Radical Feminism

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natraj
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby natraj » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:40 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:gender essentialist nonsense


I do not understand how these concepts benefit the majority of society unless you find inherent benefit in preserving the status quo. I do not think that when most people say they want to radically change the concept of gender, they are saying that most of these things we have traditionally assigned as "masculine" and "feminine" virtues are terrible things we should do away with. Just that it is unnecessary to assign those virtues to people based on what genitals/chromosomes/whatever other essentialist method of assigning sex you want to use.

I mean, I am a man, and I can theoretically also bear children; if you count "bearing children" as a virtue which for some reason you seem to how does that make a difference if I do it as a man or as a woman?

Why not just accept people's virtues as views through their own lens of 'experience and capability', and not feel the need on top of that to assign those virtues Maleness or Femaleness, given that anyone of any gender can hold those traits?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby omgryebread » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:50 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:You've just called someone stating a preference for feminine women "oppressive". You are not being oppressed when someone decides they have different preferences to you. You're not even oppressed when they try to spread their values.


omgryebread wrote:
sigsfried wrote:But if most men are more attracted to women who are stereotypically feminine and if most women are heterosexual then the net result of lots of individual male preferences is women being under tremendous pressure to behave in a certain way. It is certainly part of the problem, even if it isn't a readily avoidable one.
I guess it's part of the problem in a superficial sense, because I think preferences are shaped in large part by society: we like feminine women because society promotes that as an ideal and it seeps into us. But an important part of feminism, especially third wave, is not invalidating choices, even if those choices conform to these arbitrary societal ideals. There's nothing wrong with masculine men or feminine women, nor is there anything inherently wrong with liking them.
You can read, right? Because I'm pretty clearly saying "hey, it's okay to prefer feminine women!"

What I'm saying it's not okay to do is to say "I prefer feminine women, therefore women should be feminine".

Paper beats rock. Shit, was I just oppressive?

Traditional feminine traits are generally positive when expressed in women, and generally negative when expressed in men. It's not "oppressive" to point that out, it's common sense.
Uh. Why is common sense? No seriously. I mean you gave some bullshit about honor and revenge or whatever that reads like a fantasy novel, which looks pretty, but you gave absolutely no evidence they made people better off.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Yes. Fortunately, people aren't born masculine or feminine. They might be born with greater or lesser predilections towards one or the other (and obviously men are more inclined to be masculine and women to be feminine), but that doesn't mean a society where men strive to be masculine and women strive to be feminine isn't superior to one where both strive to be androgynous.
Using the word 'superior'--without clarification or specification--is what tips your hand, here. 'Superior' in what sense? 'Superior' at playing cards? 'Superior' at fulfilling the gender roles we're familiar with? 'Superior' at fulfilling your sense of aesthetics?

Without that specification, all you're left with is a general, magical feeling of 'superiority' based on a gut feeling you have about one type of behavior versus another. I suspect it's this general valueless, shapeless, unspecified sense of 'superiority' that most feminists are talking about when they talk about patriarchal values. Why is it superior? No reason; you just like it more.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby sam_i_am » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

This post had objectionable content.

Calling people grammar nazis and dragging in baggage from other threads is doing it wrong.

- Az
Last edited by sam_i_am on Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:27 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Enuja » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:26 pm UTC

Here's the great Clifford Geertz quote in the short version "Common sense is ... what the mind filled with presuppositions ... concludes" and the long version "Common sense in not what the mind cleared of cant spontaneously apprehends; it is what the mind filled with presuppositions -- that sex is a disorganizing force, that sex is a regenerative gift, that sex is a practical pleasure -- concludes."

Radical feminism is about prying open "common sense" ideas about gender, and figuring out what assumptions and value systems lie beneath. Of course, other types of feminism have also done this, but they've had different goals and assumptions themselves. Radical feminism in its original form was mostly about blaming everything on patriarchy, but one thing that many radical feminists blamed on patriarchy was the simple existence of the concept of gender. Some more recent radical feminists, including myself, shift the blame from "patriarchy" to the existence of "gender" at all. I still count as a radical feminist because wanting to get rid gender is wanting to make a radical alteration to current society, and for me a huge percentage of society's problems (the ones I care about most, anyway) can be laid squarely at the door of the existence of gender. The "radical" isn't a comparison to an average feminist or an average person: it's a self-assessment of the extent to which this world view intends to change society, and the extent to which it's all about one, central, organizing idea, instead of being about the unity of oppression and the evils of capitalism and racism and a bunch of other problems.

If I can be a radical feminist who enjoys, and is fulfilled and content with, her sexual role as a BDSM "slave" to a male "master" (and I strongly claim to be both), then other people can certainly legitimately be feminists (or feminist allies) who are sexually, romantically, or aesthetically attracted to femininity. There are even strains of feminism (not radical feminism, of course), which celebrate gender difference and promote femininity. Yes, there are conflicts and contradictions in holding these views together, but not fatal ones.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:39 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:remember how in that Mormon card thread the OP commented on how nitpicky everyone was regarding semantics?
Magical thinking--like the innate, unexplained, unspecified superiority of 'femininity' in women--persists when we refuse to define or challenge it. Stand behind your words or walk away.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby omgryebread » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:remember how in that Mormon card thread the OP commented on how nitpicky everyone was regarding semantics?

comments like that are why
Okay okay let me try this. People with names of grains in their user names are superior to other users. Some people might be more inclined to have non-cereal usernames, but that doesn't mean that a society where people strive to have grains in their user names isn't superior to one where people strive to have Dr. Seuss characters in their user names.

Back to you to explain why I'm not superior because of rye bread. Or to explain why Ormurrin's use of superior was more valid than mine.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Choboman » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:17 pm UTC

[looks around apprehensively]
There is something that's not clear to me: many of you in the discussion have mentioned that one of the goals of radical feminism is to eliminate gender. What does this mean in a practical sense? Eliminating the subtle [or sometimes not-so-subtle] pressures society exerts to make us conform to traditional gender roles? Try to make us not notice gender in interactions? To push the notion that we're all the same? Something else? Are there any objective measures that we could use to tell when we succeeded, or would it just be a subjective feeling or things being fairer/more-androgynous/something-else?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Enuja » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:27 pm UTC

In this post, I linked to the thread in which I explored this idea in much more detail. I'm happy to answer any of the questions you have, and that thread probably doesn't answer all of your questions, but it's a good place to start. For one thing, the answers will be different for different people.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Torchship » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:14 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:In this post, I linked to the thread in which I explored this idea in much more detail. I'm happy to answer any of the questions you have, and that thread probably doesn't answer all of your questions, but it's a good place to start. For one thing, the answers will be different for different people.


I don't think anything you described in the posts you linked really fits the descriptor "destroy gender". Nothing you've written supports the idea of eliminating masculinity and femininity as acceptable concepts (which is what "destroy gender" suggests), merely weakening their current stranglehold over society. Unless specifically discouraged (which, to my best interpretation, you have never stated you wish to do), the majority of people will likely continue to associate with the gender they are familiar with, and they will pass these general social trends onto their children even after the absolute dominion of the modern gender binary is demolished (though the number of people outside these bounds will increase enormously). Hence the concept of gender will survive your reforms, though it will be significantly weakened. I suspect "weaken gender" or "destroy the gender binary" are much more apt descriptions of what you wish to do.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:25 pm UTC

Torchship wrote:I don't think anything you described in the posts you linked really fits the descriptor "destroy gender". Nothing you've written supports the idea of eliminating masculinity and femininity as acceptable concepts (which is what "destroy gender" suggests), merely weakening their current stranglehold over society. Unless specifically discouraged (which, to my best interpretation, you have never stated you wish to do), the majority of people will likely continue to associate with the gender they are familiar with, and they will pass these general social trends onto their children even after the absolute dominion of the modern gender binary is demolished (though the number of people outside these bounds will increase enormously). Hence the concept of gender will survive your reforms, though it will be significantly weakened. I suspect "weaken gender" or "destroy the gender binary" are much more apt descriptions of what you wish to do.
I want to destroy poverty, but I don't want to violate basic property laws. My desire to destroy poverty may be strong, but it does not demand that I should go play Robin Hood--nor does any work toward the destruction of poverty become invalid simply because it's an impossible goal (we will always have poverty, I expect).

I get what you're saying but you can always struggle toward an impossible goal--particularly when each step toward it is a step that improves people's lot.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:22 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Masculinity to me is the exercise of the Noble Virtues through the prism of male experience and capability.

Femininity is the exercise of the Noble Virtues through the prism of female experience and capability.
Would it be any less virtuous for all people to simply exercise the Noble Virtues through whatever prism they see fit? Why use categories of "masculinity" and "femininity" when the single category of "virtuous" seems like it would get the job done equally well.

For instance, bearing a child is an exercise of the virtue of fidelity
Why? Because unfaithful women can't bear children? Because mothers can't be unfaithful? Why can't we simply say that being faithful is an exercise of the virtue of fidelity, and leave it like that?

Also, since you're one of those folks who, in discussions of gender, likes to bring up "evolution" as though you know what that word means, and as though it has any bearing on how people ought to behave, consider this: From a purely reproductive perspective, a woman "should" want to raise her children with the help of the man who can best ensure their survival after birth, and she "should" want to mate with the man who can provide them with the best genetic inheritance. Is there any particular reason these two men are the same person? In cases when they're not, then shouldn't her biological imperative tell her to cheat?

You cannot consistently claim that evolutionary history carries some kind of moral weight, while simultaneously adhering to some Noble Virtues largely at odds with what evolution would "tell us" to do.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Belial » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:58 am UTC

And actually evolution, in many situations, presents unclear parenthood as a viable strategy toward securing multiple caregivers for a prospective offspring.

IE: sleep with the entire village, everyone brings presents to the kid's birthdays.

Pretending to use "evolution" as a guide and then regurgitating traditional protestant values as though they were the same thing is laughable.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby omgryebread » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:03 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And actually evolution, in many situations, presents unclear parenthood as a viable strategy toward securing multiple caregivers for a prospective offspring.

IE: sleep with the entire village, everyone brings presents to the kid's birthdays.

Pretending to use "evolution" as a guide and then regurgitating traditional protestant values as though they were the same thing is laughable.
This actually happens in some species of otherwise monogamous birds, and its a successful mating strategy, especially for the males.


In addition, it's really really funny to say "Evolution made us this way, SO WE SHOULD TOTALLY STAY THIS WAY." Because you know: that's the exact opposite of how evolution works.

Hey, lungfish, you evolved to be an air-breathing aquatic animal, why are you all trying to crawl out of the water. You are a fish, go back in the water.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby leady » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:33 pm UTC

Out of curiousity, there must be a quite large number of mini-experiments in gender neutral parenting since the sixies. Are their any outcome studies on the children in these families? particularly with regards to typical gender behaviours?

as a gambling man, I guess they have the same outcomes as any white middle class child.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Enuja » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:54 pm UTC

Setzer, I think this is on topic, because the idea of "destroying gender" is quite radical, and is important in some types of radical feminism. If you think this is off topic, we can move this discussion to another thread.
Torchship wrote:
Enuja wrote:In this post, I linked to the thread in which I explored this idea in much more detail. I'm happy to answer any of the questions you have, and that thread probably doesn't answer all of your questions, but it's a good place to start. For one thing, the answers will be different for different people.


I don't think anything you described in the posts you linked really fits the descriptor "destroy gender". Nothing you've written supports the idea of eliminating masculinity and femininity as acceptable concepts (which is what "destroy gender" suggests), merely weakening their current stranglehold over society. Unless specifically discouraged (which, to my best interpretation, you have never stated you wish to do), the majority of people will likely continue to associate with the gender they are familiar with, and they will pass these general social trends onto their children even after the absolute dominion of the modern gender binary is demolished (though the number of people outside these bounds will increase enormously). Hence the concept of gender will survive your reforms, though it will be significantly weakened. I suspect "weaken gender" or "destroy the gender binary" are much more apt descriptions of what you wish to do.
I think the difference between the outcome I expect and the outcome you expect is related to our suspicions and assumptions about human biology, psychology, and society. I think that gender has to fight against a huge number of social pressures to continue to exist, and I think in the absence of positive pressure, it would completely dissolve (in 200 years or so: I'm not talking short term).

I also don't see a big difference between gender and the gender binary. To me, gender is a social identity primarily mapped to binary sex. Without the binary part, and the mapped to assumed or preferred sex part, it's not gender. Adding a third gender, or 6 more, would destroy gender, because, among other things, "gender" group membership couldn't be easily assigned to specific infants. I can see how gender could be a linear scale instead of a binary, but I really don't think that would last. As long as you're looking at enough variety to have a full, well developed scale, and allowing people that much choice, I think enough of them are going to chose things outside of the line that gender itself will break down, not just its binary.

I do want to discourage "masculinity" and "femininity," but the way I want to do that is to simply stop labeling things that way, and to be more specific instead. Instead of praising a long hair as feminine, I just want to praise the long hair for its length and grace. Instead of praising "studly" behavior, I want to praise happy promiscuity. And, of course, I don't want to bias my appreciation of people's traits on their perceived or chosen gender.

Choboman wrote:[looks around apprehensively]
There is something that's not clear to me: many of you in the discussion have mentioned that one of the goals of radical feminism is to eliminate gender. What does this mean in a practical sense? Eliminating the subtle [or sometimes not-so-subtle] pressures society exerts to make us conform to traditional gender roles? Try to make us not notice gender in interactions? To push the notion that we're all the same? Something else? Are there any objective measures that we could use to tell when we succeeded, or would it just be a subjective feeling or things being fairer/more-androgynous/something-else?
[ducks back under stairwell to continue lurking]
To answer the parts of your questions I don't believe I've answered anywhere...

Once gender is gone (long after I'm dead) people won't notice gender in interactions, because these people and the people they are interacting with won't have gender. Like no-one before the invention of computers noticed how much of a programmer-type people they were interacting with were, gender simply won't exist, and of course won't be noticed.

I don't think we're all the same, and I don't think getting rid of gender will make us seem all the same: I think that our variety exists on many axes, and consists of a lot of different characteristics grabbed from different groups and combined into one person. I think that gender actually makes us much more simliar to each other than I would prefer we were. Because we all have to conform, or specifically rebel against, one of two plans for how to be a person.

There is a very objective test of whether gender is gone: does anybody (who isn't a historian or otherwise strongly seeped in social history) know what gender is? If gender is a non-existent concept, then gender had been destroyed.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Choboman » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:16 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:Once gender is gone (long after I'm dead) people won't notice gender in interactions, because these people and the people they are interacting with won't have gender. Like no-one before the invention of computers noticed how much of a programmer-type people they were interacting with were, gender simply won't exist, and of course won't be noticed.

I don't think we're all the same, and I don't think getting rid of gender will make us seem all the same: I think that our variety exists on many axes, and consists of a lot of different characteristics grabbed from different groups and combined into one person. I think that gender actually makes us much more simliar to each other than I would prefer we were. Because we all have to conform, or specifically rebel against, one of two plans for how to be a person.

There is a very objective test of whether gender is gone: does anybody (who isn't a historian or otherwise strongly seeped in social history) know what gender is? If gender is a non-existent concept, then gender had been destroyed.

Thanks for the thoughtful and well-articulated response. I'm not sure whether or not I agree with some of your points yet, but it's given me something to think about.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:03 pm UTC

Another tactic is to preserve certain aspects of "femininity", "masculinity", "androgeny" etc; but to untether them from sex and gender. This is what people mean when they use the word "femme". I'm a queer cis woman who identifies as femme. I have short hair, tattoos, wear combat boots and so on. My roommate is a queer, cis man who identifies as femme. He has a beard, wears pretty dresses and dances ballet. These are both valid expressions of femininity. I express a very queer, female version, he expresses a traditional gay male version.

By breaking down gender we're working to have our gender expression be as valid in society's eyes as Betty Draper or Tyra Banks. The more this happens the less pressure there is on people to conform to their assigned gender expression in terms of clothing or behavior.

I'm personally very fond of femininity and would like to keep it around as a concept. It should just have looser rules (like not shaving shouldn't detract) and not be mandatory for female assigned at birth people and not be forbidden for male assigned at birth people.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby doogly » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:26 pm UTC

Virtual_Aardvark wrote:Another tactic is to preserve certain aspects of "femininity", "masculinity", "androgeny" etc; but to untether them from sex and gender. This is what people mean when they use the word "femme". I'm a queer cis woman who identifies as femme. I have short hair, tattoos, wear combat boots and so on. My roommate is a queer, cis man who identifies as femme. He has a beard, wears pretty dresses and dances ballet. These are both valid expressions of femininity. I express a very queer, female version, he expresses a traditional gay male version.

By breaking down gender we're working to have our gender expression be as valid in society's eyes as Betty Draper or Tyra Banks. The more this happens the less pressure there is on people to conform to their assigned gender expression in terms of clothing or behavior.

I'm personally very fond of femininity and would like to keep it around as a concept. It should just have looser rules (like not shaving shouldn't detract) and not be mandatory for female assigned at birth people and not be forbidden for male assigned at birth people.


And my understanding is that this is more "regular type" feminism and less rad fem. Jah?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:11 pm UTC

Honestly I associate rad fem with second wave "blame the patriarchy", lesbian separatist type of feminism. Also very much with transphobia and vilification of women who make choices that "play into the patriarchy" such as housewifery, shaving legs/wearing makeup, prostitution or even sleeping with men. This tear down gender stuff Enuja's talking about feels more like radical queer theory, or fringe feminism. What I was talking about is very much in line with third wave which presents sexism as a product of (among other things) defined gender roles. It's possible I just don't know my terms or that rad fem's changed since the Womyn Power! days; but I had thought it was a thing other than what we're talking about.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:30 pm UTC

"Radical feminism" has a specific meaning (radical doesn't just mean "extreme" in this context).
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Spambot5546 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:36 am UTC

[imath]\sqrt{x} =[/imath] EXTREME X!
"It is bitter – bitter", he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:12 am UTC

I was mistaken then. I was thinking I was wrong while reading Enuja's posts but radfem=transphobia must have gotten caught in my brain at some point.

Apologies. Carry on!
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby lutzj » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:50 am UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:[imath]\sqrt{x} =[/imath] EXTREME X!


Regular x is such a square.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:47 am UTC

I have a hard time even considering any viewpoints from people who assume entire broad segments of the population are the enemy. The world is not so simple.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Belial » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:52 am UTC

Virtual_Aardvark wrote:I was mistaken then. I was thinking I was wrong while reading Enuja's posts but radfem=transphobia must have gotten caught in my brain at some point.


No, that's accurate. It may not be core to the idea, but there has been a really unfortunate amount of transphobia from a lot of radfem figures and communities. Just like there's been a shit-ton of racism in feminism as well. It is a sad fact that "getting it" in one aspect does not automatically make you any better at "getting it" in others.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Ormurinn » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:19 pm UTC

Enuja, Natraj:

I don't understand why either of you feel the need to "destroy gender" to accomplish what you see as your aims. My assertion the whole time has been that the majority of people fit pretty well into their gender (otherwise it wouldn't survive - a trait can only become many or woman-ly if there's a disparity in the proportions of people of each gender who naturally do it (that's where my evolution comment was derived from))

You can make life better for people who exist outsider of conventional gender norms without getting rid of them - and by getting rid of them, you're making life worse for the much larger group of people who derive strength and pleasure from using idealised gender archetypes as things to strive for.

You'll probably also do a lot of damage to society - over time (heres the "evolution" (scare quotes for doogly)) we've found that our society needs people with sets of certain desires and capabilities to function effectively, and that a lot of those functions can be mapped to gender fairly accurately. You might say that we can encourage people to take on those traits separately and individually, but that's going to be less effective and more complicated by virtue of the fact that the archetypes of masculinity and femininity include so much - think of all the times it's appropriate to tell someone to man up.

You could create a whole new set of archetypes, but they'd lack the cultural power that masculinity and femininity have - and they'd resonate with people less strongly because there'd be no biological basis for them.

I regularly act in certain ways because that's the manly thing to do. Aspiring to that archetype makes me kinder and stronger, gives me the drive to get out and work, makes me more patient and braver. I could have been taught all those things separately, but I've been socialised with a powerful cultural meme that resonates with my biology that teaches all of them at once.

Why do you need to destroy that? Why not keep it for the 90% it works for and helps, and just campaign for better treatment of people for whom who it doesn't?

Gmalivuk:

Most people choose to express masculinity when male, and femininity when female. Destroying something that helps so many people strikes me as callous and wrong.

You raise an interesting point about evolution vs. morality - in the particular situation you use (cuckoldry) you're correct when considering all mating in isolation, but when extrapolated to a society, the best average outcome for all groups comes from encouraging serial monogamy - it's the nash equilibrium of infidelity. That said, society isn't all-powerful, and about 1 in 25 men are unknowingly raising someone else's child.

That breaks down if there's a large disparity between the status of different men, which tends to lead to polygyny, as in the historic middle east. The social outcomes of that tend to be really crap, because you end up with a large population of young, single, desperate men.

It's even worse the other way round - certain areas of Africa were depopulated of women due to the triangle trade, leading to polyandry. Groups of men each with an evolutionary incentive to kill each other off. It wasn't, and still isn't, pretty.

I used a very niche definition of the word fidelity that wasn't supposed to lead to this conversation (I was speaking of being true to your ancestors and descendants) but I'm glad that this came up.

omgryebread:

The position I'm espousing is more like proponents of the paleolithic diet pointing out that since it's what your ancestors ate, your body will be good at utilising it, or advocates of standing desks pointing out that we didn't evolve to sit down for as long as we do today.

If gender was decaying and crumbling naturally, I'd be less uncomfortable with it disappearing. It's that there's a small group of radicals with disproportionate influence attempting to get rid of a concept most people are happy with that gets my hackles up.


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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Spambot5546 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:31 pm UTC

The mistake you're making is in thinking that because most people fall into one clearly defined gender or another it's inherently better to do so. I'm not an expert on logical fallacies, but I believe that's an is/ought.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:08 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:My assertion the whole time has been that the majority of people fit pretty well into their gender (otherwise it wouldn't survive - a trait can only become many or woman-ly if there's a disparity in the proportions of people of each gender who naturally do it (that's where my evolution comment was derived from))

You can make life better for people who exist outsider of conventional gender norms without getting rid of them - and by getting rid of them, you're making life worse for the much larger group of people who derive strength and pleasure from using idealised gender archetypes as things to strive for.

You'll probably also do a lot of damage to society - over time (heres the "evolution" (scare quotes for doogly)) we've found that our society needs people with sets of certain desires and capabilities to function effectively, and that a lot of those functions can be mapped to gender fairly accurately. You might say that we can encourage people to take on those traits separately and individually, but that's going to be less effective and more complicated by virtue of the fact that the archetypes of masculinity and femininity include so much - think of all the times it's appropriate to tell someone to man up.
Listen. I'm a guy. I enjoy being a guy. I enjoy 'masculine' culture. I like ribbing other guys and making cracks at their masculinity. Hell, I even derive some measure of my worth from my notion of how a 'man' should behave--I like treating women in a way that would probably be described as 'chivalrous'.

But here's the thing: All that shit I enjoy? It's a game. It's a game I enjoy, because I was raised with it, and it's the game I know--and so I play it, and others play it with me--men, women, and everyone else. But it's just a game. There's nothing 'magical' about chivalry. There's nothing 'mystical' about my connection with other guys. And this type of 'game' I'm playing--it's not like it's somehow superior to a completely different game where the rules are reversed (there is nothing to say that a woman couldn't take my sense of 'guyness', reverse it, and turn it into her sense of 'girlness'--treating men like men treat ladies, for example). You could replace all the rules of this game with any other set of rules and we'd be no better--or worse--off. The only reason this game is so important to us is because... well, it's old, and we know the rules by heart.

But this is the important bit--the critical bit--that I want to impress upon you. This is just a game, but the stakes are ridiculously high. People get beaten for breaking the rules. Hell, people get killed. When you realize that these are the stakes, it might modify just how you play.

I understand that gender is an integral component of who you are; it's an integral component of who all of us are. But the rules of our collective gender game are strangling people who cannot abide by them. We either need to make new rules to allow for them--or stop playing the game entirely. And the more allowances we make for players to play how they like--the less important the game becomes. If we keep heading in this direction, then the game will become meaningless and there will be no rules for people to get beaten, abused, or killed over.

And I think that is a splendid direction. And I think that, rather than putting bandaids on gender, we should accelerate into that direction, and blow that shit up as fast as we can.
Ormurinn wrote:If gender was decaying and crumbling naturally, I'd be less uncomfortable with it disappearing. It's that there's a small group of radicals with disproportionate influence attempting to get rid of a concept most people are happy with that gets my hackles up.
Wait, what? Do you understand what 'naturally' means?

Gender is decaying and crumbling 'naturally'. It has been for the past century. Haven't you been paying attention?

I just want to strap a nuclear-powered rocket-pack to this shit and fire it straight into the sun. But it's already on its way.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby doogly » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:24 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:If gender was decaying and crumbling naturally, I'd be less uncomfortable with it disappearing. It's that there's a small group of radicals with disproportionate influence attempting to get rid of a concept most people are happy with that gets my hackles up.
Wait, what? Do you understand what 'naturally' means?

No, he has no fucking clue. Why are there people left who haven't foed him? Can we please have an adult conversation?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:33 pm UTC

That possibility aside, I wanted to also add that part of being responsible about gender, to me, means amending the 'rules' of this game so that anyone can play--but not everyone is willing to make those amendments ("You don't count as a man/woman unless your genitals look like this!"). Which is so absurd, because really, all it amounts to is a D&D 3.5 enthusiast screaming bloody murder at a 4th edition enthusiast because 4th edition is "COMPLETELY WRONG AND IN DIRECT CONTRADICTION OF THE REALITY OF 3.5!".

The broader point though is that with each of these amendments we make--with each decision that allows more players to play, and creates more exceptions to our rules--we make gender more porous, more flexible, more accessible. And if this trend continues, the flexibility of gender will (imaginably) increase to the point where it becomes non-existent--or, at least, irrelevant. Which, I think, is pretty awesome.

Even if I still do eat steak for breakfast, beat shit with clubs, and consider 'funyons' to be valid foodgroup.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby omgryebread » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:I regularly act in certain ways because that's the manly thing to do. Aspiring to that archetype makes me kinder and stronger, gives me the drive to get out and work, makes me more patient and braver. I could have been taught all those things separately, but I've been socialised with a powerful cultural meme that resonates with my biology that teaches all of them at once.

Why do you need to destroy that? Why not keep it for the 90% it works for and helps, and just campaign for better treatment of people for whom who it doesn't?
And that's great, really. But why associate "manly" traits like bravery and strength with men? We don't want men to be craven or weak. We want men and women to be brave. We want women and men both to be sensitive and nurturing. Why promote two separate sets of ideals, especially when history has put one in an inferior position? Why not have a "great human" archetype to aspire to: Brave, strong, caring, loving, smart, humble, etc.

St. Francis was a great person because he was kind, humble and nurturing.
Joan of Arc was great because she was strong, smart, and brave.

Gmalivuk:I used a very niche definition of the word fidelity that wasn't supposed to lead to this conversation (I was speaking of being true to your ancestors and descendants) but I'm glad that this came up.
My ancestors are dead: I don't believe they care anymore. My descendents don't actually exist. You want me to "be true" to people who don't exist? That's difficult at best.

omgryebread:The position I'm espousing is more like proponents of the paleolithic diet pointing out that since it's what your ancestors ate, your body will be good at utilising it, or advocates of standing desks pointing out that we didn't evolve to sit down for as long as we do today.

If gender was decaying and crumbling naturally, I'd be less uncomfortable with it disappearing. It's that there's a small group of radicals with disproportionate influence attempting to get rid of a concept most people are happy with that gets my hackles up.
It's amusing you bring up the paleolithic diet: It's based on some faulty assumptions. One of those is that it has your weird "happened in the past but now is stopped" view of evolution. Since the introduction of animal husbandry, Europeans have higher rates of an allele for lactose tolerance than their ancestors.

It, as well as your own view on gender, also take a strictly adaptionist viewpoint that infests evolutionary psychology: that natural selection can and has shaped individual traits to some sort of optimum value, while ignoring various constraints and other factors that may cause a trait to exist. Basically, what Spambot said: evolution does not make the is/ought fallacy more valid.

It's kinda funny you think radical feminists have disproportionate influence. But anyway, evolution of all values is done by concentrated efforts, often by a radical minority. Christianity uprooted the various pagan values of Europe. Korean monks drastically changed Japan and its value systems. A large part of the history of Japan was the integration of Buddhism and Shintoism. Certainly the enlightenment thinkers like Locke and Rousseau, as well as the American Revolutionaries like Hamilton and Jefferson were considered a small group of radicals at the time: it was their challenges to traditional conceptions of the state that established the system of democracy we hold as one of our highest ideals.

I'm not a protestant. I'm not even a christian.
I don't think Belial said you were a protestant. In fact he used the words
Belial wrote:regurgitating traditional protestant values
which is accurate: despite you not being protestant, your values in this thread (and others) are aligned with traditional protestant values. My guess is that he's implying that's no coincidence: you've adapted the mainline protestant values of the mainline protestant society you're part of.


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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Belial » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:43 pm UTC

omgryebread wrote:
I'm not a protestant. I'm not even a christian.
I don't think Belial said you were a protestant. In fact he used the words
Belial wrote:regurgitating traditional protestant values
which is accurate: despite you not being protestant, your values in this thread (and others) are aligned with traditional protestant values. My guess is that he's implying that's no coincidence: you've adapted the mainline protestant values of the mainline protestant society you're part of.


Ding ding.

And pretending that your traditional cultural values somehow translate backward to our hunter-gatherer ancestors and our evolutionary imperatives (or whatever) is what's known as Flintstonization.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:52 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Virtual_Aardvark wrote:I was mistaken then. I was thinking I was wrong while reading Enuja's posts but radfem=transphobia must have gotten caught in my brain at some point.


No, that's accurate. It may not be core to the idea, but there has been a really unfortunate amount of transphobia from a lot of radfem figures and communities. Just like there's been a shit-ton of racism in feminism as well. It is a sad fact that "getting it" in one aspect does not automatically make you any better at "getting it" in others.

RadFem 2012 couldn't find a venue because after their original venue terminated their contract because of legal fears over the fact that they exclude trans women (but, like Michigan, not trans men because, you know, they're womyn-born-womyn or something else absurdly cissexist) nobody wants to take the risk.

It may not be a trait of some people who call themselves radical feminists but transphobia is absolutely a core trait of the movement that calls itself radical feminism as a whole.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby setzer777 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:06 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:"Radical feminism" has a specific meaning (radical doesn't just mean "extreme" in this context).


Yeah, I probably need to read more, but it appears to me that one of the main things emphasized by most self-identified radical feminists is the need to examine your own choices in relation to the patriarchy. In other words, no matter how much personal pleasure you get out of doing something, that doesn't stop it from being a patriarchy-supporting action (common examples given include participating in PIV, sex-work, bdsm, having relationships with men, and attempting to meet mainstream beauty standards).

There also does seem to be a significant trans-critical movement among radical feminists (either attacking the very existence of trans women, or accusing them of hijacking the movement).
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Ormurinn » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:31 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
omgryebread wrote:
I'm not a protestant. I'm not even a christian.
I don't think Belial said you were a protestant. In fact he used the words
Belial wrote:regurgitating traditional protestant values
which is accurate: despite you not being protestant, your values in this thread (and others) are aligned with traditional protestant values. My guess is that he's implying that's no coincidence: you've adapted the mainline protestant values of the mainline protestant society you're part of.


Ding ding.

And pretending that your traditional cultural values somehow translate backward to our hunter-gatherer ancestors and our evolutionary imperatives (or whatever) is what's known as Flintstonization.


You're seriously using an excerpt from "Sex at Dawn" for your source here? The book that argues that most historical human reproduction came in the form of orgies, that in millions of years no human society ever realized that children tend to look like their fathers, and that humans historically lived in perfect little kibbutzes that shared sex? What a joke.

I won't bother giving a full take down because it's been done so thoroughly all over the internet, suffice it to say that that books a politically motivated rousseauist pile of trash, its central conclusions are trivially easy to refute, and the authors intentionally misrepresented anthropological data, used findings they new to be non-representative and misleading (they even used that Bonobo study for christ's sake) in order to promote their flawed conceptions.

Seriously, at least The Bell Curve contained valid evidence. Sex at Dawn is just pseudoscientific waffle.

....

Incidentally, I'm aware that amongst or hunter gatherer ancestors life-mating was rare - the patters would seem to be serial monogamy, with more male cheating than female due to differing levels of parental investment. People often do "Flintstoneise" our ancestors, but in the reverse direction to the way that rag you quoted suggests - our ancestors were much more violent than we are, and there's no evidence to suggest that we lived in perfect utopian communal societies - if when researching that drivel the author's had looked up the proportion of deaths by endemic warfare (usually over access to women - rather blows their sperm-competition first theory out of the water) in extant hunter-gatherer population's they'd know this.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby setzer777 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:48 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:You can make life better for people who exist outsider of conventional gender norms without getting rid of them - and by getting rid of them, you're making life worse for the much larger group of people who derive strength and pleasure from using idealised gender archetypes as things to strive for.


I think a big question here is how much gender policing is an inherent part of gender itself. Completely disregarding the nature vs nurture question*, I think it can argued that gender policing (ranging from social censure to physical violence) is such a major aspect of gender in our culture that merely achieving general acceptance of those who don't conform would constitute a major overhaul.

*I hope we can all agree that punishing someone for not conforming to their mandated gender role is a very bad thing regardless of how much of a role biology plays.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:59 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:People often do "Flintstoneise" our ancestors, but in the reverse direction to the way that rag you quoted suggests - our ancestors were much more violent than we are, and there's no evidence to suggest that we lived in perfect utopian communal societies - if when researching that drivel the author's had looked up the proportion of deaths by endemic warfare (usually over access to women - rather blows their sperm-competition first theory out of the water) in extant hunter-gatherer population's they'd know this.
Uh... I'm not sure if you actually read the 'rag' that was linked, but it doesn't suggest that we only do this in one direction. Rather, it explains that we 'Flintstoneise' in both directions--simultaneously projecting the myth of the long-gone 'golden age' and the myth of the 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short' life of our pitiable predecessors. We commit both the fallacy of a golden past and a dark future--and the fallacy of a dark past and a golden future. It goes on to describe how the reality is far more complex, then talks about a bunch of sex-stuff that I didn't bother to read (maybe it reversed its position somewhere in there?).

I don't know what the rest of the book says, and I don't really care: Both of these are myths we perpetuate, and both fail to grasp the reality of our past. Ayn Rand once summed it up quite well:
Ayn Rand wrote:It is certainly irrational to use the new as a standard of value--the belief that an idea or policy is good because it is new. But it is much more preposterous to use the standard of old as a value--to claim that an idea or policy is good--merely because it is ancient.
Yes, gender roles are old. But are they good?

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby TheAmazingRando » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:47 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Seriously, at least The Bell Curve contained valid evidence. Sex at Dawn is just pseudoscientific waffle.
I think it'd be hard to top The Bell Curve as far as pseudoscientific waffle is concerned.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I have a hard time even considering any viewpoints from people who assume entire broad segments of the population are the enemy. The world is not so simple.
I dunno, I'm pretty okay with a black person who considers violent racists the enemy, however broad a segment of the population that may encompass.

Ormurinn wrote:Destroying something that helps so many people strikes me as callous and wrong.
How does gender help those people? It's not like they can no longer express those characteristics once we dissociate them from gender.

when extrapolated to a society, the best average outcome for all groups comes from encouraging serial monogamy
Even if that were true, what does it have to do with evolution? Group selection isn't how evolution works. If something is best for society or for all groups on average, that would be an excellent reason to encourage that behavior with social pressure in the form of moral or even legal structures. But it has fuck-all to do with evolution, which happens to genes. If genes that encourage cuckoldry have a better chance of getting passed on than genes that don't, then those genes will become more common in the population. End of (genetic evolutionary) story. If you want to construct social pressures that discourage cuckoldry, you are very explicitly advocating an unnatural measure which goes against biological evolution. Which it's fine to do, so long as you don't go on to pretend that you care a whit about natural evolutionary change.

The position I'm espousing is more like proponents of the paleolithic diet pointing out that since it's what your ancestors ate, your body will be good at utilising it, or advocates of standing desks pointing out that we didn't evolve to sit down for as long as we do today.
So your position is like other stupid naturalistic fallacy positions. Good to know.

Our ancestors also evolved to get the important stuff done by age 30 or 40, because that's approximately when they could be expected to die. Do you object to all the things that now allow us to live longer the same way you object to anti-gender efforts?

Ormurinn wrote:You're seriously using an excerpt from Sex at Dawn for your source here?
As his source for what he means by "Flintstonize"? Yep. What's wrong with that? Even if it turned out that the book was utter and total crap, that in no way lessens that excerpt's utility as an explanation for what Belial was talking about. Ayn Rand mostly wrote utter and total crap, as well, and yet she made a very good point in the bit Hippo quoted above, which bears repeating despite the crappiness of the rest of her oeuvre.

Ormurinn wrote:People often do "Flintstoneise" our ancestors, but in the reverse direction to the way that rag you quoted suggests - our ancestors were much more violent than we are, and there's no evidence to suggest that we lived in perfect utopian communal societies
Also... yeah. If you're going to whine about the source without actually reading even the relatively short bit linked to, I can't imagine what makes you think any of us should take you even a little bit seriously.

Do you know what Hobbes and Malthus actually said about human nature and prehistory? You're acting like the "rag" he quoted was just parroting Rousseau, when in fact it was Hobbes and Malthus, the "rag" asserts, who had the greatest intellectual effect on Darwin.

But in any case, what all of those people believed is beside the real point, which is that "The search for clues to the distant past among the overwhelming detail of the immediate present tends to generate narratives closer to self-justifying myth than to science."
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