Change of structure

Perhaps your household works without a structure. Go you. The rest of us mortals need to figure out how this thing works. This is a spot for talking about how we create the structure of our various domestic arrangements.

Re: Change of structure

Postby Nat » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:21 pm

artlover wrote:Certainly, the feminist literature I have read is of an academic orientation, and largely has been in the law reviews. But, IMO, the statement "Feminism is supposed to be about empowerment of both genders" makes no sense to me. What is specifically "feminist" about that statement? If you had said, "empowering all women, whatever their views" it still would not match my understanding of it. But I don't see anything specifically feminist about empowering men.


Actually I think it makes perfect sense. The difficulty, imo, is if we think that "empowerment of both genders" requires empowering men. The reason feminism exists, and is necessary, is that men as a group are already empowered, but women - as a group - aren't. So empowerment of both genders, not just one ... empowering women, without disempowering men in the process.
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Re: Change of structure

Postby splorange » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:28 pm

Nat wrote:
artlover wrote:Certainly, the feminist literature I have read is of an academic orientation, and largely has been in the law reviews. But, IMO, the statement "Feminism is supposed to be about empowerment of both genders" makes no sense to me. What is specifically "feminist" about that statement? If you had said, "empowering all women, whatever their views" it still would not match my understanding of it. But I don't see anything specifically feminist about empowering men.


Actually I think it makes perfect sense. The difficulty, imo, is if we think that "empowerment of both genders" requires empowering men. The reason feminism exists, and is necessary, is that men as a group are already empowered, but women - as a group - aren't. So empowerment of both genders, not just one ... empowering women, without disempowering men in the process.


Agreed with Nat. It's also a little more complicated than that, but I'll come round to it. Put it this way, if you read some introductory feminist literature - and it is an academic discipline, so you can get away from the opinions of a few cranks - what it begins with is that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. If you agree with that, then you are a feminist. Of course, there is a lot more to it than that. The main reason why it may appear that feminists want women to avoid 'traditional' female roles, is not that we would stifle their choice. Rather, that because the weight of history and the kyriarchy makes it difficult to determine whether a woman who chooses to marry, have children and not take up external employment, has really chosen of her own accord. Perhaps she simply believes that she has free will but is acting out of pressures she is unaware of. So we would simply ask that a woman who maintains it's her choice, but seems unhappy in some areas, puts some time into getting to know herself and what she really wants. This is really quite difficult but is supposed to lead to greater empowerment. As a feminist, I think my behaviour on this board has always been in accordance with that position. Any time a bottom (often but not always female) says something like 'I know I asked him/her to do this and now I want it all my way, I'm being selfish', I remind them that they have the option to change their mind. If they make it clear that they are happy with the lifestyle, I have never told them they are being unfeminist for being spanked. Indeed, I have never even said that to someone who isn't happy in the lifestyle, because it's secondary by far to the prevailing issue.

In terms of empowering men along with women, or keeping men empowered, I would make it a priority, were I socially or politically active, to change the current system where men are discouraged from having or showing emotions. I find that deeply unfair to them.
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Re: Change of structure

Postby artlover » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:20 pm

splorange wrote:Put it this way, if you read some introductory feminist literature - and it is an academic discipline, so you can get away from the opinions of a few cranks - what it begins with is that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. If you agree with that, then you are a feminist.

* * * *

Of course, there is a lot more to it than that. The main reason why it may appear that feminists want women to avoid 'traditional' female roles, is not that we would stifle their choice. Rather, that because the weight of history and the kyriarchy makes it difficult to determine whether a woman who chooses to marry, have children and not take up external employment, has really chosen of her own accord. Perhaps she simply believes that she has free will but is acting out of pressures she is unaware of. So we would simply ask that a woman who maintains it's her choice, but seems unhappy in some areas, puts some time into getting to know herself and what she really wants.


As to the first point, Feminism, as I understand it, is about far more than the concept that women should have the same rights as men. Indeed, some strains argue that men have been so shaped by patriarchy to think in a manner harmful to women that their inclinations are highly suspect. It is not a stretch to get from this to that in certain areas (pornography is the classic) society should essentially suppress the male point of view.

"Difference" feminism can lead in the same direction, when dealing with versions that not only view women as different than men, but also view women's perspectives and inclinations as more suited for society, peace, and order, and men's perspectives leading to violence and disorder. There are ecological versions: women are natural stewards of the earth, men are violaters of nature, etc.

There is some of the above in the Matriarchal pre-history folks, with the belief in a mythical past where people were more in tune with nature because women were ascendant.

As to the second point, that is as earnest an effort to soften the implications of the feminist version of the concept of "false consciousness" that I have seen. But I am not buying it. If I understand the concept, false consciousness is not simply that a woman might be confused, due to socialization, about what she really wants. It is that she truly want things that are harmful to her, if she properly understood things, and harmful to the project of advancement of women's position and supplanting patriarchy. The idea is that a woman would have an entirely different set of views, beliefs, and feelings if she had grown up under conditions not influenced by patriarchy. This is where the "falseness" comes in, it is "false" because it is the product of all these thousands of years of socialization of oppression, not because it is false to a women's true feelings. Put another way, every woman must suspect her feelings, particularly when they seem to align with traditional sex roles.

I have always viewed this as a feminist version of original sin, with the Patriarchy substituting for the fall from Eden as the source of our inability to be good, just and true.
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