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.
I think there's value in calling my position feminist when religious women have it in their heads that feminists are all man-hating extremists. And then their reaction is to embrace the misogyny of the bible as the only other viable position. It's kind of like why I call myself an atheist even though it has a lot of negative associations. They both need to have a diverse face.
When I told my husband I was a feminist, he assumed that I was therefore against the things he wants to see - more fair treatment of men in child custody cases for example. Of course that's not the case. I think I can be an equalist and a type of feminist. I may not fit in within this group. That has yet to be seen. Maybe I like men far too much to fit in, in which case I will be happy elsewhere.
I don't see it as a negative. I'm sure I could find fellow atheists who I would strongly disagree with as well. And I'm not led my anyone s far as my opinions on this topic. I'm not part of any organization. No one represents my views for me.
I think I want to be able to distinguish myself from the rank and file of evangelicals who strongly believe they are in an equalist marriage, even though they submit to their husbands' authority as a requirement of their faith. Feminism is antithetical to the 'biblical marriage model' preached by christians and so perhaps it is useful to me that way. 'Equal' leaves too much wiggle room for telling people how they should behave as men and women.
I've never heard of evangelicals describing their relationships as equalist, so I think you are safe there. Equalism is just as antithetical to the 'biblical marriage model' preached by christians, but it is also antithetical to the restrictions on men's rights sought by feminist organizations.
So again, which truly describes your views. Are you a feminist, who advocates only for women's issues? Or are you an equalist who advocates for the civil rights of both genders?
So, someone can be a nice, egalitarian member of the Ku Kux Klan, so long as they only hold that view that white people are entitled to civil rights too?
No, if you voluntarily associate yourself with a group known to oppose civil rights and equality (as feminism does), then you abandon the expectation of egalitarianism
How about this - I've already given you my reasons, even if you don't accept them. That doesn't mean you have changed my mind about anything.
Fair enough, you can label yourself however you wish. But if you choose to label yourself as a member of a group that opposes equal rights for all genders, then don't expect to be considered egalitarian.
I'm sticking with "equalist", and treating everyone fairly.
Feminism isn't simply about "being equal" any more than denial is simply lying. Before you can comprehend what "equal" means in this context, you have to realize it's not just easy-to-measure-stuff like equal pay for equal hours of work.
Feminism requires consciousness raising. Invisible, deep layers of oppression and inequality, internalized limitations we don't even notice, must be recognized and painfully faced, before we can peel away layers of inequality that constitute our selves. Having been remade from authentic beings into sex objects, women must find their true centers to articulate what job equality, for example, might look like.
Imagine the ability to compete for a living wage without walking around in high heels all day. When men have to cope with just as many demeaning and deforming dress requirements, while pretending to be happy about them, just to feed their kids, we can talk about job equality.
Reminds me somewhat of what my girlfriend has told me about transsexual women (male to female), of which she's known a few. One of the biggest things they need to adjust to is the constant focus and harassment.
For that matter, my girlfriend gets cat calls, just walking down the street, on a constant basis. There's a constant pressure of harassment to intimidate women and keep them in their place, under fear of being raped or killed. It's even worse in many other countries.
It gets better, but there is a long way to go. In the Netherlands 1 in 5 women becomes a victim of physical abuse, that's still a disturbingly high number.
It is also not unheard of to take advantage of women in certain situations, sometimes actively pursuing to bringing another into such a state where any kind of decision can be hardly taken consciously by the victim. Date rape drugs, alcohol can be included here, as to me it is about the effect and to some degree intention.
I've always been taught to escort girls home, and at moments like that I will not even bring myself into a situation where I might become vulnerable to do something stupid. I'll bring you to the door and then you're on your own. I'm not tucking you in, I'm not checking for monsters under the bed and I don't need another drink.
No offense to anyone, but if you're drunk I'm not going to put my trust in your ability to make an informed decision.
On the way home, you just might meet the wrong person, with the right moves that causes you to make a mistake. A friend of mine got a ride from some people who said were worried that he was walking home alone in the cold. They took everything he had and dumped him.
Women unfortunately have a much higher risk to be abused, and to become victims of such attacks and the constant pressure of harassment as you speak of, to me seems to show how big this problem is. But this abuse is not just by strangers, but by the people they should be able to trust too. Somebody telling you a story about how dangerous the street is, and how he would appreciate it if he was able to escort you home, but really just until the door, even a friendly person or friend might take advantage of you.
It's still ingrained in our culture it seems, both in that continuing cat calling and verbal harassment that shows our more antisocial, vile side that people ought to control. Women are still under constant threat of attack it seems from many sides and it is not something that is easily counteracted. Women's actions are not responsible for this problem, and neither are their clothes, it's the culture where people think that women should somehow be subjugated to men, that males are dominant and that women are somehow responsible for being victims is inexcusable.
Sorry for the long post, but the subject really pisses me off, and I really see the verbal harassment as a prime example of this problem that is so often said not to exist but in the mind of radical feminists or spineless men. /rant