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.

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