Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Feminists are Apparently to Blame for the Downfalls of Western Society

Why do anti-feminists always claim that feminism caused women to "wallow in victimhood" ? I hear/read this all the time. (Dr. Helen's commenters can be accused of using this statement to further their own hatred of feminism, as can so many more obvious places)

It's one of the first complaints I hear from anti-feminist and mysoginists. It's typical really. Feminism empowers women to stand up for themselves when they are being victomized and the anti-feminist turn it around, taking that empowerment, that confidence,control and bravery away by stating- "oh your wallowing in victomhood, you weak little woman."

I was reading about author and self-proclaimed feminist Laura Kipnis and her latest book "The Female Thing". I'm always interested in looking into "non-traditional" feminist theory, which I think this can be categorized as. Yet, after reading more about the author, she comes off as less a feminist and more of another "don't blame the boys" which is construed feminism in my book. To imply that men are the cause of female problems is a blame game just as it is to imply that women are to blame for their own problems. Is it not safe to say that anti-feminists and mysoginsts as well as RELIGION be the major guilty parties for the oppression of women over the years? And today's society suffers the media and misconceived notions of what it means to be feminine and a feminist.

Kipnis is interested in the inner woman, what she calls "feminism's unanticipated opponent", who can't seem to decide whether she wants to be dominated or domineering. If there is to be a feminist revival, she argues, we have to somehow reconcile the two.

See this statement is just silly. Frist off, can we please address which women she is refering to? You get this uncomfortable feeling, like with all blanket statements. For me this is so simple. Domineering or dominated!? Another mis-conception about Feminists, that they are domineering.. (hence are out to immaciate all the men!) and then this whole domination?!

One, such as me, could address this need/want to be dominated as a bedroom thing. I'm an assertive gal in most respects and won't let someone dominate over me in conversation. But sexual desire is perhaps another matter. I want to be "dominated" in bed by my very significant other. But this isn't to be confused with wanting to be dominated in my every day life. Shoved in a position of forced motherhood or office-bound secretary. It's instinct, it's the bedroom and it's a preference I share with countless other women.

"At this point in time it is not clear to me what feminism is."

Well clearly. Maybe you could, I dunno, try speaking to some feminists?

Speaking at this year's Edinburgh Book Festival, author Fay Weldon - a prominent second-wave libber - bemoaned the fact that today's young women feel there is no reason or cause for feminism. Kipnis is not surprised. If feminism has stalled, she says, it is because it failed to acknowledge the fact that girls also want to have fun.

Again, another mis-conception, that feminism is not needed, or "girls" aren't interested in feminism. But where does this "they just want to have fun" come in? This sounds like a dangerous statement to me... because it is. What is Kipnis implying here? Let's find out!

"I can see why young people would not want to be associated with a movement that focuses on campaigning against porn, and takes itself so seriously," says Kipnis.

Not porn oh no! we love porn cause gals these days are vapid sluts trying eagerly to please their men! (please insert the sarcasim as neccessary) and seriousness?! why, girls just wanna have fun don't you know? We're irresponsible, fun loving, weekly abortion having sex kittens!

"I understand why women might not want to call themselves feminists - unless it's a turn-on for their man, of course."

OH NO SHE DIDN'T! (talking the teenage speach now! I mean apparently all gals these days can do no more than that)

Kipnis takes an unashamedly lusty approach to sex, and explores its contradictions from her particular female perspective. "Heterosexual women cannot be indifferent to men," she says. "We want them in profound ways, and despite lip-service to independence and autonomy it remains the case that women's desire to attract and keep a man dictates an awful lot of how we relate to ourselves."

Oh dear god, read "the naked ape". 'nough said. It's like she's using sex to state what side of the fence your on. (as is common) She's like so many others are turning sex into a state of being rather than an act.
One's instinct to attract a mate shouldn't be confused with one's place in society.

She describes her book as "a report from someone with a conflicted female psyche", and is unashamed about exploring it. "There is ambivalence, there are splits, it is part of the human condition," she says. "There are splits between the desire for freedom and stability, for instance, and in terms of sexual desire, just scratch the surface and you come up with plenty. Take fantasy: one of the reasons why feminism has been rejected is that women want to be able to fantasise and have fun. They don't want it taken literally. Fantasy is not the same as wanting something to happen."

OKay wait, back-up. Who said feminism doesn't allow women to fantasize? WTF mate!?! It's the same thing with the porn. The major issue surrounding porn with me, isn't that it's desrespectful to women by showing them being plowed, poked and penitrated, it's that there's a shitload of porn that is sexualizing violence (which is a whole other rant soon to come) and exploiting the women involved in the industry, especially with the spike in independant porn in the light of the internet. Under-paid sex workers, violence to workers, an un-monitered and un-regulated sex industry, is a bad industry. That's how people get hurt. That's my biggest beef with strip clubs - by all means keep the strip clubs, but god damn, make sure they're strictly regulated for the safety of those employed there. But let's continue, here we go:

The argument is that we have to accept women have an erotic identification with violation. "The rape fantasy is quite key, quite central, but incredibly controversial," says Kipnis. "It is a sub-textual acknowledgement of women's propensity to masochism."

no... actually your just wrong and stupid... I know this because I have the rape fantasy, I'm gonna come out and say it because I can actually explain it. It is incredibly common to sexualize fears. All kinds of fears. Just because I fantasize this doesn't mean that I actually want it to happen. Think about it physically for a second, fear creates adrennaline, and adrennaline is exciting and that helps get you off pretty damn quick. It's also common for sexually abused children to fantasize about rape as adults, does that mean they want to be raped? NO! I also believe that the media is much to blame for this. Growing up and being subjected to images of dominated women. Women who kinda "fall" into sex rather than actually go for it. Women who are being saved and then the hero wins a kiss?! These are all images of dominated women where things happen to them, they don't actually do anything. One can also blame religion for the rape fantasy. Growing up as a Christian I learned that women aren't sapose to enjoy sex or even want it. It's a neccessary function that happens to a gal when she's married and one should be ashamed of their sexual desires. Therefore, if sex just happens to you, then you didn't really do anything wrong, did you? It's a very twisted thought process but quite true to someone who's been taught to suppress their natural urges. Let's continue:

She blames feminism, for banging on about defensive-sounding "empowerment" and insisting on portraying women as eternally at-risk. And, she says, new forms of sexual vulnerability are emerging, exemplified by the new legal classification of "unwanted sexual advance".

women are eternally at risk from where I sit. I dunno about you. I can't see rape going away any time soon, although in a perfect world it would. (incase you didn't notice sunshine, the world isn't perfect) "unwanted sexual advances" . wow, we're really undermining the reason for restraining orders and sexual harrassment cases aren't we. If being called repeatedly after declining romantic invitations were "unwanted sexual advances" then can one safely devise that a titty grab in a bar is what? I think any gal can safely admit that an ass grab deserves a slap in the face not a lawsuit, but a repeated assgrab by that same face slapped asshole, deserves some legal action, especially in cases of employment.

Blaming everything on the rapaciousness of men, she says, conveniently leaves female desire out of the story: "If anything has made recent feminism irrelevant and ridiculous, it's this reductiveness about desire and the embrace of victimology."

OH DEAR GOD! She's now turned into a poster gal for Dr. Helen. Acknowledging violence towards women does not make one a victim wallower! (is victimology even a word?) And am I crazy of is she implying that the desires of women (what? because some have rape fantasies?) are to blame for rape? Or in some way is she stating that we're trying to diminish the belief in rape fantasy's so that you know, rape still seen for the heinus crime it is? I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense and I'm trying to pull it together because female sexual desires have nothing to do with rape or violence, so why is she trying to marry the two?

"Early on there was a sense that changing the position of women in society would change society as whole, but that has not happened. Individuals may have gained advantages, but social inequality has increased: the rich are richer and the poor are poorer. What kind of achievement is that?"

Okay finally I can agree with her somewhat... but lady, is feminism to blame for not being able to transform all of western society?! That's pretty unfair to feminism and all the good it has done.

From there, she gets to talking about motherhood and equity, I don't disagree much but she also isn't offering any solutions to the problem women face with motherhood. She's just stating the obvious. Obviously we all know that there needs to be more support to make child-rearing possible. Oh but she says it more crasly and says "to make child rearing more rewarding"... god. But wait! Then she get's all weird:

She believes that the overbearing style of today's former careerists turned full-time mothers is breeding selfish narcissists who will surely perpetuate our problems. "You have to wonder what industrial-strength varieties of neurosis will soon be appearing in this generation of over-parented children as they near adulthood," she writes.

So one moment women can't afford enough time for their children and the next they can afford too much. Either way they end up ruining their children acording to Kipnis. It sounds like Kipnis is a very confused 51 year old lady. (and sexually repressed)

"But in the largest sense I am interested in more freedom for all, regardless of gender. I believe there should be much more economic justice, and I would like to see feminism keep that in mind. Now, it's not just about women, but greater equity right across the board."

Obviously feminism is about equality. Kipnis doesn't seem to think that men are treated fairly even tho (at least in this article) she doesn't state how men are treated unfairly, only that feminism places blame on men for their woes (which could be more correctly defined as oppression and inequality but you know it's apparently a gray area...right)

Okay her other book I would probably read :
I her previous book, Against Love, Kipnis examined coupledom and concluded that adultery is nature's way of keeping marriage alive. In this one, she identifies household chores as the sex war's front line, commenting that "men's refusal to really share the housework isn't just the big hurdle for gender equality: the whole future of heterosexual marriage probably hangs in the balance".

But when I find my very significant other lagging in that department I just tell him and he makes the extra effort to clean.

Reflecting that some women say cleaning helps them to deal with their feelings about their bodies, Kipnis says: "Perhaps the shape of the problem begins to come into focus: the household and the body stand in for each other at some sort of not entirely conscious level. But here's the complication: wouldn't scrubbing away at unwelcome feelings also serve the dual purpose of confirming them? Can you scrub away an existential condition?"

No but you can lose some weight while your cleaning and not live in squaller. Man, everyone's gotta clean. Cleaning is neccessary and I suppose that some women could feel better having acomplished something physical that day. I think someone's reaching here...

At the end of this article I really wanted to dismiss Kipnis as an older lady who's *shocker* just not impressed by the younger generation. Oh and she says this:one book she would recommend for a 15-year-old girl is Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. "It is really radical, far more thinking than most," she says. "She tries to be scathingly honest and there's a refreshing lack of sentimentality, which is the great feminine downfall."

oh that last statement makes me wanna slap her. And finally :

And if there was one warning? "Make sure you are secure with your own income source. It is absurd and naive to assume that you are going to be supported by a man for the rest of your life."

I don't know any younger gal who thinks a man is gonna take care of her.. Someone's a little out of touch with the younger generations. YA THINK? Oh and Cindy Lauper is so 1980's even if she did make that little come-back with Cher! Don't recude my generation to a 25 year old Cindy Lauper pop-hit.

If you wanna read the article: it's here!

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