:03
phoebe wrote:
Serge wrote:
I know this is possibly a very annoying example re transexuals but I remember watching 'The Crying Game' and wondering how the hell you deal with having fallen for someone then finding out that she isn't quite what you think she is.

No I didn't. In fact it's not really something I think about. Should I?

phoebe
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Apr 9 2006 11:06

Sorry about that. Edited and fixed.

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jef costello
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Apr 9 2006 13:46
Serge Forward wrote:
Jef Costello wrote:
It is unfair that for women the risks are higher but that unfortunately is the way it is.

Actually, they're not. The group most at risk of being attacked or murdered is young males between 16 and 25.

Reported attacks. There were recent reports suggesting a third of women had been raped. That figure doesn't surprise me.

I don't know any women who have reported sexual attacks.

Young men are more likely to be murdered but I expect that more young men put themselves in dangerous positions.

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Apr 9 2006 13:51

Yeah but it's tricky to try and divide stuff like that - yes the 1 in 3 for sexual assault puts women in a "high risk" group, but the vast majority of sexual assaults are not carried out in a "violent" situation (i.e. being jumped upon by someone random whilst walking around at night), whilst young men are more likely to be assaulted by strangers in public places etc. Not saying that's exclusive and the onyl circumstances people are assaulted or anything, just that it's hard to weigh up who's more "vulnerable" to attack.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 9 2006 13:54
phoebe wrote:
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
phoebe wrote:
Women get constantly told that they shouldn't be outside by themselves at night, they shouldn't do this that or the other because they might be attacked or raped. It puts the burden on the victims rather than the perpetrators and that's a fucking joke.

Or maybe a practical response to a shitty situation, motivated out of concern for a dearest's safety rather than a condoning of the status quo?? roll eyes

It might be "practical" but it doesn't do anything to fix it and in most cases it's the only thing that anyone tries to do (other than support longer sentances and less legal rights for defendants in rape trials which may or may not be a good thing but doesn't really do anything to fix the social issues behind rape).

Isn't that a bit of an assumption though??

I mean I agree with your rhetoric but I think criticising people who won't let women walk home alone at night is very unfair. I mean, what the fuck is the short term, practical alternative that relates to people's everyday lives and experiences??

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Apr 9 2006 14:09

I don't think it was a criticism of people showing concern for others safety (personally I really appreciate it when friends let me crash at theirs cos I don't want to do nightbuses on my own or whatever), that just shows that people care about you.

However, on a much broader level, from really, really young, girls are taught to be wary of men and aware of how vulnerable they are (and thus encouraging them to accept that they really are better off finding a man to look after them). Meanwhile, little boys are left to "be boys", and that's pretty much the end of it. All that energy could possible be better spent socialising men to not accept or tolerate sexual violence, instead of continuining these bullshit "commonsense" notions about how men can't control their passions/urges/violent temper etc cos they're men. it's the same mentality that requires women to wear veils to protect them from men. If we didn't have this mental* construct of masculinity that says women need to protect themselves from men, and instead replaced it with an expectation upon men to keep their dicks in their pants, the world would be a much nicer place smile

I mean, why the fuck should I have to worry about trying to get the fuck away from some leering fucktard on a nightbus without worrying about "making a scence"? Why is it up to me to have eyes in the back of my head, instead of it being up to men to have a respectful attitude towards women? Why is it up to women to protect ourselves from men? Men aren't some animanlistic subreed of sex pests who can't control themselves (as I'm sure the predominantly male libcom posters would agree), so why is it that men are portrayed as a threat, and women as in need of protection?

Ok, I know on the whole men are not rapists (yes, i really do know this, don't worry), but I still shouldn't have to worry about what I'm wearing in case I get some cuntface trying to touch me up, in case I look like I'm asking for it, or in case I can't run away from some twat if I need to. Men can control themselves if they want to, so all men should do.

*ooh controversial and reactionary eek

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Apr 9 2006 14:11
Quote:
I mean, why the fuck should I have to worry about trying to get the fuck away from some leering fucktard

My gosh, I really am foul mouthed sad

Thora
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Apr 9 2006 14:18
zobag wrote:
Ok, I know on the whole men are not rapists (yes, i really do know this, don't worry), but I still shouldn't have to worry about what I'm wearing in case I get some cuntface trying to touch me up, in case I look like I'm asking for it, or in case I can't run away from some twat if I need to. Men can control themselves if they want to, so all men should do.

I still find it amazing how many men seem to think it perfectly acceptable to touch, grope, paw or otherwise behave in a sexually agressive or intimidating manner to women confused Of course on the whole men are not rapists, but the behaviour I've just mentioned is pretty damn common. And if 1 in 3 women are raped, that's a fuck of a lot of rapists.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 9 2006 14:26

Zobag - I'm sure you know the answers to your questions (a short term quickfix over a fundamental overthrow of an entire system).

It's wrong that rapists (and criminals in general) are portrayed as mentally ill/social marginals/the "other" to the law-abiding majority, so that they seem beyond redemption and incapable of being "changed" by society and thus encourage the aforementioned victim mentality.

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Apr 9 2006 14:26
zobag wrote:
However, on a much broader level, from really, really young, girls are taught to be wary of men and aware of how vulnerable they are (and thus encouraging them to accept that they really are better off finding a man to look after them). Meanwhile, little boys are left to "be boys", and that's pretty much the end of it. All that energy could possible be better spent socialising men to not accept or tolerate sexual violence, instead of continuining these bullshit "commonsense" notions about how men can't control their passions/urges/violent temper etc cos they're men. it's the same mentality that requires women to wear veils to protect them from men. If we didn't have this mental* construct of masculinity that says women need to protect themselves from men, and instead replaced it with an expectation upon men to keep their dicks in their pants, the world would be a much nicer place :)

Exactly.

Good point about "vulnerability" too, it is hard to judge, and depressing that while women are supposed to be protected by men in their lives those same men actively attack them in private.

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Apr 10 2006 10:22
revol68 wrote:
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Young men are more likely to be murdered but I expect that more young men put themselves in dangerous positions.

just think about that sentence, and then switch the word men with women and murdered with raped.

Er, but that sentence is entirely accurate. Men are much more likely than women to do things like get into fights, get involved in violent crimes or gangs - or in NI paramilitary groups.

redtwister
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Apr 12 2006 15:35
Jef Costello wrote:
phoebe wrote:
In the case of drag queens I thought a lot of it was about sattirising gender stereotypes in one way or another. In the case of TV's it's about eroticising them (often in conjunction with other fetishes). Whilst being a drag queen is clearly about performance, transvestism was (as far as I was aware) just about autoerotic-objectification. This plays out with the vast majority of TVs not dressing up in front of anyone else. I don't really see your point about wanting to be seen.

A drag queen is a caricature of femininity, in that whilst a drag queen is instantly recognisable as a 'woman' this recognition is based upon the fact that 'she' is not. I think exaggerated behaviour is a sign of a need to form an identity, which is probably why so many young gay men go through the horrendously camp and annoying phase (especially ones that lisp angry ). When you come out, in many cases, you are giving up at least a part of your own identity and it is when you lose a part of yourself, even if it was an external perception, that you are in most need of identity. I think dot has a point, a Drag Queen is someone who feels that a part of their identity has to be realised through performance, suppressing the fact that you are gay might lead to that, even once you're out it would probably still be there.

A drag queen is a caricature of femininity? What does that mean? What femininity? Maybe femininity in this society is the caricature. Every statement of this sort is ridiculous crap. It takes for granted that we this society could possibly produce a decent femininity or that femininity is something we even want to produce. Unless the sociobiologists in the crowd would like to bring it on...???

As for queens and sissies, I love them. They don't try to act straight, they don't try to be 'normal'. They are in fact far more beautiful and courageous than 'straight acting' (an actual term found in personals, for example) gay men, who are 'passing' if they submerge how they want to act in what is safe or socially acceptable.

And that is a performance of the first order, 'straight acting, straight looking', but it is a performance for the social censors, a self-abasing, abusive performance.

This is not to lay any grand claims for identity, even for sissies, but every rejection of one kind of identity involves the creation of another kind of identity. The question is not the existence of identity, but of its integration and recuperation, of making a fetish of an identity.

Its easier to claim freedom from identity from a relatively privileged and naive position, but pardon me if the anarchist and Leftist 'scene' isn't its own identity production machine. 'Working class' is an identity and has existed as one for a long time, but no one here seems to want to run away from that one. Being working class/blue collar/prole etc. has been so completly co-opted, turned not into a standpoint of negation, but one of a positive identity and not one peron here has mentioned it because it is the dirty little secret of the "class struggle" Left's identity politics. Its exactly why I think notions of class that reject the existence of the petty bourgeois are self-serving at best. Almost by definition, if you want to be a worker, you're a tool. All the skinheads I knew prided themselves on being 'blue collar', just like the Leftists. All the union bureaucrats and racist white workers and mysognist male workers, etc. too. It was always one way to attack anyone to the Left of you: middle class was a way to feminize, to de-authenticate, to denigrade and working class was a badge of authenticity, and what is identity if not that?

As for the original poster, you have no right to attend, as someone else pointed out. Nor do women have an obligation to allow men into their meeting unless those men can show they know how to respect women as individuals.

The same with black people in the US. This was a problem that groups like the League of Revolutionary Black Workers ran into. They could not trust white workers enough to open their group to them, and they did not feel it was their obligation to train and de-program the ones they could trust enough to work with. So they said, "Go form your own group of militant workers and then let's work together." Usually the response was to bitch about being excluded and to scab, be a dick, etc. So to me this justifies the LRBW position because if you are really serious, then you go and form that other group and you work together and you show the possibility in practice of unity, rather than being worried about whether or not you can tell other people what to do because its 'your right'. Sojourner Truth Organization, however, put their money where they mouth was and had a working relationship with the LRBW for a while.

So instead of whining about being 'excluded', about your 'rights', about the horror of 'feminism' (why not just get your Rush Limbaugh on and call them Femi-Nazis?), do something to address the problem that supposedly made you want to join the group in the first place. If you use that group not allowing you in as a reason to do nothing or as an opportunity to waste space on a forum looking for sympathy, then you are a fucking asshole. (if that group of women tried to stop men from opposing these kind of attacks, that would also be shit, but right now I'm not addressing them because based on your intro, i don't trust your presentation of the matter. I've heard this talk of blaming women, black people, latinos, gays, etc demanding attention to their specific issues and the right to discuss without the possible interference of people from the other side of that relationship of oppression, the mere idea that they have issues that you don't, as being 'divisive' before. Its shit. total shit.

Also, being from a 'mixed' (Cat-Prot) family does not transfer to other experiences. It does not give you some privileged position, Revol. Just as being black does not give some mirculous insight or empathy towards women (as many black women can attest); nor Jewish insight into Palestinians, etc.

Chris

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Ramona
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Apr 12 2006 16:23

Yeah that's what i was wondering?

redtwister
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Apr 20 2006 18:38
Jack wrote:
redtwister wrote:
As for queens and sissies, I love them. They don't try to act straight, they don't try to be 'normal'. They are in fact far more beautiful and courageous than 'straight acting' (an actual term found in personals, for example) gay men, who are 'passing' if they submerge how they want to act in what is safe or socially acceptable.

I'm sure I'm reading this wrong, but this sounds like you're claiming 'straight acting' gays are somehow repressing themselves and are less 'courageous' than camp gays?

I'm saying that if you want to be a sissie, that you feel like a sissie, an you squelch it to self-consciously act 'straight', that's pretty fucked up. And it happens a lot. Its very common in the US to see adverts in men-seeking-men sections of papers and magazines to see men looking for "straight acting, straight talking", as if there was something wrong with acting otherwise. Its passing, its a fear of being 'recognized' as gay. The sissie who acts like one regardless of the milieu, by contrast, is quite brave.

What is 'campy' about acting like a sissie, btw? It assumes that acting what is typically associated with as 'straight' is somehow not campy. Its ridiculous. Is this some proletarian horror? Is there some essentil way 'men' and 'women' act that the sissie or queen violates that is precious to you?

Chris

redtwister
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Apr 20 2006 18:51
revol68 wrote:
yeah,

which is plainly bollox as some of the most at ease gay people I know are those "straight acting" ones. Of course they are not acting straight at all, they are just refusing to act like annoying lil D&G clad cocks!

Yeah, maybe. But on what basis do you believe that being a sissie means one is uncomfortable with being gay? That can't be justified.

On the other hand, I am addressing a very specific phenomenon of 'passing', of consciously using 'straight acting, straight looking' reinforces ideas about 'good homosexuals' versus 'bad homosexuals'. Its one of the effects of the success of the right here.

dan Savage has an entertaining piece about this and an interview as well that more or less informs my point of view on this question.

http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=34916&category=34029

http://www.thislife.org/pages/descriptions/96/46.html

Chris

ps - Most anarchists have no business making "bad fashion" jokes. Maybe revol is an exception. My image of him is utterly confused since the picture of the fat guy in the Darth Vader helmet with his laptop.

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Apr 21 2006 02:20

Walkingbeard, the original post is quite old and maybe you have seen some light on this topic. Nevertheless I will answer you. smile

Someone asked, walkingbeard, if you have read any feminism. I would like to know what feminism has been read by most of it's detractors. my experience fairly often the answer is none. Many people "just know" what feminism is, and don't "need" to read anything. In much the same way as lots of people "just know" what anarchism is, they have heard of the Anarchist Cookbook afterall!

Some nonfeminists have read the most easily accessible feminists. Some spokeswimmin* were selected by the media to be suitable for mainstream consumption, often because they had such sensationalistic appeal. Statements about men and violence, for instance, can be taken out of context and supporting information to sound quite outlandish to someone socialised in patriarchy (wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy ). Oftentimes these spokeswimmin come from other sorts of privilage: whiteness, rich, able-bodied, articulate. These wimmin can have interesting things to say, but are not nearly representative of the richness of feminist thought.

I might have missed it but it looks like there have been 5 pages of debate without anyone venturing a definition of feminism.

To start with, here is a fairly typical definition of feminism, from <em>From Living Our Visions: Building Feminist Community</em> by Donna Hawxhurst and Sue Morrow (1984, Phoenix, Selfpublished) creditied to a group called Second Chance (1982):

Quote:
A feminist:

1.Recognises women have been and are oppressed, and that women's oppression is related to a social phenomenon (that is, women's oppression does not result from biological inferiority)

2.Recgonises her own oppression as a woman at a personal level

3.Has recognised her own and her sisters' oppression, and consequently has become committed to some form of action

4.Labels herself unapologetically as a feminist

The authors add in afterwards:

Quote:
Feminism is a call to action. It can never be simply a belief system. Without action, feminism is merely empty rhetoric which cancels itself out.

I suppose there will be issue taken with use of "she" for the feminist. There is healthy debate in the feminist community abotu the extent to which men can be feminists. I personally am of the opinion that it is possible for those who identify as men to be feminists, but I have seen precious few who have the comitment. I would add to the above definition that all feminists have a comitment to observing and challenging their own oppressive bahaviour. You can't just say, "I believe in equal rights" and leave it at that. It's not enough. You need to take that and run with it.

Of course it is hard for men to be in the feminist movement. It is also difficult for many individual wimmin to be in it. For many their involvment represents great personal victories over ideas they had been raised to accept as true. The ease with which wimmin are accepted into the movement, as with it's existance in the first place, are victories we have made ourselves. Men have not fought for these, so they are behind, Just as some parts of wimmin's emancipation can only be won by wimmin, so to must men take responsibility for themselves.

Walkingbeard wrote:
I find the idea of 'feminism' abhorrent. It is rigid, old-fashioned and against the kind of social progress which I stand for.

The whole idea of the social changes which I work towards, is that everyone should be included. I want to strengthen the ties between people across the wider community, and feminism just doesn't seem to want to accomplish that.

Firstly, the label 'feminism' itself promotes an idea that this movement is good for women, that it's about women and that women are its prime constituents. What a load of codswallop! Ridding the world of the general subjugation of women by men generally, cannot and should not be something primarily undertaken by just women and it is not something that will just benefit women. I care that it will benefit the community at large, not the community of women.

The feminist movement is good for wimmin.

(following paragraph editied because I forgot to finish it originally..)

It is about wimmin. If this is a problem to you, I advise you to turn on your TV and watch it for a few hours. Count all the wimmin charecters who aren't sex objects (desired by a male charecter, (grand)mother of a male charecter, daughter of a male charecter) and make a similar count for men the other way around. Think about the variety of male charecters and the variety of female charecters.

Wimmin are it's main constituants. This is largely because men have failed to build their end of it. Feminist actions by men are welcomed by feminists whenever I have heard of them. Unfortunately it is incredibly rare. Men seem to be very afraid of both losing privilage and learning skills they are not raised with. The grassroot feminist movement has very limited resources and we are building from a place of wimmin being disadvantaged. So we concentrate our energies on ourselves.

This is not codswallop.

Feminists would be perfectly happy for emancipation to be undertaken by men as well. It is upt o you to get the ball rolling though. We won't do it for you. If you care than you should do something.

Wimmin care about the community of wimmin. I don't know if you have noticed by wimmin are actually on average slightly more than half of most communities. (Except for some social communities like anarchists where patriarchal patterns of behaviour are an acceptable norm and so many wimmin are discouraged from taking part.) And I'm sure we can agree that action that encourages wimmin to be whole human beings is positive for the rest of the community.

Walkingbeard wrote:

There also seems to be a large contingent of the feminist community that is generally frightened of men or at least resentful of them.

To be honest I don't know that I have met any of these mythical feminists I keep hearing so much about. As said previously though, it is a big community; also I have a very limited experience.

I am frequently asked, when someone finds out about my feminism, "do you hate men?" The answer is actually quite the opposite. I think mosts feminists believe in men's ability to recognise injustice and work to oppose it. We know from our experiences that every person raised in this society has been programmed from birth with gender roles, and gender values. We also know from our own experience that it is possible, though nearly always challenging, to change ones own's thought and behaviour from oppressive to liberatory. We invest in men quite a lot of credit, a belief that they are also capable of this.

In comparison, anti-feminists often talk about wimmin as being tempresses, implying that men are so stupid as to be fooled by a pretty face. They imply that men's bodies are not under their control, that sexual violence is the same as sexual desire: a natural and inevitable force. This is the root of the "she was asking for it in that short skirt" argument. I find this view insulting as a human being because it devalues the power one has over one's own behaviour.

Walkingbeard wrote:
This attitude will drive away men who are not highly exposed to feminism. In fact, I find it highly disturbing and recently I've had more contact with feminist activists than many would. To put it in perspective: it was, of course, International Womens' Day recently. I thought that the idea was in bad taste anyway, because it just drives men and women apart by drawing attention to differences.

Ignoring power imbalances doesn't make them go away. I don't know if you need to have it proven to you there are power imbalances. This post is getting long enough as it is but I will say briefly:

- When I lived in Scotland I found it to be increibly sexist. If you noticed, unless it has changed significantly, most revolutionary wimmin I met (with a couple of notable exceptions!) were not Scottish, they were English, North American, Continental European. That is not a fluke.

- I (a womyn if you hadn't caught on) work in construction so I have first hand, daily experience of sexist attitudes in Canadian society. Sexist thought does not suddenly spring into people's heads when they step on a jobsite, and it does not go away when they get into their truck and leave after work. It is omnipresent.

Walkingbeard wrote:
Anyway, a group of women in Glasgow got together and organised a jog along the Forth and Clyde canal. This was, I believe in response to the rape and murder of a young woman there last year.

That is similar to Take Back the Night. As has been noted previously in the thread, wimmin are raised to be very afraid of going out alone. I rememebr WB you have a friend who wouldn't go visit you unless she would be accompanied home, or is she could take a cab. In fact for the two years I lived in Glasgow I never had a single problem (except from the cops!), even when I was living in a "dodgy" neighbourhood. While AnarchoAl, who I was living with had trouble at least once that I can remember. Once the two of us with a couple of other guys were attacked by really fucked up men and they pretty much ignored me. I eventually noticed this trend and asked other wimmin I knew in Glasgow, I don't know if I heard any stories of being hasseled, while most men had at least a couple. All this is to say that there is an idea of danger to wimmin which may not be substantiated by reality.

There are often numbers such as earlier in the thread regarding sexual violence against wimmin. The vast, vast majority of these happen within "safe" environments such as the family and intimate relationships. I'm not really a statistics person but I wouldn't be surprised if the out of doors was is fact a safer space for wimmin. The concept that wimmin should not go out at night without a man is part of a system that encourages wimmin to be dependent on men for other things, thereby enhancing and preserving power imbalances.

An excercise of going out as a group of wimmin is designed to help wimmin recognise themselves they are strong, have a right to be safe.

There is a certain atmosphere of a well-organised wimmin-only feminist event that I have not felt duplicated in mixed-gender environments, although I have heard some queer spaces can have it. It is an air of common recognition of a problem, a passion to change it and a belief in our power to do that. It is a tremendous energy I cannot justify with political words but if you can't take my word (and many other wimmin agree with me, that is why we keep organising wimmin-only events!) for it then you probably have more fundamental disagreements with me.

Anyways the presence of men at an event like this could easily ruin the atmosphere. The point is for wimmin to fix our own problems. Not to ask men for help, Since wimmin are socialised to be apssive and to allow male authority-figures to solve our difficult problems, an act like this is liberatory and challenging of patriarchal gender roles.

If I was planning a football game I wouln't invite tennis players to show up with tennis gear. it's not because I hate tennis players, I think less of them or I think their game is less valid. But people playing tennis in the middle of the field wouldn't help my football game out very much. I dunno if that's a lame metaphore but hopefully you get what I mean.

Walkingbeard wrote:
The thing that initially got me upset was that this group of women seemed to view the aforementioned crime (in addition to the personal aspect), as a crime against women, but it was a crime against everyone.

It was a crime against a womyn. Maybe if the men were so concerned they should have also organised an event? Either a man-only action asserting the equality of all genders, or a mixed-gender event to try to create a safe space for wimmin with men?

You will notice that throughout this post I have encouraged the action of feminist men. I have noticied that men <em>often</em> complain about the lack of feminist men's stuff, but then almost never ever do anything themselves. It's infuriating. It has been going on a long time, I know because I read stuff written in the 70s and it's the same story. If you want something, go out and do it!!

Walkingbeard wrote:
Then, when the women's group came to write a leaflet for their event, men were allowed to attend - at a distance.

When you say "came" do you mean to the social centre? To the event? Sorry I don't know exactly what you meant there.

Anyways, as I was saying above the synamic of a wimmin-only and a mixed group can be dramatically different. Many wimmin feel much safer speaking up in wimmin-only space. Although of course wimmin can be jerks to each other as well, but the sexist power imbalances are not so much the issue. I think that participating in these groups allows wimmin a fuller experience of what empowerment is like, which we can then take to our mixed-gender endevours.

Walkingbeard wrote:
This divisive attitude is seized upon by men of illiberal bent and for good reason too. When you are introduced to the concept of feminism by the media, when you are a child, it is, possibly out of Political Correctness(TM), construed as a movement fighting for the equal rights of women along side men. The more I see of feminism, the less it actually seems to be about that completely laudable and brilliant aim. There appears to be a knee-jerk reaction by many of the women who get into feminism, because, perhaps, they have received undue crap from various men in their life.

Another classic!

"Did you have a bad experience with a man?"

We are raised in a culture which always palces the experiences of men at the centre. So of course wimmin who want to be strong and human are doing it in response to some male stimuli! Gawd forbid we should have ideas on our own that we came to from our own wimmin-generated ideas. It MUST have been provoked somehow by a man!

Walkingbeard wrote:
This causes them to try to fight the (dying) patriarchal order by becoming highly matriarchal and putting women above the community, which is exactly the kind of attitude which, in reverse, started the feminist movement in the first place.

Anyhow, views please!

As mentioned at the begining, I would like to see evidence of this attitude. What books have you read which proport this? most of them are cultural feminism. Cultural femenism is not mainstream in the movement so it is not fair to judge us all by this one view. Feminists want equal rights. I have met precisely one self-proclaimed feminist who had an attitude anywhere resembling this, and dozens who have been the opposite.

The way you are looking at feminism sort makes me think of judging every person who plays football, either pick-up or in a local league, by celebrity football players like Beckham.

Anyways I am being a mover tomorrow so I must go to bed... Has this been at all helpful?

*I will use whatever spelling I damn well please.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 21 2006 07:33
Gwen wrote:
*I will use whatever spelling I damn well please.

of course, just don't try and make me use it wink

Gwen wrote:
We are raised in a culture which always palces the experiences of men at the centre

I probably agree with that (see my tagline for instance wink ), but i don't think this is to the benefit of 'men' per se, but to the benefit of over-riding social relations, i.e. capital (which absorbs patriarchy). Basically as a man i'm also under massive pressure to conform to a pre-established gender role - particularly when i was at school etc - to objectify women as passive sexual objects, to objectify men as rivals to be violently suppressed, to thus accept hierarchy and try to climb it, to value reason/rationality to the exclusion of intuition/emotion etc. Are things as bad for men as women? historically, its easy to say of course not, but the very positing of such essential categories reaffirms their legitimacy. If men and women are simply biological poles of Homo sapiens, and feminism is challenging oppression that is social, why perpetuate such biological categories? Talking about 'men' and 'women' in general is as useful as talking about 'blacks' and 'whites' - these groups certainly have distinct social experiences but this is because of the very social oppression we want to abolish.

Roles (gender/class/'race') exist to integrate reasonably autonomous subjects into capitalist social relations, once internalised the numerous hierarchies and divisions of capitalist society are reproduced autonomously, gender roles are certainly one of these, but i don't think we help ourselves by arguing with the very biological categories which are oppressively turned to social roles.

WillsWilde
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Apr 21 2006 07:46

neither matriarchy noy patriarchy nor...

'gender' as a recieved idea with it various givens and signifiers is very nearly as dodgy on the scientific tip as the concept of race.

Many are born undifferentiated, many times doctors 'decide' what's to be, ahem, removed.

I don't know at what point the fetus begins to differentiate in 'normal' cases, or if it starts in conception...

which goes to the concept of 'ontonegeny recapitualating phylogeny', even putting

'species'

as a non-given.

the marxists may shudder but I really don't believe in 'objectivity' per se. If I knew what it meant in some academic sense, I could say that I believe in objective reasoning, but I probably don't. I know what's reasonable, what reasonable expectations are (which i'm also capable of abusing.), what a reasoned approach is, but not "Reason" as some sort of Enlightment surrogate God.

out of my depth here.

roll eyes

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 21 2006 07:53
WillsWilde wrote:
'gender' as a recieved idea with it various givens and signifiers is very nearly as dodgy on the scientific tip as the concept of race.

biologically speaking gender is more concrete than 'race', but XX - XY chromosones and various hormonal configurations are poles (points?) on a spectrum. Of course you're right there aren't even merely two discrete biological genders, it is a spectrum, perhaps with more than two poles, but in any case biology has very limited social implications.

WillsWilde
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Apr 21 2006 07:59

Robert Anton Wilson:

'Nature knows no laws, only habits.'

Habits can often be broken 'consciously' or shocked out of currency...

...habits of submission/consumption, of passivity, of reactive despair.

power's perspective reinforces gender roles in these binary terms, this false dialectic, terms, aggression/passivity, provider/nurturer, etc.

Habits are often replaced w/compensated for by other habits, new and old, healthy and degenerative.

I made a thought, shit.

eek

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 21 2006 08:06
WillsWilde wrote:
'Nature knows no laws, only habits.'

i hate come over all modernist, but i don't think entropy for example is due to energy's habit of diffusing to spaces of lower energy. tongue I assume he's talking about behaviour, in which case i largely agree (though there do seem to be some innate tendencies; language, social instincts ... which can nonetheless be overidden by habit).

WillsWilde wrote:
I made a thought, shit. eek

ahh its just a matter of habit, you'll get used to it wink

We seem to have drifted off-topic. Again roll eyes tongue

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jef costello
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Apr 21 2006 08:12
redtwister wrote:
A drag queen is a caricature of femininity? What does that mean? What femininity? Maybe femininity in this society is the caricature. Every statement of this sort is ridiculous crap. It takes for granted that we this society could possibly produce a decent femininity or that femininity is something we even want to produce.

I meant that a drag queen is a caricature of society's view of a woman. I take for granted that there is a 'femininity' to caricature, I make no value judgement on femininity, sorry if it appeared that way.

Quote:
And that is a performance of the first order, 'straight acting, straight looking', but it is a performance for the social censors, a self-abasing, abusive performance.

Exactly, using the word caricature seems to have pushed your button, I didn't mean it to be derogatory.

Quote:
Its easier to claim freedom from identity from a relatively privileged and naive position, but pardon me if the anarchist and Leftist 'scene' isn't its own identity production machine. 'Working class' is an identity and has existed as one for a long time, but no one here seems to want to run away from that one. Being working class/blue collar/prole etc. has been so completly co-opted, turned not into a standpoint of negation, but one of a positive identity and not one peron here has mentioned it because it is the dirty little secret of the "class struggle" Left's identity politics. Its exactly why I think notions of class that reject the existence of the petty bourgeois are self-serving at best. Almost by definition, if you want to be a worker, you're a tool. All the skinheads I knew prided themselves on being 'blue collar', just like the Leftists. All the union bureaucrats and racist white workers and mysognist male workers, etc. too. It was always one way to attack anyone to the Left of you: middle class was a way to feminize, to de-authenticate, to denigrade and working class was a badge of authenticity, and what is identity if not that?

This is very interesting, it often gets touched upon but maybe it deserves its own thread.

Quote:
The same with black people in the US. This was a problem that groups like the League of Revolutionary Black Workers ran into. They could not trust white workers enough to open their group to them, and they did not feel it was their obligation to train and de-program the ones they could trust enough to work with. So they said, "Go form your own group of militant workers and then let's work together." Usually the response was to bitch about being excluded and to scab, be a dick, etc. So to me this justifies the LRBW position because if you are really serious, then you go and form that other group and you work together and you show the possibility in practice of unity, rather than being worried about whether or not you can tell other people what to do because its 'your right'. Sojourner Truth Organization, however, put their money where they mouth was and had a working relationship with the LRBW for a while.

How the hell does this justify anything? People that have been excluded from something on the grounds that they are untrustworthy are upset by this and do not show solidarity with those who exclude them.