Interesting day, there seems to be an all out war of feminist ideologies. Interesting, because I do actually have a DtJ number and I’ve had a small debate with Helen Razer, author of Destroying the point, over physiology in the past. That resulted in my writing So what if male and female brains are different?
I’ve been pondering whether to disagree with Helen or not all morning. Jane Gilmore beat me to it in The point of destroying.
I’ve read Helen’s article twice. While I agree with some of her points I don’t agree with others and I do believe again Helen tries to convince us all men and women are all the same. I am convinced part of the problem we have is we refuse to accept we are in fact different. We refuse to utilise the strengths of each gender to the betterment of the human race while ensuring equality of rights. There seems to be this general push for everyone to believe equality means sameness. It doesn’t. I’ve addressed that question before too.
Yes, Helen is partially right when she says “Women are not nicer. Women are not a civilising influence. Women are just as capable of avarice and stupidity as anyone.” However, there are very few female serial killers, which is contradictory. Helen did prove her own point though – she didn’t write a “nice” article! I did find it interesting the number of men retweeting links to Helen’s article. Disproportionately high, I thought. I didn’t do a full mathematical analysis, I’ll leave that to someone like Chrys who is a whiz at such analysis!
A small point about female poverty, before I forget. I learnt this morning (emphasis added):
Prior to British rule, African women could own property and had legal rights. In 1927, British law declared them legal minors, dependent on their spouses.
I think the above is worth noting in light of Jane’s words:
Changing the inequities of male dominance over public life does not change history, but it is a means of changing the world we live in now.
I’ve also been rapped over the knuckles by a DtJ member for daring to suggest women are partly responsible for the salary gap. In other words, damn it, I’m in trouble from both sides. Which I find interesting.
Why do I find this interesting, you may ask? I’m female, I’ve given birth, had sex, been celibate, I’m professionally qualified (and white, so I fit the definition of “privileged white women complaining about privileged white woman things”), I’ve been married, divorced and orphaned. In other words, I’ve had most female experiences. I’m not dead yet, but in time that too will come. As death comes to us all. I sure as hell consider myself a believer in gender equality.
There is nothing to be gained by being divisive. Either we get our act together and work together or we might as well give up the ghost NOW! I suggest many of these women arguing now were not even around when I was fighting in the workplace for my staff to have the right to wear trousers to work! If you were, well, accept the compliment that I think you are younger than you really are.
Why did I buy into this at all? Several reasons. I believe there is a place for the DtJ type action. There is a place for someone to take action TODAY against the Jones characters and the stupid gang rape t-shirts on Amazon. Such day-to-day stuff reinforces sterotypes and needs to be squashed on a daily basis. Helen does the feminist cause no favours by trashing other groups and trivialising their actions. While Helen may not want to participate at that level, that is not reason to denigrate those who do.
There is, as I said above, a need for us to recognise the gender differences and work with them, not against them. Stop trying to pretend we are all the bloody same, we are not!
In summary, I watch this academic discussion about feminism, agreeing with points on each side and disagreeing with other points, yet am left feeling is feminism really only about standing up for those we perceive are not “privileged white women complaining about privileged white women things”. Because, of course, we are all OK, aren’t we, in our white world?
No, we aren’t.
Don’t miss Hoyden about Town‘s article, by Mindy, on this topic!
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Reblogged this on 1,2,3 do.
” Feminine and masculine qualities and ideals are different and can be exhibited by both men and women.” I agree with this comment by Dorothy.
Some men do have a lot of feminine qualities and some women have a lot of masculine qualities. We are not all the same and this is how it is. Why should a woman with predominant feminine qualities have to act as though she had an immense amount of masculine qualities? My ideal is that I should be respected by men as well as women and not be downgraded. I think many women as well as men would have similar ideals.
If men keep swearing in front of a girl, I cannot see this in any way as liberating. I think men who show respect to women aren’t likely to rape women. Why aren’t boys these days taught to show respect to girls? And why are girls eager to be treated like dirt by boys? I think this is were this so called ‘liberation’ of women has gone the totally wrong way.
Sadly, Uta, I think respect is a dying art. It isn’t just a question of respect for girls by boys in my view – it is a question of respect for all by all! Respect for those of a different culture, gender, religion, ethnicity – just respect full stop!
Even respect for those on the same side! I don’t thing one of those articles was respectful at all. How can we expect boys to respect girls if girls can’t even respect each other?
Thanks, Robyn, for this reply. I wonder, what’s the reason for it that respect is a dying art? I wonder what brought this about? And how can it be reversed? I mean, it has to come naturally. People have to be willing to show respect. You can’t force it on them. First of all, I think, people in superior positions ought to act in a way that deserves respect. In my opinion this goes especially for parents too. Parents ought to act in a way that children get the feeling they should show respect to them.
On the positive side, I think Australia overall has come a long way in at least tolerating different cultures, gender, religion, ethnicity! This is why I regard Australia as one of the best countries in the world.
A Twitter contact was, on Friday, slapped by the manager. So I’m not sure we really are getting that daily respect happening in all areas. Quite shocking really. The employee called the police and resigned, as should be.
I did not appreciate Helen Razer’s article. I don’t appreciate most of her stuff. It’s all so black and white in her world. Men and women are not the same, so let’s stop pretending that we are. Feminine and masculine qualities and ideals are different and can be exhibited by both men and women. The older I get, the more gender inequality I see in the world.
Dorothy, do pop over and read this article I just discovered: http://hoydenabouttown.com/20130309.13093/defining-feminism-and-destroying-the-joint/
I think you will like it. I certainly did!
Hey, I disagree with Razer very strongly but I don’t buy into gender essentialism either.
If you want to read something by someone who writes equally well and is funny but has actually done actual scientific work on this, ahem, try Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender. (No, she doesn’t mean gender itself is a delusion, but the artificial behaviours assigned to each gender often are, as is the pseudoscience frequently employed to police it.)
Just wanted to throw that into the ring. I’m with Razer in saying that women are equally likely to be incompetent as men, but to me, the difference is that barring Rinehart-type inheritance we’re not allowed to get away with much, while incompetent men in positions of power are legion. Men still get the inside running regardless of competence.
The idea that women would be naturally more empathetic or something may have some weak validity due to the social conditioning we get, but it’s a variant of the Victorian concept of woman as the taming influence and should be allowed to die a natural death.
Hi Helen, thank you for your contribution. I have heard Cordelia’s name around the traps, but as you have probably noticed, I’ve been a bit on the busy side lately and my reading habits have lapsed terribly! I have a list of books on my “To Read” list and will and that one to it.
I’m not into subscribing to artificial behaviours, but if you glanced at my other articles, you will see I do subscribe to the theories that men and women are different and instead of trying to ignore those basic biological differences (although happy for a man to get pregnant instead of me anytime!) we learn to celebrate them and use them to our advantage. I fail to see how that precludes equality. But then, I am one of these “break the rules” yellow thinkers: we tend to not worry too much about fine detail. 😀 For example, the empathetic (or something) is in my view more likely to be chemically driven than social conditioning (although there has been a hell of a lot of that), caeteris paribus.
In my view, we somehow think being different will bee seen as being weaker and I don’t buy that at all. I think that is where we sell ourselves short.
Agree with you re the incompetent men in positions of power are legion. *sigh* There are couple right now who desire to be in power and heaven help us all if they ever get there. 😥
Hear, hear! Well said. There is constructive debate towards achieving a common goal (equality) and then there is snarky condescension. Such a shame that only 24 hours after celebrating IWD I can see why some men and women are reluctant to enter the debate at all in fear they ‘get it wrong’.
Well said to you, too, Lisa. Are we in it to win, or not? I’ve fought this crap since before many readers were even born. Doesn’t make me right, but makes me very experienced.
Not to mention my own personal battle which I am sure would not have been the same had I been a man.
Thank you Linda! I’ve fixed the typos now I think! I need a sub-ed! 😆