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Womens' Lib

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Bombur, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. Bombur

    Bombur I'm always last and I don't like it

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    From another thread:

    and
    I'll engage in this discussion if Darkthrone will refrain from further hit-and-run accusations. I assume he is speaking of women's lib from the German perspective; I am speaking of it in the United States. I don't know how it went down in Germany; my original comments on defeminizing were aimed at the United States. After all, it did start here with the now infamous "Florida Paper."

    In point of fact, not all our parents were for women's lib. Also, not all the results of women's lib were positive (e.g., it had a strong hand in legalizing abortion, which even traditional feminism opposes). One who subscribes to the underlying philosophy of the women's lib movement can naturally be expected to see its achievements as positive. But that does not mean that those of us who oppose its philosophy are unthinking, chauvenistic brutes. On occasion, thinking people can disagree for reasons other than one party being stupid or arrogant or evil.

    So, a few basic comments to start the ball rolling: Women's lib is not equivalent to feminism. According to women's lib and feminist sources, women's lib was the "radical" branch of the feminist movement that arose in the late 20th century (cf., e.g., Feminist Chronicles; Red Stockings).

    Reading basic women's lib publications from the late 60's and early 70's, one ought to be struck by the anger and viciousness of many of these self-proclaimed radical feminists. Many proudly hated men at large (e.g., founding "Society for Cutting Up Men"), and opposed marriage as a form of chattel slavery.

    The movement had some positive results too. It led to legislating fairer treatment of women in the legal system, and improved their compensation in the workforce. It raised drew the attention of the male-dominated society to inequities and inequalities that ought not to have been, and sparked significant changes that most people would count as being for the better.

    But these positive results do not change the fact that the radical women's lib movement was not a benevolent one aimed at a loving and fair society. It was an angry, polemical movement aimed at changing society by force of will if not arms. Self-assertion and lack of respect for men characterized its papers and statements. It caused a balance in society not because it was balanced, but because it's radical nature counterbalanced the existing imbalance.

    My analysis that the movement aimed toward a genderless society with defeminized women is based on my theological convictions, not on an attitude that is opposed to women. My theology may anger some, but it is nonetheless true to my religion and its holy writings. For what it's worth, I am often accused of being an "egalitarian" in my own circles, and of supporting the feminist movement. At any rate, it is true of many of the opponents of radical feminism that our opposition is not an emotional knee-jerk but a reasoned theological/philosophical/sociological conclusion.

    So, I do think it is necessary to "dig deeper." Superficially judging the movement on its results is not sufficient. The movement accomplished good things, but it was fundamentally flawed by much poor -- and at times evil -- philosophy.
     
  2. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I'm never going to get any work done. :(

    I'll start off with a slightly off-topic comment:
    Many don't see that as bad.

    OK, on-topic. I see women's lib as playing an important role in the overall women's movement. When trying to make fundamental changes, you often need a more radical element to wake people up. Then, once you have their attention, a more "reasonable" group can come along, and win changes which, while not as dramatic as the radicals wanted are still nonetheless important.

    I'm sorry if that appears brief and superficial, but it's really all I have time for now. I'll probably check back later.
     
  3. Bombur

    Bombur I'm always last and I don't like it

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    I completely agree that this is a pragmatic solution, and that this is what happened with women's lib. My point is that women's lib ideology was/is flawed (i.e., too radical), and that we ought not to support many of its tenets today. I believe we have reached better balance than we had in the past, and that more reasonable approaches ought now to be the norm. I do not affirm its radical approach -- even though it accomplished some good -- because I don't believe that the ends justify the means. Other means may have worked and should have been tried instead.

    For those interested in actual publications by women's lib groups and individuals from the time period in question, this link provides many texts online: CWLU. Quite a number of these writings make some good points.

    But there is also a strong recurring theme in them about doing away with traditional male and female values, roles and personalities, replacing them with a new set that is merely "human" that will characterize both males and females. This is prevalent not only in the more radical writings, but even in the more "traditional" or "conservative" writings. Granted, some of the examples provided are legitimate. But it is important to remember that the movement listed its most acceptable and obvious examples in order to form the basis for its theory of reconstruction, and then it applied the theory not only in reasonable ways but in unreasonable ways as well. It is this aspect, as well as more radical ideas, to which I refer as "defeminizing" and "genderless."
     
  4. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Yes, feminism in the modern shape defeminises women.

    The paradox is also in the fact that while fighting to be equal (as they perceived it) to men, women started to behave like men, act like men, dress like men, speak like men.

    Is there a more direct indicator of submission than emulation? By emulating men, women who do that show that they are not comfortable with their feminine selves but would rather like to be more male. By that, they put themselves below males, and womanhood below manhood - as it is also obvious that a woman won't achieve 100% manhood any more than she could physically become a man without gender-shift surgery.

    Next go equal rights. The so called parities, like 30% employees or representatives or whoever needing to be female. Is that equal? Gender-wise no, still 30% isn't 50/50 (even split for two genders), nor close to the actual proportion between women and men (there are more women than men). Qualification-wise? Hell no! People are being appointed because of their gender, qualifications coming second. That's bad. I believe any provisions like 20%, 30%, 40% etc are a grave insult to women.

    Also, all those "privileges" (they aren't as much of a privilege as they appear) lead people to believe that maybe actually women need those to offset differences between men and women in favour of women. What does it mean in common English? That people will think women are worse than men if they need special rights. Simple as that.

    As Bombur has already pointed out, rise of abortion and decline of marriage are a result of the women's lib movement.

    Another thing is that when all the decorum that surrounded ladies in the past is removed, and women are becoming more and more like men and less and less special, men begin to regard them accordingly. Courtesy is practically nonexistent and the decline in manners is so grave that meeting a gentleman is a rare occurence, also amongst people who fancy calling themselves elite. Not like ladies are a frequent sight, either.

    There's one good thing, however. Women are able to get jobs and get paid. Would it be better for them and their families if they stayed home with children? Don't know. Given my specific family situation, I'm the last person in the universe to complain about women getting jobs. Still, that's a result of WWI and WWII taking men away from homes and creating job opportunities for women as well as a genuine necessity for hiring them. What remained still to do was having women achieve equal terms and conditions, like wages or promotions. That hasn't been done yet, anyway.
     
  5. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I think I will wait and see the ladies post here, it can probably be amusing. :)
    I advice you guys to hold on to your hats though.
     
  6. Shazamdude Gems: 5/31
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    That's not exactly fair. What we define as "manhood" is a result of centuries (if not milennia) of social dominance by males, and "womanhood" is an imposed social submissiveness. Pardon me for simplifying it somewhat, but what we (as in males) would define as "ladylike" seems to primarily involve a woman of class, grace, beauty, and some measure of domestic ability... exactly what we are looking for in a mate. In essence, what men seem to want is for a woman to define herself as a potential mate for us. I don't think it's fair to say that a woman who bucks that trend is submissive because she is emulating a man; she is simply asserting that she will not simply lay back and train herself to be a good wife/mate. This is why many men seem to be uncomfortable, even intimidated, by assertive women, because that woman is confronting males from a position of social equality, rather then submissiveness.

    What sort of privileges are you talking about? Off the top of my head, the only privilege women hold that men don't in modern society is that courts tend to rule in their favor with regard to child custody cases. I haven't actually read up on feminist theory, but as a casual observer it seems to me that women are arguing for equal rights, not special rights.

    They're calling a spade a spade here, I'm afraid. That is what marriage has traditionally been, a form of slavery. Historically, marriage has typcially embodied the inequality between male and female: the men seem to reap most of the rewards. The general perspective on the part of men has been that women should be dometic, supporting, and faithful to their husbands, while the males need only reciprocate by financially supporting the family. Men are allowed, and even expected, to be unfaithful, while women can be punished quite harshly for breaking the marriage covenant. It has only been in the last 50 years, maybe not that long, that that point of view has changed (if in fact it has at its core), thanks in large part to the work of feminists and women's lib activists.

    All in all, I agree with Splunge about women's lib. in that they provided the radical element neccessary for the feminist movement the ability to make itself heard. Sometimes you need people who are willing to do whatever it takes to get their point across; social change is not for the meek, after all.
     
  7. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I understand your position, but it seems you're arguing my point, in a way. Perhaps we're going to reach some kind of consensus.

    It's important to notice that not only traditional female roles, but also traditional male roles are a form of convenance.

    This way, if a woman opposes the convenance that expects her to fulfil a certain role and she instead follows the convenance for men, she runs into another convenance that's not exactly as nature intended, but still a matter of social custom.

    So, when a woman makes a show of dressing like a man, trimming her hair male style (bald, grunt haircut, whatever), behaving like a man in social situations and doing jobs that males are supposed to do, by that she defeminises herself. She doesn't liberate herself from male domination. Instead, she joins the "tyrants", ie she allies with the victors, so to say. And hardly on equal terms.

    Special warrants, guarantees, quotas, equal rights clerks and officers (we have a minister or vice-PM rank for that in our government :rolleyes: ), that's hardly equal rights. Those are always privileges and in this case granted solely because of gender.

    We can go further and even so far as prehistory. The male's interest was to spread seed. The female's interest was to get a male to defend her and her young ones. A way was needed to keep the male with the female instead of him impregnating a different female each term.

    Faithfulness and care is at least intended to be mutual. Running a homestead doesn't outrank defending it and supplying means of survival and growth.

    Not everywhere. In some mediaeval societies, male adulterers were castrated and female ones had their hair cut bald as a sign of shame. Well, I like my hair but still I'd rather had it cut than some other parts, ekhm :o

    In some other societies, both were killed.

    An important problem is social status. For instance, a nobleman most often got away with sleeping with a peasant's wife. A peasant sleeping with a nobleman's wife wouldn't get out alive if caught.

    The most important reason for punishing unfaithful wives of kings and other rules was dynastic uncertainty. You know what's the difference between the king's bastard son and the queen's bastard son? The former doesn't inherit the crown :D ;)

    Also, women were not typically punished for having intercourse with a married man, contrary to men who were typically punished for having intercourse with someone's wife, or even a spinster.
     
  8. Darkthrone Gems: 12/31
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    @ Bombur: Well met. I’ve been away for the weekend. Sorry you’ve been left waiting for my response...

    First of all, I’d like to stress that I don’t think that second wave feminism had big differences in quality either in the USA or in the rest of the western world, e.g. in Germany. I think I’ve got a pretty broad perspective. Only when it came to statistical data I couldn’t find anything reliable for the US, hence the connection to Germany.

    I will start with a general observation: The basis of each and every negative remark about the women’s liberation movement is the differentiation between consequences of the women’s lib one likes and those that one doesn’t like. Those two categories may differ from person to person but on the whole it’s always “well, women’s lib had its good sides (chauvinist? me? ha!), I just can’t stand abortion/women in trousers/high inflation in the 70s/whatever (underline the appropriate).”

    This is, of course, illegitimate. Rather, there are those effects the appraisal of which depends on your convictions (e.g. abortion or decreased salaries due to the increased workforce), and moreover, there are those effects with a benevolence that cannot be discussed. Not if we’re applying some basic ethnical standards anyway. In this category we can find “all men are equal” and some such. Thing is: those two categories are not of the same virtue: cat. B rules, cat. A is nice to have. As little as it is sound to say “what Hitler did to the Jews wasn’t nice, but at least he gave us work and highways, so national socialism wasn’t all that bad” I will hear someone talk in the way described above about women’s lib. I still don’t feel that this is one of those rare occasions you mentioned:

    You might find that a bit immoderate.

    Now that we’ve warmed up, I’ll arbitrarily select some sentences of yours in a way that suits me and my cause and go on discriminating honest man. :grin:

    You say women’s lib doesn’t equal feminism. Which is true. Broadly speaking, feminism is the theoretical basis for the women’s liberation movement. Branches of feminist theory are radical feminism, gender feminism, separatist feminism, and many more. The women’s lib of the late 60s was a form of feminist activism based on radical feminism. The radical feminist theory deals with women’s oppression and attributes it to the patriarchic structures of society. As a resolution the theory demands to abandon the old gender specific roles. That is not the same as “creating a genderless society”. In this theory women don’t try to become like men. Different genders still do exist, only most consequences and restrictions associated with each gender are called into question. In case that was what you had in mind I can live with “genderless society” although I can’t see what is bad about it.

    However, the women’s lib was much more pragmatic. It didn’t aim at some utopia, it had some real down-to-earth claims at the center of which stood “half of the world for the women, half of the house for the men”. The means which were used to achieve this may be debatable. But I feel that Splunge really said all there is to say in this regard. Anyway, you don’t have to show respect to the people who you feel oppress you, do you?

    Now your other main argument: women’s lib was not only bad for their oppressors it was bad for women as well: it de-feminized them. It’s a bit hard to go an arguing about that one, because you really didn’t say what this whole de-feminization business is all about. You just said something about it not being aligned to your theological convictions. Perhaps you would be so good to be more precise and provide some insights for those of us who don’t share your convictions. Otherwise I’d have to fill in something that springs to mind when thinking of the old testament’s view on women. I don’t think that this would further your cause...

    I read the term de-feminize as “to strip someone of his/her feminine attributes.”
    Since last time I checked women still had secondary sexual characteristics, this cannot be your point. Hm. Perhaps you’re saying that raising a child is feminine and that driving a car is masculine? Nah. Or do you mean that wearing high heels is the best thing thousands of years of patriarchy have brought forth? TBH, the more I think about it, the less can I match the expressions “de-feminization” and “women’s lib”. Please explain.

    The women’s lib certainly did not want women to become and behave like men; although it happens in more and more cases. Sad but true. This is where the women’s lib failed. Not because it was flawed or ill-aimed, but just because men fought back. Like I said elsewhere: we’re just not there yet. Since the boys wouldn’t let someone into the playground who didn’t fart or burp, the girls adapted. The women’s lib dreamed of a playground where anyone could have a go at the swing, farting or not.
     
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I just happened to see this and thought it was appropriate given the recent topics in the AoDA. Turns out, that about one-fourth of all couples have the woman as the primary bread-winner, which is a lot higher than I expect. Sorry, it's a little :yot: but it was close enough to the discussion that I felt it didn't merit another thread.
     
  10. Darkthrone Gems: 12/31
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    @ Aldeth: Doesn't look too bad on the first glance. However, statistics are always dangerous. The article says:

    Obviously, a total of 30% of all working women in a relationship earn more than their spouses. The article doesn't state how many women in a relationship are working in the first place. Therefore we don't know how many couples depend on the female side "bringing home the bacon".

    However, the author of the article may have gotten it wrong. I will check the BLS data if I can find the time.
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    @Darkthrone

    Well, that's why I said "about one quarter", even though I realized neither number was exactly that fraction.

    Good point, and one I had not considered. Considering some women stay home, the actual value of both those percentages should be lower if all women were considered.
     
  12. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    This thread reminds me of one of my favorite jokes (which I shall gladly share, to help break up the tension in here):

    How many male cheauvanist (sp?) pigs does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    - None. The b*tch can cook in the dark. :hahaerr:

    See? Without women's lib, that joke wouldn't be funny. :D

    Back on topic - though I have nothing to add, this is a good read. Keep it up, fellahs.
     
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