[Discussion] Feminism and social justice, plus FAQ!

This thread is for discussing feminist issues--from the narrow meaning (a movement for social justice in terms of gender equality) to the broader meaning (a movement for social justice, period), and from the scope of issues in gaming and geek culture to kyriarchy in general.

Basic questions are allowed here for now, we will split out a Q&A thread should it become necessary.

Another tweet from Emrazz (seriously, you should all just follow her, she's always on point).

Emrazz wrote:

The term “toxic masculinity” is a litmus test. If it makes you angry, you failed.

I might even take it one step further. Assuming you're somehow unfamiliar, or "untested", if it engenders any emotion other than curiosity, you failed.

Luckily, any man should feel free to take it again. Try harder this time.

Removed - Certis

*mod*

RnRClown wrote:

(This encapsulates feminism. The title of this thread. It also follows the flow of recent comments. Discussion being the scope of this thread. I shouldn't feel the need to get out in front of any potential backlash, but there it is. Hoping for goodwill. Preparing for negativity.)

(Why not the "Men Talking to Men" iteration of the feminism discussion. These articles are authored by women, and may most benefit from any for or against by the women within our community. I'll bow out from further input on this here. I wanted to share and I have. I'll lurk and take in anything for or against with regard to these pieces.)

The defensiveness of this post and the feeling like you need such a disclaimer tells me that sitting back and listening exclusively is for the best. Going forward, please do not participate in feminism-related threads. If you're serious about learning then being quiet, actually listening and not letting your reactivity and defensiveness run the show is a good first step. Any further posts in this or other feminism threads on GWJ will result in stronger action from the mod team. PM me if you have any questions.

Removed replies to that post no longer relevant.

Edit: The post this was responding to has been removed, however I've seen "toxic femininity" raised in online discussions often enough that I feel comfortable leaving it. I'm happy to remove it if anyone finds it objectionable.

There are issues in our culture with how women are raised to behave. Some negative behaviors are adaptive responses to misogyny; passive aggression, for example, is sometimes the only avenue left for anger, frustration, and hurt when displays of overtly negative emotion are denied to you. Some are internalized misogyny. Some are unconscious, unexamined acceptance of social norms. And yes, some women do take advantage of these misogynist social constructs.

But setting up "toxic femininity" as an equal and opposite force to "toxic masculinity" is a false equivalence. It misunderstands the scale of the problem, and it misunderstands who in society has the power and authority to influence who is allowed to do what. Toxic masculinity is a pervasive problem that destroys lives far more than shirking pest control duties or blaming hormones ever will. And while men continue to largely dictate the terms by which society views the roles of men and women, "toxic femininity" is still defined and encouraged by men. It is a male construct of femininity imposed on women.

"Toxic femininity" is the "reverse racism" of gender. It's an identification of a small problem that attempts to equate it with a significantly larger problem while also utterly failing to address the root causes of that problem and the power imbalances behind it.

In my view, "toxic femininity" is when women choose to defend patriarchy and "toxic masculinity". Obviously not the intended definition by those who came up with it.

bekkilyn wrote:

In my view, "toxic femininity" is when women choose to defend patriarchy and "toxic masculinity". Obviously not the intended definition by those who came up with it. :)

I can’t click “Like” enough!

bekkilyn wrote:

In my view, "toxic femininity" is when women choose to defend patriarchy and "toxic masculinity".

I would also include something that you may be including in that, but I see as subtly different; women and girls who participate in toxic masculinity by buying into ideas like "girls aren't good at math" etc. I remember working in a hardware store where a customer who was a young woman probably about 18 +/- asked a female coworker of mine "don't you get confused working around all these tools" as if the mere presence of "man things" might cause her brain to malfunction. I consider that toxic femininity, and more than simply defending patriarchy/toxic masculinity.

bekkilyn wrote:

Obviously not the intended definition by those who came up with it. :)

this still very much applies.

Reaper81 wrote:

I can’t click “Like” enough!

as does this.

ElectricPi wrote:

I remember working in a hardware store where a customer who was a young woman probably about 18 +/- asked a female coworker of mine "don't you get confused working around all these tools" as if the mere presence of "man things" might cause her brain to malfunction. I consider that toxic femininity, and more than simply defending patriarchy/toxic masculinity.

No, that’s internalized misogyny.

Again:

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Edit: The post this was responding to has been removed, however I've seen "toxic femininity" raised in online discussions often enough that I feel comfortable leaving it. I'm happy to remove it if anyone finds it objectionable.

There are issues in our culture with how women are raised to behave. Some negative behaviors are adaptive responses to misogyny; passive aggression, for example, is sometimes the only avenue left for anger, frustration, and hurt when displays of overtly negative emotion are denied to you. Some are internalized misogyny. Some are unconscious, unexamined acceptance of social norms. And yes, some women do take advantage of these misogynist social constructs.

But setting up "toxic femininity" as an equal and opposite force to "toxic masculinity" is a false equivalence. It misunderstands the scale of the problem, and it misunderstands who in society has the power and authority to influence who is allowed to do what. Toxic masculinity is a pervasive problem that destroys lives far more than shirking pest control duties or blaming hormones ever will. And while men continue to largely dictate the terms by which society views the roles of men and women, "toxic femininity" is still defined and encouraged by men. It is a male construct of femininity imposed on women.

"Toxic femininity" is the "reverse racism" of gender. It's an identification of a small problem that attempts to equate it with a significantly larger problem while also utterly failing to address the root causes of that problem and the power imbalances behind it.

Toxic femininity just isn’t a thing.

Here is some extra reading on the matter.

Toxic masculinity is a result of living in a corrupt patriarchy. It is the result of imbalance. Toxic femininity does not exist because we do not live in a corrupt matriarchy and we do not have an imbalance in that direction. You might as well ask why a peach isn’t an orange. Because it’s not. It’s such a foreign concept in fact, I can’t even imagine what attributes might make up “toxic femininity.”

Perhaps there is some hope yet.
Aziz Ansari Finally Addresses Allegations of Sexual Misconduct (The Mary Sue)

Speaking about the last year, Ansari told his audience, “There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way.” Vulture says that at this point, his voice was “wavering.”

“But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person,” he said, going on to describe a conversation he had with a male friend who, in turn, went on to rethink his own dating history and reconsider how the women he’d dated might have felt differently about their shared experiences.

Apparently, they're going to "give Ghostbusters back to the fans"... I'm so pissed, it's not even funny.
Giving Ghostbusters “Back to the Fans” Makes It Seem like Women Can’t Be Ghostbusters Fans (The Mary Sue)

As someone who grew up watching the Ghostbusters movies, I would say very confidently that I am a fan of Egon, Peter, Ray, and Winston. So, to hear that Jason Reitman, who is directing the new film, plans to give it “back to the fans,” I honestly have to laugh. If someone like myself and my older brother (who was the one to show me the original Ghostbusters) can enjoy the Paul Feig version, what right does Jason Reitman have to say that he’s giving the new film back to fans?

I’m sorry, but maybe I’m confused. Does it make me less of a fan that I liked Ghostbusters: Answer the Call? Or am I less of a fan because I’m a woman? Which one is it there, Jason Reitman? As Pajiba reports, Reitman is supposedly letting the “original” fans have their time again, meaning they cried enough on Twitter about the female Ghostbusters that now the crybabies will have their male-centric comedy right back where it started!

Meanwhile, angry cry babies are tanking Captain Marvel reviews before it's even out...
Angry Men Flood Rotten Tomatoes to Bash Captain Marvel Ahead of Release (The Mary Sue)

Men are shouting from basements all across the land about Brie Larson, her feminism and liberal politics, how Captain Marvel is an SJW film, and ARG WOMEN I HATE THEM WHY WON’T THEY LOVE ME!? Sidebar: I still don’t get how “social justice warrior” is an insult? Like, those are all good qualities and it’s basically a superhero name. If anyone needs someone to write a Social Justice Warrior origin story, call me.

The point of this kind of review bombing campaign is to drag down the average audience rating to discourage folks from seeing the film. In some instances it works, like with 2016’s Ghostbusters, which suffered from massive downvoting of the trailer on YouTube, as well as a rush of one star IMDb reviews. The film even added a scene featuring the Ghostbusters reading nasty internet comments about themselves in a moment of meta-awareness.

User reviews of things like movies and games are such pointless garbage, I don't even know why sites have them. Brigading is all they seem to be used for.

Meet the neuroscientist shattering the myth of the gendered brain
Why asking whether your brain is male or female is the wrong question
(Genevieve Fox, The Guardian, 2019-02-24)

Her measured delivery is at odds with the image created by her detractors, who decry her as a “neuronazi” and a “grumpy old harridan” with an “equality fetish”.

Pinheads.

That article is fascinating. Thanks for sharing, Hyp!

ClockworkHouse wrote:

User reviews of things like movies and games are such pointless garbage, I don't even know why sites have them. Brigading is all they seem to be used for.

Especially when they are used to kick off campaigns against high profile people who are trying to use their privilege to boost the visibility of underrepresented people. That whole thing with Brie Larson really blew up. It has gotten so out of hand that the Captain Marvel press tour very nearly degenerated into nothing more than her explaining in words of single syllables so there would be no confusion that she does not hate white men. I don't know if it's still going on, but it wouldn't surprise me if it continues well past the movie's release.

FFS, she used a published study to verify her anecdotal experience before she even started requesting a more diverse press room. She was careful to mention that any time the issue came up. The thing I find galling is how the kind of people who throw around the term "professionally offended" as a weapon against social justice started acting more professionally offended than the targets of their derision supposedly were.

I don't really understand gender at all and still have no clue what makes a person "masculine" or "feminine" so I haven't believed any of that nonsense about male and female brains and can't remember a time when I haven't found the whole "Mars vs. Venus" concept to be ridiculous.

This is going to seem super random, but it'd be nice for fathers to stop saying "helping with the kids." It carries the underlying notion that childrearing is primarily the mother's responsibility, not their own.

Like dads “babysitting” when they have their kids. :eyeroll:

Chumpy_McChump wrote:

Like dads “babysitting” when they have their kids. :eyeroll:

I had to correct my own mother on that a few weeks into my daughter's life last year.

Eleima wrote:

This is going to seem super random, but it'd be nice for fathers to stop saying "helping with the kids." It carries the underlying notion that childrearing is primarily the mother's responsibility, not their own.

I was going to respond with a post agreeing with you about how much I hate this and how little we expect of fathers...but then I realized I still use that phrase a lot. When I work from home or leave work early to watch my daughter when my wife is busy I will definitely phrase it that way. I need to stop doing that.

Eleima wrote:

This is going to seem super random, but it'd be nice for fathers to stop saying "helping with the kids." It carries the underlying notion that childrearing is primarily the mother's responsibility, not their own.

I don't hear it from my peers. I hear it from predominantly from older women. Directed at me. Including from my own bloody mother. As a fricking compliment.

"Oh, isn't it wonderful that you're helping with the kids".

Are you trying to give me eyestrain, lady? Cos these eyes can't stop rollin'

This has been grating on me for a couple or three days now, so I'll post something here as a very solid example of why feminism is very much still necessary.

So over at a Christian forum I frequent, they were having yet another argument over women in ministry and someone posted a quote from some guy who expressed the belief that a woman in ministry leadership was *worse* than a male child molester. And then another person on the forum made a post right below it that he agreed with the statement.

While a number of other people disagreed and some even (rightfully) expressed outrage, it's just yet another reminder of the low opinion many people have of women in general.

And then on the Egalitarian forum section of all places, a GamerGate troll appeared in a discussion on feminism. His posts were removed by the moderators yesterday and another one of his posts had to be removed today. Naturally, he believes that feminists are all of Satan and white male conservative Christians are the oppressed minority group.

Christianity and feminism is a whole kettle of fish...

I grew up in a very conservative Christian denomination, and like a lot of people in that environment, I was really brought to believe that "feminism" was a bad thing. It was all angry women burning bras and saying that all sex was rape.

But my mother was also heavily involved in the children's education classes. She started as a volunteer but was eventually employed full-time by the church to help select and create curriculum for the children's classes, train the teachers, manage the class supplies, and everything like that. Being my mother, she went above and beyond that, as well, attending conferences and seminars about children's Bible education to stay on top of what was out there.

The church named her the director for children's education. Not, significantly, the minister for children's education. Equivalent positions for the same kind of work that were filled by men were ministerial positions, paid a reasonable wage, and the men were included in the church's administrative decisions. My mother was not; as a woman, she would never be allowed into ministry and all that came with it: better pay, more respect, and a voice in decisions that affected her unit.

As a kid, I never would have called this sexism, and I never would have identified it as a feminist issue. But it was so plainly and profoundly unjust to me that it caused friction between me and other members of the congregation and in the church community as a whole. I got into a huge argument with a youth minister at church camp one year over it and other issues surrounding the treatment of women and girls in the church, and it nearly resulted in me getting kicked out of that group and sent home. The issue wasn't only that it was unfair on some intellectual level but that I could see how it affected my mother's finances, her sense of self-worth, and her treatment by others in the community. It had a profound personal impact on her and on our family.

When I got into my late teens and early twenties and discovered feminist scholarship, the issues around pay discrimination, workplace inequality, and lack of upward mobility in workplaces for women resonated so strongly with me because I had seen those issues first-hand. I have no doubt that the church community I grew up in, which I have long since left, continues to struggle with these issues. Feminism is necessary even in places where "feminism" is unwelcome.

The unfairness and blatant discrimination is obvious to anyone with a brain, and is the primary reason why I never went back to the denomination I grew up in. While some local churches of that denomination has ordained women ministers, getting an actual job as a pastor is a whole different matter. This whole using cherry-picked and misused verses from the bible as a weapon against others got worse over there than normal with the whole "women worse than child molesters" thing.

Christianity and feminism can definitely be a kettle of fish. There are a number of Christian feminists out there though, but it can get very frustrating to have to keep repeating the same arguments over and over and over and over. But if we don't, then who will?

SixteenBlue wrote:
Eleima wrote:

This is going to seem super random, but it'd be nice for fathers to stop saying "helping with the kids." It carries the underlying notion that childrearing is primarily the mother's responsibility, not their own.

I was going to respond with a post agreeing with you about how much I hate this and how little we expect of fathers...but then I realized I still use that phrase a lot. When I work from home or leave work early to watch my daughter when my wife is busy I will definitely phrase it that way. I need to stop doing that.

I'm guilty of this as well.. I don't mean to say it but it just comes out. I don't consider it my wife's duty but I phrase it wrong probably 90% of the time.

bekkilyn wrote:

Christianity and feminism can definitely be a kettle of fish. There are a number of Christian feminists out there though, but it can get very frustrating to have to keep repeating the same arguments over and over and over and over. But if we don't, then who will?

I'm no longer a Christian for a lot of reasons, but I have a lot of respect for these people. It's important for people to understand that equitable treatment for people is not incompatible with faith, whatever some might say.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

Christianity and feminism can definitely be a kettle of fish. There are a number of Christian feminists out there though, but it can get very frustrating to have to keep repeating the same arguments over and over and over and over. But if we don't, then who will?

I'm no longer a Christian for a lot of reasons, but I have a lot of respect for these people. It's important for people to understand that equitable treatment for people is not incompatible with faith, whatever some might say.

I'd go so far as to say that an actual follower of Jesus *would* treat people equitably, which is a lot of what I end up arguing over there, but at the same time I can't blame people for turning away from Christianity due to a lot of reasons. If I went though what they did, I'd probably make the same decision. Still, I'd argue that Jesus was very much a feminist...and a liberal too in many ways.

Between the anti-woman Christians (and some other institutionalized religions) and the anti-women hate groups like GamerGate, I don't see how some people can make a claim that there is no need for feminism and that women are already equal.

Apologies, as this is very cis and het centric, but I'm absolutely seething. Today in another episode of old white dudes want to control women's bodies, I give you the following:

Tracking your pregnancy on an app may be more public than you think (Washington Post)

Period- and pregnancy-tracking apps such as Ovia have climbed in popularity as fun, friendly companions for the daunting uncertainties of childbirth, and many expectant women check in daily to see, for instance, how their unborn babies’ size compares to different fruits or Parisian desserts.

But Ovia also has become a powerful monitoring tool for employers and health insurers, which under the banner of corporate wellness have aggressively pushed to gather more data about their workers’ lives than ever before.

An Ovia spokeswoman said the company does not sell aggregate data for advertising purposes. But women who use Ovia must consent to its 6,000-word “terms of use,” which grant the company a “royalty-free, perpetual, and irrevocable license, throughout the universe” to “utilize and exploit” their de-identified personal information for scientific research and “external and internal marketing purposes.” Ovia may also “sell, lease or lend aggregated Personal Information to third parties,” the document adds.

This is so not okay.

Wow, that is some shady sh*t, with a large helping of potentially evil heinousness. I have no idea why employers would want to track that information.