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Author Topic: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)  (Read 1447 times)

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Offline Brittany

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2013, 12:56:10 PM »
Maybe you should re-read my posts before saying I ignore certainly factors when I did indeed address them.  Here, I'll make it easy for you:

You dismiss it though.  You say that differing priorities is not as prevalent as I make out and leave me to go and find evidence to prove you wrong.   The truth is, we have different priorities and perspectives on almost every matter ever discussed by politicians, from a budget, to education, to health.  Yes both males and females want stable economy and good education for our kids, but our ideals on what is a stable economy and good education are different as we experience different lives.  We break down each subject matter differently.  A school closure effects your average female mother more than a male father.  Someone with perspective on how this affects those mothers, is better to speak on it, than a man who's wife was dealing with it while he was at work (as it is now).

Women need an active voice on health, on education, on business, on womens issues.  They also need to be standing up and speaking out.  Women need to be everywhere, active in sports, active in politics, active in education so we can see that we do have equality, and so that we can inspire the next generation.

It appears to be your belief that a man can speak for a woman and do just as good a job as a woman does except on issues such as womens health.  But that man will never inspire the next generation of young girls to follow careers in sports, education or politics and that in itself is a good enough reason to warrant females having top jobs.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 01:06:50 PM by Brittany »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2013, 01:06:52 PM »
The fact is in the US as of 2011 50.8% of the population are women and 49.2% men so here is the big issue women could vote in women if they wanted to into offices at almost any level and in large numbers. So the question is not me here but why won't women do this?

You could pick a political party of your choice and it doesn't take much to vote people in to win these offices in many elections your lucky if 60% of the voters vote if you get 95% and pick one candidate who is a woman you would win races.

So why is this an issue when women don't seem to want to vote for women? Is it women don't want to enter politics or they are not seen as qualified or do they prefer men over women if they have a choice?

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2013, 01:15:34 PM »
Okay, so you stop making assumptions about my beliefs on the subject, I shall just state them here:

- Men can be feminists. Men can support issues that affect women. Men can experience the female perspective in a non-biological manner. Feminism is a much-needed movement so that equality can be achieved between the genders.

- We need female voices in all fields. Men should not be disqualified because of their gender or differing life experiences. No one should be. I want to see more women and minorites in office and in all things.

- Our life experiences differ due to things aside from just gender. Nothing is so cut and dry like you suggest it. So much factors into life views and experiences: to suggest otherwise is uninformed and unjustified.

- Politics as it is needs to change in some way. We need more women involved.

That's it right there for me. Agree or disagree all you want but stop making assumptions on what I have been saying.

Offline Brittany

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2013, 01:23:51 PM »
The fact is in the US as of 2011 50.8% of the population are women and 49.2% men so here is the big issue women could vote in women if they wanted to into offices at almost any level and in large numbers. So the question is not me here but why won't women do this?

You could pick a political party of your choice and it doesn't take much to vote people in to win these offices in many elections your lucky if 60% of the voters vote if you get 95% and pick one candidate who is a woman you would win races.

So why is this an issue when women don't seem to want to vote for women? Is it women don't want to enter politics or they are not seen as qualified or do they prefer men over women if they have a choice?

I don't think it is that women do not want to get into politics but it appears a very male dominated environment and we need to encourage more female participation.  The more women we have, the more that will see it as a valid career and the better the female candidates will get. 

I'm not quite sure how it works in the United States but I believe you vote per state, so the percentages of the population as a whole may not be the same when you take into the individual voting lines.  In the United Kingdom, the parties pick the candidates you can vote for and you rarely get a choice to vote for a female MP or Prime Minister.   

Then you have the fact that while no party will ever outright come out and be sexist, there are sexist people out there who will go to lengths to stop a woman getting a prominent role.  Hilary Clinton, Linda McMahon, Sara Palin have all been victims of some pretty nasty smear campaigns.   I am not claiming them to be of a sexist agenda, but they all had pretty nasty things thrown at them which a lot of male candidates haven't had.  Palin's sex in particular was certainly something that came into play more than it would if she had been a male candidate.

Finally I feel most women vote for the candidate they feel is best.  We have a politican here, Dianne Abbot.  I would not vote for her, regardless of whom she was running against because I think she would be terrible for the country.  I'm not saying vote a woman in for the sake of having a woman.  But I think there should be enough women encouraged into politics that we have decent representation.  I'm not even saying we need a female PM or president.  Just high level representation for the following reasons.

1 to break up the "old boys club" that hasn't really worked for a very long time
2 to inspire young women
3 to provide a female perspective on matters important to women
4 for equality

In all honesty I'm quite surprised anyone disagrees with this in 2013.

- Men can be feminists. Men can experience the female perspective in a non-biological manner.

I disagree strongly with these two opinions, while agreeing that you can be supportive of women.  As I said last night, feminism is not and never will be about men.  It primarily exists because of men.  But I feel we need to move on from this so lets end our discussion here.  Have a nice day.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 01:37:26 PM by Brittany »

Offline Ellipsis

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2013, 08:34:28 PM »
I disagree strongly with these two opinions, while agreeing that you can be supportive of women.  As I said last night, feminism is not and never will be about men.  It primarily exists because of men.

I'm not very outspoken about my views on things like feminism and such because I realize that people have their own opinions and I'm content with that. However, I do align myself with Silverfyre.

Throughout this thread, I don't think Silverfyre (and correct me if I'm wrong) is implying that feminism is "about him." Now I see no reason why a man cannot claim to be a feminist if he is supporting the same causes as women in the vein of feminism. For example, at my university, I can be a member of the Black Student Union, even though I am white. If feminism is about equality, it seems hypocritical to not equalize the genders in the face of advocating a cause. I also don't think it's fair to discount someone's experiences because of their gender. To make a glaringly facetious and hyperbolic example, a man will never be able to understand the physiological hell that is a menstrual cycle, but there's nothing to stop him from empathizing with or being sympathetic to a woman.

I also think that it's silly to dismiss someone's support because they identify as a member of the male population. There's the notion that gender has a fluid definition. Factoring in transgender members of the community, what about women who identify as men or vice versa? How do they fit into your own definition of feminism?

I'm a member of the feminist group (The F-Word) on my campus and I'll admit that I'm a very conservative feminist. However, that doesn't mean I don't support equality between genders, just because I may enjoy more traditional or stereotypical gender roles. In said group, we do have men ranging from heterosexual to queer to anywhere in between. You mentioned the proverbial "boy's club," but by limiting feminism to women, aren't you just perpetuating the separation of genders by creating a "girl's club" or something similar? It seems as though you're trying to create separate clubs, but make them equal. Separate but equal isn't equal. By excluding other genders from feminism, we're strengthening the inequality, in my opinion. It's saying that your experiences aren't as relevant or as meaningful as mine.

I don't know. I'm just talking aloud. I think that if Silverfyre is taking the time to be a part of and understand this movement, he shouldn't be discredited. And, if we're going by obvious statistics, men hold more positions of power. Personally, I would love to see influential men supporting feminism and setting an example. I'm not saying that women can't do it on their own and need to "rely" on men, so please do not take it as such. There are benefits to being an inclusive, rather than exclusive, group and I think those are being overlooked.

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2013, 11:49:15 PM »
You are indeed correct in your interpretation in what I was trying to get across.  Thank you kindly for explaining what I was saying so eloquently. :)

Offline BlightRaptor

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2013, 01:02:24 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristina_Fern%C3%A1ndez_de_Kirchner

"Her Excellency Mrs. President of the Argentine Nation"

Just thought I'd share this gal with everyone since it seemed kinda relevant.

Offline Maiz

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2013, 01:26:28 AM »
You mentioned the proverbial "boy's club," but by limiting feminism to women, aren't you just perpetuating the separation of genders by creating a "girl's club" or something similar? It seems as though you're trying to create separate clubs, but make them equal. Separate but equal isn't equal. By excluding other genders from feminism, we're strengthening the inequality, in my opinion. It's saying that your experiences aren't as relevant or as meaningful as mine.

A feminist group on campus not allowing men or not actively recruiting men or whatever, or a"girls club" as you called it is nothing like what the "boy's club" is. It's a false equivalency. If a guy feels unwelcome or even uncomfortable in a group for girls he can leave that group and have so much of society, media, government programs, jobs, etc cater to him****. When a woman leaves she has to deal with politicians making laws on her body, on being portrayed as a nagging wife or a slut or a bitch or whatever, of earning less, of incredibly high rates of sexual assault/rape/harassment, etc etc etc. "Boys clubs" are part of a structural/systemic sexism. "Girls clubs" can be excluding and women can even be prejudicial towards men but this is not connected to structures that go across society that discriminate against men.

****and of course this isn't true for all men because you have to factor in race and class and sexuality and other things but if you compare men and women within those categories it is still true. Gay men have more media catering to them vs lesbians. Trans men have more access to formal job sectors than trans women do. Men of color have more movies about them in more complex roles compared to women of color, etc etc. Basically this is a note about intersectionality.

Anyways I think implying that feminism and the experience of womanhood being tied with biology is deterministic and transphobic not to mention it makes womanness something innate and unchanging (which its not). But I also think that yes men can be sympathetic towards women and support women and they can get a glimpse of a woman's experience, but to experience a life filled with sexism is something entirely unique and isn't possible.

Offline KythiaTopic starter

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Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2013, 03:03:39 AM »
Anyways I think implying that feminism and the experience of womanhood being tied with biology is deterministic and transphobic not to mention it makes womanness something innate and unchanging (which its not).

I couldn't agree with this more.  Tying definitions of female to childbirth, specifically, annoys me greatly.

Quote
But I also think that yes men can be sympathetic towards women and support women and they can get a glimpse of a woman's experience, but to experience a life filled with sexism is something entirely unique and isn't possible.

True, true.  But I don't think you have to be personally affected by an issue to be opposed to it.  Just because Silverfyre - who Im apparently now talking about as if he wasn't here, sorry Silverfyre - hasn't personally experienced that life doesn't make his opinions on it less valid.  They do make them different, certainly.  But less valid?  My experience of sexism is almost certainly not the same as yours which isn't the same as, I dunno, Ellipsis'. By ruling out Silverfyre's ability to understand I think you're in danger of almost the same mistake you correctly identify above.  It, to me, comes disturbingly close to claiming there is one true way to be discriminated against and anyone who hasn't experienced that can't, errrrr, can't understand. 

It just seems that while you say that having children, a working womb, two X chromosomes, etc, aren't necessary to be female or a feminist - and as I say I couldn't agree more - you're drawing a bit of an arbitrary line at saying cis males who present as male (sorry if Im making assumptions, Silverfyre) can't understand.

Sorry, but hungover and I can't tell if that made any sense or not.  Hit me up if it didn't and I'll clarify.

Offline Ellipsis

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2013, 09:59:51 AM »
A feminist group on campus not allowing men or not actively recruiting men or whatever, or a"girls club" as you called it is nothing like what the "boy's club" is. It's a false equivalency. If a guy feels unwelcome or even uncomfortable in a group for girls he can leave that group and have so much of society, media, government programs, jobs, etc cater to him****. When a woman leaves she has to deal with politicians making laws on her body, on being portrayed as a nagging wife or a slut or a bitch or whatever, of earning less, of incredibly high rates of sexual assault/rape/harassment, etc etc etc. "Boys clubs" are part of a structural/systemic sexism. "Girls clubs" can be excluding and women can even be prejudicial towards men but this is not connected to structures that go across society that discriminate against men.

I don't mean to compare the gravity of one to the other because there isn't a comparison. I only meant to use an example of my own experiences to highlight men in feminist organizations and  the nature of equality/inequality. A campus group and a grossly perpetrated social norm are two different things. However, both have the ability to impose stipulations and rules based on gender to equalize or discriminate against others. I suppose my point is that, for a group promoting the equality of genders in all spheres, it seems almost hypocritical to advocate the separation or exclusion of a gender on the basis that one is a member of the offending group. 

Offline Maiz

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2013, 10:38:01 AM »
I couldn't agree with this more.  Tying definitions of female to childbirth, specifically, annoys me greatly.

True, true.  But I don't think you have to be personally affected by an issue to be opposed to it.  Just because Silverfyre - who Im apparently now talking about as if he wasn't here, sorry Silverfyre - hasn't personally experienced that life doesn't make his opinions on it less valid.  They do make them different, certainly.  But less valid?  My experience of sexism is almost certainly not the same as yours which isn't the same as, I dunno, Ellipsis'. By ruling out Silverfyre's ability to understand I think you're in danger of almost the same mistake you correctly identify above.  It, to me, comes disturbingly close to claiming there is one true way to be discriminated against and anyone who hasn't experienced that can't, errrrr, can't understand. 

It just seems that while you say that having children, a working womb, two X chromosomes, etc, aren't necessary to be female or a feminist - and as I say I couldn't agree more - you're drawing a bit of an arbitrary line at saying cis males who present as male (sorry if Im making assumptions, Silverfyre) can't understand.

Sorry, but hungover and I can't tell if that made any sense or not.  Hit me up if it didn't and I'll clarify.

I just said they can understand. But understanding does not mean experiencing and I dont think that understanding a life entrenched in an oppressive system when you are not affected it is possible.  I don't think it's arbitrary at all to say that men can't fully/completely understand how women have to live in system where they have to be fearful every day for being hurt/killed for being a woman. In fact a lot of women are not aware of how their individual problems (for instance being cat called on the street or harassed or even personal experiences with sexual assault) are tied to a societal attitude (the idea that women do not control their bodies and instead exist to be objectified or whatever you want to call it). It's a big thing to think about. Instead a lot of women I think compartmentalize their experiences or think "if I do xyz then I'll be okay", when really it's not that easy since you can't controll others and these societal attitudes are so strong and prevalent.

And Ellipsis- I have problems with feminist separatism for entirely different reasons (mostly because of the racist/classist/imperialist history of certain kinds of separatism). But at the same time- it is important for women to have spaces that are free of men to talk about women's issues. I think you're hung up on feminist groups discriminating against men. Another form of separatism is women's shelters. Technically they separate women from men but I personally think it's fine because women who are running from the violence of men oftentimes don't want to be around men for good reason. (and of course there's nuance for this, mostly a lack of men's shelters to deal w/this issue but that is an entirely different topic unrelated to this idea of separatism). Men's input can be valuable in certain issues and there should be a critical critiquing of masculinity and a reconstruction of masculinity, but I do think there are times appropriate to have spaces without men.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 10:42:59 AM by xiaomei »

Offline Ellipsis

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2013, 12:44:24 PM »
And Ellipsis- I have problems with feminist separatism for entirely different reasons (mostly because of the racist/classist/imperialist history of certain kinds of separatism). But at the same time- it is important for women to have spaces that are free of men to talk about women's issues. I think you're hung up on feminist groups discriminating against men. Another form of separatism is women's shelters. Technically they separate women from men but I personally think it's fine because women who are running from the violence of men oftentimes don't want to be around men for good reason. (and of course there's nuance for this, mostly a lack of men's shelters to deal w/this issue but that is an entirely different topic unrelated to this idea of separatism). Men's input can be valuable in certain issues and there should be a critical critiquing of masculinity and a reconstruction of masculinity, but I do think there are times appropriate to have spaces without men.

I do recognize that there are times when women need a safe space. I've been in situations where I needed those same accommodations. However, in the umbrella concept of feminism, I believe those who identify as men, as well as any other gender in between, should be included if they share the same values and beliefs inherent in feminism. If a group of women want to have a space to talk about women's issues, they should. I completely agree with you on that point. I also don't mean to limit myself to "feminist groups" and my example was just that, an example. Simply put and boiled down to the barest sense, in the grand scheme of things, I do not think that feminism should be strictly specific to that of just women.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2013, 04:24:38 PM »
I don't think it's arbitrary at all to say that men can't fully/completely understand how women have to live in system where they have to be fearful every day for being hurt/killed for being a woman.

You really think there are no men in the world that haven't been through an analogous experience?

Offline Maiz

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2013, 05:32:47 PM »
You really think there are no men in the world that haven't been through an analogous experience?
look at my previous post and look at my note about intersectionality. when me and a friend go walking at night he does not have to worry about gender based violence where as i do.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2013, 07:10:34 PM »
But there are men who have to worry about being hurt/killed for being gay. Or trans*. Or a goth, or just strange-looking. There are men who have to worry about being hurt/killed for being developmentally disabled, or for being the wrong religion. Some of these are choices and some of them are very vehemently not choices.

I would say very emphatically that some men can sympathize, and many men can empathize.

Offline Maiz

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #40 on: February 16, 2013, 07:29:26 PM »
I believe I made a note like the first post I put here about intersectionality which is what you are getting at. I am not denying that men of color or gay men or trans men etc dont get discriminated because they are not white, or not straight, or not cis and frankly i dont know where you're getting that at all.

Because a gay man is targeted for being gay does not equate to having an experience w/sexism. A man cannot experience gender based crimes or crimes based on sexism nor does a man experience structural oppression simply for being male. when a man experiences oppression or violence it's because he is being structurally oppressed for being gay or trans or poor, etc you get my gist. But i mean the world is a messy place because then conversations like these have to realize the reality of women of color or queer women or trans women or poor women or gay men of color or whatever.

lmao i haven't said that men don't/cant sympathize. in fact i directly said men can sympathize. but sympathy or even empathy is not the same as lived experience. Let me put it this way. If you heard the experiences of someone who survived a war or a genocide or whatever or maybe you even get a controlled example of what that was like, you would still not get the full experience because you did not go through that war or that genocide and once the imaginary lecture or whatever is done you can walk away where as the survivor has to deal with the PTSD or the stress or the reality every single day. Does this mean you can't sympathize? No, you can, of course. It's ridiculous to say you can't. Does this mean you can't empathize? Again, no, I'm sure a lot of people can empathize but understanding/sympathizing does not equal the same experience. It's a nuance and might seem a little "wow why even care about such a 'small' thing" but it's important to keep in mind so that we realize that a gay person living in a homophobic society, or a woman living in a sexist society, etc has to deal with homophobia or sexism or whatever every single day, in ways subtle and overt. I just think it's a little patronizing when someone who is not part of a marginalized group (and indeed belongs to the hegemonic group) says they completely absolutely understand what that marginalized person goes through. Because they don't. Does that make more sense maybe?

Offline Trieste

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Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #41 on: February 16, 2013, 07:41:21 PM »
There is more than one form of structural oppression, however, and women don't have the market cornered on that. It's, frankly, arrogant and dismissive to try to imply that men are utterly incapable of feeling the same kind of feelings. In fact, that's pretty much sexism - and there aren't degrees of 'okay' sexism. It's not like, "Well, I'm just a little sexist" or "I'm not institutionally sexist" makes it okay.

But what does that have to do with women in politics, exactly?

Offline Maiz

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #42 on: February 16, 2013, 07:57:00 PM »
No women don't have the market cornered on oppression but on a discussion about sexism they kind of do. I do not see how it's arrogant or dismissive to say a guy can't completely comprehend what it's like to deal with institutionalized/structural sexism. Same thing about straight people and homophobia, or the rich and the poor, or white people and people of color, etc.

Again, they can sympathize, but it's not the same as living it. Men in marginalized groups can even say "i understand what it feels to deal with institutionalized oppression" but that doesnt necessarily mean they understand sexism. All oppressions are different and the experiences of them are different. I would not say to my mom that just because I've experienced sexism/racism/homophobia that that means I completely know how she experiences ableism, that I know what she goes through. I know how structural oppression works in general but I don't experience ableism so while I sympathize with her I won't claim that my feelings on the subject are as important as her actual lived experiences, or whatever.

And that is a good question.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #43 on: February 16, 2013, 08:45:42 PM »
Xiaomei,

No one is an island. Groups like Pflag exist because everyone is harmed by oppression and discrimination.

My parents are straight, but do you think the homophobia that I suffer from doesn't hurt them? I know when my sister suffers because of sexism, that hurts me as well. When my brother suffers from prejudice against those with mental illness do you think I'm unaffected?

I don't think anyone's voice should be excluded from the discussion. Hatred and bigotry is everyone's problem. The last thing we need is more division.

If you think people don't understand your experience, explain it to them. Make them understand, because that's how we're going to get change. We're all writers and roleplayers here. It's our duty to let people understand that which they've never experienced themselves so that we (as an entire society) can fix these damn problems.

Offline Brittany

Re: Women in politics (split off from the feminism discussion thread)
« Reply #44 on: February 17, 2013, 04:18:21 PM »
Xiao mei, I'm very sorry for my insensitive comments linking child birth to feminism.  It is a matter that regularly comes up in my women's meetings and with friends, and obviously is an important part of being a woman, however it was not my intention to neglect or offend anybody else.  Things such as maternity wards closures or cuts are often addressed by feminist groups, and this was what I had in mind when I made the comment.  I am not qualified to speak on the issue outside of natural childbirth because quite honestly I know very little about it, but I did not mean to dismiss anybody.   I have perhaps a slightly extreme view, which is a product of my life, and I've maybe got off to a wrong foot with some people.  Wasn't my intention.  I'll try to address it better, and add my thought process to my comments.

When it comes to sexism and oppression of women, I honestly do not believe a male can really comprehend.  Simply because he was born with the ability to become a catholic priest and one day maybe even be pope, and this is a door that has been closed because I wasn't born a guy.  I think even that last sentence is read differently by men and women because experiencing something and reading something give you different perspectives.  I've known what I can and can't do throughout my life, and its far more restricting than what you can and cannot do.  Therefore we have different views.  You add in our different biology, and even if our lives were the same, we'd see them in a different way.

I believe men can speak out and say it's not fair I can't be Pope.  I believe men can want me to be able to be Pope.  I believe men can support me in rallying to become pope (but may not always be welcome to, i'll get onto that).  But I don't believe men can really deep down truly understand how it feels to have so many doors shut through gender.  This doesn't really happen to men, it's the opposite for you.  You get a field that is full of female participation such as cooking, and male publishers and businessmen still make sure the men dominate said field with the top restaurants and the best marketed cookbooks (10 male chefs all better than the 30 million female ones?  really?).  Top doctors in female medicine?  Men (expert on vaginas, the man without a vagina?)  Top coaches of female sports teams?  Men (what a male basketballer brings to a netball team a former female netball player can't I'll never understand).  It's a man's world, you dominate the male environments and you dominate the female environments.  You did so originally by bullying and playing unfair and you continue to do so because you are unwilling to give it up.  You've let women be doctors now, time to step down Mr. leading gynaecologist.  You've let women coach, so let us coach our teams in our sports or let us go coach in the NFL and the Premier League.  And if there aren't 10,000 women that would do a better job than Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey, I'd be stunned to be honest.  Its time the positions men gained through bullying and corruption are given back to us.

I do not want men to help me to become pope, because the reason I can't do most of these things is because men won't let me.  If I win the right to become pope, I do it for the most part in spite of men.  While I know the path of "this man has blocked me, all men are evil" is the wrong one, it's actually a very tempting one sometimes.  When a man claims I am sexist, i find it quite difficult to feel too bad about it, because this is something that has been vastly unfairly weighted towards me for all of my life, and my mother and grandmother before that.  One or two politically incorrect comments on a message board that you dislike does not equate to, nor hold the same weight as hundreds of generations of women in my family being unfairly treated.  This may surprise you, but there are women out there who feel a few hundreds years of male servitude still wouldn't be "equality".  Women have been treat badly for a long long time now.  Men saying "ahh but we support you now" doesn't make it alright to a lot of us.

Males who want to be feminists or support feminism need to kinda understand that the majority of almost any feminist issue originated with a man saying "they can't do that" or "they don't deserve that" or "they should do this" and wow do some of us resent this.  While you shouldn't be all held accountable for the actions of other men, feminism in my view doesn't really want male support.  It wants, and needs male action.  Men need to make other men accountable for their actions and this starts at the top.  You need to be locking up anyone that stops a woman getting anything because she is a woman, and treat it like people treat racism.  Criminal activity.  There are too many old boys clubs in the most important fields, politics, education, business, and they are holding women down as they always have, just using different methods to do so.  What we need from men, is this stopped, not for you to cheerlead on marches.

The feminist group I used to attend, males were flat out not welcomed.  Not even the staff.  Many of the women there had been abused, held down, or were not comfortable in the presence of men.  So we simply didn't let men join, and noone ever complained or questioned it.  Is that sexist?  It could be argued to be.  But in that same vein, you could argue african american conferences are racist.  Those women members that would have left if men were allowed in are more important to the feminist organisation than the male members because feminism is an ideal for and about women.  It isn't just about equality or for understanding.  It's by women for women, for issues that affect women.  Empowering women and communities and helping women to help themselves and each other.  We find out what women want and then we combine to make life better for other women.  It's one of the only organisations that isn't about, for or influenced by men.  And we've been shut out of so many organisations over the years, so like I said, the sexism argument doesn't really wash with me. 

With a few of the "male feminists" I've encountered it seems like being a "feminist" is something to add another layer of depth to themselves, or they feel they are being right and just (and usually stand up for any liberal campaign there is).  Thats a different kind of feminism to the lady who was raped in her teens, pushed into a shelter by an abusive partner, then disallowed promotion because she is a woman.  I actually find men who say they have the same perspective as this woman, quite arrogant and insulting.  It's belittling to her that you feel women's rights is just as big an issue and as important to your life as it is to her and hers.  And also who are you to vote for that woman?  To have a voice of equal importance to that woman?  The moment men get a say in feminism, it isn't feminism anymore.  No matter how much you feel you understand, you are bringing a male opinion and view to an ideal which is built on women's opinions and views.

I don't claim to understand men either.  Everything I have said here, i would hold myself to when it comes to understanding the BGLT community, men, people from another culture.  I can love them, I can support them.  I can be hurt when something hurts them.  But I can't ever truly comprehend them unless their situation is similar to situations I have suffered, and then like I said, I can relate, but never really understand.

So while I truly hope noone is offended, I feel some of you need to try to be a little less sensitive.  Because feminism is for women and female transgenders where the rights cross over.  Essentially it's fighting against male opinions, institutions and ideals.  As such, you aren't always going to be made to feel welcome, respected or trusted as a "male feminist" and you need to accept there are valid reasons behind that.  Men have after all held us back since the beginning of time.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2013, 06:58:01 PM by Brittany »