Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Tuesday, 01 March 2005

     I’ve given a lot of thought as to why I’m not a feminist.  I used to think I was a feminist…but I’ve been told I’m not – repeatedly – by people who would know.  Women’s Studies Professors, for instance. 

     I’m all for equal opportunity.  Equal pay for equal work…check.  Getting equity in health care…women actually getting health care for women rather than health care designed for men, check.  I’m all for women’s issues being equal to men’s issues in the political arena.  Check.

     So, I’m a feminist…right?

     Nope.

     I’m a humanist, who happens to see that the women part of humanity gets neglected if they don’t bitch about it pretty much constantly, and keep people’s attention on the subject.

     But not a feminist.

     Why?

     Well, lots of reasons:

     One, I support the use of the male pronoun as a gender-neutral pronoun.  As in: “If a person goes to the store for cookies, he can pick up some milk as well.”

     This he/she/it stuff bugs me.  When I read it, it looks wrong.  When I write it, it is tedious and it’s just plain unnecessary.  Our language has historically had the male pronoun double as a gender-neutral pronoun.  What’s the big deal?  Is forcing this little change going to actually change someone’s thinking?  No.  Chances are, it will just cut down on the number of people who read with any kind of regularity.  I think it’s pointless and silly to exchange a fundamental of our language for something that is overly contrived and cumbersome.  So I can’t be a feminist.

     Two, I happen to think that it is a fact that women can be abusers.  And yes, I think that it is possible for a woman to abuse a man in a relationship.  In fact, I know this to be the case because I’ve seen it happen.  I tried to discuss the matter with a friend who was an activist against domestic violence, and she explained to me that such an issue simply didn’t exist.  It was a non-issue invented by regressive forces to undermine the women’s movement (and I’ll be the first to admit that those groups are out there…but just because they are hijacking an issue for their own ends doesn’t mean it’s not a real issue).

     It was impossible, this friend claimed, for a woman to be an abuser, because a man is not trapped in the relationship with a woman by the same psycho-social forces that trap women.

     “My friend is being beat up by a woman he refuses to defend himself against due to his programming as a man who doesn’t hit women.  He’s staying in the relationship because he feels he is the only person providing safety and stability for her children.  How is this not being trapped by psycho-social forces?”

     The reply:

     “Well, if he doesn’t mind saying he’s gay, there’s a program that could help him.”

     The orthodoxy that only men can be abusers is so rigid and inflexible that it could not accommodate a real life situation.  I don’t buy it.  So I can’t be a feminist.

     Three:  as a society we have certain strategies for keeping order and enforcing the social structure.

     One, the “male” model, is authoritarian and top-down in nature.  I have authority, you do what I say, I’ll listen to you if I need input otherwise I make the decisions and you carry them out.  If you don’t, I’ll punish you.

     Another, the “female” model is communal and cooperative in nature.  We have a problem.  We all get together and talk and talk and talk until we’ve defined the problem.  Then we discuss it some more until a solution emerges.  Then we work toward that solution with something that more-or-less resembles a plan.  If anyone goes astray, we bring them back into the fold through a variety of social forces and pressures that nobody actually talks about, it’s just understood.  You can disagree, and you can do whatever you choose to do, but if you don’t go along with the crowd, you will be cut out or isolated where your choices can do no harm to the group.

     Both perform necessary functions.  Both are very effective in some areas and extremely counter-productive in others.  Some work well with some personalities, and are incredibly incompatible with others.

     But I simply refuse to accept that one is inherently superior to the other.  So I can’t be a feminist.

     There’s more, but this is already sounding petulant and sulky.

     So basically, I find that I have a problem with groups of women because either I am too progressive or “feministic” to enjoy their company enough to conform to their traditional orthodoxy, or I am too “regressive” to enjoy their company enough to conform to their progressive feminist orthodoxy.

     Further, I find that I’d rather be told “here’s the rules…follow ‘em or take a hike” rather than trying to figure out what the rules are and constantly feel, as one friend put it, like I’m trying to hit a moving target.

     Don’t get me wrong, if I’m told “Here are the rules, follow ‘em or take a hike” - I’m most likely to give someone the finger and take a hike – but at least I know where I stand.  I prefer it to having to guess and having to deal with trying to figure out what “treatment” I’m being given and why.

 

     Like most of my female friends, I do better in co-ed groups that come together by chance, or under broad-enough-to-be-meaningless umbrella labels like “fen” or “martial artist”.  I prefer to think of myself as a person.  I prefer to interpret the world and view it as a human being, and view other people as human beings rather than putting the emphasis on their gender; especially when gender characterizations get in the way of even recognizing a problem…much less finding a solution.

Tuesday, 01 March 2005 14:29:21 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
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