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Politics On gender politics

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Shadowex3, Nov 3, 2013.

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  1. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    Seeing a recent post by Mixed about the development of the terms brocialism and manarchy and a little hesitation to start a topic on the overall subject, which had been touched peripherally in other threads, I figured I may as well pick up the ball this time. So, let's get started with TFP's thread on gender politics.

    Given the strong feelings involved though I think some ground rules are in order:

    1. Personal attacks are already against forum rules, but accusations of sexism tend to crop up in gender debates so it's worth reiterating.
    2. MRA/Feminazi etc aren't to be used as "snarl words". No calling "witch!" basically.
    3. Rebut someone's argument, but don't use silencing tactics to claim they don't have the right to disagree at all.
    4. Be clear about definitions and assumptions.
      1. Examples: Are you referring only to Radfems and not Libfems? Are you using the "Privilege+Power" definition of Sexism or the dictionary definition? Are you talking about somewhere or sometime other than modern day America, Canada, and the developed world?
    -----

    As is probably painfully obvious from the last few threads which touched on the subject I don't really stand with conventional politics on gender relations. Some people call me an MRA, usually meaning that as "violent woman-hating bigot". Others have called me a LibFem meaning much the same thing. A few more have borrowed Mr. Carlin's list and gone down the line.

    In terms of self identification I'm perfectly happy to call myself a Men's Rights Advocate. I am also perfectly happy to call myself a Feminist, and an Egalitarian. This is because (in my opinion at least) women's rights, and men's rights, are human rights. The right to self-determination, freedom from harassment or forced gender roles, and equal protection under the law are simply unrelated to sex or gender.

    The reason I tend to stick to Egalitarian is because the other two have become loaded terms in a political war that's increasingly being taken over by the extremists on either side. MRA's are cast as women-beating rapists by radfems who want to reduce men to 10% of the human population, and mainstream feminists are cast as... well... the radfems from a few commas back.

    Now are there issues of privilege and discrimination? Yes, demonstrably so. Men have a small unexplained pay gain over women, hold a disproportionate number of seats of economic or political power, far too often does my mother come and ask me to "play the man" and basically be a bearded puppet for her when dealing with people.

    At the same time men suffer from their own severe systemic issues of discrimination: 90% of workplace fatalities, 70% of the homeless, 3x greater jail time for the same crime, 20x more likely to be sentenced to death, around 75% of suicides, approximately 10% of custodial parents, as low as 30-40% of college graduates, twice as likely to be diagnosed and drugged for ADHD and similar, suffer significant discrimination and grade penalties through K-12, and perhaps most heinously of all 1267000 men were raped in 2010 (compared to 1270000 women) but were classified as "Other" rather than victims of "Rape" and received no attention and virtually no victim services because of the government's gender restricted definition of rape and society's refusal to recognize male victims.


    Don't get me wrong, (most) of these problems are certainly recognized by mainstream gender politics. Where I differ from that mainstream however is in aguing that this cuts both ways for both genders, and more importantly how I DEFINE that effect. It's not just recognizing the disadvantages of men, and that women have their own profound areas of privilege, it's in how you define the dynamic of privilege and disadvantage.

    And that's where I get into a lot of arguments. My egalitarian interpretation of an unhealthy society which harms both genders with impunity flies directly against the feminist theory of Patriarchy. In a patriarchal society men are provided with privilege while women suffer from discrimination and disadvantages, the issues I just mentioned are explained more or less as "patriarchy hurts men too (there I said it now shut up)".

    The problem with patriarchy theory is one of falsifiability. There is no condition under which it is not true, because even the rebuttal to patriarchy is taken as further proof *of* patriarchy through the use of the "privilege backfire" mechanism... on other words even contradicting evidence is claimed to further supporting evidence. This is completely ignoring the "you can't see it because you have it" silencing tactic which essentially boils down to claiming that disagreeing with patriarchy proves it exists, because if you didn't have it you wouldn't disagree with it.

    It's circular, axiomatic, and based on special semantic definitions which redefine everything to support it. Sexism is defined in such a way that only men can be sexist. Privilege is defined so that only men have it. Men are not victims of sexism, they are victims of the "patriarchy backfiring". Women do not have privilege, they are victims of "benevolent sexism". Anyone argument against all of this must simply be so steeped in and complicit with patriarchy that they're blinded by it and can't see it for what it is.

    With the radicalization of the gender politics debate this theory has been operationalized in a passive disdain for or even active hostility towards any attempt at addressing male issues... on the light end dismissed with taunts and straw men such as "What about teh menz" and "mantearz" or worse, direct attacks to the point of bankrupting and driving someone to suicide for the offense of opening the ONLY shelter for abused men in his country.

    When your ideology monopolizes victimhood, premises itself on a black and white us-vs-them workdview, redefines basic terms like "sexism" to back up circular logic, and weaponizes victim-olympics and accusations of misogyny as a silencing tactic this sort of hatred is imho the inevitable result and that's why personally I can not in good conscience fail to oppose it. The problem is, much like american politics has been dragged off to the right, the standards of what is or isn't misogyny have been equally dragged off center to the degree that merely pointing out an equal number of men were raped on another forum got me branded as no better than the Westboro Church.


    But all that's just my opinion and interpretation of the facts, where do the rest of you stand in the gender debate?
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
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  2. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    I'd classify myself as "undecided", but if I had to choose I would just go with Egalitarian. The political dimension of gender issues is much of the reason for this, next to currently studying the arguments to properly form a position.

    -----

    I can't help but completely dislike the political war going on between the Feminist and Men's Rights movements. Everything is a goddamn competition with the ultimate objective being the advancement of their own, self-serving agenda.

    I read this article yesterday, and it was astounding to see how bluntly the new "reverse" income gap between young, educated men and women is celebrated followed by bemoaning the still "normal" income gap for women of other demographics.

    Outside North America the 77% wage gap statistic has been widely debunked. The German education system taught the biased presentation of the data to me in high school almost a decade ago, and my SO learned the exact same 2 years ago in Australia during a Management course with one of the most renowned lecturers in the field. A rational person simply can not accept that sorting the wages only by industry and qualification will provide a sensible comparison of wages. In the mining industry, how do the wages between a male miner and a female HR coordinator compare? It's nonsense.

    It is quite sad to see how politicized the discourse of gender issues and divisive the policy-making has become in the US. Hillary Clinton consistently played the Woman angle during the primaries, and then lost. Angela Merkel did no such thing during her run and then won. Twice. In a country that is ranked as much more "masculine" than the US, mind you. Maybe it had something to do with her including both sexes pretty equally in her policies, and not pushing one particular angle. Maybe not.

    However, all of this serves as another reminder as to how the term "equality" has (in the West at least) morphed into this mutant political term that has no real correlation to its original meaning. It has become an effective tool for pushing one's agenda, and that's about it.

    -----

    At the same time, it cannot be denied that women in third world countries have enormous difficulties to overcome in becoming autonomous and financially independent from men.

    I am not sure what my stance here is when it comes to East Asian societies, where their culture significantly impacts the dynamics between males and females to a degree that other cultures do not comprehend it well, and thus cannot simply copy/paste their women's empowerment programmes there (which hasn't stopped anyone from doing exactly that, though).

    When it comes to the Near East, Middle East, and Central Asia, the situation is much more clear. There are many, many areas where women are in need of help and require support to become their own persons.

    This is especially true for education and healthcare services, and the ability to survive without being reliant on another person for food, shelter and warmth. There are many stringent needs for reform on how marriage is handled as an institution as well as in practical everyday terms for married couples.

    The big caveat here is, however, that the initiatives that exist already need to engage men as well. No matter how "privileged" men are in a particular society, when dealing with impoverished nations one simply cannot provide better opportunities to women only when other, starving men look on; and then reasonably expect for no backlash to occur.

    Unfortunately, the existing initiatives very often ignore this (mostly out of idealism than pragmatism) and end up causing more violent issues for those they purport to help.

    -----

    I also have a number of issues with the Men's Rights movement and the way it presents itself. I have seen a general dislike of extremist sections of the movement, such as Red Pill, but rarely a disavowing of these groups and active distancing from them.

    Much like the Feminist movement, these extremists hugely damage the public perception of the MR movement and only serve the opposition.

    I suspect this is because the MRM is much smaller than the established Feminist movement, and there is some disincentive to further fracture the member base of an already outnumbered group.

    At the same time, I see no practical (or ideological) benefit of being associated with them.

    Another area of concern is the MRM's current level of organization. There are franchises all over North America, Europe and Australia, but no real unified movement. Oftentimes this loose composition of groups makes the entire movement seem weak-willed, messy and "unprofessional" in their endeavours.

    There are many improvements that would need to be made to evolve the MRM to exist with the current Feminist establishment on equal terms. Especially politically.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
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  3. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    How about we just be fair & equal to everyone.
    Everyone should try their best to judge on true factors, merit, trends and experience...not bias.

    Unfortunately, those in influence & power are all too human.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to everyone...in multitude of variety.
    Sex, intelligence, physical ability, money, education, reputation, influence, etc and so on...

    It's not about who you are, but what you do.

    Everyone should get off their high-horses and simply accomplish.
    That's how you prove your point.

    But related to the point, I just read an article how certain fields have women who get paid more than men.
    So nothing is black & white.
    Nor is this an excuse or rationalization, it just is...but at the same time, people should be aware and work harder to make it fair.

    I think the symbol of Yin & Yang would be appropriate here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  4. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    I have a different take on gender politics or any "identity" (race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc) politics.

    In the US today, policy differences have increasingly become defined by party demographics beyond just gender - a Republican party that is majority male (55+%) and white (~90%) vs a Democratic party that is more diverse w/ a majority female (50+%) and high percentage of minorities (~40% Hispanic, Asian, etc). Of the LGBT community, 75+% are self-identified Democrats (or leaning), ~20% are Republican (or leaning).

    These demographics impact economic and social policies and issues beyond the traditional gender issues .

    One is a party of anti- (or small) government (except in the womb or the bedroom) and "safety nets breed dependency" vs a party that values the role of government to provide equal protection for all and social safety nets to those temporarily in need. One is a party that protects the top 1% (wealth will trickle down) vs a party that Romney characterized as the 47%". One is a party where religion (but only the Bible) is the basis for public policy vs a party that wants to keep religion out of policy.

    The two parties and the policies they represent have never been more distinct in my lifetime and that is my partisan bias and I stand by it.
    --- merged: Nov 4, 2013 at 7:14 PM ---
    I thought this chart on women and minorities in Congress was interesting

    [​IMG]

    While the numbers are higher than ever for women and minorities, they are far from representing the gender and racial/ethnic diversity of the country.

    The question is if that matters or if it feeds into "identify" politics more than it should.

    I think it matters; more women and minorities in positions of political influence empowers more women and minorities to become political engaged.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
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  5. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    The World Economic Forum recently released a report on the "Gender Gap"

    The top ten most gender equal countries:
    The U.S. ranked 23rd.
     
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  6. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    I guess the "Land of the Free" isn't so free.

    In so MANY different contexts. :rolleyes:
     
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  7. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany

    I am reading through the Gender Gap report cited by your list, and find this tidbit interesting:

    I do think the approach taken on equality over women's empowerment is the right one. However, it is worthwhile to note that the list you quoted may point out countries with a narrow gender gap, but gives no indication whether a reverse gender gap is in place in some of these countries.

    Also, if I recall correctly, there has been a debate on whether countries such as Iceland or Sweden have become (or are becoming) overtly Feminist in their handling of genders and all aspects of society. One of the issues appears to center around "gender pedagogy".

    Admittedly, I am not sure what the political perception of CSM is. I've met some of their journalists and they seemed very well-rounded in their journalistic approach, but I am happy to stand corrected.
     
  8. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    Location:
    The Windy City
    We stand at a strange point in the evolution of gender politics in modern society. In many ways, Second Wave Feminism has been extraordinarily successful in achieving its goals: it is no longer acceptable in most circles to use aggressively misogynistic language or to be directly and explicitly discriminatory against women merely because of their gender. More and more women have been achieving great success in virtually every field, up to and including Hillary Clinton already being spoken of as the presumptive front-runner for the next Democratic presidential nomination. Many forms of oppression against women have been diminishing, and improved conditions becoming apparent, largely through the hard work of feminist pioneers in the '60s, '70s, and '80s.

    And yet.

    There is still a deeply pervasive tolerance of rape and sexual abuse. Women still chronically make less than men. Indirect or subtle discrimination is still often tolerated. Women are still drastically and dramatically under-represented in government and in many key sectors of the social economy. There are still a lot of gender stereotypes and rigid gender roles that play a part in our society.

    I have to say, I find it very difficult to support the idea that the institutionalization of the oppression of women by patriarchal societies and otherwise androcentric societies is "unprovable," or "a theory." Having done quite a bit of reading and research, professionally, into the legal codes and social ethics of ancient societies in the Western World, it seems indisputable and plainly visible that all our foundational societies assured the status of their women as second-class citizens at best, property at worst; and those are the societies from which later societies, including ultimately our own, are lineally descended.

    I think the various problems that plague men in our societies may or may not stem from the continuation of the unhealthy power differential in patriarchal society, but it almost surely doesn't help. Much of what does produce such problems, I think, can be seen to stem from the rapidly evolving and transforming nature of gender roles in society, paired with the necessary empowerment of women causing men to often need to re-evaluate their priorities, options, and expectations in a world where they cannot always assume privilege and power as a right of maleness.

    I think it's lovely when men speak about how society should be holistically egalitarian: a pure meritocracy, where the efforts and contributions of individuals are rewarded according to their social effectiveness, profitability, or philosophical value, rather than being judged in any way by factors such as the physical, cultural, ethnic, or other natures of the individuals whose efforts or contributions they were.

    We should indeed be striving to create such a society. However, it doesn't exist yet-- fairly far from it-- and I do not believe it can be created by people simply choosing to believe that it does exist, and that therefore the world should function that way, and thus the problem is solved: as Edmund Burke famously remarked, "Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found." Real egalitarianism is the same, as it is also a form of liberty. And as such, it cannot come through abstract idealism, but in the difficult and troublesome fights that always bring about the attainment of rights to those who have had them taken away, or to whom they have not previously been given.
     
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  9. Plan9

    Plan9 Standing in the Door Donor

    Location:
    This Island Earth
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  10. MSD

    MSD Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    CT
    I haven't had enough time this week to type an adequate response of my own (it should be no surprise that I'm going to dispute and disagree with a lot of what is said in the OP but there's a lot there to talk about,) but for now I'll say that Levite's post is very much in line with my perspective.
    In my experience and opinion (I did undergrad research on media bias, not that it really counts for anything,) the Christian Science Monitor's news reporting is the least biased of any newspaper in the US. There have been times that their focus on objectivity led their news reporting to be uncritical when it should have been (the coverage of the evidence for the Iraq war stands out,) but the only other paper in the same league of straight reporting is USA Today, whose editors wouldn't allow anything that would risk provoking complaints to the multitude of hotels that carry it as their daily paper (USA Today is also written for a much lower reading level, which earns it a place in hotels where foreign visitors who speak English as a second language as well as among people with a lower level of education, so it's a completely different audience.)
     
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  11. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany

    Ah, I see.

    Thanks for the insight. :)
     
  12. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    I don't have the time or solid concentration at the moment to respond to you more comprehensively, but there are two things I think are worth posting just on a high level as preface to a more thorough reply later:

    Assigning credit to the Second Wave without significant caveats is problematic. Yes, good was accomplished by some feminists of that period many of whom later moved on to the Third Wave, but the Second Wave was also significantly composed of (and today sometimes used as a label for) hateful bigots. Solanas, Dworkin, Stone, MacKinnon, French, Ms. Magazine... even Gearheart who took it so far as to claim men should be reduced to 10% of the population. The Usual Suspects had a quote, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist". Their ideology did not simply disappear nor are modern adherents to it "Straw Feminists", to quote one of the two most common silencing tactics.


    Which is a perfectly legitimate argument... however (sticking to the western developed world) the Patriarchy you refer to is as related to the Patriarchy of gender politics as the Sexism of the dictionary is to the Sexism of gender politics. A large part of what my original position statement argues against is not what you're posting, but rather the weaponized political construct which uses the same name.

    To illustrate the difference: If I were to ask you to define "Sexism" you would probably say it's prejudice and discrimination based on gender. In gender politics however "Sexism" is defined as "Power+Prejudice", meaning that only someone the speaker defines as having power can be Sexist... and which ties directly into the "heads I win, tails you lose" definition of "Patriarchy" I mentioned in the OP.

    Tripping over the deliberate semantic manipulations in gender politics is one of the hairpullingly frustrating aspects of discussing the topic.
     
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  13. Plan9

    Plan9 Standing in the Door Donor

    Location:
    This Island Earth
  14. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    Well, I don't know about you Sir @Plan9 ...but I don't want them to stop wearing sexually revealing outfits.

    So, in all fairness, we're just going to have to make sure that more men wear sexually revealing outfits.
    And hopefully, this will encourage more stimulation all together. ;)

    Personally, I'm sick of the layered look for men anyway. I don't know how other guys do it, I burn up.
    Just don't make me wear heals. I'm tall enough already. :eek:

    The more ladies that kick ass, the better.
    They're more interesting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  15. Spiritsoar

    Spiritsoar Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    New York
    My ex-wife had the same shoe size as me. I tried walking across the house in hers and that shit was awful. But I do appreciate how women look in them, so I appreciate their persistence in wearing them.

    Back on topic, pointing out statistics is revealing, but I've never been able to see how to affect change in culture, or even on an industry. Assuming we look over the industry statistics @Plan9 posted, what causes culture to change? Movies are just like any other business; they do what sells. Seeing as how the stats indicate that women buy 50% of the tickets, what incentive is there to do things differently?
     
  16. S.M.Paradox

    S.M.Paradox New Member

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    I don't quite care for politics or expressing myself politically (though I've taken a course this semester on Political Philosophy to try and remedy that), but the one question I've always had is why does gender play such a large role in politics in general? Is it because of the gender roles ascribed to each sex that are still so prevalent in American society? I'm one of those people that distinguishes gender from sex as a social identity, and I've never understood why the way someone identifies (in most places, under a binary system that doesn't even cover the full range of expression anyway) matters in any context. Whether I express myself as a man or a woman has no bearing on my ability to do anything. And then there's the whole topic of transsexual and transgendered people, which in my opinion, should never be an issue, but always is. It just intrigues me that we're always talking about 'men this' and 'women that,' when really, what's the big difference? What qualifies as 'woman' and what qualifies as 'man'? Because to me, no matter how you slice it, you're making political decisions based on something that really doesn't matter at all. Whether you differentiate men and woman based on sexual reproductive organs, the way someone dresses, what they were born as, what their driver's license says, it still doesn't change what that person is capable of doing or what can happen to that person. (Except having babies, biological guys still can't birth babies.)

    I suppose if I had to label myself as anything, I'd be egalitarian. Just my opinion, and call me idealistic because what I'm about to say definitely is, but the way gender and sex are dealt with in American politics (since I don't really have extensive experience with other governments) is completely counterproductive, and there needs to be a cultural revolution regarding how the two issues are handled before any sort of political equality can be achieved. You can change all the policy you want, but if at the end of the day, the underlying stereotypes are still there, it doesn't really change much.

    I dunno. Just my naive opinion. Take it with a grain of salt. ^.^
     
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  17. Remixer

    Remixer Middle Eastern Doofus Donor

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    My SO sent this to me a couple minutes ago. I think it's a pretty good showcase of how western society treats different types of rape.



    I'm tremendously sad for this guy :(
     
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  18. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

    Location:
    North
    If you want to just look at the politics of the matter we, and by that I mean anyone who believes in anything close to a egalitarian society, got lazy.
    We thought we had won the major battles and sat back on our laurels.
    The people who wanted things to go back to the 1800's however stuck to their guns.
    Now were arguing cases in the Supreme Court as to if birth control can be covered by health insurance and they are closing down Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics all over the country.
    There are colleges where they are shutting down the rape awareness centers because it makes the college look bad.
    Feminist has been turned into a curse word like liberal in certain parts of the country.

    Woman may be winning in small ways but many of the big things are being chopped back with a frenzy.
     
  19. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted Donor

    What's even worse is according to the Federal definitionhe was not raped. The Federal definition of "Rape" only recognizes "penetration". So even if his teacher had beaten him, tied him to a chair, put a gun to his head, force-fed him viagra, and raped him he would still not be counted as a victim of the crime of "rape".

    It's a horrifying erasure of millions of victims every single year, the sort of thing that makes people feel ill and ask "How could this happen, in this day and age?".

    The answer to that question ties right into Redravin's post:

    "Although consideration of male victims is within the scope of the legal statutes, it is important to restrict the term rape to instances where male victims were penetrated by offenders. It is inappropriate to consider as a rape victim a man who engages in unwanted sexual intercourse with a woman."

     
  20. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member Donor

    Location:
    Baltimore/DC
    How about if we simply say
    if you're physically forced to have sex...any type of sex...then it is rape. (or at least sexual assault)
    Doesn't matter what the sex is on either the victim or the perp. (and BTW...the sex of the person can even be in transition, it shouldn't matter)

    The only ambiguity should occur when it is a mental forcing of the act.
    Then I doubt you could call it rape.
     
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