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What is feminism anyway?
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Alpha Aim



Joined: 19 Nov 2012
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opinion on thread question: A cause people find worth fighting for.

On Debating about it: Some prior education about it and caring about it, no matter which side.
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Smooshie



Joined: 24 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the problem here is a difference of definition. I don't see fighting for equality/justice and social justice as being the same thing. Social justice is, at best, a short-term thing, and it's usually reflexive, from what I've seen, and instead of going against the status quo to effect change, people are mean because they think they are right (maybe they are) and then they only derive personal satisfaction from it. What you call social justice, I call equality.

stripeypants wrote:

We should totally just stick to disabled people, people of color, queer people, et all being treated as worse than other people. Because, after all, there is no inbetween whatsoever.

Why should there be? Oppression's worked for millennia! Laughing

Besides, this isn't about treatment so much as personal satisfaction. When I make an angry status on facebook deriding politicians, am I fixing anything or am I just saying a lot of angry words and making myself feel better, even if that person's said and done some horrible things? If other people agree with me, all they've done is crowded around to point and laugh and sneer at someone online and stroked our collective egos. As I said above, the bigger problem here is probably a difference of definitions. You may think my definitions are silly, but there they are. What you call social justice, I call equality, and what I call social justice, we all call being angry or maybe even spiteful.
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Last edited by Smooshie on Fri May 10, 2013 1:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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stripeypants



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Social justice is a thing you do. Equality is a thing you try to get.
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Smooshie



Joined: 24 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stripeypants wrote:
Social justice is a thing you do. Equality is a thing you try to get.

So? Working for equality, reaching equality... That's all fine by me. Being spiteful? ehh. We had a problem of understanding terms that we have now probably resolved Razz
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aboutwhistles



Joined: 28 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you perhaps considered that opression and exploitation and abuse are legitimate things to be angry about?
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Smooshie



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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aboutwhistles wrote:
Have you perhaps considered that opression and exploitation and abuse are legitimate things to be angry about?

I have. Have you considered that they may also be inevitable?
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aboutwhistles



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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps they can't be completely eradicated, but the current situation can absolutely be improved. Positive change is absolutely within the realm of possibility, but it won't happen unless people get angry and talk (and yell, and vote..) about it. The goal isn't to create utopia; the goal is to make things as much better as they can be made.

Anyhow, there used to be people who said that spousal rape was inevitable. And the enslavement of black people. and myriad other terrible things that have since been greatly minimized.
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ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

but don't you see it would have been so much easier not to do anything about any of that
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Istancow



Joined: 30 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, you must find what you consider an acceptable definition of what exactly it is. Different people come up with different definitions, and assuming that everyone is working under the same definition can lead to confusion.

For now, I'm going to define Feminism as "the effort to make sure that women have no problems that men do not also have, and that men have no problems that women do not also have".

From there, debate can move onto more substantial questions, like
"what problems do men and women have?",
"what problems do men and women share?",
"what problems do women have that men do not have?",
"what problems do men have that women do not have?",

and most importantly,

"How do we solve/equalize/balance these problems so that men and women can exist in a state that we all find suitably 'equal'?"

Now under the explanation I have given here, many of the people on this forum are, in fact, feminists- even some of those who actively reject the term feminist.

They would more likely define feminism as,

"the effort to make sure that women do not have any problems that men do not also have,"

or something like that- leaving off the bit about men's problems.

They would call my first definition "egalitarianism", or something like that.

Unfortunately, due to these objections these people have to using the terms "feminism" and "egalitarianism" interchangeably, many debates we have do not move past the point of defining terms.

If we were to sit down and agree on a definition, we might be able to divide the gender issue debate not into Feminists and MRAs or Feminists and Egalitarians, but into people who believe the problems of women outweigh the problems of men, or people who believe the problems of men outweigh the problems of women, or the people who believe that neither gender's problems outweigh those of the other and that all problems warrant equal attention.

But yeah, long-winded rant/lecture about why can't we all just get along aside, my advice is pretty simple - define your terms.
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aboutwhistles



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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yo I reject your attempt to say that feminism and egalitarianism are the same thing, because MEN ARE A PRIVILEGED CLASS IN THIS SOCIETY ok

That would be like walking into an anti-racist discussion and saying 'well we should just work on making ALL RACES EQUAL' instead of saying okay how can we deal with specific and unique issues/forms of racism hispanic people/black people/asian people currently are subjected to.

Which you would probably also do.

FALSE EQUIVALENCY is what you're doing here aite
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Istancow



Joined: 30 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So shall we then define feminism as "the advocacy of women's issues" with the prior axiom that women are the underprivileged class and that men are the overprivileged class?

And what then would egalitarianism be? The advocacy of both men's and women's issues equally, in spite of the fact that women are the underprivileged class and that men are the overprivileged class?

In that case, the goal of egalitarianism is not to achieve a state of equality by balancing privilege, but to maintain the unequal status quo by providing equal attention to unequal issues?

But... then the goal of egalitarianism is not equality. It is maintenance of the status quo. So why, then, bother calling it egalitarianism?

Alternatively, we could assume that egalitarianism is "the pursuit of a state of equality"

in which case an egalitarian would pursue the advocacy of the issues of an underprivileged group to the neglect of the issues of an overprivileged group in order to achieve an equality of privilege.

But if that's the same thing that feminists do, what, then, is the functional difference?
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Last edited by Istancow on Fri May 10, 2013 4:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Istancow



Joined: 30 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not think so.

I think Feminism is simply a term that describes the means- advocating women's issues, since men are the privileged class- of achieving equality, whereas Egalitarianism describes the intended ends of Feminism.

In response to your example, say I did walk into an anti-racist conference and say "let's work towards achieving racial equality" or something like that.

Would it not, then, follow that I should pursue the advocacy of the issues of the underprivileged races/ethnicities in hopes of achieving that racial equality?
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Istancow



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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Upon reflection, I'm starting to understand what you're saying better.

You define Feminism as gender egalitarianism - but with the further knowledge that women's issues outweigh men's issues, and that advocacy should therefore focus on women's issues.

Whereas gender egalitarianism is simply the pursuit of gender equality- without any further knowledge about gender issues.

A feminist is necessarily an egalitarian, whereas an egalitarian is not necessarily a feminist.

I can work with that. But you'll notice that that was not the definition of Feminism that I provided as an example for my original post. The definition I provided WAS identical to that of gender egalitarianism.

I did not equate your definition of feminism to egalitarianism, I equated my definition of feminism to egalitarianism.

And I think this demonstrates my original point - It is very confusing to debate a topic until you have agreed upon a definition.
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ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, yes, if you define "platypus" as "a three-sided banana made of sponges and suspended in timecube," then it does logically follow that a platypus is completely incomprehensible

it's when you start letting your definitions be influenced by empirical reality and actual usage of the words that things get really interesting
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ShadowCell



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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so what this actually demonstrates is that insisting upon a definition and then running off in whatever direction you want over "the definition" is actually a fairly effective tactic to obfuscate the original discussion
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