why we need feminism

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Why do I occasionally feel the need to make some sort of statement on a blog with a handful of readers? Just because it’s on my mind and I want to think it through by writing it. If I’m going to post my thoughts on the www then I have to focus a little more.

There’s been lots of blogging and commentary about misogyny and rape culture since a university student attacked and killed several men and women last Friday, leaving a trail of crazed, vengeful, anti-woman writings. I’m not going to make judgement on why this guy decided to kill people, but I think all the subsequent talk about our culture and attitudes toward women is a conversation that should happen.

It’s obvious to most people, but let’s set out a few reasons why the conversation should happen. We could talk about things like the pay gap between men and women in the same job with the same qualifications, but I’ll stick with the brutal physical and psychological threats. When a man posts something online that people disagree with, he’ll receive all kinds of insults, but rarely threats. When a woman does the same, she’ll get insults plus a barrage of “I’ll find you, rape, and kill you” messages. Women who are assaulted are still asked, “Well, what were you wearing?” In 31 states, when a rape results in a childbirth, rapists can and do sue for child custody rights. Women bear the brunt of domestic violence.  How carefully do men vs. women have to choose where they are going to park, shop, exercise, or walk, due to the possibility of attack – especially at night? It’s better in some countries, much worse in others, but it doesn’t have to be this way in a civilized world.

I don’t think I have much that’s original to say on this subject, but I’m going to link to three articles that I believe cover the issues pretty well. Two of these articles are by men because I think, being a guy, it’s easier for me to relate to their messages. One point I take away from this writing is the importance of understanding women’s experience, taking it to heart, and examining one’s own behavior.

Your Princess Is in Another Castle, by Arthur Chu

“To paraphrase the great John Oliver, listen up, fellow self-pitying nerd boys—we are not the victims here. We are not the underdogs. We are not the ones who have our ownership over our bodies and our emotions stepped on constantly by other people’s entitlement.”

Why It’s So Hard for Men to See Misogyny, by Amanda Hess

“Women who have experienced this can recognize that placating these men is a rational choice, a form of self-defense to protect against setting off an aggressor. But to male bystanders, it often looks like a warm welcome, and that helps to shift blame in the public eye from the harasser and onto his target, who’s failed to respond with the type of masculine bravado that men more easily recognize.”

#YesAllWomen, by Phil Plait

“Why is it not helpful to say ‘not all men are like that’? For lots of reasons. For one, women know this. They already know not every man is a rapist, or a murderer, or violent. They don’t need you to tell them.”

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4 thoughts on “why we need feminism

  1. Nice to hear other bloggers also write to collect their thoughts. The news seems to be a diving board people use to launch their agenda – which seems to be the froth on the brouhaha in this case. One speck of the population is crazy and murders people, and for some reason we’re all held to account; the whole culture is put on trail. Apparently the fellow is judged crazy, except for the things he said, which must not be ravings or why must we concern ourselves with it?

  2. dangblog

    “We’re all held to account…” Apparently you didn’t read where I said, “but I think all the subsequent talk about our culture and attitudes toward women is a conversation that should happen,” and then proceeded to explain why I thought it was important.

    Maybe you also missed the three articles I linked to. At least one of them addresses that the fact that the opinions in this guy’s screed are very common and therefore worth addressing. In the same way racist or anti-semitic ravings are worth addressing because these destructive sentiments are all too common, whether attached to a murderer or not.

  3. My problem is, no one grants this fellow the time of day, until he murders several people (3 of them men and with knives). Then, all of a sudden his words are full of great insight and deserve parsing in every conceivable way. The fact is, that what is being done is not an effort to open a “conversation”. We had years to talk to this fellow. He was available! What is being done is an effort to close down the “conversation”, by associating views not popular with either yourself or the writer’s of the links you suggest – with horrific murder. Lots of men don’t like women. Lots of women don’t like men. And usually we all don’t like the other sex much at one time or another. It’s a pretty marbled business. An extremely small number start murdering people willy nilly. And linking the two hardly opens any conversation. Now, if you’re trying to rally a mob… well, then you’re on the right track.

  4. dangblog

    You’ll be surprised to learn that I disagree with you on all points! 🙂
    “All of a sudden his words are full of great insight and deserve parsing…:

    No, I don’t think anyone is saying his words are full of great insight. Just the opposite. Most commenters that I’ve read are saying his words are depressingly common. You have that backwards.

    You think talking about this is an effort to close down a conversation, which is contradictory. *Not* talking about it would be closing it down. Shutting people up would be closing it down. Me deleting your comment here would be closing it down. Me disagreeing you, that’s a conversation.

    And you think it’s odd that people are associating the views of this murderer with a murderer? Yeah, that’s how it works. If someone wrote anti-semitic stuff and shot up a temple, the associations would be made, and the history and current state of antisemitism would be discussed and that would be appropriate. This is no different.

    Yes, lots of men don’t like women and vice versa. But your attempt to make this sound somehow equivalent pales when you look at how many men vs. women take this to the extreme of beating, raping, and murdering. It’s men by a huge margin. Look at the domestic violence link above for some examples. There is no equivalence here.

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