Monday, March 1, 2010

In which I'm pissed off, so welcome This Apocalypse.

It seems after last year's AWARE Saga, people of all Very Concerned Dudely and I'm-A-Woman-But stripes no longer trust Singapore's leading women's rights non-profit organisation to do anything right, including demystify feminism as a holistic belief that benefits EVERYBODY at their own website (the list is affixed after the cut).

Just where do these people come from!?!?!

You get the likes of Professor Derrick Diapermouth poo-pooing all over, mostly to first suggest that OHNOES! Them feminists with their puny minds are wrong about feminism, by using the exact same point that the AWARE bloggers did--that feminism isn't a circumscribed by chauvanism. To wit, here's the lovely AWARE's elementary-level debunking:
Myth: “Feminist” is the female equivalent of “chauvinist”.
Fact: Feminism does not support sexism against either gender. Feminism works towards equality, not female superiority.
The estimable Professor alerts us to the very fallacy of such an assertion, by quoting Wikipedia no doubt because academic rigour has attained at a whole new level of awesomeness, and even offers you a nomenclature that'll better save your feeble minds: (emphasis to my piggish whimsy)
Please get your terms right.

To clarify: Feminism refers to the movement for establishing establishing equal rights and legal protection and gender equality for women, and campaigning for women’s rights and interests (Wikipedia).

The corresponding movement for men’s rights is not male chauvinism, which is sexist, but (progressive) masculism, which campaigns for equal rights and treatment for men, and sees itself as complementary to feminism.

Both movements have the same goal in mind- to change cultural perceptions and legislation which treat either gender unfairly, but are distinguished by their focus on, and campaigning for, one particular gender.

Some interesting issues to consider- conscription, child custody, alimony and child support, domestic abuse of men, and higher incarceration rates and longer sentences for men for the same crime as compared to women.

To wit- feminism is about women’s equality, masculism is about men’s equality, and if you’re interested in true gender equality and sympathetic to legitimate grievances of both males and females, you are a gender egalitarian.
Fancy that. When AWARE feminists seek "equality" for women, you'd think they'll mean to move women up so that they women can be EQUAL to men. Which means, if men are worse off, then in order for women to be equal, they might have to up men's statuses? Like arguing for the revision of the Women's Charter to become a Family's Charter, improvements of which include maintenance of husband should divorcing wives be found fit to make the monthly pay-out? I know our resident Magician has already laid it out for you in a different manner, this might come as a bit shock to many people, but equality here's how equality works:

You < Me ≠ Equal;
You > Me ≠ Equal;
You = Me = Equal.

On top of that, most feminists are hard-pressed to concede that making a Bigger You suffer under the same restrictive logic that a Smaller Me suffers is the way forward. At least "feminazis" at the Barn never. fucking tire of saying. that.

Professor Diapermouth even directs us to this fuck-awesome van diagram to tease out my male-chauvanist mates and the "radical feminists" from Teh Truly Awesome:

(I lie; I added my artistry to the diagram! The real chart is not remotely as pretty as mine, much less "clarifying".)

Gosh, if there's anything that annoys this male, unfeminist, gay asian pig are mansplainers, you know, the ones who always like to tell you, gay, womanly, fat, skinny, thin, yellow, brown, white, *insert facets of your self you relate to*, how you're not really gay, or feminist, or a pig enough. And always, as Twisty notes, "In a tone that suggested so deep a reverence for his own intellect that he’d expect the solar system to explode if he failed to execute this very important takedown on my blog."

But just when you thought it was all over, you meet Sir Fred Sottile-Solate in shiny armour, warning you this:
... Feminism by its very name is a gender specific promotional project. Many women have been duped into believing that there is a basis in gender equality. Many women have been victimized by feminism and in fact are paying the price this very day. Like communism and socialism and fascism, Feminism is an ideology that is based on hate and is doomed to failure. Unfortunately it will leave behind a population only made worse for the effort. I am sorry this is true and wish it weren’t, but truly feminism is a disaster for any good people involved. Only the evil benefit.
I hate to pit my dudely speak-from-privilege card against yours, but no, Fred, I'm afraid you're wrong on this, but for no other reason than that I can selectively string my words together to formulate something that escapes educated, reasoned assessment, generalising only to make it sound like your beliefs are that of a misogynist seeking to have women return to a time when their bodies are properties of their husbands, fathers or brothers.

A time when women have not even a conception of legal force to protect them from rape, or that there can even be a day--after a long time of their being equal providers--where they can be remunerated for the labour they put in, save that money under their own name, and not need the company of men in order to go to the shop to buy fucking groceries so that, ohmygod, she doesn't starve, because, ohfuck, she's human!!!

Which means she possesses emotions, wants, desires, aspirations, dreams, feels pain when hit, feels hungry when starved, and feels hopeless when people around tell her that she should stick it because she's just doesn't deserve anything because there's always this other guy, this other kid, this other fertilised or unfertilised ovum, or this other very important, malodorous logic brewing in your head that justifies her not getting something you'll putatively accord some abstract dude.

I'm sure all the women, children some women have to bring up, are really, really upset that this false hate-inspired movement called feminism for all this. I'm sure they're all fucking bawling their eyes out that they're eating the food they have on the table while thinking hateful thoughts about you, which they bought with the hateful money they received from the wages they've worked for by hating on you, and all these tears form a river because it's so fucking frustrating to finally, or at least not all cases, be able to say "no" to unwanted bodily contact which might or might not be related to why they hate you.

Boohoo, dear Sir.Boo. Fucking. Hoo.

Frankly, I've never seen a rosier image of apocalypse--I say bring it!

P/S - AWARE bloggers, please write to us if you're interested in guest-blogging or cross-blogging with us to discuss why suddenly so many people feel obligated to explain what feminism and AWARE's agenda is for AWARE. Don't worry, we can even pretend that we didn't orchestrate this discussion and that it just so happens that we're on the same page! Maybe my mom will appear at some point to femmeplain that she did not impart any skills in passive-aggressive stunts.

11 Myths and Facts about Feminism
by T. De Rozario, R. Rheaume and H. Zheng

There are many people who in one breath will say that they believe in gender equality but do not consider themselves feminists. Why the paradox? The definition seems very straightforward.

feminism – n. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

The truth is that the word comes with a lot of baggage and misconceptions. These fears are so deeply held that many supporters of equality do not want to be associated with the word or the movement. Worse still, for those who do not believe in equality, the myths help instill hatred and fear for the women and men who openly promote the ideals of feminism.

To attack a person based on a misrepresentation of their position is a tactic known commonly as a “straw man argument.” This means creating an easy to destroy caricature of a person by which to discredit them. This tactic is so effective that many women will deny their own support for equality for fear of being associated with the negative stereotypes.

To dispel the myths, we first have to identify them. Let’s take a look…

Myth: Feminism is about fighting men, hating men, and eliminating men.
Fact: Feminism is about challenging systemic inequalities and does not portray men as the enemy.

Myth: “Feminist” is the female equivalent of “chauvinist”.
Fact: Feminism does not support sexism against either gender. Feminism works towards equality, not female superiority.

Myth: Feminism is “un-Asian”.
Fact: Feminism works towards a society based on justice and equality… the very same ideology put forth in Singapore’s national pledge.

Myth: Feminists are opposed to marriage and motherhood.
Fact: Feminists actively fight for the rights of mothers and many feminists are married and are mothers. Feminists recognize that happy families are important and believe that families are strengthened when the wellbeing of all members, male and female, are supported.

Myth: Only women can be feminists.
Fact: Any person who believes in gender equality is a feminist. Many men are feminists and proud to be so.

Myth: To be a real feminist, a woman cannot be feminine or demure.
Fact: Feminism is found in the substance of a person’s opinions and not her form. A woman’s love of nice dresses or high-heeled shoes does not make her less of a feminist.

Myth: If I am a sexually liberal woman, I am a feminist.
Fact: Feminists respect individual, informed choices and believe there should be no double standard in judging a person’s behaviour. Every woman has the right to sexual autonomy including the ability to make decisions about when, how and with whom to conduct her sexual life. However, sexual autonomy alone does not make one a feminist. Neither does the exploitation of one’s own body for favours or advantage.

Myth: Feminists believe that women’s actions are above criticism and can always be excused because of the discrimination they have suffered. Therefore they never have to take responsibility for their behaviour.
Fact: Feminists understand that equal rights translate into equal responsibility. Anyone who seeks rights must be held to the responsibilities that come with these rights. Previous discrimination may explain negative behaviour but does not excuse it.

Myth: Feminism purports that all women are disadvantaged in our society and that all men are privileged by their gender.
Fact: Feminists understand that narrow gender ideals restrict both men and women and thus society as a whole. Feminism seeks to reduce and eliminate these constraining ideals.

Myth: The fact that there are some women who have a higher social and economic status than some men means inequality has been eliminated.
Fact: Systematic inequalities continue to exist at every level of society. There may be female heads of Fortune 500 companies but the fact that they constitute less than 5% of the total means that barriers remain.

Myth: There is no more need for feminism: women have the vote, they have jobs. The goals have been met.
Fact: These achievements are great milestones in the history of feminism, however our aim is nothing less than equal treatment and opportunity for both genders. There are still many inequalities in society’s perception of the roles of men and women. We want to build a world in which no person, because of their gender, must curtail their hopes and dreams.

This is just a starter list. You will no doubt find many more. Do feel free to post others in the comments.

Before signing off, let us add a word of warning!

Any Googler worth his or her salt will be able to find quotes from radical feminists to support some of the above fallacies. While there are certainly individuals who have made strong anti-male comments in the past, these views are not representative of mainstream feminism. As always, a group should not be judged by its most radical elements nor by comments taken out of context.

This list was compiled in preparation for AWARE’s Introduction to Feminism series.

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