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Author Topic:   what is feminism?
nator
Member (Idle past 1168 days)
Posts: 12961
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 1 of 147 (143856)
09-22-2004 9:55 AM


We have been having a discussion regarding what feminism is; insular academic criticism or mainstream social activist movement.

Some of us acknowledge that there are, in fact, these two spheres of feminism, but others are insisting that the obscure academic feminist criticism found in women's studies classes defines all feminism.

I propose that the modern face of mainstream feminism would be the National Organization for Women.

Here are their basic aims:

http://www.now.org/organization/info.html

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Since its founding in 1966, NOW's goal has been to take action to bring about equality for all women. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.

The following are their list of issues thay confront:

* Abortion Rights / Reproductive Issues
* Affirmative Action
* Constitutional Equality
* Disability Rights
* Economic Equity
* Family
* Fighting the Right
* Global Feminism
* Health
* Judicial Nominations
* Legislation
* Lesbian Rights
* Marriage Equality
* Media Activism
* Working for Peace
* Racial and Ethnic Diversity
* Title IX
* Violence Against Women
* Welfare
* Women-Friendly Workplace
* Women in the Military
* Young Feminism

My question to those claiming that academic feminist literary criticism, or feminist ecology, etc, are feminism and no differing view, no matter if it calls itself feminist, can be called feminist is; what kind of movement is NOW? IS it a faminist movement? Even though they call themselves feminist, are they really not, according to you?


Replies to this message:
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Chiroptera
Member (Idle past 1104 days)
Posts: 6202
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 2 of 147 (143868)
09-22-2004 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
09-22-2004 9:55 AM


Hello, schrafinator.

I don't believe that "feminism" is simply the belief that women and men should be equal. It seems to me that it is so obvious that women and men should be equal (although I do recognize there are people who disagree with this) that this would be too trivial a definition. I would think that a reasonable definition of "feminism" (and any other "-isms") should also include an understanding of the nature of the barriers to equality, and maybe the actions required to remove or overcome these barriers, and hopefully that it is but part of a greater movement to ensure equality and dignity to all people.

My idea of feminism has always included the recognition that:

(1) Women and men tend to have stereotyped expectations and positions in society;

(2) These expectations tend to demean women and squelch their fullfillment as human beings (this is also true for men, too, although to a much lesser extent);

(3) The barriers to the complete fullfillment of women are structural and cultural, being based on deep seated beliefs taught from childhood and reinforced by society's institutions; and

(4) The removal of these barriers will require a deep resructuring of society.

I don't know much about NOW, and I can accept correction on this matter. My impression is that the organization doesn't push enough to created the deep changes in society needed to ensure equality of the sexes. In my opinion, true equality is simply not possible in a capitalistic, materialistic, imperialistic culture such as the U.S., or even Europe. My impression is that NOW has the naive program of trying to promote a society much like contemporary middle-class America, except that women and men are equal.

American society is based very deeply on the oppression of minorities at home and the imperialistic subjugation of peoples abroad. So even if women could be equal to men in a society very similar to contemporary America, this would simply be allowing women to take their "rightful place" among the oppressors.

On the other hand, by insisting on equality, and working hard to promote equality, and by examining the progress and identifying the barriers that still remain, it may be possible, by incremental changes in the quality of women's lives, to actually effect the necessary structural changes, even if that isn't the intention at the time. But I would think that a conscious awareness of this would be part of the definition of feminism.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by nator, posted 09-22-2004 9:55 AM nator has not yet responded

  
Dan Carroll 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1092 days)
Posts: 2904
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 3 of 147 (143869)
09-22-2004 10:57 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
09-22-2004 9:55 AM


Feminism is the stance that sex does not determine gender.

I don't see the need to complicate it further... once the basic premise that a person's genitals don't lock them into a set role in life is established, the rest pretty much falls into place.

As for NOW, they piss me off. Ever since they and GLAAD went on the Eminem censorship kick.


"Good evening. I'm playing the role of Jesus; a man once portrayed on the big screen by Jeffery Hunter. You may remember him as the actor who was replaced by William Shatner on Star Trek. Apparently Mr. Hunter was good enough to die for our sins, but not quite up to the task of seducing green women."
-Stewie Griffin
This message is a reply to:
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contracycle
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 147 (143872)
09-22-2004 10:59 AM


The identification of a "one true feminism" is pointless, but I too would like to see a response to this question. Because it seems to me that the allegations levelled at the womens studies courses are essentially character assassination. As I see it, if the feminist criticism of society as male-domnated is correct - and I think it is - then it is entirely appropriate to systematically develop an alternate analysis based on presumptions other than those that commonly prevail.

I will agree that there are elements of the feminist movement which present arguments with which I disagree; but I do not therefore conclude that all feminism is nonsense by association. I'm entirely capable of criticising individuals, or tendencies, or ideologies, without using such a broad brush. So for those who DO assert that faminism is and must be a specific and particular set of arguments, please also explain how this invalidates all OTHER arguments that go under the term feminism.

I find this expecially ironic in the Western context of the two party system, in which we are all well used to movements being broader than singular issues, and containing multuiple tendencies, factions et al. Do Democrat voters here hostile to Al Sharpton accept that Al Sharpton invalidates all aspects of the Democratuic platform? Do Repbulicans critical of Trent Lott therefore also believe the entire Republican party is delegitimised? I've never seen this at all.

I don't believe this criticism is valid. It reeks of parroting conventional wisdom to me.

This message has been edited by contracycle, 09-22-2004 10:03 AM


  
Silent H
Member (Idle past 2344 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 5 of 147 (143888)
09-22-2004 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
09-22-2004 9:55 AM


I think that feminism is very broad. I like Dan's definition, but wonder if it is totally accurate (it is very catchy though).

In any case there are so many varying concepts of how to go about achieving those ends that there cannot be one feminism. There are many factions and one can only claim to be the more popular, not the sole recipient of the title.

Your concrete example is NOW. What is NOW? Well I'd say it certainly is feminist. But that is obviously not all it is...

eradicate racism,...homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.

and...

* Abortion Rights / Reproductive Issues
* Affirmative Action
* Constitutional Equality
* Disability Rights
* Economic Equity
* Family
* Fighting the Right ...
* Health
* Judicial Nominations
* Legislation
* Lesbian Rights
* Marriage Equality
* Media Activism
* Working for Peace
* Racial and Ethnic Diversity...
* Welfare...

None of those are specific to women as equal beings, or justice for women. I know some may believe that abortion is, but that is not true. A woman can be very much for women's rights AND believe that life begins at conception and so a woman should not be able to kill that life.

It appears NOW is a leftwing political organization that includes some feminist issues in its causes.

That does not make it less feminist, just not ONLY feminist, and certainly not the FACE of feminism.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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contracycle
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 147 (144019)
09-23-2004 4:34 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Silent H
09-22-2004 12:32 PM


quote:

That does not make it less feminist, just not ONLY feminist, and certainly not the FACE of feminism.

So who is?

you've thrown plenty of stones at Feminism yourself, Holmes, so who do you hold to be the face of feminism, and why?

Because people keep saying feminism this, feminism that, and using slanderous terms like femi-nazis, so I want to know who this disreputable face of feminism is. Cough it up.

Or you, born to preach. Put your money where your mouth is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Silent H, posted 09-22-2004 12:32 PM Silent H has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Silent H, posted 09-23-2004 5:04 AM contracycle has responded
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 2344 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 7 of 147 (144026)
09-23-2004 5:04 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by contracycle
09-23-2004 4:34 AM


So who is?

Did you not read my post? It says feminism is too broad for one movement or organization to be considered THE feminist movement.

There may be a singular goal, but organizations pursue that goal in many different fashions with different metaphysical and ethical beliefs flavoring their movement.

you've thrown plenty of stones at Feminism yourself

I throw stones at everyone, but with regard to knocking feminISTS (I dare you to find me knocking feminISM) I made it clear I was going after the prudish anti-sex anti-porn anti-male feminist factions.

Remember I even agreed to use AP feminists to describe them so you would not be confused?

And I do not consider AP feminists to necessarily be the most popular faction anymore. I said which feminists I personally like and are gaining in popularity.

Because people keep saying feminism this, feminism that, and using slanderous terms like femi-nazis, so I want to know who this disreputable face of feminism is. Cough it up.

I'm very tired of you asking me to represent "people" I have no connection with and do things I have not done. Cut it out.

Put your money where your mouth is.

Perhaps you should remove your feet from where your mouth is, your hands from your ears, and your own navel from your eyeballs. Then we might start having a real conversation.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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contracycle
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 147 (144031)
09-23-2004 5:59 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Silent H
09-23-2004 5:04 AM


quote:
I throw stones at everyone, but with regard to knocking feminISTS (I dare you to find me knocking feminISM) I made it clear I was going after the prudish anti-sex anti-porn anti-male feminist factions.

Ah, Holmes. You were a fool to challenge me to show you attacking feminists when I had compiled a list of such attacks in the porn thread already:

quote:5- Where, specifically, holmes has abused feminists.

quote:
Please do not use books from feminist authors, nor sold for a woman audience. Make it real research, academic.

Becuase of course Feminism cant be real academic reserach, and nothing wrotten for a women audience could possibly be legitimate. (although, in this thread, its the turn to knock academic feminism. No form of feminism is acceptable, apparently).

quote:
These fantasies may always be deconstructed of course, which is what feminists do in a very subjective manner.

Feminists of course are subjective, as is only to be expected of meotional, irrational women. Unlike anti-feminists who are coldy rational and analytical.

quote:
I am stating that the feminist position is that all porn is mysogynistic.

Thus totally contradicting yourt later claims to have attacked only individuals...

quote:
It is not up to the people being attacked by feminists to go and correct them, it is the duty of the feminists to get their arguments straight in the first place.

Note the total absence of qualifications. Feminists must get their arguments straight. Not this person or that person, all Feminists.

quote:
The example I gave was specific and accurate. It shows the underlying PROBLEM of feminist critiques of porn. In a rush to judge, they grab on to whatever soundbytes sound damning, but have no connection to what porn is about or how it is used.

displays confrimation of bias; presumes the only basis for objection is the irrationality and ignorance of the critic, cos of course if Feminists were informed they not be feminists. Ahuh. And again the lack of any qualification of feminist.

quote:
But this is yet another problem engaged in by feminist critics.

... and yet again. The later conceit you adopted of distinguishing between pro-porn feminists (whom you like, and consider raitonal, becuase they agree with you) and anti-porn feminists (whom you dislike becuase they do not agree with you. amnd hence call irrational) came far too late in the day to be convincing.

quote:
I'm very tired of you asking me to represent "people" I have no connection with and do things I have not done. Cut it out.

I didn;t ask you to reprersent anyone; I only asked you who the Bad Feminists are. If feminism is as badly discredited by these Bad Femnists as you claim, surely they should be easy to identify?

No? How about you, brennakimi, who are your Feminist Evildoers? Born2Preach? I doubt you could name ANY feminist at all, but I'd be willing to accept your nominations.

Come on people. "everyone knows" that feminism is nuts, discredited... don't they?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Silent H, posted 09-23-2004 5:04 AM Silent H has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Silent H, posted 09-23-2004 8:59 AM contracycle has not yet responded
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 2344 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 9 of 147 (144036)
09-23-2004 8:59 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by contracycle
09-23-2004 5:59 AM


Ah, Holmes. You were a fool to challenge me to show you attacking feminists when I had compiled a list of such attacks in the porn thread already:

You're compilation of quotes ought to fit just fine in that thread on examples of bad quote mining.... Not only do every single one of those quotes explicitly refer to feminISTS and not feminISM, the context of ALL OF THOSE QUOTES were to a specific group of feminISTS.

Becuase of course Feminism cant be real academic reserach, and nothing wrotten for a women audience could possibly be legitimate.

Oh my gosh I can't believe you just said that. I guess I'll just stick that in my list of quotes by you denouncing all feminists and feminism!

See how easy it is to quote mine?

Now if you read my statement in context it was saying that I wanted actual studies, like in peer reviewed journals, and not LITERATURE. Sometimes APfeminists create collections of references to studies and bundle them in propaganda specifically for female audiences. That is Literature and unuseful for me to address.

Feminists of course are subjective, as is only to be expected of meotional, irrational women. Unlike anti-feminists who are coldy rational and analytical.

There's another quote for my "list" on you. Heheheh...

Anyhow the quote of mine... as noted earlier... was in the context of APfeminists. I'm still wondering why this problem is occurring when I already went over feminism and feminists and who I was talking about in an earlier thread TO YOU.

Thus totally contradicting yourt later claims to have attacked only individuals...

I didn't say only individuals, you would note that the very first quote you listed from me stated that I criticized a "faction". A faction is NOT just an individual.

And the quote you are addressing now was addressed to feminist critics of porn: AP feminists. Clearly I could not be saying ALL feminists, and so feminISM, believe that porn is mysogynistic when in my posts I have also listed feminist authors that are proPorn.

Where are those quotes from me?

Note the total absence of qualifications. Feminists must get their arguments straight. Not this person or that person, all Feminists.

Oh well this is true. All feminists need to get their arguments straight. That goes for everyone, but this was being address to a specific group of arguments made by a section of feminists.

cos of course if Feminists were informed they not be feminists. Ahuh. And again the lack of any qualification of feminist.

That's not what I said. I said feminist critiques of porn are X. That does not mean that ALL feminists critique porn. This is underlined when I mention feminist authors that support porn.

Again, where are those quotes of mine?

The later conceit you adopted of distinguishing between pro-porn feminists (whom you like, and consider raitonal, becuase they agree with you) and anti-porn feminists (whom you dislike becuase they do not agree with you. amnd hence call irrational) came far too late in the day to be convincing.

Convincing to who, you? I had been over this stuff well before you ever came onto this site. So if you are trying to imply that I suddenly adopted this after you came on and argued with me... well you are just plain wrong.

I didn;t ask you to reprersent anyone; I only asked you who the Bad Feminists are. If feminism is as badly discredited by these Bad Femnists as you claim, surely they should be easy to identify?

No? How about you, brennakimi, who are your Feminist Evildoers? Born2Preach? I doubt you could name ANY feminist at all, but I'd be willing to accept your nominations.

Come on people. "everyone knows" that feminism is nuts, discredited... don't they?

I want you to read the quote above. No mining there. First you say you are not asking me to represent everyone, then next paragraph start talking to brennakimi and born2preach as if I am in with them, then the third paragraph is to a bunch of people who apparently hold a position diametrically opposed to mine.

You so crazy... certifiable.

Finally and for the record. FEMINISM IS BROAD. There are many factions within it and each can be criticized separately, which prevents any single movement to be considered the TRUE feminism.

This message has been edited by holmes, 09-23-2004 08:02 AM


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Member (Idle past 1104 days)
Posts: 6202
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 10 of 147 (144038)
09-23-2004 9:06 AM


Topic?
I am just as interested as anyone else whether Holmes is pro- or anti-feminist, but I think that is not the topic of this thread. I think schrafinator wants people's opinions on what they think feminism IS or ought to be.
Replies to this message:
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contracycle
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 147 (144050)
09-23-2004 10:18 AM


I don't particularly care either, I just want holmes to give us the names of these "anti-porn feminists" who are, allegedly, bringing feminism into disrepute.

I imagine Born2Preach will then give us his list of anti-marriage feminsts who, by being anti-marriage, bringing feminism into disrepute.

In neither case do I expect Holmes or B2P to actually engaged with one or other femninist critique about porn or marriage.


  
Silent H
Member (Idle past 2344 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 12 of 147 (144051)
09-23-2004 10:19 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Chiroptera
09-23-2004 9:06 AM


I am just as interested as anyone else whether Holmes is pro- or anti-feminist, but I think that is not the topic of this thread

It can stay on topic. My answer to Schraf's question was that there is NO single feminISM, other than a general pursuit of justice/equality/sex not meaning gender.

Thus there can be and are a multitude of feminists, with some factions looking quite different and opposing one another.

A great example is the division over porn. While I would love to discount Dworkin and co as not really feminist (in that I think they actually hurt women), I just don't get that ability. They WERE and ARE feminists.

They are also diametrically opposed to feminists such as Dodson, Sprinkle, etc etc who not only like sex but feel in being free women should be able to commercially exploit their own sexuality if they wish.

I thoroughly support feminism (the pursuit of that general goal) and side with the prosexual nonmalebashing factions of feminists, while thoroughly criticizing the opposition factions.

NOW, as a singular feminist organization, has taken on too many liberal causes and is becoming too PC for its own good. It has made itself into a liberal political entity, rather than an issue based social entity. That said, I do support some of their specific programs.

I think women are different than men, both physically and mentally (though that would be due to different brain chemistry). None of those make either sex objectively superior or inferior, each have "edges" on the other, especially when you get down to specific individuals and tasks.

Personally I want to live in a society where women and men (as classes) are viewed as social equals. One sex is not expected to inherently defer to the other. Such deferments will come out in only specific situations depending on the tastes of those involved. Frankly I like tough girls that don't defer.

However, being very into diversity and tolerance, I am not into bashing cultures which have some social expectations (roles) for each gender. I don't think social inequalities based on roles (which may be gender ascribed) NECESSARILY means being cheated of justice or thought of as less worthy. Most of the times there are trade offs and men get the shaft just as well.

I do question the globalization of many feminist doctrines. Should all cultures look like us? I dunno. I feel the majority of feminists should stick to issues within Western Society as that is where most of them are, and let other cultures pick up on the feminist programs they find useful.

Oh I'm sure that won't go over well.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Chiroptera, posted 09-23-2004 9:06 AM Chiroptera has not yet responded

    
CK
Member (Idle past 653 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 13 of 147 (144062)
09-23-2004 10:39 AM


It's like when two women is at a party,like and their boyfriends are not there and they start kissing and stuff*

* apologies to Ali G fans.


  
macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 453 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 14 of 147 (144146)
09-23-2004 3:56 PM


*sigh*

you people are way too upset about all this crap...

first of all. the opening post of this thread describes me as saying that only academic feminism is feminism... and that is recisely the opposite of what i said. i said there is old feminism (the equality kind) and new feminism (the nutso bat-shit variety). however. the nutso variety do not recognize the old method as feminism. it's not my fault they're crazy.

second. get over it.


  
arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 8967
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 15 of 147 (144175)
09-23-2004 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
09-22-2004 9:55 AM


My question to those claiming that academic feminist literary criticism, or feminist ecology, etc, are feminism and no differing view, no matter if it calls itself feminist, can be called feminist is; what kind of movement is NOW? IS it a faminist movement? Even though they call themselves feminist, are they really not, according to you?

this is a bit of a strawman. not a lot, just a bit.

there is no one ideal feminist ideology. not all feminists say, stand for, or write about the same things. in fact, one of the best things that "academic" feminism does best is contradict itself, often to the point of absurdity.

there are two distinct spheres of feminism, yes. old-style ("mainstream" as you called it) activism, and post-modern philosophy. the philosophical variety does not regard activism as true feminism, for some reason or another.

my point is that as a whole the movement is tending in the direction of the philosophical post-modernist movement and away from the activism and promotion of women's rights. that the academic sphere is, in fact, the mainstream, and the activists are the extremists (within the already non-mainstream group of feminism).

feminism is no one thing, it's true. and i suppose i would have to call now a feminist organization. but now is not direction the movement is going in currently. i do, however, think their actions are needed to continue to ensure equal rights and whatnot.

i'm not here to piss off women or male feminists. i'm all for equality as impossible as it may actually be. i just think people calling themselves feminists and thinking they know what it means would do well to take a class in the subject, before arguing such a point.

until then, i'm not especially interested in a debate. it's almost as bad as trying to explain the finer points of genetics to a creationist who's never taken a biology class.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by nator, posted 09-22-2004 9:55 AM nator has responded

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