Feminism Feminism: is it a fight for equality o più power for women?

anukriti2409 posted on Jan 05, 2016 at 11:04AM
I want to open a discussion forum where people can contribute their opinions on how feminism helps women and men equally. I want to understand and debate (respectfully, without slandering and spewing hatred for either of the opinions) following points:
1. does feminism only fight for women's rights over men's rights - basically understand does in the light of fighting for woman's right, are they harming men's rights.
2. does feminism has negative effect when followed aggressively - what are these effects?
3. is feminism evolved from woman's liberation movement or a separate movement - what was the need to evolve and how it helps woman at large, globally?
4. Does feminism overshadow traditional values and discredit them - what are its pros and cons
5. How does feminism help men?

I ask fellow fans to contribute to this forum as respectfully as possible. Please provide valid sources when stating facts, and please clarify when interpreting an existing fact as merely your own opinion to handle the discussion better.
last edited on Jan 05, 2016 at 11:05AM

Feminism 5 risposte

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più di un anno fa misanthrope86 said…
In response to your forum title, feminism is about the empowerment of women through equal rights, not for domination over men, but for women's own agency.

1. Nope. Feminism is about women gaining equal rights with men. A really explicit example is the right to vote. Women, globally, were excluded from voting in elections. It was a right only men had. Women fought for the right to vote, which was simply the right that men had too. This was not an infringement on men's rights in any way, shape or form.
A more complex debate is the abortion debate. Abortions are medical services that are denied to many women despite the fact that only women who can maintain a pregnancy can use this medical service. So by denying a woman an abortion, she is being denied the right to control what happens to her body. There is no equivalent medical issue for men. So in this instance, the equality women seek with men is the right to control your own body.
At the intersections of link

Feminism is not about the infringement of men's rights at all. It can be the infringement of men's privilege, such as men's governance of women's bodies, but feminism does not seek to abolish any human rights. It seeks to ensure everyone has access to the same rights.

2. Not sure what you mean by "aggressively" here... For example, even the people some call the "radical" feminists are simply feminists who protest for change and are explicitly active in the community (see link for lots of discussion of what radical feminism is). Seems to me that anti-feminists construct any form of feminism as "aggressive" despite the vast bulk of active feminism being performed as academia, political activism and/or community work. So exactly what do we mean by "aggressive" here? And how is that meaning constructed by discourse that deliberately seeks to close down feminist talk?

3. Feminism is another term for the women's liberation movement. As women gain more social, political and historical space, they gain more ways of articulating their experiences. So if anything, this is the evolution of women's ways of speaking abut their own politics.

4. Feminism does not overshadow or discredit "traditional values", whatever "traditional values" may be (seriously, what are they?). Feminism seeks to ensure women have the social and political freedom to live their lives in the ways that suit them best. I would suspect that feminism questions the hegemony of "traditional values". This means asking questions about what these "traditional values" are and who benefits from them, and at what cost. To me, there is no pro- or con- issue here.

5. Feminism helps men in multiple ways. Feminism has been on the battlefronts of civil rights movements and gay rights movements. Feminists also research masculinity and its effects on men, from family violence, sexual violence (against men, women and children) and other forms of aggression, as well as health behaviours (from drinking to illness), and education.
Searches of prominent feminist psychology journals for a wide selection of research with and for men:
link and link in Feminism & Psychology.
link and link in Feminist Theory
più di un anno fa anukriti2409 said…
So here are my questions further:
1.I agree with your point of right to vote as equal citizens
2. I;m sure woman can't get pregnant by herself, the power to abort the child should be in the hands of both -biological father and mother. Just like the woman can fight for the right of her child in case the father denies his responsibility, men should be able to fight for his his right to own the child and have a say whether it can be aborted or not. Now, it can be debated that since he's not going to keep it in his body for 9 months, it is easy for him to ask for the child. But I'm saying right to abortion shouldn't solely be woman's right and father should get the say in it, before reaching a decision.
3. In seeking the equal access to same rights, does it ensure that rights are being evaluated from social, psychological, physical, mental differences between men and women. One instance: Should woman be given equal opportunity in army (infantary/spies) etc.? - physical difference between men and women?

4. Aggressive advocacy results from approaching an issue from a single point of view and completely negating its side-effects and without balancing the same. I'll give an example of from Indian context: There's a strong need for women's protection during the course of divorce in India. With 1000s of cases of bride-burning, domestic violence and abuse, it is critical. But do you know woman have started taking advantage of this protection given by law by making false claims about being attacked by groom's family and secure more alimony on those grounds. It's a minority case i'm talking about, but has feminist group ensured that this protection given to woman are not exploited by them and leave men at disadvantage?
How did aggressive advocacy created this loophole: they talked about only and only woman's protection and sidelined men's protection. Power in one hand will always be misused.

Traditional Values:
traditional values are usually seen in context to modern values. Whatever values has been educated and advocated in modern times, are called modern values. The opposite is traditional values. Like arrange marriages - it is not a modern concept but a traditional one. I don't discard the pros of this concept entirely as it has its own merit. There's definitely a question of pros and cons here because it is only seen as some outdated ritual meant to harm woman and man, whereas when viewed objectively, it has its merit which are not in love marriage at all. This is important, because eventually higher chaos in marriage disturbs everything in society in return.
Should woman be able to work: yes! It's a modern concept against the traditional concept: " woman should take care of household." Men and woman should equally be responsible for household work. Woman should be able to work but it is not the most important aspect of her life, should she choose family life. Family, marriage, children are equally important aspect. Now it also falls under aggressive advocacy of some points. I have only seen feminist harp on woman's rights to be able to work, as if it is superior to being a wife/mother, other social roles. All roles are as important as is working for her independence.

I shall read up on how it helps men as well, in detail and reply with my opinions and doubts. Thank you for sharing your opinions, especially for providing links as they are greatly valued.
più di un anno fa misanthrope86 said…
2. Absolutely partners should be in discussion about an abortion, but the right to decide has to be the woman's. The woman must carry the child, which is a major investment of time, physical effort, mental effort and money. The woman must also give birth to the child, which also a major physical and mental effort. So yes, partners need to discuss their options, but the right to decide absolutely must stay solely with the woman.

3. Yes. There are women who meet the standard required of men to enter the army, so there is no reason they should be denied the opportunity to choose the army as a career path. Some institutions, like the police (in NZ) have an alternative set of requirements for women that are equivalent to the men's requirements, but the tests are weighted differently.

4. False accusations are a serious issue, and one that feminism is vehemently against (see link for an example through false rape allegations). I personally know feminists who are heavily involved in the family court system here in NZ and they fight for the right outcome for the specific families, not just for women because they are women. So yes, feminists would see women exploiting the legal system as a serious issue (but they would probably also ask why these things might happen. There could be explanations for why women would make such false claims beyond the simple monetary gain).
I do not see how this is "aggressive advocacy". The law here seems to have responded here to protect women, and some women have exploited that law. The issue here is not that the law changed to help women who were in serious danger. The issue is that there is a subset of women who are exploiting the law. Advocacy, "aggressive" or otherwise, did not create a loophole, as this isn't a loophole at all. It the deliberate exploitation of a law.

Traditional values: Feminism advocates women's right to choose how they live their lives, whether that involves work, motherhood, both or neither. Like I said, feminism questions the hegemony of many set of values.

I would suspect that you have seen feminists advocating for the right to work because it is still an area of great gender imbalance, whereas women's roles as mothers and care-givers are nowhere near as contested. When feminists fight for women's right to work (and be paid fairly for that work), they aren't de-valuing any other woman's choice about working: they are fighting for the women who want to work. Feminists are also fighting for women to get more assistance for women who choose motherhood (and not work) by fighting for better prenatel and antenatal care for women and children, paternity leave, more early education hours, better and less expensive schooling and fairer schooling, at least in NZ. So yes, all roles are important, but I would suspect that you hear more about women in work because they are still excluded in ways that they are not excluded from, for example, care-giving roles like motherhood.

"This is important, because eventually higher chaos in marriage disturbs everything in society in return."
- Do you have an academic source for this? I have read a lot of research that contradicts this completely.
più di un anno fa anukriti2409 said…
On what basis do you say that right to decide must be with woman solely? Well, unfortunately men cannot bear childbirth, but it doesn't mean that they should be eliminated from the equation altogether because, without them, the child in question wouldn't be in existence. Giving 100% right to woman to abort the child, directly violates man's right to father the child in question. How will his side be evaluated, if the law will give 100% power to abort the child only to woman? Only in cases where woman were forced to become pregnant, should the rights be solely with women, coz in that case she didn't have the choice in first place to have the child or not.

I'm not sure how alternative tests help women at all when these agencies - army, police etc expect the same deliverance in the end from woman and man? How can they deliver the same thing if they have been evaluated differently? The law obviously cannot function as per the gender of the official serving.
Why do you think that in sports men vs. women matches are not conducted? because their physical strength levels are completely different and is completely unfair to judge their competence when their basic levels do not match in the first place. If they are so equal, why not conduct Olympic race of both together? And because woman cannot deliver on physical strength as same as men, it is unfair to society to be protected by an unbalanced team.

I agree that false accusations should be taken as serious offence in law - for/against men and women both. I'm glad to hear it is being looked into as seriously while advocating the rights for woman. If it wouldn't have been, it would have been a case of "aggressive" advocacy.
However i disagree that it isn't a loophole in the law. First the loophole favored men and now it favors women, the point here is if policy/law is being changed to help woman, it shouldn't just simply reverse the law in question and should look into eliminating these loopholes rather than making excuses that some subset of woman are taking advantage of it. That's where we started the feminism - because earlier men were taking advantage of it. Then how does it help society equally if it doesn't address the issue in balance and with complete check.

I, 100% agree, that I;m hearing and seeing feminists working more towards enabling more opportunities for woman to work. My concern is on same lines. I don't doubt at all that woman face more obstacles when it comes to work, outside of home and therefore feminists focus on these issues. But trying to solely educate on how working empowers them without re-enforcing the benefits of maintaining the household is giving half the education. They say it right, " half knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance." It is seen that only working woman are more respected, have more power, have more rights than say a house-wife. It depreciates the values of being a mother and wife in context to "aggressively" advocating about benefits of working outside of home. While it is extremely critical that woman should become self-reliant but it doesn't equivalently mean that all kinds of dependency on society/men is unhealthy. Marriage is healthy, becoming a mother is healthy - they both need mutually respected and healthy dependency to sustain a working household. While i do see feminists helping woman to understand the need of financial independence, i feel there is a strong need to balance it with education on importance of family and marriage and motherhood, so that it doesn't get neglected.

I would also like to see how chaos in marriage helps the society at large in return - as you said you've read things on this matter?
Here are links as to how chaos in marriage (high divorce rates) affect society's various aspects negatively -

più di un anno fa misanthrope86 said…
I stated the basis:
The woman must carry the child, which is a major investment of time, physical effort, mental effort and money. The woman must also give birth to the child, which also a major physical and mental effort.
A man cannot be allowed to legally force a woman to carry his child to term. Women must be in control of their own bodies. Like I said, where appropriate, partners need to consider their options carefully. But women must have the ultimate say in what happens to their body. Fathers can have their voices heard on the matter, and they absolutely should, were appropriate. But the reality is that the pregnancy, and birth, occurs through the woman's body. This may appear as an imbalance in rights, but as I have stated, there is a large imbalance in investment. No one should have any rights over a woman's decision to carry, or not carry, a pregnancy to term.

As I said, the weightings of the tests are changed so that the tests are equivalent.
As for the American military, women complete the same test as the men, link.

Personally, I have played plenty of mixed sport. There are many mixed sport leagues here in NZ. And there are mixed sports globally. I never said that there were no general differences between genders in terms of size and strength. There certainly are. And these differences are amplified in professional sport where men and women train their bodies at capacity. But these size/strength differences are generalities. I can assure you, it is easier to play sport against a guy than it is to play that same sport against a professional female athlete.
As I said above, there are women who have met the male requirements set out by the American military. Female psychiatric nurses can control large male patients with the correct techniques. There are men who will never meet the requirements of military, and could never control a psych patient. Psych wards are really good examples here. In NZ, the wards used to be divided by gender, including staff on the wards. But over time there where fewer and fewer male staff (as nursing and care-giving is a feminised and undervalued and underpaid profession), so female staff had to work the male wards too. And they highly successful in those male wards, because they offered alternative skill-sets AND could physically control the patients when needed.

I do not agree that it is a loophole. It is an abuse of the legal system. If the law protects many women, while a few misuse it, then that is the abuse of law, not a loophole. I would suspect, much like the false rape allegations, it is the implementation of the law in practice that is the issue, not the law itself. The law seems sound, and necessary, to me. And no one should be abusing it by making false allegations. Unfortunately this appears as a case of the actions of a few women tarnishing a legal necessity for a lot of women. But I see this as the processes around the law, and those who seek its protection, as the issue.

I personally have not heard or seen anyone focusing solely on women's work and not alternative choices. Everything I have ever read and heard and seen is quite the opposite. Feminism has been an absolute champion of motherhood and the intense importance of articulating and supporting the mothering and family experience. Type "motherhood" or "mothering" and "feminist"/"feminism" into Google Scholar and you will see a massive number of articles/books/commentaries on the subject. I really feel like a lot of what you have described here is misinformation. It is not feminist at all to say that marriage or mothering cannot be healthy. Motherhood, marriage and family are significant concerns for feminists, globally. Please try that Google Scholar search because there is just so much out there. I wouldn't be able to narrow anything down for you because there is so much out there. These are major feminist issues, not things that feminists ignore or devalue. In fact, I really think it is the opposite: feminists have been fighting for the acknowledgement of the importance of women's roles as mothers and wives.

Yep, the really, really important part of this research into "traditional" families is what the research is saying about socio-economic status. The rich-poor gap has been widening globally (search some global census stats if you are interested), and with this comes a lack of resources for lower socio-economic groups, and this can cause social unrest (see link, and link for examples).
Personally I do not see divorce rates as a bad thing. I think people opting out of marriages that make them uphappy is a good thing. Unfortunately the links I have for this are from a journal hosted on a site that is currently undergoing maintenance, so I'll try add these later.

There are no sources provided at all for the Alexander House link and it is run by a religious institution from Texas, so I do not consider this a legitimate link.

The LegalZoom link also does not link to its sources and is trying to sell legal products, so...

The Saudi divorce rate link says that there will be terrible social problems because of rising divorce rates, then doesn't list any except a predicted abundance of "spinsters". Not really sure what the point of this link is for your argument...?

The Brookings link again highlights that socio-economic status is pretty much the core issue here, not actually marital status or the actual shape of your family unit.

The World Congress link is another religious organisation, and again, most of the sources that they cite are actually talking about socio-economic status. The article is also quite old and there is quite a lot of research out there now that contradicts what they are saying, or offers solutions to some of these issues that may occur in some families.

Book link did not work for me.