Feminist Theory & "Women's Issues" Discussion Thread: All Gender Identities Are Encouraged To Participate

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Con, this whole "biology is destiny" thing is something that many (maybe most?) women experience, constricting the size and shape of our lives, on an almost daily basis.

It's this hydra-headed thing that no matter how many times you chop off one head, it sprouts another to bite you. So not wanting to engage with that, not wanting to argue it down yet again, is often due to sheer exhaustion rather than a lack of engagement.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

Aimless I don't argue with ppl who put words in my mouth. Just carry on having your discussion by yourself coz I don't see where you need me in it, considering you've already decided what I'm gonna say.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

What lack of female on female violence?

Well, the relative lack of women convicted of violent crimes would be the obvious reference point.

While if you are someone being oppressed by those structures, you HAVE to believe change is possible..

What's sad is the dialogue involving female-on-male violence in relationships has nearly completely been drowned out by so-called "men's rights" people with claims like "when a woman hits a man it's no big deal, but when a man hits a woman it's domestic violence!" I don't think yelling about where blame is placed is helping anyone.

valleys of your mind (mh), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

nasty, unfeeling, power-hungry dealers of injustice who stand on privilege at every turn, then...

I think it's important to realize that men stand on privilege at every turn whether they are nasty, unfeeling, or power-hungry or not. Even ones who are allied with women, working to help women, etc. Like if you can't get that then you will always be having the wrong discussion.

Melissa W, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

It's a numbers game, mh, and it's difficult to say "yes this exists. But can we please not let the narrative of the one place where women are unfortunately in the majority and men in the minority be written exclusively by that minority?"

Exclusively being the operative word there.

Also let's not even open the can of worms that is male on male violence which doesn't even need to be inside a relationship. Intra-sex violence as a real thing in this world.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

WCC, you are steering by your own compass and you are locked on to the course it has set for you. Good luck. Just realize that if you place a chunk of ferrous metal near a compass the needle is attracted to that instead of to magnetic north. If you don't notice this you can get pretty far off track.

Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

WCC, that makes sense, and i'm not trying to get you to engage w it.

fwiw, and i hope this isn't offensive, myths abt "biological masculinity" are another kind of prison. they're a power-granting prison, which may seem like an oxymoron, but they can be brutally rough on men who don't conform. and like i said at the top, we all "fail" to conform (succeed at not conforming!) in various ways.

just so we're clear, i'm NOT in any way, shape or form trying to compare my struggles with supposedly "natural" masculine identity with the awful history of female oppression. i'm very aware that i was born to a position of unfair privilege in this and other respects.

re our differences in this discussion: i'm just kind of a fence-sitter by disposition. i'm the type to try to see merit on both sides of an argument, to find common ground rather than to "take a side". maybe that's annoying to those with more clearly defined positions...

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

Aimless, Melissa has answered you pretty comprehensively.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

It would be cool if people who don't actually want to examine their ideas about gender would do something other than post here, thanks!

one little aioli (Laurel), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

Melissa, you are completely right and it makes me feel kind of like crap every time this point is articulated, because it's a privilege that I'd like to escape in some ways, because there are so many things that I'd like to do or change that it doesn't help with.

That and I would like to believe that there is something to meritocracy, but there are some points in my life where I consciously know it's not personal merit but personal privilege that's influencing things.

valleys of your mind (mh), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's important to realize that men stand on privilege at every turn whether they are nasty, unfeeling, or power-hungry or not.

Yes. I would agree with that. Since the privilege is built into the society, the only way off it is to stand outside society. I do that from time to time, but only because I sometimes go wander around the wilderness where there aren't any other people. As soon as I return, I'm back on privileged ground.

Explain to me how I can alter this state and I will attend well to your words. But if there is nothing I can do, then please do not blame me for doing nothing.

Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

You could stop coming into discussions about sexism and telling women that they're wrong-headed and that you have a clearer view of things?

Melissa W, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

fwiw 2 all my male-identified brothers, you dont have to post in this thread. the world will be okay if you dont share your take on all of this. you will be okay, too. it can be hard to take a step back and just be quiet for a while but sometimes its really worthwhile.

max, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

if you want male rape to be discussed, then yeah, there's a conversation to be had about that, especially wrt to your point about stereotyping and assumptions. i'm just saying, is this the right place for it?

― gyac, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:23 (29 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I guess you skimmed over the bit where I said "not for this conversation, I just wanted to get it off my chest" and "perhaps I need another thread."

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

Con I recognise that the myths about biological masculinity are another kind of prison - I keep repeating that patriarchy hurts men, too line and I deeply believe it.

If you're a natural fence sitter, I understand. And so long as your argument is and/both I'm prepared to accept that and/both intersection of nature and nurture is the most likely explanation of most human behaviour. So I think I understand yr viewpoint a bit better now?

But it's unfortunate that "nature" argument is something I get hit in the face with repeatedly while nurture isn't slapping me, I'm likely to be a bit partisan.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think we should all create socks and have this convo with our gender-identities undisclosed. See what happens.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

just to clarify my post upthread i think both/and is as simplistic as either/or.

judith, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

Dudes who are feeling defensive about yr Privilege, what can you do to help?

1) you can recognise and acknowledge that privilege instead of pretending it doesn't exist or that everyone has it. This is a massively helpful first step.

2) you can check your privilege BEFORE you step in to tell women How The World Works.

3) you can actively work to change the future world by trying to dismantle privilege of all kinds. This is the scariest and hardest bit

(this is also the checklist I try to follow when thinking about mine own race privilege and class privilege so I'm not recommending anything I dont try to do myself. Try being operative word)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

Mr Butler maybe you wanna come up with a 300 word essay on the intersectionality of nature and nurture with extra points for each 20th Century French philosopher you can squeeze in a reference to, but for now I'll take and/both as a less simple simplification than either/or?

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

acknowledging one's own privilege doesn't invalidate your problems or travails. when women (or anyone) argue about privilege with you they're not saying you, yourself, are a terrible awful oppressing human being - it's a structural issue. but the existence of privilege should not be the thing we're arguing over, it's a very basic thing to acknowledge. and fervently denying that it exists or nitpicking when people exaggerate just seems like a deliberate waste of time and is v annoying to women who encounter that sort of thing every day.

That and I would like to believe that there is something to meritocracy, but there are some points in my life where I consciously know it's not personal merit but personal privilege that's influencing things.

working against privilege => working towards genuine meritocracy?

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

ha just had momentary panic that this was the girls-only thread! phew

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

fwiw 2 all my male-identified brothers, you dont have to post in this thread. the world will be okay if you dont share your take on all of this. you will be okay, too. it can be hard to take a step back and just be quiet for a while but sometimes its really worthwhile.

okay, touche. point taken. i'm v interested in this stuff, and get carried away. i recognize, though, that my tendency to spout off is perhaps a reflection of masculine entitlement, so i could probably stand to be a bit less assertive in this context...

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

not really got anything to say but this thread looks interesting and i have 1 pot of tea and 2 eyes to read with. :D

a hoy hoy, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

would probably say that your ability to be fence-sitty on this issue is also reflective of privilege - you can afford to be, b/c the consequences of not taking a side don't actually affect you directly

xp

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

omfg

iatee, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

You could stop coming into discussions about sexism and telling women that they're wrong-headed and that you have a clearer view of things?

I am glad for that question mark. thx.

For clarification, I think there is nothing about being a woman that necessarily stops a woman from seeing things clearly, and if I have ever made any claim to knowing what's correct better than women do, I apologize and retract that claim as not just wrong, but deeply blindly stupid.

I'm not sure your suggestion would be sufficient to eradicate my position of privilege, tho.

Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

Nothing could eradicate your position of privilege. Bar some sort of mass revolution, that is yours to keep. It will only help eradicate people (me) from feeling a deep irritation at the sight of your posts.

Melissa W, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

Now, is it ok to disagree with a woman about something that woman said? Or is that off-limits?

Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

interesting to me that some men are so irritated at the notion that they are in a default position of power. guys, power is awesome! i think everyone should be able to enjoy power as much as possible. i mean, not power at the expense of others, though i wonder if there is any other kind when it comes down to it?

lil kink (Matt P), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

not really got anything to say but this thread looks interesting and i have 1 pot of tea and 2 eyes to read with. :D

misread this as "2 eyes to roll with"

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

i mean, not power at the expense of others, though i wonder if there is any other kind when it comes down to it?

I don't think there is, frankly. power is a relationship, requires a hierarchy etc

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

Over in one of the other threads, I related the tale of my 6th form women's group and how we eventually let boys in.

A couple of people suggested that it could not have been long before the boyz took over and controlled the debate.

Apart from the fact that this hilariously underestimates the ability of my cohort of 17yo female students to hold their own against said boys, never mind in the majority, we enshrined a priviliging of the female POV in the rules for the group to make sure the boys never got uppity.

1. Boys could only ask or answer questions. They were not there to give unsolicited opinions, ever.
2. Boys could not participate in setting the agenda.
3. Boys could not vote on any motions, though their position was noted.

That was easy to do because they had said they wanted their sense of entitlement to be challenged. Also much easier to manage IRL, with someone chairing.

I didn't think this thread was redress-the-balance space, however if we would *like* to erase Aimless' sense of privilige, is there some way we can set this space up to do that?

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

hokay, i said i was stepping out, but c'mon...

would probably say that your ability to be fence-sitty on this issue is also reflective of privilege - you can afford to be, b/c the consequences of not taking a side don't actually affect you directly

i sincerely believe that my ability to be fence-sitty on this issue is deeply ingrained into my character. and i've known all sorts of people with whom i share this trait, male and otherwise, white and otherwise, straight and otherwise. imo, it's indicative of a "philosophical" disposition (if i may flatter myself), and perhaps of a certain aspie-ness when it comes to intellectual matters. i am against certainty. i am opposed to absolutes. i do not believe in Truth or Understanding. i'm only ever comfortable with ambiguity and approximation. honestly, i think it's more a product of my constantly feeling like a freak and an outsider than of my privilege...

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost

Poster's regret, too meta, forget it let's just get on with talking about nature/nurture or whatevs.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

actually your rules seem pretty sensible, surfing. not as hard and fast rules for this thread, maybe, but as good mental guidelines for guys (like me) who want to participate in conversations like this.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

its just even with a both/and you're positing this distinction. as if the body ended at the surface of the skin, but the body leaves itself in traces, ruffled traces, the warm part on a sofa, the smell of someone sleeping. and in words, the sounds of voices in other rooms, the shape of handwriting. culture and nature are no more distinct than bodies and language. the difference between xx and xy. i mean where is it that these separate influences are being exerted. sexism is the description of a certain terrain maybe. not exactly a pre-coded set of tactics. new sexisms come into being all the time just as new feminisms come into being in order to combat them. new terrains and new means of navigating them. a set of survival strategies. it might be easier to just think of nature itself, how it is produced by culture. if we want to unhinge and dismantle patriarchy then we need to unhinge and dismantle the logics that produce it. the constant need to find a set of anteriors. bodies themselves are processes, movements, materials, sites of inscription. bodies are culture, not just because they are cultured but because the complexity of such assemblages is irreducible. fractures, continuities. its hard to understand where trans people would fit into a world in which gender can only be understood as a construct of culture or language or whatever. why the need to transition, to submit to these particular technologies of the body, vaginaplasty, testosterone injections, bilateral masectomy, brow shaping, etc etc. are these elaborate modes of gender performativity? that seems insulting somehow. how to disconnect these processes from learning how to walk like a woman, changing your name. moving. finding a space to transition. bodies are narrated and they narrate themselves.

judith, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

i sincerely believe that my ability to be fence-sitty on this issue is deeply ingrained into my character. and i've known all sorts of people with whom i share this trait, male and otherwise, white and otherwise, straight and otherwise. imo, it's indicative of a "philosophical" disposition (if i may flatter myself), and perhaps of a certain aspie-ness when it comes to intellectual matters. i am against certainty. i am opposed to absolutes. i do not believe in Truth or Understanding. i'm only ever comfortable with ambiguity and approximation. honestly, i think it's more a product of my constantly feeling like a freak and an outsider than of my privilege...

― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, February 13, 2012 12:31 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yes well positions of power are deeply ingrained in all our characters and this doesn't change the fact that you can afford to do this while others can't and that you're basically declaring it a universal value that everyone should be beholden to. when in fact, displaying your uncertainty like a badge on every topic and "exploring the sides" while "remaining above the fray" is a very white, very male appeal to white male ideological power no matter how many otherwise friends you claim think exactly like you do. white-washing appeals to neutrality are ridiculous and stifling and they haven't done anyone any good and they'll continue to (not) do so. so many xps

lil kink (Matt P), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

echoes of ye olde hysterical vs rational dichotomy so often thrown at women who need to make an argument

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

displaying your uncertainty like a badge on every topic and "exploring the sides" while "remaining above the fray" is a very white, very male appeal to white male ideological power

I agree with this. I don't think it's wrong to attempt to approach these subjects objectively, but one should be aware of how subjective un-attachment is, given one's relationship to the subject. Neutrality is often the luxury of the priveledged.

Unleash the Chang (he did what!) (Austerity Ponies), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

privileged

Unleash the Chang (he did what!) (Austerity Ponies), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

1. Boys could only ask or answer questions.

tbh, Socrates managed to ask 'innocent' questions that were so irritating to people that he was condemned to drink hemlock and most Athenians thought it was a pretty good deal to just be rid of him.

Q: if it is accepted that men calling women "girls" is sexist, is it simply a matter of turnabout is fair play for women to call men "boys"?

Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

^^^original post was referring to 17yo, iirc?

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 February 2012 21:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

letting grown men into a 6th form women's group would've been pretty creepy

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 February 2012 21:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

It was a "6th form women's group", iirc.

Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 21:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

yes, comprised of students usually sixteen to eighteen years of age.

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 February 2012 21:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

a group of 17 yo females admits 17yo males = boys among women?

Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 21:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

Neutrality is often the luxury of the priveledged.

yeah, i question this line of reasoning because certainty is also the language of the privileged. and questioning is used by the marginalized in order to create alternate realities.

i also question it because it's the language of division, "with us or against us", and i reject that categorically, not just in this instance but in (almost) every instance. i do not deny anyone's right to commit to believe as they do, but i defend the validity of my commitment to "objective" distance, to a mode of exploration and testing. i believe that there's real value in this.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 21:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

d'oh ah I see what you did there Aimless

nm

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 February 2012 21:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yes they were 16-18, on the cusp of manhood, just as we were 16-18 on the cusp of womanhood. Some people were studying sociology and copping onto "women's issues" and we were all for trying to take ourselves seriously. I don't recall what language the actual rules used but I'm sure it wasn't actually 'boys'.

FWIW I have no problem being referred to as a 'girl' by people I like, where the intention is playful rather than condescending, ref. "No boys allowed", "No girls allowed": we do this.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 21:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

not really got anything to say but this thread looks interesting and i have 1 pot of tea and 2 eyes to read with. :D

misread this as "2 eyes to roll with"

― max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:27 (39 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

did come into some eyerolling practise itt not gonna lie. people strawmanning and strawwomanning like crazy. lol people not reading other people and then arguing with them about points they didn't make.

a hoy hoy, Monday, 13 February 2012 21:10 (2 years ago) Permalink


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