Girl Talk.

January 7, 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzQ-n4RLMC4

The thing is, boys, it’s not about you.

I am going to say this once, and once only; and then it’s going to be dealt with for the purpose of this blog, for the purpose of anything else I might write for some time to come, and, hopefully, for the purpose of some other people’s conversations in some other places, too.

Feminism, yeah? The women’s movement? The proverbial “F” word?  Wanna know something really important about it? IT IS NOT ABOUT MEN. Okay, fine; it’s about men, in as much as it’s about social power relations, and men are part of society, and according to many different ways of slicing the society pie, they’re a part of society with MORE power than women or people of other genders. Particularly people of other genders, I would argue, but let’s keep that one for another day.

In her version of “Which Side Are You On”, the mighty and marvellous Ani Di Franco sings, “Feminism’s not about women”. She’s making the same point I do above, I think, about the fact that really we’re talking about social dynamics and the need to change them, and the need to have everybody involved in order to change them, and the fact that every man’s death diminishes me as I am involved in mankind, and an injury to one is an injury to all, and so on and so forth.

But actually, practically, feminism IS about women*. It’s about how we experience things; it’s particularly about how we experience inequality, but that isn’t the end of it. Because “the women’s movement”, which is one of the least coherent, most plural movements I’ve encountered, is or should be a progressive force for change. So it’s not just about when we experience inequality; it’s also about when good things happen to us, how we live and how we would like to live, what we love and what we would like to do differently in the future.

It’s about making things more equal, but it’s not about making women be more like men. I always express disinterest in the boardroom pay-gap – perhaps I have expressed this too loudly on occasion, but I don’t feel much like apologising for that – because I have a profound disinterest in, and antipathy toward, boardrooms in general. I think big business and its boardrooms are part of the problem. And I think they’re part of the gender problem not just because they don’t pay women as much as men or let women get to the highest ranks as frequently, but also because they espouse a particular, masculine, way of comporting oneself in order to get ahead.

Whilst I think that we need to change conditioned behaviours in order to make progress, I don’t think the way towards the kind of equality that I want to see is to condition everyone to take on a flinty CityBoy persona, regardless of gender. I think that all expected, and accepted, behaviours need to change – so as women, we ought to have the opportunity to imagine the kind of space in which we might feel equal, and start to set up processes that help us on the road to that equality.

And actually, we’re the only ones living our lives; women are the only people who can say what would make them feel better or worse. It is simply impossible to know that without being female.
Which is why, men can’t be leading decision makers in the women’s movement.  Understanding something intellectually and being empathetic and considerate is brilliant and necessary, but it is totally different to experiencing something first-hand, from the frustration of being constantly overlooked for promotion in favour of male colleagues, to the physical and emotional pain of violence from people who think trans women aren’t really women, so it’s okay to hit them.

The men who are our allies in this understand all that. Feminist, or pro-feminist, men (I more or less think that distinction is semantics: discuss), do not feel maligned by this. You’re doing great, keep being great, spread the word! Love, thanks and solidarity! The reason that I’m writing this and the reason I want to stress that really, feminism is NOT ABOUT MEN, is because I never, ever again want to have one of the following conversations:

“Feminism’s all good up to a point, but some people take it too far, and it’s not about equality anymore.” Really? Who does this? WHO? I know that female supremacists exist, but I am not convinced I have ever met one – and I’ve met like 95,000 different kinds of feminists, even some with whom I agree about nearly everything! Why do people still say this SO OFTEN?

“I don’t think you can achieve equality by excluding men.” Sorry, what? Who’s excluding whom, and from what? By saying men can’t lead this PARTICULAR charge, poor chaps, we’re not excluding them from anything. We’re building something more inclusive, something that will be inclusive of EVERYBODY. Women-only spaces, yeah? They’re not secret covens for plotting the downfall of all men. They’re spaces for strategising and reflecting, and practising new ways of doing things, and sharing experiences, THE BETTER TO BUILD SOMETHING MORE INCLUSIVE. Is that clear?

“Don’t feminists, like, hate men?” No. No, they don’t. This is stupid. Go away.

“As socialists/ liberals/ anarchists/ probably conservatives, it’s a while since I asked one, we are already fighting for gender equality as an inherent part of our political ideology. We do this collaboratively, we don’t need to separate men and women to do so.” OH REALLY IS THAT WHY THERE IS SUCH BLISSFUL GENDER PARITY AND SUCH A PLURAL APPROACH TO GENDER IN THE HISTORY OF ALL YOUR MOVEMENTS, THEN?

There’s one thing I’d really like to happen this year. I want to start a conversation with somebody new, about feminism and the women’s movement. Someone interested, but not “active” per se. And I want the conversation to be about WOMEN, not men.

*When I talk about women, I absolutely always mean anyone who self-defines as such. Comments disagreeing with this will be considered trolls, trolls will not be fed.

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4 Responses to “Girl Talk.”

  1. boba Says:

    Haha, how do you want to do that? Feminism is NOT about women. It is AGAINST men. Feminists has never wanted to stop exploitative prostitution for example. They just want female pimps, lol :) You are so naive.


    • Hi, Boba – What you’re referring too re. sex work is actually a very complex debate; what are your sources? And what makes you think that all feminists take one line? One of the things I’ve tried most clearly to stress in the above post is that there are many, many different kinds of feminism. Some of them I totally disagree with; more I agree with up to a point. I don’t really understand how your point suggests that feminism is “against men” anyway, and I would ask you to avoid making personal attacks in your replies in future.

      • boba Says:

        I appreciate your wish to break the vicious circle of ideological feminism, and when I implied that you are naive by asking about its degree, I only referred to this as something that I perceived as a fact and not for name calling.
        About the other, actual part of my comment you can replace exploitative prostitution by just exploitative and the pimp by any kind of oppressor, economic, emotional, intellectual, educational, entertainment, anything. (and this is what I call feminist, the thing that is the most currently and relevantly represented by the word) You don’t need to read scientific journals to see evidence of that, the media and public life as a whole is teeming with this zeitgeist, just look at the way women let themselves controlled by the feminist’s very ideas themselves, they did not make one single step closer to choose independently, simply swapping the so called “patriarchist” behavior code with feminist dictated ones, just means they are really good in doing what are are being told to. For a concrete example about how female public figures behave and dominate other females exactly the same way as male oppressors, (which phenomena is by no means unique, this is readily accepted and mainstream) just look at the female interns of Kelly Cutrone, are their exploitation is morally acceptable because a female perpetrates it? Its exploitation all the same, yet it is even praised as a great achievements of women when a female like K.C. gets what she wants. Yeah right, she gets it, ideological feminist leaders get it, the “liberal” media gets it, the women’s fashion and cosmetics industry gets it, but what do women get really? Just another bunch of psychopaths controlling them. This is by no means about women, this plain and simple megalomania, ideological control, propaganda, marketing/economic control culminated in a well evolved and co-independent unbreakable mesh of invisible cultural hegemony for keeping the easily targetable marketing segments well defined and the people’s ability to think for only themselves maximized and consequently for each other (like for the whole other half (gender) of our world) minimized. And what is the prime means of the propaganda machine of any pointless self justified survivalist controlling structure to define what the ever fleeting sense of the word “us” means? The absolutely proven most sure and most easy way is defining what the “them”, the enemy means. That is why I said feminism (the actual and in effect relevant) is not about women, or encouraging women to choose whatever they want, whether this is the individual enjoyment of playing dominant or submissive, or its alternation. This is about creating two dominant groups who will never think about themselves as “us” as a whole, they will be always forced to be “us” vs. “them”. As you see testosterone will give you enough males (and some females) to provide a steady pool of “them”, the “us” needs a bit of brainwashing for a matching conscription power to create sufficient base for the game. This is nothing but capitalism plain and simple.
        I admit at the beginning feminism in the capitalist west was important, but today it is nothing but a pumped up marketing tool and means of power for a small percent but very influential hurt women with angst (there are also vested gay men interest in this, and these men are incredibly influential in the published media, papers, films etc.))
        I can see objectively and tell this, because I’m from an ex-socialist country where women had equal rights since the end of WWII and we never needed any form of feminism, like the capitalist west did, as women and men had always been in just a polite and you could say equally noble relation, but as per individual basis any kind and style of relationships could flourish privately, (not just the politically correct ones, as in capitalism the extreme perverted patterns are the RARE exceptions to the influential rule, not the rule, and exactly that is why they become so extreme, to rebel against the influence, you see no control either fem or pat leads to status quo and level playfield) because our motto was “Everything is healthy sex that happens consensually.” (with the implied condition of that everything does not hurt you on the long term, lol) and by that I mean to agree needs, desires, styles etc. that are not planted by either feminism or “patriarchism”, but by your own and unique couple dynamics.
        Lets enjoy our capitalism with brainwashed, gray and dead boring masses divided by blue and red (not just politics, all the above mentioned fem and pat planted needs etc) and sprinkled with extreme freaks, and extreme “market fundamentalists” (whom latter two are constantly being put on pedestal by the media, any publicity is good publicity for them), pulling the masses in the name of the God “Plain Consumerism”. I’m sad for US.

      • boba Says:

        PLEASE READ THIS ONE! (I have rephrased and extended a few things, as I think it wasn’t clear sometimes what I was talking about)

        You can replace exploitative prostitution by just exploitative and the pimp by any kind of oppressor, economic, emotional, intellectual, educational, entertainment, anything. (And this is what I call feminist, the thing that is the most currently and relevantly represented by the word in today’s world) You don’t need to read scientific journals to see evidence of that, the media and public life as a whole is teeming with this zeitgeist, just look at the way women let themselves controlled by the feminist’s very ideas themselves, they did not make one single step closer to choose independently, simply swapping the so called “patriarchist” behavior code with feminist dictated ones, just means they are really good in doing what are are being told to. For a concrete example about how females let themselves dominated by oppressing female public figures, (which phenomena is by no means unique, this is readily accepted and mainstream) just look at the female interns of Kelly Cutrone, are their exploitation is morally acceptable because a female perpetrates it? Its exploitation all the same, yet it is even praised as a great achievement of women when a female like K.C. gets what she wants. Yeah right, she gets it what she wants, ideological feminist leaders get what they want, the “liberal” media get what they want, the women’s fashion and cosmetics industry get what they want, but what do women really get? Just another bunch of psychopaths controlling them. This is by no means about women, today’s feminism mass influence in reality is part of a plain and simple megalomania, ideological control, propaganda, marketing/economic control culminated in a well evolved and co-independent unbreakable mesh of cultural hegemony for keeping the easily targetable marketing segments (male/female) well defined and the people’s ability to think for ONLY themselves maximized and consequently to think for each other (like for the whole other half (regardless of which gender) of our world) minimized. And what is the prime means of the propaganda machine of any pointless self justified survivalist controlling structure to define what the ever fleeting sense of the word “us” (women) means? The absolutely proven most sure and most easy way is defining what the “them” (men), the enemy means.
        That is why I said feminism (the one that is in effect displayed by today’s world – this is important, because this is what current children grow up) is not about women, or encouraging women to choose whatever they want, like individual enjoyment of playing dominant or submissive, or its alternation. This is about creating the ideologically pulling intellectual/financial representatives of two very dominant groups whom mass “followers” will never think about themselves as “US” as a whole, they will be always forced to be “us” vs. “them”. As you see testosterone in a society without noble or idealist or even spiritual traditions will give you just enough males to provide a steady pool of extremely dominant “them” (and some females to “us”), but the “us” needs a bit of brainwashing for a matching conscription power to create sufficient base for the game. This is nothing but capitalism plain and simple.
        I admit at the beginning feminism in the capitalist west was important, but today it is nothing but a pumped up marketing tool and means of power for a small percent but very influential hurt women with angst (there are also (in the context of western capitalist culture) vested gay men interest in this, and these men are incredibly influential in the published media, papers, films etc.))
        I can see objectively and tell this, because I’m from an ex-socialist country where women had equal rights since the end of WWII and we never needed any form of feminism, like the capitalist west did, as women and men had always been in just a polite and you can say equally noble relation, but as per individual basis any kind and style of relationships could flourish privately, (not just the politically correct ones as in capitalism. in capitalism the extreme perverted patterns are exceptions that emerge to oppose the influential rule, and exactly that is why they become so extreme, to rebel against the conservative influence, you see no control whether it be fem or pat will lead to status quo and level playfield) Because our motto was “Everything sex related is healthy sex that happens consensually.” (with the implied condition of that thing does not hurt you on the long term, lol) and by that I mean to agree needs, desires, styles etc. that are not planted by either feminism or “patriarchism”, but by your own and unique couple dynamics.
        Lets enjoy our capitalism with brainwashed, gray and dead boring masses divided by blue and red (not just divided by politics, divided by all the above mentioned fem and pat planted needs, codes, rights etc)
        sprinkled with extreme freaks, and extreme “market fundamentalists” (whom latter two are constantly being put on pedestal by the media, as any publicity is good publicity for them), pulling the masses in the name of the God “Plain Consumerism”. I’m sad for “Us” as a whole.


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