Proponents of Feminism often seem to have a hair trigger…


I think I have one explanation that might help.

First, I’m not making any claims that it is the only explanation, or the only issue that rile us feminists up, but it’s a musing I found particularly helpful, so here it goes:

Feminists, myself included, often tend to be very critical of everything to do with biological sex, alternate names for the movement, and casual comments about how feminists should be more “friendly.” I’m tempted to even say excessively, but, to be honest, in general most feminist are not excessively critical. It is more that the average person has little to no ability to pick out sexism and are mostly blind to all but the most blatant cases of it.

I think this difference in awareness accounts for the greatest discrepancies between your average active feminist and the general population, and why feminist are often seen as overreaction.

To give an example for atheists, how a feminist feels when some makes a cliché argument like “why can’t feminists be more friendly” or comments like “there (obviously) are differences between men and women” is much like how an atheist feel when some bring up Pascal’s wager or the kalam argument like it’s the new hot thing.

However, for those who don’t quite get that example, it’s like how some times someone just doesn’t have the points of reference necessarily to understand your position and relate. It isn’t that they are stupid, or can’t understand it. It’s more that they are simply not yet in a position to be ready to comprehend a complex problem like sexism. Just like a student in 9th grade isn’t normally ready to learn about the material taught in grade 12. However, this example fall apart here because sexism is not ignorance. Sexism is propelled and strengthen by ignorance. It does real harm to just about everyone, so to not challenge it when it has arisen is like not correcting someone for using a racial slur.

These outbursts tend to be less anger and more frustration brought about by exasperation. A combination of desire to speak up and make positive change and a defensive mechanism to the onslaught of these question that many active feminists face. I’m aware of it and even then I want to, or actually do, snap out at people who make some of these facile (facile in the sense they don’t capture the true nature of the problem) arguments. Even though I know they probably honestly don’t know any better.

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8 responses to “Proponents of Feminism often seem to have a hair trigger…

  • Katherine

    Definitely agree. I get frustrated sometimes when I hear people say “Feminists see problems everywhere” like we’re making it up. No, we’re not making it up – we just have our eyes open. I’d probably see a lot fewer problems with society with my eyes shut, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to walk around blind.

    Liked by 1 person

  • jacksonanthonylo

    I think an explanation of people thinking all feminists are reactionary or ‘angry’ is the representative heuristic. As most feminists in the public eye come across aggressive and forward, people generalize that to all feminists, the quiet feminist blogger never makes the front page news.

    *For info on representative heuristic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representativeness_heuristic

    Like

  • unculturedsisterhood

    I totally agree. Looking at every-day issues from a feminist perspective gets one to truly appreciate the saying that “ignorance is bliss” – in the sense of living relatively free from the frustration that is inevitable. The things in our communities done/said (by both women + men + children) without any awareness of the sexism and misogyny underlying them is appalling. And the funny thing is even the feminism criticism is done, albeit unknowingly, in this same light.

    Liked by 1 person

  • fawnjade

    It’s an interesting topic because during University I had a very interesting contrast between my summers and my University time and found a surprising amount of sexist overlap. During the summers I worked at a fish plant in rural Alaska a HEAVILY male dominated workplace and was Quality Control which many men saw as a souped up cleaner. Being Quality Control was women’s work for this reason. If as a female you were sharp or rude in any way towards men you were instantly labelled a ‘bitch’ and were completely disregarded. They made it impossible for you to do your job professionally. One time a guy put his fist up at me as he had completely disregarded the cleanliness rules we had and completely ignored me so I grabbed his arm otherwise everyone would have done the same. There were about 500 men I was working with and one of me. As a reaction to this it made me have a dual personality. I would be flirty and girly to get people to do things properly and to high standards and then to people who still disregarded me I would be incredibly venomous. I felt that if people were going to call me a bitch anyway than I may as well act like it. But the problem was when I went back to University in the states I saw so much of the same behaviour just slightly glossed over. It was shocking and off putting how easy it is for men to just suddenly decide that a woman who defends herself or makes condescending jokes/comments (i.e. ‘harmless’ teasing) to men in the same way men do with women ALL THE TIME were instantly seen as an aberration and generally put ‘a bitch’. But of course making a joke as a woman is an aberration in and of itself considering women aren’t funny right?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Elisabeth Murray

    This is very true. Feminists, being opposed to the status quo, are obliged to be antagonistic. It does get pretty tiring. I guess many of us feel the same way.

    Like

  • equalityspectrm

    Reblogged on Equality Spectrum. Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

    Like

  • Son of Sharecroppers

    One other similarity between reactions by feminists and atheists: As an atheist, I am surrounded by various things proclaiming religious belief. Churches, crosses, religious radio stations, religious publications, statements by religious people: they’re inescapable. When atheism is discussed, it is almost never presented in a positive light. It is presented instead as an aberration. When people do talk to me about atheism, they often reveal not only a profound ignorance of atheism but also a knee-jerk antipathy toward it. In the face of such blind arrogance, I sometimes respond sharply.

    People tend to become angry when the worm on which they thoughtlessly trod turns out to be a sharp-fanged serpent. Try not treading on me in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

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