September 16, 2010

"Feminist."

Please define.

131 comments:

1jpb said...

not hot chicks

Ann Althouse said...

No dictionary definitions are sought here. I want opinion and substance. Also, I'm serious. Not looking for jokes.

mesquito said...

For Pete's sake. It's not a coherent doctrine. It's a poltical clique.

bagoh20 said...

A label used to identify those with a low opinion of patriarchy, most often used to identify oneself.

deborah said...

A person, male of female, who believes in the pursuit of equality between men and women, including such things as equal pay for equal work, fair division of house/lawn upkeep, childcare, etc.

You don't have to be a dyke, manhater, feminazi, etc., to be feminist.

ricpic said...

Hates men. Lives to get them.

Maguro said...

An abortion enthusiast.

rhhardin said...

"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."

mesquito said...

Also, I'm serious. Not looking for jokes.

I'm serious. I'm not joking. Feminism: The Ladies' Auxiliary of the Democratic Party.

Dead Julius said...

It's an artificially-invented word. It arose out of political/cultural need, not naturally out of linguistic necessity. At first it meant whatever the people who used it wanted it to mean... folks like Gloria Steinem gave it a good push out of the gate. Since then it has aged, either like a fine wine or a rotten dairy product, depending on how politically useful it is to you.

Asking for the definition of such a charged term seems like asking the wrong question. "Feminist" is a verbal weapon, not a noun. As Lester B. Pearson said:

Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.

If you too womanly to wield a club, you can wield the word "Feminism" instead.

TRO said...

"Also, I'm serious. Not looking for jokes."

But modern feminism IS a joke. And I'm not trying to be funny by saying so.

1jpb said...

I think we should be allowed to interject how individual feminists describe themselves.

For example:
"I'm a feminist who, uh, believes in equal rights and I believe that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed, and to try to do it all, anyway."

Sixty Grit said...

Leftist above all - a feminist admires Bill Clinton for getting an employee his daughter's age to suck his dick while on the job and for smoking a cigar soaked in her vaginal secretions.

A true feminist deplores live birth - all children must be aborted or killed while young.

They love them some muslims - by golly do they love the way those patriarchal death cult members abuse and kill their women.

Most of all, they are women who fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

Debby wrote "You don't have to be a dyke, manhater, feminazi, etc., to be feminist", but it helps, right?

WV: preen - well, you can't make this stuff up.

TRO said...

"A person, male of female, who believes in the pursuit of equality between men and women, including such things as equal pay for equal work, fair division of house/lawn upkeep, childcare, etc."

That was achieved years ago. What modern feminists want it not equality but superiority.

Quayle said...

A person who believes that the essential struggle in the world is man versus woman, not good versus evil.

SteveR said...

A meaningless term these days, like "racist."

Nena's 99 Luftballons Song said...

A woman who has signed a declaration of independence.

1jpb said...

Or:

“Who hijacked term:”feminist”?A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue; it’s ironic (& passé)”

Tom said...

One who agrees with the ideologies of prominent writers and theorists who are widely acknowledged as feminists.

The definition is NOT one who believes in pursuing equality between the sexes. Public intellectuals and activists that own the feminist label in the mind of the public have a particular conception of equality and a particular set of prescriptions for achieving that equality. One can disagree with that particular conception and those prescriptions, and thus not be a feminist, and still believe in equality between the sexes.

Dead Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TRO said...

"A woman who has signed a declaration of independence."

What, is King George keeping her down?

q12345q6789 said...

I think misandry (and overall distrust or sublimated hate for men/boys) is a necessary component for left-wing feminism; in addition to whatever the over-arching tenets of feminism are... it is not about "equality" of the sexes... which *wave* of feminism are we on now? The third? I wonder what the Fourth Reich of feminism will be ;) ...

Paddy O said...

someone who fights for the freedom of women to be limited by their own abilities, not judged by a prior assumption about gender.

1jpb said...

And:

"some of us can call ourselves feminists and disagree with those who claim the mantle of “real feminists”"

Moose said...

Feminism, like anthropology, is in the eye of the beholder. It is entirely contextual and dependent on who is stating it as an "ism".

My take? It's the opposite of patriarchy. The iron fist in the velvet glove holding a speculum. Or a dildo.

Paddy O said...

In theological circles, a feminist theologian is one who approaches theology from the perspective of a woman, and reads the various texts in light of both God's ultimate calling for humanity and historical diminishing of women by theology and the church.

Because of the breadth of possible topics in the field, focusing perspective on such issues is very helpful both as a corrective and as a way forward in how we better understand the broad work of God and how we talk about it and how we minister to people.

roa said...

Sarah Palin

rhhardin said...

Feminism is the natural position of woman with respect to man, in particular in sending man on repeated quests; but never showing him she is satisfied with him.

Because it's quests with respect to all men in general, not a particular man, satisfaction cannot be shown.

Feminism localized to a single particular man who is never shown satisfaction would just be nagging.

1jpb said...

Roa, too late.

rhhardin said...

A man who is a feminist is just picking up babes.

How many NOW meetings I went to in the 70s.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Matriarchalist.

Little Towhee said...

I wouldn't call myself a feminist, but my mother-in-law called me one once because it was revealed that my female cousin, two of my sisters and I - while in college - used to enjoy going to the food court right outside the bookstand and harrassing men who were perusing porno mags.

I have four sons (and one daughter), and I think a feminist is someone who refuses to accept that men and women are different, and that as aggravating as each sex can be to the other at times, we were meant to complement one another. . . They refuse to believe the value of men is just as important as the value of women.

shoutingthomas said...

For a very brief period (about 1968 to about 1973) a feminist was a person who sensibly believed that women should have the same right to a job.

This became social reality in a very short period of time.

Unfortunately, feminists didn't know when to quit. After about 1973 feminism became a con game for suburban women to guilt trip their men and get their hands on more stuff.

Today, I think that the only true feminist living is Sarah Palin. Without much fuss, she was the point guard on an Alaska state champion high school basketball team. Without resorting to the guilt tripping and wild claims that she was just as oppressed as a black person under Jim Crow, she won the governorship of Alaska and raised a family of five kids.

For the rest, feminism is a negative attribution. In the U.S. it is the domain of spoiled brat women playing a very stupid game.

The Crack Emcee said...

Bitch.

ricpic said...

Feminists, rh. are hellbent on destroying the traditional and supportive role women fulfill when they send men on quests.

rsb said...

I grew up in the 60's and 70's and the word stirs up lots of emotions. For me it is about thinking of women as a fellow human being. We are two sexes, we all know about that part. We have our physical differences of course and because of hormonal differences we act a bit differently at times. Women have a lot of estrogen in their bloodstreams and men do not. Men have lots of testosterone. Biology.
Feminist is really a word that we unfortunately needed because women have gotten the short
end of the stick for a long time. I think it is because men realized they could beat up a woman if he wanted to so he just took control of everything.
Women are just as smart as men. Women can think just as well. In this we are equal. We have always been equal; it's just recently that
women have asserted themselves to get some decent treatment.
I say that a feminist is someone who acknowledges that a woman is equal to a man. (Not physically) She can be just as brutal and just as sweet, just as dull and just as brilliant, and she is absolutely deserving to go through this life with the same freedoms (and consequences) as a man does.

Jen Bradford said...

Wow Althouse, your comment zone has taken a nosedive. You seem to have attracted a passal of curmudgeons.

People who get their panties in a bunch just reading the word "feminist" make me think they're incapable of taking women's rights seriously at all, not that they quibble with silly or strident versions of feminism.

What do these people think when they watch Mad Men? "Ah, those were the days"?

deborah said...

rh, would you be a dear and run down to the Kroger? I need a box of tampons...the pearl kind, not the cardboard. Thanks, bud. I owe you one.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

1)No jokes, come on Althouse you leave this by the net and expect no one to spike it?
2)For most of us, the odd idea that womyn are the equal of men.
3)For “feminists” it means support for Social Justice causes, Gay Marriage, National Health Care, and most especially Abortion.

TRO said...

"People who get their panties in a bunch just reading the word "feminist" make me think they're incapable of taking women's rights seriously at all, not that they quibble with silly or strident versions of feminism."

That's funny, to me people who think that not taking modern feminism seriously is the equivalent of wishing the Mad Men days were back make me think they believe we still live in the time of cave men bopping cave women over the heads with clubs.

rhhardin said...

The trouble started when cave women starting putting flowers in their hair.

Jen Bradford said...

"Modern Feminism" is your twist, buddy. Althouse asked for a definition of feminism. My great-grandmother was a feminist. Get a grip.

TRO said...

"Modern Feminism" is your twist, buddy. Althouse asked for a definition of feminism. My great-grandmother was a feminist. Get a grip.

So, what you are saying, and correct me if I am wrong, is that only the original definition of feminist is legitimate? Because if that is the case, it's like defining a word in sanskrit. It's a dead word of a dead language. Your grandmother's feminism simply does not exist any longer - on the left. Now, on the right it is alive and kicking ala Sarah Palin and many like her.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Jenny, Honey, you can use your definition, but Althouse didn't limit it. And whilst you can use whatever definition you desire, the OPERATIVE ONE is “Modern Feminism.” I'll guarantee that if Catherine Mckinnon had met your Granny, Granny would have been labeled a dupe of the Patriarchy.

Greg Hlatky said...

A woman who believes in a level playing field, so long as the ball always bounces to her.

deborah said...

Alas, if only men were auditory instead of visual.

rhhardin said...

Bach, Faure, Debussy, Ravel ...

TRO said...

"Alas, if only men were auditory instead of visual."

I don't know . . . I love it when a woman moans.

I kid, really I do.

Jen Bradford said...

TRO, all I'm saying is that seeing the word in print got a lot of the men around here rolling their eyes (or, like Joe, acting like jerks). Which is a little odd.

Maybe you caught the Democratic primary? That was the upshot of racism trumping sexism as an issue Americans are willing to take seriously. In my opinion it meant a MUCH less qualified candidate prevailed.

Paddy O said...

The trouble is that non-feminists took the lead with the feminist label and made feminist equivalent with strongly liberal politics.

It's like liberation theology and marxism. It's very true that Christianity must, at its very core, learn to re-emphasize the plight and the value of those who are impoverished. But it's not helpful to make this equivalent to a failed political project that did more to hurt poor people than just about anything else.

Feminism was completely undermined by fake feminists who used the plight of women to further a small number of loosely related issues, on which women as a whole group do not agree.

Back to theology, it's interesting to note that we don't even talk about Feminist theology by itself anymore. Basically, "feminists" were seen as imperialistic, domineering, and insensitive to the reality of those who were without voice in theology.

Women from different contexts got very angry at white, upper-middle class, highly educated, elitist women defining what it meant to focus on "women's" issues.

So, feminist in theology is more narrowly understood as applying to white, North American/European women. You also have "Womanist" to talk about black and african women's issues.

Mujerista is the theology that comes out of a Latin American perspective. And I know there is another theology perspective that derives from Asian women, but I forget the name or if it has its own name.

TRO said...

"Maybe you caught the Democratic primary? That was the upshot of racism trumping sexism as an issue Americans are willing to take seriously. In my opinion it meant a MUCH less qualified candidate prevailed."

Oh, I totally agree with you on that point. Racism did indeed trump sexism in that case and we are reaping the misery now for it. My point though is that modern leftist feminists abandoned their so-called feminist principles for what they consider political gain, just as they did during the whole Clinton-Lewinski deal.

I think feminism is indeed a joke - as defined and applied by the left. It is about political gain and superiority over males not equality. But I also believe that old-time feminism is still alive, but in the hearts and minds of men and women on the right.

Meade said...

Anyone willing to view a human fetus as a parasite.

Paddy O said...

John Wesley was a feminist.

So were the early Quakers.

Both movements represented some of the most evangelistic and conservative theology of their time, in which they sought a radical devotion to Scripture and the Spirit.

Some said...

Feminist: A person who works to ensure that Women are getting a fair opportunity in life.

(In all of the various manifestations that life happens to need fairness assessments.)

1jpb said...

Can we compare the hotness of Palin and O'Donnell?

Have folks seen video of O talking about masturbation and WJC killing Foster? Even if she wasn't (theoretically) a forty one year old virgin, she could be hotter than Palin. That smile, and the rolling eyes are so cute.

Oops...I thought this was the define 'what men actually care about' thread. My bad.

P.S.
Meade,

You must be in favor of no exception for rape and incest? You would agree w/ O'Donnell, Miller, Angle, and others. How about if the life of the mother is at risk? [Even the Catholics are willing to destroy a fetus in that situation.]

rhhardin said...

"The movement was born amid the sounds of the morning wash being automatically battered and dried in the laundry rooms of suburbia. The last crumbs of breakfast had been lugged away, the coffee was poured, and a scowling Miss Betty Friedan sat with the most awesome circle of women ever gathered under the roof of a modern ranch-type house. Together they deliberated, as rage feathered the linings of their bowels. The whole day yawned before them. Soon it would be back and forth, back and forth to the powder room. Coffee and house work can have that effect. These brave women were trapped with a vast expanse of desolate hours stretching out to that remote time when the kids returned from school and the idiot traipsed in with his evening paper. It was insanity, and still the infernal washing machine kept vibrating in the background. Soon the maid would be emptying it and feeding it, emptying it and feeding it. There would be telephones and shopping and God knows what all. Rosa Luxemburg had been right ; so had -- their genitalia notwithstanding -- C. Wright Mills and Norman O. Brown. It was time to hoist the black flag. Penis envy, ha!

The women began to read, and in time they began to shout. Millions of witches had been burned in the Middle Ages, yet here we were in the early 1960s and still no inquest had been held. Not even many books on the atrocity could be found. There was much work to be done..."

``Betty Friedan and the Women of the Fevered Brow'' _Public Nuisances_ R.Emmett Tyrrell

deborah said...

Rush, Imus...

deborah said...

"Anyone willing to view a human fetus as a parasite."

Oh, Meade.

chr1 said...

Feminist-Pretty much all women I've met deep down. They want equality of opportunity. They want to be treated fairly in the workplace. But, life isn't fair, and too few women understand this. Most aren't comfortable in competitive, male-dominated areas (sales, army, contruction, cars, motorsports, chess, the sciences (with exceptions)...

See also, a bunch of nasty old scags, ideologues and political prostitutes...followed by a new wave of questionably talented, hackish writers and self-absorbed imbecilies (with rare exceptions.).

Meade said...

deborah: The definition has changed since it was coined in 1895. My definition is post-1973

Lem said...

I have no clue.

k*thy said...

Anyone who allows for an individual's freedom from stereotypes and roles. Kind of a free-to-be-you-and-me philosophy. It's not a zero-sum game.

Big Mike said...

Sort of like the corpse flower. Overweight, ugly, and foul-smelling.

1jpb said...

"Sort of like the corpse flower. Overweight, ugly, and foul-smelling."

And, can go fourteen years between "blooming."

rhhardin said...

The pro-parasite argument isn't bad, Marge Piercy.

Check out For Strong Women.

traditionalguy said...

We cannot change what we are. Any acknowledgement that women's lives are made for men is now insulting to educated women. So Feminism is a way to make sure that women's lives only revolve around men that are truly sorry for these facts of life. The woman has male pleasing equipment and the unique reproductive duties that are never assigned to men...and she simply has to use them. But in Feminism, the men must be seriously sorry about that. After 2441 years the Greek play Medea remains a perfect expression of this problem for all Feminists. And all you feminists out there, please don't blame me for answering your question. Men still love and respect you for being women.

lucid said...
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El Presidente said...

Feminist-- n. a person that supports the rights of women to define their own path in life free of legal and cultural barriers, whether that path leads to the White House, the executive suite or the nursery.

lucid said...

Feminism in the current period (circa post 1970) is a form of affirmative action, i.e., a political and economic movement that seeks to claim disadvantages (also known as "whining") by developing an elaborate narrative of victimhood.

The purpose of the claimed disadvantages and victimhood is to make it possible to claim moral precedence and unearned advantages based on demographic characteristics rather than achievements.

One of the practical effects of modern feminism is to discourage active competition from men and to claim equal benefits for unequal work.

For example, modern feminism leads to women being routinely depicted in military roles in advertising, news references, and popular culture generally even though feminists never actually seek active combat duty, which they leave entirely to men.

Thus, virtually all of the deaths and serious injuries suffered by American military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have been sustained by men.

Similarly, all of the firemen killed on September 11, 2001 were men.

Feminist objections to these sex inequalities are virtually unknown.

jaltcoh said...

A person, male of female, who believes in the pursuit of equality between men and women, including such things as equal pay for equal work, fair division of house/lawn upkeep, childcare, etc.

If feminism means someone who's in favor of "equal pay for equal work," wouldn't that mean everyone is a feminist? I've never heard anyone object to the idea that men and women should be paid equally for equal work. I can't imagine anyone seriously making such an objection.

As for child care, I don't know why you would insist on every couple splitting the child care equally. If a couple decides that the most productive arrangement is for one of them to earn the money and the other to do most of the child care, who is anyone else to try to stop them? Or, if you're just saying the division has to be "fair," not necessarily "equal," then that raises the thorny question of defining "fair." People use that word a lot without defining it.

HKatz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

"TRO, all I'm saying is that seeing the word in print got a lot of the men around here rolling their eyes (or, like Joe, acting like jerks). Which is a little odd."

A lot of the *men* rolling their eyes?

"Maybe you caught the Democratic primary? That was the upshot of racism trumping sexism as an issue Americans are willing to take seriously. In my opinion it meant a MUCH less qualified candidate prevailed."

As a matter of fact, a whole lot of us eye rollers of both sexes did notice that. We also tended to notice the vicious hatred directed at Sarah Palin by women on the left. Saying that she's "not a real woman" was practically fuzzy bunny territory.

For a serious answer to Althouse's question I'd suggest that:

"A feminist is someone who spends a great deal of time and effort proving the hypothesis that women in this country are still oppressed."

This is my serious answer.

It's got nothing to do with what our great grandmothers experienced when they didn't have the right to vote, and it's got nothing to do with what our mothers experienced when they faced job discrimination.

It's so hard now, to find real oppression that women in the US have to take college majors dedicated to ferreting it out from where it's hiding. It's not surprising that they become convinced that they found it.

If I was being snarky instead of serious I'd answer Althouse's questions this way:

"Feminism is all things good in the world. If it's good, then it pertains to female attributes. If it's bad, it pertains to the male attributes. Men war and kill and rape. Women make choices."

madawaskan said...

Whining.

From Paglia to Palin.

At least that's what it's been reduced to.

Me.

I'm a hard core feminist-which means I keep my eye on the event horizon and titrate down.

Meaning-oh forget it.

Shorthand: President George W. Bush was a global Lincoln for women.

I don't expect too many people to get that.

Synova said...

"Ideally feminism is part of a general movement that protects individual rights, which we can never be complacent. These rights are constantly under siege."

This is sort of what I was talking about.

Why is concern for individual rights referred to as "feminist"? Why not "masculinist?" We can't even say "the race of man" or "mankind" without someone fussing that it's exclusionary and relegates women to second class... and maybe it does. BUT if that is true and it does, then "feminist" can only to the same. Rationally, logically, calling something "feminist" isn't inclusive of everyone and everything, it's exclusive to women.

Saying that the causes of human rights or individual rights and equality is "feminist" is an exclusion of those concerns from the masculine sphere.

Why not "humanist?" Maybe because it doesn't include environmentalism and animals?

deborah said...

Those are beautiful poems.

Maguro said...

@Paddy - ...feminists never actually seek active combat duty, which they leave entirely to men.

As a matter of fact, "women in combat" used to be a big feminist issue back in the halcyon 90s, when there was no prospect of actual combat.

Now that people are actually getting killed over there, getting women into the infantry isn't such a high priority anymore.

madawaskan said...

The fact that you were almost ready to burn your bra over the likes of *********..

Pretty damn abysmal-just because certain buzz words were employed.

Honestly-I exaggerate but WTH.

Check yourself next time you get reflexive it probably means you haven't employed your brain.

Synova said...

"It was insanity, and still the infernal washing machine kept vibrating in the background. Soon the maid would be emptying it and feeding it, emptying it and feeding it."

Obviously these ladies needed to get out of the house and get a job.

The maid, however, had a job and was probably not invited to the sisterhood.

ricpic said...

No, don't make the effort to be understood, madawaskan, don't lower yourself.

ricpic said...

The maid? The maid was beneath notice...except when the suburban matrons spoke to each other about problems with "the help."

Synova said...

"As a matter of fact, "women in combat" used to be a big feminist issue back in the halcyon 90s, when there was no prospect of actual combat.

Now that people are actually getting killed over there, getting women into the infantry isn't such a high priority anymore.
"

During a war it's harder to hold the conflicting views that war is masculine and bad but also that fighting it is a feminist cause. In peacetime the disconnect is not so glaring.

I do doubt that many of the women in the military spend much time worrying about feminism even if they identify as feminist. Probably they like the male dominated environment; I know that I did very much. The interactions are different and no one is trying to act like everything should be a group effort based on consensus building.

HKatz said...

Saying that the causes of human rights or individual rights and equality is "feminist" is an exclusion of those concerns from the masculine sphere.

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying the reverse. That a feminist/feminism would be or become those things (not that those things would be exclusively feminist).

I hope we'll get to a point when feminists, masculinists, whatever-ists will just be for individual rights. At that point any feminist (masculinist, whatever-ist) movement would be subsumed by individual rights philosophy. The human individual - with his or her unalienable rights, competence, character, skills, abilities, contributions to society.

Bob Ellison said...

Self-centered female.

Synova said...

HKatz, I know what you meant.

I'm just saying that the word itself brings a context with it.

People fuss that "hysterical" is a sexist word and most people don't even recognize the root of it. Everyone knows the root of "feminist".

If we can't say "mankind" or use the term "man" to be inclusive of all humans, then exactly at what point do we get to use the term "feminist" and claim that it's inclusive of all humans? The message will always be there. The message to our boys, to our young men, to our fathers will be there. They are excluded.

You'd think that a movement that began as a reaction to the exclusion of women would recognize that.

Bender said...

historical diminishing of women by theology and the church

Well, that is exactly 180 degrees backward.

It has been the world, since almost the beginning of the world, which has sought to divide the sexes, each trying to impose a superiority on the other in an on-going power struggle, with men usually, at least overtly, winning out because of superior physical strength.

Meanwhile, it has been theology and the Church which has advanced the inherent dignity of woman since the very beginning of the Church, when a very young teenaged woman first opened the door to the redemption of mankind.

jimspice said...

Feminist: one who imagines a day when society will be devoid of such bile as has been spewed in this thread.

Kirby Olson said...

A communist who sees women as the proletariat.

lucid said...
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Synova said...

Oh wow, the Marge Piercy thing was... endless.

I sort of wanted to shout... "No one is forcing you to reproduce, you old cow!"

Honestly... think the lady ever saw a real barn-yard in her entire life? Birthed a calf? Plowed a field? Grew some beans?

Bender said...

As for definitions, I'll repeat what I said three months ago, when that same question was asked here --

What is a feminist, anyway? Does anyone have any definitions they'd like to supply? What are the goals of modern American feminism? I'd like to figure out if I am one or not.

The counterfeit feminism of the left is essentially anti-woman. It despises the feminine, hates those attributes that are exclusively woman, and advocates instead that women should become like the worst caricatures of men.

Most especially, the counterfeit feminism of the left sees the female body, and thus the female person, as something to be destroyed. Obsessed with genitalia, they see the uterus and ovaries as little more than defective abnormalities to be suppressed, and they see the fruits thereof, i.e. the unborn child, as a diseased tumor to be cut out of the body. To the counterfeit feminism of the left, the only real woman is the one who rejects and seeks to destroy these things which are exclusive to women.

To the counterfeit feminism of the left, which lusts for power, the only good woman is the one who acts like the misogynist men that populate the left, who exploit and use women as objects, especially sexually.

Authentic feminism, on the other hand, recognizes and celebrates the intrinsic value and genius of woman, equal to man in dignity and complementary of him. Authentic feminism is not concerned with a power struggle, does not see man as an instrinsic oppressive patriarchy, but as an equal partner, both with different characteristics that are exclusive to that sex, but which complement each other. Authentic feminism recognizes and celebrates that women are women and men are men, both called, as part of their nature as human persons, to the giving of self, charity in truth.

HKatz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Two kinds.

The phonies are all good little nieces of Uncle Saul who expect a double standard that benefits only them. Think Gloria Steinbrenner.

The real ones are prepared to do a man's work without expecting any special privilege or treatment and don't have to demonize men or women who think being a stay at home Mom is a valuable role in life. Think women in the military.

lucid said...

The way in which modern feminists claim victimhood in order to obtain equal rewards for unequal work is well-illustrated by those now defending Christine O'Donnell because she is a woman or because she once filed a sex discrimination case.

As Christine O'Donnell said in 2007, "American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains."

These mice, with their fully functioning human brains, are the modern feminists who are now defending O'Donnell.

jaltcoh said...

I'm curious about this though - how many people actually think that? I know that there are some women's studies profs or radical feminists who use 'herstory' and 'womyn' or whatever, and who don't understand or want to understand that 'mankind' actually does refer to humans... but is this a widespread way of thinking about the word?

I don't think people fail to understand that "mankind" is used to mean humans; they just think it shouldn't be used like that. There are other equally good words like "humanity" and "humankind" -- why not use those instead of the more gendered word? (I know the latter words have "man" in the middle of them, but it's part of "human.") I don't see what the problem is. "History" is different since there's no good substitute.

Synova said...

"The counterfeit feminism of the left is essentially anti-woman. It despises the feminine, hates those attributes that are exclusively woman, and advocates instead that women should become like the worst caricatures of men."

I tend to think that men and women are more alike than not and that few people on either side are actually making that argument any more. When I was a kid, maybe people on the feminist side of things did try to say that men and women were the same, but I don't think anyone is saying that any more.

HT said...

I wish I could help you out, but growing up here, feminism was not encouraged.

This is the beginning of a recent piece in our paper about a car repair class being held for women.

"When Melanie Dickinson's car stopped in the middle of U.S. 31 in Hoover recently, she managed to get it into a repair shop.

"The mechanic checked underneath the hood, found the problem and then asked Dickinson if she wanted him to call her husband to discuss what to do next.

"The mechanic never made that call. Instead, he got a lesson he may not soon forgot.
"I said, 'No, you don't need to call my husband. What if down the road I don't have a husband. What if I'm a widow?'" Dickinson asked.

"What you have to learn as a mechanic or technician is that not every woman has a man. What you are going to do is explain this to me as a third-grader."

Christopher said...

Dr Christina Hoff Sommers coined (or popularized) the best definitions years ago in her book Who Stole Feminism. I haven't read the book for awhile but broadly speaking gender feminists are about identity politics, special pleading, and in the worst cases, female supremacy. Equity feminists are about creating the legal and social conditions for equality between the sexes while recognizing they are different animals on some level and every social and professional outcome across the sexes doesn't have to be equal in order to be just.

So gender feminists work to mandate equal outcomes. Sort of (I'll explain). Equity feminists support equal opportunity.

A gender feminist would typically support proposals to require legislatures seat a minimum number of women. An equity feminist would not.

When gender feminists saw lower participation by women in sports, they successfully worked to implement Title IX in a way that assumed all women had the same interest in sports as all men. It wasn't enough to provide more opportunities to women than before, and seeing how far that might go. As long as female participation was lower than men's, it provided a pretext to dismantle successful men's collegiate programs in sports like baseball and wrestling and gymnastics in order to supply equal funding for female programs, even though they didn't attract the same level or depth of intense commitment.

For gender feminists, the gross statistic about women making less money than men represents an injustice that has to be addressed via "comparable worth," because it stands to reason that all women should make the same amount of money as all men. The fact that men as a group are more willing (or more physically able) to work in more hazardous occupations that pay more, work longer hours, take disruptive job transfers etc., all of which increase their worth to an employer over time, is irrelevant. Life is supposed to create an equal result that can be measured with numbers and if it doesn't, gender feminists will create laws and file suit to make it so.

To some extent gender feminists are utopian. Some of this is fed by the leftist notion that gender is a social construct, reinforcing the idea that unequal outcomes are artificial, unjust results of the patriarchy. Remove the oppressive patriarchy and equal participation in all areas of society will result. And if it doesn't result, than that means the patriarchy has not been removed.

But in practice, many gender feminists do not really care about equal outcomes, and instead decay into what I call a mere power struggle. Even when Who Stole Feminism came out 15 years ago, girls and women were generally doing much better in school than boys and men in almost all areas apart from sports. It wasn't enough--it is never enough. We were told through various gender-feminist organizations about how horrible everything was for girls in school. The fact that boys, even then, lagged behind girls in language skills (for example) was of little interest to gender feminists, when it was acknowledged at all.

Well, I just read the other day that this year more women received Ph. D's than men. So it's a hat trick now--more women than men receive undergrad degrees, and Masters, and now Ph. D's.

Have you heard a big outcry from the usual suspects about fixing that "gender gap" so that men can stand on equal ground with women in college achievement?

crickets

This is the problem with identity politics, of which gender feminism is one species. It starts out with the goal of making sure your group has a fair shake. It ends up with seizing as much as you can for yourself, and if my group is more successful than your group at earmarks and lawsuits and favoritism buried in the details of thousands of laws, that's really your problem.

HKatz said...

they just think it shouldn't be used like that. There are other equally good words like "humanity" and "humankind"

Humanity is a beautiful word. I'm all for it. But I stick to my original statement that there are people who don't want to understand that 'mankind' refers to humans (as in, they're being deliberately obtuse) because they want to make a political point.

"History" is different since there's no good substitute.
So you say. Others might disagree. But really, do you think that all words that can be substituted must be substituted?

Maybe the words that can't be substituted must be, I don't know, done away with (including humanity with that pesky "man as part of human thing". Humynity it is!)

Where do you draw the line in the quest for "gender-neutral" language? In my experience it becomes an obsessive and ridiculous enterprise, ultimately crimping expression (similar to the way people get uneasy about how to express themselves in entirely PC ways with PC-approved terminology and nothing else).

I've read essays where the author attempted to write with he/she the whole way through, resulting in a muddled discourse. What then? Start counting out pronouns to make sure they even out, he and she equal? Use only plural pronouns? Or what about languages with gendered articles? What a minefield. And I'm not simply setting up strawmen here (sorry, strawpeople); I really am curious about this.

I feel that if you focus on this kind of thing too much, you miss out on thinking.

Bender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

Dr Christina Hoff Sommers coined (or popularized) the best definitions years ago in her book Who Stole Feminism. I haven't read the book for awhile but broadly speaking gender feminists are about identity politics, special pleading, and in the worst cases, female supremacy. Equity feminists are about creating the legal and social conditions for equality between the sexes while recognizing they are different animals on some level and every social and professional outcome across the sexes doesn't have to be equal in order to be just.

So gender feminists work to mandate equal outcomes. Sort of (I'll explain). Equity feminists support equal opportunity.

A gender feminist would typically support proposals to require legislatures seat a minimum number of women. An equity feminist would not.

When gender feminists saw lower participation by women in sports, they successfully worked to implement Title IX in a way that assumed all women had the same interest in sports as all men. It wasn't enough to provide more opportunities to women than before, and seeing how far that might go. As long as female participation was lower than men's, it provided a pretext to dismantle successful men's collegiate programs in sports like baseball and wrestling and gymnastics in order to supply equal funding for female programs, even though they didn't attract the same level or depth of intense commitment.

For gender feminists, the gross statistic about women making less money than men represents an injustice that has to be addressed via "comparable worth," because it stands to reason that all women should make the same amount of money as all men. The fact that men as a group are more willing (or more physically able) to work in more hazardous occupations that pay more, work longer hours, take disruptive job transfers etc., all of which increase their worth to an employer over time, is irrelevant. Life is supposed to create an equal result that can be measured with numbers and if it doesn't, gender feminists will create laws and file suit to make it so…

Christopher said...

...
To some extent gender feminists are utopian. Some of this is fed by the leftist notion that gender is a social construct, reinforcing the idea that unequal outcomes are artificial, unjust results of the patriarchy. Remove the oppressive patriarchy and equal participation in all areas of society will result. And if it doesn't result, than that means the patriarchy has not been removed.

But in practice, many gender feminists do not really care about equal outcomes, and instead decay into what I call a mere power struggle. Even when Who Stole Feminism came out 15 years ago, girls and women were generally doing much better in school than boys and men in almost all areas apart from sports. It wasn't enough--it is never enough. We were told through various gender-feminist organizations about how horrible everything was for girls in school. The fact that boys, even then, lagged behind girls in language skills (for example) was of little interest to gender feminists, when it was acknowledged at all.

Well, I just read the other day that this year more women received Ph. D's than men. So it's a hat trick now--more women than men receive undergrad degrees, and Masters, and now Ph. D's.

Have you heard a big outcry from the usual suspects about fixing that "gender gap" so that men can stand on equal ground with women in college achievement?

crickets

This is the problem with identity politics, of which gender feminism is one species. It starts out with the goal of making sure your group has a fair shake. It ends up with seizing as much as you can for yourself, and if my group is more successful than your group at earmarks and lawsuits and favoritism buried in the details of thousands of laws, that's really your problem.

Bender said...

I don't know about that, Synova.

We are in the midst of an election season, and political struggle in general, where there are some strong women out there who are quite comfortable in their femininity -- and they are routinely savaged by the counterfeit feminists of the left.

(We even have, for example, the absurdity of Barbara Boxer, from the left, freaking out when she was called "ma'am," rather than the neutered "senator.")

The number one issue of the so-called "feminists" of the left is STILL to be able to deny and destroy the one thing that is exclusively female (bearing children).

1jpb said...

Maybe these "mean feminists" need to be properly laid.

I blame the men who are bad lovers.

Christopher said...

I'm curious about this though - how many people actually think that? I know that there are some women's studies profs or radical feminists who use 'herstory' and 'womyn' or whatever, and who don't understand or want to understand that 'mankind' actually does refer to humans... but is this a widespread way of thinking about the word?

Using the word "mankind" is strongly discouraged in U.S. newsrooms, trust me.

Synova said...

"What you have to learn as a mechanic or technician is that not every woman has a man. What you are going to do is explain this to me as a third-grader."

*snort*

Although, I actually had a mechanic do this to me about 20 years ago. Some little valve had failed and our car was blowing oil out the seals in about 7 different places. The mechanic says, "Your such and such valve needs to be replaced." I asked, "What is a such and such valve? What does it do?" And he says, "Your husband knows."

Husband was standing right there, didn't admit he didn't know. (He knows computers, radios, lots and lots of impressive stuff.) I suppose I should forgive him as he was maybe 22 years old at the time, but I sure let him have it when we got home.

HKatz said...

and every social and professional outcome across the sexes doesn't have to be equal in order to be just.

Yes, this needs to be said. Equal opportunity is not the same as equal outcome.

Using the word "mankind" is strongly discouraged in U.S. newsrooms, trust me.
One small step for human, one giant leap for humankind...

Synova said...

Since lucid brought it up here... google "mouse human nervous system chimera."

d-day said...

People who support abortion rights. People who believe that women should be able to be men, to be treated under the law as men. People who denigrate motherhood and traditional femininity. People who value the identity of woman-hood and sisterhood above women's identities as citizens, scholars, mothers, wives, or anything else.

I used to think I was a feminist, but after taking enough upper-level women's studies electives in undergrad, I realized they wouldn't have me.

fivewheels said...

Serious answer? Hmmm...

Someone who believes him or herself to be working for the political cause of women, and disregards all other concerns, including whether a majority of actual women actually agrees that such a cause is even in their favor.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I side with the great one on this:

Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people.

fivewheels said...

Revised: Someone who works politically for what they personally proclaim to be the cause of women, whether or not that cause is favored by a majority of actual women and regardless of whether that cause is of overall benefit to society as a whole (i.e. including the interests of children and men).

WV: vapette. Love it.

jamboree said...

I think of it as anyone who has an interest in advancing the societal power of women as a group - and is willing to recognize that patterns and power disparities exist - although they may be experienced individually - and is willing to take steps to change key aspects as they see them.

I generally don't get a bee in my panties about who is a "real feminist" and who isn't, or who is a "real woman" (which trumps "feminism" theoretically) and who isn't. I have never identified or gotten bogged down with those terms, and yet I have a strong, very deep interest in the state of women as a group that never seems to fully die, so I usually assume that other people see me as a feminist of some kind.

I did gross out when I met my first stereotypical "feminists" at college who were by-then middle-aged and very fat and depressed, but now I think of it as similar to the reaction an unthinking young person might have to to mangled war vets. You recoil at their physical state and want to run screaming saying it has nothing to do with you because you can't handle the guilt and obligation, but on a deeper level you understand that their physical repulsiveness is because they took hits being on the front lines that you didn't have to take, and there grows a sense of responsibility and gratitude.

And of course, it all began with my mother. :-) I saw her struggle, was affected deeply, and looked out and saw it repeated over and over again. It became important to me on a macro and micro scale.

Oligonicella said...

Obsolete.

El Pollo Real said...

jamboree wrote: but now I think of it as similar to the reaction an unthinking young person might have to to mangled war vets. You recoil at their physical state and want to run screaming saying it has nothing to do with you because you can't handle the guilt and obligation, but on a deeper level you understand that their physical repulsiveness is because they took hits being on the front lines that you didn't have to take, and there grows a sense of responsibility and gratitude.

With the proviso that the mangled war vet took the hit for men, women, and children, while your front line academician took the hits for...women!

A feminist is someone who cares first and foremost about...women!

Methadras said...

For me a feminist is someone who seeks the feminine in all sort of things. However, in the political sphere, a feminist is basically a man-hater or in a larger context with regards to political ideology, a group of leftards who are willing to excuse horrible things done to women at any level of excuses so long as their ideologies are in line with each other. And if they are not, to lambast anyone they can portray as a misogynist.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Also, I'm serious. Not looking for jokes."

Feminist is a noun. It is a female Democrat. (Male Democrats are known as "The Gheys").

Pogo said...

Feminism is western civilization's version of Islam and Sharia, a religious political system replacing freedom with domination.

AllenS said...

A feminist is a woman who can, and will change her mind about any subject, any time she wants to. She'll be against powerful men taking advantage of less powerful women/girls in the workplace, until the man she supports gets caught doing it.

Feminist = liar.

bagoh20 said...

Feminist: Someone who underestimates women.

Paddy O said...

"has advanced the inherent dignity of woman"

"inherent dignity" is such as silly phrase. Radical muslims believe in the 'inherent dignity' of women, that's why they wrap them up and won't let them drive. To say that Mary represents the super advancement of women through theology replaces actual interest in women with a goddess figure who idealizes particular woman so much that the rest of real women continue to be pushed aside.

I believe that Paul and Jesus and the early church did have the foundations of a very amazing understanding of women's roles, that comes not from Mary but from the radical reality of the Holy Spirit who empowers and involves all people.

However, then came Augustine and so many others who, like Islam, had early lust issues that resulted in decidedly reduced understanding of women.

Reality of theology and church history is much more complicated than idealized theology and church history. 180 degrees more complicated, apparently.

raf said...

It was back in the 70's, I believe, when I was confronted by a report of a woman saying something to the effect that she would never consider dating a man who was not fully supportive of a woman's unconditional right to abortion. I don't know whether it was someone else's comment or my own reaction, but what has stuck with me ever since is how, even in my own (then) young lifetime, things had radically changed, when the MOST important aspect of a man to a woman was his willing aquiesence in the killing of her children.

Amy said...

To me it means: Men and women were created equal and should be treated as such. It does not mean that women should be masculine or than men should be sissified. Equal opportunity for all, yet respect that people make choices that work for them (i.e., whether "traditional" or "non-traditional"). Men and women, husbands and wives, should be free to choose lifestyles that work for them and their families without judgment or impediment from society.

This is MY definition of feminism, and obviously I do not adhere to those who pretend to represent women, such as N.O.W.

c3 said...

I want more....and I'm not getting it!

Synova said...

"...when the MOST important aspect of a man to a woman was his willing aquiesence in the killing of her children."

Ah, they got you.

The MOST important aspect of a man to a woman is his willingness to agree that she can kill *his* children.

Julie said...

It certainly means something different to me than it did to my grandma and to my mother. What I gather from reading things written by self-proclaimed feminists, including your friend Jessica Valenti, it now means a persistent belief that American women are oppressed by a patriarchy, despite all available evidence. Feminists often evince misandry and even misogyny (cf. the way they talk about any woman who decides to be a stay-at-home mom, particularly if she has an education). Feminists are people who don't see the incoherence in claiming that women--even teenage girls--are morally responsible enough to decide to have an abortion but are not to be held responsible for getting pregnant when they did not want to be pregnant. For most women, not getting pregnant shouldn't really be very difficult, yet women, in the feminist view, do not seem to be capable of it. I find it puzzling how many feminists are also vegetarians or otherwise sympathetic to animal rights, and would encourage you to spay and neuter your pets, but treat unwanted pregnancies in humans as something that cannot be reliably prevented. Of course, Peter Singer is now advocating infanticide in some circumstances, so it's not just feminists.

In other words, I don't think it's something that can be taken very seriously anymore.

Kirby Olson said...

Genghis Khans in skirts, with cellphones.

Synova said...

"What I gather from reading things written by self-proclaimed feminists, including your friend Jessica Valenti, it now means a persistent belief that American women are oppressed by a patriarchy, despite all available evidence."

That's exactly what my "serious" definition was, but you used much better words.

For Althouse:

Feminism is the persistent belief that American women are oppressed by a patriarchy, despite all available evidence.


Pithy and perfect.

Famous Original Mike said...

Feminism is merely another identity politicking term used to divide and conquer stupid people and con them into voting Democrat.

Just like everything else the Left does.

amba said...

And when you're through with that, define "Womanist."

rhhardin said...

True fact: after Black history month came out, I joked that women's history month would be next.

The joke is invisible today, the underlying thought at the time being that women have the same history as men.

Little Towhee said...

To Jen Bradford:

I think you might've included me in your random curmudgeon insult. How passive-aggressive of you.

What do you call people who respect and act for the just treatment of all human beings?

When a person denotes her/himself as a feminist, that's pretty much saying one only cares for the interests of women.

That is precisely why feminism gets a negative rap.

Labels are for the insecure.