Thursday, November 24, 2011

Conclusions on Feminism Part 2

"Feminism is the radical notion that women are adults."

The problem in America is that we treat women like they are part child, part adult. 
That's really, really it. 
Too many Americans see women as "Adults Lite" or "Children Plus" and it is reflected in the way we employ them, use them in our armies, punish them when they commit crimes and mourn when they are abused. 

As a society, we abhor men who sexually abuse young girls and boys. We somehow see women who do the same thing as slightly less culpable.  I think this is similar to the way that we see less harm in a 19-year-old man having "consensual" sex with his 17-year old girlfriend than we do a 40-year-old man and a "consenting" 17-year-old girl.

Why do we do this? Sex with an under-age child is harmful to them no matter the age of the perpetrator, right? Not exactly. We think of that 19-year-old man as more of a child than the 40-year-old. And we certainly don't think a crime has necessarily been committed when 14-year-olds have consensual sex with each other, right?

Well, what's more child-like than a 19-year-old man? A 19-year-old woman. That's part of the reason why society doesn't care as much when an older woman has sex with an underage boy.

You could even make the case for eye makeup that embiggens their eyes and hairless bodies as the ideal vision of female beauty being tied to the childization of women.
(Yes, I just used two words that aren't words in one sentence. But you knew what I meant, didn't you? That's right. Deal with it.)

Hell, we even have a federal organization named "Women, Infants & Children."

I think this ties into one of the biggest problems facing Feminism today. The effort that has been put into getting women the right to vote and into the workplace has been crucial for women to physically, financially and legally "leave the nest" of child-like status when they were passed from parents to husband for custodial care hundreds of years ago.

But now, women are permitted the benefits of adulthood without many of the societal expectations and responsibilities we expect of adult men. 

Women are still:
Able to avoid parental responsibilities via abortion, adoption or abandonment
Able to sidestep military drafts via exclusion from selective service
Able to sidestep career "duties" via relative ease of being a housewife
Able to sidestep or mitigate criminal sentences 

Don't get me wrong: women being excluded from voting and employment opportunities are not the only ways that women have been and still are harmed by this mentality. Those were just the most egregious and systematic/institutionalized issues. Women still have many issues to deal with today - just add Jezebel to your daily reading and you'll be bombarded with (mostly) valid issues.

That said, there are certain benefits to being a woman today in the same way that there are things that are pretty awesome about being a kid (assuming you're not in an abusive home.) I think Feminists think that these "benefits" to being a woman either A) aren't really benefits at all or B) think they'll go away on their own as Feminism grows in popularity. 

It is especially apparent when feminists stand up for women accused of crimes. They may outright defend them or may look for reasons (systematic/gendered or otherwise) to excuse their behavior. This is blatant childization of women. We do the same thing when a child is accused of a horrific crime - "What kind of home did they grow up in? Were they being abused? Were there drugs involved?" We excuse and mitigate the consequences of the behavior of juveniles because they are less developed than adults. 

When you do it with women, you're saying the same thing. You're saying they're less culpable for their actions because they are "less developed." It's bullshit and I've only seen a few feminists speak up about this.

And that's why I butt heads with Feminists. Women have been committing crimes for the entire length of humanity because people commit crimes. Men, women and children, too. We are all human beings - animals with great intelligence, capability for good and evil acts and an incredible knack for adapting to our environments. 

It makes sense for women to who are enjoying the recently-earned benefits of full adulthood to fail to recognize the increased responsibilities that come with that position. It's called a "catch." And right now, men are the ones primarily being caught by it.

To those of us wishing to change our environment - socially or politically - we'd best not forget the animals we're dealing with: Apes that want to get the most reward for the least effort. It's in our programming.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Conclusions on Feminism Part 1

I said it earlier in the year, and I knew it would happen.
I reserve my space here on the somewhat anonymous internet to talk about things I feel confidently enough to espouse as the Real Me. This also ties into the name of this blog and me - "Easily Enthused." Because when I discover a topic or issue that I don't feel that I've "got a handle on," I very quickly get enthusiastic about it, passionately arguing and discovering until I feel I've reached a resting place, metaphorically speaking.
I knew this day would come. I've experienced it a few times before in my life.
The first was when I left religion and asked myself "Without God, how do I know what is 'good?'"

The answer eventually came in the philosophy of Universal Utilitarian Humanist principles. The long story short was that a good action is one that benefits the most people.
(Aside: The stumbling block is "then why not kill one person and distribute his organs to multiple people who need new organs" and the answer is "because although a few people would benefit from his organs, many more people would be harmed by the knowledge that they live in a world where one innocent person can be killed for their organs.")

The next question was "How can a moral criminal defense attorney defend people he/she knows is factually guilty?"
The answer came in two parts: A) no one has perfect knowledge of truth and B) our criminal justice system relies on the government 'behaving itself' when it comes to depriving a citizen of their liberty. Without someone to hold Government to task, more injustices are sure to come.

It was these two questions I sought answers to that brought me to modern-day feminism and gender in/equality issues. A handful of my atheism and law-related blogs ended up mentioning feminism over the course of a few months and I delved deeper into my own personal experiences and expectations of feminism as it relates to society.

I came into the topic with essentially one "sacred concept." This concept would never change, and most people I cared to discuss these things with should share this principle.

It was:
"Your gender or the gender assigned to you at birth should have no bearing on the treatment you receive, the expectations people have of you, or your value as a human being."

I thought that made me a feminist. Unfortunately, I found that I tended to disagree with a lot of other feminists (online, mind you) on many of the details. I was repeatedly told that I was not a feminist.

So what am I? What do I really believe? This blog chronicled this period of self-discovery.

I think I've come to my conclusion.

It's been said that "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." 

When I first heard this phrase a few years ago, it angered me. I thought it was as ridiculous - if you're not "people" then what are you? An animal? Pshht. Nobody thinks that. 

I still think the statement, as it is currently worded would be useful in the Middle East and some other countries. Gender equality is a sliding scale, after all.

But in North America, I still think the phrase is relevant - sort of. I think it needs one small change.

Edit: I realized that I really need to flesh this out more and add a few more examples that I had. Right now, I'm going to break this into maybe a two- or three-part post so I can collect my thoughts more clearly and they will better stand up to the criticisms that I expect to come. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Read This

I'm not publishing this link to inflame, incite or rally anyone.

I think it's important that people on different sides of a debate make sure they listen very, very closely when a person on the "other side" expresses an emotion other than anger.

Here, we have an older radfem who feels hopeless and resigned that the Feminism of today doesn't reflect what she spent most of her life fighting for. It genuinely made me sad - not because I agree with her movement - but because spending your life working for something that doesn't work has to be one of the most crushing realizations a person can have when it comes to social justice.

Here's the link:

If you care what I think, I think that women like her (30+ years ago) had gotten so wrapped up in the inequity of gender that they successfully convinced themselves that something that naturally is pleasurable for many women is actually harmful for them. Maybe they thought that if they inspired enough women to abstain from sex that men would start treating women better - although I doubt they would admit to this "sex strike" technique even if it were true.

Then, things started changing. Year by year, women gained ground in business, government and education. We're getting to the point now where sniffing out gender inequality is more akin to CSI than forest-for-the-trees. It's getting to the point where men, rather than fighting feminism, are holding outstretched hands to it and asking "What about me?"

We're living in a world where increasing numbers of young women who read the great Feminist authors of more than 20 years ago are saying "this doesn't resonate with me and with what it means to be a woman in 2011."

That comment up there is proof. I'm glad her movement is dying, but I'm always sad to see someone fail at a "noble cause."

EDIT: Commenter Tim has pointed out that the comment on Jezebel has been moved to the (LOL) "ohhellno" category. Generally speaking, I am happy that they did this, but I'm also a bit torn by the ability of a feminist space to "hide" it's ass, so to speak.

On the other hand, I wish to do the same thing to the MRA contingent who continually espouse ridiculous attitudes towards women, so I guess I'm being hypocritical. I guess I'm just going to have to be happy that Jezebel realized how unproductive that sentiment is to the Feminist movement. Thanks, girls women ladies people!

DOUBLE EDIT: After reading through the comments, it seems the original commenter is from Germany. I am slightly more concerned for the entire world after reading that, as I thought radical feminism was a product of North America.