Monday, February 21, 2011

The Feminism Post

"Mystery makes the heart go bonkers." - Craig Benzine, aka Wheezy Waiter (This quote, while seemingly only humorous, is actually supported by several studies.)

In my last post, I linked to something Aly wrote about feminism, but stated that I didn't have anything to add. Kenny expressed disappointment that the post was about something else, and I replied saying that I should have said I didn't have anything to add at the present time.

Well, now I do.

I was behind on watching YouTube videos, so this afternoon I've been catching up on them. Most of these videos were TED talks.

Now, the majority of the videos I watch have a viewership that is on the whole intelligent, conscientious, and positive. When it comes to TED videos, however, I am literally scared to comment because I know the Giant Squids of Anger will descend and attempt to pick me to pieces, and I just don't feel like dealing with that. It is those sorts of comments I will be dealing with in this post.

The video I was watching before I stopped to write this was "Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion," which is about immersing yourself in a cause (such as global poverty) and working great positive change. 

Here are the top voted comments:
"Every woman that talks at TED keeps talking about "Women this, women that".  Inequality was truly real 20-30 years ago. It's been diminishing and it will be gone within the next 10 years as the generations change."
"men and women are not equal. we never will be. that's how nature works. "

And those are actually very tame, considering they're at the top. Just check the comments of any other TED video with a female speaker.

Here are some from the "most recent" list: 
"I'm so cool, bla bla women bla bla women bla bla"
"Notre Dame, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, Taj Mahal
Law, Equality, Freedom
Napoleon, Julius Ceasar, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne
Men have done more than woman did, as napoleon puts it:
Women are nothing but machines for producing children."

So women should shut up and stop complaining because we're equal to men now, but we're also inherently inferior. That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
Also, the last line of the final quote translates pretty well to "women are objects for me to have sex with." Yes, feminism is definitely out-dated in 21st Century America, much less in the rest of the world.

Aly's post dealt mainly with eliminating stereotypes surrounding women. This is more about social vs. political equality.

On paper, American (because I'm unfamiliar with other countries--sorry foreign people. Please leave a comment and tell me about your country) women are pretty much equal to men. We have full legal and economic rights. Everything's good. 

But social equality is an entirely different story. One needs only read the comments of a TEDWoman video to see that there is plenty of prejudice against both any woman and any woman who chooses to point out these inequalities. As I said: I don't leave comments on those videos anymore.

The women changed the political rules, but it's falls more (read: "not entirely, but more than political rules") to men like these to change the social issues. It's their attitudes that are the problem, and if they shoot down any woman who tries to reason with them, it's rather difficult for us to make any progress.

"You play like a girl," is still a common insult, isn't it? I recommend that you watch this video, although I think I've already posted it on here.

The majority of men, of course, would never write the kinds of comments I've shared with you. This post isn't about how men are evil. This post is about how there's still room for growth.

Also: of course they're going to talk about women at a conference specifically for women.

1 comment:

  1. A terrifically insightful analysis, I am glad you decided to speak on Feminism. I wish that something approaching your grasp of the issue when I was your age. Of course, being a male does insulate one from the lived experiences of women, as per the male privilege checklist, "46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege."

    Anyway, while men and women have achieved overt legal equality, there are still structural, rather than purely cultural, barriers to true equality. By their nature, structural barriers tend to fade into the background of society and, hence, are hard to point at, but an example would be the issue addressed by the Ledbetter Act in 2009. The act extended the statute of limitations on bringing legal actions to 180 days after each inequitable paycheck, as opposed to simply a period following the inequitable pay change.

    On the surface this appears gender neutral, however, due to the nature of inequitable pay falling along gendered lines, it is in practice a feminist issue. But, yeah, social equity is terribly important! I recommend that you read the post to which Aly links, just because I thought it was terribly wonderful, and it presents yet another facet of feminism.


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