False Feminist Issues Versus Genuinely Feminist Issues, Part II

False feminist issues (continued):

– “Women are conditioned to please.” Everything I have seen in life has led me to conclude that men are the ones who are conditioned to please women. However, I realize that I should not be projecting my own very limited experiences onto an entire gender. If anybody is conditioned to do anything here, it’s me. I was brought up in a way that makes me see men who strive to please and not see men who don’t. In reality, however, this is not a gender issue, but, rather, a matter of individual psychology. I blogged about it before and don’t want to repeat myself too much.

If people have more false feminist concerns, feel free to mention them. Now, for the list of really important tasks that feminism still has to accomplish.

Genuine feminist issues:

The right to manage one’s own body as one sees fit. This is a core feminist issue. The only actual differences between men and women can be found (not always, but in the majority of cases) in their physiology. And until this physiology is under the complete control of every individual possessing it, there can be no discussion of gender equality. This is not only about abortion, even though the right to an abortion is absolutely crucial. There are other important issues, too, such as, for example, the very inadequate nature of male contraceptives. Is there even anything there, aside from condoms and sterilization? This isn’t good enough.

 Equal rights and equal responsibility parenting. Until taking care of children stops being the exclusive purview of women, we cannot hope for any gender equality. Maternity and paternity leaves of equal duration need to be legislated. Shared custody of children should become the norm and be awarded in the absolute majority of cases. All of us, men and women alike, will have to work hard to change our mentality and stop seeing children as some sort of an appendage to their mother with the father being expendable.

– Gender stereotypes need to go. There is still way too much of this “women (men) are, think, want, feel” crap going on. There is such a huge demand for these tired old gender stereotypes and for the discourse of “hardwired gender differences” that all legitimate research is vitiated and forced to serve the goal of selling more copies of tabloids. (Read Cordelia Fine on the subject, people. If you don’t have time for an entire book right now, the read Janet Bing’s article “Brain Sex.” When you do, I promise you will not want to talk about gender hard-wiring in the brain any more.)

(To be continued. . . )

28 thoughts on “False Feminist Issues Versus Genuinely Feminist Issues, Part II”

  1. This complaint isn’t really specific to feminism, but political movements in general do not spend nearly enough time discussing ways to solve their problems.

    For example, I would like to see a comparison of places where the rape rate is high verses places where it is low. What are countries with low rape rates doing and how can we imitate them?

    Or how about some analysis of companies that equally pay women and firms that don’t? If I were a CEO who read feminist blogs, I would have no idea how to make my company friendly to women.

    Now sometimes feminist bloggers will talk about actual scientific studies that investigate the cause of gender inequality. But far more often they will publish navel-gazing crap about what cum facials “really about” or what the latest episode of Glee has to say gender roles.

    Though like I said, this criticism isn’t limited to feminism. Political bloggers prefer to complain about problems instead of researching how these problems could be fixed.

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    1. ” If I were a CEO who read feminist blogs, I would have no idea how to make my company friendly to women.”

      – Make it friendly to people and you are done. 🙂

      The list of what I consider to be genuine feminist issues and concrete ways of addressing them is in the 3rd part of this post.

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  2. My experience is that in Western society, gender roles are conventionally a division of labour, whereby males are expected to do all the hard lifting in terms of solving life’s problems and women are expected to reciprocate by processing their (male) emotions for them.

    This keeps everyone at a very infantile level, because the system of assigning genders to do certain roles can only work by means of projective identification. How can a woman process the various emotions a male might be feeling unless he projects them into her, to begin with? She accepts them as “the emotional one” and performs a hygienic role of allowing him to be unimpeded by emotions in his work.

    Certainly I think this is what many men and women are reacting to. It’s where gender politics can go wrong, because often people are reacting to the dismantling of this practice and the way it leaves them out in the cold. It’s absolutely necessary for this system to be dismantled, but it means each person has to be an individual in their own right, not a function of part of one. Many “men’s rights” guys freak out because women are no longer playing their expected role. They are reacting to the betrayal of expectations concerning this role. Women, too, dig their heels in and refuse to budge when they create systems of female solidarity that reinforce the view that women are fundamentally emotional and sensitive creatures. We are not.

    The feminist project is for both men and women to be stand-alone adults. This is a process of evolution and many people are getting hurt along the way. I’ve often feel hurt myself having to say, “I know you need me to play this role of processing your emotions for you, but I’m not available for that.”

    Fortunately, my husband does not require that kind of service to feel whole. He’s done all the emotional work necessary to get himself to level of being where he is a really attractive man.

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    1. These are all brilliant observations. Absolutely brilliant. The project of being stand-alone and also COMPLETE adults is definitely the key here.

      I feel very enriched by this comment. There is a lot to think about here. Thank you, Jennifer Frances!

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  3. The only actual differences between men and women can be found (not always, but in the majority of cases) in their physiology. (Clarissa)

    Now here is an interesting thought in regards to this fact. If our physiology(in the majority of cases) is different, do you not think that this is going to have an impact on how we(in most cases) emotionally and intellectually view the world? Just walking down a street late at night is going to be a very different experience(on average) for both a male and female. I suspect if it werent an issue there wouldnt have been so much hoopla about “Shrodinger’s Rapist”.

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    1. Science has demonstrated time and again that the physiological differences between men and women in no way affect their intellectual and emotional functioning. I don’t need to “think” anything on this subject because there is a mountain of research that has found NO statistically significant differences in these areas. Why assume and infer when this has been studied at length?

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  4. Yes, men have penises, women have vaginas, men are on the average more muscular than women, etc. We know this. What we don’t know – and what nobody has ever proven – is that women and men are hardwired to *think* differently or feel emotion differently. Until there’s conclusive evidence of that, let’s stick with the null hypothesis that there’s no ‘male brain’ or ‘female brain’. Physiological differences doesn’t necessarily lead to differences in how we *think*.

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  5. @Stringer

    I guess gravity doesnt exist until someone else can scientifically prove it for me. The fact that I can see/feel its affects everyday doesnt mean anything unless someone a little more science inclined shows me its real. I dont need a test or study to show me the obvious in the world I inhabit. Rather than mars and venus, I think Im on earth and Im not quite sure where you live. 😉

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    1. Titfottat: if you read the sources I provide and discover the abundant scientific evidence they contain, you will discover what exactly makes you see the differences between men and women – differences that have been demonstrated by hundreds of studies not to exist – as obvious and easily observable. If the sources I provided are too few, I can give many many more.

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    2. If you lived a hundred years ago, you would think it was self-evident that women were not smart enough to do sophisticated mathematics, that they were too sensitive to be doctors, that they were too delicate to play hockey. You would say “I don’t need a test or study to show me the obvious in the world I inhabit.” You would say, “Women’s physiology impacts how they emotionally and intellectually view the world.” Just because you see a number of women act a certain way today doesn’t mean they act that way because of their physiology.
      I had a client who came to see me charged with assault. He was a tall young man, and he had been at a bar drinking. He said that it was a common occurrence for guys in the bar who had had too much to drink to want to pick a fight with him because it was a mark of their toughness to fight a big guy. He had enough social awareness to know what was going on, but unfortunately not enough social awareness to walk away. I have a friend who told me when he was a teenager, he woke up with one of his sister’s friends in bed on top of him. He pushed her away, and was horrified and ashamed, and worse still, his sister and brother made fun of him for not enjoying this. Life is just much more complicated than saying women are afraid to walk alone at night (I am not, by the way).

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      1. Twicerandomly: very good observations, these. Whenever generalizations about men and women are made, people seem to forget that there is a huge variety of cultures existing in the world and those cultural differences make any discussion of gender differences impossible to sustain.

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  6. “The fact that I can see/feel its affects everyday doesnt mean anything unless someone a little more science inclined shows me its real.”

    I know it may come as as a shock to you but people’s subjective experiences don’t always match the truth. A KKK member would think that it’s *obvious* that black people are naturally violent and stupid. The funny thing is, all her experiences with black people will only serve to confirm this ‘obvious’ belief, no matter what those experiences are.

    You’re right, though, all inquiry should henceforth be performed based on feelings. Science iz tuff!

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  7. @Stringer

    Even science doesnt always match the truth, so should we discount it? Science is always adjusting to new information, so many times ideas become outdated. Just because some experience is subjective does not mean ALL is. I trust that my subjective experience in regards to what we are discussing will one day be proven by science. 🙂

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    1. For the fifteenth time: scientific research in this are is being conducted all the time. The scientists are desperate to find biological support for gender differences because it will be huge for them in terms of renown and prestige. But even with this bias that researchers have from the get-go, they can’t find these differences.

      This is not a matter of subjective opinions. It’s all documented at length.

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    2. You must be trolling, (you) tit.

      Science may not match the truth, but the *process* of ‘adjusting to new information’, as you put it, is scientific and evidence-based. Science has no problems admitting it’s wrong. Newtonian physics was proved ‘wrong’ by einstein. He proposed a model that was validated independently by different people using independent data, and Voila!, we have a better model of the universe. Everyone wins. Or do you prefer we update our knowledge of the world through feelings. Whose feelings? How do I get on that committee?

      And how do you propose we inquire about the differences in the brains of women and men? Biology or any other science is obviously out. Observational comedy, perhaps. Jay Leno has some remarkable insights on this issue, I hear.

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      1. @Stringer

        Arent feelings just another physiological response? Im all for scientific inquiry. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong. I just feel(there is that damn response again) that there are inherent differences based on our physiology. Im not trolling Im talking, please refrain from the insults if possible.

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  8. “the very inadequate nature of male contraceptives. Is there even anything there, aside from condoms and sterilization? This isn’t good enough.”

    Actually, I read in magazine Wired that there is a procedure pioneered in India, where instead of cutting the vas deferens (as is done in vasectomy) you can inject it with some sort of substancel the substance is not supposed to be toxic (although research is still performed) and does not dissolve in the body and it coats the vas from the inside; sperm goes through but is damaged by the substance (tails cut off, I think) so unable to fertilize an egg. It’s supposed to be as effective as vasectomy but reversible — there is another chemical that you inject to wash the substance away if you ever want to have kids again.

    Since we are on the subject of birth control, an excellent article on the history of the IUD in America and why it has such a bad rep and is used much more rarely that in the rest of the world.

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  9. “Arent feelings just another physiological response?”

    So how does this work? I’m stronger than you so my brain works differently? Please be clear on what you mean by physiological differences and what *specific* physiological differences contribute to the way people think.

    Let me ask you a question. Do you think black people are physiologically different from white people? If no, why not and if yes, do you think the way black people are hardwired to think differently from white people?

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    1. @Stringer

      There is an obvious difference, skin colour. Im not sure whether we know why we as humans have developed these differences. I would imagine much is do to climate and enviroment. Is it possible that some of our differences could affect the way we think, hmm, that is possible. Are the physiological differences between humans in general as great as the differences in gender? What do you think?

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      1. In that case, since we’re all fucking unique snowflakes, we all are hardwired to think differently and individually. Because, obviously, my skin tone can never *exactly* match anyone elses, neither does my body composition, my looks, etc. In this framework, why have you decided to focus on just the difference in sex to be such a critical determinant in how we think or feel. Let me propose skin tone, wait, no, let’s do voice pitch. You know, I never trusted squeaky people. It all makes sense now.

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    2. I would say our hormonal system would directly affect the way we think. So testosterone, estrogen and the multitude of other hormones would(in my mind) have an affect on how you reason through things.

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      1. You introduce the idea of testosterone and estrogen. Where did you this idea from? Some science book or some pop science article, right? When confronted with the argument that the same science hasn’t come up with any evidence that says women’s and men’s brains are wired differently, you say fuck that science, the truth is out there around you.

        So what is it? Either you should make the argument based on just your feelings (but then don’t introduce hormones, etc.) or just use scientific explanations, in which case you should believe in what science says, that so far we don’t have any evidence of what your claim.

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