feminism

In the past I’ve spoken about topics that I had some background information on. This topic is one I am not familiar with and since the nature of my topic is gender based then this is a topic I will try to understand, but honestly I can only be a bystander.  In this blog I ask the questions what is a feminist? What is their ideology? Are there different types of feminists? Are the stereotypes true about them? This blog will hopefully answer those questions.

When you think about feminism you should think about these key points:

KEY POINTS

  • Gender stratification occurs when gender differences give men greater privilege and power over women, transgender and gender-non-conforming people.
  • Feminist theory uses the conflict approach to examine the reinforcement of gender roles and inequalities, highlighting the role of patriarchy in maintaining the oppression of women.
  • Feminism focuses on the theory of patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the assertion of male supremacy.
  • Intersectionality suggests that various forms of oppression– such as racism, classism, and sexism— are interrelated to form a system of oppression in which various forms of discrimination intersect. The theory was first highlighted by Kimberlé Krenshaw.
  • Intersectionality suggests that various biological, social, and cultural categories– including gender, race, class, and ethnicity— interact and contribute towards systematic social inequality. Therefore, various forms of oppression do not act independently but are interrelated.
  • Mary Ann Weathers drew attention to the ways in which white women face a different form of discrimination than working class women of color, who additionally must fight racism and class oppression.

Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. The aims to understand gender equality and the women’s social roles, experiences and interests. According to boundless.com feminists theory focuses on gender inequality and the promotion of women’s interests while critiquing social relations. Feminist theory favors using the conflict approach to pursue gender roles and inequalities. Conflict theory presumes that stratification is dysfunctional and harmful to society. In this theory inequality is promoted because of the benefits of the hierarchy between the social classes between rich and poor.

Radical feminism evaluates the roles of a patriarchal society and the preservation of the male despotic ideals. Women’s contributions are marginalized and most of the time silenced when compared to the male’s contribution. Feminism focuses on the male supremacy assertion into a complex relationship of a system of power that is the theory of patriarchy. Intersectionality, a feminist sociological theory first highlighted by feminist sociologist Kimberle Crenshaw explores various biological, social and cultural categories, including gender, race, class and ethnicity and contribute towards systematic social inequality. From these forms multiple structures of discrimination that becomes a system of oppression that intertwines racism and sexism into a consortium of narrow-mindedness. It is race, class and gender that largely marginalizes, and oppresses women.

“An Argument for Black Women’s Liberation as a Revolutionary Force” written by Mary Ann Weathers demonstrates intersectionality. She notes that in the twentienth century women of color embodied the notion of intersectionality. When the first and second wave of feminist led by white women, it did not represent the entire movement and all of its prismatic parts. Women of color not only fought sexism, but also fought racism and class oppression not recognized by their white colleagues.

Degrees of Feminism-

Kumar Shorter-Gooden, Ph.D and Charisse “Jones” Tome wrote Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America. The book was the culminating efforts of years of research called the African-American Women Voices Project. The project highlighted the sexism and racism black women faced on a daily basis:“…the reality [is] that no matter how intelligent, competent, and dazzling she may be, a Black woman in our country today still cannot count on being understood and embraced by mainstream white America.” 

As the book touches on Black Women are all over the spectrum of recognition of their social and intellectual contributions. They are both celebrated and demoralized at the same time. While Kerry Washington is an accomplished actress and has been emmy nominated for her role as Olivia Pope in the hit series Scandal. This is the perfect example of the duality in which she is viewed in her role. You either see a strong, fierce leader that makes the impossible happen with unlimited political connections and a lovely sense of style  wrapped in an unrelenting motive that will not etiolate until the job is done no matter pressure put against the odds.  On the other hand, you may see an emotionally driven harlot whose is only drawn to men with power to continue her sybaritic lifestyle and becomes the President’s personal “Lewinsky” that promotes adultery with married men in the hopeless pursuit that “one day” he will leave his wife and she will have her fairy tale ending.

Other powerful Black Women are often put under stereotypical scrutiny. Oprah for instance has made the transition from a talk show host to a mogul who has created her television station called OWN. She has influenced pop culture with the force of a landslide and has become one of the few Americans that can say she is a multibillionaire worth over $3 billion dollars. Yet all it takes is for her to speak her mind on the topic of race and she is aggressively attacked by media pundits and sexist, racist idealists that still think a black woman should only speak when spoken to, an ideal mindset she knows all to well growing up in the racially segregated south in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Women such Michelle Obama and Melissa Harris-Perry, Joy Reid to name a few are also held in double standards.

Male Feminists-

Anne Dickson wrote a book that can help us guys see a feminist side of the issue much like we see our side. The book “Teaching Men to be Feminist” is aimed to accomplish three things: 1. Help men understand that sexism is all around us, “without support we cannot change institutionalized attitudes.”  2. Join the dots where sexism is concerned: “Instead of seeing domestic violence as one person’s problem, rape as another person’s problem, harassment as something else and women not being in the boardroom as a separate issue.” 3. The last reason is to help women see the ways in which they “collude” with sexism, by not speaking up.

The book is a litigious response that places feminism as a polar opposite of sexism. “Sexism to me is an extraordinary system through which we see one gender as more important or more valuable than the other,” explains Dickson in her straightforward manner (she ends most sentences with the phrase; ‘Do you see?’) It’s not a stretch to think of the men she meets and speaks with find her bewildering even if they have been prosecuted of domestic violence. “I tell them to think about what they’re saying when they call a woman a cunt,” says Dickson. “They usually laugh and tell me I don’t have a sense of humour.”

Dickson who has been a feminist for 30 plus years now sees the change in the conversation about feminism and doesn’t believe women have the muzzle on them that they did before about speaking up for themselves. Yet she still fights the concept that power is what the men have and what women want attributes to. She also dismisses the idea the being feminist is also being “anti-men”. “I think women do feel things more sensitively than men. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean we’re any better at managing those feelings. We’re told they’re childish, messy and should be swept under the carpet. So women become their own worst enemies. We let things build up, then get angry, burst into tears and feel stupid.” One support system they have for this is report sexism on twitter with a feed called “Everyday Sexism Feed” where women can air out issues of sexism in their everyday lives.

Dickson outlines three ways men can become feminist: 1.  Raise awareness: Read a list of sexual behaviors and do an honest self-appraisal . 2. Challenge and Disagree: When you witness sexism in action you can challenge it – in the workplace, with friends, with your sons. You don’t have to preach. Initiating an honest discussion is an important way to encourage reflection and maybe even change. 3. Speak up: Begin by gently questioning. Sexism is too deeply entrenched and habitual to change easily. So breaking the habit of silent collusion is a vital part of the process – for women, as well as men.

Arguments for and Against Feminism-

So I wanted to hear some points for an against the ideology of feminism. So I went to debate.org and here are some actual comments about the subject matter. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

“I think all women are sexist”

They belong in the kitchen, not in offices. It’s the male’s job to make the money and provide for the family. The only jobs that women should be responsible for are cooking, cleaning, and pleasing their men. It really bothers me that women think they can actually make a living on their own…

“The idea of feminism is sexist.”

Please let me first state the fact that I am a female. However, I do not agree with giving women or any minority a leg up because of their sex or race. This country has proven the fact that there is no more need for affirmative action when it elected the first black president. The aspect of feminism that was to show that women are equal to men was wonderful however, it has since been made law that all human beings no matter sex, race or creed, have the same abilities and opportunities. Over the past decade or so I would have to say that the one who is now underprivileged is the white male. He is the only one who does not get some kind of compensation through the NOOW, ALCU or any other kind of special interest groups. To do so for a white male they say would be racist.

“Feminism isn’t what it used to be”

All I can say is the fact that we even have to call sexism against men “reverse sexism” is sad. ALL discrimination based on gender is sexism, it’s not just a woman’s problem. Do you know men have been laughed at when telling police they were raped or molested by a woman or another man. There are teachers who have raped 10-year-old boys and walked free, simply because it wasn’t “CONSIDERED RAPE”! Why? I’ll tell you why, it was because the victim was a boy. That would have NEVER happened had it been a male teacher. We can yell sexism at pretty much everything in the media, but completely turn a blind eye to true sexism. I have seen women speak about being pro-choice so proudly (like it is an accomplishment to have opinion) but I have never seen them talking about a woman getting acid thrown in their faces for disgracing their families. You see a pattern? Now look, I am a woman and I strongly support equal rights, but to bash and degrade men to pull women up is disgusting.

“There Are No Male Issues!!”

gives female issues much higher priority than male issues” WELL MAYBE THAT’S BECAUSE 90% OF RAPE VICTIMS ARE FEMALE!! MAYBE THAT’S BECAUSE MOST WOMEN GET PAID SEVENTY SEVEN PERCENT OF WHAT MEN GET PAID!! The reason we “give female issues much higher priority than male issues” is because there are FAR less “male issues” than female issues. Also, it’s called “feminism”. Not “masculinism“. So OF course we’re going to focus on the female issues!! If you’re concerned about men’s rights, start your own movement, don’t try to but into ours.

“The idea of feminism is not sexist because it celebrates women, and encourages and empowers them to seek equality.”

Feminism is a movement that supports the equality of women, something that still does not exist fully in the United States. Male issues have always been given higher priority, and that is why inequality exists. Supporting the feminism ideal is not sexist. It is a way to encourage equality in our society. Despite comparable education and experience, women still do not make salaries as high as men, and they are not in as many positions of power. It is not sexist to support this fight for equality, when women are still being treated unfairly, compared to men.

“Feminism is obviously sexist”

Feminism is wrong and sexist because they call anyone who doesn’t support them a bigot, which means all men are bigots. The goal of feminism is to make both genders equal but they expect more than men, this also is possible that they’re sexist to their own gender. Sexism means discrimination against one gender. Sexist is also expecting one gender to do something they did in the past(e.g men are expected to do work while women do housework). Feminism wants more than men, not equal rights because they don’t care about men and think that women are the world. To the people who say some feminists are sexist, not all, have you even met one?

“Feminism Vs Misandry”

The definition of feminism has probably become very confusing and ambiguous. This is probably due to some women who are actually misandrist. They are the ones who hate men and are most likely to erroneously call themselves feminists. True feminists will insist on equality for both genders. If there is no equality, men who are willing to stand up against these “feminist” movements will continue to mistreat women and they will not give in to being controlled by women. That means that true feminists will try to correct issues with both sexes rather than try to destroy them. Hence female issues are given higher priority than male issues due to misandry

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