This topic is an attempt to more clearly understand what's going on on the Feminist Atheist part of the forum lately.
I've seen myself as a feminist for quite some time, yet it seems that my definition differs from that of other self proclaimed feminists on the forum. I'm not arguing which group of people is "True" or "Better" because as of yet I do not understand the differences fully, which is annoying as it is a hot topic.
One of the biggest problems seems to be that some people here, myself included seem to be convinced that feminism is about equalism (equality between the sexes). Others agree that this is partially true, yet they claim that equalism and feminism are not the same and that you cannot be both (or that's how I understood it, please correct me if I'm wrong).
I did a quick Google search and found the definitions below which all speak of equality when defining feminism. This does not necessarily mean that this equality necessarily means or leads to equalism (or am I wrong here?).
Oxford Dictionary: Advocacy of the rights of women (based on the theory of equality of the sexes).
It seems that I'm not the only one that is confused, the wall at Feminist Atheists has sort of proven this lately. I hope that I (and others perhaps) can get some clarification and a better understanding of this subject.
Why is it that men don't have as much attention paid to testicular cancer? It's because they haven't gotten together and raised attention to it.
And testicular cancer is a very manly way to go, isn't it? We should be proud to be granted that opportunity.
Or the law that gives a possible death penalty for a miscarriage if the woman is found to "have a role" in it?
Wasn't this ... Georgia or something that tried to require every miscarriage to be investigated as a potential homicide? Or was that part of the South Dakota law? I'm blurring the SD law with stuff that my girlfriend has mentioned about Georgia's @#$%^& up abortion laws.
Be smart and talk this over with a sex partner before you get to having sex.
IUD. Got it covered.
Prog Rock Girl, it is hardly fair to fault me for exclusively arguing from men's point of view on a web forum primarily populated by people who continuously denigrate, disparage, and lie about men.
I'm a little bit busy proving that men are not the ultimate source of all evil in the world right now to address issues such as women being allowed combat roles in the military.
I believe in equal rights and equal opportunities regardless of gender. I challenge anyone to show where I have said otherwise.
Rob, what you quoted is almost getting at what I posted on the group wall - that the word "equalist" directs attention away from misogyny, in effect hiding it as the cultural culprit behind why women don't have equality. In short, it can be thought of as a "weasel word." (Weasel...now WHO does that remind me of?)
Whether taking the heat off misogyny (which is currently taught to us and then internalized to varying degrees by all men and women, as we know) was intentional or not, that is the effect, and the word "feminism" does not allow that. We put the blame where it is deserved, and that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, especially those who benefit by a misogynist system.
Not letting misogyny off the hook in no way implies that feminism isn't about gender equality. I really don't get why so many people think that most of us wouldn't want that rather than an imbalance the other way.
Anyway, non-feminists and antifeminists don't get to define our positions. Those who try are being paternalistic, even as they lie to us that they see us as equals.
If you look at equality as an area in a ven diagram, then other areas having some intersection with it would be the fight against racism, gay and lesbian rights, ethnic rights, trans gender rights, religious rights, masculinism, feminism....you name the oppressed group. Each of these groups believe in equality, but work on strategies to get their own group those equal rights.
One of the major problems now is that the norm is based on what is normal for white heterosexual men. For true equality we all have to meet in the middle which means that the privileged have to give up some of that power and privilege. I as a white women will have to give up some privilege to help achieve racial equality.
Circumstances that affect only one group have to be accommodated as fairly as possible. Childbearing is such a case, there should be ways to accommodate women for this biological difference without unduly holding them back in their work or penalizing them in other ways. Muslims should be accommodated for the requirement of having to pray five times a day. Fathers should be accommodated for parenting time.
Now we are at the rough period where the most privileged, white heterosexual men, must begin getting used to not having control over almost everything. Plenty of them don't like this and want to focus on how they have suffered too. Their complaints may or may not be valid depending, but a feminist group is not the place to discuss this. That would be appropriate for a men centered group or an "equalist" group, if you like.
I am a feminist woman and I am the one on the receiving end of most of the oppression from misogyny. I, like most people, have a limited amount of time and energy to use to my best advantage. While men's issues are important, I don't have resources to spend on them. As a feminist my energy is directed to improving the lot of women. I don't want a matriarchy. I want all people to reach their individual potential and achieve maximum happiness. My part in achieving this is through feminism. Black people do it by fighting racism. Men can do this by forming their own groups for the purpose. I know it will be hard for them because they have depended on certain unfair expectations for so long. Many, like our resident trolls are having such a hard time with this that they try to change the purpose of other groups into looking after men. It is not feminists job to rule the world nor is it to help men with their problems with society.
I, like many others, would like to right all wrongs, but I can't. In lieu of that, I choose feminism.
One of the major problems now is that the norm is based on what is normal for white heterosexual men.
I don't believe we now live in a primarily patriarchal society in North America. I think there are patriarchial institutions (like most religions) and individuals (primarily older ones) who still have to get used to the idea that all women can't be lumped into the same category. The same goes for men. I think that while the average woman is more nuturing and the average man does fit the 'masculine' role, no one likes to be squeezed into a box that doesn't fit them. I don't want to have to choose either a totally femine role - like homemaker - and a rewarding career in a primarly male field (agriculture). I do both and I think I get quite a lot of respect from the old farmer types for doing it. And they are a pretty traditional bunch. They may not know what to make of me at first. But they do come to respect me after a while.
The literalist evangelical christian community that I left a while ago required women to be submissive to their husbands to varying degrees based on their interpretation. But it was always there.
I actually had my late husband as a full-time care giver for our daughter for a while. We definitely noticed a stigma (he's a bum and making his wife go out and work) that didn't help an already tricky situation. That should change, but it could be a long time coming.
I have had my own fights with managers who thought that I would never be accepted by the old farmers as an authority in my field. I was sent in to do office work that I had no experience in while others were sent out to do field work. Then I had a different supervisor who had daughters of his own and saw no reason not to let me loose among the farmers. It ended up being very good.
I think this makes me a rather moderate feminist type, but for reasons of historical solidarity I like to keep the moniker.
Sounds similar to my reasons. I have concerns about backsliding. Just like idiot ultra-conservatives who think we should do away with the EPA, now that we've corrected the environmental abuses of corporations in the past ... there's a reason we don't have a problem with corporations as much, anymore. The corporations haven't become more moral. They just know they can't get away with it anymore, without being exposed, eventually. Take away the watchdog, though ...
I have major concerns about backsliding in certain parts in terms of feminism. And religion is usually the driving force behind the reactionary rush back to the kitchen.
I think it it an excellent analogy with the environment. BP's spill in the gulf makes a big case for why these topics should remain in the public consciousness. My hubby is in the oil drilling industry and he understands pretty well what happened there. There are massive bribes to the watchdogs, which allows some very bad things to go on.
Lana, I think you have a good understanding of gender roles in our culture, though I'd urge you to take it one step further...As an "equalist", I try to stay gender neutral in my judgements, while still recognizing that there are physical and pyschological difference between the sexes, mixed up with left over cultural biases and pressures as well.But when you state that " I think there are patriarchial institutions (like most religions) and individuals (primarily older ones) who still have to get used to the idea that all women can't be lumped into the same category.", recognize that our culture also has MATRIARCHAL institutions that stereotype and discriminate against men as well.My standard "test of equalism" regarding statements and opinions is simply to reverse the genders and think about whether that changes the context.
And though you'd like to consider yourself a feminist for "historical solidarity" (I confess I don't see the value in that), recognize that you are associating with a movement which, at least in its current form, does NOT promote equality between the sexes.
I suspect from your posts that "equalist" may be a more apt description of your stance.