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Failed Utopia #4-2

"Top hits appear to be David Boreanaz,"

Eliezer is a Buffy fan.

Noir, I've been finding it pathologically difficult to pull away from the discussion, honestly. I feel like, if I'm not clear enough about ((waves hands)) various things, I'm making feminism look bad, and that's a horrible thought. It's also punching all my "if I can just be nice enough and reasonable enough and explain enough daddy won't hate me" buttons.

Why, gentle readers might ask, am I blurting this out in public like a silly emotional women? Because, dudes (and I'm talking to the dudes right now, darn straight), part of what makes this shit so hard is that, when you're a woman, there's more to it than an analytical exploration of arguments about sex and gender. The political is the personal. When somebody raises the ugly head of sex stereotypes, my logic and my reason are offended, but the rest of me is flinching back from the endless, historical and ongoing carnival of ugly, cruel things that that sort of thinking is intimately linked with in women's experience.

Okay. Having blown any credibility I might have, I will now attempt to retire from this exchange with two points: First, I don't represent all feminists, I only represent myself, and I'd appreciate it if Michael Vasser and his ilk never, ever, ever again uses my name as a way to shame other women into avoiding the label feminist. It's wrongwrongwrong and cruel and you were being a truly horrid person when you did that. Second, Vladimir Slepnev and anyone who wishes to take after him can bloody well come up with a substantive critique of what I've said. Dismissing it as "mindfuckery" is ignorant, dismissive, and cheap.

Phil Goetz, the characterization you've made of me gives me the disturbing impression of looking at a reflection of myself in a fun house mirror. It's very distorted. I certainly didn't put the implication of any of that into my words deliberately; I have only to wonder if I communicated so very badly, or if perhaps the fault is partly yours for seeing a raving man hater where there is none.

((shrug)) Badly said or not, I doubt I could do better by trying again, so I'll let my words stand for themselves, and hope that your interpretation isn't the dominant one they receive, since what you got out of them wasn't put there at all.

Michael Vassar, Women still don't receive equal pay for equal work. In the case of Ms. Ledbetter, a woman appealed to the law after receiving wage discrimination for years and the Supreme Court of the land used a loophole to overturn the decision of a lower court which had awarded her damages. Wage discrimination and the constant struggle to reduce women's reproductive rights are both areas where there's still a pretty blatant fight going on to secure and hold equal rights under the law for women living in the United States.

It's not just men in Muslim countries that don't treat women equally under the law. And, in truth, the behavior of people in another part of the world never excuses one's own behavior in one's own country.

If you'd actually read anything I've linked to, you'd see that I'm not just randomly disapproving of anything I dislike; I'm approaching things from a certain critical perspective and applying my analysis as well as I can, though I am sure that I have made mistakes, since I'm by no means an expert.

rfriel, I'm glad that we can agree on this point.

Ithiliana (the commenter I believe you're referring to?) talked to you about how there are many feminisms during that discussion, I believe? That being the case, I think you might want to interpret what she said in light of that. I won't go further into guessing or explaining her motivations, since it's not my place to speak for anyone else.

I've been careful to mention several times that the particular orientation of feminism which appeals to me is intersectional feminism, and that that is obviously not the only approach around, despite my obviously finding it the most effective personally.

michael vassar, it's deeply inaccurate to use any one type of feminism or any one voice to characterize an enormous variety of opinion and shame someone about using the label.

The most basic definition of "feminist" is a person who believes in equal rights for men and women. I think that, despite the behavior of any one individual, that is an aim that anyone could be proud of. Everything beyond that is a distinctive variation and shouldn't be used to characterize the whole.

Cyan, yeah. That was where the miscommunication came in. Thank you for untangling that.

Eliezer, I don't see your perspective as a product of sex difference, I see it as a product of male privilege. The thing about privilege is that the primary privilege of any privileged group is to be unaware that they're enjoying privilege. I can go to the store and buy a cellphone from Verizon Wireless and never know that my new phone has coltan in it that's been mined very cheaply due to the instability in the Congo region and that the same instability which has afforded Verizon Wireless a fantastic deal and me by new gadget has also led to the wide spread multilation and rape of women there. My white privilege and the privilege I get from living in a more developed part of the world lets me enjoy benefits reaped from harm to other people and never even think about the harm, never bother my precious head.

I don't suppose you or Robin are fundamentally less than me for not seeing the things I see; I'm not saying you have eyes that cannot see, I'm supposing you've been cocooned in a snug little comfortable shell of male privilege so that, despite having fine eyes, there's something between you and the world other people experience in this area. Just like there's something between my eyes and the world as other people experience it.

I think that, from the beginning, if you at the blog had asked: hey, women readers, how are you doing? Are you sitting comfortably? Are there any areas where we could make you feel more welcome here? Rather than suggesting reasons why women obviously aren't interested, that would have been cool.

Aside from everything else, showing that you value you people starts with being willing to listen instead of silence with a neat little explanation.

In fact, as someone who benefits from privilege, the kindest thing you can probably do is open a forum for listening, instead of making post after post wherein white men hold forth about gender and race.

Oh, hell. Left my italics tag open. There. Closed. Apologies for triple-posting, I realize it's a violation of the site's rules. Mea cupla.

*for not fitting nicely, rather

Frank, I've heard it said that there could be at least 6 genders, if people weren't arbitrarily silenced or excluded for fitting nicely in the dual gender boxes like good little girls and boys. I don't see why a broader set of options would be a negative thing: whatever is human should not be foreign to us; we shouldn't erase people from existence who don't fit neatly into our categories; people are more important than categories.

Anyway. The sex/gender division isn't the be all end all of gender discussion, but it's a pretty fundamental point that has to be got across before the effects we observe can be understood more clearly. It's one of the stepping stones to seeing the territory as it is, instead of the map.

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