Home Politics & Debate
Ongoing maintenance - the boards are undergoing some ongoing, intermittent maintenance. Pages might load slightly slower than usual and there may be very short periods where the boards are offline.

Patriarchy or feminism to blame for male oppression?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
"Are men the new second sex?" article from the observer

and

"Its not feminism that hurts men" from the F-word

Have a read of both and then state your opinion.

Ok, I will first and formost say I am a Feminist, and thus my default is to defend feminism, but I'm also a human who wants equality for all. I've read both (which are both written by women) and I can't really see the validation behind the first article. Yes I totally agree that there are many vaild points behind the men's rights movement, but I really do agree with the second article in saying they need to take a really good look at where they are placing the blame - is it one political movement (i.e. mainly second wave feminism) or the societal structures i.e. patricarchy thats the bigger issue? I really feel its the latter.
«1

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Can you really separate political movements and societal structures like that? Surely the aim of the political movement is generally to change societal structures.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You have a point, but in this case its not the movement thats issue here. Feminism's purpose has always been about bringing equality to women, it would be called matricarchalism if it wanted dominance. I think that theres here feminism is just being used as a scapegoat, because its easier than calling for a change to the way society works and views men.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ok, I will first and formost say I am a Feminist, and thus my default is to defend feminism, but I'm also a human who wants equality for all.

    I'd like to think there isn't a distinction to be made between Feminism and equality of opportunity. Stating that you're a feminist primarily and then going on to qualify by saying "but I also want equality for all" sounds like you do make a distinction. Is this the case? And where do you draw distinctions?

    I also think framing it separately as men's rights and women's rights is to rather miss the point. We should be striving to raise everyone up to the highest level, regardless of gender.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd like to think there isn't a distinction to be made between Feminism and equality of opportunity. Stating that you're a feminist primarily and then going on to qualify by saying "but I also want equality for all" sounds like you do make a distinction. Is this the case? And where do you draw distinctions?

    I also think framing it separately as men's rights and women's rights is to rather miss the point. We should be striving to raise everyone up to the highest level, regardless of gender.

    Yeah, this.

    I had an argument with someone once who said he wasn't a feminist because he believed in equality for EVERYBODY and was therefore a humanist. I tried to argue that that made him a feminist as that's encompassed in equality-for-everybody, but he was stupid, basically.

    I also think that the MRA's vs. Feminists crap is...er...crap. There's inequality on both sides (and while I'm aware that women historically have had it much worse, I also appreciate that trying to argue inequality as a man must be HARD since the focus these days does seem to be on improving things for women) and that's wrong. Arguing with each other isn't going to make anything better.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't make a distinction, but I know that there are certain issues which I would be drawn to because I can personally relate to them because I'm a woman i.e. FGM over (I can't actually think of a male equivilant thats equally destructive, so rather than arguing over a point i wasn't trying to make, I'm just letting you know).
    I also think framing it separately as men's rights and women's rights is to rather miss the point. We should be striving to raise everyone up to the highest level regardless of gender.
    :yes: I just think that either movement could now be used as an excuse for why the other gender is suffering from oppression.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I don't make a distinction, but I know that there are certain issues which I would be drawn to because I can personally relate to them because I'm a woman i.e. FGM over (I can't actually think of a male equivilant thats equally destructive, so rather than arguing over a point i wasn't trying to make, I'm just letting you know).

    I would probably tweak how you identify your position in that case - being drawn to particular issues in the sphere of equality isn't what you initially stated.

    If FGM is an acronym for Female Genital Mutilation then male circumcision is your male equivalent, a less physically damaging but significantly more widely practised and accepted mutilation.

    Still, as I fear we're all in danger of agreeing and engaging in an all-too-boring round of backslapping, I'll state that I wouldn't identify as a feminist and that the term "male privilege", or more precisely how the term is typically employed, makes me want to choke out the person who uttered it. :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was talking in terms of damage, is there a male equivilant?

    Why is it you wouldn't call yourself a feminist? Just out of curiosity
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    Why is it you wouldn't call yourself a feminist? Just out of curiosity

    Because it focuses attention on one gender and doesn't give the impression that it's about total equality. It gives the impression that it's only about women. Equality is wider than that, isn't just gender specific etc (as you would argue yourself)...

    However, anyone who tries to argue that white males are "down trodden" or "second class" is going to get short shrift from me I'm afraid.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Feminism is a really shitty word to use, because it's more of a whole academic discipline now and is totally open to subjective interpretation of what it actually means when you apply it to yourself. It would be like me describing myself as a 'liberal' because there are a billion ways to interpret that.

    But asides from the language, there are two things really:
    1. Without a doubt the pre-existing social frameworks placed limitations on both women and men, though now the limitations on men is something we are talking more about, and people are researching more into this area. Blame patriarchy if you want though it can be a bit of a loaded term so personally I would try to avoid it - it implies a male agenda which from the get-go will put men on the defensive and make women feel they've had this society 'imposed' on them.
    2. The men's rights movement is quite interesting as a phenomena on its own. On the one hand, there is the just common-sense folk who want the previously mentioned limitations to be explored and where possible resolved. Then there are quite angry reactionaries or polemics who basically want to attack the foundations of feminism, "women have gone too far!" etc. But on the other side, there are people reacting to the reactionaries and it's causing actually quite a large volume of very negative stereotypes about men's rights activists. There is so much raw emotion around these topics that it's really hard to progress our understanding of them, and moreso to develop agreeable points of action everyone can sign up to.

    The problem is in this noise the people who are able to sit down and think aren't loud enough and don't get heard. Even then, you still have the problem that nobody can take the neutral ground. Everyone is a man, or a woman (well, nearly everyone ;)). As such whether you want to or not you are implicitly assigned a 'side' of the argument. I mean, it's not hard to find apologists of either gender, there was even a gentleman recently on a blog asserting that 'men are fundamentally the worse sex', but you are still assigned a gender and people will prejudge you and what you have to say.

    Personally I just enjoy trying to find out more, and in all honesty the more I've learnt the more I've realised how huge a gap of knowledge there is and I really can't take anyone seriously who believes with 100% faith they have the answers. 99% is parroted rhetoric these days and unless you have the spare time to be getting mad (because you will, either way) its best to leave the parrots to squawk amongst themselves and go on a journey of self discovery.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I was talking in terms of damage, is there a male equivilant?

    If you're talking about the physical damage to an individual woman's genitals and the subsequent long-term effects then there isn't a male equivalent, certainly not in terms of circumcision.
    Why is it you wouldn't call yourself a feminist? Just out of curiosity

    The term feminist is both loaded and restrictive. I believe in equality of opportunity and I don't think that contradicts Feminism, in fact, I'd argue that is Feminism in its purest sense, but I don't find the label 'feminist' particularly useful; gender inequality needs to be addressed along with all inequality in opportunity.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Like others said, I technically am a feminist but I disagree with the word. I understand why the "want for equality" is named like this and perhaps it even makes sense to name it so in a certain way, but it confuses a lot of people and I think it should be renamed.

    I'll also agree with this:
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    The problem is in this noise the people who are able to sit down and think aren't loud enough and don't get heard. Even then, you still have the problem that nobody can take the neutral ground. Everyone is a man, or a woman (well, nearly everyone ;)). As such whether you want to or not you are implicitly assigned a 'side' of the argument. I mean, it's not hard to find apologists of either gender, there was even a gentleman recently on a blog asserting that 'men are fundamentally the worse sex', but you are still assigned a gender and people will prejudge you and what you have to say.
    It's definitely true that if you're a man speaking about how men are mistreated or a woman speaking about how women are mistreated you'll be paid far less attention than if it was the other way around, which is unfair.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The problem that arises too often in debates like this is that some feminists seems to dismiss arguments posted by "masculinists" without really trying to hear them out. The article from F-word claims that "There's no denying that men are oppressed by certain cultural norms" after which the writer simply blames "patriarchy" for most things without further explanation or discussion. I really fail to see how this is constructive and what really comes out of it, but it surely proves why men's rights movements should and do exists.

    Generally, constructing a social idea about an adversary to blame for the aspects one is unable to argue well for is a widely known type of rhetoric, but it is not very reasonable nor very hard to penetrate. For some feminisms this idea of adversary always comes down to the good old "patriarchy" without a very good definition of it or an explanation how it applies to people in terms of living in a modern society. It's just not good enough to apply old social models to the term "patriarchy", i.e. by making comparisons to the way men treated women hundred years ago and applying the very same social model to modern standards.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    is it one political movement (i.e. mainly second wave feminism) or the societal structures i.e. patricarchy thats the bigger issue? I really feel its the latter.

    there's two reasons...

    one is the narrative promoted by "second wave" feminists according to which men are oppressors as a group and women are victims as a group, an idea that has permeated society on all levels and can be traced back to the Frankfurt School, where in the light of the proletariat's failure to revolt as Marx had predicted the decision was made to redraw the lines of conflict - the proleteriat against the bourgoise was dropped with women against men one of several replacements.

    the other reason is the self-serving failure of feminists and so-called progressives to abandon the aspects of the "patriarchy" women like to fall back on...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Such as?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I read that, I thought a lot of it makes sense. At least it did to me. I constantly question my ability to do a good job, I haven't been shy about asking for more money so far, but I'm not pushing it too much either. The only reason I do ask for more is because when I was in my early 20s I found out that while I'd start on the same as my male co-workers, if I didn't get pushy I wouldn't stay on the same.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Im glad you mentioned some of the things you did in your last post, I was scared that I was going to get shouted at for some reason or other (by anyone). I think I still have some issues with the article, but I can certain see where the author is coming from.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think part of it is that for women how much you earn isn't a status symbol. Much like being able to put notches on your bedpost is awesomesauce for guys, but slutty as hell for girls. Unless you're a lesbian... but even then ideally you need to be a bit butch
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is quite long, but I'd really recommend watching it. She's a great speaker on these issues, and this video directly talks about the issues mentioned in this thread. Let me know what you think.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is Benetar's book based upon South African statistics? Because according to statistics, a woman is more likely to be raped, than get educated. That said, there's huge inequality in that country and experiences of an Affrikaner (white) South Africa may be different to experiences of a black or Asian South African.

    Granted, I haven't read his book... Just what I've read and heard from the experiences of South African people I've known, that there's a huge divide between different ethnic groups and a lot of racism which makes social mobility very difficult. Could this factor in to his research?

    I think that a lot of the low paid jobs mentioned, are more male orientated because of the hours, or the physical labour involved, which may put women off. Also, would a woman feel secure working in such a masculine environment? According to stats, the [URL="http://tutor2u.net/blog/index.php/economics/comments/unit-1-micro-highest-and-lowest-paid-jobs-in-the-uk[/URL] in the UK, tend to be jobs which younger people (bar staff, retail) because they may be more flexible around studies. School mid-day assistants, florists, jobs in childcare, hairdressers and so on, tends to be a more female dominated job market.

    Can't really say a lot about health statistics, but a lot of women I know who work part time (which may affect statistics on working hours) do so because they are considered the primary carers.

    And about jokes... Whilst I don't make sexist jokes myself, I do know a lot of people who make jokes about women being raped. The "so easy, even a man can do it" is a parody of old sexist advertisements about women. Kinda like the ones Harry Enfield parodised.

    I wouldn't say that gender dynamics don't disadvantage men in some areas, but in that when we talk about education, or work, I think that the problem is more down to economics, poverty and masculinity, especially in working class kids. I can't remember exactly who wrote the research, but there was one about a kind of anti-academic machismo which a lot of working class people have, which could affect school performance. There could be several reasons. Statistics also state differences in achievement of different socioeconomic and ethnic groups.

    I have seen men however, fight for their children and I do feel that sexism has a role to play. I think it's a double edged sword. On one hand, a woman is socially expected to be a primary care giver and this can affect her employability, income and social mobility compared to men. This disadvantages men in the terms of sometimes a child is used as a weapon against them.

    I didn't read the whole of the F-Word essay though (I do read the site sometimes). I don't think feminism disadvantages other men. 'Feminism' is just a word used to cover a range of movements about female empowerment and/or equality. I don't have an issue with considering myself a feminist, though in feminist circles tend to avoid certain grouping of 'feminists' for some of their perspectives... But that's another story. :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    IWS- I just wanted to say I watched that this morning at like half 8 :) I see where she is coming from but I would say she is going to the other extreme. She seems to be suggesting that women have throughout history been working in an underhand way to influence poor 'disposable' men. I have more to say but will probably come back to this debate later to state my opinion in a less brain dead way. maybe
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fiend_85 wrote: »
    Much like being able to put notches on your bedpost is awesomesauce for guys, but slutty as hell for girls.

    Nothing like a sweeping (and untrue) generalisation to emphasise a point :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is quite long, but I'd really recommend watching it. She's a great speaker on these issues, and this video directly talks about the issues mentioned in this thread. Let me know what you think.

    I'm about 10 mins in and the content is interesting but it's driving me potty having her read out an essay.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Isn't that what a lecture essentially is?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Isn't that what a lecture essentially is?

    Delivering a lecture and reading an essay aloud are two distinct things: one, if done well, is engaging and feels natural; the other is always shit, particularly if it's of length - it sounds so stilted and contrived.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Delivering a lecture and reading an essay aloud are two distinct things: one, if done well, is engaging and feels natural; the other is always shit, particularly if it's of length - it sounds so stilted and contrived.
    I would agree on that. If you're just going to stand around and read text, it would be better to just give somebody the text to read. I never watch videos that could have been a text file without losing any meaning.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think the root of the patriarchal system, without which there would be no need for feminism, is religion. Our society is still trying to throw off the yokes of religion, which ensconced men in power and is a perfect tool to subjugate women. Women just want to claim back their equality with men. If it hurts male pride along the way, so be it. Women have had a tough time for thousands of years.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think the root of the patriarchal system, without which there would be no need for feminism, is religion. Our society is still trying to throw off the yokes of religion, which ensconced men in power and is a perfect tool to subjugate women. Women just want to claim back their equality with men. If it hurts male pride along the way, so be it. Women have had a tough time for thousands of years.

    Religion is just a codification of a phenomena. I think the salient point in the video IWS linked to is that the relationship between men and women has always been lopsided. And while women certainly haven't had equality of opportunity they've also not had equality of responsibility, either.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Have any of you read any of Warren Farrel's work? He has a good book for an entry level perspective in gender studies called 'Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men?'. There are several key topics which are discussed both from Farrell's point of view / paradigm that Feminism is intrinsically and irrevocably linked to the belief that patriarchy is the root of all woes, and a more traditional Feminist point of view that basically says that both genders suffer because of imposed gender roles.

    Totally worth reading if you haven't already, the explicit inclusion of a feminist writer in putting it together should hopefully dispel any concerns about 'woman hating'. I think it is unfortunate that it's really difficult to engage critically with feminism without being associated with misogyny, or from a man's point of view, being told how I enjoy men's privilege.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Religion is just a codification of a phenomena. I think the salient point in the video IWS linked to is that the relationship between men and women has always been lopsided. And while women certainly haven't had equality of opportunity they've also not had equality of responsibility, either.

    If you want to take it deeper, it could be about who holds the power; who holds the ability to get what they want. Without a doubt, men had the authority insofar as legal and social structures, but I think it's an interesting thing to think about how much men were expected to do for 'society', with what 'society' is being defined as much as by women as it was by men.
Sign In or Register to comment.