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kittenb
Okay, I chose a slightly smart-ass title for a serious topic. Over the past few years, I have been learning a lot about what it might mean to be a feminist. However, there is no actual rule of what it means to be a feminist. There are feminists who think that you can be anti-choice. There are feminists that think that you can't be a stay-at-home wife/mother. There are feminists who think that you can't be a heterosexual. There are heterosexual feminists who are unwilling to address the issues faced by our lesbian, bi- and transgendered sisters. Can a man be a feminist?
Does the feminist movement need a platform that all feminists should support? Or does the diversity in our beliefs make us stronger? Can someone actually be a "good" or "bad" feminist?

I would also like to talk about where you see the feminist movement going in the next few years/decades/etc.

Thanks!

ETA: Right after I completed this post, I realized that my grammer/spelling in the title was way off. I sent a report to the Lounge Lady or whoever, so I hope it can be fixed to "than you are!" not "that you are." Sorry for my ditziness.
ananke
For me it's believing and respecting women, individually AND as a group (which means disbelieving the individual *cough*Coulter*cough* sometimes).

A big component for me is the attitude towards sexual violence, in all its hideous forms. Ranking abuse and survivors and pain by YOUR idea of what happened, rather than their ownership of it. That's the breaker for me.
laniethezany

kittenb, I'm sure this has probably been posted around these parts before. But given your topic, it bears repeating.

This pretty much sums up my view on this kind of in-fighting. I don't mean that we can't discuss things - for instance, what does it really mean to be "equal"? But for bottom-line basics, it's spot-on.
roseviolet
Lanie beat me to it! smile.gif I think that article perfectly states what feminism means to me.
kittenb
QUOTE
If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.


I really like that. Thanks.

But as you point out, maybe the question comes down to
QUOTE
what does it really mean to be "equal"?


A big part of me does believe that there needs to be an actual feminist platform. For example, I don't believe an anti-choicer can be a feminist. I believe to really be a feminist you must be pro-choice. However, there are others who disagree.
laniethezany

I took a Feminist Legal Theory class when I was in law school that delved into all those issues. It blew my socks off. We talked a lot about the course that the progression of women's rights cases took in the law. Back in the day, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (the same woman who now sits on the Supreme Court) was the head of the ACLU's women's rights project. As a way to sort of "sneak in" and get some victories, she challenged laws that furthered inequality by finding men who were hurt by them.

We also talked a lot about whether certain cases were really helping or hindering the cause of women overall - for instance, does a law that protects a particular right have an eventual consequence of furthering the paternalistic "women need to be taken care of" view that's already prevalent in society.

The Wikipedia article about this topic sums it up really well (and it's short). I'm a hybrid of dominance theory and anti-essentialist/postmodern.


faerietails2
I pretty much go by the dictionary term--which is also the Feminist Majority Foundation term--of feminism being the strive for social, political, and economic equality between the sexes. After that, I know it completely branches out and the different feminisms rear their ugly heads (I remember how my head was spinning during my Feminist Theory and Women's Movements courses whenever this subject came up)! But I think that the dictionary term is a good base to start off on.

Can a man be a feminist? Sure. We need all the help we can get! wink.gif
pixiedust
On the prolife=non feminist topic...I don't agree. I think prochoice/prolife is so tied to ones religious upbringing that it becomes fundamentally ingrained. I see feminism being almost more of a political view. It's ever evolving with the times and new challenges that women face. So to me, you have to seperate the religious belief from the political agenda. To play devils advocate here....I believe in all women's rights...even the unborn ones!
nickclick
while i certainly agree with the definition of feminism as a practice, the confusion, for me, of what defines someone as a 'feminist' lies between what one believes and how one lives.

a man can believe in that definition of feminism all he wants, and even devote his life to its practice, but he's still living inside a man's body and with a man's experiences in a society that believes he's who matters most. he may validate our cause in a patriarchy, but is he really a 'feminist?'

the flipside is ann coulter. she 'works' hard to be counter-productive to feminism, yet her career and notoriety is possible only because of women that worked hard for the cause of feminism. so since she obviously agrees it's okay for women to have opinions and make money from them, both feminist ideals, is she a 'feminist?'

believe me, i'd much rather have more sympathetic men on our side than any woman like ann coulter. am i being too exclusive? i guess i'm trying to address kitten's topic question. who's more feminist? does it matter? or is it as simple as... you're either with us or against us?

(BTW... thanks for the discussion, kitten!)
kittenb
Sometimes I do think that it comes down to you are either with us or against us. Now, I tend to get to that place when I have had a bad day at work and I just can't take any more patriarchy ruining people's lives. But I get there.
I don't think that men can be feminists for the reasons that you listed, nickclick. And when I say men, I men men born men. Transgendered people can be feminist because they, at some point in their lives, have known what it feels like to be treated like a woman.

I do not consider Ann Coulter a feminist. I think she is one of those people who is doing everything that she can to benefit from other people's struggle while spitting in the faces of the people who are still in the trenches fighting her damn war! But, I do think that she is such a horrible, rotten person that maybe I just refuse to share anything with her. I'm pretty sure that if she were to say that the moon is not made of green cheese, I would try to create a scientific investigation to prove that she was wrong.
laniethezany

See, I do believe that men can be feminists. I actually know some men who I feel confident saying are spot-on feminists, actually. They are fully aware of the fact that they benefit from male privilege and are still fighting to end it. Whenever possible they reject its benefits, as well.

To me its very similar to asking whether a white person can be a true activist for racial equality. It's an ongoing process, because the layers of privilege we enjoy and the many, many facets of deeply entrenched systemic inequality take serious time and effort to even recognize much less attempt to undo. But it can be done.

My favorite quote that relates to what I'm talking about - also the quote that sums up how I feel about my work (I'm an almost-lawyer who works for a legal aid agency, meaning we represent poor clients and don't charge fees) - is "If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." I see my liberation as being bound up with that of anyone who is oppressed, whatever the reason. I view discrimination based on sex, race, economic class, age, disability, on and on as all part of the same system of oppression.

And I second nickclick - great discussion, kitten!

ETA: On the issue of pro-life = anti-feminist, I think the way I'd frame that question is whether women can truly be equal if they do not have the option to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. For me, it's an issue of autonomy. A woman cannot truly be autonomous if she doesn't have control over when/whether she reproduces. Being less than fully autonomous is not equal. So for me, pro-life feminists are a contradiction in terms. But I'm interested to hear how a person who considers herself a pro-life feminist comes to that position.
roseviolet
Lanie, I completely agree that men can be feminists. The idea that a man cannot be a feminist sounds counterintuitive to me. Since the very base of the feminist argument is that all people should be accepted and respected equally no matter their sex, I feel it is hypocritical to say that a man cannot be a feminist. If you don't want people to judge your worthiness solely on your gender, then you shouldn't do it to others.

I don't have to be a member of a racial minority to fight against racism. I don't have to follow an obscure religion to fight for religious freedom. I don't have to be an animal to work towards animal rights. So why should I have to be a woman in order to be a feminist?
nickclick
okay, let's get old-school. is the personal political?

i believe to be feminist you must be pro-choice. but for religious reasons or others you may not choose abortion for yourself. there are many other choices that i don't think are right for my personality and lifestyle, from open relationships to hairy armpits. but i want to live in a society where women can make those choices and live happily and discrimination-free. therefore i am a feminist, and therefore, you are not a feminist if you don't want women to have that right to choose what to do with their bodies.

(i understand the argument gets all - when does life begin? but c'mon, if you're brave enough to want a feminist society, you're smart enough to read some science articles.)

so i suppose, with your help, i answered my own questions. someone doesn't HAVE TO have the personal experiences to believe the political. it's a lot more productive to have a weiner or shave your pits and fight for women's rights than to have a vagina and fight against them.
kittenb
QUOTE(roseviolet @ Oct 30 2007, 10:46 AM) *
I don't have to be a member of a racial minority to fight against racism.


No, but I do have to be a member of a racial minority to know what that battleground actually looks like. Too often, the men who have called themselves feminist in my presence have tried to appropriate the term so that they can tell me how to be a better feminist. I support every man who supports feminism, and I do't accuse all male feminists of being liars or whatever, but I don't know if in their hearts they will ever be 100% feminist.

Of course part of this discussion came from the fact that I don't know what 100% feminist looks like.

I want to be wrong on this issue, BTW. I want to believe that men can be feminists.
pixiedust
QUOTE(nickclick @ Oct 30 2007, 11:22 AM) *
okay, let's get old-school. is the personal political?

i believe to be feminist you must be pro-choice. but for religious reasons or others you may not choose abortion for yourself. there are many other choices that i don't think are right for my personality and lifestyle, from open relationships to hairy armpits. but i want to live in a society where women can make those choices and live happily and discrimination-free. therefore i am a feminist, and therefore, you are not a feminist if you don't want women to have that right to choose what to do with their bodies.

(i understand the argument gets all - when does life begin? but c'mon, if you're brave enough to want a feminist society, you're smart enough to read some science articles.)

so i suppose, with your help, i answered my own questions. someone doesn't HAVE TO have the personal experiences to believe the political. it's a lot more productive to have a weiner or shave your pits and fight for women's rights than to have a vagina and fight against them.

I guess that really sums up a little of my position. I would never have one...and my big hang up with the whole prolife/prochoice position is that i don't think it is an issue that should be regulated by the govenment. It's a moral issue,not a legal issue. It shouldn't be legal or illegal...it should be up to each person's moral upbringing to decide how they feel about it. blink.gif geez...just in writing that, I realize I am probably more prochoice than not.

I would still say it is counter productive to tell someone, because you are a man, because you oppose abortion, because you choose to be/think/feel/do.......you can't be a feminist.
roseviolet
NickClick nailed it - you don't have to have the same personal experiences in order to have the same political goals. You don't have to be oppressed in order to fight oppression. It's about sympathy and empathy and mutual respect. None of us are exactly the same. None of us are living the exact same lives & living the exact same experiences. But we can communicate and learn and sympathize and support one another.

Feminism is the belief in equality of the sexes. This goal can only be reached if men join the fight. Telling a man he cannot be a feminist reinforces the very stereotypes that feminism is against. For feminism to prevail, you have to stop thinking of all men as the enemy. Instead, they are potential recruits. We want feminism to become a common belief, held dear by a majority of the population, yes? Then why exclude 50% of the population from our ranks? It makes no sense to me.
girlygirlgag
QUOTE(kittenb @ Oct 30 2007, 04:25 PM) *
\ but I don't know if in their hearts they will ever be 100% feminist.

Of course part of this discussion came from the fact that I don't know what 100% feminist looks like.



Who does? I think it can mbe argued that a lot of women may never be 100% feminist in their heart of hearts, depending on which definition of feminism one is using.

I agree that Pro-Life is not feminist. The choice movement is based on CHOICE, it is not pro or against abortion. It is for a woman to have control over her body and life.

(gawd, now I am imagining some pie faced, bingo player sneering, "what about the baby's choice" and I want to rub mud in their face.)


designermedusa
I agree that men can be feminists, and Rose I agree it's about mutual respect. If someone makes a nasty comment about a different race or a different sexual orientation from my own I still get offended. You don't have to have directly experienced something to understand how it would feel.

About being pro-choice or anti-choice, it's straight forward to me, if a person is politically anti-choice then they could never be a feminist in my eyes. If a person wants the government to control a woman's body that is not making women equal. If a person is against abortion on a personal level, but supports a woman's right to choose then I believe they could be considered a feminist. The pro-choice movement is about individual choices.
faerietails2
When you all think of "pro-life," are you conflating that with "anti-choice"? Much as I hate to admit it, after I read Contested Lives, I started to see a difference between the two.

I'm staunchly pro-choice and also think that being anti-choice is being anti-feminist, but now I kind of think there's a fine line between being pro-life and anti-choice. Elisabeth Hasselbeck et al? Anti-choice psycho (and someone I would NEVER call a feminist). A woman who actually does real work with women in crisis in programs before and after their pregnancies (and won't pull all the hellfire and brimstone bullshit if a woman decides to go ahead with an abortion)/agrees to disagree?....that's where the line kind of starts to blur for me.
pixiedust
Great post faierietales! I think you nailed how I am feeling. I'm in that blurry area. I am not pro abortion, but I am not anti choice either.
laniethezany

To me, part of being pro-choice means working to ensure that women really can make a choice. Meaning working to end economic oppression, so that money doesn't have to be an issue in a woman's choice when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Because I truly believe that if money were not a problem, or if healthcare and childcare were accessible to everyone regardless of income, a lot of women would make different choices. I don't blame women for taking these factors into consideration - they are valid considerations in our society. But I think that's sad.
nickclick
QUOTE(pixiedust @ Oct 31 2007, 12:32 AM) *
Great post faierietales! I think you nailed how I am feeling. I'm in that blurry area. I am not pro abortion, but I am not anti choice either.

i don't think i'm only speaking for myself when i say no feminist is pro-abortion. feminists are pro- good sex education, pro- access to birth control, and as lanie says, pro- women's healthcare and pro- inexpensive childcare, . believe me, i'd be more than happy if no woman ever had to choose an abortion because she could easily plan for, pay for and care for a healthy child.
laniethezany

I agree nickclick - there is a Grand Canyon of difference between being pro-choice and pro-abortion.
roseviolet
Yet again, Lanie and NickClick have nailed it. smile.gif

Being pro-choice means just what it says ... that you believe in the right to choose. You can decide that you never want to have an abortion. That's fine. That's your choice. And as long as you believe that others have the same right to make their own decisions, then you, too, are pro-choice.

erinjane
We're having this semi-issue at my university womyn's centre. We work as a collective, but the university students association did the hiring for our new coordinator this year. The person they hired has never been part of the collective in the past and doesn't identify as feminist. There was a lot of outrage within the collective because of this decision, but we've worked through it with the students association and will be more involved next year in the hiring.

I admit, I don't like a lot of the new coordinators methods, and she's been really resistant to working as a collective group and understanding that we had policies and a manifesto already made up so she can't just come in and change things. In the last month things have been better, but she'll still do things I don't agree with or say things that irk me, but I get along with her well enough and am willing to have a dialogue with her about why certain things bother me.

The majority of the collective has been working to help her out and be friendly with her, but there's been some friction with old members. This is what bugs me far more than the new coordinator not being great. A few of the old members are sarcastic, rude, and mean straight to her face. I can understand saying something to her in a constructive way or starting a dialogue, but they're flat out horrible to her. I find this really outrageous, especially because one of the women who is being horrible has been in classes with me for the past 4 years and knows all the theory and knows that society pits women against each other. This kind of behaviour strikes me as completely un-feminist and it's really pissing me off. I don't like some stuff new coordinator does either, but I'm willing to work with her and tell her what I think instead of being a complete jerk.

Thoughts?
prophecy_grrl
thanks for starting this thread kitten - I sometimes miss these straight-forward political discussions.

I've been thinking about this question a lot lately, for a variety of reasons. One being Hillary Clinton looking like she'll win in 2008 (and doing it just like all the white men before her - using a name legacy, dirty money, and pandering-to-the-middle politics). I am disgusted by the fact that for the last 20 years (potentially adding up to another 8 if Clinton wins) there has been a Bush or Clinton in office. Her winning next year will be seen as a great achievement for women. Another is the fact that as a woman approaching 30 and childless, I'm realizing that there are still very few acceptable ways to "be a woman" in our culture, as if rejecting motherhood (or least postponing it indefinitely) makes you less female. I think we are still so pinned to these archetypal roles in ways that men just aren't. Anything more complex or nuanced than "wife" "mother" "career woman" and you have to constantly explain yourself to people.

Of course political, economic, and social equality, and freedom from violence are essential goals of feminism and still works in progress. I really don't believe that all women are feminists just by virtue of being female (I've had this argument about Condoleezza Rice, but never Ann Coulter - seriously?), or that feminism should exclude men (I DO think that anyone who gets involved in activism on behalf of a group they don't belong to needs to tread lightly). Having the legal support to be free to make choices is essential, but I don't believe the idea that feminism is just about choice. In other words, women being able to do "what they want" is the same thing as equality, i.e. "being subservient to my husband makes me happy and it's my choice therefore it's feminist."

I'm not saying that feminists can't want to be stay at home moms, etc. but for me Feminism is really about being critical and thinking about and examining the world around you and the choices you make. Patriarchy is part of all of our subconsciouses and you actually have to work - consciously - to combat it (men too!). Our decisions, needs, and desires do not exist in a vacuum; they are a product of our experiences and the culture we live in. To be a Feminist is always question authority and look deeper, never take anything at face value - including our "choices."

The personal IS political.
kittenb
You all are so smart. I am so glad that I started this thread. I am getting a lot of stuff to think about so thank you!

prophecy_grrl - I never really thought that all through about Clinton and how that would leave us with 20 years of two families running one country. Wow. As for her getting the job the way that the men do,is there any other way? I don't think the first woman will get the presidency by being that much different than the men. The system is just too constrictive and regimented. I just know that we need something different in office than what we have seen before.
Has anyone ever asked Clinton if she is a feminist? What was her answer?

QUOTE
I DO think that anyone who gets involved in activism on behalf of a group they don't belong to needs to tread lightly.
Very well put. Thank you.

And a quick thank to the Lounge Lady or whomever for fixing the spelling. I love you!

nickclick
kitten, you're smart!

i did a minimal google search to see if hillary identifies as a feminist in any article, but no luck. there seems to be a lot of blogs with opinions on the matter though, from like 'ohmygod, will people think i'm a *GASP* feminist if i vote for her?' to 'she's our feminist hero.' but anyway,

she's playing the game to get where she wants, and to where we need a woman most. (my ideal vote's not necessarily for HER, but...) i think we can count her as a 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' feminist, even though she may be validating the old-boys club by emulating its members at first, her mere presence as the president will chip away at it, and give her a chance (hopefully) to make change. that's our best strategy right now.

kitten, i agree that voters are mostly afraid of any candidate who's not an expert politician or who does anything differently than the norm, especially if she has boobs. in fact, i always thought our first female pres would be a republican, to kind of soften the blow; y'know, ease us into the idea.

i have to admit i like that she's proving you don't need testosterone to be balls-y! (or is bill providing his?)

erin, i think the behavior you described is not only anti-feminst, but just plain counter-productive.

faerietails2
i'm pretty sure i've heard hillary identify as a feminist before. and she is involved with a lot of feminist-oriented organizations, like emily's list... *shrug*

erin, that's wack. and as someone else said, doesn't sound very feminist to me!
laniethezany

Anyone who thinks that just by virtue of being female one is a feminist should check out these women.

prophecy - I agree with you 100% that not all choices are feminist. I was speaking solely about the issue of reproductive choice when I was talking about it being a "two-sided coin" (so to speak). I just think it's somewhat false to say you're pro-choice and think that as long as abortion remains legal, the war has been won.

Some of the most sexist people I know are women (and not sexist where they think women are superior). My mom bought the whole "man is the head of the household" bit hook, line and sinker. Her actions, however, said something different. She was going back to school to get her master's degree when I was little so my dad was the primary evening caregiver, did all the laundry and dishes, etc. She had more education and made more money. Same for her mother. Then she seems all surprised that she raised daughters who turned out to be feminists.

As for Hillary, I don't see her as wanting to even the playing field for women in general. I see her as trying to get her own seat at the good ol' (rich, white) boy's table. Her stance on the war is enough to make me not vote for her all on its own, but I have plenty of other reasons, too.
nickclick
lanie, that site is totally nuts. of course god is their excuse for everything. what are they so afraid of? and their links to 'articles' for proof are to other crazys' blogs! i can only look at it for a minute at a time because i don't want to be this angry on a friday afternoon.
erinjane
I'm glad I'm not the only one. I just hate how people will preach one thing (women shouldn't be pitted against eachother) and totally practice another (I'm gonna talk behind your back and be an asshole to your face).

It seems like most of the jerks have vacated from taking part in the centre this year anyways, but the core group we've got going now is full of positive women.
grenadine
delurking to say that, speaking of feminist choices, i thought this response by salon advice columnist cary tennis was right on. it perfectly articulates why the decision to keep your name is still an important one, and is the perfect response to my MIL's assertion that, "when i got married (in 1978), some people were surprised that i would take my husband's name, but i was fine with it!" (a statement that annoyed me because it implied that those people had a problem.)
dj-bizmonkey
i like that the response ended on the notion of choice. i think it's at the core of the feminist movement: having the option to choose the life you want to lead as opposed to having it laid out for you by society with no wiggle room. whatever choice a woman makes, other women should respect it. period. although i liked the notion of having the opportunity to explain to your children why you had a different name than their father because i feel that it would illustrate the freedom that women have now, i don't find it to be un-feminist to take your husband's name. in fact, i know a few couples where exactly the reverse has occurred, a man taking his wife's name, which i think is so amazing and shows how far we (both men and women) have come. as for myself, as a woman in academia, it is crucial to retain your given name especially if you have published any articles prior to getting married. it makes it easier for people to recognize your body of work. that being said, i also know a lot of women in the sciences who have chosen to hyphenate. this is what i think i may opt for when and if i get married. my friend (who is also a phd student) and i play a game, going through all of our ex's, trying to see which name would be easiest to hyphenate. i especially like the synthesis of my current bf's and mine name, which shortened would make me Dr. Shag. i get a kick out of thinking students calling me that.
roseviolet
Grandine, you should post that in the old "Should I take his last name" thread. It deserves to be brought out of the mothballs. smile.gif
http://www.bust.com/lounge/index.php?showtopic=40038
neurotic.nelly
Well, here I am...I have been posting all over bust threads...Just posting this, may make me more of a feminist than you, but I doubt it...enjoy!

This is a woman, PH.D., scientist....she wrote a book called Punk Science...if anything is misspelled or my grammar is wrong...sorry but I am tipsy and I don't give a f*ck...

Again, enjoy:
http://www.consciousmedianetwork.com/members/mlaughton.htm
neurotic.nelly
I think this is an interesting paragraph from Daniel Pinchbeck's book '2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl' regarding women and our roles in the universe...

This book is about the coming end of the ancient Mayan calender, this means that we are coming to the end of a great cycle and moving into the next. Our galaxy is literally going through a shift and what this might mean for the consciousness of humankind is revolutionary. The book encompasses everything from crop circles to quantum physics to spiritual uses of psychedelics to reach other dimensions and ancient prophecies.

The paragraph below certainly makes him a Feminist and a Manimist...

Manimist: is a new term coined by Mr. Nelly, which is the belief that men and women are equal, and to accomplish this men must confront, and relinquish all false and real superiority complexes biggrin.gif

Here he explores a little bit of what that transformation in consciousness means for the archetypal feminine principle,

"On the deepest level, men seem largely unchanged by history - they are the same soldiers, shamans, and duffers now as five, ten, or fifty thousand years ago. Women are the ones who are changing, struggling against millennia of male domination and negative programming. The transformation of the instinctual and intuitive feminine current is yet another process that is quickening in our time. According to the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, "Sexually awakened women, affirmed and recognized as such, would mean the complete collapse of the patriarchy." In order to accomplish this, to bite deeper into the apple, "she", the archetypal feminine, embodying Shakti energy, requires recognition, permission, and affirmation from the masculine Shiva principle of ordering consciousness. She needs to know herself for what she is, and could be. She - the feminine daimonic - will continue to wreak havoc until she gets what she wants in the way that she wants it, which may have little to do with current societal values, moral codes, and sexual stereotypes. When this is achieved, Kali will, with the faintest trace of a Mona Lisa smile, retract her fangs, pull in her tongue, and liberate her victims. The goddess will return, and this time around, the apple will be eaten down to the core."


neurotic.nelly
I think that a feminist should stand equal to men at all times...sometimes the only thing that the male sex understands is aggression. I think that a true feminist understands this and steps up to the plate when necessary. What I am saying is, I'll fuck a man up, catch him off guard with the element of surprise. I walk down the street thinking, "I wish a mothafucka would..."
kittenb
It's funny that you write this. The other day I took a wonderful self-defense class and the first part of what they teach is to Run Away, an approach I am a big fan off. I am learning that aggression is different than assertion and that walking assertivly will actually keep me pretty safe.
neurotic.nelly
QUOTE(kittenb @ Dec 20 2007, 07:09 AM) *
It's funny that you write this. The other day I took a wonderful self-defense class and the first part of what they teach is to Run Away, an approach I am a big fan off. I am learning that aggression is different than assertion and that walking assertivly will actually keep me pretty safe.


Yes, and I heard today that there is healthy aggression and unhealthy aggression. I brings it! The healthy kind.
kittenb
I feel like I am loosing the respect of some of my coworkers because I don't object to the sexual objectification of some people. It seems that there are some jobs where being pretty (whatever the current standard of that is) is part of the job. By this I mean women like models and some different forms of sex work. Hell even personal trainers at the gym have to maintain some level of physical appaerence because thier bodies are there business cards. My argument is just that there are very few jobs where apperance is important and the real problem is more that too many men objectify the apperance of women is places where beauty has nothing to do with the job.

Add this to the comment my coworker made today about how we are all victims of Stockholm Syndrome, presumably because we love our oppressors (i.e. men) and I just don't know what the hell I am doing anymore. As a heterosexual woman I don't feel that I am sleeping with the enemy because I love men. However, when I read stories about rape and the mob mentality and then I see how vicious men can be when they are acting as rape apologists (work is getting to me) I begin to wonder just what are men thinking and how safe is it to love them?

I know that the vast majority of men are not rapists and I do not believe that the sexual objectification of women leads men to commit violence. However, I have seen time and time again how the sexual objectification of some women leads some men to think that acts of violence are sometimes okay. Specifically I am thinking about how ad for Grand Theft Auto 4 show how you can buy a prositute, have sex with her and then run her down or shoot her will lead some men to dehumanize sex workers. Once you have dehumanized someone it is much easier to hurt her.

I am bouncing around a few points here. I am hoping that by writing this down and getting some feedback I can get some clarity. Are we all suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? Are we sleeping with the enemy? I just don't have enough anger in me to see all men as threats. So what does that make me? Am I not angry enough?
anarch
QUOTE(kittenb @ May 7 2008, 07:15 PM) *
I know that the vast majority of men are not rapists and I do not believe that the sexual objectification of women leads men to commit violence. However, I have seen time and time again how the sexual objectification of some women leads some men to think that acts of violence are sometimes okay. Specifically I am thinking about how ad for Grand Theft Auto 4 show how you can buy a prositute, have sex with her and then run her down or shoot her will lead some men to dehumanize sex workers. Once you have dehumanized someone it is much easier to hurt her.

I am bouncing around a few points here. I am hoping that by writing this down and getting some feedback I can get some clarity. Are we all suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? Are we sleeping with the enemy? I just don't have enough anger in me to see all men as threats. So what does that make me? Am I not angry enough?


Re GTA, did you see the recent feministing posts? I haven't read the discussions but they must be lively.

I don't agree with your co-worker. There was some discussion last year I think at the Daily Kos about whether all men are capable of rape. I suppose in theory that could be arguable, but really, in practice that's the kind of monolithic "thinking" that I think most of us on this board do our best to discourage no matter whom it's directed at, whatever gender, race, class, sexual orientation etc. (Honestly, as a slightly kinky woman who has attracted a string of uniformly vanilla men since my very first date, who canNOT bring themselves to so much as hold one of my wrists down...those guys, threats to me? Nah.) We as women want to be treated as individuals so why wouldn't we extend that to men?

Having said that, there are a few guys friends who, ferinstance, rave about GTA and seem completely oblivious to the gender representations. I sent them the feministing link and they didn't mention it next time we talked. Are they threats? Well, probably not, but yeah it bothers me.

I hope you keep your peace of mind and leave that all-encompassing anger to those who find it useful to them.

neurotic.nelly
kittenb,
your post made me think about something that I've been wanting to write but didn't know where or how to bring it up.
first of all, i think your coworkers are overreacting, just a lil' bit. men and women are equal and were considered equals in many human civilizations. women were revered by men in some of these pre colonial civilizations. men are not the enemy. they are the other side of the coin. that being said, whenever i read horrific stories about rape and incest and the like, i start to think that all men are the enemy and i have to check myself. it's not healthy for me. i start acting out.
btw, i fucking hate grand theft auto 1,2,3,4.

okay, so here is what i've wanted to write for a while.

we have a client at our office. we help homeless people get off of the streets etc. we just found out that he has been convicted of rape, TWICE! it's weird because out of all the clients I never would have guessed him b/c he seems nice, looks harmless. i still find him somewhat pleasant and in light of the new information i modify my interactions with him accordingly. I am not scared of him. i don't treat him any differently than anyone else. but, i wonder if he was completely out of his mind when he did it (he's got mental illness) or if he was somewhat connected with the reality of his actions, and i wonder if he is sorry.

eta: changed post to pre colonial, sheesh!

also, it's weird how this guy whose been convicted of rape is never the one to comment on my beauty or anything like this, no come on's... ??? go figure...
girltrouble
personally i don't have a problem with the gta series, because to me it's about choices. usually when i play, women rarely bare the brunt of my violence, usually i go on a destruction loop, logistically trying to figure out how i can get the maximum amount of cars to traffic jam at an intersection, planting bombs on cars and making them go boom, waiting for the fire truck to arrive, and seeing how many fire trucks i can get to go boom. if guys choose to take out their violence on women in the game, to me that says something about them. it's just not how i play the game. the thing about the GTA series is that they originated the sandbox, or open ended style. you can follow a storyline or just wander the game to do what you want. you don't even have to follow the story line. i don't. i've got 2 of the games and i've never finished either, and i doubt i ever will. it doesn't interest me. *shrugs* i prefer exploring. to blame video games for violence is silly. it's like blaming the sims for people wanting houses.

the reason your friends were raving about the GTA series, anarch, is that it is consistently innovative.

and not to be the lounge gadfly, but nelly, have you played, gta 1-4? how about vice city or san andreas? how about liberty city? do you know the difference? i understand the gender representations, but honestly, everybody is a stereotype in those games. i can't get not paragraphs into the first feministing article before i am seriously slowed by the numerous inaccuracies in it. i don't care if the criticize the game, hey, that's a good thing, but you undermine all of your points if the can't even get the basics correct. the first comment nails it:
QUOTE
First of all, it's a game of 'choice'. It is never a story goal to kill hookers, and playing through Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas I had no idea how to even do the action. The entire game focuses around "Ok, you're in a corrupt city working your way to the top of the criminal world, and every action you take has ramnifications (stars that alert the police to you with increasing intensity).
and then the author admits she's only seen a preview, and probably can't tell the difference between actual game play and the story line sequences. it's all the religious folks getting riled up about a movie that they've never seen. it's just stupid.

but honestly i wanted to comment on the other bits posted here:

i don't think the 'stockholm syndrome' thing holds water. infact it seems rather anachronistic. as is the whole all-men-are-bad, as are strap-ons and anyone who wants to kiss men horse shit. i think you have got the right idea when you say that looking at any group in a monolithic fashion, and you do yourself and that group damage. yes, certain men are rapists, but it's the patriarchy that is the enabler. it's when people like john mccain can find it acceptable that one of his main fundraisers thinks rape would be fine, and that women should lay back and enjoy it. it's they system that makes moronic, stupid statement perfectly fine. that kind of misogyny that makes guys think rape is ok.

i will agree that men aren't the enemy, but having been a boy, i think a lot of the violence is rooted in how men are socialized.
QUOTE
also, it's weird how this guy whose been convicted of rape is never the one to comment on my beauty or anything like this, no come on's... ??? go figure...

and maybe i've always had it wrong, but rape isn't about pretty, it's about power. atleast that's my understanding. after all, it's not the short skirt that a grandma is wearing that results in her rape. it's the man's feelings of impotence.

i have to say, nelly, i loved this comment:
QUOTE
Manimist: is a new term coined by Mr. Nelly, which is the belief that men and women are equal, and to accomplish this men must confront, and relinquish all false and real superiority complexes

it reminds me about posting umpteen years ago round here about race traitor-- a site that endorses that kind of idea, but applied it to race.
kittenb
GT - First I have to say that your new icon is messing w/my head. What is it? It looks like an evil M. Butterfly. But only sometimes...

While I agree with you that the ability to kill hookers on GTA is only a choice for the players, the fact that the marketers did use that function as something to advertise the game by says something about them as well. And while i somewhat agree with this comment:
QUOTE
it's all the religious folks getting riled up about a movie that they've never seen. it's just stupid.

when something turns me off this strongly I have no desire to investigate further.
girltrouble
and you have every right to make that choice, but what bugs me is when people make pronouncements when they know nothing.

if you don't know put that front and center, then sound off, but when you try to come off like you know (like the writer at feministing), then you make yourself look like an ass, and you discredit and misinform all those who would like to give voice to an informed opinion.

i think with the GTA series, they do trade on the most controversial parts of the game, but what has made GTA such a well known property has been controversy generated by uninformed, knee-jerk writers and groups. GTA was a game looooooooong before they invented the sandbox format, but never got much attention until somebody publicized you could kill hookers. but GTA was originally a knock off of spy hunter. it's always been more interested in carjacking. but the controversy changed everything, now controversy sells the game. but the people who buy it for that reason don't know the game. people come back to it because it is a brilliant immersive experience.

you have every right to ignore it, but isn't it better to have a valid reason to ignore it? one that is defensible?


as for my avitar, it's two different artists, the mac, who is a great graffiti artist who does photorealistic work with some cans of spray paint. elmac.net

the second two, and the one on my profile, and above are the work of the phenominal sylvia ji. who does paintings with women whose faces are painted mexican day of the dead skull style. i think they are just so beautiful, and if i thought i could get away with it, i would have my face done like that permanently....sylviaji.com


Xpost with nelly:ETA: it sounds like you were playing san andreas. and i agree with you about the socio-economic thing, but there are some parts in the game where you can beat up the rich too. lol... i should mention that game is huge, in terms of environment, so it's not just the hood. there is the country areas and a vegas areas, but you either have to play the game for a while or use cheats to get that far in, so it's a bit more nuanced than you give it credit for, but i take, and to a degree agree with you.

the thing that confuses me is that there are actually about 6 GTAs. there's 1-3, then there is vice city (miamivice ish), san andreas (californiaish gang bangers), and now liberty city, AKA GTA4 (new york mobsters)i've not heard of rape in liberty city, or any GTA and i highly doubt it since san andreas had a hidden code that would get you to a somewhat explicit sex scene (consentual) known as "coffee." the firestorm that ensued pretty much meant that while rockstar (GTA's company)might deal push the envelope to sell the game, anything done would not be explicit, and probably closer to god of war, in which sex was a
"minigame" where only a lamp on a bedside table was shown. and these games aren't supposed to be sold to kids, that's why they are rated "M".

much like american movies, american videogames are much less interested in sex of ANY kind, and more interested in violence. japanese video game however.... wacko.gif


and yeah, you are right date rape is different and may be about attraction and power.
neurotic.nelly
double p
neurotic.nelly
GT, I have never actually played the new GTA. I did play GTA 2 or 3. I went around the hood and beat up some guys, and then went into a fast food place and robbed it, while smacking people around. It didn't really hold my interest long. *but i am a non-gamer here*

The spectacle that it makes out of that socioeconomic situation is what drives me bonkers.

GTA 4, women being raped and hookers being killed. ugh. they shouldn't give youngsters that choice in a vid game.

+++++++++
Crossing over to the rape issue. I think that it can be about unrequited like/lust for another - date rape, where the guy/girl know eachother. Butttt, in the case I described you're right, it really would have nothing to do with my looks. It was funny though, the staff was all "be on the look out for so and so, we just found out he's been convicted for rape in the past. We'll need to speak with him." I was new and trying to pick out which guy it might be. I was wayyyy off when I found out.

GT, love the new icon. It reminds me of day of the dead.

ETA: Oh, I forgot, the other new icon looks like a badass zapatista girl. now that's hot!

ETA: damn you are fast.
neurotic.nelly
okay, i responded to kittenb's first post about the new game after also watching some news program about how horrible the game is. my blood started boiling. that was so long ago, i've not heard or thought of those games since. but really, i don't care either way. not enough to really defend my first or second stance.

i'm more interested in the links you've just posted.
knorl05
QUOTE(neurotic.nelly @ Jul 11 2008, 02:15 PM) *
GTA 4, women being raped and hookers being killed. ugh. they shouldn't give youngsters that choice in a vid game.


this is what i believe. my little brother plays gta, and given that he was raised in a home that has respect for women, he doesnt take the game beyond the game. but i still worry about the implications of raping and killing women in a game type fashion. not only will weaker minds who already have a propensity for hating women find joy and pleasure in this, it will also further validate their beliefs that women are just an adornment at their disposal. but i would have to say that, as with many other influences of the media, i dont necessarily think that it will be the sole cause of some man going out and raping and killing a prostitute. imo its a horrible game (as with doom and all those vidgames centering around killing, cos i'm also a nongamer) but i dont know if it really does as much damage as some people fear it might. have we lost hope in humanity? what i mean.. do we really think people have gotten to the point they cant distinguish fantasy from reality?
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