Feminism

Males as spouse abusers: a stereotype?

The other day I saw a female colleague of mine with a black eye and the first thing I thought was that her boyfriend probably hit her. And then I realized how prejudicial I was being. Is there a difference between thinking her boyfriend probably hit her and hearing that a car has been stolen and automatically thinking it was probably a black person? no.jpg Maybe males are the leading cause of female black eyes (?), and maybe black people are the group most common to steal a car (?), but does that make it ok to assume? No, it does not (or does it? Tell us in the comments!).

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#StupidityProvokesMe

Whether you think stereotyping is ok or not, I know that if someone assumed that my dad hit my mom, I would want to hit them. #StupidityProvokesMe What does it mean when people assume that sort of thing, even deep down? That they think negatively of that person. They think that person is the type of person who would hit their significant other. 

These sorts of (negative) stereotypes placed on both sexes (e.g., males are too aggressive, females are too passive) are exactly the types of things that need to end if the sexes are to be truly equal. The movement that is underway is (or should be) about alleviating both genders from the harmful stereotypes that surround them.

Why are all the female pronouns longer than the male equivalent?

So, basically, pronouns for individual males are shorter than for females.

Male is shorter than female.

He is shorter than She.

Man is shorter than Woman.

Guy is shorter than Girl.

So basically, all of the female pronouns are simply add ons to the male version. Interestingly, this is not the case when it comes to family relations where female names are shorter than the male counterparts (like wife and husband, or brother and sister; same with aunt and uncle; niece and nephew as well). It’s not perfect thought grandpa and grandma are equal.

But when it comes to families, they are either equal or even shorter for females (e.g., aunt uncle, niece nephew).

Is this a subtle way to assert gender differences? Specifically male dominance outside of the family, while females are more powerful within the family?

It is the case that more powerful, more useful, words are generally shorter..

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These, the most common, and powerful words in our vocabulary are also among the shortest.

Would females, and males, do better to rename the genders with neutral, equally long, pronouns?

It seems like a good opportunity to redefine what it means to be male and female. Should they sound feminine and masculine, or no? On the one hand, there ARE differences between males and females and that is legitimate and ok and even good (we can’t all be as risky as men, but as also can’t all be as moderate as women). On the other hand, it reinforces those differences that are there and that could be detrimental to change. Perhaps it is best to create completely new pronouns?

There have been pushes to use zir and ze as gender neutral pronouns, but it seems good for males to have their own and for females to have their own as well. Perhaps hap and hep? Quahm and Quoum? Ying and Yang?

I don’t know what the new words should be (let’s discuss it in the comments), but it seems that everyone could benefit from switching things up..

Females could get rid of the aspects of being female that they don’t like, and males can as well (because there are downsides of being a male as well). Importantly, if there were such things as gender neutral pronouns, it could be used in all contracts, and it could be ensured that they, the zir (the human) gets paid the same.

Changing the words would also serve as a direct way for individuals to pick up feminist/ equalist ideals and display their beliefs through the use of these new, more modern, more equal, pronouns. It is a solid, decisive step forward, a break from the tradition.

There is no reason a concentrated effort could not change the way we use a word, look at Frindle! 😀

What do you think the new terms should be? Or do you think we even need new terms? Let us know below. 😀

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Reconsidering the term ‘Patriarchy’

The term ‘Patriarchy’ subtly grants men status, implicitly lowers women’s position, and blames men for the problems of the world. It seems to me that all of these things are working against the true movement that is feminism.

This is not how the world works..

The term patriarchy subtly suggests that the traditional man’s contributions to society are worth more than female’s, when this is not even true.

There is no ultimate reason that selling your soul to the corporate world should be seen as more status worthy than staying at home and watching your children grow. Indeed, the only reason that the culture is (or was) that way is because we all, males and females included, agree that is the case.

Women are half of society, and women grant men status just as much as men grant men status. Again, there is no ultimately best way to be a human, and being a middle manager and working at the desk is in no way ultimately better than staying at home, teaching the kids and tending the gardens. Perhaps it will be better for feminism, if, instead of trying to make up an imaginary gap in status (a gap that only exists because we agree it does), we properly recognize and value the role that women (did) play in society. Raising children and maintaining the household is no easy (or unimportant!) task.

 The term ‘patriarchy’ also subtly blames (modern) men for the problems of the world.

Modern men are not to blame for the things they inherit from society in the same way that women are not to blame for the things that they inherit from society (for good or bad). Most people agree that there are negative aspects about being a female, but there are also problems associated with being male (like, on average, men having shorter lives). We are working together to change these aspects of traditional society, assuming we actually want things to be more equal.

Our modern system (termed ‘patriarchy’ by ‘feminism’) is the result of tradition and ultimately, biology. We are animals and in every ‘split’ species that I know of, one of the two ‘sexes’ has to produce the next generation. While the specifics of how this difference has resulted in modern culture are current questions in Biology, Anthropology, and History, there is little doubt that this birthing and breastfeeding function played a role in women tending the house before technology. This very likely played a large part in creating the situation we are in (men put out of the house to ‘earn a living’, made power structures for men, earnings grew, technology grew, freeing women to work, in part).

Importantly, none of this is the fault of modern man and it is important for ‘feminism’ to recognize that men and women are working together to change the culture for future generations. Nobody is saying that the way it was, was right (what is ‘right?’), we are simply saying that it will be more productive for the adoption of feminist ideals to work with men rather than demonizing them by blaming them for the way history has played out.

Tradition, tradition is the enemy. History and Biology. Not men, and especially not modern men.

How can we fix these problems? / How changing things would help feminism.

A good start would be to begin calling something else, like ‘traditional gender norms’. This will achieve three things: stop implicitly giving males the status, stop implicitly putting women below men, and stop the idea that modern man is something to fight against. Truly, the best outcomes for all will come when males and females work together, rather than against one another.

‘Patriarchy is not men, patriarchy is a system both women and men participate.’ – Ashley Judd

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6 things I would like to say about the feminist movement

First, it seems important to speak about me, as I know this is going to be the first thing people judge when reading this post. I am an American male, who identifies as someone who believes that everyone (including women) should be able to live how they want, free from the oppression of others. I am current with the debate through traditional and social media, and generally being the type of person who ensures that his own opinions are complex enough to contradict each other sometimes. Nor do I feel that I have all the right answers (who does?), only opinions informed from a life studying philosophy and psychology.  With this out of the way, these are some things that I feel feminists, everybody actually, should hear concerning feminism/ equalism.

1.There is no best way to be a woman (or man).

The point of the feminist movement, as I know it at least, is about removing barriers for women and allowing them to live the type of life they choose, not about telling people how to live their life. There is no ultimately correct way to live (e.g., Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Beauvoir), and telling others how to live is fundamentally what the movement is working against. This means if you want to be a stay at home mom (or dad!), or a female astronaut, that is perfectly legitimate. It is important to note that, if (any)one intentionally goes into a culture and violates their norms (e.g., wearing a short skirt in a Muslim nation, wearing a hajib in the US), one must be aware that they will encounter resistance, though these actions can, of course, be undertaken ‘for the greater good,’ (suffering inspires others to act). We cannot force change on anyone any more than we would accept them trying to force change on us, the movement is simply about removing barriers for people to live how they desire.

2. Perhaps tradition is evil, but men are not.

The situation today is the result of exactly that, tradition. Unfortunately, someone must create the children or eggs. The fact that females took care of the children before modern times is probably a result of females also being the one in which the infant is ‘created.’  Now that technology has enabled us to ease the burden of childcare and running a household, we are working together to remove the limitations placed up women (and men!). While we are removing these limitations, it is important to recognize our (biological) history, whether or not it is innate, and its effects on modern culture rather than demonizing men by saying they are intentionally keeping women down (which is indeed a common criticism and one feminism would do well to address).

3. Women do not Always get the short end of the stick.

It would go a long way toward removing this idea that feminism is demonizing men if the movement made more effort to address those instances where it is empirically worse to be a man. Nobody is saying that there are not negative aspects of being a female, but there are also negative aspects of being a male as well. For instance, it is an empirical fact that males are more likely to die young, to go to prison (and get harsher prison sentences), to end up with a mental illness, and to more likely end up homeless. Simply put, men are at the top, but they are also at the bottom. Male parental rights are also a major area where the movement gets criticism. Simply put, men have no say in whether they become a parent or not (in the case of an accidental pregnancy). For instance, if a male wants a child and the female does not, it (the child) is aborted, but if the male does not want a child and the female does, he cannot stop it and is forced to pay child support, even if the child is the result of the man being raped (!!!!). Let me repeat: a man can be raped, and then forced to pay 18 years child support. That is unfair no matter how you look at it. While men perhaps have higher paying jobs, this is changing (new studies indicate more females are graduating from university than men) and it will largely benefit the adoption of feminist ideals for the movement to also work toward removing the negative aspects of being male (or to increase the negative for women, but less suffering all around seems preferable to me).

4. Relationships are about give and take.

Sometimes we have to do things for our partners that we don’t want to. Regardless of whether the male sex drive is innate or the result of socialization, a female simply cannot phenomenologically understand the sexual urges a man experiences, similar to the way a male cannot phenomenologically understand the emotional urges females have (which is why females fight for emotional support and males fight for sex). Hundreds of studies suggest that males and females differ in the amount of sex and emotional support they desire from a partner. I can understand a women not desiring to have sex at a particular moment and I believe she should have a right to say no. On the other hand, I can also understand a man not desiring to talk about something emotional at a particular moment and he should also have a right to say no.  It is unfair to deny males the ‘extra’ sexual support they desire while also expecting the ‘extra’ emotional support females desire. Especially getting a male sexually aroused and then leaving is similar (though phenomenologically incomparable) to getting a female emotionally aroused and then leaving. It is simply not something one should do to someone they truly care about.

5. Men also suffer from the media’s idealizations.

Simply put, it is no easier to be Ryan Gosling than it is to be Emma Stone. Perhaps males are not influenced to the same degree (we can debate about this in the comments; idealizations demand different things), but that men are idealized is unquestionable. I would find it hard to take seriously anyone who suggests that Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray do not contain romanticized (idealized) male characters. Video games and comics also have their share of idealized males (e.g., Superman, Batman, and Spiderman). I agree that females have greater demands placed upon their beauty, but let us admit that males have greater demands placed upon the goods they keep around them (e.g., car, house, accessories). While we could make an argument that body transformations are more harmful for health, there is no doubt that both behaviors are considerably self-destructive and it does little good to argue about who has it worse. It is simply an empirical difference in what the genders desire from a partner (though again, we are working to change this).

6. Real change will not happen until people are willing to suffer for the cause.

This is actually for anyone who wants to change the world. Look at changes in thought throughout history (e.g., religious, political, scientific), almost none have been successful without significant suffering, and real change often comes at the expense of a particular leader’s life (e.g., Socrates, Jesus, Ghandi, Lincoln, MLK, Quảng Đức, Bin Laden) and change oftentimes comes decades, or even centuries, after that leader dies. There is little reason to believe that the equal rights movement is any different. Indeed, some have suffered (e.g., Woolf, Monroe, abortion doctors, female engineering students), but it is only when many (the majority of) people are willing to suffer that real change will occur.

So, I guess those were the main things I wanted to say. Join the conversation below with your agreement or disagreement, I hope you’ve found value in reading these 6 things I want to point out about feminism and the feminism movement. Find me on Facebook or Twitter for more.