Feminism Needs to Go

I was flicking through the pages of Germaine Greer‘s “The Whole Woman” a few weeks ago and I found myself amazed at how much I agreed with the author.  All my teenage life I’d been told that Germaine Greer was this boogie monster of feminism who eats men’s balls for breakfast.  But I have to admit every page I landed on she seemed to be saying something important and thought provoking.  The main idea that got lodged in my head was the erosion of the women’s liberation movement into something called ‘feminism’ in the last couple of decades.

Feminism and women’s liberation it would appear are not interchangeable terms.  Women’s liberation is about women freeing themselves from narrow culturally defined notions of ‘womanhood‘.  It is about young girls being free to dream and pursue those dreams into their adult life instead of being told they must submit to a man and become his domestic servant.   In short it meant instead of many women into one mold, one woman could have several molds and she would be free to choose whether she wanted to be a housewife, an office worker, an academic, a business woman or whatever else and whichever combination she desired to be.

It wasn’t about putting all women into a new mold of having to be the ‘modern feminist woman’ which seems to be the agenda of at least three university feminists I’ve met.  It was about dignity for women which included equal opportunity for equal ability and equal pay for equal work things, which admittedly, even today, our society falls short of attaining despite fantastic progress from how bad it used to be.

Another aspect of women’s liberation was that it implied that men are also suffering from this same kind of mental incarceration.  Where men, although getting more of the material benefits of an unequal society, are nonetheless trapped in idea that manhood doesn’t include terms like sensitivity, affection, domestic worker or nurturing.  Women’s liberation, and consequently men’s liberation, is about being true to oneself.  It is about being responsible and owning ones life and the direction they are pushing it.  It is also about accepting and loving oneself.  This is part of women’s liberation because women will never be free until men are free too: something that has been lost on many people who called themselves feminists.  Apparently, men need to suffer now to make up for the wrongs past men did to past women.

I disagree, we need to set the past adrift and focus on the future.  The current generation of men are too young to have committed these atrocities to women and need be treated as the modern woman’s best ally in achieving her liberation as these men need to look to women’s liberation as being the greatest hope they have for realising their own dreams of liberation from the straight jacket of social expectations.

Do not say to me that this is all ‘feminism’ and that the femme-nazis are a small minority.  I know that if you ask three random people what feminism is you’ll get three answers: one, that it’s about women’s liberation, two that it’s about hating men and three that they’re too scared to answer the question.  Select for a few informed people, the word feminism has become divorced from its intended meaning into a realm somewhere between it meaning nothing and meaning only dread when it comes up in conversation.

Another point was that women’s liberation was supposed to be a global movement, but feminism is clearly a white woman’s game and the object is clearly to upset white men.  Where are the feminists in Australia and the rest of the West marching in the streets to put an end to female genital mutilation?  How about ending the indignity of dowries?  Arranged marriages?  Forced domestic servitude?  Unequal inheritance to their brothers?  Rape in marriage?  Denial of contraception and family planning?  Being denied academic opportunities?  Where are the university presses translating women’s rights articles and books into foreign languages for foreign students?  Where are the courageous feminists attacking the endemic wife beating of non-western immigrants by their husbands who still believe they own their wives after coming to Australia?  Everywhere around us non-white women are getting beaten, tortured, abused, raped, exploited and stepped on by non-white men but where are the feminists standing up for their sisters?

They do exist, thankfully, but strangely, such women are often attacked by feminists for being racist because don’t you know, only white women have human rights!  Other cultures treat their women like cattle to be bought, sold, inherited and exchanged meanwhile white feminists sit in academic chairs and marvel at their cultural sensitivity while they sell the dream of a global sisterhood for petty point scoring in the university play ground.  Men have a lot of faults, but men don’t often sell out other men like women do to other women.  Women are equal to men, if women did work together as a sisterhood, and by that virtue alone, they never ever would need to fear being oppressed by men.  However, there are a lot of barriers preventing women from working together and feminism just doesn’t seem to care about facing those problems, rather feminists all too often appear to just want to blame men for their failure to lead and inspire women.  Maybe not everything is men’s fault, maybe you need to stop seeing white men as the only beings with agency in the world and realise that when women took on extra rights, they also took on extra responsibilities.  Women’s liberation is not an academic word game played in university classrooms, it is an armed struggle against oppression and it needs to be fought and won in the streets, not in overly wordy meandering pseudo-intellectual tomes collecting dust in university libraries.

It is time to stop this class of intellectually pretentious feminists who claim to represent all women.  It’s time to demand that women’s rights stop being treated as white women’s rights but emphasise that women’s right are human rights and apply globally regardless of culture.  Did not the Iranian women who were slain in the streets of Tehran in 2009 not show a measure of courage and determination that is sadly lacking in western women?  It is time to make talk about women’s rights a safe topic to discuss in public for men and women.  It’s time to tell the femme-nazis that they can not longer simply blame men for their problems.  It’s time to invite men to enlist to help women secure their rights and vice versa and it’s time to do away with that ambiguous and dreary word ‘feminism’ and cry “This ten thousand year long divide between the sons and daughters of humanity must come to an end! Long live women’s liberation!

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Gender issues, Multiculturalism, People, Politics, Law

Author:Jason Sutherland

Resist the temptation to assume that you're always right or wrong. Never succumb to thinking you're so insignificant to trust your own thoughts and feelings. Always be responsible and listen carefully to others before passing judgement. Don't trust governments bearing stolen goods.

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71 Comments on “Feminism Needs to Go”

  1. jimmy
    June 27, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    A well written and thought provoking piece.

  2. Some Guy
    June 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Very well put

  3. Charlie Rae
    June 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Well written indeed, many points that I often question the feminists I have come across. Equality is the aim of the game, regardless of gender, culture, age, location etc humanity has reached a point we must grow up and look after one another.
    I must admit, I have mostly stuck to what you referred to as the 3rd response on feminism; too afraid to answer. Afraid to be attacked because I’ve worded something “wrong” or am not educated enough that I can’t make a difference, my opinion becomes obsolete then.
    I believe it is a worthy avenue to explore to invite all to the discussion, regardless of what you now already but focused on what you want to learn. I this case, to fight the restraints of gender and bring to light that, as you said, these are issues of Human Rights that we must all take on our responsibility.

    Sorry if my response is choppy, it’s been a while since I’ve had to construct an argument of sorts.

  4. Not Just A Pretty (Mean) Face
    June 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    As a feminist, I agree with the majority of your points. I’ve found the public face of feminism; i.e. the “femme-nazi”; to be incredibly counter-productive to my goals. Which are rather more in line with equality across the board, regardless of age, race, socio-economic status OR gender (or lack of), than I think this article gives us credit for. Consider, if you will, the massive changes the women’s liberation movement and its feminist members HAVE gained. It’s pretty poor form to discredit that simply because the image most people get in their head is an extremist man-hating lesbian anarchist with bad taste in clothing and a bad attitude to match. I won’t hesitate to point out that this image is one mostly perpetuated by the media and our adversaries to make feminists as ‘othered’ as possible, thus giving the impression of being a pervasive, foreign threat rather more than being your sister, or wife, or mother, or friend.

    Don’t get me wrong- I am lesbian, and I have anarchist friends with fantastic ideals, and I like it when women dress badly because it challenges our cultural expectations (although, I’m rather well dressed, thanks).

    But I certainly DO NOT hate men. I think some of the greatest allies in our search for equality ARE men! I adore the fact that men can see how patriarchy and the social construct are equality as damaging to THEIR individualism as well. And I’d really rather it if the word “feminism” hadn’t become another slur against women. We aren’t being hysterical, we aren’t being unreasonable, and we are doing as much as we can to make our society into a place comfortable for all genders.

    So, back off. I’m not going to stop using the word “feminism” just so you won’t think I’m going to castrate a man, kill him and fuck my girlfriend on his bleeding corpse. Kthnxbai.

    • June 28, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      I have no idea where to start with this comment…

      “Don’t get me wrong- I am lesbian, and I have anarchist friends with fantastic ideals, and I like it when women dress badly because it challenges our cultural expectations (although, I’m rather well dressed, thanks).”

      ^ I feel I could write an essay about this sentence alone. It’s full of topics introduced but nothing explored, merely the appearance of a point. I thought the part about cultural expectations though was interesting. So society has a clear image of an ideal woman and anything that challenges that is somehow: a) worthwhile, b) is helping women get liberated from material and legal inequalities, c) and isn’t exactly what I said in my article about reinventing the image of the ideal woman and forcing that on women as the new straight jacket of comformity?

      The comment starting with “So, back off.” made me laugh out loud. Am I, as a male merely expressing his opinion on feminism oppressing you? Do other people’s opinions rattle you that much? Do you like the idea of men in general being scared that you might rip their testicles out? Did it make you feel ‘liberated’ to make that comment?

      I don’t care if you keep using the word feminism, but obviously you do because you said you find it “to be incredibly counter-productive to my(your) goals.”

  5. Clare
    June 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    I agree with many of your comments but I think that you are confusing the public image of feminism with feminism itself. Most feminist groups are interested in women’s issues globally, including the ones mentioned above, as well as local issues you might claim aren’t as important. It seems rather ridiculous to criticize a group who campaigns against issues in their own country on the grounds that they’re racist. I also think you’d find few, if any, feminist groups not concerned with issues facing non-white women. And in response to your comments about women “selling eachother out” and your claim that men don’t do that. Umm… Where do I begin? Slavery? Colonialism? Men have been responsible for many human rights violations. Also you seem to have a very essentialist understanding of gender. Overall I think you make good points about what feminism should be but clearly are misinformed about all the good things it is already doing.

    • June 28, 2011 at 11:04 am #

      “I agree with many of your comments but I think that you are confusing the public image of feminism with feminism itself. Most feminist groups are interested in women’s issues globally,”

      But that’s the whole point of what I was saying. There is that confusion and it is harmful to women’s liberation. Ditching the meaningless and taboo word “feminism” and returning to “women’s liberation” will be a significant step to addressing this problem and regaining popular support with the people.

      “It seems rather ridiculous to criticize a group who campaigns against issues in their own country on the grounds that they’re racist. I also think you’d find few, if any, feminist groups not concerned with issues facing non-white women.”

      Again, I was talking about immigrants in countries in Australia. JJJ had a segment on the Hack about muslim men keeping 2 or more wives in their home and the JJJ presenters were falling over themselves to say how sad it was that these men couldn’t be acknowledged as having up to four wives in Australia. For goodness sake, so muslim men can marry four times even after they come to Australia? But muslim women can’t have four husbands? White men can’t have four wives? Sorry, but that’s mental. Australia is full of immigrants who treat women like shit but we’re too cultural sensitive to say, “Please, stop hitting your wife(wives)”

      Don’t get me wrong, we have a problem with domestic violence in this country with approximately 20% of women reporting being physically hit by their home partner. However, go to India and 97% of Indian women report having been physically hit by their husbands. Do you think this magically stops happening when they come to Australia? In Egypt it is even worse, 80% of women report being physically beaten by their husbands and that they belief that they deserved it because they were defying him.

      While 20% is a terrible figure for domestic violence to be sure, but the fact is we’re one of the best countries in the world and we just can’t congratulate ourselves until we’re perfect.

      “Where do I begin? Slavery? Colonialism?”

      So women were never enslaved? Women never purchased slaves as housemaids? Never beat up their housemaids? Never abused them? Never supported colonialism? Weren’t immigrants to the colonies?

      Actually, I was at the Museum a few months ago looking at the history of the aboriginal people. Did you know an entire tribe in the Dandenongs was wiped out by women who baked arsenic into bread and donated it to the local tribe as a peace offering? Yes, don’t mess with the person who cooks your food, she’ll fuck you right up. So no, your points are meaningless because slavery and colonialism were not “men only” actions, women were involved too. Let me refer you to the comic at the start of this piece, you’ve been using your imagination, about how much power men have, a lot.

      How’s this, if men have power over women, maybe it’s because woman let him? It might sound shockingly sexist at first but think about it: it also means women can take it away at any time, if she wants to. But if she’s going to have that power, then she’s going to have to take that responsibility too.

      • Clare
        June 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

        Firstly, I wasn’t saying that only men had perpetrated those crimes – I was saying that they were not ONLY perpetrated by women. I was also NOT saying that they were ONLY perpetrated against men. My point was that you claimed men did not tear each other down – not the case.

        You seem to think I have missed your point but in fact you’ve missed mine. You’re criticisms of feminism (as opposed to women’s liberation) were not based on facts but rather following along with public misconception which you claim to criticise.

        Women’s rights in immigrant communities are a little less black and white than you paint them. The issue of recognising multiple marriages in Australia is not as a simple as ‘we shouldn’t’ – especially because by not recognising multiple marriage some women can be disadvantaged due to not being legally entitled to share their husbands income. The husband could easily abandon them and they’d have no rights. I don’t necessarily agree with the recognition, I think it’s problematic to allow multiple marriages, but you haven’t considered that the issue is very complex. Fixing problems in immigrant communities is not as simple as saying ‘we’re right, you’re wrong’. Also feminist groups are working hard in these areas in Australia, if you had examined what issues feminist groups are concerned with then you would see that domestic violence (in any group immigrant or otherwise), multiple marriage recognition and international issues like genital mutilation are high priorities.

        So no my points were not meaningless, simply your misinterpretations of them.

        What you’ve written here is basically arguing that we should talk about women’s liberation instead of feminism. But your understanding of feminism is misinformed. Your criticisms of ‘feminists’ are also misinformed. You seem to think that feminists aren’t concerned with issues like polygamy and domestic violence in immigrant communities – which is incorrect. I would suggest that before you argue such a point you talk to some real feminists.

        I don’t even want to start on your comment about women “letting” me over power them. By that token you could say that those women beaten by their husbands “let” him control and abuse them. Sure, let’s go down that road.

        The picture of the suffragette below is inspiring and if that woman lived today she would call herself a feminist. She also wouldn’t say that women dominated by men let it happen. Power isn’t that simple.

        • June 29, 2011 at 10:35 am #

          Hi Clare,

          Thanks for your comments!

          “You seem to think I have missed your point but in fact you’ve missed mine. You’re criticisms of feminism (as opposed to women’s liberation) were not based on facts but rather following along with public misconception which you claim to criticise.”

          But that was one of my points in my article, feminism is a taboo topic of conversation, especially by the man/woman on the street. The man or woman on the street is the person we need to reach out to about feminism/women’s liberation because academics are impotent when it comes to meaningful social change. If you’re familiar with Otto von Bismarck’s speech about blood and iron you might get this right away.

          Whenever I read feminist literature, and I have, I need to keep a dictionary next to me at all times because they seem to go out of their way to use every word they can find in the theasaurus. I did study some linguistics that explained to me differences between male and female writing styles and afterwards found Pride and Prejudice quite enjoyable, but feminist lit, like that of Marilyn French for instance, is so far removed from the common man I felt as though they were making a statement to me. That, I as a man, was not allowed to be part of this conversation about the well being of half the human species. Not only that, while women can talk about the well being of men as they pleased, because I lacked a uterus I was not qualified to talk about women’s issues because I’m just a man. It’s a reverse sexism. Hence my point was that feminism has become insular and elitist, but that’s not a good thing, it needs to be mainstream and it needs to be simple, simply about treating fellow human beings with dignity.

          Women’s studies, women’s lit, women’s rights etc… these are empty divisive terms. In science we point out constantly that there is no such thing as Christian science, Islamic science, Jewish science or any other flavour of science. There is only science but religious groups pretend otherwise to fool the masses. Elitists are making up strange subjects in universities that are just as imaginary and divisive. Rather than encouraging boys in schools to empathise with female characters (like John Marsden has done in his books) or to introduce female authors like Jane Austen to boys as part of human studies a divide has been created saying you men have your history and we womyn have herstory. No, we are one people, one history, one society and I will not stand on the side that says talking like a divisive wanker in a classroom is both intellectual and progressive. There’s a word for that on the street too: bitchiness.

          I do appreciate that marriage is a very complicated topic, but that’s a subject for another post and another day. I think you’ve already discovered for yourself that I’ve thought about that fair bit.

          “What you’ve written here is basically arguing that we should talk about women’s liberation instead of feminism. But your understanding of feminism is misinformed. Your criticisms of ‘feminists’ are also misinformed.”

          Yes, and I’m just the man on the street, I’m not interested in any of these mind masturbations. The word on the street is that feminism stinks and people are too scared to talk about it. Do you want the vast majority of people to hate feminism? Do you want them to throw the baby out with the bath water? Are not the people on the street the ones you’re trying to help and not the wankers in the universities? Please go tell a muslim woman, who thinks its her fault her husband hits her, about metaphysics, she won’t care because she’s far more concerned about whether she wants to top herself or not for failing to please her husband. It’s like Maslov’s heirarchy of needs, she needs to be free in little ways before she can be free to think about metaphysics. Hence a lot of feminists might as well come from Jupiter when they talk about these things.

          “I don’t even want to start on your comment about women “letting” me over power them. By that token you could say that those women beaten by their husbands “let” him control and abuse them. Sure, let’s go down that road.”

          But they DO!!! The first part of ceasing to be a slave is to realise that the hardest chains break are the ones in your mind. Think of the feudal system, for centuries 2% of the population dominated 98% of the population. It was achieved through violence and intimidation yes, but ultimately, those 98% were too scared to upset god to do anything about it. Fear of hell, now that’s a *real* prison. Another example is a lion hunting a herd of gazelle… the gazelles could exterminate the lions out of existence if just 5% of them worked as a team to trample the lions to death. That’s the problem right there, lack of teamwork, and a profound feeling of inferiority. In my experience men are more (not necessarily far more) disciplined working together as a team than women are, but in both cases the team doesn’t work if they don’t share a common goal. Women don’t have a common goal, every woman is at a different stage of her liberation, they’re divided, isolated and they need leadership, not metaphysics.

          One thing that I think would really help is if we changed the electoral system so that we had dual constituencies so that there was a male and a female candidate in each one so parliament would always be 50-50 male-female.

          Oh and there’s no middle ground on some issues like female genital mutilation. Imagine the outrage if one person holds down a little girl and hacks away are her genitals with a pair of secateurs, we should not grow callous merely because this happens tens of millions of times over now by calling it culture. It’s not culture, it’s a crime against humanity and we don’t need to debate it, we need to come down on it like an avalanche of bricks.

          All in all I don’t think you and I actually differ much on any one particular issue concerning feminism/women’s liberation, but I do think we have very different ideas about how to move forward with the movement.

          • Clare
            June 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

            “Whenever I read feminist literature, and I have, I need to keep a dictionary next to me at all times because they seem to go out of their way to use every word they can find in the theasaurus. I did study some linguistics that explained to me differences between male and female writing styles and afterwards found Pride and Prejudice quite enjoyable, but feminist lit, like that of Marilyn French for instance, is so far removed from the common man I felt as though they were making a statement to me. That, I as a man, was not allowed to be part of this conversation about the well being of half the human species.”

            I think this statement is true of the vast majority of academic writing, not just feminist writing. It’s not a wall set up to keep men out – it’s set up to keep most people out so the academics can sit in their big chairs feeling good about themselves (male and female academics, not one or the other). If you’ve ever read Judith Butler you’ll recall the feeling of wanting to vomit every time she uses ‘performativity’ but by the same token anyone who has read Henry James can sympathize with the frustration. You seem to be critiquing academic elitism – if so you’re preaching to the choir. But that’s nothing to do with the comments I was making. And it’s also in no way limited to feminist literature as I’m sure you’ll be aware. It’s unlikely that finding a piece of writing impenetrable was due to lacking a uterus and much more likely it was due to the person writing being stuck in the mindset that academics write in their own language. Howard Becker has written a great book on this if you feel like reading something that doesn’t make you want to swallow your own tongue and that is actually very useful.

            “Not only that, while women can talk about the well being of men as they pleased, because I lacked a uterus I was not qualified to talk about women’s issues because I’m just a man. It’s a reverse sexism. Hence my point was that feminism has become insular and elitist, but that’s not a good thing, it needs to be mainstream and it needs to be simple, simply about treating fellow human beings with dignity.”

            I would also say that if you actually spoke to feminists you’d see that they aren’t all women! You seem to have this idea that feminists are sitting around in their academic offices snootily discussing how stupid and evil men are. There are male feminists and they are welcomed in feminist communities (at least that is my experience with the several feminists groups I have had the pleasure of being part of). Almost all of the feminists that I’ve met have been of the opinion that men play a central role in women’s rights movements. You say there’s a problem with the public perception of feminism – you’re not helping.

            “Women’s studies, women’s lit, women’s rights etc… these are empty divisive terms.”

            Would you say the same thing about “Post Colonial studies” or “Queer Studies”? A group that has been oppressed often have not had their voices heard in history and these areas of study are designed to get people thinking about the way that power operates on a number of levels in society. (Note I said ‘people’ – these areas are studies not just by those who are part of oppressed group).

            “Yes, and I’m just the man on the street, I’m not interested in any of these mind masturbations. The word on the street is that feminism stinks and people are too scared to talk about it. Do you want the vast majority of people to hate feminism? Do you want them to throw the baby out with the bath water? Are not the people on the street the ones you’re trying to help and not the wankers in the universities? Please go tell a muslim woman, who thinks its her fault her husband hits her, about metaphysics, she won’t care because she’s far more concerned about whether she wants to top herself or not for failing to please her husband. It’s like Maslov’s heirarchy of needs, she needs to be free in little ways before she can be free to think about metaphysics. Hence a lot of feminists might as well come from Jupiter when they talk about these things.”

            Yeah, you’re just the man on the street talking about Maslow’s heirarchy of needs (I assume you meant Maslow). You’re the everyman – who apparently dabbles in psychology and philosophy. Yeah, you’re a regular Joe. Sorry but even you have to see the irony there.

            I don’t know why you feel the need to attempt to turn this into a “you’re the nasty intellectual and I’m the everyday man” debate when that is clearly not the case. I also think you’re getting away from the actual point of what I took issue with in your argument.

            Please point out to me the part where I advised teaching metaphysics to abused muslim women. Also point out to me where I said there was a middle ground on genital mutilation. I was clearly talking about multiple marriage recognition – you know that.

            My point about women “letting” their husbands abuse them is more a concern about where such an argument might lead. If you take that road you’re blaming people for their abuse and not examining the person perpetrating that abuse (be they male or female).

            “In my experience men are more (not necessarily far more) disciplined working together as a team than women are, but in both cases the team doesn’t work if they don’t share a common goal. Women don’t have a common goal, every woman is at a different stage of her liberation, they’re divided, isolated and they need leadership, not metaphysics.”

            Men are more disciplined? Women don’t have a common goal? You use these enormous broad statements about half the population of the world completely based on your limited experience. It is fruitless to maintain these ridiculous ideas of what women are like and what men are like. There are so many exceptions it is pointless to make such statements. So a few men you met were good at working in a group and therefore all men are? I agree that women don’t have a common goal but I would say the same about men.

            Also…again with the metaphysics…(sigh). Please point out to me where i advised women needed metaphysics.

            “All in all I don’t think you and I actually differ much on any one particular issue concerning feminism/women’s liberation, but I do think we have very different ideas about how to move forward with the movement.”

            Clearly. Although you seem to be accusing me of being pro-genital mutilation in some areas. Curious. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a woman who was pro-genital mutilation. Just like you’d be hard pressed to find a guy that wanted to have his penis mutilated. I’m not really sure where you got that one.

            I don’t think the answer to the problem of the public image of feminism is to abandon it or change its name, that does mean anything. I also don’t think making claims about feminism that aren’t true are useful either.

            Feminism is making positive steps at the moment towards getting people to better understand the movement. Feminist-based groups are concerned with real world issues as I mentioned earlier and are trying to make a difference. It’s not helpful to tear down an entire movement based on some assumptions and the bad behaviour of a few extremists. I’m lucky enough to have spent time with a range of feminists (men and women) and I think the pretentious intellectual crazy man-hater elitist that you have in your mind is far from the truth.

            Generally yes I think both of us agree that men and women should be equal. But at the same time you should understand why feminists get defensive when people criticise the movement based on misinformation and also fail to recognise all the good work that is being done to help the situation of women world wide. Why bring a group down for trying to make a difference? Would you rather they do nothing?

            I was disappointed to find that you had taken this route. Especially as I had enjoyed reading your article on marriage and had found it to be based on much more accurate information.

            • June 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

              Hmmm, so I’m completely wrong and you’re right even though my article clearly resonated with a lot of people?

              No. I don’t mean a random person from off the street, I mean the person on the street standing outside looking in on the mental constructions of others and I’m telling you that the feminist movement is getting derailed. As I said, we generally agree except about strategy. Sorry if you felt I was attacking you personally, if my words were inadequate at expressing that then I apologize.

              I propose that women’s liberation keep it simple. Focus squarely on the basics: respecting the human rights of women and education of oppressed women to the goal of self-empowerment. Forget about everything else, because it’ll only add inertia to the movement. Once the basics are established the rest can take of themselves. Unless of course you don’t trust women to do the ‘right’ thing once they have power?

              I am saying feminism is failing to educate the masses and when I tell you that you tell me the masses are just ignorant and should shut up about things they don’t understand. Well if that’s your attitude maybe that elitism has rubbed off on you too?

              As for those generalizations of mine, my apologies, I don’t know of any scientific studies to the contrary, I’ll have a look for them later and if they don’t exist then I’m afraid we’re stuck with those generalizations and individual people’s gut feelings as to which is right. Maybe a women’s group should conduct that research? The closest ones I can think of are male jurors being harsher on rapists than female jurors and work places with majority women more prone to bullying (though to fair when men were in the majority the women were treated like sex objects by the men, but curiously the women copped the worst of it both ways. The study concluded that workplaces as close to a 50-50 ratio were the most functional and enjoyable to work in for everyone).

              I’m on my phone at the moment but I’ll chase those studies up when I get the chance.

              • June 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

                My apologies, I’m dead wrong on this point: “The closest ones I can think of are male jurors being harsher on rapists than female jurors” I found two studies on this, one said that they were the same (http://www.springerlink.com/content/m553w42072mu3371/) and one said the opposite (http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1993-39677-001).

                For the second study I think this is the article but I can’t access the full text to confirm on either of my university accounts 😦 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-4560.1982.tb01910.x/abstract

                As for the general statement, men versus women at selling each other out, the literature is quite diverse. Studies suggest that women are actually actively taught to not be as competitive as men because some cultures have women as the competitive stereotype. Interestingly a study with children indicates that group size is what matters most. Small groups = competitive boys and cooperative girls whereas large groups lead to cooperative boys and competitive girls.

                Certainly food for thought. For example if the stereotype of womanhood is just culturally defined then wouldn’t studying feminist lit in the context that this is what women are just be imprinting a new stereotype? It’s certainly a risk, how does one counter this risk?

                • Clare
                  June 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

                  “Certainly food for thought. For example if the stereotype of womanhood is just culturally defined then wouldn’t studying feminist lit in the context that this is what women are just be imprinting a new stereotype? It’s certainly a risk, how does one counter this risk?”

                  Not necessarily imprinting a new stereotype. That really depends on what sort of feminist work you’re reading. The area is so diverse it is entirely likely that they’ll be multiple ways this issue has been addressed by different authors. I’m most familiar with feminist sociological work and generally the approach is to attempt to demonstrate the way that the gender roles for women are culturally produced but there is also extensive research done on the various ways in which these gender roles have been reinterpreted and reworked in some communities.

                  I think it’s less about imprinting a new stereotype and more about demonstrating that gender differences are not ‘natural’ and therefore capable of being resisted.

                  But feminist literature is so vast and by no means homogeneous. In the same way that there is no agreement about whether men or women make harsher jurors in rape sentencing there is similarly disagreement in feminist literature.

                  Thanks for that article. I can actually access it from my university account.

              • Clare
                June 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

                I hardly think that something resonating with people makes it right or wrong. As I have repeatedly stated I agree with many of your points so clearly I’m not saying that you’re “completely wrong”.

                “I am saying feminism is failing to educate the masses and when I tell you that you tell me the masses are just ignorant and should shut up about things they don’t understand. Well if that’s your attitude maybe that elitism has rubbed off on you too?”

                Hmmm…again I’m confused about where you are getting this. I’d like to see a quotation where I disparage “the masses” for being too ignorant to understand. You’re the one who brought up Maslow’s heirarchy of needs. By that theory you’d imply that the poorer classes are ignorant because their concerns lie with their immediate needs of shelter and food. But I’m not going to put those words into your mouth and I’d suggest you abide by the same rule.

                “I propose that women’s liberation keep it simple. Focus squarely on the basics: respecting the human rights of women and education of oppressed women to the goal of self-empowerment. Forget about everything else, because it’ll only add inertia to the movement .Once the basics are established the rest can take of themselves.”

                By this argument you could say that we shouldn’t even bother to talk about the women in the USA being sent to jail for having accidental miscarriages because there are women in other countries who are being sold as sex slaves. Pitting one cause against another is not helpful. Who gets to decide what is more important? Both those causes are important and it isn’t fair to tell one group that their concerns will have to wait until the rest of the world is fixed. ‘Sorry women in the USA losing your rights over your bodies. You’ll just have to suck it up till we’re done doing other things.’

                “Unless of course you don’t trust women to do the ‘right’ thing once they have power?”

                Where would you get that impression? Also I hardly think that women are anywhere on their way to taking over the whole world like evil geniuses nor would that be our goal. It’s not about taking over – it’s about equality.

                “The closest ones I can think of are male jurors being harsher on rapists than female jurors and work places with majority women more prone to bullying (though to fair when men were in the majority the women were treated like sex objects by the men, but curiously the women copped the worst of it both ways. The study concluded that workplaces as close to a 50-50 ratio were the most functional and enjoyable to work in for everyone).”

                Firstly I’ve read studies that concluded that female jurors were harsher on rapists so I wouldn’t say that any study is conclusive on that issue. Also I’d be reluctant to make claims that encompass half the world population based on a few quantitative research papers. It is not productive to make these generalising claims.

                Also I wasn’t offended by your insinuation that I was pro-genital mutilation. I just thought it was ridiculous and noteworthy that you could, or would, come to that conclusion.

                • June 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

                  I pretty sure we agree on most of these topics and any disagreement is purely bickering over terminology and I’m not interested in going down that path because it’s really a waste of time. You and I have common goals and that’s far more important right now.

                  Regarding this:

                  “By this argument you could say that we shouldn’t even bother to talk about the women in the USA being sent to jail for having accidental miscarriages because there are women in other countries who are being sold as sex slaves. Pitting one cause against another is not helpful.”

                  Of course we should talk about that. Women’s bodies, women’s rights. Abortion is a woman’s choice and no one has the right to condemn her for it. The current campaign from members of the Republican party to cut funding to programs to assist women in need and their endless attempts to overturn Roe vs. Wade is appalling and reminder that the progress we make for women’s liberation is still at its infancy and if we’re going to make lasting changes we need to do it decisively.

                  • Clare
                    June 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

                    Curse my slow internet! I was writing my reply when you replied but I’ve also reply to your second reply. Yes this is getting confusing!

                    I’ve found a lot of really thought provoking stuff on twitter (of all places) that actually discusses how the funding cuts to planned parenthood are effecting women in some states. One woman couldn’t get the affordable papsmears she used to and had to travel to the next state to get one.

                    I follow @ClinicEscort and they seem to be down with all the info as well as having some really insightful comments on the situation on the ground (spending most days helping women get access to sexual health services etc.)

                    “I pretty sure we agree on most of these topics and any disagreement is purely bickering over terminology and I’m not interested in going down that path because it’s really a waste of time. You and I have common goals and that’s far more important right now.”

                    That’s exactly right. There’s no point saying ‘don’t call it feminism’ or ‘call it women’s lib” etc. It’s about the cause.

                    • July 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

                      For the record I’m enjoying reading this enlightening discussion more than the actual article.

            • June 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

              “…Curious. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a woman who was pro-genital mutilation. Just like you’d be hard pressed to find a guy that wanted to have his penis mutilated. I’m not really sure where you got that one.”

              I’m glad I can inform you.

              MILLIONS of women condone genital mutilation…on their BOY children. Men routinely have their penis mutilated as a part of accepted culture. Why is it so much more devastating when a girl has her genitalia mutilated? Why do feminists talk about equality when all that’s heard about genital mutilation is about girls? If there was any amount of sincerity behind the claims such women make I wouldn’t be opposed to the group as a woman myself. EQUALITY is not about focusing on benefiting yourself first or coming up with intricate ways to play the blame game. You say you’d be hard pressed to find a man who wanted to have his penis harmed. If this is so unnatural then why does it keep happening? Well, one explanation I’ve heard over and over is that it’s ‘easier’ for the mother to not have to clean her babies foreskin. The number one explanation is ‘low-maintenance’.

              So, no. You wouldn’t be hard pressed to find a woman who was pro-genital mutilation. The middle ground is having one half of babies in the world mutilated and not the other.

              This link is very informative. It talks about the psychical damage but sadly, does not get into the emotional, mental, or social repercussions it can and will have.
              http://www.noharmm.org/IDcirc.htm

        • Emma
          July 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

          Sorry I just have a very small point as a particular statement triggered quite a reaction in me…

          “especially because by not recognising multiple marriage some women can be disadvantaged due to not being legally entitled to share their husbands income”

          When moving to another country it is probably best to investigate and research laws and local custom so as to make the right choice for you, your family and anyone who may be moving with you.

          I for example would not move to any where that the law requires I always be in presence of a male escort, or that I cover my face in public or that does not allow me to legally own land or property…

          Why? Because I believe in my freedom, my right to wear what I like and be entitled to have the same opportunities as men.

          I would not move to another country and seek to change its laws to suit my own needs and if I ignored said laws and tried to live my life as I do now I may very well be executed or thrown in jail or publically whipped.

          In Australia having more than one wife is ILLEGAL, by moving to this country with your multiple wives, you are effectively breaking the law and if our government can be believed those found to be flouting the law will be deported.

          Sorry Jason I know this was not part of your original point but I could not help feeling strongly about this.

          It just seems that every culture that comes here tries to change or mold our lifestyle until it suits their laws back home. We are a great country because of our laws, our people and our identity, that is why people come here. If “home” had been so good for them they would never have come here.

          • July 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

            Thank you for your comment Emma, I couldn’t agree more because it only lets me give you 5 stars instead of 15.

  6. June 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Fucking brilliant Jason. Intellectual, intelligent articles about such passionately relevant topics like this really make me proud to have this website. I hope you all share these posts around and contribute your comments regardless of your stance… there is hope for the Internet being a bastion for strong intellectual debate after all.

    • Anonymous
      June 28, 2011 at 9:52 am #

      I agree all the way with Andrew, and you should be proud of your website it keeps all our minds ticking over…. chez, Sydney.

  7. June 28, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    “Women’s liberation is not an academic word game played in university classrooms, it is an armed struggle against oppression and it needs to be fought and won in the streets, not in overly wordy meandering pseudo-intellectual tomes collecting dust in university libraries.” Here, here. As an academic working in the fields of philosophy, literature and history, I have endured my fair share of the academic word-games. Over and over again, I have heard the claim, ‘I work with a feminist agenda’. The dusty old library bookshelves may well bear the evidence, but what’s the point in expending energy without a polemical end-game? Write a treatise or two if you believe it. Take to the streets if you care.

    • June 28, 2011 at 11:09 am #

      I find pictures like that ^ inspiring and moving. A lone woman, in the streets, afraid, but undaunted, ignored, but defiant, oppressed but not defeated. Women like that are true heroines. It makes me sick when other women attempt to profit from the hard earned admiration those women earned with their sweat, tears and even blood.

      • June 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

        Here, here. The day when feminism was a way of being, not a fashion statement with a slogan on a t-shirt!

      • November 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

        That suffragette picture reminds me of a book by E. Belfort Bax titled “The Fraud of Feminism”.

  8. Anonymous
    June 28, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    definetely agree. I always thought that way.

  9. Pardis
    July 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    wow!great article,I`m an Iranian student.before I went to university I saw one source to women`s issues in society…MEN.however now that I`m studying in a city far from my home(both distance and cultural) I understand that the source of our problems isn`t men..It`s us..the women.I saw that some girls as young as me saw their future in marriage,who ever gets the best husband is the most successful,the girls who are better cooks at the dorm are to be successful in their marriage.
    When I said marriage is not even in my priorities everyone looked at me as if I`m from another planet.I also found out many people have settled with the way women are treated in the society and some actually like it and thank god for it!!!
    I`m studying a major which belongs to men in my country,at first I hoped that by the time I graduate there would be equality and I will be able to find a job that a man in my field does,but now I know the possibility of that is very small and that is not the MAN`S fault!

    • July 11, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      Harletun chatori Pardis,

      Iran is a country I’m really fascinated in so I was rapped to read your comments. Iranian women lost a lot of rights and freedoms with the Islamic revolution and curiously a lot of Western scholars, Michael Feaucault and others, actually cheered this appalling denigration of women’s rights. It was here I first learned about moral relativism: it is fine for western women to have equality and freedom but it’s not right for us to push our morality onto other people. However, you know better than me that the supreme leader and the revolutionary guard have no qualms about pushing their morality onto others.

      Considering how hard the older generation of Iranian women fought for their dignity it is tragic to see the next generation surrendering their dignity for the illusion of security, i.e. that their husbands will love and look after them even though they’re not just virgins but are so ignorant about women that they think they’re a different species. Iranian women like Iranian men are just as prone to be ignorant about the opposite sex thanks to the Iranian government’s policies on sexual segregation. I’m not jumping to any conclusions about you BTW, just reflecting on prior experience.

      A Palastinian friend was comforting me once after having my heart broken by an Iranian woman by pointing out to me that because middle-eastern women aren’t equal to men, nor protected by the law, they have to protect themselves by other means: namely being deceptive, manipulative, bitchy, controlling and secretive. It struck me right then at that moment that until men and women are equal in dignity and rights we can’t actually be friends or love each other. I’m not saying that it is impossible to not have a boy and girl who love each other in a country where men and women aren’t equal but it does make it a lot rarer because there isn’t a supportive environment to encourage these relationships. If men and women don’t have equal power in a relationship then it is a power game not love.

      I tend to take a more complicated view that both men and women conspire to oppress each other for different reasons and ultimately it’s easier for a man to tell a woman what to do than to talk with her and it is easier for a woman to manipulate a man than it is to talk with him. I know that last comment is really controversial but I only mention it because despite marriage and sexual fidelity were introduced to benefit men they aren’t being demolished by modern women because women see marriage and sexual fidelity as social mechanisms they can use to control men in ways that don’t make a lot of rational sense if one actually cares about the other person as an equal.

  10. pardis
    July 12, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    mamnoon khubam!
    My apologies!my English isn`t that strong so I hope I got what you mean!
    I think the feminism, gender equality and etc in Iran is somehow different from other countries because of our political and religion status. My parents among 98% of those years` population were involved in Iran revolution, everyone had their reasons of course. At first it was just a revolution then it became Islamic.you think our situation today is because of government policies on sexual segregation however I think it`s because of government`s policies in bringing together different cultural groups.
    maybe in the US a family can come to the city, become rich and act as everyone else but it`s not the same here. These policies about unity have resulted in rape,divorce,violence,women of high education marrying men lower in understanding and becoming their slave and after they understand what they did wrong there is no law to support them.
    last year when I was still in high school I was walking home from school with my friends and we were wearing our big,ugly,loose uniform!you wouldn`t believe how many men as old as my father tried to harass us and our only solution was to run because there is no such thing as self defense in our law, after thinking about it I was glad to be segregated from these men`s sons. And the funny thing is these men`s wives walk around the streets holding signs about how Hijab is important and young girls are the reason for their husbands infidelity! These are the types I talked about in my last comment
    Here there are many ethnic groups such as Turks,lor,arab,fars,kurd and ….each with a completely different view about women and life, imagine what happens when boys and girls from two different get together? The disaster we live in

    • July 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

      Thanks for your comments Pardis, they’re really interesting! I knew about Iran being a patchwork of cultures but I hadn’t thought of it like that at all. On the other point about men’s fidelity is so peculiar to me these women who think their actions control their husbands and yet they’re powerless at the same time. It’s just like Stockholm Syndrome except it’s ‘normal’ and being responsible is aberrant.

  11. Carynn M
    July 30, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Everything you said about women’s liberation is very much a part of feminism. Feminism is about women’s equality, and all women will never be equal until all races, classes, religions, sexual orientations, etc., are treated equally. For example, a poor, black woman will never be treated equal to white women until all poor people and all black people are treated equally. Therefore, feminism is about raising the status of everyone, not lowering the status of anyone (including men). I’ve studied feminism, read literature on the subject, and talked to many people who consider themselves feminists, and I’ve never in my life heard anyone say they only want liberation for white women. It’s true that the feminist movement has been mostly associated with middle to upper-class white women, but that’s not because other women are not welcome, it’s because they’re too concerned with raising the status of their own communities, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    But to say that feminists aren’t concerned with women of all races or in other countries is absolutely absurd. I have talked to a number of feminists who are very concerned with women’s rights globally. In fact, I personally know feminists who have gone to other countries and helped women and girls by building schools, teaching English, building proper sanitation, etc. And none of these women, or any feminist that I’ve known, has ever been called a racist by other feminists who only want white liberation. (Not that I’ve ever met any feminist who only wants white liberation.) So I’m not really sure where you’re getting your information from, but it’s offensively inaccurate.

    The problem is not that the word feminism has become meaningless, which is very apparent by your passionate appeal to stop using such an emotionally-charged word. It’s that people like you use it in a derogatory manner, making women and men who feel that women should be treated as equals afraid to label themselves as something that is so demeaned in our culture.

    But everything you said about women’s liberation is very much a part of feminism. So rather than fighting about mere terminology, why don’t we stop making feminism a dirty word that brings up imagery about militant, angry women ready to blame everything on men and get back at them for centuries of repression? That’s not me, and that’s not any feminist I’ve ever known. I would like to add that there is myriad of feminist theories and schools of thought, so let’s not put everyone who calls themselves a feminist into one narrow-minded category, and then start a new movement that’s exactly the same but called something else. Instead of attacking women who are striving to help raise the status of all women, races, classes, religions, etc., why don’t we all work together towards the same goals? You mentioned that women wouldn’t be oppressed if we all joined together, but think about it, women who are brave enough to join together and call themselves feminists are attacked by men and women like you for being racist, man-haters. It takes guts to stand up amid criticism like that and call ourselves feminists, and maybe if you actually care about women’s liberation, you’ll stop attacking the few that proudly stand up to try to make the world a better place for all women.

    And just because your article resonated with a lot of people doesn’t make you right. I think you just hit on a very real issue which is that the term feminism has been, and still is, being put down as a derogatory term in our society. So much so that people like yourself, and many others I’ve talked to, completely support feminist ideas, they just don’t dare allow themselves to be labeled a feminist because of the negative connotation.

    But why not try to remove that negative connotation instead of attacking anyone who continues to use that label? It is possible to turn around the meaning of a word – look at how the gay community has changed the meaning of the word queer to go from something negative to something positive, or how the black community has changed the meaning of the n word within their own community. Just because a word has developed a negative connotation by society doesn’t mean you have to stop using the word – we just have to change what people think of when they hear it.

    Have you ever thought that maybe you could do more for the women’s liberation movement by calling yourself a feminist and helping to remove negative stereotypes associated with feminism rather than putting down anyone who’s brave enough to call themselves a feminist? I think if your answer is to re-label the movement something else to avoid the negative connotation, then you’re not working with, but against a huge group of people who all share your same goals, and who have historically made a lot of progress under the label feminism. So instead of fighting with each other over terminology, why not work together regardless of how we label ourselves?

    I sent your link and my comment to my husband, who considers himself a feminist, and he added an excellent point:

    “And the reason it is important to use the word feminism is because of why it obtained a derogatory taint. Being a feminist is a negative, not because of his arbitrary partitioning of negative stereotypes as feminist traits, but because people fighting for equality have been attacked and those attacks have left marks. If people supporting these movements are allowed to be smeared once, then it will keep happening. If we accept women’s lib as the “new” feminism, then in 30 more years we will have another round of [people] reinventing women’s lib with some other new, but again synonymous, name.”

    • August 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

      Hi Carynn,

      Thank you for your essay. Apologies if you think I over simplified your comments.

      Point 1: Women’s lib is already part of feminism.

      My response: Yes, but it is the only part of feminism that matters. Everything else is a load of tripe. The feminist interpretation of literature, herstory, etc… I’m sorry, but I think this is all part of teaching empathy and consideration and it is best to teach these things as a general idea rather than make up a pseudo-intellectual field of inquiry about it otherwise you’re going to miss out on the masculinist interpretation of literature and “history” which, in case you didn’t realise, could be useful because men have brains, ideas and opinions too. Don’t give me that “but everything before such and such a time was all men’s ideas and doesn’t need a masculinist interpretation” bullshit because there’s no evidence that’s the case. It’s just a prejudice resulting from the confirmation bias when viewing the past. If men are equal then our opinions need to matter. This is not reflected in feminism, the term is a very affront to equality, it says to men that they are the problem and feminism the solution. But women’s liberation is something few men feel uncomfortable demanding today.

      Point 2: Feminists aren’t racist.

      My response: everyone is racist, it’s natural and unavoidable, it’s called stereotyping and whether you’re talking about bogans, blondes or blacks it’s all the same thing. This idea of “racist” being a yes/no category is ridiculous. The problem is people who don’t think they’re racist. The slave owners didn’t think they were racist, they just accepted the stereotype as being the truth. This is what happens with many (not all) feminists, they tell themselves that they’re not racist and so to avoid an internal conflict they confuse bigamy and burqas with liberation and pat themselves on the back for not being racist. Compassion and common sense fail, you need to be very learned to be that wrong.

      Point 3: The problem isn’t feminism, it’s how people use the word.

      My response: So people aren’t using it to communicate with each other the way you want them to? How dare they! *stomps foot*

      Point 4: I think you were repeating the first point.

      Point 5: Just because people thought I was right doesn’t make me right.

      My response: Sure, fair point, but on that same token it does mean that you have to be wrong. Proving something wrong is a lot easier than proving something right so one doesn’t need to be right to prove another wrong. It happens in science all the time.

      Point 6: Similar to point 3, why not reclaim the word’s meaning?

      My response: and what meaning is that? I’m not sure if feminism EVER had a good connotation. Women’s liberation certainly did and still has, but feminism? But let’s say we spend the next twenty years convincing people to accept that feminism = sugar and spice, that would be twenty years of effort and time that could have been spent liberating women. Don’t push shit up hill if you don’t need to. Also, from a marketing point of view, you need to improve your product before people believe in it. Homosexuals became associated with caring, understanding, affection and safety so it was only natural that the word queer became cool… I just can’t see this happening with feminism any time soon, because “feminism” triggers a fight or flight response.

      Point 7: I could do more for feminism if I just fell in line.

      My response: No, I could do a lot more for feminism by criticising and attacking it. It is through constant testing, analysis and exercise that people and ideas grow. This is what really frustrates me, one is not allowed to question or criticise feminism as though it’s some sacred cow. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, anyone who criticises is automatically wrong: the men are just dismissed as chauvanist and the women as bimbos. Well no, it ain’t a sacred cow, it’s a sinking ship. You can choose to courageously go down with it sniping everyone who tries to warn you, or you could come down from the ivory tower and talk about practical things like how we’re going to change the world for the better (for both men and women) rather than just bitch about how much it sucks.

      On a side note, I’m well aware that men and women approach things differently. I’m aware the there are some things women are just better than men at doing, but at the same time there are some things men can do which women just suck at. Exceptions exist in both cases but confiding ourselves to generalisations for the sake of an example, I am sick of being told that all of the good things I do as a male are because I’m in touch with my feminine side. No. Women do not have the monopoly on goodness. If you think I’m being over sensitive and worrying over nothing then maybe that’s my real feminine side.

      • August 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

        lmao… essay!

      • Carynn M
        August 3, 2011 at 3:26 am #

        Hi Jason –

        You’re welcome. Thank you for responding to my essay. Here’s another one:

        First of all, there’s this book I’d like to recommend that I think you may enjoy – it’s called a dictionary. It provides definitions for words that are generally accepted by society, so you don’t actually have to make up your own definitions. For example, racism and stereotyping are different words with different definitions. If you want to re-define them and claim everyone’s a racist, that’s another topic for another day. I would like to point out that I never said feminists aren’t racists, because I try not to make sweeping generalizations about an entire group of people. I don’t know every feminist on Earth, and I don’t presume to know what they all think. What I did say is that I’ve never heard of any feminist attacking another feminist for being racist because they want to help non-white people. That’s just crazy talk, and I’m not sure how accusing everyone of being racist has anything to do with it.

        Another word you might want to look up is feminism. “…the term is a very affront to equality, it says to men that they are the problem and feminism the solution.” Where exactly did you find that definition from? Are you possibly making up your own definition based on the fact that it’s very close to the word feminine? If you think that the word feminism is a very affront to equality and says that men are the problem, based on the fact that it almost has the word feminine in it, then I think you need a better grasp on the English language. If words mankind, woman, or man-made can have the word man in them but still represent women, then the word feminism can almost have the word feminine in it but still include men. And if that’s your basis for disapproving of the word feminism, then you might as well spell it womyn and talk about herstory as well (which you clearly disapprove of, and I’m not advocating).

        And to claim that men’s opinions don’t matter and haven’t been a part of feminism is completely erroneous. I suggest picking up a book or two and reading about this movement that you’re so against. Because some of the first feminists were men, including James Mott, Fredrick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Gerrit Smith, Thomas M’Clintock, John Stewart Mills, and many others, and their opinions were very much heard. In fact, most of the first women involved in the movement were only given the opportunity to be involved because they had husbands who were sympathetic and chose to participate in the movement as well. 32 of the 100 signatures of the Declaration of Sentiments from the 1st women’s rights convention were men’s. Furthermore, most feminists claim that women’s liberation cannot be achieved without participation from men. So please, stop making stuff up. I’ve heard that radical feminists who really do hate men and want to create isolated societies without men do exist, but I’ve never met any. And in all my classes, discussions, debates, etc., with feminists, never have I heard anyone say men are dumb and their opinions don’t matter. (Not even sure why you still think all feminists are women.)

        When it comes to how people use the word feminist, you can sarcastically stomp your foot all you want, but you summed up my opinion very well. I do have a problem with the way people use the word, and what many people think of when they hear the word. So one of my goals is to do what I can to change the negative connotation that many people (not all) associate with that term. Part of my method is to call out people like you who misuse the word, and another part is to call myself a feminist, showing people that feminists are not necessarily irrational, angry, man-haters, and all the other stereotypes you keep attributing to feminists. And I want people to know that labeling myself a feminist is something I’m proud of. Language is very fluid and always changing, and we do have the ability to change the accepted meanings of certain words – sometimes in as little as one generation.

        Are you kidding me? Homosexuals became so nice and cool that people couldn’t help but start to think of the word queer as cool? What world do you live in? LGBT people have had to fight tooth and nail for equal rights and anti-discrimination, and they’re still fighting. People are still being beaten and even killed all the time in this country for their sexual orientation. Gay soldiers have their funerals protested by people shouting hate speech at their mourning loved ones. When exactly did being gay become cool? The word queer going from a negative to a positive connotation was a very conscious and deliberate decision by the LGBT community. They began proudly using a word to describe themselves that others were using to put them down. And when someone starts calling themselves the very thing others are putting them down for, it stops being such a put down.

        That’s what I’m trying to do with the word feminist. I feel like if I, and others like me, including men, have the nerve to call ourselves feminists, it will help to change negative stereotypes people associate with feminists. And if we proudly use the word to describe ourselves, maybe it will stop being such a bad word that people are afraid to call themselves.

        I think I explained pretty well what feminism means to me and thousands of others in my first response, so I’m not going to repeat myself. But I will say that it absolutely started out with nothing but a positive connotation (because the people who created it and the first users only thought of it in a positive way). It did quickly receive a negative connotation by people who were fundamentally against women’s rights and suffrage, but I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to give in and stop using that word. In my mind, that would be accepting all of the derogatory concepts people have tried, and succeeded, to attach to feminism. So rather than laying down and falling in line with your concept of women’s liberation, I’m going to continue to criticize a movement, and especially its dissenters, that I am proud to be a part of.

        And finally, I never even remotely said you should just fall in line and cease criticizing feminism. I am very much in favor of critical thinking and debate in every discipline. And although you seem to have a hard time grasping this, there are many different theories and schools of thought on feminism. They don’t even all agree with each other, so how can anyone expect you to agree with everything? Criticism, dissent, and debate have very much been a part of the entire feminist movement. The very first women’s rights convention in NY was full of discourse and debate (involving men and women), and my women’s studies classes were no different. Also, if you bother to read feminist literature, you’ll see that they are always disagreeing with each other in an intellectual, critical manner.

        I’m not sure who you’ve been talking to, but I wish you would stop putting me and all other feminists into one narrow-minded category. I don’t talk about people’s masculine and feminine sides, I don’t hate men or disregard their opinions, I don’t accuse anyone who criticizes feminism of being a chauvinist or a bimbo, and I am very much a part of this world, actively working with others to try to make it a better place, not just bitching from my so-called ivory tower.

        My problem is not that you are thinking critically and not falling in line, but that I feel like your irrational attacking of feminism and all feminists is counter-productive (not to mention full of inaccuracies). If you want to call it women’s liberation and yourself a supporter of women’s liberation instead of a feminist (which many would argue is the same thing) then I can reluctantly accept that. What I don’t like is you attacking people who share your same goals. Like I said, I think it’s counter-productive. The kind of rhetoric you’re using divides and separates people who are all on the same side, creating anger and tension that is not useful to anyone, in my opinion.

        I recognize what you’re saying about always continuing to criticize, and I respect and agree with that. But I do think it’s possible to criticize in a more productive manner. And I imagine you have the ability to criticize what you don’t like about the feminist movement without completely tearing down the whole thing and attacking its supporters. I realize that’s not what you want to do, but I think if you did you would get through to a lot more people, rather than inciting anger and making people feel the need to be defensive. When someone’s angrily trying to defend their position, it’s much more difficult for them to see when you happen to be right, and it makes working together on what you agree on more difficult.

        If you don’t have a dictionary, here a few definitions you might find useful (they’re all from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary):
        Definition of FEMINISM
        1
        : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
        2
        : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

        Definition of RACISM
        1
        : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
        2
        : racial prejudice or discrimination

        Definition of STEREOTYPE
        transitive verb
        1
        : to make a stereotype from
        2
        a : to repeat without variation : make hackneyed b : to develop a mental stereotype about

        • August 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

          Hi Carryn,

          Sorry for taking so long to reply, but knowing that feminists generally only write cynical social commentaries and use long words to conceal ad hominem attacks, I felt I needed some time and space to prepare myself for your emotional chainsaw attack.

          “First of all, there’s this book I’d like to recommend that I think you may enjoy – it’s called a dictionary.”

          Touché, well firstly there’s this organ located behind your forehead and between your ears, it’s called your brain. The dictionary is by nature descriptive not prescriptive and it is a paradox. If you look up any word in the dictionary it’ll either say another word that means a similar thing (but seldom exactly the same) or it will use more words to describe it, words that the dictionary supposedly explains to you. Use that organ of yours for a few minutes and see how ridiculous this is: the dictionary is a closed system of self-references. It can’t tell you anything you don’t already know. It’s purpose is to help clarify NOT the define words. Therefore the dictionary is not a dependable authority for the definition of words, merely a guide to help you understand a word’s possible meanings.

          Now, I know that’s a huge revelation for you right now, because you’re clearly used to a simple, structured world that’s easy to understand, but please realise the world is bigger than you.

          Regarding generalisations: you’re making a strawman argument with this. If my use of generalisations is your biggest argument against me you’re in trouble because all you can prove with this line of reasoning is that I’m not completely right, just mostly right. Let’s make a deal, in the interests of fairness, let’s just accept that sometimes the use of generalisations isn’t a rhetorical tool meant to manipulate, but sometimes it’s just a way of making a point sound less convoluted. Sure, I wouldn’t use these generalisations in a thesis, it’s not appropriate there, but for a general discussion it’s not inappropriate to save 5 minutes of talking at a person unnecessarily (because most people understand generalisations are time saving devices too) when that other person really wants to have their turn in the conversation.

          It is one of those things where you need to be highly educated to be that annoying. Wisdom isn’t about being highly educated, you no doubt can tell me many examples of highly educated idiots, indeed, I’m sure I’m on your list somewhere.

          Regarding feminism and words like: mankind, man-made etc. It is a definition used by people, I suspect, you tell yourself, “they’re too stupid and ignorant for me to waste my time talking to.” In other words that’s your “us” (feminists) versus “them” (non-feminists) mentality in these exchanges. Now, thinking back to your dictionary comment, words like ‘man’, ‘mankind’ etc… used to refer simply to the human species in collective term. Why? Because once upon a time we didn’t have gender neutral words so according to English Grammar we used the masculine form for the collective term. Now, please don’t be so contrary to confuse grammatical gender with biological gender because as much as I like linguistics I don’t want to write an essay about how in German EVERYTHING IS FEMININE FOR THE SAME REASON AS THEY’RE MASCULINE IN ENGLISH. It’s a quirk of chance, NOT A CONSPIRACY BY MEN. So yes, “man” used to mean “human” in the dictionary, now it doesn’t… yes, I know, how dare they rewrite the dictionary? That solid absolute authority on the meanings of words!

          *deep breath*

          I’m so tempted to just write tl;dr

          In fact screw it, you’re not paying attention to what I wrote, you’re taking things right out of context. You know damn well I wasn’t saying that men were against women’s liberation, women’s liberation was great for men too. I am living proof that women’s liberation has helped us men. I can hug my male friends in public, I can tell my friends how much I love them and how much they mean to me. I can say, “I’m scared, I’m afraid, I’m lonely,” and not feel like everyone in the room is going to abandon me because I’m not playing the role of the “Man” that people in our society used to be consistently brain-washed to expect.

          If you want me to fight for women’s freedoms you already know damn well that I will take up that charge and bare the burden to help my fellow woman. I would also do it standing right by your side. You know damn well if we met in a different context in a different place we’d get on amicably. No. This isn’t about what I wrote, this is about you and your hang ups with self-identity. You are in love with this person called feminism and I said to you that feminism isn’t what he’s all made up to be and you feel REJECTED by me. Well have at thee! There’s no words I can say, no witty insults nor honey scented verses that can make you feel satisfied. Because despite the number of words you wrote this isn’t about wisdom, learning or expanding our mutual understanding this is about revenge.

          Well fine! I’m an idiot, I’m a fool, I don’t know what I’m talking about! You’re completely right! How could I question you?

          Got your satisfaction?

          • Carynn M
            August 16, 2011 at 8:35 am #

            Wow. I thought Intentious was about encouraging debate from all sides. But I present another side while refraining from saying anything negative about you personally, and you respond by accusing me of being emotional, cynical, stupid, annoying, feeling rejected, motivated by revenge, having problems with my self-identity, and believing the world is only as big as myself? You accuse me of taking things out of context, and then you not only take what I said out of context but you actually put hateful words in my mouth? And how exactly did I use long words to conceal personal attacks of you? I criticized your words, and I used sarcasm after you introduced sarcasm in order to highlight inconsistencies in your arguments, but I never personally attacked you or your character.

            What I love is not only the hypocritical nature of your accusations, but that your emotionally-charged attack of me perfectly illustrates my point about how when people perceive that they’re being attacked, they feel defensive. And when people are angrily defending themselves, they have a harder time thinking rationally and working with the people they believe are attacking them, especially if they’re busy attacking back. This supports my basic critique of your article that attacking feminism and all feminists may not be the most effective way of working with them to achieve your common goal of women’s liberation.

            PS – I know at this point I probably shouldn’t be wasting any more time with this, and I do feel pretty satisfied and confident that my logical arguments stand up to your irrational attacking of me and all feminists, but I feel obligated to respond to a few things:

            You can use generalizations without presenting them as facts. It wouldn’t take much more time to say “many feminists” or “feminists I’ve interacted with” instead of just “feminists.” Or “I think…” or “In my opinion…” or “I have the impression that…” instead of just presenting opinions as facts.

            I feel like you missed the most important part of my dictionary argument – dictionaries provide definitions that are generally accepted by society. And they change according to how society chooses to use those words. I never said they were set in stone by some authority, but a dictionary is a handy device for clarifying the generally accepted meaning of a word. And while you may be able to argue the nuances of the definition, completely making up your own isn’t really appropriate in my opinion (unless you have a good reason to make a deliberate effort to change the accepted meaning of a word), because it makes communicating effectively more difficult. I think that’s why we have dictionaries – to record and provide access to the standard uses of words, so that everyone can be on the same page when using those words.

            My bringing up the mankind stuff was only in response to your statements about the term feminism excluding men. All I said was that if the word mankind can include women, then the word feminism can include men. So I’m not sure why you’re so set on getting into a debate on the origins of masculine and feminine language with me.

            I never accused you of saying men were against women’s liberation, I accused you of saying, and I quote, “If men are equal then our opinions need to matter. This is not reflected in feminism, the term is a very affront to equality, it says to men that they are the problem and feminism the solution.” In response I provided a couple dictionary definitions of the term feminism (which included equality of the sexes) since you apparently thought my definition was irrelevant; and I pointed out that men have always been a part of the feminist movement, and their opinions have mattered and still do.

            I would never say, or even think for that matter, that non-feminists are too stupid and ignorant to waste my time with. If that was the case, why would I have wasted so much time with this conversation? In fact what got me about your article is that you clearly are intelligent and have a persuasive use of words, hence one reason why your article resonated with so many people. If you were a complete moron I wouldn’t even have bothered to respond. But I think with intelligence comes the ability to rationalize almost anything. And I think at times it’s something that we’re all guilty of – having a set view point and refusing to consider anything contradictory. And I’m sure that’s what you think I’m doing, but that’s also what I think you’re doing. Which is exactly why I think us having this debate where we criticize each other and challenge our long held beliefs and encourage other viewpoints to be expressed is essential to progressing as a society, even if the two of us never agree. But I don’t think succumbing to attacking each other personally adds anything beneficial to the conversation.

            PPS – I had to look up the term ad hominem, and I think it’s so hilariously ironic that you chose that term to describe my use of long words to conceal personal attacks of you. First of all, it’s Latin, so while you’re accusing me of using long words you’re using a foreign language that’s only used by the elite in our society? Second of all, the term perfectly describes what you’re doing with me – challenging the legitimacy of my arguments by attacking my personal character. Way to go.

            Quote: “This isn’t about what I wrote, this is about you and your hang ups with self-identity.”

            An ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the truth of a claim to a negative characteristic or belief of the person advocating it. [from Wikipedia]

            • August 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

              Hi Carryn,

              I went back and reread your original comment and indeed you didn’t attack me personally there, my apologies. I’ve been getting a steady stream of hate mail for my viewpoints on this topic and not so much here but on FB and in emails. In my mind this was a case of “duck duck goose” (or troll troll contributor) and you bore the brunt of my pent up frustration. That was unfair of me and I’m sorry it happened.

              I won’t, however, take all responsibility because when I started replying to this yesterday I saw the snide remark about the dictionary and I just saw red after that.

              Also very long comments frustrate me no end, I take comments from people very seriously and I try to give a thoughtful and informed reply but I think I’ve just got to stop replying to such long comments, I’ll read them sure, but I just don’t have the time or energy to give them all decent responses. Writing these articles is a hobby for me, I’m not paid to do it, so I hope you understand that unless a comment can be condensed to a paragraph or two I’m just not going to invest in the effort required to give it a thoughtful response.

              “Brevity is the soul of wit” – I think of this every time I write an article, typically the articles I write here are twice as long in the draft form but I hack away as much superfluous material as possible for publication.

              One last thing: regarding generalisations: yes, you’re quite correct and that is exactly how I write my academic pieces, but that writing style is not appropriate for this forum. It’s meant to be a persuasive piece that gets people fired up. Judging from the passion with which you write it was successful in that manner.

              Ok, I’m at work so I need to log out now!

  12. Morgaine Pendragon
    July 30, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Whole lotta mansplainin’ goin’ on here.

  13. August 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Without contributing a very wordy comment response, I’ll just summarise that two of Jason’s lines go together quite well in summing up what I believe:

    “Women’s lib is already part of feminism… but it is the only part of feminism that matters. Everything else is a load of tripe.”

    and

    “You need to improve your product before people believe in it.”

    Which is very much applied to what Carynn said;

    “It’s true that the feminist movement has been mostly associated with middle to upper-class white women,”

    and “Feminism is about raising the status of everyone, not lowering the status of anyone (including men).”

    If that’s what it’s really about, then the priority/majority of current activism needs to be re-focussed and the ‘brand’ repaired.

    • Carynn M
      August 3, 2011 at 4:09 am #

      Andrew,

      I not only agree with your last remark, but that’s exactly what I’m actively trying to do. But I fundamentally disagree that the best way to repair something is to completely break it by jumping on the band wagon with all the people who have been disparaging the movement, and women, for centuries. (I’m not accusing you of disparaging women, but throughout history putting down women has gone hand in hand with putting down the feminist movement.)

      I don’t think that’s the easiest way to repair something. I believe the most effective way to improve it is to work within the movement, constantly criticizing as diplomatically as possible so as not to create enemies or unresolvable divisiveness, and to help change what people think of when they hear the word feminist – by correcting misinformation and by showing through example that feminists are not necessarily all the negative stereotypes people associate with them.

  14. August 2, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    “I could do a lot more for feminism by criticising and attacking it.” Here, here, Jason! If feminism was a little more self-analytical, and less afraid to look at itself through a critical lens, it would be much better equipped to deal with the contradictions that are inherent within it.

    If feminism is a sacred cow, I’m Moses.

    • Carynn M
      August 3, 2011 at 4:27 am #

      I’m sorry to tell you this Mary-Ellen, but to claim that feminism is not self-analytical is completely inaccurate. The entire movement has been all about self-analysis, critical thinking, and debate. One feminist will write an essay on what they think, and one or more people will write follow up essays criticizing what they don’t like and adding what they feel is important. Women’s rights conventions have been full of critical discourse and debate. Many completely different and contradictory feminist theories and schools of thought have come out of this tradition of critical thinking, so it’s not even possible for all feminists to agree with each other, let alone not allow anyone to criticize anything a feminist has ever said.

      Not sure where you and Jason are getting your information from…

      • August 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

        This is what I for from what you wrote, “Of course we listen to you you poor little fools, you’ve got it all wrong, we’re right, just trust us, we know what’s best.”

        You’re so condescending, and you have no idea how other people see you. I suspect Mary-Ellen must seem like a poor lost lamb to you because she just doesn’t understand what you do. I agree, women need help to boost their self-esteem, but this is not the right way to do it.

        • Carynn M
          August 16, 2011 at 11:16 am #

          I’m not sure how you’re getting that from what I said. I’ve continually been saying that I’m all for critical discourse, and have only contributed to this conversation under the belief that critical debate with involvement from all sides was the goal here. I’m not sure what I said that implied I think you’re all fools who should just trust me because I know what’s best.

          Thank you for assuming what I believe and putting hurtful words in my mouth, but I do not think Mary-Ellen is a poor, lost lamb because she doesn’t understand what I do. I may disagree with some things she said, but I agree with other things, and I have a lot of respect for her, and I value her opinions and willingness to enter into rational discourse with me without attacking me personally. And while I did disagree with some of her words, I did not attack her as a person, nor did I attempt to lower her self-esteem. I’m not sure why criticizing someone’s position equates to a personal attack on them. If that’s the case, how can anyone criticize anything anyone says? How can rational debate ever occur between people who disagree?

          I think critical discourse improves self-esteem, if done in a diplomatic way without personally attacking each other. It helps us organize and define our thoughts and viewpoints, increases our ability to articulate our perspectives, and challenges notions that we’ve accepted without much thought. It makes us stronger, smarter, and improves our ability to communicate. That is, if done in a diplomatic way. If you start attacking the other side for their personal characteristics, you’re not only hurting others but you’re hurting yourself and your cause by creating unnecessary anger and conflict, breaking down lines of communication, as well as setting yourself up to be ruthlessly and personally attacked.

          Here’s what I hear from what you’re saying: “I completely disagree with you and am so angry that you have the nerve to disagree with me, but I have nothing rational or worth-while left to contribute so I’m just going to attack you for being condescending.” (Although I imagine your words are a little more hateful than that.) Maybe you don’t think that’s an accurate portrayal of your thoughts. If that’s the case, maybe you should stop putting words into my mouth, because I don’t like it any more than I’m guessing you do.

          • Carynn M
            August 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

            I’d also like to point out that this thread started out by criticizing feminism for not being more critical and self-analytical. But now you’re berating me for criticizing another woman’s position, saying that’s not what women need for their self-esteem. Which is it? Should feminists be encouraged to criticize each other and the feminist movement, or are women not allowed to criticize each other’s positions at all?

            And I think what you may be mistaking for condescension is politeness. I was not being sarcastic with Mary-Ellen. You, yes, because you’ve been sarcastic with me. But I was genuinely trying to be polite and kind to Mary-Ellen while explaining why I disagreed with her. I often try to imply things without directly accusing someone of something, because I feel like it comes off a little less harsh. But I was not trying to patronize or belittle her in any way. And I think the way you’re berating me for the way I criticized her says more about you and your hypocrisy than it does about me.

  15. August 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Carynn, I have a book being published on this issue in 2012. Perhaps I should send you one. In addition, I am a member and advocate of many women’s rights groups. This does not make me a feminist, though, I hasten to add; it makes me nothing more than a humanitarian. At least they allow me to impact life in reality; can’t say conventions / conferences do more than make academics feel a little more pompous about themselves.
    Besides, in this matter, all I said was that feminism should be a little more self-analytical; not that it was unanalytical. I have very little argument with feminism in its genesis… some of the early works have been quite influential to my own research.

    I am pretty sure Jason and I get our ‘information’ – which I would tend to call ‘opinion’ – from free thought. At the end of the day, that’s what Intentious is all about. I am not sure why feminists get so riled up about people criticising feminist theories; even Marxists have a little more restraint. Inwardness is more rewarding than always being on the defensive.

    • Carynn M
      August 4, 2011 at 3:48 am #

      I did separate this into paragraphs, I’m not sure why it showed up as one huge blob…

      • Carynn M
        August 4, 2011 at 3:51 am #

        Let me try that again…Is there a way to erase that post without paragraphs?

        • Carynn M
          August 4, 2011 at 3:52 am #

          Mary-Ellen,

          Thank you for your comments and clarification. I’m glad you recognize that feminism is self-analytical, but I still have a problem with what you said. “If feminism was a little more self-analytical, and less afraid to look at itself through a critical lens, it would be much better equipped to deal with the contradictions that are inherent within it.” If you agree that feminism is self-analytical and recognize that there are many different schools of thought that often contradict each other because people all have their own opinions and don’t always agree, then what you said about dealing with the contradictions inherent within it is irrelevant. The feminist movement has always included dissenting opinions, which creates contradictions. To deal with them would be to get everyone to agree, and that’s impossible. And if we forced everyone to agree, it would eliminate people’s ability to criticize and dissent.

          That being said, if you think the movement needs more self-analysis and reform, I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as too much self-analysis or critical thinking. But I think that’s best done in a diplomatic way that unites people instead of dividing them. And I think it can be done from within the movement more effectively than from outside it. Because I think with anything at all, people are generally more accepting of constructive criticism coming from its own members than from outsiders condemning what they’re about. Even if we’re talking about something as mundane as someone’s hometown – usually they’ll accept other residents talking about what they don’t like about their town, but as soon as an outsider disses it, that’s another story. Or with families – another family member criticizing someone might be okay, but an outsider criticizing is less acceptable. Therefore, I think how someone criticizes is important in terms of how many people they’re going to affectively reach. I’m not saying if you’re not a part of the movement you can’t criticize it, I’m just saying it’s how I choose to be critical of the movement.

          Second of all, thank you for clarifying what I was getting at – information presented here is not supported by facts or evidence, but is merely opinion, presented as news. If that’s what Intentious is about, stop calling it news, and call it what it is – a blog. Not with journalists, but bloggers. Journalists investigate and research, and interview experts before writing their pieces; they strive to be accurate, objective, and impartial; and most importantly, before being published their articles must go through a fact checker, who verifies all information before putting it into print. That’s what helps prevent people from making up stuff or writing solely about their own opinions, while calling it news. What Intentious does belongs in the Editorial section where people are free to write their opinions without any evidence to back them up. (And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, I just don’t think it should be presented as news.) Maybe if you’re going to continue to call it journalism, the organization and all its contributors should consider implementing widely accepted journalistic ethics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalistic_ethics.

          Also, I thought the point of Intentious was to rile people up. The slogan is, “News that fires you up.” And from what I read, it seemed like it encourages contention, commentary, and intellectual debate. So I’m not sure why you would be shocked or annoyed that feminists would get riled up and join in on the conversation. Isn’t a conversation involving all sides the point? I read one comment by the founder, Andrew, that lead me to believe this: “I hope you all share these posts around and contribute your comments regardless of your stance…there is hope for the Internet being a bastion for strong intellectual debate after all.” I’m sure if Jason hadn’t presented his opinions in such a belligerent fashion while completely making things up, it wouldn’t have riled people up as much as it did. But wasn’t that the goal?

          If you read what I wrote, you would know that I am very much in favor of criticizing feminist theories, just not the entire feminist movement in one misinformed swoop.

          And one more time, please stop putting all feminists into one narrowly-defined category. Are you aware that there are Marxist feminists too? Therefore putting all feminists into one category and all Marxists into a separate one and talking about their opposing traits in generalities is inaccurate, and at the heart of what’s bothering me about this discussion – people making sweeping generalizations that don’t accurately represent the entire group of people they’re referring to. Most people would agree that you shouldn’t put all black people, or all Latinos, or all Muslims, or Jews, or Christians, or gay people, into one narrow-minded category and assume they all have the same characteristics, values and beliefs. So why do it with feminists?

          Now, for my own clarification, when you mentioned feminists getting riled up and not showing the same restraint as Marxists, were you referring to me and my responses or to feminists in general who get defensive when attacked? I hope you weren’t referring to me, because like I said above, I thought the objective of Intentious was to incite and encourage passionate debate. And I thought my arguments were pretty well thought out and free of angry or hateful words, so I’m not sure what further restraint I should be using. If you weren’t specifically referring to me, then please excuse that remark (I wasn’t sure).

          I like what you said about inwardness being more important than being on the defensive, and I agree. But I think it’s human nature to automatically feel defensive when someone’s attacking you, your opinions, values or beliefs. I don’t think feminists monopolize that response.

          Again, I appreciate your comments.

        • August 8, 2011 at 12:06 am #

          I’ll see if I can get rid of that one for you seeing as you reposted it below 🙂

          • Carynn M
            August 9, 2011 at 11:37 am #

            Thanks Andrew!

            • August 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

              Hi Carynn!

              Our team is firmly dedicated to encouraging reader participation. Occasionally we’re met with a proactive writer like you who is not a member of the contributing team, yet has taken the liberty to very eloquently express passionate opinions at length on a particular topic. Regardless of your stance, we like it very much. In fact, I’d like to invite you to write a guest post on the site, if you would like. We can talk more via email: intentiousinfo@gmail.com

              Hope to hear from you soon!

  16. Carynn M
    August 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    Jason,

    Thank you for the apology, I appreciate it. I apologize for my use of snide sarcasm with the dictionary argument. I was frustrated by your use of sarcasm to dismiss and belittle my arguments, so I felt throwing sarcasm right back at you was justified. But it clearly wasn’t the most diplomatic choice on my part.

    I think firing people up is only positive if something productive comes out of it – critical debate or action. In this forum, I thought the point was debate, so I didn’t think writing long, thoughtful responses was a problem. I’m not going for wit, I’m going for persuasiveness, and I had a lot to say. But believe it or not, I don’t use extraneous or long words to convolute my ideas or come off as highly educated and pretentious. I use words to thoroughly articulate my thoughts, leaving as little room for misunderstandings as possible, and an extensive vocabulary helps. I do use language appropriate for my audience, and you, my audience, are highly educated. So I didn’t think I needed to dumb down anything for you. But I respect that you don’t have the time to respond to everything, and I can see how that makes brevity valuable. As long as I get the chance to say it, and you at least read it, that’s enough for me.

    If your only goal was to fire people up, you definitely succeeded. But I would argue that you also created a lot of unnecessary anger and conflict. My main concern with your viewpoint is that I think this kind of anger and tension isn’t productive, in that it divides people instead of bringing them together. I think you could do more for women’s liberation by working with all these people by talking about common goals, and criticizing what you disagree with in a kind, diplomatic way, instead of attacking them for what they choose to label themselves. Persuasive writing is meant to persuade people who don’t already agree with you, but if you’re alienating the people who disagree, then what’s the point?

    Thanks for your time,
    Carynn

    PS – Forgive me for reiterating things I’ve already said, but I just wanted to sum up my argument before putting this to bed for good.

    • August 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

      Hey Carryn,

      We were talking about your comments and the effort you put into them, we were wondering if you’d like to contribute to intentious? You could write an article about how deranged my viewpoints are and I’d help you to get readers 🙂

      If you’re interested contact us at intentiousinfo@gmail.com

      Cheers,
      Jason

  17. September 16, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    So much truth, but it is just not considered ‘politically correct’ to say stuff like this: http://www.metaot.com/blogs/venth-3 (if you are male).

    V

  18. Mingtian
    January 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    “Women’s liberation is about women freeing themselves from narrow culturally defined notions of ‘womanhood‘.”
    – Narrow? Not really. Culturally defined? I don’t think so. Those definitions of womanhood have come about because they are the NATURE of women. Not just some “culturally defined notion”. Basically you want women to free themselves from their own nature. Silly.

    “It is about young girls being free to dream and pursue those dreams into their adult life instead of being told they must submit to a man and become his domestic servant.”
    – In western society women have never had to ‘submit’ to a man(at least not before the 20’s but that’s debatable) and become his ‘domestic servant’. They simply had a role as a homemaker and such. The man had to provide for the woman by going out and working in jobs that could possibly kill you (especially back then since there was not as many safety precautions etc.) and they had to go to war which can definitely kill you. So who was really the servant?

    “Apparently, men need to suffer now to make up for the wrongs past men did to past women.”
    – Gimme a break, this is the most tired argument ever. What wrongs? Providing for and protecting your woman and children with little value for your own life? Oh yes, soooo wrong!
    There never was wrongs (especially not to the extent that the feminists want us to believe). It was all simply just roles and two sexes pointlessly turned against each other.

    “This ten thousand year long divide between the sons and daughters of humanity must come to an end! Long live women’s liberation!“
    – What divide? Throughout a huge portion of history men and women have been intertwined. Only NOW are they starting to divide. As for womens liberation, it’s pretty much the same as feminism and you bought into it. Those were the same silly ‘goals’ feminists used to push their ACTUAL goals forward, it was just a mask.

    Womens liberation is about WOMEN, men have nothing to do with it and shouldn’t have to(in my opinion). It’s not for men, it’s not about men, it’s only about WOMEN. Which is why I don’t support it. I would support a HUMAN liberation of these stupid political ‘isms’ and beliefs. But that isn’t gonna happen because we have to include trivial things like sex, ethnicity, religion etc. into our politics, which only make things worse.

    • January 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      Ahhh… I wrote this back in the days before I realised how annoying, relentless, spiteful and vicious feminists could be. I’ve done a lot more reading and research since writing this and you will no doubt notice the progression in my writing from grumpy tolerance of feminism to outright hostility.

  19. March 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    “Men have a lot of faults, but men don’t often sell out other men like women do to other women.”

    Oh yes we do, that’s how feminism happened!

    • March 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      My perspective on life has changed an awful lot since taking the red pill. 😉

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