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Therealbrighteyes 10-09-2011 06:08 PM

Feminism....
 
Alot has been said here how it is the downfall for the last 40 years, the end of a family unit, the cause of divorce, etc. It seems that much of that has been blamed on feminism, at least from reading around here. So I would like to take the time to explain what the movement was all about and the vast misinterpretation that it is now, in my opinion.

It started with a group of women who wanted equality. Equality in life in that their life meant as much as a mans. They didn't want to be viewed as the "little lady" or less than. They wanted to be valued the same and wanted to be seen as equal for their contributions to society. They didn't hate men, they just didn't devalue themselves anymore. They finally rose up in droves and said enough. They marched, protested and brought about the equal rights amendment, one that not only helped women, but other minorities, both men and women.
Back then, it was about going to their job and having the law behind them when their boss patted them on the a$$ and called them sexretary. Back then, it was about being able to work side by side at a plant knowing that they finally earned the same wages as the guy doing the same work standing next to them. Back then it was about being able to control of their reproductive rights and not forced to have children they didn't want. Back then it was about a woman being accepted to a university because she was just as smart as a man. Back then, it was about a woman having the same rights to owning property as a man.
THAT is what my sisters fought for. That was the intent of the movement. That is why millions marched for years to ensure their daughters had a better life.
That is what feminism was all about. It has been twisted and turned and what "feminism" is about now isn't even close to what the root was. It is some sick amalgam of a great idea and "feminism" now gets the blame.
Case in point. My husband and I were out last night at a very upscale restaurant. I watched as two young women made out with each other in front of their dates. They headed off to the restroom and I followed. I asked "Can I join in?". They looked at me horrified and said "Huh, we are just doing this to turn our boyfriends on. We are modern women....you know, feminists".
My brain nearly exploded and I just smiled at them and said "Oh honey, get a f@cking clue".

AbsolutelyFree 10-09-2011 06:49 PM

Re: Feminism....
 
This thread will have 200 posts by Tuesday morning

AFEH 10-11-2011 04:23 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
I think TAM should have a forum for Feminism. It is massive in Married Life as well as in public life. As for feminism itself, sure it was born of exceedingly good intent. What man now for example could consider women not having the vote. Except of course for those in Saudi Arabia. And it amazes me at times to think my father was born six years before women got the vote in England.

But the original intents of feminism have been bastardised and is used for all forms of bad behaviour and as excuses for not taking personal responsibility.

So let’s see a separate forum for Feminism in TAM where these things can be discussed and those in the know can educate. And hopefully that will have the positive side effect of removing feminism in all its forms from the Men’s Clubhouse because it will be “off topic”. And then the men and women can again work together as a team just like when women got the vote to make the world a better place for both men and women to live in instead of being “at” one another.

Stonewall 10-11-2011 04:54 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
A person should not believe in an "ism", he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the Walrus. I could be the Walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people.

Ferris Bueller

Acorn 10-11-2011 08:26 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
In the 1960s, men vastly outnumbered women in college. Today, the ratio is virtually flipped. I think feminism was a huge boost to evening out the gap and giving women equal standing in college.

I truly want to believe that feminism can be good for society even today, but with the ratios completely reversed now in favor of women and study after study showing that boys really do need some help for various reasons to even this gap out, it is impossible not to notice the complete silence of feminists. Just seems like, as time goes on, it has become less about equality, and more about "let's see what else we can get".

This is of course just one handpicked example and just my opinion. I really do wish there was a gender-neutral version of feminism, though.

okeydokie 10-11-2011 09:36 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
in a million years men will menstruate and give birth

that_girl 10-11-2011 09:38 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
I'm not interested in feminism on the extreme.

I think equality is important in the work force.

That's pretty much where my feminist streak ends.

Feminism took away the things that are special about both sexes. Yes, we are of equal value, but we are different and those differences are what make us amazing and sexy.

that_girl 10-11-2011 09:39 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stonewall (Post 448197)
A person should not believe in an "ism", he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the Walrus. I could be the Walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people.

Ferris Bueller

:smthumbup: Two of my favorites people...well, a person and a character. ;)

COGypsy 10-11-2011 09:47 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
I think that "gender neutral feminism" is a bit of an oxymoron. However, I think that like most other movements, there's a pendulum and we're starting to see another kind of shift. More and more literature is appearing not just about differences in how girls are treated in the classroom, but about how boys need different instructional styles as well. The disparity in enrollment rates for men in higher education overall has been noted and is being researched to create interventions.

At the same time though, with the overall demise of affirmative action policies, I personally see less and less of the "what else can we get" sort of attitude that you mention. If anything, what I find interesting is the trend within the feminist community rejecting the "getting" that has been so predominant as women have worked to gain equality in the legal system, education, workplace and what have you and instead focusing on the legitimacy of choosing the more traditional roles.

Now admittedly, I'm a bit of a policy and theory geek, so I'm loving watching it all, but from a personal standpoint as well, I think that's a wonderful thing. A movement that started out with the goal of making choices available to women has ultimately created a generation of women that are educated and empowered to voice their choice to fill any of the roles that are available to women, in or out of the home and to present really spirited, well-founded discussion on the topic.

As we see a mellowing of the feminist, or at least women's advocacy, soften to accept that women are equal but not exactly like men, I think that what we're going to be seeing more of soon will be the next wave of "masculinism" as it were. It's a predictable cycle through history as one reacts to the other and new gaps and needs are revealed like the ones you mentioned, Acorn. My hope though, and I think that it's slowly happening, is that the trends are slowly beginning to show the appreciation for the differences and strengths of each sex, rather than trying to make a unisex society.

omega 10-11-2011 09:53 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
Quote:

They marched, protested and brought about the equal rights amendment, one that not only helped women, but other minorities, both men and women.
The Equal Rights Amendment was never passed. Men and women do not actually have equal rights under the law in the USA.

Anyway, I'm not a feminist (I believe that to be one, one actually has to put some effort into it: be politically active, for example) but I am very grateful to the feminists of the past for everything they did for themselves and their metaphorical daughters.

I think of feminism as a movement in time - for many western societies, it may be time for a new movement, one that calls for generalized fairness and equality in society - with greater involvement from a variety of groups, not just women. Gay rights may be the next feminism - but I would like to see a general social justice movement that fights against discrimination, poverty, etc.

Of course there are still a number of societies in the world where feminism is desperately needed, and I hope that those women don't give up the fight - not just for basic human rights, but for FULL human rights.

But I'll admit I'm not too clear on the role of feminism in modern marriage. I can easily imagine what people THINK it is, but I'm not convinced that they're correct. I think the double-income family structure (which is not solely a result of feminism, it came from a number of factors) is more responsible for the changes that many would ascribe to 'feminism in marriage.'

that_girl 10-11-2011 09:53 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by COGypsy (Post 448373)
I think that "gender neutral feminism" is a bit of an oxymoron. However, I think that like most other movements, there's a pendulum and we're starting to see another kind of shift. More and more literature is appearing not just about differences in how girls are treated in the classroom, but about how boys need different instructional styles as well. The disparity in enrollment rates for men in higher education overall has been noted and is being researched to create interventions.

As an educator, I work very hard in letting my boys be boys. They are not girls and I do not treat them as such. Ever wonder why teachers always complain about their male students? It's because they expect those boys to behave like girls! This is nonsense. Boys, more than girls, need to move and explore. I teach 5th grade. We do a lot of activity in this room. My boys and girls are engaged and it's very peaceful in here. The "problem" children (boys that other teachers said were "bad") are actually AWESOME kids!! They talk a lot, and move a lot but they are very well behaved and intelligent.

My girls are a bit more mature than my boys (shocker Lollll) and I give equal amount of attention to them in all subjects. They just don't need as much activity as my boys.

People can jump on me all they want about it, but it works and it's true. I've been doing this for 12 years. In this room, my kids learn and they aren't punished for being curious.

bubbly girl 10-11-2011 10:16 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
that girl, you sound like a wonderful, understanding teacher. Raising two boys and a girl, I agree with you about the differences in their needs.

Acorn 10-11-2011 10:29 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by COGypsy (Post 448373)
I think that "gender neutral feminism" is a bit of an oxymoron...As we see a mellowing of the feminist, or at least women's advocacy, soften to accept that women are equal but not exactly like men, I think that what we're going to be seeing more of soon will be the next wave of "masculinism" as it were. It's a predictable cycle through history as one reacts to the other and new gaps and needs are revealed like the ones you mentioned, Acorn. My hope though, and I think that it's slowly happening, is that the trends are slowly beginning to show the appreciation for the differences and strengths of each sex, rather than trying to make a unisex society.

The first definition listed in my dictionary for feminism is "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes", while the second definition is "organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests". The two are wildly different, at least to me, but I can see why it might sound like an oxymoron. :)

I do agree that the pendulum will swing at some point, but personally I'd rather do without feminism and "masculinism" and go for something that was simply based on relative/reasonable equality for both sexes.

And overall, I do think feminism has been more positive than negative. I just don't want to see a rise of the "National Organization of Men", for example, and I don't want there to be a need of masculinism to balance out the actions of feminists just to gain equality. We are all in this together, it's not supposed to be an arms race between men and women to achieve equality in schools (and other issues).

Just my opinion, of course.

that_girl 10-11-2011 11:06 AM

Re: Feminism....
 
I'm much more interested in the equality of sexuality.

IanIronwood 10-11-2011 12:15 PM

Re: Feminism....
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Acorn (Post 448415)
The first definition listed in my dictionary for feminism is "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes", while the second definition is "organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests". The two are wildly different, at least to me, but I can see why it might sound like an oxymoron. :)

You noticed that too? I noted in another post on another thread that feminism was all about equality . . . when it suited the women who were pushing it. When it came to actual gender equality, intellectually speaking they backed off quite a bit, most of them. Political, economic and social equality are great. But the moment that female control over sexuality started to be questioned, it was deemed "a private matter" between couples that didn't warrant further discussion (except for a few brave souls like Camille Paglia) unless the woman in the relationship was at a disadvantage. If the man was at a disadvantage, then that was ok.

Even when the issue is occupational, the feminists are very, very vocal on "equal pay for equal work" and tossing out factoids about how, on average, women make less than men, on average. But when it comes to, say, the most dangerous professions, which are nearly exclusively worked by men, I don't hear anyone from the feminist camp screaming about parity there. For example, true economic equality would imply that an equal number of women should be working in occupations where their chances of getting maimed or killed rise dramatically.

So feminism, since about 1967 or so, has been far more interested in gaining economic and social advantage for women than it has establishing true equality for the sexes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acorn (Post 448415)

I do agree that the pendulum will swing at some point, but personally I'd rather do without feminism and "masculinism" and go for something that was simply based on relative/reasonable equality for both sexes.

The pendulum has already swung. And it's not going to be pretty.

Feminism arose as a result of two major technological factors: the rise of women working in industry (Rosie the Riveter, on) and the availability of reliable and safe birth control, which placed reproduction almost entirely in the hands of the female in our culture. When women completely controlled both their reproductive rights and were able to support themselves without the assistance of men, feminism was a logical and inevitable development. Women didn't need men for security any more, and women didn't have to worry about getting pregnant unless they wanted to. Two important, revolutionary developments.

Only they didn't stop there: with the rise of female empowerment, more women entering higher education and seeking out professional degrees in the 1960s-70s (without having to worry about getting their pretty little butts drafted), the liberalization of divorce laws across the US allowed women to dump their husbands if they were unhappy and move on, without too much fear of either stigma ("the gay divorcee") or financial ruin. By the 80s, there were a significant minority of young women who were entering professional careers and who saw men and children as obstacles to their success. And if they did end up with a husband, it was easy enough to get rid of him if he was an impediment to that.

Which gave us skyrocketing divorce rates, a generation of divorce-scarred children, and a generation of young women with a profound sense of entitlement. In the 80s and 90s, women wanted to make their big pile of cash at the IPO just like men did, and a lot of them did. The number of high-powered female corporate executives is massively larger now than thirty years ago, when there were virtually none. You've come a long way, baby.

BUT . . . their success was not without casualties. Men, in particular. Not only did men see the traditional rules of behavior they had grown up with get tossed out the window by women as "atavistic" and "oppressive" and "chauvinistic" (even when they were not), and then get blindsided by divorce, rejection, and judgement. Unequal custody laws made life for divorced fathers hell, and convinced their sons that marriage was just a bad idea. While the number of sexually-available women was also much higher, the number who were interested in starting a family after college was abysmally low. Why have kids, ruin their bodies, and trash their career over a mere MAN?

And the men in question, we were told consistently that we were responsible for all of the world's ills, the abuses of capitalism, the abuses of the system, the exploitation of women and children, colonialism, you name it, men were the bad guys. There was no way that men could respond in kind, partly because we were pretty shell-shocked by then and partly because we had no clue how to handle the evolving social issues with our traditional masculine ways. Indeed, "masculine" became a kind of code-word for "wrong" or "violent" or "oppressive". Men were encouraged -- urged! -- to give up their alpha-like tendencies and embrace their sensitive, feminine sides which would make men and women finally get along. Or so feminist theory said.

Only it didn't happen that way. Because while women now controlled their reproductive destinies and their own security -- traditionally things that men had been responsible for, particularly security -- they also controlled access to sex. Until about 1995 or so. Sure, a single guy could pick up a single woman pretty easily, but when it came to relationships women still maintained their traditional control of sex within that relationship, and strongly defended it. If a woman, particularly a successful career woman, condescended to marry a man she found acceptable, exercising her prerogatives in the bedroom stood side-by-side with controlling their own finances and their reproductive cycles.

In the 80s, married couples were more or less equal in the eyes of the law and in society, but inside the bedroom women still determined the couple's sex-life and guarded that prerogative jealously. And most men had to swallow whatever pride they had and just accept it because cheating was out of the question (AIDS, herpes) and it was the only game in town. Between that and the denigration of the alpha-male in mainstream culture, men had very, very little recourse save an expensive divorce attorney.

But then around 1995, the Internet happened in a big way, and things shifted once again. Thanks to the growing presence of internet porn and the networking capability that allowed men to flirt with women all over the world, women lost control of the married sex life.

Combined with the 1990's generation's profound fear of marriage, marriage rates were falling perceptively. And within the marriages that did come about, the women could no longer command the erotic attention of their husbands because they were suddenly in competition not just with every pornstar he saw, but with the idea of that clandestine affairs and prostitution were becoming easier and easier to carry out with the internet. Women, particularly feminist, fought back, claiming that internet porn was "exploitative" and "ruined lives" and "disrespected women" -- all perfectly legitimate arguments that could be supported with factoids.

But their real problem wasn't that young women were being "exploited". Their real problem was that they, as wives, had lost the control over the sex life in their marriage, or as perspective wives (or life partners, whatever) they faced an explosion of competition not just from the other girls at the college or job site, but from every other single woman in the world who had an internet connection. They felt entitled not just to higher education and equal protection, but protection from sexual competition for the attention of the men in their lives. So the feminist fought (excuse the expression) "balls out" to get internet porn eliminated, regulated, whatever. And they failed miserably.

Because the men in 1995 were fed up. There were plenty of bright, attractive, ambitious women out there, but if you were 25 in 1995 and a woman, getting married was the last thing on your mind. Getting ahead in your career was the focus, hitting that internet IPO, drinking beer with your workmates and occasionally hooking up, but not marriage. The guys in the 1990s were also so enchanted with the possibilities of internet porn and video games, not to mention supremely gun-shy about matrimony, so why bother? And if you did, and you caught your hubby whackin' on the internet to some bimbo, well, you could kick him to the curb with two phone calls and a visit to your attorney's office.

That's about the time we started hearing "where have all the good men gone?" from women's magazines. And they really meant it this time. Men didn't want to get married anymore. They didn't want to have kids in an uncertain relationship. They certainly didn't want to commit to the average college-educated woman. And the issue of who made more money, which had been a token of pride amongst the feminists of the 1980s-90s, actually made men less likely to commit. Women were puzzled, as they started thinking more and more seriously about children as they aged and enjoyed their success -- why wouldn't a "good man" want a woman who made her own money, could look after herself, and even owned her own home?

And the answer was, to be concise, because men were tired of getting roughed up in a game they didn't understand for mediocre rewards and no promise for improvement. In the 1980s and the 1990s marriage, when it happened, usually happened to effect maximum benefit for the woman and minimum benefit for the man. By 1995 women felt so entitled to having both career and family that they naturally expected it all to happen on schedule. Only they forgot that the men in their lives, the ones who they dated while waiting for "Mr. Right" to arrive, had feelings and resentments and an increasingly objective attitude towards women. Women hadn't given much thought towards men and their interests and concerns. Heck, they barely gave it any thought at all.

But the men . . . the men were beginning to use the internet, compare notes, share their anger and resentment with each other, communicate with each other, and start pushing for their interests the same way feminists pushed for women's interests back in the 1960s and 1970s. Remember the spate of books in the late 80s and early 90s celebrating the "men's movement"? (I sure did -- and I heard it ridiculed by every woman who saw them). Iron John, of course, Fire in the Belly, natch, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, , Why Men Are The Way They Are, The Hazards of Being Male, et. al. Men were getting fed up with the status quo.

Feminists called it a "backlash", but the truth was it was as much an attempt to re-claim a lost sense of control and masculinity as it was an attempt to counter the extreme effects of feminism. If the books were touchy-feely enough and didn't advocate, say, actually getting pissed off at the women who were pissing us off, the feminists even gave some grudging approval (even as they snorted in disgust, "It isn't enough!")

Fifteen years later, the excrement is hitting the fan.

Remember all of those entitled, highly-educated women who got successful careers in the 1990s, sacrificing their husbands (if they had them) and their best child-bearing years of their lives to pursue careers? Well, they all realized that they were almost 40 and had maybe a dozen eggs left, and their chances of being a mother were literally ticking away with every period.

So the last few years has seen a sudden interest of 30-something women with solid careers hitting the electronic dating circuit, taking singles cruises, even placing Craig's List ads to meet someone -- anyone with sperm, at this point -- because while they were making embarrassing piles of cash and not dating the men who they were not dating were now far more interested in internet porn, fantasy football, and video games than they were with the prospect of marrying a 30-something chick with an approaching expiration date.

At this stage in life most of them have been through one divorce already and are wary of commitments longer-term than a cell phone contract. And they just don't give a damn about her career (in which she is more likely more successful and makes more money than he), her love of a good book, or who's ahead on Dancing With The Stars. The reek of desperation, entitlement, and self-indulgence is just too much. When your sperm is good until your 70, being a 35 year old man just beginning to be successful means waiting a few years to marry a 25 year old hottie who would rather have kids than climb the corporate ladder is just a better idea.

So now women have gained control over their security, but lost control over the marital sex life. And while they maintain control over their negative fertility (birth control is easy and effective), they are quietly losing control over their positive fertility. Sure, some are using sperm banks or one-night-stands or other methods of getting around that, but the fact is that the vast majority of heterosexual women still want Prince Charming, the romantic, handsome, secure man of their dreams. Problem is, Prince Charming has very little desire to be with them.

So now we have a whole generation of highly successful, driven women who have managed to take advantage of feminism's bounty, and have inadvertently screwed themselves out of even the possibility of finding a decent husband and father. Since most single men see their interests as revolving around recreation, leisure, sex and sports, women have very little to offer. So an entire generation of smart, ambitious women are now out of the gene pool. Thank you, feminism.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Acorn (Post 448415)
And overall, I do think feminism has been more positive than negative. I just don't want to see a rise of the "National Organization of Men", for example, and I don't want there to be a need of masculinism to balance out the actions of feminists just to gain equality. We are all in this together, it's not supposed to be an arms race between men and women to achieve equality in schools (and other issues).

Just my opinion, of course.

See just how far equality goes?


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