March 28, 2006

Rebuttals, Etc., Solicited

Big ups to Darleen Click for sharing her thoughts on the whole strawfeminist extravaganza, and on feminism in general, which you can read right here. An excerpt:

My followup questions for her, or anyone, deal with both the "strawAntifeminist" and identification of the different "wings" of Feminism. For each time I get roundly flamed as a "manhater" from some MRA who goes through the whole Family Court is a Feminist Driven Conspiracy to Destroy Families and Hurt Fathers schtick, I also get flamed as a "womanhater" by feminists who don't like my asking pointed questions about 3rd trimester abortions.

I understand, too, that labeling different wings of feminist theory as either "gender" or "equity" feminism ALSO gets people hot and bothered.

But how do we... woman who actually do believe in our worth as human beings and our right to the same freedoms and opportunity as our brothers to choose what path we wish and to travel it as far as our talent will take us, differentiate among the pointedly different strains of Feminism? Equity/gender? First, Second, Third wave? Leftwing Feminism? Rightwing Feminism? Anarcho-Feminism?

A good question--one I wish I had a better answer for than "Beats me," but then, I'm not good at labeling things, which is why I'm writing on a blog named after a stupid BBS handle I picked out over a dozen years ago.

But Darleen's post brings up a point I've been wanting to make, particularly to my right-leaning readers, and that is: For crying out loud, don't muzzle yourselves. If conservative stereotyping itches you the way the strawfeminist itches me, do like Susan B. of Lilac Rose did and write about it. If you've got anything else on your mind, especially as it pertains to this week, WRITE ABOUT IT.

And then drop me a link. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's a real hassle that I turned off trackbacks, but it prevents the spam, for one, and for two, it prevents me resenting that I'm giving traffic to some douche who just disses on me for six paragraphs; I mean, why should I host links like that? "Here, everybody, go read what an asshole I am." Good gravy, if you want to read what an asshole I am just wait until the next time I screw something up here. It's a daily occurrence. Anyway, not having trackbacks means the next time some dude writes a post telling me to quit being hysterical, and bragging about what an airhead he's going to marry because he for one appreciates REAL ladies, I never have to know about it. Ignorance: It is, indeed, the bliss.

That does not mean I want to silence anyone, however. Or rather, I do, but only if you're a prick. If you're not a prick, feel free to drop any links in the comments or in an email to me, and I'll put 'em up here.

UPDATE: So of course, right off the bat, I forgot one: Francis of Geek Empire details a conversation with his girlfriend about women's studies:

She told me that, in college, she took a Women's History course. The first day covered that basic theory I have quoted above. The rest of the semester was pretty much about how men are evil, always have been evil and always will be evil. It was then she decided she didn't really want to be a feminist, or at least to go under that label. She's no wilting flower, she was raised by a very strong woman and is making a professional life for herself, but she didn't want to be a part of the nuttiness extolled by her professor. So there's that, whatever it's worth.

I have to say, this isn't the first time I've heard something of that sort on this subject. On the other hand, I've never actually taken a class in women's studies myself, so I'm loathe to pronounce judgment. One noticeable effect of my not having taken such a class is that I find myself having to play catch-up a lot and I feel very behind the curve on feminist history, and that, I don't mind telling you, sucks.

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear any other women's studies stories out there from people who have taken courses in it.

Francis also writes "Who's the Feminist," in which he links a defense of the idea that "all sex is rape" formulated by the Maoist International Movement, just to make me look bad. You're a real pain in the ass sometimes, Francis, you know that? Dragging in the no-good Maoists, oh, bueno. Well done! But okay: I guess some people, the Maoists at least, think there's something to be said for the idea that all sex is rape. The lesson I think we can all take from this is that one should never engage in sexual intercourse with a Maoist.

More updates as the links come in.

UPDATE: More from Susan. I don't agree with it all--if you "don't go where [you're] not wanted," that's not other people kicking you out, that's you removing yourself--but I am with her on the "godbag" business. I realize most people who use the term mean it to indicate a specific, theocratically-inclined type of religious person, but for myself, as someone who does not see her religion as something to club others over the head with . . . "godbag" still makes me wince. I wish people would find another way to express what they're trying to say, another way besides "godbag." I also wish for a pony!

Posted by Ilyka at March 28, 2006 05:11 PM in blog against the strawfeminist

"one should never engage in sexual intercourse with a Maoist."

Or with Mao himself. Imagine the horrors inflicted on his harem by a man who brushed his teeth with twigs and green tea.

Posted by: John at March 29, 2006 05:47 AM

Argh - didn't take my html links.

Posted by: John at March 29, 2006 05:47 AM

Even if she's a hot little thing in a tight Mao jacket, all ready to "seize the means of production", so to speak? (Or the reverse, for those inclined to male Maoists.)

I doubt I could resist her invitation to start a New International, and aid her in increasing revolutionary consciousness in her proletariat.

If you know what I mean... tell me, because I don't, after "means of production".

Posted by: Sigivald at March 29, 2006 02:19 PM

I was a Gender Studies minor in college, and my experience with those courses was overwhelmingly positive. It wasn't about "man-hating" at all -- in fact, part of what I liked about the claaes was that they focused on women's experiences, without constantly comparing those experiences with those of men. They presented an entirely different way of seeing. They gave names to things I had experienced and felt, and that I previously hadn't been able to articulate.

In short, I had a fantastic experience. I wish I had majored in Gender Studies, but sadly I didn't discover it until later in college.

Posted by: Jill at March 29, 2006 08:03 PM

I had a few more things on to say on this subject in the fourth item of this post.

Posted by: Susan B. at March 29, 2006 08:30 PM

I minored in Women's Studies in college (I wanted to declare it as a double major along with my History major, but my college wouldn't allow me to do that, as the Dean felt that women's studies was only a "fad" which would eventually "go away" anyway, so there was no need to offer it as a major). Like Jill, I had only positive experiences in those classes and found them to be some of the most challenging classes I took in college. My favorite class was Contemporary Feminist Theory, where we read a lot of classics -- Simone de Beauvoir, Luce Irigaray, Mary Daly, etc, which presented various points of view. The writing was often, um, dense and kicked my ass, but I needed it. When I learned that to decipher most of Mary Daly's writings I would need to refer to the dictionary she wrote, I knew I might be in over my head. However, the classes really expanded my brain and made me think about issues in completely new ways.

Posted by: kitty at March 30, 2006 06:58 PM

Thanks for the link! Yes, I know I'm removing myself, but I do so because I know I will be kicked out anyway. And thank you for standing up against bigotry. If someone wants to refer to a theocrat, why not just say "theocrat". And I must clarify that just because someone's religious views influence or confirm certain political opinions doesn't make them a theocrat. I'll stop there -- we don't want to open that can of worms. ;-)

Posted by: Susan B. at March 30, 2006 07:01 PM

A huge portion of classes nowadays have the syllabus online, which at least allows for some independent confirmation (or rebuttal) of claims about the content of particular classes. Another option is email; in my experience, most profs are willing to email copies of the syllabus, if asked nicely.

I was a WS major in college, more or less. I never encountered a WS class that taught "men are evil" or anything else that simplistic.

Posted by: Ampersand at March 31, 2006 03:58 AM