Men and feminism

One of the things anti-feminists find hard to swallow is the idea that patriarchy permeates the mechanics of our society. Okay, correction: far from existing as just an idea or theory as many would believe, the patriarchal problem is very real and it hurts men, too. Some would rather be persuaded to use another term to describe certain injustices women face, like ‘discrimination’ perhaps, and ignore that male-dominance in certain positions of power (in politics, religious organisations, film and media corporations, literature, etc.) is really the problem.  A great article by Laurie Penny at Liberal Conspiracy tells us that anti-feminist men should get over the myth of male-bashing feminists and embrace feminism without risking losing their Y-chromosome.

In recent weeks, I’ve faced a lot of accusations of misandry for daring to point out that some bad things that happen are perpetrated almost exclusively by men, and for having the temerity to suggest that in some situations women get a raw deal simply because of their biological sex. I thought I’d respond to the critics with a few reasons why feminism and misandry are not synonymous, and why male and female feminists need to work together to break tired economic models of gender.

As feminists, the liberation of the y-chromosomed half of the human race has never been high on our list of priorities – historically speaking, we’ve had enough to worry about. However, it’s high time that we started a serious recruitment drive. Although the feminist movement has faced many obstacles and lost many battles, women have now won themselves enough social and economic capital that we can finally start to address the other half of the equation: the emancipation of men from capitalist patriarchy.

There are many urgent reasons why socialist feminists of all genders need to concern themselves with popular misandry and the subjugation of men, especially when we’re facing down the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. A recession is never a good time for women’s rights. Economic crisis moves economic equality from the agenda, and a great deal of women’s struggle in and out of the workplace revolves around the battle for equal economic status. Cuts to welfare benefits and part-time employment hit women with children hardest.

But most importantly of all, any recession creates a large body of justly angry, disenfranchised working men, men who are encouraged implicitly and sometimes explicitly to take that anger out where it will do least damage to capitalist hegemony: to whit, on women. It is a well-known and oft-repeated fact that domestic violence against women increases in times of economic crisis, usually, as is the case now, contiguously with a cut in state spending on women’s refuges. But another backlash against feminism itself is also to be expected – and as feminists, the fallacy that the problems that men face in a recession are the fault of feminism is something that we need to turn and face.

Read the rest here.

16 thoughts on “Men and feminism

  1. I know that men’s liberation is also women’s business, because we are all on the same sinking boat, but my problem with this is that too often, it ends up with men looking to women for actionable guidance, and it just feels like women doing work for men all over again =/ Keeping in mind the histories wherein women spearheaded movements for men and were eventually shunted off as soon as we got it off the ground and men took over, I guess I’m just feeling all ’round cynical about it.

  2. Thank you, Jha, for your comment. It is so often true that women labour away for important causes that are sidelined and ignored, but as soon as some recognition and influence is available, there seem to be men ready to take the power and the glory. I believe that any movement for sexual equality and liberation from gender stereotyping and social control needs to happen in conversation between men and women. Feminism cannot exist as a women only club and fulfil its principles. However, women need to lead and create space for female-identity work (imagining being women beyond patriarchy). Men’s groups have often perpetuated their own stereotyping, finding new ways to be macho brothers in arms amid modern alienation — that’s part of the problem. So, I think sometimes we men need those established women’s groups to provide a model and theory for fighting the destructive effects of patriarchy. After all, men are the foremost perpetrators of patriarchy (although there are women anti-feminists), and we, most of all, need to see the truth that our own stereotyping of what being a man should mean is just as destructive as any other sexism.

  3. Gareth: And I don’t really mind men looking to feminists to provide a model for how they can begin to dismantle the part of patriarchy that hurts them. It’s when men get all “Why don’t you start shelters for men??” and being all miffed that women aren’t out there advocating for them that I get the chills. Men should be pulling their own weight in the movement, except more often they’re the ones perpetrating the old stereotypes, clinging to them as if they’re bastions of identity, making feminism’s work harder.

  4. Jha: That’s it exactly. A lot of these men’s groups around are powered by bruised egos. I’ve witnessed a woman and her daughter being driven half way across the country to a secret address to get away from her abusive husband: shelters are vital in allowing women to escape violent relationships. Perhaps men need shelters too, but I think there is a quite different situation here. Men can and do get beaten by their wives, girlfriends and boyfriends. Society thinks that that’s funny, that they’re ‘sissy’ not standing up for themselves, and sends them back to their abusive partner with the macho jokes ringing in their heads. Men don’t need shelters, they need understanding and compassion, and certainly not to have the stereotype of masculinity reinforced for them. That said, where violence is concerned, it is by far more likely to be perpetrated by a man, and most likely against a woman — we have no sexual equality for violence. That’s why men should be opposing violence against women as much as any woman, rather than trying to score cheap points about ‘equality’ that misses the bigger inequality in our world of male violence.

  5. Gareth: To be honest, I do see the benefits of having a men’s shelter, run by understanding, compassionate men. It’s much like The Survivor Thread at Shakesville – we all need safe spaces where we’re understood and safe, even if it ends up being an echo chamber. The problem with men’s echo chambers today, of course, is that it ends up to be a lot of ego-driven posturing. But I don’t think that that should be a reason to deny men safe spaces to hide from the abusive people in their lives.

    There’s actually a men’s shelter here in Halifax. It offers counselling, among its services. I can’t remember what else, but I remember thinking that it was a neat idea.

  6. I hope you don’t mind an anti feminist man to comment. It give another view. Don’t worry no Ad hominem.

    Feminism is by and large anti male, anti female, anti reproduction, anti evolution/Darwinism, and most importantly anti science (which is why it is a “social science”). If it wasn’t for the victimization argumentation and guilt by association that feminist use, feminism would be seen as creationism.

    Let me explain:

    Men and women are not equal and they are not the same. Any scientist can tell you that. I won’t go into evidence but just Google it. While we are of the same specie and rights should be given to women, this doesn’t justify equal rights because we are not biologically equal.

    You don’t see blind people (or partially blind) being able to drive–complaining that that they, people with bad eyesight, have “equal rights” as those who can drive–extreme analogy, but it points something out.

    Equality doesn’t always mean harmony–something that feminist can’t see.

    Bruised ego? Can you provide an alternative masculinity. Masculinity isn’t a social construct (which feminist have no proof of) is it caused by something caused Testosterone. If we agree that they are victimized that shows that they are essentially not the same because no organism would allow themselves to be oppressed.

    In terms of misandry hurting men, it is a very common feminine trait to “express our feelings and problems” to the world. It has to due with women being more nurturing so that they can raise kids. Having a soft approach in life allows children to bond to their mothers. Men, regardless (even if we are more evolved animals), have to suck it up and learn to deal with it. It is survival of the fittest. The strongest live and the weakest die. A perfect example of another mammal: the male lion and prides. Ego posturing has to do with attracting a mate because women want a man who is able to take care of her and be dominant. What, you never heard of, “nice guys finish last?” What have you been attracted to a feminine (straight) man? I curious because most women don’t find it attractive, in fact they view of that particular man being needy. IT is called mating in biology and all males, regardless of mammal, do it in the animal kingdom.

    Sorry I have to stop here since I need to go to the gym. I don’t even no if this will be deleted but if the op is open minded enough it won’t be.

    • No, I don’t mind anti-feminists commenting here as long as you make your case intelligently.

      But you’re attempting an intelligent argument by using pseudo-science. Yes, you’re talking about animals and evolution here, but that’s about it. It’s not good enough. Saying that “scientists” have “told” us that is also not good enough. And DON’T tell me to just Google it because that’s just lazy. Tell me exactly what you mean and what you know. Pseudo-science is about putting together vague concepts of socio-biology and some meagre understanding about genetic evolution. Equating genetic evolution with social evolution is stepping on dangerous ground- we do not want to commit the same mistake that led us to 19th century racial science, slavery, and eugenics – let’s not go there. Oh wait, you did say “The strongest live and the weakest die”… I rest my case.

      What do you mean when you say that women and men are not made equal? Equal physically? hormonally? psychologically? emotionally? cognitively? not equal in every way? Wow. That’s a good enough argument to not let women become political and corporate leaders.

      If you want to talk science with me, bcann, bring it on. Just don’t give me your namby-pamby pseudoscience.

  7. Oh, I can’t stand it when people like bcann totally misrepresent what Darwin meant by “survival of the fittest.” It has nothing to do with the big and the strong getting to beat up the small and the weak. If that was the case, then the dinosaurs or the megafauna mammals would still be alive today. The 40+ foot megaladon shark would still be roaming our oceans. Instead, what is meant by “fittest” is how well an organism adapts to change. If you have a large population of a given species with genetic diversity, and then something happens, like say a change to a drier climate, the members of that species that are best adapted to a drier climate will survive, resulting in the species becoming a dry climate species. It has nothing to do with which ones were physically the strongest.

    To echo what Cycads asked above, what do you mean that men and women are not equal? Of course we’re different, but we’re still humans. What is meant by equal, as enunciated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, is that we should all have an equal moral worth. It has nothing to do with equal cognitive abilities or skills at athletics and so forth. However, when you deny people opportunities because of their gender, physique or race because of misguided assumptions that they are inferior, you are (1) denying them to opportunity to discover and express their talents and abilities, and (2) denying the rest of us the opportunity to reap the benefits that arise from their endeavors. If we lived in the kind of world where the jocks could murder the geeks and science nerds in the hallways of their schools because of some misguided “survival of the fittest” mentality, we would not be communicating with each other on the Internet right now.

    I have noticed that conservatives, particularly right wing religions conservatives where I live in the United States, subscribe to some notion of biological determinism or intent of a design designer. Women were “designed” to be baby factories and work in lesser paying jobs so that the man can be the breadwinner and head of the family. I am reminded of a line from the movie Apollo 13 wherein the NASA personnel at mission control are trying to figure out how to get the astronauts back to Earth after their spacecraft has been damaged. When someone suggests that they use the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) to bring them back, the representative from Grumman, the manufacturer of the LEM, states “It was designed to land on the moon”, to which Eugene Krantz, the mission control director, shoots back “I don’t care what it was designed to do. I want to know what it CAN do!”

    In a sense, that is what feminism is all about. Those of us, women, or men such as myself, who are feminists, don’t care that women were “designed”, whether by eons of time and evolutionary forces, or by some invisible sky daddy, to crank out babies and be homemakers. We want to know what women CAN do, and the results speak for themselves, pretty much whatever they damn well please when given the opportunity to do so.

  8. @ Cycads: Ok well since you want actual evidence for difference between men and women lets begin. I can’t believe your actually going to challenge that. It is funny that you and TommyKey don’t even provide any evidence but accuse me of none and accuse me of pseudo science:

    http://www.clinsci.org/cs/084/cs0840331.htm
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V9F-4W73H2S-2&_user=10&_coverDate=10/31/2009&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1238974050&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=d994d977f5ddbb06bf67cf6bee391054
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man#Biology_and_gender
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testosterone#cite_note-pmid19403051-5
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estrogen

    I don’t know if you take wiki as actual evidence but wiki has list of actually journals below each page for footnotes.

    Now on to the rest of the argument. I’m actually a Social Darwinist myself (not extreme like a Nazi); but lets stick with feminism and not deviate from it.

    And no you didn’t rest any case, like before you fail to provide evidence and deviated from defending feminism to slavery.

    The argument that women are cannot be equally socially because we are fundamentally not equal biologically is a good case. Nurture isn’t equal to nature; it comes from Nature. Case in point. Many Women want “privileges,” or equality plus, when it comes to having a baby during a career. Women are biologically designed to have children and want “reproductive rights” (when at the same time want equal pay but that is another argument altogether). Period. You think I’m sexist all you want but it is true.

    The Pituitary Gland in women produces oxytocin and prolactin but which are meant for breast feeding. A false argument that is used is that men can breast feed. Men can produces a milk like substance (which lack the nutrients and quantity needed that a mother produces which is why any step dad doesn’t do it), ONLY with the help of estrogen hormones.

    Women have wider hips specially designed for this purpose of carrying babies, not to mention the body fat around their thighs and on the thoracic region called Breast or Boobs.

    Anthropology can describe why women stayed at home and with kids with men hunted because of Darwinism and survival. Early tribes had hunting and gathering groups. As evidence provided above the reason for this is because men are better (evidence wiki) at hunting (stronger, faster, etc) and the success rate of getting food increases dramatically where as women (evidence wiki) better at raising children. It had to do with survival NOT some evil patriarchy of men that sat around a fire pit saying, “How can we men subject women for all of eternity?! MUHAHAHAHAHA!” Survival of the fittest demands that a family unit utilizes it resource in the best way possible in order to survive and compete.

    This doesn’t even go into the reproductive systems. Or even abortion being a product of science understanding the women biology. Feminism wouldn’t even have a argument for it, if it wasn’t for understanding our nature; biology. And I have just made 1 point out of many. I won’t go on for now.

    @ TommyKey I will get to you in another post. Sorry but I have to get to the gym.

  9. Ok Tommykey now onto you.

    First off, before I start, I have to say for someone who hates how people misrepresent, you sure love to do it yourself. This is a horrible platform to argue since I can’t quote words per words. I don’t believe, and Cycads can opt in, [quote] [/quote] on her site. So bear with me.

    Your first paragraph misrepresents my argument with the use of straw mans…where to start. I understand that “‘liberal Darwinist’ use ‘survival of the fittest’ as a phrase for thousand and thousands of years that genes slightly change to be best adaptable to a certain society, etc, etc. I get that and it is true. But it isn’t all true. Because like I said before, I read a fascinating article on Prides. Male Lions after puberty become out casted by the dominant male and when ready go to a pride to overthrow the dominant males of that pack and become the new alpha males. If the male wins he reserves the right to not only mate with all the females but kill the previous male’s offspring. Females are also attracted to certain types of males (with brown and black manes) and again this is because he is genetically stronger. You mention, “the dinosaurs or the megafauna mammals would still be alive today,” is a flawed analogy because they became extinct due to a meteoroid shower. If they were alive today we probably would have died due to the fact that when humans first started out we lacked the technology like what is in Jurassic Park and we are weaker than a T-Rex.

    Next paragraph. Now like I said before women should have many rights as they are of the same specie, humans. But totally equal in terms of moral worth? No. I don’t. It is radical to think so.

    You said, “Of course we’re different, but we’re still humans. What is meant by equal, as enunciated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, is that we should all have an equal moral worth. It has nothing to do with equal cognitive abilities or skills at athletics and so forth.” First off, a small correction the original declaration stated all MEN should be created equal. It never had women. Nothing to do with the argument but had to point that out.

    I never said inferior as a reason to treat people different. Again you misrepresented my argument. But yes, men and women should be treated SOMEWHAT different based on biology. Women shouldn’t be allowed to be in firefighting as studies show women fail to meet the standards that men firefighters meet. Men are physically stronger and therefore make better firefighters. Would you rather have a male firefighter or a female firefighter saving you or your loved one? Talk about reaping benefits from their endeavors.

    Lets take it a step further. Are we to deny women from being in the NFL? How about segregation in sports? Isn’t that discrimination? Isn’t discrimination bad?

    In terms of a your statement about “survival of the fittest” in terms of school and not being able to talk to each other. You have lost me. “Survival of the fittest” is a multitude of things it just doesn’t mean organism that aren’t fit automatically die. But they do have a harder time and chances of death can increase.

    Schools have bullies. bullies become bullies because of certain genetic traits (physical mostly for males) that allow them to pick on those weaker. You agree with that don’t you.

    Also Survival of the fittest isn’t just based upon physical characteristics. I never said that and again you misrepresented what I said. I said the strongest survive and the weakest die. That doesn’t automatically beman strongest mean physical strength.

    Next paragraph. When the hell did I say I was Christian? Or Conservative? Now I know in your world you like the put people in two groups but I don’t. Yes I’m a biological determinist. Yes many of my views are “conservative,” but I do have liberal ones as well.You hypocrisy for misrepresenting people and argument is huge. No I don’t believe in god. Well maybe the universe but not the Judeo-Christian god. I never said women should only stay at home and shit out babies. Where the hell did I say that? Wow.

    “We want to know what women CAN do, and the results speak for themselves, pretty much whatever they damn well please when given the opportunity to do so.” How arrogant. Well I believe in creating harmony between the sexes and you believe in making women do what they damn well please. Women should have rights but not all. Just like men should have rights but all. Do you think I believe men should have every right? Or did you make that assumption about me as well? Men and women biologically rely upon each other to survive.

    I dated a feminist who told me, “I don’t care about a relationship, all I care about is a career.” So allowing her to do what she want, I left her. As she doesn’t understand the beauty of interdependence. She wasn’t very happy maybe because she didn’t want a career that much after all and was pounded with feminism crap about ‘doing whatever the damn well she pleased.”

  10. Because like I said before, I read a fascinating article on Prides. Male Lions after puberty…

    Uh, yeah, well, we’re humans not lions. That’s like saying because we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees that we should fling our feces around when we’re upset.

    You mention, “the dinosaurs or the megafauna mammals would still be alive today,” is a flawed analogy because they became extinct due to a meteoroid shower.

    Actually, the megafauna mammals died shortly after the end of the Ice Age. And you left out the Megalodon shark I mentioned too.

    First off, a small correction the original declaration stated all MEN should be created equal. It never had women. Nothing to do with the argument but had to point that out.

    Oh, wow, a man writes in a document in a male dominated world some 200+ years ago, and that proves what exactly? Simply that Jefferson was reflecting the prevailing sentiments of his time.

    Women shouldn’t be allowed to be in firefighting as studies show women fail to meet the standards that men firefighters meet. Men are physically stronger and therefore make better firefighters. Would you rather have a male firefighter or a female firefighter saving you or your loved one? Talk about reaping benefits from their endeavors.

    No, what you should have is a clear standard of the requirements necessary to enter the fire department. If a woman can meet the physical fitness standards, then absolutely a woman should be allowed to serve. Should the standards be diluted to increase female representation in the fire department? No, of course not.

    Are we to deny women from being in the NFL? How about segregation in sports? Isn’t that discrimination? Isn’t discrimination bad? Gender segregation in sports is not “bad” as long as women get the opportunity to play sports. But to reiterate my comments above, if women who want to play in the NFL can meet the criteria, then they should be allowed to play if they want to.

    Next paragraph. When the hell did I say I was Christian?

    I never claimed you were a Christian. I merely said that “conservatives, particularly right wing religions [sic] conservatives”. In other words, I conservatives, whether they are religious or not. And maybe you are “liberal” on some issues, but your initial comments expressed a “conservative” point of view on gender issues.

    How arrogant. Well I believe in creating harmony between the sexes and you believe in making women do what they damn well please. What’s arrogant? I’m not the one who believes in making women do anything. I believe in making opportunities available so that they can do what they want, whether it be a corporate attorney, an astronaut, a figure skater, a nurse or a housewife.

    I dated a feminist who told me, “I don’t care about a relationship, all I care about is a career.”

    Oh, and like there are no men who are all about their careers.

    So allowing her to do what she want, I left her.

    That was probably one of the happiest days of her life.

  11. @ TommyKey. Ok first off I was hoping to have a decent conversation, to learn and grow and challenge and be challenge in critical thinking, but it has been twice now that you have used ad hom to attack my character. I saw your pic and for some ancient fat dinosaur (what you’re over 40?) I would expect more maturity. Stop acting like a fool, apologize, or I will respond in kind.

    “Uh, yeah, well, we’re humans not lions. That’s like saying because we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees that we should fling our feces around when we’re upset.”
    Now I’ve been coming up with a hypothesis that you really are stupid. I have never said we are like Lions. If actually you have ever read the paragraph, instead of automatically start typing a counter argument, you would have seen that it was to show that survival happens on a social, economic, sexual, and political level. You said “It has nothing to do with the big and the strong getting to beat up the small and the weak.” So I countered with Lions which you missed to whole point. Good job.

    “Actually, the megafauna mammals died shortly after the end of the Ice Age. And you left out the Megalodon shark I mentioned too.”

    Well I don’t know about the megalodon shark. I am willing to bet that they die out to some weakness that they possessed unless something like a meteor hit. Again, I seem to have to reiterate to you that strongest isn’t just physical. And you have failed to tell me why they died out.

    “Oh, wow, a man writes in a document in a male dominated world some 200+ years ago, and that proves what exactly? Simply that Jefferson was reflecting the prevailing sentiments of his time.”

    Can you read English? I mean really. I said it had “Nothing to do with the argument but had to point that out.” I wasn’t proving anything with it, you retard.

    “No, what you should have is a clear standard of the requirements necessary to enter the fire department. If a woman can meet the physical fitness standards, then absolutely a woman should be allowed to serve. Should the standards be diluted to increase female representation in the fire department? No, of course not.”

    We both agree that shouldn’t be diluted to inrease female representation. The argument used by most feminist is that the patriarchy is still dominant and women aren’t allowed “the opportunity” due to the fact that the majority of women can’t successfully pass the exam which is reflective in who employers hire. This is because of physiological and hormonal differences. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_firefighting#Challenges

    Now before you haven’t answered my question if you were in a burning building would you want a male or female firefighter to pull you out of the building? As part of the firefighting exam, firefights have to wear 80lbs of gear and be able to carry victims. Your, um, a “fit” person. What? You weigh more than 200 lbs of fat? Yeah. Do you believe a women could pull you out? Well to tell you the truth I don’t know if anyone could lift you out.

    “Gender segregation in sports is not “bad” as long as women get the opportunity to play sports. But to reiterate my comments above, if women who want to play in the NFL can meet the criteria, then they should be allowed to play if they want to.”

    But gender segregation is a sign of discrimination and therefore denying women the opportunity to play against men. You’re being a hypocrite. Either you believe in the abolishment of segregation in sports or you don’t. So I take that you believe they should be abolished. And so again the vast majority of teams would be men and so you would have the same scenario as in firefighting. As well as allowing anyone regardless of age, if they can pass the test drive, allow them on the wheel of a car.

    “I never claimed you were a Christian. I merely said that “conservatives, particularly right wing religions [sic] conservatives”. In other words, I conservatives, whether they are religious or not. And maybe you are “liberal” on some issues, but your initial comments expressed a “conservative” point of view on gender issues.”

    So what that makes me bad in some way? Just because I don’t believe in what you believe. It is one thing to disagree on and have a rational, respectful debate. But you like to make ad homs and have a very one dimensional view—either your “Liberal” or “Conservative.” I mean, I looked at your post and the first post said, “Right Wings Conservatives Exposed!” I really it speaks to your character. Where idealism collides with reality? Sure.

    “What’s arrogant? I’m not the one who believes in making women do anything. I believe in making opportunities available so that they can do what they want, whether it be a corporate attorney, an astronaut, a figure skater, a nurse or a housewife.”

    Let me quote you again, Mr. Special. “We want to know what women CAN do, and the results speak for themselves, pretty much whatever they damn well please when given the opportunity to do so.” And yes, results do speak for themselves. There are many things women can do. But Tommy with down syndrome might misread that, so I’ll say it again. There are many things women can do. But, men and women are ultimately different and there are some things women can’t do. That isn’t a bad thing is just the way we are built biologically. Accept it.

    “Oh, and like there are no men who are all about their careers.”

    Again, that’s seems like simple you. Automatically assuming that “yes he thinks only women think solely about their careers.” Well, I will argue that men are extremely more likely to want to mate, regardless if they have a career or not, do to their biology and need for sex (wanting to procreate with as many women as possible regardless if they actually do or not is another case). Women are less likely to choose many mates due to the fact that they want to find a single decent mate for the biologically need of raising children.

    “That was probably one of the happiest days of her life.”

    And you know this how? You really are arrogant and disrespectful. Actually, she was crying. But I did leave her and respected her wish—or what she thought was her wish. You mentioned that women should do whatever they damn well please (independence) and I pointed out that what you need can be very opposite. It was to show that Feminism is actually the social construction and biology is the reality. Feminism has been around for what? 50 years? 80 Years. Biology and the desire for interdependency been around since the beginning of time.

    What you think you want can be detrimental to what you actually need. They don’t always conjoin. Having qualities of independence is a good thing and should be encouraged—man or women. Being truly independent is detrimental to yourself and everyone around you.

    • Just a quick note here:

      “Feminism is actually the social construction and biology is the reality. Feminism has been around for what? 50 years? 80 Years. Biology and the desire for interdependency been around since the beginning of time.”

      Of course feminism is a social construction and biology is reality. And so what if feminism has been around for about a hundred years? and biology has been around since like, “forever”? Our revulsion against slavery has only been a recent thing don’t you think?, compared to the hundreds of years of systematic slavery of people regarded as biologically inferior.

      There are many feminisms, bcann, and that’s because the women you know, women who live in your area, and the women around the world are different and are working towards redressing some form discrimination based on gender bias. That makes these feminisms constructed to suit different socio-political contexts. These feminisms have never claim to deny biology, bcann, but rather to gain more control over their bodies in a society that denies them the control and choices mainly because of moral and for some, biological reasons.

  12. bcann,

    ooookay. Clearly this post has taken a new life of its own here. I have to apologise for not getting back to this thread sooner because I’ve been completely consumed by work, mentally and physically. Not to say I’m incompetent and that that’s anything to do with my “naturally” weaker feminine characteristics of course, which I’m about to get to now.

    “Men’s physical strength is associated with women’s perceptions of their dancing ability” is an interesting and a really original study, but think about the majority of men who think they can dance and the minority of men who can really dance and I mean those who are trained and pretty well-coordinated. The masculinity of the former group is harder to assess mostly because I think few men who are not trained dancers would admit they’re good at dancing, and thus would feel less confident about dancing AND as a result may distort the way they actually want to present themselves to the opposite sex. I’m just speculating here, but I’m not confident that this study is representative of all men.

    I’ve decided not to discuss the wiki articles on women, men, and hormones and how they relate to gender hierarchies here because I don’t think reducing gender (and nurture!) to a biological phenomenon is sufficient. I’m a staunch believer in the complex relationship between the biological, psychological, and the environment in the development of human experience. If you provide me with me multifactorial evidence – genetic, proteomic, psychological, and environmental influence (these may not be exhaustive) on the development of gender, I will be quite happy to engage with you on a scientific level. But don’t feel pressed to do so, it’s not going to get us anywhere in ameliorating misogyny and gender-based discrimination. To reduce people as machines governed by their genes is to take away human agency, thoughts, feelings, and human will.

    bcann,

    Please do not put inverted commas between reproductive rights, they’re not made up. Reproductive rights are not only about wanting to have babies, but about the decision to not have babies too.

    No, anthropology does not explain why women stay at home with kids or tries to justify it. And no, Darwinism does not explain that prehistoric men hunted because they’re faster and stronger. First, there is no proof, and second, hunting does not only require speed and strength, but stealth, courage, and ingenuity as well. And what kind of scientific evidence has proven that women are biologically determined to be better at raising children? Yes, children are born from the wombs of women. Yes, babies need breastmilk. But how does any of that add up to being “good” at being raising babies, toddlers, who then become older kids in general?

    The argument that “women are better at looking after children” often overlooks the support mothers need to look after smaller children, the choices mothers want to make about continuing their careers after childbirth, the gender pay gap that invariably forces many mothers to take up lower-paying/part-time jobs, the fact that very few fathers take up paternity leave (why?), fathers do not share household duties to ease the mothers’ burden of looking after kids, and many, many more that are not simply boiled down to biology of childbirth and breastfeeding.

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