Archives for posts with tag: Feminism

Movies shape our view of the world. We are socialized not just by our parents and peers, but by the stories we consume, and movies are one of the most predominant storytellers of our current era. This makes the content of films of paramount importance. We can learn courage and determination from John McClane. We can learn responsibility from Spider-Man. We can learn about changing the world from Neo. Our virtues are shaped by the heroes we learn to emulate, since the very practice of storytelling puts the protagonist on a pedestal. A generation growing up on anti-heroes is likely to be as cynical and morose as their paragons, learning that these are admiral qualities to embody.

Rick

Rick is genuinely a bad and miserable person. The show is quite clear on that. Fans struggle to emulate against him rather than from him because of the nature of the protagonist pedestal. Similar things can be said of Bojack Horseman. I know these are TV shows. Shut up.

SJWs seem to be aware of this, and so a new spat of movie trends throw women and ethnic minorities into the protagonist role, allowing these demographics to see a hero that they can relate to. This then allows black youths to learn responsibility from Miles Morales rather than Peter Parker. We now have Katniss Everdeen to teach us how to be fearless, and Melissa McCarthy to teach us how to bust ghosts.

This seems to anger some people. Those who think that women can’t bust ghosts or that black youths can’t be responsible decry this new trend as ruining film. There are those who, regardless of quality, think that these kinds of movies just shouldn’t even be made. Soon, films won’t have white men at all, and it’ll be the great replacement all over again! It’s that cancer Feminism running amok once more!

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What’s next? A remake of Leprechaun with a female leprechaun!? UNACCEPTABLE! Leprechauns can’t be female!

Let’s take a deeper look at our lessons from these common tropes. We might learn to be responsible, but it’s a responsibility to our tribe at the exclusion of the Other. We might learn courage, but it’s a courage to defend the normal rather than a courage of standing up as someone different. We might learn to change the world, but if we’re changing it into an exact copy of what has come before, this type of change is more an enforcement of the status quo rather than its repudiation.

Is this trend truly feminist? Carol Gilligan, a notable feminist, would likely disagree. All of our ethical systems since the ancient Greeks have been philosophized by men. And not just any kind of men, but men who grew up in societies that did not care about women at all. This means that these ethical systems that they devised were not informed by the situations of women whatsoever. Gilligan decided to ask the question, what if we considered women when thinking of ethical systems? Thus arose the ethics of care.

The ethics of care is born in contrast to what is typically called the ethics of justice. The ethics of justice represent systems of ethics that see moral situations in objective terms. There is a right answer, whether that rightness is determined deontologically or consequentially, and that right answer is determined in the abstract. The ethics of care seeks to find rightness is the salvaging of relationships, of meeting needs, and existing in concrete situations that are determined by the individuals and the relationships they share. While Gilligan does not dismiss the intentions of justice, she does seek to imbue care into that system in order to incorporate women’s perspectives into the ethical discourse.

in a different voice

This is coming from a book, one of the least predominant storytellers of our current era.

If this is a feminist ethic, then very few of these movies are actually feminist at all. The latest Terminator movie (Dark Fate) perfectly encapsulates this distinction. The villain is literally an unfeeling machine that will not stop. Regardless of how many Hispanic women you throw into this movie, it is a film defined by a relationship that cannot be repaired. Patriarchal ethics exist in a Manichean dichotomy that pits absolute, rigid and uncompromising evil against absolute (though occasionally nuanced) good. Feminist ethics cannot exist in this universe because the way the villain is written. If these kinds of stories are what shape our virtues, when we look at our universe, it is much easier to see our own antagonists as dogmatically inflexible monsters who cannot be bargained with. What this means is that Doctor Strange is actually more feminist than the 2016 Ghostbusters film because it conceives of a solution wherein the villain (after some degree of coercion, sure) settles their score through a dialogue. The villainy of the ghosts allows no such relationship.

The socialization that these kinds of films are expanding is actually patriarchal in nature. They indoctrinate their viewers into an ethic of domination, of a good guy with a gun ultimately crushing a bad guy with a gun, but now the good guy can be a good black woman with a gun. Those angry with these films correctly assert that they are propaganda, as all stories are propaganda for the ideology that underlie them, Die Hard as much as Into The Spider-Verse, it’s just that the propaganda isn’t feminist.

Post-Script: For those who read the title and expected a listicle, and still made it this far, congratulations on your attention span!

There’s a lot of accusations flying around about certain groups, individuals, and local white male terrorists saying that they are misogynist. It’s a fair claim. A lot of their actions possess underlying, or even blatantly overt, violence directed towards female humans. Misogyny is the hatred of women, but do these men actually hate women? From the common progressive standpoint, obviously, and to question that canon is essentially to turn in your progressive credentials. However, claiming the alt-right, the incels, the white supremacists, and the Jordan Petersons hate women is kinda like saying terrorists hate our freedom. It’s painting the antagonist with purposefully broad strokes to make the Manichean dichotomy easier to propagandize.

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All this could be solved if our glorious leader and their wicked despot had a cage match on Pay Per View.

Simone de Beauvoir wrote that women struggle to rebel against men because they are dispersed throughout every category; blacks, whites, rich, poor, and so on; all of them have women. Women cannot simply cleave themselves from their biological counterpart, and even though whites and blacks could eliminate one another, Jews could eliminate every last gentile and vice versa (as has been attempted), women cannot get rid of men. This makes rebellion against male dominance much more complicated. While de Beauvoir was writing about the predicament of being woman, the same holds true for men. Man cannot wholly rebel against women. Hatred that longs for catastrophic destruction of the thing hated is a non-starter. Misogyny in its purest sense is just implausible.

Elliot Rodger, the champion of misogyny, killed a whole mess of people because women collectively decided not to have sex with him. Is it fair to say he hated women when Rodger clearly desired them? A love/hate relationship could be argued, but I think that is far too simplistic. Rodger believed that women should have sex with him. They did not, which means that women were not fulfilling their role as sex-havers. It was this dereliction of duty that drove him towards violence.

Let’s look at another example. The Jordan Peterson clip I hyperlinked earlier shows Peterson describing why women cannot participate in rational discourse: men can’t be physically abusive toward women because of social norms, and violence is the only thing that keeps discourse rational between men, therefore women can say the craziest shit in the world, and men can’t rough them up for being so dumb. This creates feminism, I guess. This is stupid for many reasons, the most glaring being that it ignores the fact that men commit violence against women all the God damn time, but what makes it allegedly misogynistic is that it conceives of “woman” in a specific way. “Woman” is not rational, “woman” relies on notions of chivalry for her own benefit, chivalry is a thing, etc. Now I doubt that Jordan Peterson hates women, he makes sure to mention that he married one after all, but it’s clear that his beliefs about women have something wrong with them.

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Women! Amirite?? If men could just somehow commit violence against them, then none of this would ever have happened!

What’s the link between Elliot Rodger and Jordan Peterson? They both define “woman” as something that women as people cannot be. Women are autonomous, freely-choosing human beings. “Woman” is not irrational, nor is she a sex-haver, in the way an inkwell is an inkwell. Peterson and Rodger categorize women in such a way that eliminates her humanity. Certainly women can be irrational; they can also have sex. The problem is that defining women in such a way limits their freedom, and when you demand they act in a certain way that they naturally cannot adhere to 100% of the time, you’re bound to be disappointed (especially during an age when a lot of women have been empowered enough to not give a shit about what you think).

What we’re calling the hatred of women is the enforcement, through words or deeds, of an anachronistic (if not outright fictional) idea of “woman.” If some woman decided to have sex with Elliot Rodger, he likely would have been fine with her (up until she stopped). If a woman agreed with Jordan Peterson, he’d think she was a-okay. Conform to these ideas, and the hatred disappears. It’s not hateful attitudes that is driving these men, but the idea of what a woman should and should not be. Were Elliot Rodger to say, “I want to have sex with a woman,” what he means when he says “woman” and what someone else might hear are two totally separate notions.The problem isn’t hatred; the problem is that these ideas of what is “woman” are wrong.

THE STEPFORD WIVES, Toni Reid, Carole Mallory, Tina Louise, Katherine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Barbara

Women are biologically determined to conform to their social role

If you believe that women should be or perform Y, and you don’t have any problems with women who are and do Y, you will never self identify as someone who hates women. You’ll just be wrong, and if you act on your wrong beliefs to shame, abuse, or kill women who do not fit into this fantastical mould that you’ve created in your mind, then you are raging against human beings for being human.

And you need to stop.

Even if everyone doesn’t love feminism, everyone loves talking about feminism. It’s so in right now, and everyone has an opinion. Hell, I have an entire section of my blog archives dedicated to it. However, as with many things that pervade cultural dialogue, nobody knows what the fuck they’re talking about. I am guilty of writing under the assumption that people actually know what feminism means when I write about political implications of feminism beyond gender and sex, when in reality, making those arguments is pointless if nobody has a clue about my basic premise. There are those who proclaim “feminism is cancer” because some overweight woman with blue hair wants Lorena Bobbitt’s face sculpted into Mount Rushmore or whatever, because carving dicks into jack-o’-lanterns is the bedrock of feminist ideology. These people then go on to use that same “sharp wit” to condone pedophilia, because it’s better to pork little boys than it is to demand better treatment for women. I’m not saying everyone who criticizes feminism is a pedophile apologist, but when your argument relies on trolling, then you’re not making an argument, and I have no qualms dismissing all of what you say outright.

Picking out the most insane diatribe from agitated people making unprepared statements in order to condemn an entire ideology, and then not really attacking anything outside of their appearance (granted, petty insults about appearance aren’t exclusive to the alt-right, and it’s dumb as hell wherever it happens. “Your face is stupid” is not the complex rebuttal you think it is), is like looking at Stalin and saying that Communism is a failed and terrifying social experiment.

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“Communism is a failed and terrifying social experiment.” …oh wait, I fucked that up. At least no one will ever target people as “communists” for their appearance

…I realize now that those who worry about feminism as a pestilent epidemic are probably equally worried about “cultural Marxism” as a similar contagion, and my example might not have been the most appropriate. How about this: you know how gun owners are always saying that mass shooters are the exception, and how most are decent and responsible people? It’s like that. Next time you watch those “Rekt Feminist” videos, defend with the same vehemence her blue-haired right to commit murder with unregulated semi-automatic weapons, figuratively-speaking.

We’ve established that people who say that feminism is a cancer are malevolently disingenuous or malignantly idiotic, but what is it? What is feminism?

I feel it’s a safe assumption to say that people have at least heard about the waves of feminism, so that’s a good place to start. The feminist waves are a very broad and murky way of understanding the history of feminism. I mean, there were feminist anti-suffragettes at the turn of the 20th century who were employing what we might call today a postmodern critique of democratic structures, and 2500 years ago Plato was saying that women ought to have the same rights as men, because regardless of ability, we’re all angling toward the same common good, and we need all the help we can get. Which waves would those fall under? None, really, but don’t worry about it. The first wave, as it’s described, was the quest to achieve basic legal rights, such as the right to vote or the right to own property. The second wave focused more on interpersonal imbalances, like sexual violence, discrimination and inequality, marriage laws and divorce, etc. Third wave feminism is about broadening the conversation to include the disparate predicament of women of colour compared to white women, as well as gender and sexual minorities compared to cis-gendered and heterosexual women. Those who typically complain about third wave feminism are in fact complaining about second wave feminism, since usually their complaints aren’t directed toward the woes of queer women of colour, but toward women complaining about the wage gap even though there are already laws against workplace discrimination, so it must be reverse sexism! What they mean to say is that their views of women have been shaped by the progressive discourse of the early 1900s, and are just as relevant to feminist conversations today.

Unfortunately, “feminism is cancer” has got that catchy vibe to it that makes it super endearing. It’s short, to the point, and tells you everything you need to know about that person’s deeply researched and well-thought out position. Luckily, real feminism has an equivalent maxim that is equally candid and memorable: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” This is from Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal work, The Second Sex, and conveys everything you need to know about feminism. What she means is that what determines ‘womanhood’ is defined by the world around her, rather than anything she was born with. Consider the gender reveal parties that parents celebrate when babies are imminent:

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I’ll give a more serious critique in a minute here, but first things first: that stud muffin looks like bran. Who would wish that upon their child?

Girls are sinfully sweet, like a cupcake, and boys are macho sex machines, like a… bran muffin with raisins. Ambiguous cake decorations aside, it’s easier just to delineate between pink and blue. Pink is the colour we ascribe to girls; what feminism is talking about is what it means to be pink.

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Note how all the Barbie ads are super white and super blond, for all you wannabe third wave feminists out there.

This shit matters. Epigentics shows that environmental and lifestyle factors impact people on a genetic level. Even addressing children as their gender (eg. “Settle down, boys!) rather than as individuals will imbue them with the social stereotypes. Bombarding kids with propaganda at a young age is going to impact them biologically, which explains, at least in part, the widening divergence of male and female brains as they age.

If feminism is addressing pink, what is pink? It’s basically what you’ll probably think about if you hear the word “feminine.” You know, dainty, submissive, meek, emotional. What it means to be pink is obviously much different today than what it was when the paragon of womanly virtue was an unironic Stepford Wife, but despite all the progress in pink that feminism has made, there are still dingleberries of stereotypes hanging on that continue to tinge our perception of women.

Pink is to be pretty. We start telling girls that they’re pretty, a measure of physical attractiveness, at an age when it is actually very illegal to consider them this way. To be pretty is so paramount to femininity that progressives would rather tell ugly people they are beautiful than admit that being pretty isn’t an absolute necessity for a well-balanced life. There’s a reason they do this, and it’s because a woman’s worth is almost entirely in her looks: from as far back as early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft saying that, “Tears are only eloquent when they flow down fair cheeks” to contemporary Youtuber ContraPoints showing that trans-women are only acceptable when they look like what pretty cis-women are *supposed* to look like. If you’re a woman and you’re not pretty, nobody gives a shit. This intense pressure, exacerbated by impossible beauty standards, leads to eating disorders being the mental illness with the highest mortality rate, leads to the commercialization of unneeded beauty products and anti-aging gimmicks, leads to a deluge of beauty-related effusion each time a girl smizes for her Facebook profile picture, reinforcing the cycle all over again. Consider my earlier point about how people frequently criticize feminists almost exclusively on their looks, their point being that these women aren’t real women because they don’t conform to pink standards, and if they did, they’d be happy with the way life had already set their path for them along the road to being beautiful at any costs. Life must have been fantastic for women back in those days, that’s why no one ever complained about it!

Featured: no one complaining.

Continuing the theme of pink being pretty is that pink is property. Women are still “given away” by their fathers at their wedding, since she has now transferred ownership from one man to another. Women are prizes to be won via sexual conquest, exemplified by a certain man who says that once you have a certain amount of power, “they let you do it” and “you can do anything.” Think of all those movies where after all the dust has settled, the male protagonist is rewarded with a beautiful woman. It’s most glaring in the movie Pixels where a female character, who does not have any spoken lines, is given as an actual prize for a male protagonist completing what amounts to a video game. He wins a beautiful, silent woman that he can have sex with. Sure it’s an Adam Sandler movie, but it was out in 2015, and it’s definitely not alone. “Getting the girl” makes a hero successful. This is because pink women do not possess autonomy, and therefore exist only at the whims of their blue counterparts. It’s what those feminazis means when they talk about male entitlement.

Wollstonecraft’s thesis of her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, is that society has determined what it is to be virtuous, and then denied that virtue to women. If you’re going to say it’s super virtuous to be educated, for example, then refuse to even try to educate women, and then say things like, “Man, women are sooooo dumb! What hambeasts!” then Mary Wollstonecraft thinks you’re a moron. I do too, just to jump on the ol’ Wollstonecraft bandwagon. Consider the “myth” of the gender pay gap that refutes the wage disparity between men and women by saying that the average female wage is less because women choose more feminine careers like teachers and nurses instead of high paying jobs like engineers and lawyers. Women also put in fewer working hours, which reduces their average wage even further. Why are feminine jobs paid less than masculine jobs? It’s certainly not because engineers face greater personal risk than social workers who must deal with removing children from dangerous homes, because that’s a God damn lie. And why isn’t domestic labour, an area where women put in far more hours than men, considered when measuring the output of a human being? Could it be because society considers things that are pink to be inherently worth less than things that are blue? Economic value is determined by social value, that’s the entire premise of supply and demand, and pink jobs are worth less because society values them less. The wage gap, even with all its “debunking”, proves that society literally values women less than men. We actually tend to deny women social virtue by telling them that they shouldn’t even bother trying to bridge that gap to get into the successful fields today. Consider that women essentially began the computer programming industry, and then were slowly wedged out of it until Silicon Valley inevitably became a septic cesspool hostile to women. Women are forbidden, based on bad science, from the blue tech jobs because women are supposed to be pink, just as Wollstonecraft describes blue education being denied for the same reason in the 18th century. The same applies in the much vaunted society of economics. We’re stuck in a loop where we say that we respect women, but then we deny them the most respectable positions in society, and then berate them when they try to address that imbalance, again reinforcing that cycle of conformity to what it means to be pink. Are current blue virtues truly the most virtuous? Weeelllllllll, probably not, but my point is that whatever society seems to decide is most virtuous ends up being something that society decides women can’t be a part of.

There are some anti-feminists that say that since men receive harsher prison sentences for the same crime as a woman, and that men are discriminated against in child custody cases, that feminism is bunk because women are clearly privileged in these scenarios, and advocating for men would mean abandoning the sliced-dick imperative of the feminist agenda. Except, women receive less of a sentence because they are considered meek and inoffensive. They win a greater share of custody cases because women are seen to be more nurturing and caring than men. These imbalances are due to the perception of women as being pink, which means that criticizing these cases is… feminist? I guess we’re all a little SJW after all!

Is there something to being a woman beyond the pink that society dumps on her? Oh, who knows. Women have different hormones than men, and there are definitely biological differences in the brain that can be interpreted in many different ways. The thing is, society preventing women from possessing autonomy and prescribing behaviours and appearances is a bad thing. Yes, it happens to men too. There are problems with blue, but that’s the point. Defining human beings based on an impossible and demeaning dichotomy is a bad thing! Fuckin’ stop it! Tell girls they are other positive attributes besides pretty. Don’t assume you have access to a woman’s body just because Adam Sandler says it’s okay. Assume for the sake of decency that women are capable of succeeding in fields that are hostile to them, and that it’s the hostility that is holding them back rather than their capabilities. Women have historically always succeeded in areas that nobody thought they could succeed in before because they were not “feminine pursuits,” and I don’t see why that would end today just because the 1960s happened and women can get abortions now.

Even if you still can’t grasp that women just might be something more than the pink that society demands of them, you should at least admit that allowing greater freedom to women is a good thing. Do you hate freedom? It kinda seems like you do. Since I’m an MRA at heart, I’ll leave you with a quotation from an early male feminist, John Stuart Mill, who said that, “It is a benefit to human beings to take off their fetters, even if they do not desire to walk.” So stop with your dumb bullshit, and let the women dye their God damned hair.