Margaret (pling) wrote,

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Some of the stuff going on in a couple of people's journals today made me think a bit about feminism. And the thing that actually prompted me to write it down for a change was seeing someone else use the phrase that I often feel it necessary to use when I get involved in a 'discussion' with feminists: "Maybe that makes me a poor feminist but ..."

So seeing it from someone else I stopped and thought "Hang on a minute". Maybe it doesn't make me a poor feminist?

I believe that whether you are male or female you are still a person. And people are complicated. Not a simplistic stereotype, but a complex bundle of often conflicting attitudes, experiences and thoughts. There are generalisations that can be made, of course. But most pertain to biological differences - women in general are capable of bearing children, men in general are not. Many of the differences flow from that simple fact, and from what our evolutionarily stable reproductive strategy is (I can't remember the proper terms, I think we're k strategists ie few offspring with a lot of care devoted to them as opposed to R strategists who have many many offspring and then leave them alone to live or die).

So there are fundamental differences between men and women, but it doesn't make either gender better, or either gender worse. Society has a lot of catching up to do to implement that concept, until recently (historically speaking) it was an accepted 'fact' in Western society that women were less intellectually capable than men for instance. We've come a long way from that, but there's a long way to go before we can really say that everyone is treated on merit rather than stereotyped.

However this change in attitude is hindered not helped by the knee-jerk 'feminist' reaction of victimhood and/or superiority. I mean the sort of reaction that says "All men are potential rapists, no woman is safe with any of them". The sort of reaction that says "If you find this funny then you are a misogynist who has deep seated insecurities to do with women". The sort of reaction that says "All men are messy, and won't clear up after themselves". Yes, I'm generalising myself. But each one is a paraphrase of something I have heard someone say over the last several years.

Feminism to me isn't about how women are better than men, or about how men are worse than women (which is subtly different). It was(is?) about women being able to choose what they do with their lives to the same extent that men do. So you shouldn't be forced out of a job because you want to have a family, whether you are male or female. So you shouldn't be forced to give up work when you marry, whether you are male or female. So you should be allowed to vote once you reach the appropriate age, whether you are male or female. So you shouldn't be forced to shave anything, whether you are male or female. Choice is the important thing. That things aren't closed off to you for an arbitary reason.

So maybe I'm not a poor feminist? Maybe I just don't think anyone is superior just because of a biological accident. It always cuts both ways, whatever your pet prejudice.
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