16 Comments

FAQ: What do feminists want?

To end the perpetuation of gender expectations that, on balance, harm women.

To explain the many ways that sexist stereotypes, double standards, and oppressions harm women generally is beyond the scope of this introductory post, but the reading below should give you some starting links.

Related:
What is feminism?
What is male privilege?
What is the “Gender Gap”?
Isn’t feminism just “victim” politics?

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About tigtog

writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

16 comments on “FAQ: What do feminists want?

  1. [Moderator Note: I've copied this comment to this thread because it is off-topic for the Open Suggestion Thread.]

    Alec Leamas:

    “Considering the capabilities of both men and women across a wide variety of tasks/interests, I see no reason that even traditionally genderised crafts/trades/professions shouldn’t be constituted at least 40/60 by the non-traditional gender (at all levels of the hierarchy in those crafts/trades/professions). Once we actually reach that level then we can examine further aspects of hypothetical total gender parity, eh?”

    But once again you’ve evaded my challenge, which was to reference the source for “rights” claims to parity, or at least to reference some common ethical principle supporting the claim that such parity is at the very least desirable, much less one that compels my acquiescence. We usually don’t get far from “I want a pony. ‘Cause.”

    You really need to be able to articulate these things in order to graft your cause onto the tree of “rights” properly understood in Western legal and moral traditions.

    “No person has the right to demand the use of another person’s body.”

    This is simply a conclusory statement, and is patently untrue given even a cursory review of Western tradition. Military conscription is, for example, the state demanding use of a man’s body up to and including ordering him to certain death, as in the invasion of Omaha beach or Guadalcanal. This is Constitutional, ethical, and necessary for the maintenance of a free and defensible society. Merely stating “I do not support a draft” in the interests of consistency will not do, because, again, we are seeking after examples that refute your above claim as practiced and accepted by our culture. Would you argue that ordering a man directly into the hail of German machinegun fire is less restrictive or onerous than prohibiting abortion, or even restricting the procedure itself?

    I am looking for an ethical system which requires that the government/men/patriarchy acknowledge and respect that you are something more than one of millions of animated meat puppets deserving of “rights” inuring by virtue of something which transcends your material existence and the government’s power to coerce – which is loosely what “rights” are – but which at the same time supports your claim that a full-term, viable baby is excess tissue to be removed and destroyed at will or whim.

  2. [Moderator note: another comment from the same author copied to this thread, because no matter what other thread Leamas posts on, it always seems to come back to this topic, so the debate should be on this thread.]

    Alec Leamas:

    “Alex, you have already demonstrated ample lack of respect, and the fact that you return here again and again not to argue, but to ridicule.

    A misogynist hates female autonomy. That is the core of the definition of misogynist. The fact that many misogynists believe it to be more broadly “hatred of women” allows them to say “but I love my mom, and my sister, and my wife, and they’re women, so I must not be a misogynist”, all the while supporting policies and rhetoric that attacks the autonomy of women.

    Also, you’re not on the fence, and anyone reading knows it. You are not arguing in good faith, just pretending to be reasonable in order to amuse Anonymous. Honey, we’ve been at war for hundreds of years against misogynist assholes like yourself and the legion. To think that their tired little antics or your pathetic “non argument” trolling does anything to lessen our resolve only proves you understand absolutely nothing about us.”

    Howsoever you wish to avoid substantive engagement does not concern me.

    Once again, you demand a degree of autonomy that is a fiction – it neither exists for men nor women, and would subsist in using the coercive power of government to force others to do by compulsion that which a woman and a man would otherwise divide between themselves on a voluntary basis. Do you really not expect me to believe that the feminist utopia is not one of womb to tomb government envelopment?

    I never claimed to be on the fence, but I am certainly arguing in good faith. The difficulty that you have in accounting for the fundamental underpinnings of your belief is a very real one – and one that you cannot wish away by calling me a misogynist asshole. A smarter interlocutor might give the matter some thought and hone her argument, much less reflect upon it and reconsider her worldview, but not you. I do not expect to lessen your religious zeal, but the numbers – yes the numbers – they do not lie. You are now a fringe element – a shadow in the lives of so many younger women – and you know this.

    Finally, which “feminism” was extant and warring with misogynist assholes for a minimum of 200 years as of this date? I am thus unaware.

  3. OK, despite a history of Leamas responding within minutes on threads that these posts were derailing, there’s been no response for nearly two hours on this thread. Curious.

    Anyway:

    * “gender parity” – you are the one claiming that feminist calls for full social equality and equity mean some form of enforced numerical parity. I don’t have to argue for rights to support numerical parity when simple numerical parity is not what feminists are actually asking for.

    * “rights over another person’s body” – your attempted rebuttal with the example of military conscription by the State fails, as the State compensates the person for the mandatory use of their body financially, with training for their required service, and free medical care in the case of injury during that service, plus pensions for their surviving family in case of death during their service to the State. Start talking about State compensation for forcing women to bear children they don’t want, and then you’ll have an equivalent situation.

    “your claim that a full-term, viable baby is excess tissue to be removed and destroyed at will or whim.”

    Who exactly has made that claim about a full-term viable baby? References, please.

  4. Once again, you demand a degree of autonomy that is a fiction – it neither exists for men nor women, and would subsist in using the coercive power of government to force others to do by compulsion that which a woman and a man would otherwise divide between themselves on a voluntary basis.

    Female autonomy involves more than simple bodily autonomy with respect to reproduction. You always end up ignoring other aspects of feminism to beeline in on abortion.

    As to reproductive autonomy: unless you have a better example of compromised bodily autonomy for men than the military conscription model as discussed above, the degree of autonomy over one’s body being asked for by women does indeed exist for men.

  5. “OK, despite a history of Leamas responding within minutes on threads that these posts were derailing, there’s been no response for nearly two hours on this thread. Curious.”

    Oh, you sneaky minx!

    “* “gender parity” – you are the one claiming that feminist calls for full social equality and equity mean some form of enforced numerical parity. I don’t have to argue for rights to support numerical parity when simple numerical parity is not what feminists are actually asking for.”

    If such were the case, citing numerical inequality – i.e. Title IX – would not be the best way to make your argument.

    “* “rights over another person’s body” – your attempted rebuttal with the example of military conscription by the State fails, as the State compensates the person for the mandatory use of their body financially, with training for their required service, and free medical care in the case of injury during that service, plus pensions for their surviving family in case of death during their service to the State. Start talking about State compensation for forcing women to bear children they don’t want, and then you’ll have an equivalent situation.”

    Well, soldiers’ and Marines’ sexual intercourse doesn’t start the chain of events leading to war(at least not since Paris and Helen) – you gals tend to leave that point out – but their service IS at the demand of the state and compelled control of the body, and if the wages and death benefits were bargained-for compensation, there would be no need for the threat of force for non-compliance. So yes, the state does DEMAND use of men’s bodies – in a manner much more common to lead to maiming and death. I don’t complain (former Marine). If the government gave you a dollar every time you wanted an abortion that was prohibited, would this satisfy you?

    “Who exactly has made that claim about a full-term viable baby? References, please.”

    I’ll grant that you may not be familiar with American politics, so I’ll just ask that you search “Carhartt” at the first five blogs in your feminist blogroll. Feministe, Pandagon, Feministing, etc.

  6. “Female autonomy involves more than simple bodily autonomy with respect to reproduction. You always end up ignoring other aspects of feminism to beeline in on abortion.

    As to reproductive autonomy: unless you have a better example of compromised bodily autonomy for men than the military conscription model as discussed above, the degree of autonomy over one’s body being asked for by women does indeed exist for men.”

    I never said that abortion begins and ends the inquiry – nor that “bodily autonomy” is all that concerns you and yours.

    A man does not have the social “autonomy” to quit his career to become a stay-at-home dad at will. Patriarchy or not, career women are not stumbling over one another to snatch up all the aimless but handsome men making minimum wage.

    The American regime of Divorce Laws comes to mind as well . . .

  7. Oh, you sneaky minx!

    I clearly indicated on the other threads where I modified your comments that I had pasted the body of those comments over here. How is that sneaky?

    I’ll engage with your various misrepresentations later. Got things to do. How do you manage to keep posting around the clock like this?

  8. “How do you manage to keep posting around the clock like this?”

    Pssst . . . I live in the states . . . almost bedtime . . .

    As for the rest, I’ve been a westlaw jockey as of late, and chained to my desk.

  9. Alec, may I suggest concision? Use words, but sparingly. That way, you can actually pull off the image as a civil litigator in the Porsche, rather than as your mother’s tenant.

  10. “Alec, may I suggest concision? Use words, but sparingly. That way, you can actually pull off the image as a civil litigator in the Porsche, rather than as your mother’s tenant.”

    You are othering me, sir.

  11. OKeydokey:

    1. Gender equity vs parity:

    If such were the case, citing numerical inequality – i.e. Title IX – would not be the best way to make your argument.

    Disingenuous. Citing large numerical inequalities to demonstrate existing inequity is not the same as demanding absolute numerical parity.

    2. State control of person’s bodies (forced pregnancy cf military conscription):

    Well, soldiers’ and Marines’ sexual intercourse doesn’t start the chain of events leading to war

    Non sequitur.

    if the wages and death benefits were bargained-for compensation, there would be no need for the threat of force for non-compliance. So yes, the state does DEMAND use of men’s bodies – in a manner much more common to lead to maiming and death. I don’t complain (former Marine). If the government gave you a dollar every time you wanted an abortion that was prohibited, would this satisfy you?

    Someone bargained for compensation for conscriptees, even if it wasn’t the conscriptees themselves, because coerced bodily service without compensation is slavery, which has been outlawed.

    Military conscription involves both the threat of force for non-compliance AND compensation for service. Forced birth as proposed involves only one side of that balance. Seems prima facie inequitable to me.

    3. “Carhartt” and the abortion of allegedly viable full-term babies allegedly “at will or whim”

    I know enough about that case to know that you are wildly misrepresenting the issue of late-term abortion. Such pregnancies are never aborted “at whim”, they are personal tragedies for families who deeply wanted a child and who had a late-term crisis. I hope you’re not yet another person who misrepresents the nature of “elective surgery” – organ transplants are elective surgery, and no-one has a transplant “at whim”.

    4. Social autonomy

    A man does not have the social “autonomy” to quit his career to become a stay-at-home dad at will.

    If the gender pay gap did not exist, men would not necessarily be the prime breadwinner and men could take their turn in being the stay at home parent – each parent could take one year on and one year off (or whatever) without the family suffering financial hardship as they currently do. Not every couple would necessarily choose to do this, but the option would be there for those who do. Why are you so opposed to having the option of men being stay-at-home dads being a financially viable choice for those who want it?

    5. Divorce

    The American regime of Divorce Laws comes to mind as well . . .

    Wouldn’t it all be easier without a gender pay gap and with egalitarian parenting? No alimony requirements, although obviously splitting one house into two would still mean a drop in living standards for both partners. Shared parenting would mean equal child support payments as well.

  12. Bruce, I am perfectly willing to concede Alec’s contention that he is wealthy and powerful. That changes nothing about his willingness to live off the mostly unpaid and unappreciated labor of women who buy into caring for him. In fact, the idea that he has power and influence and uses that power to attempt to derail female autonomy speaks more to his misogyny, not less.

    And Alec, you’re not being othered, you’re being dismissed as an unoriginal troll incapable of contributing to the debate.

  13. [...] with it, but none more than when I cut and pasted in some words from an anti-feminist who has been hanging around tigtog’s Feminism 101 site lately. Hard to tell which is which, isn’t [...]

  14. This has been very interesting, actually. I had the headcold from hell over the weekend, and thus I let some arguments distract me into their framing instead of standing clear on where the issues really (from my perspective) lie. I’d handle these interactions differently another time, I think.

  15. And everybody should read TheGirlGromMarz’s BlogWarBot post trackbacked in comment #13. And cackle.

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