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This is the second article in a series about gender and equality. In it, I discuss a lot of the unhealthy cultural forces that lead men to oppress women as well as damage themselves. In this piece, I look at the feminist movement and question some of its strategies for implementing greater equality in society. But please take this as a critical look at the methods of feminism, rather than cause of equality itself.
I n , thousands of women stood outside the White House and demanded that they be allowed to vote. In the next presidential election, they would. In the s and 70s, feminist protests resulted in a series of laws that guaranteed, under the law, equal rights in the workplace, in universities and colleges, in health care, and in the home.
The second wave, in the s and 70s, pushed for legal and professional equality. And the third wave, in the past couple decades, has pushed for social equality. But whereas legal and political equality are clearly defined and measurable, social equality is murky and complicated.
Women still get screwed over in myriad ways. If I fire three employees and two of them are women, is that equality? Or is that sexism? Thus, today feminism has a measurement problem. You just pull out your calculator and go to work. But how do you measure social justice? Or is she just a shitty person? What about overused adverbs? How the fuck did we get here? Can I ask any more rhetorical questions in this paragraph?
All people, regardless of gender, should be afforded the same rights and respect. This strikes me as a no-brainer for pretty much any decent human being alive today.
Feminism also got it right that, despite their biological differences, men grow up in a culture of toxic masculinity that is not only unhealthy for women, but also unhealthy for men as well. All of this is correct. The problem is that feminism is more than a philosophy or a group of beliefs. It is, now, also a political movement, a social identity, as well as a set of institutions.
They always start out with an idea. Then they come together and organize on that idea, because organizing large groups of people and building structures to act in concert is the way you get shit done in a society. As humans, we are tribal by nature. I hate groups of people.
Because pretty soon they have little hats. So, I dislike and despise groups of people. But I love individuals. Once a philosophy goes tribal, its beliefs no longer exist to serve some moral principle, but rather they exist to serve the promotion of the group.
In the past few decades, sexual violence has halved, 2 and domestic violence has dropped by an astounding two-thirds. And despite the constant drumming of 77 cents women earn on the dollar compared to men, when you factor in the fact that men work longer hours, more dangerous jobs, and retire later, the wage gap today is actually only something like 93 to 95 cents for every dollar a man earns.
The point here is: So much progress has been made that some people feminists, even! But the problem is that, like I said, feminism, in the process of enacting all of the progress of the last 50 years, became more than a philosophy—it became an institution.
And institutions are always primarily interested in sustaining themselves first and engaging with the world as it is second. Those stalwart feminist activists of the 60s and 70s who were at protests and burning their bras or whatever, many of them moved into academia. They got graduate degrees and wrote books and founded departments and held conferences and created political organizations and had fundraisers and started magazines. And pretty soon, feminism was no longer a cause for these people, it was their career.
Their paychecks depended on there being patriarchy and oppression everywhere they looked. Their departments depended on it. Their professional careers and speaking fees depended on it. And so they found it. And thus, philosophical feminism became tribal feminism. Tribal feminism laid out a specific set of beliefs — that everywhere you look there is constant oppression from the patriarchy, that masculinity is inherently violent, and that the only differences between men and women are figments of our cultural imagination, not based on biology or science.
That knowledge itself is a form of patriarchy and oppression. They became one of the oppressors. And the people who pushed these beliefs to their furthest conclusions — that penises were a cultural construction of oppression, that school mascots encourage rape and sexual violence, that cereal boxes can be offensive — were rewarded with greater status within the tribe.
When asked why his readership was predominantly male, he commented that criticism of religion tends to be angry and that men generally identify more with angry rhetoric than women do. What ensued was an imbroglio of criticism, to the point where women came up to him at events to let him know how sexist he was. Safe spaces and trigger warnings and microaggressions? Previous generations of feminists were willing to die in the trenches of getting women the right to vote, to go to college, to have an equal education, for protection from domestic violence, and workplace discrimination, and equal pay, and fair divorce laws.
Previous generations of feminists were the change they desired. They got out and protested and voted. They went to the schools and got the degrees and took the jobs. Yet, today, tribal feminists are more interested in enforcing thoughts and perceptions about women, rather than actually becoming the women they wish others to see. The way you destroy stereotypes is by being the contradiction of the stereotype. The way you change minds is you demonstrate how people are wrong through your actions.
You want more women in math and science? Be a woman who pursues math and science. You want more women as CEOs and winning at business? You want more women in politics? These are the real activists. This is where real progress happens. Yes, women still face stereotypes and poor treatments in these industries.
This is where they should be making their push — and not by talking about it online, but by actually being there. For centuries, women were marginalized and discounted by men. One of the many stereotypes that men ascribed to women when doing this was that women were overly concerned with their feelings and the ways others perceived them. Yet, this is the same cliched behavior that tribal feminists have fallen back into.
And thus, as with many philosophies taken to their political extreme, tribal feminism has come to contradict many of the very premises philosophical feminism was built upon. Tribal feminists, in the name of fighting shame and oppression, shame and oppress views that contradict their own. And once your philosophy has inverted upon itself, it becomes corrupt.
Just like the old communist societies of the 20th century, once you set out to provide perfect equality for everybody, you achieve the exact opposite. What was once progressive becomes regressive. Site members can listen to it by clicking the Commentary button above. To become a site member, click here.
And it worked great… until Trump happened. Gwen Moore says PolitiFact Wisconsin. A lot of feminist writers such as Hanna Rosin , Susan Faludi , and Christina Hoff Sommers have written about the worrying statistics about men and specifically boys. And then there are also a lot of insane, alt-right, Red Pill-type communities who think women belong in the kitchen and everything would be great if we could just go back to the s.
The latter are not to be taken seriously. How Women Have Betrayed Women. Science and Public Policy , 12 6 , — Join my newsletter and get a free ebook "3 Ideas to Change Your Life". Don't show this again.
The earth shakes when such women move into action! Marjane Satrapi , author of Persepolis. For me, this comes from the idea that men and women are very alike and very equal.
When it comes to physical effort, there is a difference. But when it comes to intellect, people with the same experiences and same sensitivities end up being the same kind of people, regardless of gender. Penelope Lively , Booker-winning novelist. At 84, I want to celebrate a new generation of women. I have three granddaughters in their 20s, so I meet up with — and hear about — plenty of young women in that age group.
I am constantly impressed by, and rejoice in, their energy and competence. They work their socks off, and assume working life will reward them, but they are flexible and adaptable. Their assumptions about the role of women, about what women can expect, are very different from those of my generation, from back in the s. We would have been startled to look ahead and see Theresa May and Angela Merkel.
Jane Goodall , primatologist. If you could pick women with more compassionate characteristics, then there are men with those characteristics too. But I believe power corrupts absolutely. We can think of some extraordinarily vicious, brutal and cruel women who have been in great powerful positions. All my life experience tells me that women do make a difference. In the trade union movement, women leaders have exposed the scandal of sexual harassment, campaigned for equal pay, and made caring responsibilities a workplace bargaining issue.
As a result, the lives of millions of women — and men — have changed for the better. And I like working with other women. Being the only woman in a meeting room full of men, however lovely they are, can feel lonely.
Whereas watching other women leaders in action inspires, encourages and strengthens me. As a wise woman once told me, the problem is that women tend to underestimate their abilities — whereas too many men overestimate theirs. A false sense of superiority based on gender, race or class is no way to run a cornershop, let alone the country. Sofie Hagen , comedian. And hopefully, with the right head-bitch in charge, there would be some kind of limit to how much a man was allowed to interrupt and mansplain.
I imagine we would call it the Law of Sschhh: Soon, there will be no sexual assault, no catcalling, no mansplaining, no notallmen. We would of course have a list of Dudes Who Are All Right, who would get to suggest laws every once in awhile. Maria Balshaw , director of Tate. Women running the world is neither a utopian nor a dystopian scenario.
It really depends on the political thinking that is brought to bear. As women age, our power changes very differently to the way male power changes. As the female leader of a national art museum, I am still highly unusual globally. Athene Donald , physicist. For me, it is about equality. I would much prefer a world that is properly balanced, in terms of the contributions men and women make to society. I believe that women make more pragmatic decisions and are forward-thinking.
They ensure sustainability for future generations. Women at the table will invest heavily in better education, affordable healthcare and access to clean water. Family-friendly policies will be formulated to enable both parents to enjoy the privileges of parenting. Unfair stereotypes and standards imposed upon men to ensure they fit into an iron scaffold of masculinity will be lifted.
I hope to see a world with greater peace and diplomacy, collaboration and cooperation. Women are less likely engage in wars or violence — as the protection of families and communities is central to their decision-making. They propel their countries — and the world — towards socioeconomic success. And they work to promote social justice and inclusion, climate change management and reduced hunger, poverty and inequality.
But what you really want is a balanced team of women and men. There are still so many meetings where women are not even in the room. Although Donald Trump feels like a threat to turn the clock back, I think there is an irresistible force for further change all around the world.
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I am not prepared to tell trans women they are less valid Gaby Hinsliff. When feminists advance, why do prominent women hold us back? MeToo is just the latest example: A new study says iron can help relieve symptoms. Premenstrual Syndrome When Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Is Abnormal Heavy menstrual bleeding can indicate a more serious condition like uterine cancer, endometrial polyps, or infection. Do you know when bleeding is nor A new ad campaign from milk processors casts moo-juice as a cure for premenstrual symptoms — geared toward the men who must brave their wives Premenstrual Syndrome Spotting Between Periods: A Cause for Concern?
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