Better Feminism 2

I’m not entirely happy with what I wrote yesterday and not just because I never spell checked it.

I’m not happy with it because I feel that it’s perpuation of the divide. But, I am open to dicussion about the pros and cons of porn, prostitution, abortion, and feminist dress code.

Wendy McElory has a ton of interesting articles on Individual Feminism and feminism and pornography. I will spend much of day reading these articles. I skimmed them over and it’s a lot to digest. And I’m insanely tired after staying up much too late reading a great Loretta Chase novel, Mr. Impossible.

Perhaps my not wanting to divide women comes from my fear of rocking the boat. But I don’t think so.

I just can’t support illogical statements. Statements that threaten my personal freedom. Statements that I cannot assimilate into my beliefs.

I don’t want to be labeling men the doers as opressers of women anymore than I want to be labeled as having PMS every time I’m emotional.

I hate to be the one to say it, but: Equality cannot succeed with women power alone. (Just as buying more “green” isn’t going to save the environment). Men are roughly half the world and right now they hold the majority of the power.

Yes, I am struggling with my views today. I’d like to have a good old debate with someone on the other side about their views vs. mine. But few people seem to be pro-debate. It’s MY WAY or the highway seems to be the norm. And I’m not talking bullying, insults or the rest. A good old fashioned debate.

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Filed under culture, emotions, power, questions, quote, sex positive

2 responses to “Better Feminism 2

  1. Seth A. Bishop

    I stumbled across you blog and figured I’d comment. I’d debate with you, but I think we’d end up agreeing with one another through 90% of it, which wouldn’t really be a debate.

    A do have a couple thoughts to contribute, however.

    On the topic of pornography, I have mixed feelings. First, while I consume pornography, I also acknowledge that the vast majority of it is extremely fucked up; it reinforces gender roles and the inequality of attention between men and women. A few months ago I was on this kick, trying to identify non-exploitive pornography, and my search came up fairly dry. The only thing I found that could be labeled as ‘pornographic’ and non-exploitive was erotic fiction (which depends heavily on the writer as far as what it brings to the table and even then is often inconsistent in its presentation of intimate relationships). There were other things I found that could be called erotic, but weren’t really pornography in the traditional sense of the word.

    Pornography is particularly troublesome because it simultaneously mirrors gender inequalities in society while also being a socializing media that many young people consume for pleasure as well as (sadly) information. I think it’s important that, if one is going to consume pornography, one critiques it and acknowledges how it is reinforcing certain pernicious behaviors by presenting them as normal and acceptable.

    As far as sex work, I agree that it should be a choice, but in order for it to be a choice we need to overhaul the society it operates within. When sex overlaps with money, gender inequalities overlap with class inequalities, which then begs the question of whether the sex worker is doing it because the money is great, or whether s/he truly enjoys it as a profession. One must also contend with numerical equality between professions, for if sex work remains predominantly a woman’s domain, even if the women truly want to do it, a gender inequality remains (for the attention-giving profession remains the work of women). This is a messy problem, and there is no clear action which would solve it. The most important first step would likely be providing alternatives that can improve one’s economic position without having to engage in such activities (education, better employment opportunities, and all the other traditional answers that, while good suggestions, are probably too often presented as the answer to social problems)

    Lastly, regarding blame, I agree that the rejection of patriarchy too often employs language that demonizes men. This bothers me a lot, actually, for it happens when one becomes linguistically lazy and stops qualifying statements, instead employing generalizations. Not only do I find such statements lazy, I find them totally unproductive for multiple reasons. First, like you said, it promotes a division that, if one hopes to socially construct alternate conditions, isn’t viable. Second, it accomplishes nothing. Assigning blame to such a massive group (based on an identity that the individual is forced to interpellate by society) manufactures an Other that may foster solidarity among women, but does not encourage perpetrators of patriarchy to reform.

    Hannah Arendt, regarding collective guilt and race, said that “where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.” The same, I believe, is true in the context of collective guilt and gender inequalities. We do need to call people on their bullshit, but we also need to do so in a more refined (and respectful) manner. If or when I do or say something that reinforces inequality, I want someone to call me on it, so long as they do so respectfully. I want someone to do that because reinforcing inequalities is not my intent. Specific, individual examples of problems accomplishes more than pointing an angry, accusing finger at an entire group of people. Couple the above tactic with community engagement, and we’ll be on our way to constructing something better.

    I liked your posts by the way. You could probably tell by how long my comment is, though, so I suppose it didn’t need to be said.

  2. asrais

    Lots of food for thought in there for me.

    If my brain were working properly I’d respond to everything you said, but I’m sadly dissociated again.

    Community communication is the first step to engagment and construction.

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