Of Large Families and Religion

As a culture, we have a fascination with what we see as odd. We can see this fascination with a lot of the shows on TV. One channel, TLC, likes to focus on families. The Duggar family has had a show on TLC for years, and the Bates family had a show on their for a short time. Those are the largest families featured on the network, but there have been many similar shows with 8 or more children per family.

There are many different opinions held about these families. Most people worry about whether or not the family is on welfare and whether the children are properly cared for. Some care about the issue of over-population and pollution. However, many also praise these families for their religious convictions and good parenting.

For the last few months, I have been quite fascinated with these families myself. I grew up with one brother, so the idea of having many brothers and sisters is odd to me. But I’m more interested in the religious convictions. I can’t say whether or not the Duggars are good parents, but some of their religious convictions bother me. For one, I don’t think it’s healthy to teach a girl to rely on her father when it comes to picking a future spouse. Her father will not be marrying him. He will not have to spend the rest of his life with this man. The daughters should be given the information necessary to decide without parental guidance who  they wish to spend the rest of their lives with. I also don’t like the idea of courting. In the case of the two Duggar girls, one only courted her now husband before getting engaged. They got married in under a year and are now expecting a child. The other Duggar girl courted for 5 months before getting engaged. She will be getting married in three months. While courting they weren’t allowed to be alone, they can’t kiss or hug (Christian side hugs only), and they were expected to keep their thoughts pure. I can’t help but wonder, with all that pressure to remain pure, and with no privacy, how well either girl really knows her partner.

Of course, those aren’t my only concerns, but they are some of my biggest concerns. I’m also concerned with how the children are always surrounded by like-minded people. I get that the parents want their children to stay pure and be good Christians, but is it healthy to keep them away from other world views? In the book written by the oldest 4 girls, they say that they were encouraged to avoid unGodly people and to turn conversations with strangers into missionary work. So they were basically taught to only value people who are Christians, and particularly those who are their type of Christian. How will they handle the diversity in the world?  How will they deal with the fact that the entire world isn’t Christian, and never will be, and they will have to work with non-Christians?

The last big concern that I’d like to bring up pertains to the quiverfull lifestyle and the mother. She had 19 kids. The human body is not built well for child birth. What kind of damage has she done to her body to have so many children? How much damage has this lifestyle caused? What is the purpose of having so many children when it does so much damage? And what damage has this lifestyle done to her views of her self? Does she view herself solely through her children? These are all scary thoughts.

Personally, I don’t really care how many children a person has. It’s their choice. But I do worry about the effects that religion has on families. Everything from the shame focused on sexuality to the way religion encourages parents to raise their children effects society. So long as the children aren’t abused, then the family can parent however they like. But nobody should be ashamed of their sexuality. Nobody should be shut away from diversity in the name of religion. And nobody should feel that they are solely responsible for repopulating our already full world.


What Does “Happy Holiday” Mean?

I was watching the preview for yet another Kirk Cameron “documentary,” and in it he made some comment about people saying “happy holiday” instead of “merry Christmas.” He then said “whatever that means.” Does he really not know what “holiday” means?

It doesn’t seem as though very many people do know what it means, because this debate happens every September through to December. People complain that Christ is being taken out of Christmas, and you should say “merry Christmas” instead of “happy holiday” or vice versa. It seems to me that people are just looking for an excuse to be mad. But it’s silly.

So let’s look at what “happy holiday” means. What is a holiday? That’s easy: it’s a holy day. So how, exactly, is saying “happy holiday” secular? Sure, it’s not merely recognizing one religion, but so what? We’re talking about western countries with a lot of different religions. Many of which celebrate holy days in December. So if someone says “happy holiday” to you, they are in fact recognizing the day as holy. They are just not assuming you celebrate one holiday over another.

“Merry Christmas,” however, ignores all but one of the many holidays. So, for those of you demanding that everybody say “merry Christmas,” are you really so selfish that you demand that everybody should pay deference to your holy day while ignoring the millions who do not celebrate your it? Why can’t you be happy with the acknowledgement that your day is in fact recognized as holy?

Personally, I grew tired of this issue long ago. None of the holidays are holy to me, and I certainly don’t recognize Christ in Christmas. I don’t need people demanding that I pay them any special heed. That’s why, when I was still working retail, I stopped saying anything about the season. Nobody complains if you just say “have a good day,” even on December 24. I did that for about 4 years and never got so much as a funny look. So if “have a good day” is acceptable, what’s wrong with “happy holiday”? And what exactly is all the fuss about?


A reply to Why I Don’t Identify as a Feminist. Part Five.

Click to go back to Part 1

I’d now like to explain what I think was meant by a quote Godless Cranium pulled from: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1993-05-08/news/1993128032_1_potential-rapists-campus-feminist-art

the selected text chosen by Godless was this:

Are nearly all male students at the University of Maryland “potential rapists”?

Women in a feminist art class here apparently believe so. About 10 of them plastered the campus with fliers last week listing the names of virtually every male student under the heading, “NOTICE: THESE MEN ARE POTENTIAL RAPISTS.”

While stating things in that manner is fairly tactless I should remind you all of the fallowing statistic from my original post. That depending on the country 6%-15% of men will admit to having raped a women. The citation can be found here: http://www.wcsap.org/sites/www.wcsap.org/files/uploads/webinars/SV%20on%20Campus/Repeat%20Rape.pdf The Research paper itself found 6.4% of men admit to raping a woman, but study cites the number between 6%-15% based on other studies.

So on average something like 10% of men are willing to rape a women, so I feel the following analogy is almost perfect:

1401304382928

Obviously “MONSTERS” is harsher language then I might like to use in the desire to be civil, but this the reality women live in. Men are dangerous, and to a level which is very significant to the lives of women. To the woman who doesn’t know me, there’s something like a 10% chance I’d be willing to rape her given the chance. Sure, I know I’m in the 90% that wouldn’t, but she can’t know that. So yes, to a person who doesn’t know me I am a potential rapist for all they know.

Plus, like I mentioned already, statistics back this horrifying number. Even at 6.4%, this means that 1 in 16 men are rapists. So yes, the average man isn’t a rapist, but the percent is high enough to warrant worry from every woman towards every man, given the sort of violence that could happen. And since most rapes are done by acquaintances, it doesn’t help to just know the guy: you really need to understand if he’s trustworthy and has a good track record relating to treatment of women if you want to be sure. Does the above infographic really lose much power if you change 10% to 6-15%?

 

Now to Godless Cranium’s last three points:

I also see a lack of viable solutions by modern feminism. I see a lot of people talking about the patriarchy or how women get paid less etc, but no solutions. If these issues are so problematic, then what are the solutions? That’s what I’m interested in.

I hope I’ve given you a few viable solutions feminists are applying to problems in the form of consent education, challenging social norms, and education (advertisement) of the sexism what still exists. Feminists need to change minds and that isn’t an easy task, particular when you’re running in opposition to the establishment. Though I think there are plenty of people pushing the goals of feminism, I’ve linked to many video’s on people speaking of their successes and difficulties. Feminism, like all movements, is made of many thousands of people each doing their small part, some bigger then others, and those people doing the more noticeable work are easier to point toward, but each person speaking for women, and men, pushing back against those social constructs which do harm, they are the feminists we always need to remember and encourage as they are the ones changing society. It’s a movement of the masses, not just a handful of key players.

 

And I personally think the very term ‘feminism’ should get thrown out. Why not use a term that is sex/gender neutral, such as:

  • gender egalitarian

  • equal rights movement

  • humanism (although the argument is usually that humanism already covers something else)

This common reply is pulled up all the time on feminists, but it ends up ignoring the problem that there is no guarantee you can make up for the loss of social capital, and I think this video by AngryFilmProduction on this topic is done well and in an amusing manner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBSK7oFZYes&list=UUHEe9OGJqObD02AzTrvp2wg

Here are 4 more serious posts about this topic. They are more thorough than I can be dealt with here:

http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/05/why-not-say-everyday-humanism-instead-of-everyday-feminism/

http://thetokenfeminist.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/should-feminism-be-renamed-equalism/

http://thefeministwire.com/2013/08/op-ed-feminism-versus-humanism-susan-sarandon-and-the-vanishing-politics-of-gender/

http://www.harpyness.com/2009/09/01/humanist-is-not-a-sufficient-replacement-for-feminist/

And finally, the infamous “The Talk” episode where they laughed at a man having his genitals mutilated. Yep that’s sexism, and is tasteless and awful and just plain sick. It saddens me this happens at all, as it saddened other feminists. Sadly we live in a world where we still joke and threaten such things. Indeed in many parts of the world surgical genital mutilation is common (Though I will mention that only male genital mutilation tends to occur in North America, and that female genital mutilation is far, far worse overall then male circumcision. In North America it’s male circumcision, which has been show to do basically nothing beneficial in comparison to its harms. And feminists do talk about this and fight against it, also none of my male offspring shall have said surgery force onto them as babies as it was on me.

And so now ends my 5 part reply, thanks to those who took the time and got all the way through this beast. Now allow me to leave you with this humorous video on the history of circumcision in North America:

http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6966989/the-real-reason-youre-circumcised#!bGFvjN

Withteeth

Part 4

Go back to Part 1


A reply to Why I Don’t Identify as a Feminist. Part Four.

image_zpsbc482711

Click to go back to Part 1

Now back to the portrayal of men and women in media, particularly games and cartoons.

I’d like to reply to Godless Cranium’s Pictures with a few of my own and ask the fallowing question.

Does anyone honestly think that this…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

…Is directly equivalent to this?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And a few pictures of women and men side by side.

Obviously both are unrealistic in the extreme, but let’s look at the Hawkeye initiative memes, where Hawkeye is put in the place of female superheroes. Remember the picture at the beginning of this post? Now that is what men would look like if they were treated and sexualized in the same way women are. As it stands, men tend to be given impossibly strong bodies and crazy good features, however, this is more characterizable as a power fantasy for the player/viewer. Where women are generally showed more as a prize or show piece. This is a underlying problem and is very implicit in our society.

Here is the Hawkeye Initiative:

This is what male superheroes would look like if they were portrayed the same way female superheroes are. Warning: many are very satirical, and, sadly, sometimes some homophobia works its way in, which annoys me greatly. So I’ll be including some of the better pictures below the link:

http://thehawkeyeinitiative.com/

tumblr_n06mitufw71rmx3kqo1_1280

tumblr_inline_mmtpm3cmVJ1qz4rgp

tumblr_mnfjcgsqB81rmx3kqo1_12802

 

tumblr_mu4kutf7c71rr5ii2o1_500

 

As I’m sure you can see, the men portrayed in the Hawkeye Initiative are more equivalent to those pictures of the women found above.

 

I think modern feminism is a movement that at its core is something to aspire to. I think historically, it has done a lot of good and should be applauded for that. I also think it’s currently rudderless. It doesn’t seem to have clear goals. People who identify as feminists can’t seem to make up their minds about what should be done.

For example, you have some feminists saying the patriarchy objectifies women and strip clubs and pornography personify this. On the other side, you have feminists who say women should be allowed to strip and take part in pornography if they choose.

Which is it?

Godless Cranium

 

I object to this as a false dichotomy, and that this example properly represents a common problem in feminism. I’ve said it before: feminism has never been and shouldn’t be a hive-mind with 100% consensus at all times in the movement. In all large movements you need different people trying different things and reporting back what happens to the community at large.

Addressing the issue of pornography is not one I do lightly. Pornography is a complex issue in feminism and not all pornography is the same. There is well regulated pornography which has actors with contracts who are protected, as is there pornography where women are taken advantage off, and even raped (for example they might have in there contract that they won’t be performing oral sex, and will be orally raped anyway) for the film.

Further, who are you thinking of on the anti-porn side of feminism? I hope we are not talking about Andrea Dworkin: we’ve long since moved past the point where she and those of her ideologies are really relevant to the movement. Those harm based arguments of porn are not accurate from my understanding. With porn, like many other kinds of media, how and exactly what you consume has more of an impact than the media itself. And in regards to exploitation, if porn is properly regulated, you can avoid those very real problems of exploitation.

As well Sex-positive feminists do not think all sex and porn are great and good to go. What I hope is obvious is that sex-positive feminist don’t think exploitation of porn actors is a good thing. Also sex-positive feminists have a more complex ideology that I’ve outlined:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-positive_feminism

However I won’t say more since this is not a realm I’m very knowledgeable about.

Now, is feminism really rudderless? I think feminism is pretty clear on many issues, such as teaching consent, sex education in general, access to birth control and family planning services, access to abortion, and challenging gender norms (all gender norms). The issues there seems to be in consensus, and all worthy things to tackle. Do feminists really need to agree on everything all time to effect change? I don’t think so. And do feminists ignore men’s issues? Perhaps to some degree, but I don’t think so, and definitely not all together. Why am I comfortable saying this? Because men are more and more joining the conversation, and less and less as opposition.

And we cannot forget the overwhelming numbers that women are exposed to in violence and harassment compared to men. We are talking numbers like 60-90% of all women experience harassment or violence, where men experience it at level closer to 25-40%. And we cannot forget, particularly as men, since women don’t forget this basically ever, that men compose the vast majority of the perpetrators of violence. Further, a lot of these issues revolve around the very gender issues and issues of consent. That women and the feminine are weak, and men are strong, macho, never showing weakness. These problem are impossible to tackle without tackling both sides. For consent doesn’t work unless everyone understand what it means. And that making the feminine good and normal, and not substandard or problematic, makes it so men don’t need to fear being feminine. They don’t need to avoid being “girly.”

That feminism comes from the perspective of women in most cases is not a weakness as many people seems to say. Women and their opinions are sorely under represented (as this Ted talks about https://www.ted.com/talks/megan_kamerick_women_should_represent_women_in_media#t-299037). If a woman says something, a lot less people will take her word for it than if a man, of the exact same station says the exact same thing.

I also can’t seem to say this enough: Yes, some feminist hate men. Yes, they exists, they are a minority, they don’t speak for me, and they don’t represent the movement at large, they are strawmen (strawwomen ;) ) and arguing against those sudo-feminists (many don’t actually believe in true equality and so therefore are not truly feminists) is not the same as arguing against feminists. It’s like saying the Gnostic Atheist represent the whole atheist movement.

Here’s a great video of AronRa talking about these very topics and I think it’s an excellent second voice to what I’m trying to say here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5ByZkQPjWo

Part 3

Part 5


A reply to Why I Don’t Identify as a Feminist. Part Three.

Click to go back to Part 1

Next I will discuss the one part of Godless Cranium’s reply where I felt misrepresented.

Here is the section from his reply where he quoted me saying the following.

Moreover, women are considered public objects in our society, we are allowed to freely and openly critique every physical portion of a women and are often expected to. From their body to their clothing to the way they move and present themselves, even the way they talk. One might say men get this to, but anyone who is honestly looking into the issue will admit that it occurs far more regularly to women. For example; how often do men get cat called, or whistled at? Both women and men judge women largely by their physical traits, which is largely not the case for men. As well, this is not an inequality born of nature, but of culture. There are cultures where the above examples are not the case, yet we are mostly blind to this since we were raised with this often overt sexism all around us and deem it normal and expected.

Withteeth (myself)

He then followed my quote with:

Emphasis is again mine, to show where one sex is minimized in favor of the other.

So because men don’t get cat-called or whistled at as often as women, they’re never critiqued for their physical proportions. Really? …

… Are you saying that popular culture (movies, TV, video games, cartoons, comics, websites etc) are not flooded by good looking men?

Are you saying that sex sells, no matter the gender or sex being portrayed?

In a perfect world, should men or women be valued more if they’re attractive to the opposite sex?

Of course not. But we’re sexual beings and we like to look at the opposite sex. Women do it just like men do. There are also jerks from either sex/gender.

Godless Cranium

I feel this misrepresents what I said, and misrepresents the reality.

I never said objectification of men never happens when asking if men are treated as object to be yelled at and judged purely by their looks, aka catcalling. In fact I implied it occurred to men as well, but not as often. I also didn’t make a statement about how men are not critiqued for their physical proportions, nor did I say anything about media in that section of the post, but allow me to do so now.

Now, I won’t argue your point about people in media in general being full of beautiful people, but I will argue that women and men are still not equal in that regard. Men get much more diversity of representation in the looks department then do women. You don’t need to be super attractive to succeed in media if you’re a man. There are unattractive men in media, and main character of sitcoms are often unattractive men, particularly cartoons (The Simpsons, Family Guy), but the women in these shows are generally very attractive and are often in the position of being far more attractive then the main male character. The reverse is basically never the case, have you ever seen an unattractive women in a TV show in a relationship with an very attractive man? It’s exceedingly rare.

Unattractive men are not that uncommon from the small and large screen, or even games, but unattractive women? You don’t see them in media nearly as often, and you basically never see them as fleshed out characters. And you hardly even see any women as fleshed out characters let alone unattractive women.

There are attractive people in media and, while not all people like looking at attractive people of a different sexes (let’s not be hetero-normative, the media might be, but we don’t need to be), most people like to look at other attractive humans. This is pretty obvious. Though I don’t think that we should judge women (or men, but I’d argue men don’t have this problem) primarily on whether or not we think they are attractive. This Ted talk by Megan Kamerick discusses the representation of women in the media (this one’s good for making you think):

https://www.ted.com/talks/megan_kamerick_women_should_represent_women_in_media#t-299037

And in regards to not caring about physical appearances, I honestly don’t know how the world would be different if it was the case we didn’t care about physical appearances. It could be better, or it could end up not changing anything in the end. I can’t know, but it also isn’t the world we live in, so it is irrelevant to the question of what we should do.

There are jerks everywhere, and I’m all for supporting a culture where men and women don’t have to be sexually harassed in public.

Godless Cranium

I agree with Godless in principle, but I don’t necessarily like framing the issue as both men and women are harassed (equally) in the street. It ignores that women take most of the brunt, and it also isn’t saying who’s doing the harassment. I suspect it’s largely men. I personally haven’t experienced sexual harassment of men in public, but I have experienced multiple times where women have been harassed publicly. Mostly this was when I was younger and I didn’t know I could do anything about it, but I make up for that lack as best as I’m able now.

Feel free to keep saying “I’m all for supporting a culture where men and women don’t have to be sexually harassed in public,” but don’t forget that women are harassed more than men see following links for the proof:

http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/resources/statistics/

http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/resources/statistics/statistics-academic-studies/

http://www.collectiveactiondc.org/2013/10/31/spookystats-heres-why-street-harassment-is-a-big-deal/

According to these stats, women once again are subjected to the brunt of street harassment as 65%-99% of women reporting having been harassed, and, while 25% of men in the study reported having been harassed, with a higher rate of LGBT men being harassed, there are several study and links to the full report on the Stop Street Harassment site, I’ve included two links for ease of access.

Alright so I need to be very careful and I probable haven’t been as careful as I could be. I definitely don’t mean to ignore men’s issues, and really I’m not. I point them out when I see them, and I understand they are problems. But the point is that anti-feminist sentiment tries to label feminists as man-hating and ignoring men’s right all together. This is what I’m fighting against, and the reality is that women take the brunt of the societal ills I’ve been discussing. While child custody issues, and legal issue surrounding courts giving favorable sentencing to women for no other reason by their gender, is a real issues, why do those two examples occur? I think it’s largely because society view’s women as harmless, kind, caring, and nurturing. While men are ambitious, aggressive, dangerous, and strong. Of course, this sort of sexism will cause misconceptions, and are probably in the vast majority of cases benevolent sexism.

Here’s a video about why violence against women is a men’s issue. This video is useful to tie thing together as we go along through these posts, and points out how both men and women are victim of violence perpetrated by men: something I’ve been glossing over, but that needs to be said. Though over all he hit all the points. Watch it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTvSfeCRxe8

If we are really going to talk about men’s issues we need to talk about the US justice system, and how men and boys are unfairly locked away, especially those who are economically disadvantaged and who are not white. Talk about how we raise boys to put sex (with women) higher than almost anything, along with being respected and being ever stoic no matter what’s happening.

Here are some resent posts dealing with issue primarily effecting men:

http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/08/michael-brown-and-ferguson/

http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/08/us-prison-system/

http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/08/male-rape-no-laughing-matter/

We need to tackle the problem largely by going after the roots of sexism in society. The shit we learn even as small children. And most of that work is in education, and it’s very hard to educate when there are big powers and other movement’s pushing back hard against this education. We need to teach and encourage men to speak out about all these issues, especially violence against women, which is so often normalized and ignored. I suspect a large reason the movement has been as successful as it has been is due to the fact that feminism is the just thing. Most people understand that equality is the only real just option we have available.

Withteeth

Part 2

Part 4


A reply to Why I Don’t Identify as a Feminist. Part Two.

Click to go back to Part 1

Here’s part 2 of my reply to Godless Cranium’s post found here.

Hessian then goes on to discuss the wage gap, male privilege (a nebulous term at best), jobs and educational opportunities. I saw no statistics to back this up, but if there is a problem in these areas, then we should be combating them – not from the perspective of one gender or sex only, but from a human perspective.

Godless Cranium

I take an issues with this, though you’re right: I didn’t link to stats, and I shall link to stats now. But first my issues:

Gender and Sex are human issues. How do you think we are going to tackle this human issue if we don’t look at the cultural, economic, social, gender, and sex (as well as others) issues involved? Feminism, when it comes to these economic issues, isn’t just about sex and gender, it’s about at least the 5 factors I mentioned and their interplay in the dynamics of the systematic oppression caused by the patriarchal white and rich favoring system we live within (these oppressions are not limited to women). We shouldn’t ignore sex and gender as just a human issue, just like we should not be minimizing race, and, while this is not what you said, I feel that saying things in that manner can lead to us ignoring that sex and gender do play very real roles in how much money you make and what opportunities you have.

Now Stats:

Wage Gap:

http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2011/ted_20110216_data.htm

http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2009.pdf

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Gender_pay_gap_statistics#Main_statistical_findings

Check the citations on Wikipedia if you really want to do some digging, but the number are clear: women on average do not get paid as much as men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male%E2%80%93female_income_disparity_in_the_United_States#References

Differences in Opportunity (this is far less clear cut then the wage gap):

This one’s a chapter of a textbook, so if you’re in for a read… Thought it is thorough and has lots of diagrams, and does say where inequality effects both men and women in many place around the world:

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDAQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsiteresources.worldbank.org%2FINTWDR2012%2FResources%2F7778105-1299699968583%2F7786210-1315936222006%2Fchapter-5.pdf&ei=XVPxU7HFAo_ZoATk1oGQAQ&usg=AFQjCNHHsOviw0DHdWaTyXddvaZHw8nY9g&sig2=vtz4eQW0nRtHwY0HPnpDpg&bvm=bv.73231344,d.cGU&cad=rja

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK23781/

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/2009/09/BG0909019I.htm

Perceptions around job opportunity equality:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/17614/gender-differences-views-job-opportunity.aspx

http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/07/01/gender-equality/

Satisfaction of work seems to show little difference between the two gender discussed, though this study still finds fewer women in supervisor positions:

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/2009/09/BG0909019I.htm

 

Another point Godless Cranium makes is that Male privilege is a nebulous term. Well, what does male privilege refer to?

From Wikipedia: Male privilege refers to men having unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women.

The notation of privilege can be expanded so that it deals with other issue, like white privilege and cis (vs trans) privilege.

I don’t find this term truly nebulous, based on the above, but it is a broad reaching term. It can also probably be accurately summarized in that men are generally treated better overall than women for no good reason. They are shown more respect, get paid more (see the references I link to above), and are over all safer than women (they are assaulted over all less than women, and often by a ridiculous amount).

What privilege does not mean is that men are more privileged in every way than women, but are privilege in ways women are not. However, in the case of male privilege vs. female privilege, men get the better half of the deal, and have gotten this throughout history. Further, what is deemed normal female privilege is better classified as “benevolent sexism,” like “women can’t be front line soldiers” or “can’t work in dangerous industries.” Or that women don’t need to work in the work force but can say at home (what they forget to mention is that house work is unpaid labor and is not necessarily easier or less useful than paid work). These “privileges” are a large basis of the concept that women are the “weaker” sex and need defending and safekeeping. I don’t know which came first in this case: the benign sexism or the sexist popular opinions directed towards women, but they are definitely cyclical now and feed on one another.

Here are two Blog posts by Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog which go into the issue deeper:

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/11/faq-what-is-male-privilege/

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/faq-female-privilege/

I’m not claiming to agree 100% with Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, but it’s a good take on the matter and worth mulling over.

Part 3

Part 1


A reply to Why I Don’t Identify as a Feminist. Part One.

This is a reply to Godless Cranium’s post in reply to me, found here, on the topic of being uncomfortable with the term “feminism.” My initial post can be found here.

This is a monster of a reply, and it took a while to write. Then the editing was delayed for a few days. However, I am now done and will be posting the entirety of the post over the next few days in five parts (I suggest waiting until all 5 posts are published before finalizing a reply).

This is not by any means a conclusive article on the topic of feminism and why you should take up the mantel, but I did do my best to reply to each of Godless Cranium’s questions and concerns he brought up so far with Feminism. So let’s get started:

Also please recognize that I’m not in the business of clear cut answers, and neither is reality. These are complicated issues and, if you cherry pick, you can come to just about any conclusion, so, to those reading, make sure to look at the sources I link to critically. Ask questions to me or others if you’re not sure what’s being talked about

The first point brought up by Godless Cranium is a big one. The idea that not only is feminism a restrictive term in and of itself, limiting the movement to only the feminine, and that the restrictions are seen in the movement in the form of feminists only helping women. In doing so, he quoted a line from my original post: “For one, men don’t have as many serious life affecting issues facing them as women do.”

Now let me make myself as clear as possible, particularly since that sentence was very poorly worded: as a man, and as a feminist and humanist, I’m not meaning to say that men don’t face much of the same problems that women do, including the serious issues of abuse, harassment, and rape, I’m saying men don’t receive the brunt of these issues. I talking about the things the average man faces verse the average woman, not the absolute number of different types of bad things that that can happen to a given person.

Bad things happen to people, and how those thing effect people is not something that is easy to quantify, and is certainly not something to ignore. Ever. Doesn’t matter your gender, regardless what that gender might be.

But with that said, I think Godless Cranium should be in full agreement that women do face the brunt of many of these issues, as almost immediately after quoting me he pulled up these statistics from the National (USA) Crime Victimization Survey, which I will quote here”

“Last year the National Crime Victimization Survey turned up a remarkable statistic. In asking 40,000 households about rape and sexual violence, the survey uncovered that 38 percent of incidents were against men. The number seemed so high that it prompted researcher Lara Stemple to call the Bureau of Justice Statistics to see if it maybe it had made a mistake, or changed its terminology. After all, in years past men had accounted for somewhere between 5 and 14 percent of rape and sexual violence victims.”

And:

“Men and boys are often the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In fact, in the U.S., about 10% of all victims are male.” Godless Cranium

Since I was never arguing that men don’t get raped (society makes joke about don’t drop the soap all the time, and there have been many case of boys being sexually assaulted by teachers, priests, and, coaches. Plus domestic abuse effects all demographics to some degree). What I see in this post is that somewhere between 62% and 95% of people sexually assaulted, including those raped, are women. That is a clear and unambiguous majority (I should note we and, more worryingly: the stats, are completely ignoring people who do not fit in the gender categories of men or women, it is important that we do not ignore them).

Why is this important to point out? Because, if we are treating the cases of men overall equally, that is showing equal deference to both sides of the issue, then we are indeed showing undue preference to men since they are overall less impacted. I’m saying we should give proportional aid, equal roughly to the need.

And we do need to attend to both sexes (and those gender non-conforming and genderless people). Godless Cranium helps me illustrate this point by explaining how, when he was repeatedly assaulted by a women, the authorities did absolutely nothing and, in fact, laughed at him rather than doing their job. This a utterly deplorable and I thank Godless Cranium for being so open about his experiences. Openly discussing these issues are one of the best ways for us to make changes.

Now, let me point you, dear readers, to some of what commonly happens to women who are raped. Trigger warning: rape.

Understand that these are difficult to read. I’ll be giving a sort of detailed free-run through them below for those who want to know, but don’t have the stomach or the necessary feels to get through the following onslaught. No shame if you can’t get though some of these: this is a hard topic to face head on.

http://thecurvature.com/2010/06/04/rape-victims-tell-of-mistreatmet-by-the-nypd/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/nyregion/03rape.html?pagewanted=1&ref=nyregion&_r=0

http://everydayfeminism.com/2012/11/how-i-became-a-rape-victim/

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/10/14/2777431/maryville-missouri-rape/

http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/08/23/i-am-a-false-rape-allegation-statistic/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/us/how-one-college-handled-a-sexual-assault-complaint.html

http://blog.al.com/wire/2014/05/lawyer_claims_7th_grade_sexual.html

Here’s that short form based on the personal accounts from above, recognize that these are not exclusive to women, though, that said, these sorts of events are far, far too common:

A women is raped, generally by a friend or acquaintance, sometimes by force, sometimes via drugs or alcohol, and other times by emotional or social (power dynamics of one form or another) manipulation. The victim, if they choose to go to the authorities, which many avoid (for often very sensible reasons), are generally forced to wait for a long time to speak with an officer (police will often ignore their duties, it doesn’t matter who you are. My grandfather was a police officer for decades and he’d agree with me), they may need to ask repeatedly for access to a rape kit, which then has a good chance of never being processed in the US.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116945/rape-kits-backlog-joe-biden-announces-35-million-reopen-cases

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/thousands-of-rape-kits-wait-to-be-tested/

If the woman is not knowledgeable about the process, or has a support person come along with them, then she will often be bullied away or ignored all together until she leaves. Thankfully there are rape victim advocate programs in existence. Should you or someone you know need help, such as to go to the authorities about rape or recovering from an attack, contacting one of the below groups is in their best interest. This isn’t an all inclusive list, make sure to look for local help if you can:

http://www.victimsfirst.gc.ca/index.html

http://www.rvap.org/home/

http://www.rapevictimadvocates.org/

http://www.uiowa.edu/~rvap/

https://app.volunteer2.com/Public/Organization/19b375b9-5141-45a8-98b5-4148d6546922

When questioned, women are often blamed by police officers for being raped (not always, but victim blaming is perpetrated by people with badges too). Often being asked questions, which lead the victim from the lines of “what happened” to “what did you fail to do that lead to you getting yourself raped?” or “what did you do the egg on the perpetrator?”

Aside:

Rape is sexual intercourse forced upon one or more people against their consent. You can never want to be raped: that is an oxymoron.

Then, if cops do end up investigating the case, the woman will often then face death threats, victim blaming, community shaming (for being raped, or for talking about it), and face character assassination, often losing their job, dropping out of school, and, sadly, friends and sometimes family will take the word of the perpetrator over the victim to the point of pushing the victim away all together. And hope you’re not the victim of a college football player:

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/03/20/1751831/rape-football-victim/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/11/malik-richmond_n_5669903.html

I could link to dozens more, but this sort of research get depressing fast, and I’m sure if you look you’ll have no difficulty finding more yourself.

Now, to be fair, the USA is a strange place and, because of the rampant amount of rapes in prison, there is more reported male rape in the USA then reported female. This statistic is solely found in the US prison system, but it is very real, and, fortunately, there is some work being done to curb it. Though certainly not enough:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knXHUQ2A1J4

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CCwQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.justice.gov%2Fcrt%2Fabout%2Fspl%2Fdocuments%2Ftutwiler_findings_1-17-14.pdf&ei=XDfxU57oIoPioASuvIHQBg&usg=AFQjCNH3LsNybfiL_gY1K5PxSf108OIXvQ&sig2=r7beYnyZ182w6A3oOAqhSA&bvm=bv.73231344,d.cGU&cad=rja

Though back to my earlier point. Women, overall, receive the brunt of assault in the world. As well, if we work on fixing the negative conceptions surrounding female rape victims, by fixing the way in which rape is dealt with by authorizes, then it will be easier to help men, since then you’ll (ideally) only be fighting against the false notions that men can’t be raped, and that only weak men can get raped, (Begin Sarcasm) because, in regards to rape, power dynamics other than brute strength can’t exist, and women can’t possibly be physically stronger than men (End Sarcasm).

These are all false, but so are converse myths that women are always weaker than men, that rape can only happen when a man forces himself (emotional, economic, and social manipulation are not deemed “real” rape by many) on a woman, and that men are not allowed to have emotions and are never allowed to be weak.

The interesting thing is when you tackle these issues, particularly about the basically non-existent physical and mental differences between men and women (a video with a shit ton of citations here) you see many of the fundamental problem leading to rape break down. When society no longer thinks that women are weak, and meant to serve men and their children (above all else and always), and when we recognize men as emotional beings which are more that the social narratives would have us believe.

When we start breaking down those false but powerful narratives then we can really take care of the problems.

Part 2.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,330 other followers