Feminism - does the word itself turn you off?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Vanja, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Vanja

    Vanja New Member

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    Just wondering what people from other countries think (I'm in Iceland).

    I've read a lot about the different trends of feminism (you would be surprised how many trends there are!) and I always end up thinking that the word in itself is counterproductive when it comes to women's rights - I would almost go as far as saying that it wakes up a certain kind of rebellion among men when they are the ones that we need the most support from because some of these movements focus on women having "more" rights than men (for instance a mother almost automatically gets custody after divorce in many western cultures). As I've stated before I have great respect for women of previous generations who fought for my right to vote, to have the choice to have an abortion, my sovereignity over my own body, to be able to live an independent life without HAVING to get married just so I can live a decent life, being able to get the education I wanted etc.

    But nowadays.... the word itself just rubs me the wrong way somehow, it's too focused on *just* women. As much as I get irritated with the old patriarch way of viewing things I also get irritated when I feel like feminist movements "forget" that there are other minorities out there that need help with their fight for equal rights, such as gays, the disabled, the elderly, children of poverty..... the list is endless. I get that each group needs to fight their own battle but all of them should support each other more openly you know? That's why I choose to call myself an "equalist" (is that a word??) instead of a feminist although I know full well that there is a LOT of inequality between men and women in this world still.

    So I guess the question is - based on your view of your own culture, how productive/counterproductive do you think the word feminism is?
     
  2. young_gun_91

    young_gun_91 New Member

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    I think feminism is a fairly productive word, even nowadays. I think that even though women are so much better off around the world than they were 50 or even 10 years ago, there is still a long way to go. While women may be nearing equality here in the States, look at the Middle East. It's the complete opposite over there, and they treat their women like garbage (though, gays are treated even worse).

    I feel like while women may have the right to vote, live productively on their own without men and a whole lot more that you mentioned, there are still stereotypes. Women are judged by their looks so much more than men are. There's nothing wrong with having a fat man on the news, but it's rather uncommon to have a female that looks shabby. Women are expected to keep their weight down more than men...when they're supposed to have more body fat. Men can sleep around all they want, but when women do they're labeled with words such as "slut". I think those are the reasons why it's harder to be a woman than a man, even in today's society. So I think feminism still serves a purpose, even if there are other groups of people suffering more.
     
  3. Vanja

    Vanja New Member

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    Thanks for your reply - it's very interesting to see your point of view because you're still so young. Up here many men complain about feminism being especially confusing for young males, that they don't know how to be, have a hard time finding their masculinity because of "feminist opression".... sort of a damned if you do, damned if you don't thing if I understand them correctly. If they're too "alpha" they're accused of being shauvinists but if they're not they're "too soft" or whatever (I don't see this myself but this is what I read and hear).

    Have you ever felt like you had a hard time with defining yourself as a man because you don't want to be perceived as a shauvinist? Or you DO want to be perceived that way?
     
    #3 Vanja, Oct 5, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  4. FlirtyChick

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    What a good question! I have never really thought about this. I think the word, along with it's synonym 'Women's Rights' stirs the collective juices of many people in a negative way. Even though Western women enjoy more freedom than many in other countries, as mentioned above,there are still sterotypical attitudes and double standards that keep women overall one little notch below men on the scale of things. I am more curious about why this still exists, in any country, more so than what connotation the word might have, but I think the word drives the negative thoughts.

    So I think the word feminism hurts more than helps.
     
  5. Michellesoldman

    Michellesoldman New Member

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    I don't know why as humans, that we feel the need to categorize everything? I mean, why do we have to have a category like feminist, chauvinist, etc... There are a-holes in every gender and trans-gender.

    But to answer your question directly, the word feminist doesn't bother me in one way or another. How that particular person acts towards others is all that I care about.

    With that said, boisterous people piss me off. Rosie O'Donnell ring a bell?

    If I want her opinion, I'll ask her for it. She has no right attempting to shove it down my throat while I choke on it.

    So for me, feminism is just another category. People can choose to place themselves in any category they like. Just don't go brow-beating me with whatever agenda that you might have, as part of the category you choose.
     
  6. SteveWaste

    SteveWaste New Member

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    Please don't get offended by this.

    Feminism IS beginning to have a negative connotation associated with it in America, and I believe it is an outgrowth of the lack of responsible and coherent leaders for that particular social group. So much that instances of the term Femi-nazi are becoming much more prevalent as a response to many of the irresponsible and offensive tactics that have been used to further the cause as of late. I believe however, that feminism has its place and still deserves a voice on several issues in our country that aren't quite where they should be yet.

    That being said, I have a very spirited stance on feminism and chauvinism, double standards, and gender roles.

    Women should have every unalienable right that men have. They are HUMAN rights, that know no gender distinction or discrepancy. Suffrage, freedom from persecution, job opportunities, salary, social servicing, etc... women should have opportunities (and currently are the closest in world history to being equal) the same as men.

    Do not confuse this with BEING the same as men, which is the distinctive line the majority of modern feminists are blind to. Women are NOT and WILL NEVER BE the SAME as men.

    If we step back from just yelling about the issues for a second and apply an appropriate level of basic reasoning, we can get to the bottom of nearly all of these issues in just a few sentences; which will be represented by the old stand-by "promiscuity".

    Promiscuity-
    This double-standard is one that makes perfect sense, and I promise you, will NEVER go anywhere because of the very nature of the genders. The double standard is this...
    It is "okay" for men to be promiscuous, but not women.

    While this IS a double standard, it is a natural and logical one. When taking into account the possibility of conception and pregnancy in the absence of abortion or perfect birth control, women should naturally be much more careful about who they sleep with and the number of partners they have because they run the risk of getting pregnant, having another person to be responsible for, and possibly not having any outside support to do it for the rest of her life. A man can conceive a child, and simply walk away and go about his own life with no regard for anyone but himself, (and they often do).
    Who faces the higher consequence? It may not seem fair, but that is the hand God dealt both of us and that is where the issue comes from. That is the bottom line, and that is why it will never change. You can throw equality at it all you want, but I promise you it will never change any of these sexually-centered issues that are too-often confused for political or social ones.

    I believe the true culprit to the negative connotation about feminism and it's direction is due to the leaders of that group and their historical failure to grasp simple-rooted issues like these, confusing them for simple social attitudes. They confuse HAVING equal rights with BEING equal human beings and that can never happen because we will always be different. Now different doesn't mean better or worse, just "not the same thing". Personally, I don't know who really got the short end of the stick. Sure I can fertilize an egg and beat it (I would never), but I also will never know what it's like to truly "make a baby". Think about it.

    ~Steve

    *I hope I haven't offended anyone with this post, but this is how I feel on the issue and I don't think I hear enough people voice this opinion well without being ridiculed.
     
  7. Vanja

    Vanja New Member

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    FC: I know this is probably not very PC to say but I think religion in all forms is the drive behind keeping many of the stereotypes alive. Religion seems to be so deep-rooted in societal structures (generally speaking) and not always in a good way. I better not say too much on this touchy subject but let's just say that I'm not a fan of organized religion (no matter which religion it is).

    Michellesoldman: I couldn't agree more - I think this need to categorize is the root of many problems in this world. Religion (again), political parties, social groups of whatever kind, race, sexual orientation.... all of it has the tendency to produce negative group-think or the "us vs. them" mentality which in turn creates hostility that can drive wars for years on end. In this case; men vs. women - instead of trying to find common ground between the sexes, some feminist movements have managed to create exactly that.... the notorious "us vs. them" mentality. It doesn't have to be like that, but it is. Which is another reason why I don't want to label myself "a feminist".

    SteveWaste: Very interesting thoughts indeed (and no, you didn't offend me.... takes a lot for me to be offended :D).

    That's what I mean about the many trends of feminism - some of them are completely focused on the notion that women and men are the same but contradict themselves at the same time when they say that women's way of doing things/women's way of thinking is the appropriate way. Why? Because women are generally not as aggressive? What? If we ARE the same then there wouldn't be a specific "womanly" way of doing/thinking right? Up here they keep talking about how it was middle-aged men who bankrupted Iceland and therefore we should focus more on the "soft womanly way of doing business/politics". But at the same time they get mad when the fire department won't have a double standard of physical entry tests or when men want 50/50 custody to be the norm instead of the exception. Why? Because we're not so much the same after all..... physically and mentally (motherly love etc.). Make up your mind people! :D

    Your thoughts about promiscuity are also very interesting and make a lot of sense. I've never thought about it like that although I'm not sure if I completely agree (this being the age of excellent birth control and all) but I can see where the double standard comes from when it's put forward like that. Perhaps this is also partly the reason why men don't (and shouldn't) have more say over whether a woman chooses to have an abortion or not. In any case, I can totally see the logic here.
     
  8. young_gun_91

    young_gun_91 New Member

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    To be honest, I'm not to familiar with what a shauvinist is. Can you explain it to me some? I want to answer this question, but I'd like to know for sure what it means first. :)
     
  9. SteveWaste

    SteveWaste New Member

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    Chauvinism is something that has kind of changed its definition in our vernacular over the past few decades. Truly the definition means 2 things: either complete and faithful devotion to a governmental structure like your country or region, or the more used "ardent belief in the superiority of one's own gender".

    The term itself if gender neutral. A woman is just as likely to be a definitional chauvinist as a man, but over the years, it seems that we've adopted the definition, under the assumption that women are currently still oppressed in a given society, that chauvinism is the opposite of feminism; and that feminism = good while chauvinism = bad. The true opposite of feminism would be masculinism, but there has never really been a social group or advocate for masculinism. Have you ever heard of a masculinist? And the true enemy of feminism is misogynism; or the overall dislike or hatred of women as a gender. Misogynism is often confused with chauvinism, but they are indeed very different things.

    I was very involved in gender studies in college.

    I hope this helps.

    ~Steve
     
  10. Meee

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    If I stop and analyze the ways my friends and I use the word feminist, I think we use it as another word for caring, altruistic, humane, and so on. I don't think we really feel the political purpose of the word--it's more like an outlook on life. The boyfriend is very dedicated to humanism, and when we talk about various isms, I realize that the way I use feminism and the way he uses humanism are similar.
     
  11. VenusIsTheGoddess

    VenusIsTheGoddess New Member

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    I have no problem with feminism but I do think that many feminists (at least the ones I have met) are a little misguided or over the top. I mean, the women I have had experiences with are ridiculous. One was deeply offended whenever a boyfriend would call her 'his girl' or maybe call her 'hot'. I mean seriously, how is that offensive? They are right to campaign for equal rights and totally deserve everything men get, but these women use feminism as a means to attack men. As you said Vanja, some want more rights than men - although it is a gross generalisation, feminism operates on a double standard which forgets the roots of the cause and defies men. It is also true what Meee said, many women use 'feminist' as a positive, non-political word. I believe we all deserve to be treated equally regardless of gender, sexuality or skin colour. Political feminists seem to want more power than everyone else - that's not right.

    Just throwing my opinion out there. :) David.
     
  12. Barbwire

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    Oddly enough, it has been years since I've heard the word "feminism" spoken or even in print.


    To me, it's a bit out-dated, something that was all the rage at one time but, is now just a memory along with Erica Jong's Fear of Flying and Glory Steinem in a Playboy bunny costume.
     
  13. VenusIsTheGoddess

    VenusIsTheGoddess New Member

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    Interesting CL, maybe it is a little outdated after all...
     
  14. ninja08hippie

    ninja08hippie Official SF Hugger
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    Depends on what they mean by feminism. There are two types of feminism, the kind that I believe in which is the belief that feminism is about equal opportunity. There are also the over-the-top bitches who think all women should work and that women are far superior to men and that they don't need them. I see these types every once in a while, they're just as ignorant as the patriarchal bigots and hurting their own cause. No woman NEEDs a man, but I don't know any who don't want one (except a few lesbian friends obviously.) If a woman chooses to be a wife and mother, no one should make them feel bad about it, some woman want that. Their choice. But you know me, I'm all about freedom.

    Of course a woman has the right to vote.
    Of course a woman has the right to have an abortion.
    Of course a woman has the right to do the same job as a man.
    Of course a woman has the right to stay at home and be a housewife.

    Anyone who says otherwise to any of them including the last one is just ignorant and not even worth the time it takes to argue with them.


    The word doesn't have negative connotation to me, but it's all about perception. I'm extremely tolerant, the only thing I'm intolerant of is intolerance itself. I guess you could liken the word "feminism" to "hippie." Some racist Nixon-lover will imagine a stoned teenager with long hair and *** blotters who has no purpose in society, where I call myself a hippie, I do all the hippie drugs, go to Phish concerts, and march in civil right parades, but I'm also a member of Mensa, and an engineer.
     
    #14 ninja08hippie, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  15. Michellesoldman

    Michellesoldman New Member

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    ^^.....Great post man!