Feminism for Dummies.

(210 Posts)
Ilovemyself Mon 20-May-13 20:45:45

Ok. Here goes.

Apologies if I have offended anyone with my posts since I started using the site. I certainly didn't mean to.

I am all for equality, be it based on sex, race, sexuality, or whatever subculture you area member of.

I have been surprised at the level of vitriol aimed at me because of my (rather poorly worded )comments.

I understand that in every fight for equality there will be those for who the fight is an ever consuming thing. And there will also be those who have been down trodden for so long they will snap at the slightest thing against them. And that there will be those who feel that because they have been oppressed for so long it is their right to be in a dominant position.

For those that want to tip the balance in the opposite direction, I will always disagree. Equality is what we should aim for in all walks of life. These are those who I referred to when I said taking things too far - for promoting something other than equality.

But for the other groups, should I walk on eggshells for fear of offending them, or should say my piece, apologise if I offend, and carry on.

Or am I completely wrong in viewing feminism as a fight for equality when it is actually a fight for women to be in a dominant position over men.

I hope I get some answers here - I certainly don't want a repeat of the last 24 hours. Thanks all.

If you want to inspire girls, and be inspired by them, try....

towardthestars.com/AboutUs.html

and

https://www.facebook.com/TowardTheStars?hc_location=stream

Can I ask, might be a totally wrong thing so apologies, but ages ago I remember hearing about bears and how they had evolved smaller females for the purpose of feeding baby bears. Easier to find food for self and baby bear if self does not need to eat masses to grow really big. I have tried looking but can't find this argument so wonder if it is true. It's only bearing (to me) on the subject of the oppression of women is that if true it kind of shows we look at the 'condition' of bigger males and smaller females and assume it must be about the male, where as if this is true it is about the females.

Just a thought.

Dervel Wed 29-May-13 15:06:11

We could be debating all this until the cows come home, and nowhere nearer the truth (although several have made some very educated guesses that have made interesting reading). Before I got into feminism I had distilled the issue down to one primary observation. I realise it is an oversimplification, but often I like to go back to basics in my own mind to recapture how I feel about an issue.

As a man I was raised to grow up, be myself and make my mark on the world. Feminism aside for a moment, I don't think I can think of a time in my life where enough women have been given the same, and in this instance I mean in society's attitude via education and media. Several generations ago most women were in a very immediate and real way controlled by men, and told what to be, how to dress etc etc.

Ok hopefully in day to day life fewer women are directly controlled and subjugated to the will of individual males (although certainly that is still a very real concern). Yet in the wider spectrum I don't see anywhere near enough messages directed at little girls cherishing the individual identity they possess, that from which the strength and drive flows to do be all they want in life.

Consider the whole Disney Princess line, why just Princess and not Queen? It is almost as if society wants to keep women retarded in some sort of bizarre childlike/adolescent state. Obsession over youth which is quite the reverse amongst men as society often praises and celebrates attractiveness in older males.

My guess at a solution? A celebration of the individual, women have to be stopped being told what to do. Period. All I see are how women are supposed to be mothers, supposed to be career minded, supposed in short to be anything that society needs them to be in a way men simply aren't.

grimbletart Wed 29-May-13 13:18:51

OK Arsenal: I was just trying to establish whether you were thinking in stereotypes or whether you actually had some hard evidence that defines the terms you used. smile

It feeds into what PromQueen is saying in her last post. Nature or nurture it doesn't really matter. If we (i.e. everyone) cannot escape thinking in simplistic stereotypes we will never escape the you Tarzan me Jane type of thinking. And that is bad because it induces a mindset that limits the range of life possibilities for both men and women.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 29-May-13 13:16:43

Wanting to shag someone and wanting to reproduce with them are separable thanks to societal developments.

I might want to shag George Clooney. I wouldn't want to reproduce with him because he's considerably older than me, lives in another country, is famous and I don't want to be etc. The society I live in gives me that kind of choice. If it didn't, the spark could be as big as anything and I would make a decision not to risk conceiving with him because of the societal factors.

I'm sure you too have been attracted to women that you didn't want to have children with - Carol Vorderman, mentioned by you, is almost certainly not going to be bearing any (more) children.

It's impossible to ignore that humans have a different set of decision processes to animals because they operate within social structures.

PromQueenWithin Wed 29-May-13 12:49:43

But arsenal, natural selection works through mate selection (i.e. only the 'fittest' survive to breed and thus to pass down those characteristics that enabled them to survive in their environment). One can't mate with someone who has died because they don't possess very good survival characteristics, no?

Your whole argument (as I understand it) is that men and women are naturally different, and those differences arose through natural selection because women (who you assume are the choosers in most circumstances) actively chose 'manly men' with high levels of testosterone.

You may well be correct (if we sweep under the carpet that for most of history, most women weren't allowed to choose who they bore children with).

My argument is that it doesn't matter whether you are correct or not, but that the 'biology' argument is used to justify oppression of women into certain roles that are less valued by society, purely upon this biological argument that we do not know for certain is correct but has come to be accepted as true in our culture (that's the social conditioning part, by the way) and further, that respected academics in peer reviewed papers in good journals warn us about using these biological arguments as though they were simple facts that can predict behaviour.

arsenaltilidie Wed 29-May-13 12:26:05

grimble I just didnt want to get into a debate about what men find attractive.

arsenaltilidie Wed 29-May-13 12:20:33

^will not necessarily benefit from
a discourse based on the language of genetics or biology more
generally^
Basically from what I understand he is basically saying we should be careful when discuss genetics biology.
He also goes on to recommend doctors should not 'stereotype' some patients, ie. Mexican patient passing urine a lot - investigate diabetes.

Natural selection and mate selection are 2 similar but distinct choices.
The professor above discusses about genetics on a more natural selection bases, ie. they maybe some differences between groups, but they are so minute we shouldn't discriminate. Whole heartedly agree.

Mate selection on the other hand has a lot to do with testosterone.

the docto smell, eyes and physical attraction is what creates the spark.
Everything else is secondary. I suppose that's what separates a man you get along with to a man you want to shag.
Dervel probably doesn't matter. Its just an understanding how societies are formed. The more we understand the better chance there is to come up with a solution.

Dervel Wed 29-May-13 08:20:19

Am I being supremely dense, but does it fundamentally not matter which exact combination of nature/nurture we are dealing with? If its nurture maybe we can get this gender issue resolved in a few generations of raising children properly. If it it's nature it will take several thousands of years worth of evolution to catch up. Either way and no matter how long it takes gender balance is a worthwhile destination.

PromQueenWithin Tue 28-May-13 21:46:29

I suppose I should be more careful about citing one paper to try and prove a point, because its never as simple as that.

My sole point is this: arsenaltilidie you seem to imply that there is some sort of scientific consensus about evolutionary psychology and mate selection having an influence upon gender equality, and will refuse to back down until we show "studies" that disprove your point.

This recent paper in a very well regarded journal shows that no such scientific consensus exists, so I'd consider your certainty misplaced.

PromQueenWithin Tue 28-May-13 21:41:49

Professor Ronald J. Angel,
Department of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin, United States,
In the journal Social Science and Medicine,
Volume 73, Issue 5, September 2011, Pages 632–635,
says:

"There can be little doubt that all human behavior reflects complex gene/environment interactions, but isolating the unique contributions of genes and environment in the explanation of overdetermined behavioral and social outcomes may not in principle be possible. When dealing with groups that differ significantly in histories of discrimination and exclusion biological explanations must be employed with caution even as they promise great strides in dealing with specific diseases."

His paper was about racial differences and about how they might be useful in developing public health policy, but I think the principle applies to gender as well. If anything, his warning is even more pertinent to the topic of gender and socio-historical ideas about male dominance and rape vs. women as 'gatekeepers' because the latter issue is so much more complex.

So, continuing to dismiss all posters that disagree with you, and their arguments, on the basis that they haven't cited "studies" that "prove" their assertions is misguided at best, disingenuous at worst because, as Prof. Angel writes here, it is impossible to separate structure / agency (or if you prefer nature / nurture) for something as complex as why men and women choose sexual partners today, and the impact of those choices throughout history and prehistory on something so recent and so political as constructs of 'gender equality'

Here endith my literature review on your behalf arsenaltilidie

Kay. Point = we cannot know for sure, so should be careful about presenting our opinions as facts.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-May-13 21:22:04

It's hard to describe but you're sure it's related to testosterone?

grimbletart Tue 28-May-13 21:15:48

Arsenal: actually I was not trying to trap you into stereotyping. True, I suspected you would probably equate manly and womanly with the Phwoar factor. But I was hoping that you had some evidence-based insight to impart. Sadly you went for the superficial. BTW I had to look up Chris Hemsworth as I hadn't even heard of him blush. Afraid he does nothing for me though. sad

arsenaltilidie Tue 28-May-13 20:43:35

Of course 'wikipedia is not an academic source' but the good thing about Wikipedia they often provide academic ref.
I simply provided a Google Scholar search so anyone can chose whatever paper amongst 100s.

I honestly can't find any study that suggest Social Conditioning.

thedoct its hard to describe what caused the 'spark'

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-May-13 17:52:22

Does anyone else remember giving some actual thought to the person they decided to reproduce with? Something beyond "Phwoar, I'm chucking the condoms out, testosterone me up, baby"?

Or am I just hopelessly socialised?

PromQueenWithin Tue 28-May-13 16:11:46

Chuckling to myself at arsenaltilidie's demands for evidence, and then producing google and wikipedia in support of his / her own case.

Repeat after me children "Wikipedia is not an academic source"

Here's my tupp'orth:

Social Conditioning makes Evolutionary psychological Theory make sense.

Go on then, prove me wrong...

arsenaltilidie Tue 28-May-13 10:20:00

Like I expected no evidence.

Reality Very interesting link especially the other bits, but if everyone lived within the 'status quo' then the world would be even more shit. It goes against everything I believe in about 'pigeon hole' people or remaining silent because its the order of the day.

Back to your point, do not like magazine polls, especially a magazine aimed at a certain type of customer (Total Film: young men who earn significant above average). Nonetheless I would be interested to know how big the difference of votes between 1 and 10.
Anyway its funny how almost everyone else is 6ft+, either muscly and/or has small eyes.
And it drops significantly after having children. Men who care for their kids have lower levels, it drops significantly after he begins doing so and remains low for a while, but women appreciate, and likely more attracted to, a man who cares for his kids than not (and he is more likely to have more children, which is the another large hole in your evolutionary theory).
Remember 'indicators of high testosterone.' The hormone increases around 'attractive' women for a reason.
How does it put a large hole, it means the man who has high testosterone but also has the ability to lower it when he has children survives.
But the initial attraction was caused by testosterone.

It even makes more sense why testosterone is high before having children because they need to pro create and decreases after children in order to raise the child. Meaning testosterone is very important in attracting a mate, but not so good in child rearing.

Also as far as I'm aware there is no study that suggests male attraction is not universal.

FloraFox Tue 28-May-13 06:55:33

arsenal you are starting to sound like a four year old repeating his favourite knock knock joke over and over again.

Men and women (mostly) find the opposite sex attractive as a matter of biology - we need to reproduce with a member of the opposite sex. Reproduction did not arise from evolution. I think you should be able to grasp that. You're seriously all over the place on this and you have now proved my original statement to you on this thread that you know nothing about evolutionary theory.

Reality I followed your link and ended up in unexpected places, thank you.

Blistory your writing about women's experiences in your three parter were excellent. Thank you so much.

wilsonfricket thank you for answering my question about women wanting patriarchy to continue. I have been away and have only just caught up on thread. some of it is very interesting and well written.

RealityQuake Tue 28-May-13 00:53:26

Problem with that theory is that men's level of testosterone is not constant. It's pretty much constantly in flux (it has actually been shown to cycle wider in a month than in women). It would mean men's level of attractiveness changes constantly.

And it drops significantly after having children. Men who care for their kids have lower levels, it drops significantly after he begins doing so and remains low for a while, but women appreciate, and likely more attracted to, a man who cares for his kids than not (and he is more likely to have more children, which is the another large hole in your evolutionary theory).

It may make more sense to you, but the evidence goes against you. The definition of masculinity and femininely change depending on what culture you are in and it is the point of culture and socialization to train a child to be an adult. The process of teaching a child to be a man or woman is social conditioning and that would obviously involve defining these social roles.

Also, polls put Tom Hiddleston as more popular with the ladies than his buddy Hemsworth, and the main reason is because of how emotive he comes across. Manly man is an icon for men, not women.

I would suggest doing more research than google in the future. Here's a hew tips before jumping in in the future.

rosabud Tue 28-May-13 00:28:32

What? The majority of men find Carol Vorderman attractive? Err.......so is there evidence for that then.... oh, no, I see how this works, we just have to accept your ideas as fact unless we can prove you wrong.........just off to do a straw poll of male relatives........hmm

arsenaltilidie Mon 27-May-13 23:30:16

GrimbleI knew your agenda was to was to catch me out citing a stereotypical male fantasy hourglass figure .

Well she is gorgeous and smart wink.

Well on a serious matter her and Chris Hemsworth are what I would call a 'womanly woman' and 'manly man' because the majority of the opposite sex finds them attractive.
Why, because of evolution smile.

arsenaltilidie Mon 27-May-13 23:17:20

As expected i see NO EVIDENCE... I would happily say Im talking out of my arse if proven wrong.

Evolution Theory make a lot more sense than 'Social Conditioning.'

Google 'women are attracted to high levels of testosterone' or
Google 'testosterone in men attraction to google scholar' take your pick.
Wikipedia: Physical attractiveness and follow links about male attraction.

Doct Im sorry if I offended you and whoever, I meant a certain type of men (nasty), hence the prison example.
I know its an argument that can be used by some people to justify wrongly oppressing women.
Same as the evolution theory, if used in a lazy manner, CAN be used wrongly to justify misogynist beliefs.

grimbletart Mon 27-May-13 22:44:19

Arsenal: it is not a stupid question to ask for your definition of a womanly woman. It was an attempt to see whether you had actually thought through what you were saying i.e. what attributes qualify a woman to be called "womanly".

First you ignore it, then you accuse me of having an agenda, then you make a facetious comment about using skin products.

I did somewhat suspect that your evasion was because you wanted to avoid citing a stereotypical male fantasy hourglass figure as a womanly woman. 2 out of 10 for originality grin

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