Yay, Feminism! Boo, Feminism… July 15, 2010

Yay, Feminism! Boo, Feminism…

Who do you think gave this nod to feminism in an interview?

Feminism certainly addressed problems that needed to be addressed. Before the late 1960s, when the women’s movement came into full force, women were treated like sex objects, and there was not equal pay for equal work. There’s now a level of respect for women that was not as evident, say, 50 years ago.

I’ll admit it: it surprised me.

But then he dug himself right back into the hole.

You explained some of the stereotypes of young girls — they love flowers and are more easily wounded than boys. Are there stereotypes you think are harmful that shouldn’t be reinforced?

Yes. In recent years — this is perhaps a product of the feminist movement — girls feel the need to emulate boys, even predatory boys. They are tough, rough, crude, profane, and sexually aggressive. Girls are often the ones to make advances toward boys, which takes away their need to be the initiators. That grows out of this empowerment movement that is related to some feminist ideals that are harmful to girls. Girls are more vulnerable, more easily wounded, and more sensitive in many ways. That is why it’s so important for the parents to affirm them, build their understanding of their identity, and help them cope with the culture.

Got it, ladies?

If you make the first move on a man, or you swear, you have to give up your Woman Card. (Ditto if you don’t like flowers?)

Glad he could settle that for us.


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  • Hitch

    Always nice to see a man explain to others (women or men) how they really are. Not!

  • Someone got a knife to stab through his eye?

    Oops, that’s not very lady-like, is it? I suppose I’ll just have simper and sigh behind my lace fan. Ah well.

    (That said, I don’t actually condone violence. Blood stains are just too difficult to get out.)

  • He said similar stuff in “Bringing up Boys.” He got all bent out of shape about the Mia Hamm vs. Michael Jordan commercials because they made boys feel bad that a girl was good at sports. Or some such nonsense.

    I wonder if he tackles what makes girls lesbians in this book like he did with gay boys in the previous one. Vomit.

  • Edman

    (facepalm)

    Truthfully, I’d like to see more women making the first move. Knowing what I do about street harassment, I’m always wary of approaching an attractive lady to start conversation. They put up with enough unwanted attention as it is, and I don’t want to be just another dude using his privilege.

    That, and the whole “I get so nervous that I lose the ability to speak articulately” thing.

  • Courtney

    It shouldn’t surprise you, since anti-feminists are currently trying to co-opt the word “feminist” for themselves. .::coughpalincough::. It’ll be double plus good! It’s been such a demonized group by the wingnuts that if you’ve got their cheerleader calling herself one, they’re going to have to make it palatable somehow.

    Of course, Dobson goes on to discuss how women and girls continue to be objectified, negating his first point about what feminism has done. And equal pay for equal work? BZZZZT. But I think we’re up to about $0.80 on the dollar now. It would be easier if we had the ERA, but people like Dobson have been instrumental in preventing that.

    So um. He doesn’t get any points with or without comment two.

  • Hitch

    What I dislike about this is how it speak about both sexes. There is a video on youtube right now with a guy in a cheerleader squad. I’m going “Right on! Another stereotype crumbling!” Then I read the comments 😛

  • Andrew Morgan

    Is it pro- or anti-feminist to suggest guys like casual sex more than girls, and that guys should be sensitive to this fact?

    It’s actually surprising to me just how resistant some circles are to the idea that men and women are different, and that those differences might play out in how they think, feel, act, or view the world.

    Example: “Girls are more vulnerable, more easily wounded, and more sensitive in many ways.”

    This has to be one of the most defensible ideas about sex differences, at least in the realm of sex. Prater all you want; I’ve learned that girls have very different emotional responses to sex than guys do. (Cue chorus of: “THAT’S SOCIETY’S FAULT HURR DURRR, all we need to do is raise girls to have the same response to sex as men.”)

    Look — I’d LOVE if there weren’t any differences. NO GUY wouldn’t. But you learn pretty quickly that girls don’t think or act that way. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling himself and is going to find themselves in a world of aggravation.

  • Hitch

    There is a big difference between difference and stereotypical difference.

    You and I are different. -> OK

    Guys and girls are different in a predefined way. -> Stereotype

    If a guy likes flowers he has to fight the stereotype. If a girl likes trucks she has too.

    We can be all different, but let’s not presume our difference based on broad labels.

  • Nikki Bluue

    My take on feminism is more of the woman having a positive mindset about herself, her female identity rather than “equal rights for women” or any other political standpoint. YMMV and all that. 🙂

    To clarify, I do want equal rights for women, yes. I just do not associate that with feminism. I would call the political stance “gender equality” as there are more than just 2 genders. 😉 I agree with Andrew Morgan—hormones seem to dominate how each person responds to the world.

  • You know, I would like flowers, they’re lovely to look at and everything, but they don’t currently appear to like me very much.

    *sneeze*

    Now trucks… I’ve never had a truck give me hayfever. That’s all I’m sayin’. You can take away my ladycard if you like.

  • Sesoron

    Where are these girls who allegedly make the first moves? I can safely say I’ve never felt my position as a necessary initiator threatened, no siree…

  • RedSonja

    @ Andrew Morgan:

    Except that neither girls nor boys are monolithic groups who all respond uniformly to various situations. They’re individuals who respond in their own ways. Saying that “girls and women do this” and “men and boys are like that” is lazy generalization.

    As far as me (a woman) making the first move – I prefer it. I also enjoy swearing like a sailor, wearing pants, and apparently am contributing to the downfall of society. Sweet!

  • “Girls are often the ones to make advances toward boys, which takes away their need to be the initiators.”

    Which is bad because it’s a girl’s job to make the boys feel important, so don’t threaten them with assertiveness.

    And if girls really are more easily wounded, it’s because we live in a culture where girls aren’t taught to have a strong sense of self or empowerment and girl-wounding is tolerated!

    But then, what do you expect when a hyper-male god is running the show?

  • Oh HELL no… I LOVE it when I’m the chasee and the woman is the chaser. It’s awesome. My favorite part of feminism. 😉

  • phira

    Oh, put a sock in it, Andrew Morgan, and make an effort to actually educate yourself before making the claim that women are more easily wounded emotionally. We don’t need you mansplaining how men and women REALLY are, thanks.

    I do know of people who are Christian (or Jewish-theist or Muslim or Hindu, etc. etc.) and who are feminist people. Hugo Schwyzer is one of them. So when I see religious explanations for how feminism is destroying everyone’s way of life, etc., I get annoyed. Being a religious person and being a feminist person are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, for many individuals, their religious views DO make it impossible to be both religious and feminist.

    As for breaking stereotypes, I’m all for it. Being in a hetero relationship where my partner and I constantly switch between butch and femme, and “who wears the pants” changes both metaphorically and literally, there’s a lot of fighting for both of us to do.

    Anyway, I apologize for destroying children’s lives by being forward about sex, loving to drive, being a scientist, hating jewelry-as-gifts, and speaking when not spoken to.

  • Fuck, I love to swear. 🙂 I would gladly turn in my “Woman Card” to Dobson if it means I have to live up to his standards of womanhood.

  • CarolAnn :)

    If you make the first move on a man, or you swear, you have to give up your Woman Card. (Ditto if you don’t like flowers?)

    Envelope. Stamp. Card. Don’t want it coming back, so no return address label.

    Now where do I send it?

  • Well, I was going to comment, but I think I need to make sure my boyfriend is ok with what I was going to say…

  • Alix

    Men are emotional and irrational, and genetically weaker as more die in every age group, even the unborn. Women have challenged cultural assumptions dramatically more than I’ve ever seen from men. Those who are not typically masculine suffer in silence. Doesn’t that make them more sensitive, that they internalize these messages?

    I hate, hate, hate how conservatives always make that last point, that any assertive girl is automatically acting like a boy. Athletic? Acting like a boy. Technological geek? Acting like a boy. Politically opinionated? Acting like a boy. Apparently if I don’t stand around batting my eyelashes and giggling because nothing else sticks in my head, I’m waging war against my own demure biology. Whatever.

  • “Threatened”? Gah! I hate when a member of a dominant social group uses the word “threatened” when describing their feelings about a group they’re accustomed to dominating.

    If he really wants to know what it feels like to feel threatened, he should try being female for a week.

    I dare him to make a comment about equal pay after that, too.

  • Alix

    Andrew Morgan, I could easily counter than men are weak, lacking in personal responsibility, maturity, and self-control because they are slaves to their hormones and so-called biological impulses. You’d rather interpret their interest in sex as a badge of honor. Do you understand how society distorts perception? Of course it’s more complicated than that. Ask the men in African cultures who don’t sexualize breasts like Western men because they understand its function in feeding infants. Ask men in your own country about their sex lives before pornography became so mainstream and fantastical.

    Tired stereotypes and generalizations. You happen to fit the generalization of men’s behavior, so you assume you stand for everyone. You’ve been unsuccessful in finding compatible women, so you assume exceptions aren’t as prevalent as they would be when you arbitrarily divide a nearly 7 billion population into two categories. I’m visually oriented and don’t need an emotional bond to have sex. But I’m sure you’d toss me in with all the women who believe in strict monogamy. From my experience the stereotype that fits is far more memorable than what doesn’t in other people’s minds.

  • My boyfriend said it was ok to say that i agree with phira and redsonja and alix and whore of babylon and awesome cloud’s mom… I won’t repeat all that you all have said, but I was very happy to see your comments.

    Also, in response to Andrew Morgan, it is an unfair generalization, which is never feminist. I am generally the initiator in a relationship, and I heart casual sex. It’s all the fun (as long as there is the whole nobody-has-an-STI discussion) and none of the hassle of putting up with a romantic partner. I also make it a point to avoid relationships with anyone who would suggest that I am the way I am because I am a female, or gives me any of that “boys-will-be-boys” nonsense.

    “That is why it’s so important for the parents to affirm [girls], build their understanding of their identity, and help them cope with the culture.”

    That sounds suspiciously like gender socialization, teaching girls to be all passive and inferior and whatnot. And “coping with the culture” sounds very much like teaching girls how to deal with patriarchy and sexism by accepting it rather than fighting it. Ick. (By the way, “Dr.” Dobson, there still isn’t equal pay for equal work. Is it 70-something cents to the male dollar now?).

  • Chal

    Men are emotional and irrational, and genetically weaker as more die in every age group, even the unborn.

    Wow, girls suck at math.

    😛

  • Daniel

    I can understand SOME of where he’s coming from with SOME women.

    In traditionally male hobbies or careers, women can be aggressive, sore winners, and chauvinistic. They make it clear they are female and point out whenever they can how they are superior.

    As for sexual aggression…not necessarily in practice, but they are somewhat with their culture.

    Its acceptable for a woman in a relationship to comment on a movie star’s sexual attractiveness, but not so much so for a man to do the same.

    Additionally, women get by saying things that men wouldn’t be able to say. “Boy toy” is acceptable, but if a man referred to his partner as a toy, there would be a shitstorm with whoever heard it.

    I do support feminism though. More accurately, gender equality. Not so much with rights, but with societal ideas(which is what most modern feminism is about.)

    I do have one little thing I don’t like. When a woman has sex and gets pregnant, she can choose to have an abortion. When a man gets a woman pregnant(even if its just a one night stand), he has to give her 25% of his income for the next 18 years.

    I think people should have to pay child support in divorces, but not if he just knocks her up. She can have an abortion, give the baby up, whatever. If she chooses to keep the baby, the man shouldn’t have to help pick up the tab.

  • Sesoron

    Nice knowing you, Daniel. At least there’ll be one fewer Dan for me to get confused with now.

  • Greg

    Those women complaining about equal pay should remember the tennis industry. In the Majors, women get paid the same for less work (men play best of 5 sets, women best of 3), and despite the fact that their matches generally attract less crowds.

    ::stops stirring::

    :p

    A little more seriously, I hope some of those responding are just responding in kind to mock the style of argument, because some of the statements might come across a little sexist themselves…

    Having suffered prejudice isn’t an excuse to be prejudicial yourself.

  • NewEnglandBob

    You sent me to a Christian site. Now I have to go shower.

  • Judith Bandsma

    I guess I’m in really deep shit then. I like gardens but can’t stand cut flowers, swear like a sailor (which I learned to do at a CATHOLIC girls’ boarding school), am sexually aggressive, dislike babies, dresses and diamonds and am allergic to gold.

    Gee, from that you’d never know that I’m straight and cry at dumb emotional commercials. I have to wonder now if I ever had a ‘girl card’.

  • Alix

    If you were referring to me, Greg, yeah, I was having a little fun. It’s baffling that high levels of testosterone aren’t considered being hormonal, irrational, and emotional, though. Anger is an obvious emotion, which leads to jealousy, resentment, hostility, insecurity, disgust, frustration, disappointment, contempt, etc. Hell, aggressiveness was one of Plutchik’s 8 advanced emotions. Men commit the vast majority of violent crime? Irrational. Etc. Expression differs but not the labels.

  • NorDog

    “Got it, ladies?

    If you make the first move on a man, or you swear, you have to give up your Woman Card. (Ditto if you don’t like flowers?)”

    Gee, I just took him to mean that being a liberated woman doesn’t require anyone to be a pig like most guys are.

  • RedSonja

    @ Daniel

    Worried about having to pay child support? Wear a condom, or get a vasectomy. Problem solved.

    Re: “aggresive, sore winners, and chauvanistic” – I don’t even know what you’re trying to say here. But I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of “Women sometimes don’t act the way I think they should.” Guess what? They don’t give a shit if you approve or not.

    Oh, and the whole “What about the MENZ?????!!!!” rant re: language is just whiny. And I really wish I lived in your world where men are castigated every time they behaved badly.

  • Veridiana

    Men are emotional and irrational, and genetically weaker as more die in every age group, even the unborn.

    Says the mad feminist “tired” of stereotypes and generalizations. Pathetic.

  • Tersa

    If women are more emotional and easily wounded how do we explain Mel Gibson?

  • Alix

    Sorry, the edit box closed on me and left some redundant phrasing. Basically, there’s 6,856,117,195 of us. 3,428,058,598ish women will not have enough in common to judge a standard set of behaviors. And I honestly believe men would be happier if they’d learn to buck the status quo too. (Don’t misinterpret self-actualization as feminizing boys, either.)

  • Alix

    Says the mad feminist “tired” of stereotypes and generalizations. Pathetic.

    Actually, says the person too blatant in their satire.

    Read it again, Veridiana. Veeeeery slowly. (Though it’s true that XY is a weaker set of genes.)

  • Flah the Heretic Methodist

    I’m pretty sure they took my Lady Card when I went into engineering. I haven’t missed it, particularly.

    I consider myself “tough, rough, crude, profane, and sexually aggressive” but don’t consider myself less female. Of course this is off-putting and intimidating to some men, but there are men that find it appealing. Why does anyone think they’re allowed to set the norm?

  • Aaron

    This is all just part of larger meme where there are pre-established roles in society, and those who do not fit themselves into those roles are considered unfit. The religious and others are not so much anti-feminist as they are afraid to break with the dreaded rules. The rules require submissive women and dominant men.

    It is larger than feminism or masculinism (is that a word?). There is a great deal of pressure on both sexes to act according to their stereo-types. How many of the above-mentioned men who die younger do so because they work too hard or refuse to go to the doctor for pain and illness because to do otherwise would be “womanly”?
    How many women would don’t play sports or work 80 weeks because it is “masculin”?

  • Andrew Morgan

    Ah, the reactions are so predictable.

    “Except that neither girls nor boys are monolithic groups who all respond uniformly to various situations. They’re individuals who respond in their own ways. Saying that “girls and women do this” and “men and boys are like that” is lazy generalization.”

    Except that I didn’t say people shouldn’t be treated like individuals. Presumably it’s also anti-feminist to say “Men are typically taller than women” since there exists tall women.

    “Oh, put a sock in it, Andrew Morgan, and make an effort to actually educate yourself before making the claim that women are more easily wounded emotionally. We don’t need you mansplaining how men and women REALLY are, thanks.”

    Cool! You merely disagreeing with me has definitely shown me the error of my ways. Good argument!

    “Also, in response to Andrew Morgan, it is an unfair generalization, which is never feminist.”

    Why is it unfair? Because you’re different?

  • Sesoron

    I think I need to abandon this thread before all this talk about how many atheist women are, in fact, sexually aggressive knocks me down a few more levels deeper into depressionland.

  • AxeGrrl

    Andrew Morgan wrote:

    Is it pro- or anti-feminist to suggest guys like casual sex more than girls, and that guys should be sensitive to this fact?

    It’s actually surprising to me just how resistant some circles are to the idea that men and women are different, and that those differences might play out in how they think, feel, act, or view the world

    Indeed, there are ‘general’ differences…..but here’s the problem with your ‘casual sex’ example: that may be true for most women, but definitely not all. And if it’s not true for all, why make assumptions?

    but why can’t people just relate to each other as individuals?? What’s so complicated about that?

    What the usual or general differences are don’t mean squat when you get to know a person and get to know their characteristics.

    Why do some people feel the need to raise their children ‘according’ to their gender? Why can’t we just let people be who and/or ‘what’ they are and then relate to them thusly?

  • Andrew Morgan

    “You’ve been unsuccessful in finding compatible women, so you assume exceptions aren’t as prevalent as they would be when you arbitrarily divide a nearly 7 billion population into two categories.”

    Ad hominem! Good work!

    Should I start citing books and studies? Or is this a waste of my time because the thought that men and women aren’t exact copies of each other too much of a bete noire?

  • Andrew Morgan

    “Indeed, there are ‘general’ differences…..

    but why can’t people just relate to each other as individuals?? What’s so complicated about that?”

    Never said you couldn’t.

  • Said Daniel: In traditionally male hobbies or careers, women can be aggressive, sore winners, and chauvinistic. They make it clear they are female and point out whenever they can how they are superior.

    *headdesk* You know what? So do men. End of story. Period. You know why you don’t notice it? Because you expect it from men.

    I hate to tell you this, but based on your comments you do not actually support feminism. In fact, most of what you wrote is a lot of anti-feminist rhetoric.

  • AxeGrrl

    Nikki Bluue wrote:

    I do want equal rights for women, yes. I just do not associate that with feminism.

    See, I don’t get that. If you look at the history of the Feminist movement, how could you NOT associate the quest for equal rights with Feminism?

    I understand the desire to not pick a label that refers to one gender only, but to me, actively disasssociating oneself from Feminism kind of shows a lack of respect for all the women who came before us and did the hard work that resulted in us having the equality and freedoms we have now.

    Plus, people like Rush Limbaugh WANT women to say ‘I’m not one of those Feminists‘ (said with icky tone) which makes me all the more annoying when women do.

  • Hitch

    Differences are no problem, generalizations, stereotypes, unfounded assumptions are.

    So let’s say 70% guys for some reason hate flowers (and we know somehow how to figure it out) and 30% love flowers.

    Then people say “guys are different to girls because they clearly don’t like flowers as much”.

    Then a guy tells someone: “You know, I love flowers, I wish I’d get them as presents more often.”

    He gets to hear: “Oh you are such a girl.”

    Done. That’s how stereotyping and social stigma works.

    Yes we have to reject “general” differences that are not shown. And even those that are shown are only acceptable as descriptive and not as normative. In lieu of someone not being able to know the difference, rejecting group-based labels and dealing with the individual is a safe and sound way to do things.

    So yes, the responses are predictable, because they are correct.

  • AxeGrrl

    I wrote:

    why can’t people just relate to each other as individuals?? What’s so complicated about that?

    Andrew Morgan replied:

    Never said you couldn’t

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t directing my rhetorical questions to you specifically Andrew, just tossing them out there for all to consider 🙂

  • Aaron

    Presumably it’s also anti-feminist to say “Men are typically taller than women” since there exists tall women.

    No, it is anti-feminist to say “tall girls are manly”.

  • Gabriel

    It’s sensible to recognise that some gender differences exist. It’s not sensible, however, to try to push people into a specific role or stereotype them. Also, all human beings are hormonal and irrational 😉

  • Stevie

    As a woman, if I say…

    “$*)# ME!” I think I get all of the rough, tough, sexual aggression in one bite-sized soundbyte. Oh, don’t forget I get the cussing too! I’m such a naughty woman.

  • littlejohn

    My wife, like you, is a high school teacher. If you think girls haven’t become more aggressive, both in terms of starting fistfights and propositioning boys, then I can only assume you are too young to remember when it wasn’t that way.
    I’m not defending the speaker, and I agree that females have just as much right to be aggressive as males.
    I’m just saying that what he said is factually correct. Of course, my wife and I are in our 50s, and we remember high school life before you were born.
    Trust me, things have changed dramatically.
    Before the young women start berating me, my bona fides are solid. I’m an ex-hippie who was getting tear-gassed for my liberal views of sex, war and civil rights during an era you’ve only seen watching reruns of “Woodstock.” I’m no right-winger.

  • Nikki Bluue

    AxxeGrl said: If you look at the history of the Feminist movement, how could you NOT associate the quest for equal rights with Feminism?

    Gender rights. Gender equality. I never said I had no respect for what all the ladies suffered in the past to get us where we are today. I vote to respect WOmen’s Suffrage.

    I believe in feminism. I never said I didn’t. I just define it differently, and please do not say I “dissociate” myself from it. I do not. Assumptions annoy me.

    I do think there are more than 2 genders, so I tend to want to use ‘gender equality’ or ‘women’s rights’ rather than feminism.

    Just cuz one woman annoys you with her personal definition does not mean she isn’t feminist at all. 🙂 Peace out, you rock.

  • Andrew Morgan

    “No, it is anti-feminist to say ‘tall girls are manly’.”

    This is I think where the difference lies: in the normative judgment, or if you start saying that men or women “ought” to do something.

    Some truth-claim about men or women is either wrong, or it’s right. If it’s right, I would argue that statements of fact can’t inherently be sexist. If someone says “Women prefer X”, it might be a complicated statistical, logistical, or scientific endeavor to figure out if they’re right, but but they’re either right or wrong.

    “Just to clarify, I wasn’t directing my rhetorical questions to you specifically Andrew, just tossing them out there for all to consider :)”

    Okey doke 🙂

  • AxeGrrl

    Nikki Bluue wrote:

    I believe in feminism. I never said I didn’t. I just define it differently, and please do not say I “dissociate” myself from it. I do not. Assumptions annoy me.

    I do think there are more than 2 genders, so I tend to want to use ‘gender equality’ or ‘women’s rights’ rather than feminism.

    Just cuz one woman annoys you with her personal definition does not mean she isn’t feminist at all.

    Nikki, I guess your post confused me a little ~ to specifically say that you don’t associate equal rights with Feminism is puzzling, since that was THE goal of the movement from dot. The fact that you define things differently doesn’t change that reality.

    And I didn’t say that you don’t believe in Feminism.

    And could you clarify something for me? How does the term ‘women’s rights’ differ from Feminism in your mind?

  • Claudia

    Why am I totally unsurprised that this thread has produced aggressive arguments? I’ve yet to see a post anywhere employing the term “femenist” that doesn’t become controversial.

    Seriously, someone point me to what is prejudiced or ridiculous about Andrew Morgan’s opinion? Men and women are different. Gay men are different from straight men also outside the bedroom, otherwise gaydar wouldn’t exist. Italians are more flirty that Germans. Chinese are harder workers than Cubans but worse dancers.

    The very fact that these are generalizations does not make them false or useless information. Any description of a human population defined in any way will have to, by definition, generalize. The problem is not aknowledging that little girls tend to like dolls and flowers and little boys trucks and blocks, the problem starts when you decide that the little boy who likes dolls or the little girl who likes blocks has something wrong with them that has to be “corrected”. The problem is when you form negative opinions of people who fall outside the general model accepted for their gender.

    So far as I can tell Andrew said nothing of the sort and in fact explicitly rejected such notions. For that he gets told off because (naturally being male) he can have no valid opinion on the matter of feminism. Very nice.

    Men and women are (generally, statistically) different. Such differences are partly socialized but ALSO partly biological. It could well be that females tend statistically to have lesser mathematical skills than males and males lesser verbal skills than females, even in the absence of biased teaching. This is a scientific question that if answered could be extremely helpful if used to give intense mathematical coaching to girls and language coaching to boys from an early age. However we get nowhere if every time someone (especially a male) mentions that some differences exist they are branded a sexist and told to STFU.

  • Nikki Bluue

    to AxxeGrrl
    Apologies for my knee-jerks. 🙂 It is apparent this topic of feminism is still a hot one with baggage for many folks.

    I understand fully that all of my personal definitions does not change everyone’s reality. Feminism started out as a political front, and I appreciate that history and what it has done for me/others.

    I just think the word feminism carries too much baggage, good and bad. I also feel the radical feminists twisted it around to mean something I do not support: a society dictated by women. I don’t want that. I want a society that both genders can lead.

    For that reason, I feel the term ‘women’s rights’ carries less negative baggage. That’s just I. I hope I have clarified. 🙂

  • On original post:

    So it’s bad for women to be treated as sex objects… but it’s also bad for us to be sexual aggressors?

    [headscratch]

    Still trying to figure out how that one works.

    As to the “are men and women different?” thread: I don’t see why this one is always so hard. Can’t we recognize that there may well be, on average, some differences between women and men, differences which may have a genetic component as well as a cultural one… and still recognize that these differences are just averages, overlapping bell curves, and that any given individual is likely to fall outside those averages, in one area or more?

    It would be very surprising if there were no genetically- influenced behavioral differences between male and female humans. There are in just about every other mammal species. (There is also extensive and well-documented cultural training in gender roles… but that’s another rant.) But that tells us absolutely nothing about whether this particular woman or man is good at verbal skills, good at spatial relations, physically aggressive, more likely to be competitive, more likely to be co-operative, good at identifying emotional states from facial expressions, physically strong, or any number of other qualities that seem, on average, to break down along gender lines.

    These differences are overlapping bell curves — not strict “All men are in Camp A, all women are in Camp B” categories. They’re lots of different bell curves, in fact: a lot of people (including me) score typically female in some areas, typically male in others. So we still need to judge each person on their own merits. And when we talk about differences between women and men, we still need to qualify what we say with language like “many,” “often,” “on average,” “much of the time,” etc. There is a huge difference between saying “Women tend, on average, to be more co-operative and less competitive than men,” and saying, “Women are co-operative and less competitive than men.” The former is descriptive, and leaves room for debate: the latter is prescriptive, gender normative, and makes you sound like a jackass.

  • Richard Wade

    Every single thing I’ve ever heard James Dobson say has convinced me that he has a rare reverse digestive system. He must eat with his asshole, because NOTHING BUT SHIT ever comes out of his mouth.

  • And Richard is the friendlier of the two of us 🙂

  • muggle

    If you make the first move on a man, or you swear, you have to give up your Woman Card. (Ditto if you don’t like flowers?)

    No, just your lady card and who the hell wants that? Don’t murder flowers to court me, it’ll blow up in your fucking face for doing so. Same if you gift me with some dead animal’s hide. Diamonds have blood on their hands. And I haven’t worn a skirt in over 20 years.

    You do know what Dobson can do with his mother-fucking card, don’t you? And his ideals of raising a child in gender programming too. When I was a kid, I always want a GI Joe and toy soldiers and cars but those were boys toys so my fucking parents wouldn’t allow it. (Even though my mother dressed me in my brothers hand-me-downs as a baby because I was bald and people assumed I was boy and would ask her why she was putting her boy in dresses, so instead of having the balls to stand up to them, she cross-dressed me instead of explaining she wasn’t, wtf? guess it’s her fault I own’t wear skirts or heels.) When I found a toy soldier one day, I thought screw them and hid it and treasured it for years.

    Besides if you act like Barbie, you only get Ken. Who wants a fucking Ken doll? GI Joe is much sexier.

  • Claudia

    @Greta Christina, ditto to, well to just about all of it. I do think people use “Men are” as shorthand for “Men tend to be” without neccesarily not understanding the natural variations, though some people of course use it in its native, sexist way.

    Richard, that is so awesome I want to find some Dobson-like creature to use it on.

  • medussa

    @Daniel:
    “In traditionally male hobbies or careers, women can be aggressive, sore winners, and chauvinistic. They make it clear they are female and point out whenever they can how they are superior.”

    I don’t know where you get this load of crap.
    I work in the Fire Service, which qualifies as male dominated. I have for over a decade.
    If women here are angry, pissed off and bitter, it’s because we have been undermined, put in jeopardy, silenced and shunned, in a job that is already quite hard enough on it’s own. It has improved drastically since I joined, but it is still no where near equal. When a crew drops a ladder, it will be blamed on a female, even when there was no female working the ladder. If a firefighter gets hurt, it’s because a female somewhere somehow did something wrong. If a firefighter dies, it’s because of a female somehow.
    To even survive the day to day in this job, we have to become aggressive, and angry. So get off of your fucking high horse and stop judging people in situations you know nothing about.

    And Nikki,
    I also read your original post as disassociating yourself from feminism. Your later posts make it sound like that wasn’t your intent.
    In my work environment, feminism is a bad word, because it gave women the legal rights and confidence to break into the Fire Service. Which makes it a great word in my book. It has evolved considerably, and is unrecognizable to some, but it still stands for equal access for women.

    My personal politics are not necessarily that exclusive, I believe in racial and sexual equality as well, but I will still stand and proudly claim feminism.

  • In response to the question of why generalizations are never feminist, it has to do with more than generalizing about women and men. It has to do with over generalizing any group of people (at least for me and how I define feminism), such as the queer community, a particular racial or ethnic group, etc. I feel that it is silly to say all women/gays/blacks are Like This, when clearly, all groups like that are diverse. I think it is more important to consider the individual. While I don’t have a problem with saying men/lesbians/Asian Americans TEND to do this or many share some experience, it is simply silly to expect that everybody in some group is the same. And, Mr. Morgan, as far as me being “different,” I don’t think that’s a fair statement to make. That’s not why I am a feminist or why I define feminism the way that I do. I think that feminism concerns equal rights for everyone, women and men, and it then must take into account other factors that are applicable to that person’s status in life, such as race, sexual orientation, race, disabilities, and so on. I do not know how popular my particular brand of feminism is; nor do I know how many other people think of it this way, but it is logical to me (and at least most of my friends and classmates).

  • Nikki Bluue

    Medussa, thanks for heads-up. It was never my intent to “disassociate” in the first comment. I really hate ‘net communications when it comes to hot topics, things get muddled and lost. I do respect your position on using ‘feminism’ in regards to politics. 🙂 Keep rockin’.

  • Nikki Bluue

    I guess my using the word “associate” was the wrong one. I apologize for that. I meant to say I don’t see feminism as political in my mind.

    I am open to learning new words/terms that can define a woman’s fearlessness, a woman’s pride in herself as a woman, not being afraid to make choices for herself that may run counter with the status quo, not worrying about what others think, etc. A term about a woman like I described that is NOT political in nature. ?? What word would you use that would describe this type of woman? 🙂 One I like is “b*tch”. Any others?

  • medussa

    Bitch is good, lol. But really, it depends on context and who is speaking. In certain situations, I love chick, dyke, and bitch, in others ma’am, sir, and miss is way more appropriate.

  • RedSonja

    Claudia HAS to be a Poe. The bit about Chinese being harder workers than Cubans but worse dancers was LOL-worthy.

  • Hitch

    While we talk feminism, let me give a critique of the bell curve picture.

    Yes we can try to measure them and render the distributions and find differences between the sexes.

    Poststructural feminism is critical of this for various reasons.

    First is, how did we pick the axis. Why are certain axis seen as important and others not. Men and woman may have differences in arm lengths, but we tend to, culturally, not make that part of the discussion.

    That is what differences matter culturally. In more poetic language “what meanings are inscribed on the body”.

    Why do we even have the flower/no-flower axis? Why does it matter who likes flowers? Why is that not completely neutral. Someone likes flowers, fine, someone dislikes flowers fine too.

    The fact that something has cultural weight matters. A lot.

    Even the category of sexes is very tricky, because some people do not fit the standard labels nicely. If it was culturally not important, then we wouldn’t even worry about it, but that we have a T in LGBT is one of the reasons why we have a discussion here. Sex and gender is not value free in society, but that is in many ways by choice.

    But of course not all is lost. One can find dimensions and try to classify and actually do sensibly good things, with the necessary caveats and footnotes.

    All I can say is that gender roles are still massively stereotyped. It is virtually impossible for a guy to get flowers on a first date, even if we might naively see that as value free. This is because culture does not work with descriptive distributions. What is “normal” matters, the real or imagined peaks in the distributions, and how they are then used to justify how something should happen.

    If some individuals are not all that close to the “normal” peaks they tend to be in trouble, because after all most are fine with X, and it’s strange not to be fine with it.

  • Jen

    James Dobson should not be allowed near kids. I wouldn’t let him near MY (completely imaginary) kids; he’d probably take a switch the them and then shower with the boys since seeing Daddy’s penis… makes them straight, or whatever it was exactly that he theorized.

  • James Dobson should not be allowed near kids.

    Or animals. Here’s the sickening tale of how he beat his family’s tiny dachshund with a belt:

    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2004/12/monstrous-james-dobson-further.html

  • The Pint

    Girls are often the ones to make advances toward boys, which takes away their need to be the initiators.

    *headdesk x2*

    Frankly, if my making the first move is all it takes to emasculate a man, then he’s really not that much of a man to begin with.

  • Dan W

    As those statements were from James Dobson, I’m more surprised to see that he had something positive to say about feminism at all. The second comment you quoted from the article, Hemant, seems far more like something a sexist fundie such as Dobson would say.

  • They’ll take my fucking Woman Card when they pry it from my goddamn cold, dead, nicotine-stained hands.

  • Skunque

    “Where are these girls who allegedly make the first moves?”

    Paired off, assertiveness has its upsides! 😀

  • Cannot read comments – brain might implode. However your article? Loved. Thanks ^_^

  • Claudia

    @RedSonja new here? Welcome! I am not a Poe, thanks for asking :-). My list was intended to be at least a little shocking, but there is a point to them I assure you. I listed a series of generalities (or stereotypes) in an attempt to illustrate that there is a difference between recognizing the real differences between people and then turning around and using those generalities to judge the individual. Nothing wrong with the first, while the second is immoral (besides being useless). Some stereotypes are totally invented out of whole cloth, but many actually come from a kernel of truth that is then blown out of proportion and (worse) used to judge individuals.

    My point is that I find it very frustrating that when even the most gentle attempt is made to recognize the differences between men and women (admittedly not always with careful enough language) the person doing so is accused as a matter of course of being bigoted and discriminatory and incapable of distinguishing global tendencies from individual cases. I don’t think this is productive. I also think that by putting people wishing to have productive discussions about the subject in the same boat with the James Dobsons of the world we alienate good people and also in a way let creeps like Dobson hide amongst the more reasonable and continue to spout their irony-free idiocy.

  • AxeGrrl

    medussa wrote:

    In my work environment, feminism is a bad word, because it gave women the legal rights and confidence to break into the Fire Service. Which makes it a great word in my book. It has evolved considerably, and is unrecognizable to some, but it still stands for equal access for women.

    My personal politics are not necessarily that exclusive, I believe in racial and sexual equality as well, but I will still stand and proudly claim feminism

    I was going to respond, but what you wrote above pretty much sums up my feelings as well 🙂

    In certain situations, I love chick……

    That’s so funny, because I thought that I was the only woman who uses that word 🙂

  • RedSonja

    @Claudia

    Thanks for the welcome! I guess I just don’t see the point in generalizing so broadly that it’s useless, particularly when the differences being discussed are socialized, rather than intrinsic.

    To put it another way – yes, when people say “women do such and such” and I DON’T do such and such – I’ve just been erased from the category of women. And almost certainly not just me, but many other women as well. Which makes my options to either get with the program and do such and such, or not be a woman. So your generalization doesn’t even apply to large parts of the group, and may only artificially (as opposed to intrinsically) apply to others. Which, to me, makes it a useless statement.

    I admit I’m a bit puzzled by your statement

    “Some stereotypes are totally invented out of whole cloth, but many actually come from a kernel of truth that is then blown out of proportion and (worse) used to judge individuals.”

    What do you use the stereotype for, if not to try and apply it to how an individual might behave/act/think/feel? Seriously – I can’t think of a single other use for it. And once again – if you KNOW that there are large swathes of the group it doesn’t apply to, it’s useless as a predictive tool.

    So yes, the statement “Girls are more vulnerable, more easily wounded, and more sensitive in many ways,” annoys the crap out of me. Yes, many girls are. Possibly even most. But not even close to all of them are, and many heard that statement and said “I’m not. What’s wrong with me?” and that’s an horribly unfair thing to do to a kid. Which is why I won’t do it, and I hate it when other people do.

  • p.s.

    redsonja said:

    What do you use the stereotype for, if not to try and apply it to how an individual might behave/act/think/feel?

    how about to judge how a whole group of people act/think/feel?

    Generalizations can be useful. From a marketing perspective, it makes more sense to make a toy/product for women that has “feminine” decorations… i.e flowers and pink stuff and other culturally perceived “girly-ness” because there is a statistical majority of girls who enjoy such things. (they do the same thing for products targeted at boys). It would be foolish to accuse a company of being anti-feminist for producing such products. Yes, people judging others based on these generalizations is wrong, but attacking someone for making the generalization (assuming it is statistically accurate and the generalization is not used to judge an individual) is wrong as well.

    Just to clarify, before anyone misinterprets: I think Dobson is spewing hateful crap. He is saying that not conforming to stereotypical female behavior somehow makes you less of a woman, and I think that is completely wrong.

  • absent sway

    *throws two cents into the fray*

    I’m on a bit of a tangent here, but what gets me about the stereotype debate as much as anything else is the assumption that often seems to be behind protests of stereotypes: that if you resemble a stereotype, it’s necessarily a bad thing. I am in many ways predictably “feminine” and there’s nothing inferior or backward about that. I don’t feel the need to conform to every traditional expectation and I don’t think women who don’t identify with traditionally feminine things should be disrespected or changed. The same goes for men; it’s not the end of the world if a man cries or wears makeup, and by the same token, if he drives a big-ass truck and lifts weights. I’m thrilled that we all have a little more leeway with these choices nowadays, and welcome further improvements.

  • abadidea

    I’m a girl, I made all the moves, I got the engineering degree (okay we both got the engineering degree, but my grades were better!), I’m applying for all the really good manly jobs, and I’m calling all the shots.

    My little Manly McMannikins fiance is cooking dinner and cleaning. We’re so happy together. <3

    In all seriousness, I'm a total tomboy and my fiance is a very manly young man who's happy to let me be a tomboy. I've battled the stereotypes and won. If someone seriously suggested at this point I shouldn't do anything with my degree in computer science or something like that, I'd be too busy laughing to take them seriously and feel hurt. Even my mother gave up on the frilly dress thing.

  • p.s.

    abadidea:
    me too! there are alot of girl engineers here it seems ^^

  • Arduinnae

    As a pregnant tomboy, all I can say is that I still, most definitely, have my Woman Card. If James Dobson wishes to deny this, he is more than welcome to see the light I puked all over the bedroom floor this morning.

  • Arduinnae

    @absent sway

    You’re absolutely right. The issue is *whenever* someone says “if you have X between your legs, this is the way you should live/act.” It doesn’t matter whether they are telling you that you should be in the kitchen with a gaggle of offspring, or that you should be heading a business meeting while wearing absurdly large shoulder pads.

    Every single one of us needs to be able to act in a way that is most consistent with our personal sensibilities. Any deviation from this will cause unhappiness.

  • smh

    Is it pro- or anti-feminist to suggest guys like casual sex more than girls, and that guys should be sensitive to this fact?

    What are you basing this on? It’s been my experience that men and women, on average, feel the same way about casual sex, and I will advise people to this effect. You are stating your opinions, based on your own experience, as if they are which are a biological reality, which they are not. Also, I would say yes, it is anti-feminist to make statements such as that, because your generalizing all (or most women) based on your experience, which to me, is the definition of anti-feminism.

  • It isn’t either one. But I certainly hold that men are not slaves to their sex organs.