This is something I wanted to post as a comment to a recent entry from Yvonne’s blog. But it wouldn’t let me because it “exceeded 300 characters.” I should have known better. Luckily I did save some of the text before I sent it – so I’ll just try to remember the finished product based on what I had:
I usually refrain from talking about my philosophy (even though in the short time you’ve known me you’ve probably learned just as much about me as many of my old friends) because it leads to FIMS (Foot In Mouth Syndrome) and also because very few people share my views (that I know of). In fact the last time I ventured my half-formed opinion one of my feminist friends barked rather loudly. But…
Parenthetically speaking, I’m not really going to answer questions (like what is feminism) so much as raise them.
Ideally, I would like to believe that feminism is a struggle towards having women treated equally to men. Now in many ways, I think that many women have just as much as men have, although perhaps not in the same exact ways(1). Some women get hired, especially for jobs that deal with the public, simply because they are women. Is that good, is that bad – it goes both ways. Men have the same advantage in other fields. So if some women have as much as men, how did that happen? Because of the work of feminists, I dare say. So don’t think that the value of feminism is lost on me. This CAKE CD is making it hard for me to coalesce my thoughts succinctly. Nevertheless: I would think that most everyone would agree that it would be great if some day feminism were to become obsolete – is that not right? Is that not the goal to which feminism strives – to put a cap on (not in) the campaign (if I can call it that)? To say “hooray, we eliminated sexism”?
But feminism can be defined millions of different ways. And even if we all agree on what feminism is, like you say, there are diffent levels of feminists – from middle of the road to extremist. When Ms X says “women are better than everyone else” that to me is sexist, and as such is completely counter to what I think feminism stands for. And I think that’s part of what men see as a stigma to the whole feminism ‘movement’ is that some people use their -isms to bash(2) on others, whether it be men, women, nerds, jocks, Americans, the French or whatever.
And as a woman (which of course I have vast experience in) even if and when you get what you deserve, socially, politically, and economically, women will always have burdens, biologically, that men don’t have. They will have the burden of childbirth and the burden of being physically weaker(3) – and all that that entails in a world shared with men. Whereas the only burden that men have to deal with is the burden of being an asshole 90% of the time. So won’t women always have to, to some extent, bind together to stick up for their needs?
Are women superior to men? At some things, I think it’s safe to say yes. Are men superior to women? Again, yes, in some ways. I hope that in a few years, when women get paid as much as men in the same position, all we’ll need to come to terms with is the fact that men and women will always be different, and be satisfied with that. Optimally, I would like to believe that in the not too distant future, we won’t have women’s, gay, or black’s rights movements, but we’ll recognize that we needed them to get to where we are, in as close to a utopian social standpoint that we can muster as fallible human beings.(4)
(1) – of course this varies widely depending on geography, and in what facet of equality you’re talking about.
(2) I’m not saying this particular woman is bashing anything, per se, I’m just, you know…extrapolating.
(3) I don’t need to remind you I’m speaking in generalisms here.
(4) Am I coming across as a total man-o-centric git yet?