Social Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Who are some feminists who believe that we should elevate the status of women because it benefits both genders in the long run?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19041points) April 27th, 2011

I know this is a feminist position, but I’m blanking on names I can attach to the position.

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66 Answers

BhacSsylan's avatar

Quite a few. Of those i follow, easiest that comes to mind is Jaclyn Friedman, as far as high-profile goes. I believe Naomi Wolf also holds that opinion, but I can’t say I feel much love towards her right now. Greta Christina is in there, too. Probably Lena Chen, though she focuses on other issues for the most part.

In general, I’d say most feminists who are highly respected in the field today hold that opinion. Very few see it as a zero-sum game. And most notable ones who do, like Andrea Dworkin, get quite a bit of flack now from other feminists for those opinions.

And as far as lower profile goes, there are tons. My current favorite being Holly Pervocracy (a little NSFW)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BhacSsylan Naomi Wolf is hard to love right now. Great, thanks. I know it’s a very popular opinion, but I actually need to name names and not just say “feminists hold that” or “many high-profile feminists believe that”.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Yeah, always best to avoid appeal to unnamed authority. I’m rather new to feminism, so there’s probably lots I missed and should know, but hopefully that helps a little.

And yeah, I know. But i thought I should put her in there for the sake of completeness.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No one specifically takes credit for many of the organizations but you can always say ‘feminists heading up this or this or this

YoBob's avatar

Elevate the status of women to what, goddess?

Last I checked the status of women where I live is the same as it is for any other human being regardless of race, creed, or gender.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@YoBob No, not to goddess, to men. We live in a patriarchal world. You and I think women are equal but systemically, they’re not.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@YoBob And is every race and creed equal, too? Do we have equal enrollments of races in colleges, and holding high paying jobs? Are Homosexuals not the victims of abuse? Are atheists not attacked as being ‘Immoral’ and, apparently, the least likely to hold the presidency in this country (I’m talking USA specifically, though these problems occur quite often elsewhere. i have the most knowledge with the US)

And to be clear, though @Simone_De_Beauvoir sorta said this, we’re not talking about elevation in pure, material terms. We’re talking in terms of culture and politics, where they are not treated equally. We’re not talking about raising women from women to something more, but from second-class citizens upward.

lillycoyote's avatar

She’s old guard, but not completely irrelevant yet, so here’s a link to an article about a talk that Gloria Steinhem gave at a conference at UT Dallas last year about how she thinks feminism benefits men. There you go newt, name, time, place, conference contact information, it’s got it all. :-)

dabbler's avatar

@ladymia69 took the work right out of my mouth, “me !” but I’m not famous an no writing you could cite in a paper etc. My next answer would be “most” because, except for some misogynist feminists who are very rare and not popular, just about any you can find will have that position.
@YoBob I’d agree with you if that were practically true but it just isn’t.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@dabbler Question, do you mean mysogynist or misandrist? Both occur, but I feel like misandrist makes a little more sense with the question.

Mikewlf337's avatar

People need to compare women in the past to women of today. I would say that they are being elevated. Perhaps not fast enough to satisfy some but nothing happens overnight. Show a women from 100 years ago a woman of today and she would be rendered speechless.

I must also add that both genders have their turmoils. You know how easy it is for a woman to completely destroy a man by just running her mouth?

Today isnt as patriarchal as it was in the past.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Yes, they’re better. So? There are still problems to be fixed. I don’t think many people expect it to be done ‘overnight’, but without people working to change it it may never happen at all.

And, that’s sort of the point of this question. There are problems in both genders. The easiest one for men is strict gender definitions, not being allowed to be ‘too girly’, or just not ‘manly’ enough. Many good feminists, like the ones being referenced, agree very much that there are problems with both genders that need to be fixed. Again, that’s the point of this question.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Mikewlf337 So let me clarify: Basically women should be thankful they’re not considered property any longer and shut up to make sure men continue to feel superior? (in the West, anyway as women are treated like property in many other places) I will always be the first to note, for you, that gender norms place limitations on people of all genders but your comment about women ‘running their mouths’ makes it pretty clear where you stand. Oh and also, if your next comment to me will be about ‘needing to lighten up, it was just a joke, i love my mom, girlfriend, sister’, save it.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir and a man totally can’t ruin a woman by running his mouth about how she’s a slut or a bitch or a [insert gendered slur here].

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@BhacSsylan Of course not. Not at all. Not every morning of my life when I go outside. Especially now that it’s spring time and the perverts are in their element with harassment. Of course, obvioulsly, I am capable of separating those jerks on the street and men as a gender.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

I agree with you on the words thing.
A guy can call me a “slut” or a “bitch” and I’ll just laugh it off. If I’m not a slut, I’m not a slut. Bitch? Oh that’s original.

If you really want to bring a man to tears, you just have to immasculate him. Insinuate that his balls are missing, that he’s not a “true man”, that he’s a just a little girl wearing pants.

Men are by far easier to hurt with words than women.

And I’m all for equal rights. But I don’t place men above women, or women above men.

sinscriven's avatar

@BhacSsylan :A man falsely accused of rape will obliterate his career and potentially any future prospects of it because nobody wants to touch a guy with any sort of taint like that on his record, it will shatter his family, alienate his friends, earn the violent ire of his community regardless if the guy is completely innocent. People will give him weird looks, women will give him looks of contempt while huddling their kids away from him, he’ll be forbidden from seeing his own kids, and will be nearly impossible to put back his life back together because people would rather have him dead.

But yeah, I can totally see how destructive an offhanded bitter comment how someone is a bitch or a slut can be. Totally comparable (!)

dabbler's avatar

@BhacSsylan you are correct, thanks! I had the mistaken impression misogynist meant dislike of the opposite gender but it is in fact gender specific. “misandrist” it is.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@sinscriven I’m sorry. You can’t compare allegation of rape to insults. If you’re talking about rape, talk about how rape affects women. Systemically. When @Mikewlf337 said ‘running her mouth’, did he mean ‘falsely accusing men of rape’? No.

YoBob's avatar

@BhacSsylan

“Do we have equal enrollments of races in colleges,” I don’t know about per-capita enrollment numbers, but I do know that we do have scads of financial assistance opportunities, not to mention discriminatory admissions practices that provide an advantage to pretty much any sub-group you can name, that is, of course, except for white males. Heck, there are even learning institutions that only allow minority races and many that allow only women to attend. Yep, discrimination is alive an well in this country…

“and holding high paying jobs?” Hmmm… by boss happens to be a black man, and the CEO of our multi-billion dollar company is an asian female.

“Are Homosexuals not the victims of abuse?” Yep, so are Christians. What’s your point here? I’m pretty much sure you can find victims of abuse no matter what sub-group you care to name.

“Are atheists not attacked as being ‘Immoral’ and, apparently, the least likely to hold the presidency in this country” And exactly what does this have to do with the elevation of the status of women?

Frankly, I think that the only way that sexism, racism, and any other ism you care to name will continue to be an issue for exactly as long as people continue making it an issue. Perhaps rather than “elevating” target sub-groups a more intelligent approach is to treat everyone like human beings. (yes, I know it’s a radical idea, but hey, that’s just my opinion)

sinscriven's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : Ah, i misread and assumed the statement and assumed to mean that men somehow could destroy women’s reputations by mere insults and that somehow that was one sided. I jumped the gun by not reading context. Sorry @BhacSsylvan

Still disagree that even calling a woman any of that has any sort of real effect these days at least in communities that aren’t highly conservative. Women talking about their sexuality is seen as “empowering” (while men speaking of the same is “piggish”), and “bitch”.. I always saw it as disdain for a woman who was aggressive. Not neccesarily bad, and has more to do with the person saying it than the person receiving it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@sinscriven I’m not telling you about all women. I’m telling you about myself (a gender non conforming person but one that is still perceived as a woman by strangers). I experience verbal harassment, cat calls, etc. on a daily basis and surely, the words no longer hurt because I choose to not give them power over me but the whole general concept is problematic and painful to deal with. I feel a lot of anger about a culture where men are raised to think they’re entitled to gawk and to make comments about what they think are female parts. As far as talking about one’s sexuality, it depends..what are they talking about and who’s talking? I consider plenty of women not empowered and plenty of men who are not piggish.

dabbler's avatar

Gee whiz all this who can do what to whom to hurt them.
From what I can tell we are all powerful enough to be potentially dangerous to an “other”. Opposite gender, opposite sex ,same gender, same sex we can mess each other up big time – in particular in significant-other relationships.
I’d say I’ve had way more seriously hurtful experiences caused by women but that’s because my significant-other relationships have all been with women and I let them closer and am more vulnerable to them in those relationships (and then there’s Mother ).
I’d be surprised if most hetero women haven’t had more painful experiences with men than women for the same reason ( plus Father ).
There might be different prevailing gender-related norms of how we dismiss and disrespect each other but as far as I can tell no gender has any monopoly on abuse.

sinscriven's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : But would our society be responsible for that sort of fratboy like behavior? It doesn’t seem that modern culture today remotely encourages that. I don’t even think earlier times would have made that kind of behavior acceptable, not with chivalrous ideals. To call a woman out like that seems one of the most “ungentlemanly” things to do. On my end it doesn’t seem to be as much as an endemic sexist viewpoint, but rather people just being flat out asshats. Unfortunately we have plenty of those with either set of funbits.

With regards to sexual expression, it’s more of a general attitude in society. With the whole sexual liberation thing in the past, women have been more free to express themselves and talk about it in a way that’s even embraced by the mainstream media and magazines, the measure of a successful sexual encounter is if the woman is satisfied, and if not, it’s somehow acceptable to make fun of or ridicule a man who could not deliver, or was not hung enough. A guy speaking about similar issues wouldn’t be seen as “acceptable or liberating”, it’d be seen at best as something that guys do (because we think with our dicks), or contemptible behavior. Men’s health wouldn’t dare put “200 ways to make her your slave in bed”, and if a guy ever made a less than positive comment about a woman’s packaging or skill, he’d look like a huge jerk. it’s little things like this that sort of bug me about gender inequality and frustrating that not many people seem to pay attention to it as much as the ‘big obvious’ ones.

i would mention a personal experience, but being at work kinda makes me self conscious about it at the moment.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I am not joking with you and I don’t give a rats ass if you lighten up or not. Yes I meant things like falsely accusing men of rape. It happens. Of course you know me so well that you can assume what I am just from the one comment. I love how you can find out where I stand from just one comment.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@YoBob My point was that there is not equality everywhere. That’s all. Yes, there are scholarships and the like for subgroups, and there are people in minority cultures in high paying jobs, and oppressed majority people. However, this is not the majority of the situations, and there are still problems. Even with schoarships college enrollments (across the board, not just one institution) are lower for minorities then their population percentage in the country. Minorities and women are woefully underrepresented in higher-level jobs. Not absent! Not by a long shot. But not properly represented.

As to the rest, again all I was saying is there are still problems to be fixed. You implied that everything was even for everyone regardless of race, creed, or gender. I was pointing out that, at least in many aspects, that is not true. I extended that to sexuality, but same difference. Yes, people are people. But many rights and privleges are still being denied to people based on race, creed, gender, sexuality, etc. You are good to people, and that’s great. But it doesn’t mean everything everywhere is peachy. you brought up other subgroups, so I responded as such.

@sinscriven Apologies as well, i can come off a little strong sometimes. As @Simone_De_Beauvoir has said, they are different (connected, but different) problems. Verbal abuse (a la running your mouth) is different then filing a criminal suit. And falsely calling rape, like any false accusation, is horrible. And admittedly worse for rape then, say, theft, but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation for another day, with lots of intricacies that would not be helpful to the conversation.

To your last post, I would disagree, sorta. Let’s get the good stuff out of the way, though: I definitely don’t think (and I believe @Simone_De_Beauvoir would agree) that sexism against men is a non-issue. I definitely agree there, and talk of a man not being “big” enough, or enough of a man to satisfy a woman, etc, whatever kind of comment like that, only helps enforce gender boundaries, and is therefore harmful to both men and women. A writer I mentioned above, Greta Christina, has a good post on that sort of thing you may like: How Sexism Hurts Men. Sexism in either direction is bad.

But it’s not like sexism against women isn’t rampant. Like Simone getting yelled at by ‘fratboys’, it’s not that isolated, it happens constantly. And women very rarely do the same to men. It happens, don’t get me wrong, but not nearly as often. And how many times have you heard or seen something about men sizing up a woman by how ‘fuckable’ she is? I’ve heard it tons of times. Not in major syndication, perhaps, but no less often for that. And have you heard of ‘The Game’, or pick-up artistry in general? Because that’s a large and despicable movement along the same lines, that preaches that women need to be tricked in order to get sex, etc. And of course they rank women by how they look, and state that anything below an 8 out of 10 is worthless. And I shit you not, i had a friend who was into this.

This is not isolated asshattery, it’s asshattery practiced by a large portion of the population. That is a problem worth working against.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I think I saw the rare woman with a successful career today. What do you all want? Men get punished for beating their wives. Most women have jobs and bring money into the house just like the man. Most households are on joint incomes. Women are equal and those who are still complaining are the ones who will never be satisfied.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Because some people being fine means that everything is fine everywhere.

Oh, goodie. Some problems were fixed, so nothing is wrong! Women have resources in some cases, so problems with rape and gender inequalities (in both directions) and pretty much any other social issue is meaningless! Woo!

Ladymia69's avatar

@Mikewlf337 All you are saying is everything is fine from your male perspective. That means you are saying nothing valuable.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@ladymia69 Are you saying everything is not fine from your female perspective. That means you are saying nothing valuable.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@BhacSsylan Is everything perfect for anything? No it isn’t.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Sorry, I choose to think it’s worth it to try to make it better.. We have, as you’ve pointed out, fixed social problems before.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I was gonna chime in, and then it turned out @Simone_De_Beauvoir and @ladymia69 basically covered what I was thinking, and then some. @BhacSsylan added good stuff too. That’s good, I’m tired from digging a garden.

“Nobody is free until we’re all free!”

Mikewlf337's avatar

@BhacSsylan We can’t fix we can only improve when it comes to social problems. I think women are partly to blame for the patriarchal society. I am pretty sure that if it were a matriarchal society, women would not complain one bit and would not want it to change.

Ladymia69's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Why don’t you start your own thread on just such a topic instead of high-jacking this one?

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Mikewlf337 This is quite probable! If women were in majority power I’m sure many women would be opposed to change, as many men are opposed to changing the patriarchal society we have currently. What does this have to do with anything?

And sure, whatever about fix vs improve. Why does that mean we shouldn’t work to change it?

Ladymia69's avatar

@Mikewlf337 This is a general thread. Stay on-topic, or go blow.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Problem with that argument being, of course, that matriarchal societies don’t tend to disadvantage men particularly.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@incendiary_dan I wouldn’t really go there. I’m sure we could imagine a similar situation to the current one with women on the other side and it being just as bad, just switched genders. Doesn’t have much bearing on the current situation, though.

Ladymia69's avatar

@BhacSsylan You can’t imagine it because it’s never happened. You have no context or framework in which to imagine it.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@ladymia69 Sorry, not sure why I’m getting attacked for that. Aren’t our imaginations for, well, imagining things that aren’t real? Take the current gender problems and flip them, so that men are shamed for their sexuality, pushed out of high paying jobs, etc.

Ladymia69's avatar

@BhacSsylan What makes you think that women would do that? The things you are talking about are what men do. There is your error.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@BhacSsylan I think @ladymia69 is taking issue with the fact that your argument is kind of simplistic and doesn’t examine the underlying socio-cultural factors of things like patriarchy. It hasn’t historically been a coincidence that patriarchy coincides with empire, for instance.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@ladymia69 And I assign those behaviors to cultural structure. We’re in a patriarchy, and so men are given reign to act like that. According to your logic, all women are awesome and men are oppressive brutes by nature and not by culture? I’d have to take issue with that.

@incendiary_dan Just to ask, have there been a whole lot of matriarchies? From my (rather limited) knowledge of history i can’t think of many, so I’d say patriarchy and empire are linked more on the grounds of shear number of patriarchies. However, if you have other evidence I’ll bow out on that argument.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@BhacSsylan said “According to your logic, all women are awesome and men are oppressive brutes by nature and not by culture?”

Nothing of the sort was claimed by @ladymia69. If we’re going to have constructive discourse, read clearly and don’t use straw man arguments.

I’ll take some time to get a more comprehensive list of matriarchal societies currently and formerly in existence and documented. Might take a while, as I won’t be home until tomorrow night. But I’ll add that one of the reasons we record patriarchal empires more is because empires invent writing systems as a way to keep hold of possessions, including slaves.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@incendiary_dan “What makes you think that women would do that? The things you are talking about are what men do.” How am I supposed to take this? This is a thing some men do in a patriarchal society. that wording, meant or not, is implying that it’s a problem with men, not society.

All i was positing is that it is possible, with some imagination, to think of a role reversal. What is so problematic about this?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@BhacSsylan That’s an appropriate way to interpret what she said. That is not the same as saying women are all good and men are all bad. It’s entirely appropriate to look at men as the problem, because we are, so we have a steep responsibility. Men are behind patriarchy. Not exactly a big revelation.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@incendiary_dan Sorry, i do not like gender warfare on either side. Certain men are a problem. A majority, sure. But saying that faults are implicit in a gender is very different from saying we carry privilege we need to get rid of. This is not a problem with all men, it is not a problem with a whole gender. It is a problem with patriarchal power structures held up my many men (and a few women!). Saying that is not even imaginable that a women could oppress a man, given the societal go-ahead, is silly. I am not saying it’s common, I’m not saying it’s even probable. I was saying it was imaginable, and that given it doesn’t exist very much in the current world, we cannot say it is impossible. For that, i got told that it’s not the power structures that are the problem, but the existence of the gender. I take issue.

I will also agree that men, at some point, had the major, if not only, hand in creating patriarchy as we know it. By I, myself, am not at fault for that. I do have privelege, and I have a duty to understand it and lessen it. But I am not at fault, personally, for it’s very existence, unless I perpetuate it, which I try very hard not to. And one of the ways I do that is by dismantling the idea of the gender binary.

incendiary_dan's avatar

On a side note, I suggest to @MyNewtBoobs that the context of the question be broadened to “all genders”, rather than “both genders”.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@BhacSsylan Who said anything about gender warfare? You have some interesting assumptions. And, once again, I did not, nor did anyone else, say that the fault was intrinsic to males. I’m talking about history and our present circumstances. Please refrain from improper inferring. If it were inherent in males, do you think I’d be making this argument?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Holy fuckwads.

Ok, so, some background from where this question came from: I’m doing a paper on women’s rights in medieval times. I pretty much have no thoughts outside of medieval things these days because of this paper. As such, when I said “elevated”, I meant, “elevated from being the property of men, who were legally unable of owning land, had to bribe men into marrying them because no amount of being awesome was good enough, and rape was seen only as a crime against the man who owned her, not as a crime against herself.”

But, I’m glad we were able to stay on topic. Cuz when you post a question in General, what you really mean is “please, let this question go where ever you’d like it to”. If the mods want to move it to Social, fine with me – some people have actually had the good graces to answer the original question, which did mention how I need to name actual feminists, so now that I’ve gotten my answer, play amongst yourself. Special thanks to those who did actually answer my question, the rest of you – shame!

BhacSsylan's avatar

@incendiary_dan First of all, you did not make the argument. You are defending it, but you did not make it. And I think you are making assumptions as well. Again, I repeat, “This is what men do”. Not “This is what some men do”, not “This is what a patriarchal society does”, but “This is what men do”. You are assuming @ladymia69 meant it in the best possible light. However, as I said, again ‘we can imagine it’, and I got told that I could not, that it was not even possible to conceive of a similar situation, because men are the issue.

@MyNewtBoobs sigh I’m sorry, I tend to get carried away in these situations. I will clam up unless it gets moved to social.

Ladymia69's avatar

@BhacSsylan Terribly sorry I generalized there. And @MyNewtBoobs , apologies for paying attention to this high-jacking.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Edit: who has two thumbs and can’t stop derailing? this guy!

Mikewlf337's avatar

@ladymia69 I am not hijacking. I am on topic and I am just stating my opinion. Could it be that both genders are responsible of the patriarchal society? I think so. The way both genders will benefit is if both are treated equal.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@all Alright, peeps, it’s moved. Argue away.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Any comments that weren’t specifically about naming feminist writers and thinkers that make the aforementioned arguments were off topic. So we were all guilty of that.

Off the top of my head I know that Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Chellis Glendinning all more or less agree with the idea that true gender equality is beneficial for everyone. Derrick isn’t primarily a feminist, but all of his works are greatly informed by radical feminist theory, and he weaves it in with his environmental and anti-authoritarian arguments flawlessly. All three could be described as ecofeminists (as could I). Also, what was the name of the author of “Cunt”? I always forget her name, but I’m pretty sure she touched on that.

Ladymia69's avatar

@incendiary_dan Inga Muscio, and great book!

Mikewlf337's avatar

@incendiary_dan Oh, then I misunderstood the question. Sorry about that.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@ladymia69 I knew it began with Ing-, but was lost after that. It didn’t help that googling for ‘cunt’ doesn’t exactly tend to turn up a lot of feminist links. :P

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@incendiary_dan Just to prove how obsessed with the Middle Ages I currently am, I, an incredibly sex-obsessed woman, just read “Cunt” as “Cnut” (the Viking king of Anglo-Saxon England, who wrote laws like that you can’t force a woman into marriage). The author you’re looking for is Inga Musico. And let me also suggest the other top result for Googleing ‘cunt book’ – The Cunt Coloring Book, a fun way to learn where everything is.

everephebe's avatar

Put me down as another feminist who believes that we should elevate the status of women because it benefits both genders in the long run.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@sinscriven No matter the decade, there were always specific groups of women (Read: not of the upper class, ‘proper’ women) that men were entitled to deride and use for sexual pleasure and harassment only. Oh and a book by Men’s Health. @Mikewlf337 – if you mean ‘accusations of rape’, then say so. Saying ‘running her mouth’ can mean a lot, I suppose but none of it good. And it’s not just one comment that I’m basing my perception of you on. But “I think I saw the rare woman with a successful career today.” pretty much puts the nail in your sexist coffin. Finally, do know that many feminists including myself would NOT be okay with a matriarchal society, not one bit.

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