ForumsWEPRFeminism and an egalitarian future

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Avorne
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Avorne
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This is something that I've been thinking about for a while and I'd love to see what everyone else makes of it.

In some senses, feminism is like a religion, without the benefits of having an enshrined set of core tenets for people to follow (or criticize). The only definitive shape feminism is given is that it has womenâs rights at its core. Far too much is left murky and dark and ripe for predatory animals to snap up resources and the unsuspecting in a bid to fuel their own existence.

A self-identified feminist can certainly claim that the radicals in their movement do not speak for them and that their actions are not condoned, and I have no reason at all to doubt that many feminists are not represented by the radicals, but if thatâs the impression the outside world gets then of course the stereotypes about feminism are going to persist.

This means that radicals are free to put their own spin upon feminism and to imprint it with their own meaning and end goals - ones that may not necessarily be egalitarian in nature (and certainly not the best thought out in some cases).

To do away with such behaviours one must look to a cause that is more well-defined, if only by nature of simplicity, that or kick out the radical elements and make a public display of them being unwelcome in the movement.

I fear feminism is already too well ensnared within the probing tentacles of radical ideology and that leaves only one option:

Take the path of egalitarian thinking instead.

If someone believes in equality of opportunity for all, woman or man or anyone outside of those terms, then they would surely be better suited to the title of egalitarian.

Gender-based oppression has never truly been a force pushed only by men and only onto women, as the radicals who stole feminism seem more and more intent on claiming with each day, it is a systemic problem that hurts everyone in different ways and only through understanding the harm it causes both to men and women can we begin to address it.

Leave âfeminismâ behind, mourn for it if you wish, because make no mistakes when I say that feminism is dead and the puppetry of radicals is the only thing keeping the movement twitching.

Itâs like an ideological Weekend At Bernieâs.

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nichodemus
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We may claim that women's rights are all in place, but the shocking discrimination against women that is unofficial, for example, in the work place is rather commonplace. Women get paid less than men, they have less of a shot for promotion, these are all the baggage laden onto them. All movements will have their radicals, but these are always in the minority (Kinda like an axiom, or ''radical'' would be the ''norm'' huh?).

Egalitarianism doesn't have that kind of spring and power to it. Labeling it as Feminism and Women's Rights gets the message out loud and clear. Whilst feminism is often viewed through extremist lens, and hence is treated rather derisively far too much of the time, branding it as egalitarianism seems to lessen the issue. Feminism focuses it crystal clear. As it is, we all preach for an egalitarian standing, yet have failed to do so, even though it has been decades since most of the world, or at least the First World, yet the fruits of these labours have not always been yielded.

Radical feminism is ugly, but rubbishing the whole movement because of these black sheep and reducing it to an ''egalitarian'' movement takes the punch out of it all, which might have negative consequences for women.

Avorne
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I won't dispute that working men and women, when compared as a whole, do have a wage gap between them but I don't see it as being down to discrimination in the workplace - you'll have to forgive me linking to Tumblr here but this is a pretty well-worded and well-cited explanation of the wage gap as it really is.

I'm well aware of the fact that radicals don't make up the majority of the feminist movement but we must all consider that they are usually the ones being funded to do research, to lecture and the like because they're the most visible in society and the most likely to be 'out there' and advocating their ideology vocally. They use this position as a means towards an ideological end, an end that usually involves painting 'male oppressor and female victim' stereotypes, an end that is biased beyond belief in some cases and outright misandric in nature.

Egalitarian movements don't have to be seen as the 'weaker' option, it's merely that feminism has been the receiver of funding and public attention for a very long time, if we weaken feminism in favour of putting egalitarian causes forward then both Men's Issues and Women's Issues will get the attention that they deserve without feminists and MRA's going at each others throats every five minutes.

I don't even see how egalitarian thinking could have negative consequences for women - it's about advocating equality of opportunity. If feminism purports to be about the same then surely no ground would be lost by moving towards egalitarianism UNLESS feminism is not about equality and merely pushes for women's rights without thinking about the potential harm feminist 'research' and protests causes to men.

nichodemus
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I'm well aware of the fact that radicals don't make up the majority of the feminist movement but we must all consider that they are usually the ones being funded to do research, to lecture and the like because they're the most visible in society and the most likely to be 'out there' and advocating their ideology vocally. They use this position as a means towards an ideological end, an end that usually involves painting 'male oppressor and female victim' stereotypes, an end that is biased beyond belief in some cases and outright misandric in nature.


The ''male oppressor and female victim'' stereotype may not hold much water in some First World nations, but it certainly does across the globe (Indian gang **** victims being hushed up recently spring up to mind. The portrayal and stereotyping of Indian women as confined to the domestic household is another).

The Tumblr post doesn't portray the full picture. Women still get discriminated, even if they work the same hours. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites women working 41 to 44 hours per week earn 84.6% of what men working similar hours earn. It gets worse as women work longer hours â" women working more than 60 hours per week earn only 78.3% of what men in the same time category earn.

The problem we face now is different from what feminist movements took up swords against, years ago, at least in more developed nations. It isn't workplace tyranny that doesn't even have the decency to bother to put on a mask of kindness. It's camouflaged. Whilst the workplace is constructed as gender neutral, subtle discrimination still sniffs around. The World Economic Forumâs Gender Gap Report states âno country in the world has yet managed to eliminate the gender gap.

In their study of the Dutch banking sector, for example, Benschop and Doorewaard (1998) showed that gender inequalities continued to exist but were masked by a strong rhetoric of gender equality which made it difficult to articulate experiences of gender discrimination. Gill (2002) explored gender in project-based new media work and found that new media workers constructed their workplaces as meritocratic and gender egalitarian even though on structural level gender inequality persisted in the form of lower earnings for women.

Feminism, or at least mainstream feminism, has been about equality. But it has been overshadowed by claims that the workplace is suitably gender neutral and discrimination free. It isn't. Branding the movement as just the ''egalitarian'' movement, into one that presumably includes all discriminated people, racial minorities, foreigners, disabled, elderly, broadens the issue and let's the details slip through the net.
Avorne
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I think we'll have to leave third-world countries out of the argument for the moment because (sadly) they've never really been the focus of Western feminism and egalitarianism hasn't been able to stretch too far in that direction either.

Many first-world countries are already working towards at least some form of equality in terms of the remaining workplace discrimination, if legislation hasn't already been introduced to deal with it in a legal manner, the UK for example has some pretty stringent regulations on workplace equality.

I do agree that some countries do still have strong elements of discrimination remaining in some sectors though but I put forward for your consideration that any wage-based inequalities will even out as employers seek out the most educated/skilled workers to be able to outdo the competition, initially seeking out females who they can pay less (creating a demand for trained females workers), and so wages for trained females will rise as demand grows (especially if supply isn't able to keep up with demand). This will then free up those female workers to barter their skills to an employer for a higher wage than previously.

That does still leave room for discrimination against untrained/manual workers, I realize, but minimum wage requirements should catch that quite nicely (if not entirely). I realize that's not the only sort of discrimination that takes place in the workplace and that legislation is needed to codify the unacceptable nature of other forms of workplace discrimination but, again, I'm not seeing how egalitarian approaches to this would be any less effective that feminist ones.

Seeking fully-egalitarian laws or rules would help iron out any remaining groups that employers can take advantage of for cheap labour, not just women, evening the entire board in a single swoop and accounting for Women's Rights whilst encompassing everyone else's too.

nichodemus
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Many first-world countries are already working towards at least some form of equality in terms of the remaining workplace discrimination, if legislation hasn't already been introduced to deal with it in a legal manner, the UK for example has some pretty stringent regulations on workplace equality.


This I understand, which is exactly my point. We have very stringent and harsh, in a nice way, rules against discrimination, yet the subtle undertones are not being stamped out.

employers seek out the most educated/skilled workers to be able to outdo the competition, initially seeking out females who they can pay less (creating a demand for trained females workers), and so wages for trained females will rise as demand grows (especially if supply isn't able to keep up with demand). This will then free up those female workers to barter their skills to an employer for a higher wage than previously.


It's no use bartering with your boss on wages. Whilst the number of educated females increase, the number of males do as well. Demand and supply doesn't merely work by itself, elasticity of demand for labour is a factor (The degree of steepness of the demand curve itself). If the women are desperate for work, especially in the economic doldrums we are sunk in now, employers will be able to pay lower wages.

That does still leave room for discrimination against untrained/manual workers, I realize, but minimum wage requirements should catch that quite nicely (if not entirely). I realize that's not the only sort of discrimination that takes place in the workplace and that legislation is needed to codify the unacceptable nature of other forms of workplace discrimination but, again, I'm not seeing how egalitarian approaches to this would be any less effective that feminist ones.


Minimum wage laws are definitely good to tackle any discrimination against any group, but only for lower skilled employers. Furthermore, there's nothing to say that discrimination can't occur in such a situation, after a boss doles out the minimum wage.

Seeking fully-egalitarian laws or rules would help iron out any remaining groups that employers can take advantage of for cheap labour, not just women, evening the entire board in a single swoop and accounting for Women's Rights whilst encompassing everyone else's too.


It doesn't address the subtleties. What is defined as gender neutral behavior, however, is often modeled on stereotypical masculine behavior.

A particularly good example of conflicting perceptions of gender can be found in the so-called knowledge economy. In this new economy, economic change is induced by new technologies, which in turn accelerates the rate of economic growth. The epitome of this new economy is represented by high-end ICT workers. ICT work is commonly perceived as egalitarian and an area of work where success depends on performance (Gill, 2002). The assumption here is that if performance is the only relevant measurement, the ICT sector is a true meritocracy where differences like gender should not matter. This is also a sector, however, in which men form the majority (Crump, Logan, & McIlroy, 2007; Funken, 2002; Henninger, 2001; Panteli,Stack, & Ramsay, 2001; Peterson, 2007; Ruiz Ben, 2007; Webster, 2005).

In Switzerland, for instance, 75-86% of the ICT labor force are men (Funken, 2002;Huber, 2002) and there is a pay gap of 25% in favor of men (Funken, 2002). While women can theoretically choose to do ICT work, there are few women who enter and stay in ICT due to the strongly ingrained male ethos. Many women thereby forgo lucrative employment options and the chance to shape new technologies.

Laws can only do so much. In a real-world setting, typically the most we can do is identify differences in outcome. Laws can settle such instances, yet they cannot eradicate any deep gender bias.

A study by Yale University whereby scientists presented with application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position and who intended to go on to graduate school. Half the scientists were given the application with a male name attached, and half were given the exact same application with a female name attached. Results found that the 'female' applicants were rated significantly lower than the 'males' in competence, hireability, and whether the scientist would be willing to mentor the student.

If anything, it merely shows an ingrained bias, that can only be tackled by education over time, focused on the issue. Not the idea that everyone should be equal, because it does not target the specific bias at hand, but that females should be treated equally, bar other conditions. Egalitarianism merely removes the potent issue at hand and gives it a rather clinical edge.
nichodemus
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And now I will blame my female friends for arguing for hours with me, until they broke down all my ability to counter their words.

Xzeno
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Thanks for reminding us you have no idea what you're talking about, Avorne. You obviously don't have any idea what feminism even is, much less a legitimate platform to criticize it. It's not flaming if it's nicer the Nemo would be.

Freakenstein
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It's totally not, but you should totally take the time to totally tell him why in a totally detailed fashion because it would totally be a totally nice read!

nichodemus
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That's not a nice way to put it across.

Avorne
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Thanks for reminding us you have no idea what you're talking about, Avorne. You obviously don't have any idea what feminism even is, much less a legitimate platform to criticize it. It's not flaming if it's nicer the Nemo would be.


I have no idea what I'm talking about?

About how feminists continue to spread the myths of gendered violence being almost solely perpetrated by males onto females?
About the continued propagation of the 'r_pe culture' idea by feminists? < Strong language and mentions of sexual abuse just FYI. I also have more things on that topic but I think the URLs would get butchered by Armor Games content filter.
About how feminists like to erase male victims to create ridiculous statistics on violence? And about the actual picture of domestic violence?
About the creation and reinforcement of gender bias in family court settings?

I realize that only a very small number of feminists have had a had in any of the examples I painted above but those are the radical feminists highlighted in my first post - the one's that are actually out there and fighting for their cause and claiming to speak on behalf of all other feminists. For every 'good' feminist sitting at home watching TV, who believes there's still a way to go to full gender equality but that it's going to happen someday soon, there's a radical feminist out there on a university campus somewhere shouting about how males are all misogynistic pigs or about how a system (that's in fact already biased in favour of women) is still horribly unfair.
rafterman
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A study by Yale University...

Your link didn't lead to said study.
nichodemus
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Your link didn't lead to said study.



The link was in the article.
Xzeno
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I have no idea what I'm talking about?
You have provided a non-comprehensive list of things you have no meaningful understanding of, yes. However, I really don't think that's fair to readers of the thread. Listing ll of those things (which, again, you have no legitimate platform to discuss) might give the impression by omission that there are other feminist issues which you do understand.

I assure you, readers, this is not the case. Avorne is fighting the bad fight based on a series of faulty and misguided assumptions.

First, let's address the issue of etymology. It seems like a lot of people on the Internet don't know what feminism is. At first I thought this was a serious problem, potentially a dangerous one, but then I remembered that the following view is held almost exclusively by those whose opinions are not and should not be valued by anyone, so it's all good.

It seems like a lot of people, our dear Avorne included, seem to think that feminism is not an inherently egalitarian movement. This is largely because the name is feminism. The core principle of feminism is the fundamental equality of men and women. That's the entire concept. Holding that either gender is inferior is anti-feminist. It's not about female superiority.

The reason it's called feminism, then, is because historically it fights against a societal and philosophical tradition of male superiority. To fight for equality is to fight for the advancement of the position of women in society. They are synonymous. If you say you want equality but don't try to improve the social and legal situation of women, then you aren't working for equality. This is especially true during the time of its inception.

Some have suggested that the very label feminism causes issues, and that we've grown past the past and that we should change the name for clarity. My issue with this is two-pronged:

First, the name feminism, as Nicho has kindly explained, makes it clear that the movement is aware of and attempting to correct the social injustice faced by women. Again, most gender equality work is going to surround working for women's rights, simply because women have it worse almost everywhere. In terms of legal and social hierarchies, women are traditionally the oppressed group, and attempts at equality must reverse that. Trying to hide that fact under a manufactured label is only going to make people falsely believe that social status has been equalized.

And even if it had, which it hasn't, so what? You really think the best way forward is destroying evidence of our history and philosophical traditions? Even if you get your way, come up with some new word and throw every bit of historical and philosophical literature that intimidates you down a ****ing memory hole and stop calling it feminism, will there be any pragmatic benefits?

No, not at all. This is because, and this was a fact that took a long time to dawn on me, because people who say they're against feminism based on the name literally don't know what it is. It's like when Christians don't read the Bible. These are people who can't be bothered to even read the wikipedia page on feminism, which makes the core philosophy of equality rather clear. I doubt most of them, our OP included, have even heard of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, much less read any of her work. Rather, they just arbitrarily detest feminism because of their own misinterpretation of the name and willful ignorance. Actually read some feminist literature before attempting to discuss the philosophy.

I really want to hammer this point home, because the irony is that these are the same people telling Christians to read the Bible. You think you have some intellectual grounds to criticize something you literally have made no effort to understand at all! No, don't post a ****ing article about some bull**** you read on menarebetterthanwomen.com on how feminists make up statistics. That article is probably a little biased. Actually explore the philosophy at all before trying to say the entire thing should be destroyed. I mean, Jesus Christ, I think that would be pretty basic to anyone who supposedly values critical thinking.

By the way, I'm assuming you have not read a meaningful body of feminist literature because the alternative is that you have really poor reading comprehension.

So yes, in short, people advocating a change of name are the worst kind of ignorant people: ignorant people who want to destroy the history of what they don't know, so everyone else can't know either. So that wraps up the topic of the label "feminism."

At this point, I'd like to take a brief interlude to quickly address an issue. You keep talking about "extreme" feminists. First, those who claim women are superior are anti-feminist. Except maybe Wollstonecraft. She might get an honorary feminist badge. I'm sure you don't understand why, because that would require an extremely basic understanding of the history of Western philosophy, which you clearly lack.

Anyway, those views are anti-feminist, and, for the most part, don't exist. No, don't post a bunch of links in response to that statement. Stop. Close the google tab. All that will do is demonstrate that you don't get how the spotlight fallacy and confirmation bias apply to you, even though it's really obvious. A formal philosophy of female superiority is just not a view held by many at all. Sure, sometimes you're cruising tumblr and you wind up talking to a fifteen year old girl who's barely taken a poop big enough to hurt telling you about how the plight of men could never compare to the pains of childbirth, but for the most part, these so called radical feminists are not a representative sample of either feminists or people in general.

Now, one more issue I'd like to address. Avorne has also made it clear that he also doesn't understand the world around him, and is possibly a bad person. Let me drop some quick knowledge on you, in list form.

1. **** culture exists. **** is primarily influenced by societal values, and moreover influenced by power relations between genders. Skimming through your tumblr, I did come across some of the stupid arguments against this notion. Most of these arguments, and almost all **** apologetic arguments, stem from a deep if irrational desire to believe that there is an intrinsic justice in the universe. **** is an evil thing that happens for evil reasons.

2. We are far from gender equality. There is no legal gender equality in the United States, nor is it promised. I'm sure you'd try to use this to claim that the UK is better than the US, even though people like you ironically prove that false. Anyway, I don't know the UK law. But in society, gender discrimination is almost omnipresent, especially in the way that people interact with one another. It is sexist against both genders, and males are excluded from social groups as much as women, but the underlying stereotypes that people are raised with repeat the recurring themes that women are inferior, women are subservient, women are lesser.

3. and this one is super important. Women do not have it better than you. I know what's happening here. You don't like the word feminism because it implies we might be trying to do something for other people and not you. You see people talking about hey, let's maybe treat women like they're people and you suddenly get mad that you don't get a prize for being male middle class and white. Guess what whitey, the position of women in society is worse. Attempts to improve it aren't an attack on you. When they get something you don't, it's not because you can't have it. It's because you already have it. When you have an advantage, losing it sure must seem like a disadvantage.

We don't live in a society where women are given preferential treatment. We live in one that's just starting to consider the possibility of treating women as equals for the first time. If you think egalitarianism is good, if you think we should fight for equal rights, good for you. But if you think we HAVE gender equality, or anything close to it, you better take a second look. Examine how gender influences roles in society, both on a large and small scale. Wake up and smell the ashes.
Xzeno
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Ah, right, censor. In closing point 1 ("1. **** culture exists...") the word censored is rape, and if that exploit no longer works, here's the word with a space: ra pe.

The other censored words throughout are ****, **** and ****.

nichodemus
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3. and this one is super important. Women do not have it better than you. I know what's happening here. You don't like the word feminism because it implies we might be trying to do something for other people and not you. You see people talking about hey, let's maybe treat women like they're people and you suddenly get mad that you don't get a prize for being male middle class and white. Guess what whitey, the position of women in society is worse. Attempts to improve it aren't an attack on you. When they get something you don't, it's not because you can't have it. It's because you already have it. When you have an advantage, losing it sure must seem like a disadvantage.



Aren't you basing this just on gross assumptions?
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