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Author Topic: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation  (Read 6442 times)

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Offline SteampunketteTopic starter

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #125 on: November 21, 2014, 10:14:58 AM »
Now with all of that said: Why is it such a problem with Feminism?

The first answer is that it is Easy to Ignore.

Most women in Western Society grow up surrounded by the Little Things. It is the background noise of their life. As simple and common as the high pitched ringing you hear in your ears right now... now that I have you specifically listening for it. Whether you're listening to it or not, that ringing is always there, just at the top of your register. Sometimes if you focus real hard you can hear other sounds as well. Just as steady. Just as clearly. But only when you recognize they're there and pay attention to them.

Now with that background noise comes something far worse: Internalization.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP3cyRRAfX0 Linked for child

I'm sure plenty of us have seen this commercial. And, together, the statements of the mother and father tell a very discrete story of discouragement. But each, on it's own, seems perfectly reasonable. A parent simply being protective of their child, her clothing, or their own sanity when a school project gets "Out of hand". But none of those interactions exist without the others because the girl experiences all of them. And she has since before she had an understanding of words. Or, rather, the girls that the character represents that exist in our society are bombarded with these messages.

By the end of the video we're given a rather ham-handed idea of how the girl views herself.

The ham-handed ending, however, is a fairly good example of what internalization of sexism looks like. It's very likely that character will grow up and impart the same values on her children, probably just as unintentionally as her own parents did.

And what's worse: she'll defend each lesson and each value as perfectly valid because in the moment itself it seems like a fine thing to say, but the impact will be cumulative. At that point she's gained enough tolerance for the abuse that it no longer registers as abuse that she's placing upon her daughter to ever so slowly crush her interest in science and nature and anything otherwise coded for "Boy" in our society.

The second answer is: It's Easy to Dismiss.

It's not a big deal. It's irrelevant. It's tiny and pathetic and small and you shouldn't bother with it. You'll hear that a lot when you talk about any sort of Social Justice, and feminism is no different. But while you'll hear that about stuff that is considered a bigger deal (like the rampant sexism in gamer culture) the protestations get louder the more specific an example.

Because it is so easy to separate that example from all the others. To say that "This" one is too small to care about. That there are bigger matters to handle. To deride an argument as being miniscule and not having a bigger target.

What these arguments tend to miss, though, is that small, casual, common, thoughtless forms of sexism are far more pervasive than overt examples... but they are no less important specifically because they are so very common. They form an unconscious and simple form of dehumanization and minimization of women that is so ingrained that even the thought of examining it is viewed as a perverse waste of time.

Which brings us to the third reason: Self Inspection is Hard.

Looking at oneself honestly, and judging the motivations behind actions that are performed on a routine, is difficult. Seriously criticizing those motivations under the question of sexism (or any other pernicious form of bias for that matter) is even harder. Because we do not think of ourselves as sexists. And to self-criticize on the basis of sexism results in two common ends: Either recognizing that some of our social cues that we've internalized are sexist, or vehemently opposing even the idea that we might be sexist and rejecting the entire experience out of hand.

On some rare occasions people can, presumably,  honestly and sincerely look into themselves and find no internalized bias, but I've never seen it happen or heard of it happening.

I have, honestly and sincerely, looked into myself and found bias I didn't recognize was there. I openly admit it. And it is only through honest appraisal that we can work towards bettering ourselves, or at least shielding others from our internalized biases.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 10:24:40 AM by Oniya »

Offline SteampunketteTopic starter

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #126 on: November 21, 2014, 10:33:58 AM »
As for why I used Egypt it's because I was trying to show a span of time.

From 3100BC to around 600BC.

Egypt is one of the oldest societies on the planet and I wanted to express how far back our problems stretch. But if you want to play it that way, sure. Let's look at it that way.

All across the Middle East and even into India the law was laid down that women had property rights. In fact Biblical Judaism circa 1800BC specifically had women holding the same rights that were outlined in Egypt save that inheritance went to Men only, unless no direct descendant men existed in which case the inheritance went to wife or daughter in that order.

Hindu texts hold to similar doctrines, but further limit property rights to Earnings, Gifts, and Possessions gathered prior to the wedding. Which meant once you were married whatever came into the household was the husband. That was in 1500BC, though.

Then along comes Hellenistic Greece passing it's laws specifically stripping women of the right to hit courts without a dude or own property beyond her own earnings from a job she has to work for a man to get.

And then Rome came in and went "Wow, you Greeks were uptight!" and brought back the rights to inherit, divorce, and own property up to and including land. And then by Byzantium in 565AD you're getting into the severe restriction of women's rights, again.

Shit rolls downhill after that pretty much across the board outside of Islamic states where women are instead granted unprecedented freedoms all the way through 'til the 1950s.

But it's worth noting that it is generally understood by sociologists and historians of ancient periods that the relatively modern norms of women not having ownership rights (which the US only fixed in 1852) and similar standards of equality are exactly that: Modern. A change from a more egalitarian past when men and women were both just considered human.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 10:35:46 AM by Steampunkette »

Offline Merah

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #127 on: November 23, 2014, 07:54:15 AM »
For all the condemnation of ancient Greece's handling of women's rights, it's worth noting that Plato is perhaps the earliest example of a serious intellectual argument for the equal treatment of women. He still held many misconceptions but he saw far ahead of his time on this--credit where credit is due to Western philosophy. Sad that this component of his thinking wasn't adopted until many centuries later.

Offline Skynet

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #128 on: November 24, 2014, 08:41:13 PM »
But it's worth noting that it is generally understood by sociologists and historians of ancient periods that the relatively modern norms of women not having ownership rights (which the US only fixed in 1852) and similar standards of equality are exactly that: Modern. A change from a more egalitarian past when men and women were both just considered human.

I understand that there are many aspects of history the general populace gets wrong, but I think that this quoted bit is the wrong choice of phrase, or is too optimistic regarding women's rights in the ancient world.  Women had better property and inheritance rights in several old societies listed, but I'd hesitate to think that it's "equal" in light of all the other societal issues which were still horribly repressive for women.

In ancient Rome, one of the examples, female slaves could be raped with impunity.  In ancient Greece male homosexuality was accepted but lesbians were most likely not thought to exist (they didn't seem to be acknowledged in their works).  I don't have direct sources to cite, but many readings on this subject about the sample ancient societies indicated that sexual progressiveness was hardly consistent.

Sorry for nitpicking and quoting the text of a denied poster who probably won't have the opportunity to respond soon, but I tend to see on the Internet about people trying to argue "that the old days weren't so bad until those assholes came along," or taking one aspect of forward-thinking and assuming that it applies more broadly than it really does.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 09:23:41 PM by Skynet »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #129 on: November 24, 2014, 09:39:02 PM »
In ancient Rome, one of the examples, female slaves could be raped with impunity.  In ancient Greece male homosexuality was accepted but lesbians were most likely not thought to exist (they didn't seem to be acknowledged in their works).  I don't have direct sources to cite, but many readings on this subject about the sample ancient societies indicated that sexual progressiveness was hardly consistent.

Since we're nitpicking, do you know where the term 'lesbian' comes from?

Offline Skynet

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #130 on: November 24, 2014, 10:51:41 PM »
In the Wikipedia entry for 'Sexuality and community' it mentions that such conduct was considered "disgraceful for a female."

So I was wrong on the count of not believing they exist, but it still does not paint a pretty picture: the ancient Greeks were homophobes when it came to lesbians.  Not just that, but their sources on male sexuality are very common in comparison to women's desires; how much of it is due to loss of cultural knowledge, biased historians, and the prejudices of the Greeks at the time I do not know, but is probably a combination of all three.

Anyway, I'm sorry if I derailed this thread.  I'll probably start up a new thread if folk want to continue this course other than PM.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 11:04:13 PM by Skynet »

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #131 on: November 26, 2014, 01:31:41 PM »
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Offline Ephiral

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #132 on: November 26, 2014, 01:38:44 PM »
And He-Man has totally been a traditional centerpiece of a masculine childhood for generations, and not a relatively short-lived 80s thing that occasionally sees some nostalgia value pointed at it. This is what makes those two equivalent.

EDIT: I'm leaving aside matters of active vs passive characterization, power fantasy vs trophy, etc because seriously one of these has way more cultural impact than the other so of course it's going to get way more attention. The fact that you had to go to something that gets as little space in popular culture as He-Man? It says a lot.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 01:43:25 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Kythia

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #133 on: November 26, 2014, 01:59:36 PM »
Also, I'm not sure what point you think you've made. I've never heard of he-man (which ties in with Ephiral's comment) but looking at the image it certainly does look like a vaguely unhealthy role model. The sole non idiotic thing i can think of is that you're pointing out that men have unrealistic expectations foisted on them by the media as well. And yes. Yes you do. You've made the point in a really bad way, giving the benefit of the doubt, but its a fair point.

If that wasn't what you were trying to say then for future reference, more people will understand your message if you use actual words.

Offline Beorning

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #134 on: November 26, 2014, 02:02:03 PM »
Out of curiosity, on what grounds do you believe Barbie to a "trophy" and He-Man to be a "power fantasy"?

I'm not an expert on Barbie, but couldn't she be seen as a sort of "power fantasy" for women? After all, Barbie in her various incarnations is beautiful and rich...

Not trying to argue, just thinking out loud.

I've never heard of he-man

 :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o Really???

Seriously, I've always assumed that everyone knows who He-Man is... But I'm an 80s child, of course.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #135 on: November 26, 2014, 02:11:28 PM »
Out of curiosity, on what grounds do you believe Barbie to a "trophy" and He-Man to be a "power fantasy"?

I'm not an expert on Barbie, but couldn't she be seen as a sort of "power fantasy" for women? After all, Barbie in her various incarnations is beautiful and rich...
...and sitting around looking pretty and not really doing anything,in the overwhelming majority of incarnations (and certainly in what pops into people's heads when you say "Barbie". That's not a power fantasy.

Offline Beorning

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #136 on: November 26, 2014, 02:15:46 PM »
...and sitting around looking pretty and not really doing anything,in the overwhelming majority of incarnations (and certainly in what pops into people's heads when you say "Barbie". That's not a power fantasy.

It may be a "social power" fantasy  ;) But yeah, I get what you're saying.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #137 on: November 26, 2014, 02:21:14 PM »
That's actually a very significant issue in male vs female toys and role models, and it tends to be invisible unless you're aware of it (and then you see it everywhere). Fantasies and role models for boys are people of action - they're pretty much always the driving force in their worlds, changing things around them. They are agency incarnate. For girls... well, we're getting more of that, fortunately, but it's still very much the exception.

Offline Beorning

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #138 on: November 26, 2014, 02:27:20 PM »
Oh, I know. I'm not in disagreement that this is an issue...

BTW. Speaking of that, the He-Man franchise was actually a bit progressive here: it gave boys the role-model of He-Man (who was, well, a total he-man), but it also gave the girls the character of Teela!

On the other hand, compare the opening to the He-Man show and to the show about his sister, She-Ra:





Notice something?  ;D

Offline Ephiral

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #139 on: November 26, 2014, 02:54:08 PM »
Yep. This is a good case of the sort of thing I was talking about: He-Man is acting "by the power of Greyskull", "has the power", and is "the most powerful man in the universe". His team are the "Masters of the Universe". She-Ra is defined first and foremost in relation to her male counterpart (TBF, she was introduced later, but it's a very common trend even when this isn't the case, and even when referring to real people), is doing things "for the honour of Greyskull", and has literally no mention of power whatsoever.

And this is in a character who actually is doing things and moving the story.

Offline Beorning

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #140 on: November 26, 2014, 03:04:06 PM »
Well, I was personally referring to the fact that She-Ra's world seems to be much more, well... girly  ;D Cute companions, a unicorn with rainbow wings etc. But yeah, your observations are solid, too (although I'd say that She-Ra gives the impression of being quite powerful, even if she doesn't mention it).

His team are the "Masters of the Universe".

To be fair, I've always assumed that "the Masters of the Universe" refered to *all* powerful characters in this show, both good and bad. That would mean that the Masters included Teela and Evil-Lyn. And even if we assume that the Masters were He-Man's team, then there's Teela again... But yeah, there's two powerful women in a whole show.

She-Ra is defined first and foremost in relation to her male counterpart (TBF, she was introduced later, but it's a very common trend even when this isn't the case, and even when referring to real people)

Out of curiosity: examples for that?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #141 on: November 26, 2014, 03:31:56 PM »
To use an example that's still fresh in my brain: Scientists marry scientists on a fairly regular basis, for fairly obvious reasons. For a long time, it was seen as a conflict of interest for married couples to work together directly... which pretty much inevitably meant that the wife was reduced to low-level work on someone else's team, or getting whatever lab time she could scrounge off the books. Her career was defined in relation to his. Similarly, there's a strong trend of erasure in science and history alike - women's accomplishments are very commonly assigned to the men they were working with, up to and including leaving women out on Nobel prizes for work they spearheaded.

Offline Beorning

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #142 on: November 26, 2014, 03:37:48 PM »
Ah, this. I know it happens (or has happened) and I agree, it's very unjust.

Offline Skynet

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #143 on: November 26, 2014, 03:47:27 PM »
Speaking of Barbie and the downplaying of women scientists, the toy designers made an incredibly terrible attempt at teaching girls that they can be computer designers.

Basically Barbie through her own incompetence spreads a computer virus and gets some male technicians to do all the work.  And then she takes all the credit.

Of course this is not the intent of the writers, but coincidentally it ends up playing into the "women are terrible at computers" trope when the moral of the story was supposed to be the exact opposite.

Offline Shjade

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #144 on: November 27, 2014, 12:14:02 AM »
Long story short:
If you're going to make a comparison of Barbie vs. Male Equivalent, He-Man isn't what you put in that slot.

G.I. Joe is.

If anyone would like to compare Barbie with G.I. Joe for their impact on a generation regarding ideals for sense of self, goals, personhood, etc., I'm all ears.

Offline Kythia

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #145 on: November 27, 2014, 12:21:12 AM »
If anyone would like to compare Barbie with G.I. Joe for their impact on a generation regarding ideals for sense of self, goals, personhood, etc., I'm all ears.

Their impact on an American generation.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #146 on: November 27, 2014, 01:27:53 PM »
And He-Man has totally been a traditional centerpiece of a masculine childhood for generations, and not a relatively short-lived 80s thing that occasionally sees some nostalgia value pointed at it. This is what makes those two equivalent.

EDIT: I'm leaving aside matters of active vs passive characterization, power fantasy vs trophy, etc because seriously one of these has way more cultural impact than the other so of course it's going to get way more attention. The fact that you had to go to something that gets as little space in popular culture as He-Man? It says a lot.
He-Man was... actually quite a popular thing for a long time around here. Loong time. Throught the 80s and into the 90s. Even got a crappy movie adaptation. I only know about Barbie because my sister had one that she introduced as a giant evil... thing with her Ninja Lego Set.

My apologies for coming from a different cultural background and having facts on this one instead of yours. Many many apologies indeed.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #147 on: November 27, 2014, 01:38:29 PM »
He-Man was... actually quite a popular thing for a long time around here. Loong time. Throught the 80s and into the 90s. Even got a crappy movie adaptation. I only know about Barbie because my sister had one that she introduced as a giant evil... thing with her Ninja Lego Set.

My apologies for coming from a different cultural background and having facts on this one instead of yours. Many many apologies indeed.
He-Man had the same impact here - which still doesn't even begin to touch on Barbie's 55 years and counting, entire series of films, cameo appearances in other, wildly popular movies, and billions of dolalrs of revenue from 150 countries.

Seriously, you're comparing an 80s-90s fad, struggling to survive today in comic book form, to this:



So... sorry that you were unaware of it, but seriously one of these things has way more cultural impact than the other. The comparison just doesn't work.

Offline Beorning

Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #148 on: November 27, 2014, 01:48:46 PM »
I'd agree with that. Barbie is definitely bigger than He-Man... I'm pretty surprised that you haven't heard of her, Deamonbane.

Offline Lustful Bride

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Re: An overview of Feminism and it's terrible representation
« Reply #149 on: December 04, 2014, 04:35:26 PM »
More bad representation of Feminism.

Apparently in Australia Target and multiple other stores are removing GTA V from their shelves because it "promotes violence against women." and some big petition was made to remove it.

http://mmgn.com/ps4/news--target-australian-removes-gta-v-from-sale-due

.......*facepalm* I don't like GTA, I don't like any game that really promotes crime and glorifies lawlessness, but at the same time im not gonna make shit up to get it removed. I mean yeah you can go around causing Anarchy but its not like its a "wife beater" simulator.

Ugh, i don't even know what to say.

EDIT: too lazy to find a better article on this. wouldn't even know where to look. :P
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 04:40:44 PM by Lustful Bride »