Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Feminism as Humanism

Facebook is great for when you want to judge people based on what pictures they have or what they say they are interested in. It can also be great for turning a moderately political back-and-forth set of comments into a full-blown meta-analysis about why the previous comments surrounding the topic of gender politics are one-sided, overgeneralizing and some what sexist. There were some comments made between a friend of mine and his friend that showed up on my facebook feed today which were less than encouraging. My friend updated his status a few days ago saying how a girl in his political science class apparently hates him. Even before reading the comments people have made about his status, I already smell the witch burning smoke. I knew this is one of those cases where a male felt threatened by a female because she's "too powerful" or in this case too politically charged. I was curious and have a lot of opinions, so I read what people wrote about his status update. Sure enough, my friend expressed that he felt like the innocent victim of a men-hating feminist. To be precise, he felt like that by virtue of the fact that he is male and exists was enough to warrant the wrath of an angry, female political science student.  

Following his self-deprecating note, one of his friends commented about how women aims to control men and then she proceeded to write about how there's a double standard against men in our current political environment wherein some men are not allowed to participate politics...........WTF?!!! THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I'VE HEARD THIS. The worst thing about her comments was she is actually calling "bullshit" on feminists by pointing out how unfairly privileged and over-advantaged women are these days and that she is actually advocating egalitarianism and gender equality by doing this. As I stared at these comments, confused and dumfounded, I began to feel uneasy. Then, it turned into absolute horror. I was terrified of the notion that people saw and perhaps will always see feminists as men-hating, angry and opportunistic "butch dykes". I was terrified of the fact that feminism is actually being misrepresented and misunderstood by women. However, I was mostly terrified by the fact that women have now turned against each other in trying to defend themselves as feminists, against other feminists.  

After mentally dissecting her logic and finding a fitting rebuttal, I wrote, "
I see valid points in all comments but I must get one thing straight because I think a great deal of feminists aren't "ball-kickers" looking to politically castrate males. In fact, all the feminists I know, myself included, are not the radical, men-bashing, extreme left types. Feminism strictly speaking is a proponent of humanism which supports an egalitarian point of view. However some women who identify themselves as feminists can be very radical in their outlook but most of those opinions have been argued as counter productive in promoting true equality. I don't believe large political parties such as the Liberal, Conservatives and the NDP keeping men from participating, however I can see this happening in certain small-scale, grass-root feminist organizations. With that being said, gender-based exclusivity is actually more prominent against women throughout history than the other way around. In fact, women have only earned their political right to even vote just over a hundred years ago while men have been in government and positions of authority for way longer. In terms of male domination in the fundamental way, I do agree with you, most men don't control women or have any desire to. However, male domination is alive and well in other cultures. So much so that women are treated as second-class citizens. Moreover, because male domination has become so frowned upon in progressive cultures, people have become extremely sensitive towards gender politics however sexism has not been completely eradicated. Thus now we're dealing with a new type male-domination that is a lot more subtle and hidden but if you pay attention to certain details, you can see it everywhere. Take for example the phenomena of gender asymmetry in the beauty industry. Just think about how many women vs. men buy into the industry by purchasing beauty products and maintaining their appearance . How many cosmetic conglomerates are owned and operated by men vs. women or even how differently girls and boys are taught about their physical image from a young age. These are the types of issues we're dealing with now."

Is this what feminism has become? Please tell me not all women have turned against each other. 


victoria uren said...

I love how this very well-written article has outfit pictures interspersed through it. Perfect. PS ur skirt is awesome.

Sunny Mimi Chen said...

"However, I was mostly terrified by the fact that women have now turned against each other in trying to defend themselves as feminists, against other feminists."

fuck this shit

the world is rly sad

thank u for pointing out to this person that there can be varying degrees of feminism, different definitions of what one believes what it is to be "feminist" & different value systems in it as well.

AND YES GEEZ feminism could only be critiqued by bringing out the "oh ur bashing males now, which is the opposite of egalitarianism, which means feminism sucks" card in north america... there are women out there who do not have lives or choices of their own, who can benefit 200% from feminist ideology and action and here we are debating if it is actually virtuous or not

people can be so one-sided... and they form opinions not based on research but their own incomplete assumptions... well, that's the human condition

"unfairly privileged and over-advantaged women"??? MEN, WE CARRY UR BABIES FOR 9 MONTHS IN OUR WOMBS, THEN PROCEED TO NURTURE SAID BABIES INTO RESPECTABLE HUMAN BEINGS plus nowadays, working part- or full-time at competitive jobs; we can do everything men do, plus more, i think we've earned some privilege in this patriarchal-dominant society. just being a woman disadvantages us due to our perceived "weaker physique" or the fact that employers will need to give us maternity leave. just being a woman sets out distinct roles from a man: mother & wife. an absent father will never be criticized as harshly as an absent mother. it's like we're born to mass reproduce and nothing else. but of course society can, and has, benefited from the "fairer" sex. we just need to change our mindset that women are put on this planet to give birth and live out life in accordance to her husband. marriage is not the be-all, end-all.

anyway it's interesting that u bring up the fact that beauty is viewed on different levels depending on gender. a girl needs to wear makeup to look good (says the media). pictures of celebs not wearing makeup shown side-by-side them wearing makeup demonstrate the "power" of makeup and how even celebs need it to look "beautiful". women are expected to shave and look like hairless prepubescent little girls. guys are shag carpets. hahah. and then when a guy decides to wear eyeliner, other guys might label him "gay" or "emo" or what have u.

anyway, great blog post, sry for such a long comment. weird thing is i've nvr identified myself as being feminist, but i still hold up many if not all of the feminist ideology that i've come across... i just can't define myself as being feminist yet until i've read it all i guess. i need to actively research this instead of passively coming across informative posts like urs :3