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Penny writes: "I've had the same conversation countless times: men telling me, 'I'm not a feminist, I'm an equalist.' Or young women, explaining that...they are not feminists."

Penny: 'What is it about the word 'feminism' that frightens people so much?' (photo: MomItForward.com)
Penny: 'What is it about the word 'feminism' that frightens people so much?' (photo: MomItForward.com)



Feminism Is the F-word

By Laurie Penny, New Statesman

17 March 13

 

hat is it about the word "feminism" that frightens people so much? In recent months, as I've travelled around the world giving talks about anti-capitalism and women's rights, I've had the same conversation countless times: men telling me, "I'm not a feminist, I'm an equalist." Or young women, explaining that despite believing in the right to equal pay for equal work, despite opposing sexual violence, despite believing in a woman's right to every freedom men have enjoyed for centuries, they are not feminists. They are something else, something that's very much like a feminist but doesn't involve having to say the actual word.

"Feminism" is the one F-word that really will make eyes widen in polite company. Saying it implies you might have demands that can't be met by waiting politely for some man in charge to make the world a little bit fairer. It's a word that suggests dissatisfaction, even anger - and if there's one thing that a nice girl isn't supposed to be, it's angry.

Often, fear of the word "feminism" comes from women ourselves. In many years of activism, I've frequently heard it suggested that feminism simply needs to "rebrand"; to find a better, more soothing way of asking that women and girls should be treated like human beings rather than drudges or brainless sex toys. It's a typical solution for the age of PR and the politics of the focus group: just put a fluffy spin on feminism and you'll be able to sell it to the sceptics. It turns out, however, that while a watered-down vision of women's empowerment can be used to flog shoes, chocolate and dull jobs in the service sector, real-life feminist politics - which involves giving women and girls control over our lives and bodies - is much tougher to sell.

Whatever you choose to call it, practical equal rights for women will always be a terrifying prospect for those worried about the loss of male privilege. It's no wonder that "feminism" is still stereotyped as an aggressive movement, full of madwomen dedicated to the destruction of the male sex and who will not rest until they can breakfast on roasted testicles. It should be obvious that, as the feminist writer bell hooks puts it, "Most people learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media." As a result, most people remain confused about what the fight for gender liberation ultimately means.

Outlets such as tabloid newspapers, men's magazines and sitcoms pound out a stream of stereotypes about feminism. It fascinates us, men and women alike, precisely because its ultimate demands for redistribution of power and labour are so enormous. The stereotypes invariably focus on the pettiest of details: an article about whether or not it is "feminist" for a woman to shave her armpits is guaranteed to drive a lot of traffic to the website of any ailing newspaper - but less so one about the lack of pension provision for female part-time workers.

Stereotypes of this sort are effective for a reason: they target some of our most intimate fears about what gender equality might mean. For example, attacks on "feminists" as ugly, masculine, even that worst possible slur, "hairy-legged", contain the threat that being outspoken will damage our gender identity. Male feminists, when they're brave enough to identify themselves as such, face being called wet or effeminate, or accused of playing pretend politics just to get laid. Those attacks are doubly effective because they have some basis in truth - feminism does threaten old gender roles, but only by setting us free to define the roles of "man" and "woman" however we like.

Often when women worry about being seen as "man-hating", we are worried that if we ask for too much change, the men and boys in our lives will cease to love us. When men call feminists "man-hating", the slur comes from a similar place: fear that women will be angry with them, or that they are to blame for injustice.

Yet one reason I continue to write, speak and campaign on feminist issues is precisely that I respect men. I respect men, and therefore I believe them to be far more than the two-dimensional creatures to which "traditional" notions of masculinity reduce them. It is because I respect men that I believe that most of them don't want to live and die in a world that keeps women down.

Why am I a feminist, not an equalist? First, because any woman who seeks only equality with men is lacking in imagination. I have no interest in equality with men within a system of class and power that slowly squeezes the spirit out of most people unfortunate enough not to be born into wealth. I have no interest in settling for a few more places for women on the boards of big banks. I believe the world would be better served if we had no women in those boardrooms - and no men, either; not if they intend to continue to foist the debts run up by their recklessness on to the backs of poor women across the world. If that seems unrealistic, it is no less so than the idea that we will achieve gender equality within the present system in our lifetime.

Second, I'm a feminist because, in Britain, gender equality is receding faster than a bigot backing out of a single mothers' meeting. Last month, the Sex and Power report by Counting Women In (pdf) showed that women's representation at the top levels of politics, the media, business and the arts has dropped significantly over the past few years. The report concludes that a child born this year will be drawing her pension by the time she first sees equal representation for women in government, if she sees it at all. That's too long to wait. If we really care about fairness between men and women, it's not enough for us to sit back and wait for the system of power to become a little more equal. Gradual trends can always go backwards as well as forwards. Now, more than ever, it's not enough for us to be "equalists".

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+68 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-03-17 22:24
Things will be better for us all when all bodies elected to represent the people as a whole are gender balanced. Men and women think and act differently and see the world from a different perspective. There is value in both of these ways of seeing and understanding. Our society needs the wisdom of both genders.
 
 
+15 # genierae 2013-03-18 07:42
Well said!
 
 
+44 # arroyoribera 2013-03-17 22:32
Persuasively and elegantly argued. Do not give up on this fight nor on the importance of explaining the "f" word and the defense of it. The "s" word - socialism - is a word which evokes similar reactions by people, some of whom want to "re-brand it," some who flee it, and others who disown it. They worry about being stereotyped and the stereotypes are effective for exactly the same reasons you so effectively explain with respect to the stereotyping of feminists. Thank you for expending the energy and time to spell this out.
- David Brookbank
 
 
-95 # randyjet 2013-03-17 22:51
This is funny in some respects since I have known lots of women and am married to one. Good girls and wives DO get angry and outspoken and any man or woman who says they don't is a liar. Then while acknowledging the fact of slurs against feminism and stating that there is some basis of truth to them, she refuses to acknowledge the truth that there are indeed lots of feminists who DO hate ALL men. There are lots of feminists who view ALL men as the enemy and wish to marginalize or in some more absurd terms castate them. There IS a school of thought in the feminist movement that holds that ALL sex between men and women is RAPE under ALL circumstances. So until you start dealing with those truths, you will continue to have a negative reaction to the word feminist.
 
 
+31 # CL38 2013-03-17 23:24
Once again, you prove feminists point that men are still trying to control women by DEFINING WHO FEMINISTS ARE, WHO REAL WOMEN ARE and what we feel (lots of feminists hate all men).

As a woman and a feminist, let me straighten out your thinking. All women hate that so many men (who were given birth to by women) hate and fear and want to control all women, they want us to stay under your control.

Women wanting equal rights is not castrating men. It has nothing to do with men. It has to do with OUR rights to be paid equal pay for equal work, to be promoted equally, to redesign society so it's much kid and women friendly, so men are not free to rape women and still get away with it.

I'll bet you don't any feminists, because they way you describe feminist women is off the wall, more like projections born of your fear and guilt about the way women are treated.

I
 
 
+38 # CL38 2013-03-17 23:26
Nothing much will change for women and families until we have equal female political representation across the country.
 
 
-9 # charsjcca 2013-03-18 09:31
The question is what will they bring to the table. Do we need a warmonger as president? I choose Chelsea Victoria Clinton or President in 2016, her warmonger relative.
 
 
+2 # Rain17 2013-03-18 00:04
You know what, you make an interesting point. I'm a man too, but I've had some female friends also say they weren't feminist for the reasons you stated in your post. They rejected some aspects of it.

What I think the biggest weakness of some schools of feminism is that they get angry when some women make choices they don't agree with, i.e. deciding to be a stay-at-home mom. Some feminists will view women who, even though they may have worked previously, who decide to stay at home with their children.

As for rape you do have a point. There are some women who automatically believe that the man is always guilty and the woman is always right. Two recent examples were the Duke Lacrosse and Domenic Strauss-Kahn cases, where in both cases, the allegations fell apart upon further investigation.

One of the issues with feminism is that, while it is right to focus on equal pay for equal work, ensuring that women have access to the same opportunities as men, and fighting discrimination, it doesn't recognize the right of women to make choices that don't fit their agenda.
 
 
+27 # maverita 2013-03-18 01:35
What she said did not mean females don't get angry, but that as soon as the do they are no longer considered "nice". And your generous use of all caps lets us know that you hold anger as well. I have spent a lifetime in the company of feminists in numerous cites and situations and have never met a one who espoused that all sex was rape. I do know that it takes the patience and compassion of many good men to undo the damage done by one truly bad one. And I hope that you will have many patient and compassionate females in your life to undo whatever was done to you to generate such anger. Both genders have bad apples. However, bad female apples seldom seem to actually castrate men but plenty of men have actually raped women. Honey, you need a glass belly button.
 
 
-36 # fliteshare 2013-03-18 03:50
I am with you on that.
Feminism pertains to empower women but at the same time is unwilling to assume any responsibilitie s because in a Patriarchy women are supposed to be seen as mere helpless victims and should therefore never be held responsible for anything.
How anybody expects to be taken serious as authority without a willingness to bear any associated responsibilitie s, is beyond me.
How empowering do these Feminists intent to become ?

You have to love this rape hysteria too. As someone who actually drove a rape victim to the hospital. I am pretty sure I know one person who won't feel too grateful towards her sisters for hyping a wolf whistle into rape. Because eventually it will demean her suffering and shame to mere sexual innuendo. No wonder women are disengaging en mass from these fundamentalist crazies.
 
 
+19 # feloneouscat 2013-03-18 08:15
Quoting randyjet:
There are lots of feminists who view ALL men as the enemy and wish to marginalize or in some more absurd terms castate them..


Actually, this is a meme, but it doesn't represent reality any more than "Grumpy Cat" does.

What these men hate is the "fantasy feminism" - the one that doesn't exist. The one that exists only in the anti-feminist propaganda.

They will argue that the Equal Rights Amendment means everything from socialism to shared bathrooms (how they get that out of equality I've no idea).

For example, I mention VAWA to one of these anti-feminists and the person went on a long rant about how it gives only women protections. When I suggested he READ it, he refused.

Reality is an anathema to these people. They would prefer to believe delusions than fact. Their goal, whether stated or not, is to maintain the status quo. Which works out quite well if you just happen to be male.
 
 
-6 # RaW 2013-03-18 08:49
Hey, come on folks. Randyjet speaks truth. The fact that he got so much negative feedback proves his point. Read carefully, and include the qualifications to his statements: He said "there is SOME basis of truth" (to criticisms of feminism). This is because "There are LOTS of feminists" (he didn't say all - and I have personally encountered many) "who DO hate ALL men." Sorry, it's true - and it doesn't make the cause any easier. "There IS a school of thought...that holds that ALL sex between men and women is rape" and if you don't believe it, read McKinnon and Dworkin. They don't just say it, they publish it and people buy it.
I love women, but those who accuse me of personally raping them all don't get much of that love.
I'll be interested to see how this comment is scored, because I DO call myself a feminist - I just don't count myself a rapist as a corollary.
 
 
+5 # MJnevetS 2013-03-18 14:16
Quoting RaW:
There IS a school of thought...that holds that ALL sex between men and women is rape" and if you don't believe it, read McKinnon and Dworkin. They don't just say it, they publish it and people buy it.
RaW, to be fully accurate, neither of the above mentioned feminist authors ever said that. What was stated and repeated by Andrea Dworkin was that "Penetrative intercourse is by its nature, violent. But I'm not saying that sex must be rape" She also said "Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women." Dworkin also described women (Feminists) who enjoyed heterosexual intercourse as "collaborators, more base than other collaborators have ever been: experiencing pleasure in their own inferiority." While that may be a distinction without a difference, if you misquote someone, they can accuse you of misrepresentati on. When you quote the author's own words, then any counter- arguments must deal with those facts. What is interesting is that the definition of sexual assault (in NJ at least) is that any penetration, no matter how slight, is enough for a finding of sexual assault. Thus, the touching of a clitoris with a finger is defined as penetration, so even female on female intimacy (of which she approved) is 'penetration' and thus, in her own words, 'by its nature, violent'. While I fully believe in women's equal rights, I do agree that certain spokespeople for feminism do more to harm the cause than help it!
 
 
+5 # bmiluski 2013-03-18 11:28
I am a feminist and I have a LOT of feminist friends and NEVER has the thought that ALL sex between men and women is rape. Nor do any of them hate ALL men. We are very angry with men and what they have done not to just us, but this planet. I seems as though you have bought into the neo-con version of what is feminism instead of doing the research yourself by talking actually talking and LISTENING to women who think of themselves as feminists.
 
 
+5 # Cassandra2012 2013-03-18 12:54
LISTENING to what women (feminist or not) really have to say is not exactly a strong point with a LOT of men... including doctors, husbands, boyfriends, co-workers et al.
 
 
+6 # Cassandra2012 2013-03-18 12:49
And there ARE some males who clearly DO hate ALL women and like the badly brought up teens of Steubenville think they are ENTITLED to rape a comatose girl. There are lots of men who view women as potential property, as brainless sex toys, and as not worthy of listening to. Lots of males treat older women as invisible (because they are no longer of sexual interest to them perhaps?) and act as though they were brought up by wolves, pushing aside women with canes or walkers, pushing in front on lines etc.
 
 
+1 # Billsy 2013-03-18 13:04
It has been my experience that most such bigoted women are being marginalized by more enlightened groups that encourage and welcome diversity. I've seen this first hand among lesbian groups that have been informed in the past by so much discrimination that they wound up practicing it themselves. Such attitudes are not welcome anymore. Besides, there will be fringe thought amidst ANY focused group. It is not fair to hold that against the mainstream.
 
 
+35 # Servelan 2013-03-17 22:51
When we fight for women's rights, we also fights for the rights of men because when women's rights are attacked in order to keep them under control, so are the rights of men so as to control them as well. Women's rights are the beachhead we must hold to safeguard the rights of all.
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2013-03-18 12:55
Yes, because rape for one example is used to humiliate husbands, fathers and sons who feel they could not 'protect' "their" women, as in e.g., Sarajevo, and other wars.
 
 
-2 # Virginia 2013-03-18 00:39
Oh pleeaze - damn it. If you want to be considered seriously stand up for yourself. I'm a women and every job I've worked in I've proven to be better than anyone other qualified - male or female. If I didn't feel I made the same salary I said so and I was given a raise. I've also been in jobs that did not respect women and I quit.

I've also been in business for myself and fought assholes who thought they were Gods. But you know there is always a dark secret behind each of them. One such male SOB i have had the unpleasant experience of encountering has never filed state tax in 14 years... Ya think he's a problem?

Look at it this way, if you want to get ahead you can't sit comfortably behind a desk and expect the world to revolve around you. Investigate and make it happen for yourself.
 
 
+6 # MJnevetS 2013-03-18 14:24
I'm confused, Virginia; you have made a strong statement and sound like you are a woman who has stood up for yourself (which is a great thing!) and yet you get negative scores from the supposed proper left on this site!?. This is why Feminism is considered an 'F' word. You can be a feminist; i.e. to believe that women can and should have the equality of men in all things, including being able TO CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES WHAT IS BEST AND BE CONSIDERED EQUALLY in their pursuits. And yet when a woman says something that doesn't fit in a preconceived mold of what 'feminism' is, she gets thumbs down. (you got my thumbs up!)
 
 
+2 # wwway 2013-03-18 15:26
Oh pleeaze. No one expects to sit behind a desk and expect the world to reward them. There's no such thing as being comfortable behind a desk.
 
 
+3 # Barbara K 2013-03-18 15:36
Virginia: I don't understand it either, you got thumbs up from me too.

..
 
 
-3 # Smiley 2013-03-18 01:32
If you grow up in a female dominated household, feminism sounds domineering.
 
 
+30 # RMDC 2013-03-18 05:04
The right wing demonized "feminism" way back in the 70s and 80s when the ERA Amendment was working it way toward ratification. The word "liberal" also was demonized then. This is the power of propaganda and thought control. As the article says, most women and many or most men are in favor of the goals of feminism; they just don't want to use the word. Same for liberalism, progressivism, and socialism.

Thanks for this article. We should not be intimidated by the right wing and their efforts to control language. Language matters. It controls to a large extent what people do and how they explain what they do. Language is the medium between behavior and thought.
 
 
+5 # wwway 2013-03-18 15:28
The right wing demonized women for all of American history.
 
 
+27 # goodsensecynic 2013-03-18 08:12
As a white, male, heterosexual senior citizen who grew up (to the extent possible) in North America in the 1950s, I am (almost by definition) a recovering misogynist and homophobic making it as well as I can up the twelve (or so) steps of inclusive humanization.

I don't think I was ever as bad as most others of my kind and I even had intimations that something was profoundly wrong with gender issues/identiti es, but I didn't think enough about the political economy of such matters until I met Gloria Steinem in 1972, about the time Ms. Magazine got started: call it my "Aha!" moment.

Now, with a twenty-somethin g daughter of my own who is already a public health specialist and about to become a lawyer, I worry that I'm back in the 1950s. I pay attention to the mass media and occasionally eavesdrop on public conversations. The results are not inspiring.

Yes, doors are open (most university students are now female and some elite jobs go to women), but general cultural attitudes have not improved much and, I fear, have regressed.

In the 1980s, we heard a lot about "post-feminism" and the noise was very like today: "I'm not a feminist, but ... etc." We're hearing it again, and all I can do, from the sidelines, is scream out:

"IF you believe in women's reproductive rights, workplace equality, an end to violence against women, an equal voice in politics, etc., then YOU ARE a feminist."

Wear the label proudly. I know I do (as part of the "men's auxiliary").
 
 
-2 # pbbrodie 2013-03-18 15:56
"Male feminists, when they're brave enough to identify themselves as such, face being called wet or effeminate, or accused of playing pretend politics just to get laid. Those attacks are doubly effective because they have some basis in truth - feminism does threaten old gender roles, but only by setting us free to define the roles of "man" and "woman" however we like."
I really resent this quote from the article. Like you, goodsensecynic, I consider myself a feminist and proudly too. Having been happily married for over 37 years, I do not want to "get laid" or have any need to and I also have no fears of being called wet, whatever that means, or effeminate. I have never understood why many people, like this author, want to attack or denigrate their allies in this way. Why can't they simply accept that there are men who are genuine feminists?
 
 
+5 # genierae 2013-03-18 08:27
Let's go to the root of the problem, the lack of spiritual influence in this situation. There is the feminine and the masculine, each having its own unique qualities, and when equally balanced the combination brings harmony. The problem arises when the ego is allowed to dominate, which gives the masculine gender the edge because of their superior strength and aggressiveness. This produces a patriarchy where women are viewed as lesser beings whose only function is to serve men.

Men need to be liberated from their intense focus on their sexuality, and introduced to who they really are. They are spiritual beings occupying physical bodies but until they rise above and restrain their egos, they will fail to realize their immense potential.

Women need to be liberated from their wrong idea that they can't be happy without a man. Once they realize their feminine potential and are truly independent, then they will be able to have a lasting, happy relationship with men.

Each gender has qualities that the other doesn't have, and a society that has an equal number of men and women in the power structure, cannot fail to prosper.
 
 
+1 # Beakie 2013-03-18 09:15
Categories have always given me the creeps. Although, as a young woman, I rejoiced when feminism hit the streets, and opened the eyes of my mother and aunts (to the bewilderment of my dad and uncles) , I inwardly cringed that anything so powerful and beautiful as gender difference could be addressed within a category. I had friends who were "political lesbians" because in their enthusiasm for "feminism" they thought men could not possibly grasp what it meant to be a woman. Most of them ultimately married wonderful men. I deeply appreciate what the author is saying here, yet feel that the word "feminist" has reached it's outermost boundary and perhaps will be replaced by something less burdened by its history.
 
 
+18 # Shahla Khan Salter 2013-03-18 09:18
Afraid to say you're a feminist? It means you don't know not only how far feminists have brought you but how far the road lies ahead to obtain "equality". Try telling women in other countries, like Egypt, who are fighting (literally) with the Muslim Brotherhood that they are not feminists, or women in Pakistan demanding that action be taken by their government against the Pakistani Taliban which has killed scores of women and girls for no reason other than they are women and girls that feminism is not necessary. Without feminism there is no justice. And remember that "equality" under the rules of patriarchy is nothing.
 
 
+7 # Phlippinout 2013-03-18 09:59
EXACTLY! I am proud to be a feminist and never afraid to say it!
 
 
+7 # wwway 2013-03-18 09:18
The right has done an excellent job of demeaning the word feminist and, don't be fooled, the meaning of that word.

Rush Limbaugh is the master of demeaning the word feminist. He has done it for years. Calling aspiring and already independent and successful women "femininatzies" and criticizing women for their accomplishments has been very successful. Last year he took his demeaning, emotively wicked vocabulary further regarding Sandra Fluke.
By allowing conservatives to redefine words is very cowardly of the American people.

In turn. As I read this article I couldn't help but recall the women of FOX news who sit like pretty bobble-heads next to male anchors or appeal to angry old while men on their own show promoting the angry white male view. According to the street vernacular they are described as Pimp Princesses.
 
 
+14 # Mainiac 2013-03-18 09:28
Reply to Rain17- You cite the case against Dominic Strauss-Kahn fell apart because the woman made a false accusation. The prosecution in this case decided to “prosecute” the woman before the case went to trial. The state found evidence that she had lied in order to get into this country. But her lies were not put up against his. He denied that he had had any sexual relationship with her in the beginning but then changed it to say that the sex was consensual when his DNA was found on her blouse. Do you think that there was a lot of pressure on a high-profile prosecutor to find a way to get this very well-known wealthy political figure off the hook? Even though it was well-known in certain circles that DSK had a “problem.” And isn’t it interesting that she won a civil suit against him and he had to pay her an undisclosed amount? If it had not been for the feminists’ work during the seventies and eighties on rape this case would never have even been brought.
 
 
+6 # kelly 2013-03-18 09:40
Why are you a feminist and not an equalist?
What was the difference between separate but equal and equal? Everything in the mind of the truly oppressed. Many people don't remember that we have only had the right to vote for less than 100 years. I meet kids all the time today, many in college right now, telling me they don't understand the big deal about the "feminist" movement. There are plenty of women in their classes, blah, blah, blah. I say yes now, but when or if you get to a corporate boardroom tell me how many you find. You are quite qualified as are your friends but don't think you are immune to glass ceilings. And she blankly looked at me and said what is a glass ceiling. Our memories are way too short here.
 
 
+1 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-03-19 09:50
Quoting kelly:
Why are you a feminist and not an equalist?


Equalism has an equally big problem. Like Feminism, who gets to define the definition? Women have lived longer than men for quite a while, despite men's effort to "equalize" that disparity by making them work harder or in more dangerous situations, now that childbirth isn't as fatal as it used to be. Promoting women is a good idea because, like civil rights, there still is a problem -- Supreme Court blindness to race or gender won't eliminate the problem, despite the logical appeal. And we need a bit of feminism until there is recognition of the equal value of women and men (not "equality") in a society where the different skills, capabilities, strengths and weakness of each sex are not blocked by expectations tied to the gender label. May take a while.
 
 
+1 # da gaf 2013-03-18 09:53
man and woman is unisex..both have some of the other the first cells were the sex cells.from both..the termination depends on the stronger of which side of the balance- the child will be male or female..ok the situation is that women can have multi-orgasm..w hile man can only have one or two-hence the fear of man toward the woman..and all through history women have been put in a lower place in society than man..has been punished murdered and tortured..in nearly all of these idiotic religion-includ ing Christianity..h ow it is about time that we all should face the facts that we all are one-man-woman and start treating the other with compassion and understanding that we all are divine...period !
 
 
-15 # 2wmcg2 2013-03-18 10:20
The fact that young women and men with no apparent ax to grind find feminism distasteful ought to give some pause for thought. Yes, there is a reason for this. The feminist police state - the conjunction of police, prosecutors and court officials with the feminist ideology - would be one of them. In some places, men don't get a fair shake. The Minnesota Supreme Court, for instances, requires all attorneys to take courses to make them extra sensitive to women's needs. This perverts the principle of equal justice under the law. The weakness of feminism is that most women have husbands, boyfriends, brothers, or sons whom they love. They are not going to let an angry ideology override their sense of justice and love. Women don't want to fight men in general; and the same is true of men. People see what feminism means in practice and they don't want it. The political class is out of touch.
 
 
+6 # kelly 2013-03-18 11:02
Feminist police state? Okay Rush. Must have found a way to change your screen name. It can't be any worse than the male dominated dictatorships women have been suppressed beneath all their lives beginning with Adam.
 
 
+4 # dusty 2013-03-18 13:24
"In some places, men don't get a fair shake." Where specifically is this that men don't get a fair shake and give some examples. The concept of lawyers being sensitive to women isn't taking away a fair shake, it is looking to equality before the law.
 
 
+5 # dusty 2013-03-18 13:26
Of course cowardly men fear women living without fear, men who use religion or male prerogative to claim domination over women.
 
 
+3 # PGreen 2013-03-18 16:08
Discrimination equals prejudice-plus- power. There are people of all sorts everywhere with prejudice, but the power dynamic is such that men have more economic and political power in most arenas. Thus men discriminate against women in a more frequent and general sense than the reverse. (I don't know that prejudice alone has ever been effectively measured, but I suspect that there is more of that among men as well.) There ARE individual cases where reverse discrimination happens, but they are quite small by comparison.
This same equation can be applied to race, BTW.
The author is quite right that the capitalist principle of hierarchical domination is at the heart of many problems. Even if we could eliminate all aspects of gender prejudice, people would continue to degrade each other by class or race or earlobe (whatever). That's not necessarily much improvement.
We need to address the power aspect of the prejudice equation, just as firmly as the attitude ones.
 
 
+1 # 2lilluc 2013-03-21 05:36
"The feminist police state?" On what planet is that geographically? Is that also the place where "men don't get a fair shake?" Your "for instance" is a rotten example. We live in a world where things are done according to the way men see life and interpret things. I don't believe anyone would argue that yes, men and women are different as a whole. If, in order to make justice more equal, not less, as you suggest, men need a little education, I mean really, women are educated from birth to be "extra sensitive," as you say, to men's needs. This is not about women wanting to fight men, or men wanting to fight women. Maybe it's more about that we woman do not want and should not need to apologize for being women. Nor should we need to apologize if we want something and go after it, and anger does not make a woman a b*tch, being driven does not make a woman want to wear the pants. If anything, men have forced a stereotype on woman, in all possible ways. A man's a stud, while a woman's a whore. A man is a strong leader, while a woman is a pain in the ass.....and you know the rest. As long as men continue to repress women what else are we to think but that you're scared to death of us? We don't bite....usually ....
 
 
-8 # MidwestTom 2013-03-18 10:45
So is women's rights the reason that our President has increased the quota for Muslim immigration? Islam is now the fastest growing religion in America.
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2013-04-02 16:49
irrelevant and illogical.
 
 
+1 # Gnome de Pluehm 2013-03-18 11:39
Let me suggest that Feminist is a less than perfect label. The word, in and of itself, implies a role reversal such that the female becomes the ruling, dominating figure. (Hold on; I know that is not the intent.)

I had not encountered the word Equalist before this article appeared; it seems a better label to me.
 
 
+2 # Cassandra2012 2013-03-18 13:50
Uh ...the way 'lady' was considered better than 'woman' because the latter implied sexually mature?
Call things what they are, as the article suggests, and do not 're-brand' in the way of Madison Ave. so as not to 'offend' sensibilities of the male-dominant 'culture'?
Call rape, 'rape' and women, 'women' and misogyny 'misogyny' and feminism, "feminism". Look up 'essentialism'.
 

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