Misguided post on feminism

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lem
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Apr 21 2006 13:36

gwen, I dunno, but maybe walking beard has a problem with some feminism because its not explictly w/c. Then he can be united with them, and accept that some of his interests coincide, despite being superficially excluded.

redtwister
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Apr 21 2006 19:13
revol68 wrote:
Serge Forward wrote:
Hmmm... 'straight acting' or 'campy'...

I see nowt wrong with either. It's to do with what people feel most at ease with in themselves. Both the 'straight acting' and the 'camp' may use their persona as a protective shield, and this is fair enough in a society such as this.

I tend to do both, depending on the context. For example, if I were to bump into revol in the pub, I'd be annoyingly camp as fuckin christmas roll eyes But in the company of a screaming campster, I might just go for the 'straightish' butch approach.

It's amazing how some people still have mental images of me as a mean steel worker.

grin

I still see the fat geek with the Darth Vader helmet, although my first impression was a somewhat wafe-ish new romanticism scenester, all of which is prolly totally wrong... grin

And maybe I have not been clear, that is possible. I am not against anyone acting anyway they want. The point of the Dan Savage articles is that looking for 'straight acting' is fucked up. There is nothing wrong with being a sissie. It is no more an act for some people than not being a sissie. But compared to self-conscious passing that tries to hide oneself in some mask of "straightness", being the sissie one feels like takes a lot of courage because it is a far less safe thing if it is who you are everyday.

Of course, the objections to me in this whole discussion are implicitly about the gay ghetto where it is much safer to let your sissie out than some kid in high school or in some generally hetero-normative community or workplace, where it is "unprofessional" or worse, simply physically unsafe.

And of course the other side of Dan Savage's point is that there is no such thing as a 'Gay Lifestyle' or a 'Straight Lifestyle', and that acting as if there was perpetuates oppression and identity garbage.

But I am sorry, its you rotters (and you know who you are) who started picking on sissie and queens for being campy. To which my response still remains, "Fuck off you fucking campy anarchists." Jeezus, i am sorry but no anarchist has a right to make comments on anyone else's fashion sense...

And yay for the bears... "Fuzzy wuzzy was a bear, fuzzy wuzzy wore leather there.. and there... and there, but not there where fuzzy wuzzy was awfully bare."

Chris

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Apr 22 2006 02:23
lem wrote:
gwen, I dunno, but maybe walking beard has a problem with some feminism because its not explictly w/c. Then he can be united with them, and accept that some of his interests coincide, despite being superficially excluded.

Sorry the only thing I know w/c to stand for is water closet.

?

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Apr 22 2006 02:30
Joseph K. wrote:
on side note when i studied law there was an influential school of thought that said anything that was voluntary could legitimately be banned - thus banning beards is ok but banning blacks is not, hence the tories banging on about being gay as 'a lifestyle choice'.

There is an idea I cam accross called queer by choice ( http://www.queerbychoice.com/ - how many rainbows can you get into one page?). It deals specifically with the above concept.

Some mainstream gay lib organisations deal with queerness as something you are "born with". That is certainly what I got in school. These people cannot help being the way they are (if they could then they would change to be straight obviously!) so you should be nice to them. It's not their /fault/. It's just like having a disability....

I do think that sexuality is fluid and has a lot to do with choices made by a person. Like a lot of people choose to be straight because it is convinient. Some feminists choose to be lesbians because it satisfies them politically.

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Apr 22 2006 02:53

I chose to be a punk because I thought that's what anarchists did.

I was not very good.

lem
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Apr 22 2006 10:52
Gwen wrote:
lem wrote:
gwen, I dunno, but maybe walking beard has a problem with some feminism because its not explictly w/c. Then he can be united with them, and accept that some of his interests coincide, despite being superficially excluded.

Sorry the only thing I know w/c to stand for is water closet.

?

Yeah thats what meant I meant. roll eyes

Well, tbh, if some feminisms, think that women's interests cannot coincide with men's, how can anyone who gives a shit about themselves just roll over?

Noramlly, I'm like, totally let minorities do whatever they want, but what good does it do? Some people think that a critical theory is not worth anything if after its application those who were oppressors do not see its worth. If we cannot have anything in common - then we're hardly going to agree.

Surely your not going to get anywhere without men co-operating, or some kind of violent revolution?

Are you armed?

Or are you just going to shame men out of existence?

Sounds a bit loopy! I shouldn't comment on stuff I know nothing about. But I'm here to learn!

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Apr 22 2006 12:48
lem wrote:
Yeah thats what meant I meant. roll eyes

Well, tbh, if some feminisms, think that women's interests cannot coincide with men's, how can anyone who gives a shit about themselves just roll over?

Sorry I am not sure what you mean by "roll over" and I don't know who you mean by "anyone" but other than that...

I think the idea is more that wimmin's interests DO NOT coincide with men's, rather than CAN NOT. While there are many men who recognise the benefits feminism could bring them, they are still in a position of privilege compared to wimmin overall and feminism challenges this.

lem wrote:
Noramlly, I'm like, totally let minorities do whatever they want, but what good does it do?

Wimmin are not a minority. Wimmin are not a minority. Wimmin are not a minority.

Calling wimmin a minority or dealing with us in that way will never help the situation. Numbers don't make an opressive system. For examples, in addition to men being a slight minority, the ruling class are an extreme minority. An 80% black town in a white supremicist nation will still be subject to that racism.

Sexism and other forms of opression don't exist because there are less of one group than anothr. I think that is part of the "tyranny of the majority" argument that I learned in school as an answer to the question about why our "democracy" isn't more direct. It is a gross simplication and to a large extent ignores the insidious nature of opression.

lem wrote:
Some people think that a critical theory is not worth anything if after its application those who were oppressors do not see its worth. If we cannot have anything in common - then we're hardly going to agree.

Surely your not going to get anywhere without men co-operating, or some kind of violent revolution?

Are you armed?

Or are you just going to shame men out of existence?

Sounds a bit loopy! I shouldn't comment on stuff I know nothing about. But I'm here to learn!

OK so the primary work of feminism traditionally has been within communities of wimmin. The best way to ensure we don't get shit from men is to empower ourselves not to take it. We support each other in this, for example rape crisis work and shelters for wimmin coming from abusive relationships.*

There are criticisms that we leave men behind with this strategy. Personally I don't see anything at all wrong in working to correct a power imbalance in myself and those whose experiences are like mine, and more importantly get treated the same way by the system. I only have a very few hours every week to do this sort of work and I think it's reasonable to use those in my own interest.

If there was a male feminsit movement I would support them and stand in solidairty. I would support working with them on stuff. But we can't start that. The feminist movement was born of our experiences as wimmin, as in the classic slogan "the personal is political". Most wimmin do not have the experience of beign a man so how can we build a movement that addresses their problems? We cannot.

It is largely up to men to emancipate themselves. Wimmin cannot do it for them. We have a large body of feminism written and acted by us, about our experiences. I generally pick up every feminist book by or about men that I find, and on my whole shelf of feminist books I have precisely three that I know to be written by a guy.

* Not all sexual and physical assault is perpetrated by men over wimmin. In homosexual relationships, as far as I know (I'm not an expert), there is a comparable amounts of abuse. It is known that some wimmin's resources will not work with wimmin they know to be coming from a lesbian relationship. I wonder if this is because they have so few resources they feel the need to focus. Limited resources are certainly often the issue when people ask why feminists don't do this that or another thing.

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Apr 22 2006 12:52
Quote:
I think the idea is more that wimmin's interests DO NOT coincide with men's, rather than CAN NOT. While there are many men who recognise the benefits feminism could bring them, they are still in a position of privilege compared to wimmin overall and feminism challenges this.

That is the main reason why I'm not a feminist.

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Apr 22 2006 14:07
OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
I think the idea is more that wimmin's interests DO NOT coincide with men's, rather than CAN NOT. While there are many men who recognise the benefits feminism could bring them, they are still in a position of privilege compared to wimmin overall and feminism challenges this.

That is the main reason why I'm not a feminist.

You're afraid of losing privilage?

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Apr 22 2006 14:14
Gwen wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
I think the idea is more that wimmin's interests DO NOT coincide with men's, rather than CAN NOT. While there are many men who recognise the benefits feminism could bring them, they are still in a position of privilege compared to wimmin overall and feminism challenges this.

That is the main reason why I'm not a feminist.

You're afraid of losing privilage?

Or possibly because of people who call themselves feminists and say things like that?

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Apr 22 2006 14:17

I never understand what the privileges are that men have to lose? Why cant the privileges be gained all round?

lem
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Apr 22 2006 14:37
Gwen wrote:
Sorry I am not sure what you mean by "roll over" and I don't know who you mean by "anyone" but other than that...

Well, whatever OP was talking about - anyone (man/woman/beast) accpeting that they have to lose privilege, while knowing their interests do not coincide/they are going to be excluded. iyswim

Can anyone recommend a feminist book? I should read something really!

posi
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Apr 22 2006 15:10
rkn wrote:
I never understand what the privileges are that men have to lose? Why cant the privileges be gained all round?

Doesn't 'privilege' just mean that you get special/different treatment of a kind that people think is good? So, almost by definition it couldn't be gained all round.

I guess there are some things which are now thought of as privileges which it'd be cool for everyone to have - having a swimming pool in your back garden for instance. They'd become just things about everyone's life, not privilege

But I think the sorts of privileges in question are aspects of social relations bound up with the domination of one gender over the other. So, while there's a sense in which everyone can gain the privilege of having a swimming pool, there's no way that everyone could get the privilege of always jumping to the front of the queue - or having a lot of imagery in the public domain present your identity over and above others. So I guess it depends on the sort of privilege we're talking about.

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Apr 22 2006 15:20

Yeah sure that makes sense.

I dont really Get OliverTwister/Gwen/Johns lats 3 posts in relation to that tho.

lem wrote:
Can anyone recommend a feminist book? I should read something really!

Theres Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist anthology

http://www.akpress.org/2002/items/quietrumoursamarchafeministreader

http://www.anarcha.org/sallydarity/QuietRumoursIndex.htm

(and that last website) which might have some ok stuff on it...

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Apr 22 2006 17:18
OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
I think the idea is more that wimmin's interests DO NOT coincide with men's, rather than CAN NOT. While there are many men who recognise the benefits feminism could bring them, they are still in a position of privilege compared to wimmin overall and feminism challenges this.

That is the main reason why I'm not a feminist.

But that's a rubbish idea anyway, or at least i think so and I AM a feminist. I think on the whole women's interests do coincide with men's. I'm not denying patriarchy or anything, or arguing that it's a side issue, but I personally think that class oppression is the most fundamental issue we all face. Things like gender, race, sexuality, ability etc etc are played out on to this and are significant and you con't just simplify them or write them off, but a lot of feminist perspectives don't recognise that.

I think that anyone who calls themselves an anarchist/libertarian communist/whatever must be a feminist, you can't have libertarian communism without feminism. And you can't have meaningful feminism without, well, libertarian communism.

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Apr 22 2006 17:19
Quote:
I think that anyone who calls themselves an anarchist/libertarian communist/whatever must be a feminist, you can't have libertarian communism without feminism. And you can't have meaningful feminism without, well, libertarian communism.

I gotta agree with that!

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Apr 22 2006 17:21

I take the definition of feminism as meaning men and women are equal, so in that respect I'd consider myself a feminist, as well as most other people. But I don't see that as being related to much of what goes by the term "feminist" - kinda like anarchism but even worse

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Apr 22 2006 17:30

I guess I'd take the whole "men and women are equal" thing as a base, and then use that to analyse all the various different ways gender is used as a divisive and oppressive mechanism, and think about how that's happened, and think about how to change it, and that's feminism.

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Apr 22 2006 17:41

I think that patriarchy can only be smashed by the power of the working class; but conversely I don't think the working class will get anywhere worth being unless patriarchy is smashed.

If someone were to call me a feminist I wouldn't get offended, and I probably wouldn't correct them unless for some reason I felt it was an urgent political point at the time. But to me feminism at it's core is an inter-class movement, which by propping capitalism up, prolongs patriarchy. False human communities like gender are pure constructs of the ruling class; ruling class women benefit from the existence of patriarchy. Working class men have an interest in fighting patriarchy, the same way that working class whites have an interest in fighting racism - any "benefits" they have are purely ideological/spectacular. Look at the program of 1st and 2nd wave feminism: votes for white/rich women, etc culminating in offers of compromise: rights for rich/white women, and in return they will support eugenics against the poor. Emma Goldman certainly wasn't with them (though I'm unsure of whether she called herself a feminist or has rather been claimed as one) and the Free Women of Spain certainly weren't feminist. It's no wonder that working class black and indigenous women promote words like "womanism" to distinguish themselves from feminists.

Loren Goldner has a good essay polemicizing against the idea that "race, gender, class" are three different oppressions which are linked, arguing for what some might call "class reductionism", located here http://home.earthlink.net/~lrgoldner/universality.html

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Apr 22 2006 18:30

Edit: Accidental double post. embarrassed

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Apr 22 2006 18:36
Gwen wrote:
I do think that sexuality is fluid and has a lot to do with choices made by a person. Like a lot of people choose to be straight because it is convinient. Some feminists choose to be lesbians because it satisfies them politically.

i agree with that - deleuze and guattari said something like 'flags, money and armies get a lot of people sexually aroused' - theres's definately fluidity to it and i'd guess what is inherent is simply 'potentiality', and sexuality is not just expressed in terms of people (of any gender) but also objects and narratives (the flags etc).

Gwen wrote:
Wimmin are not a minority. Wimmin are not a minority. Wimmin are not a minority.

true numerically, but not in terms of power, which of course is the point of feminism wink Again, deleuze and guattari talk about the need to 'become woman' or 'become minority' - minority being not a numerical concept but one of power. In this sense the working class, although neccessarily numerically superior, is always a minority, but this is thus a call to arms not a put-down or accidental patriarchal slip wink

zobag wrote:
I guess I'd take the whole "men and women are equal" thing as a base, and then use that to analyse all the various different ways gender is used as a divisive and oppressive mechanism, and think about how that's happened, and think about how to change it, and that's feminism.

or just anarchism wink

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Apr 23 2006 10:16

Not perfect, but here are two suggested readings that deal with feminism:

"The Poverty of Feminism" by Dominique Karamazov (1977)

http://www.prole.info/articles/povertyoffeminism.html

and

"For a World Without Moral Order" from La Banquise (1983)

http://www.prole.info/articles/withoutmoral.html

there's also a pamphlet i've seen around called "I, Claudia: Feminism Unveiled" I don't think it's online

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Apr 23 2006 10:58
zobag wrote:
I think that anyone who calls themselves an anarchist/libertarian communist/whatever must be a feminist, you can't have libertarian communism without feminism. And you can't have meaningful feminism without, well, libertarian communism.

Exactly, I think the idea of equality is a difficult one although it is hard not to use is as a base. Equality is not possible in many ways but it is also not necessary, I suppose equality of opportunity is what I would hope for and equality, as far as possible, in origins.

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Apr 24 2006 02:28
lem wrote:
Gwen wrote:
Sorry I am not sure what you mean by "roll over" and I don't know who you mean by "anyone" but other than that...

Well, whatever OP was talking about - anyone (man/woman/beast) accpeting that they have to lose privilege, while knowing their interests do not coincide/they are going to be excluded. iyswim

Can anyone recommend a feminist book? I should read something really!

I'm not an especially big book person, but it seems to me as though most feminist stuff is about ceratin topics from a feminist perspective. Like Kill the Body and the Head will fall, I can't remember the author, is about wimmin's agression, viollence and athletics. I was personally introduced to the sort of radical feminist thought through zines about wimmin's health. If zines are your scene then you might check that out someplace that sells them.

As far as all-round feminists goes, my favourite author is bell hooks. Other feminists I must take what I can and leave the rest ( I tend to learn better through conversation and experience than reading books so I don't have a large pool to pull from), but I think hooks hits the nail on the head more often than not. She has compelling thoughts about the intersection of race, class and gender. She writes frequently about issues such as mentioned here about feminism being disproportionately organised by and effective for rich white wimmin. The only complete book I've read is Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics I thought it was pretty good.

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Apr 24 2006 03:09
rkn wrote:
I never understand what the privileges are that men have to lose? Why cant the privileges be gained all round?

Wimmin are trained to deffer to men, to spend a great deal of time on their appearance, to believe themselves to be physically weak, to value a role as a nurturer over their own well-being,

Men are trained to value strength, to be decisive, to expect adequate compensation for their effort, to desire control of wimmin.

Men gain from this dynamic:

- Free housework and other care from wives/girlfriends/mothers/daughters

- Men often make more money for doing the same job. Also, male-dominated industries tend to be hirer-paid and respected than wimmin-dominated (doctors vs nurses for example)

- Disproportionally large decision-making power, all else being equal

- More value give to men's opinions

- Men see images of themselves and their ideas reflected as normal and varried while wimmin are shown most often in a very small number of roles and their ideas are marginlised

- Easier for men to get hired in positions of authority, or get good jobs

Hey I just remembered about the "Male Privilage Checklist" (here: http://colours.mahost.org/org/maleprivilege.html)

Feminism, in the grand scheme of things is better for men than patriachy. Obviously gender is used to divide the workforce and make us weaker against the ruling class, as is racism. Also not all men like having all that extra decision-making power, they don't all want to be strong. Sexism by necissity creates a binairy system where both ends are denied their full humanity. very few people will comfortabley fit molds given to them.

However, other things (such as race and class) being equal I think most men get a better deal than most wimmin. And they have also been deeply socialised to accept this as a given, not to notice it (just like a lot of white people don't noticed white supremacy and most of the ruling class would probably tell you they just worked really hard to get there or they dserved it). These facts make it very difficult to convince men that it is a good idea to give up privilage, much less begin to formulate strategies on how they can do that on a practical level.

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Apr 24 2006 03:25
zobag wrote:
But that's a rubbish idea anyway, or at least i think so and I AM a feminist. I think on the whole women's interests do coincide with men's. I'm not denying patriarchy or anything, or arguing that it's a side issue, but I personally think that class oppression is the most fundamental issue we all face. Things like gender, race, sexuality, ability etc etc are played out on to this and are significant and you con't just simplify them or write them off, but a lot of feminist perspectives don't recognise that.

It's also important to remember that historically wimmin's opression is much, much older than capitalism. Patriarchy is not jsut an apect of capitalism. Rather, capitalism evolved out of patriarchal systems and so is inevitably influenced and supported by sexism.

I also recognise the importance of race, class, ability, education, immigration status, sexuality etc in propping up capitalism. Along with sexism they serve to divide humanity in it's struggle for peaceful and free existence.

However, if we managed to rid ourselves of capitalism, we would still be encountered with all the problems mentioned above, except (maybe?) class. Patriarchy has endured many power systems from religion-based to nationstates to corporations. There is nothing to suggest it will perish with that last one.

zobag wrote:
I think that anyone who calls themselves an anarchist/libertarian communist/whatever must be a feminist, you can't have libertarian communism without feminism. And you can't have meaningful feminism without, well, libertarian communism.

I don't think that feminism can happen passively just because a community believes in theory that wimmin and men are equal. Without an ongoing analysis of the situation and challenging of the self, sexism goes unnamed and unchanged. It does not dissapear on it's own.

A feminist analysis is certainly extremely valuable to any purporting to fight for liberty. However my experience with whether this has been taken on board by the radical community is sort of spotty. I haven't seen that feminism has coherently meshed with anarchist thought.

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Apr 24 2006 03:26
John. wrote:
I take the definition of feminism as meaning men and women are equal, so in that respect I'd consider myself a feminist, as well as most other people. But I don't see that as being related to much of what goes by the term "feminist" - kinda like anarchism but even worse

You are not a feminist just because you believe that. Feminism is about introspection and action. Feminism isn't an ideology it is a practice.

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Apr 24 2006 03:29
Jef Costello wrote:
zobag wrote:
I think that anyone who calls themselves an anarchist/libertarian communist/whatever must be a feminist, you can't have libertarian communism without feminism. And you can't have meaningful feminism without, well, libertarian communism.

Exactly, I think the idea of equality is a difficult one although it is hard not to use is as a base. Equality is not possible in many ways but it is also not necessary, I suppose equality of opportunity is what I would hope for and equality, as far as possible, in origins.

Why do you think that?

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Apr 24 2006 03:38
OliverTwister wrote:
But to me feminism at it's core is an inter-class movement, which by propping capitalism up, prolongs patriarchy.

Yeah I have never been qite comfortable with the idea of "sisterhood". Which is that a solidarity exists between the classes amongst wimmin, drawn from our common experiences. Except this gets called on very often by class-privilaged wimmin when they need support for making gains for themselves, and conviniently gets ginored when the womyn needing solidarity is their cleaner.

OliverTwister wrote:
Working class men have an interest in fighting patriarchy, the same way that working class whites have an interest in fighting racism - any "benefits" they have are purely ideological/spectacular.

Even if they are "purely ideological/spectacular" they are still effective at what they do, they are still ingrained socialisation, they propogate themselves in our child-rearing and they will take a ot of work to rid ourselves of.

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Apr 24 2006 03:58

I can't rememebr if I already posted these but:

The F Word: http://www.thefword.org.uk/

UK webmag about feminist issues.

Alas, a Blog: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/

American feminist blog. One of the best male-feminist works I have seen (not all posters are men but it's run by same guy who wrote the male privilage checklist I poster earlier)

fyi