Posts Tagged “feminism”

Line in the sand

A Line in the Sand

Society · · Leave a comment

Every once in a while, a feminist here or there likes to come along and draw a line in the sand, declaring one side as “real feminism” and the other side as fake feminism, or kowtowing to the patriarchy, or…well, fill in the blank with your preferred negative term. Many feminists rightfully get uneasy about these sorts of things, myself included (who am I to say that your feminism is not “real”?). I typically think that labels are nebulous to begin with, and are generally used to describe some rough cluster of beliefs, values, and opinions. But I’d like to go against my uneasiness and perhaps my better judgment and draw a line in the sand for a moment, in the hopes of delineating one critical aspect of feminism. (Don’t worry; I’ll force myself to soften up a little bit at the end.)Continue Reading

Autonomy: Hands with chains releasing a butterfly

Advancing Autonomy

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Sometimes I get asked why I am a feminist. Male feminists can be somewhat of a rare breed, and it can be confusing to some people why I go beyond “gender equality” to argue in favour of feminism. Feminism is largely about gender equality, but it goes beyond it to focus specifically on women’s issues (generally revolving around issues regarding reproduction, but also others like violence against women). So why am I, a man, concerned with women’s issues?

The answer is at once simple and complex: autonomy.Continue Reading

Beware of Dog sign

An Analogy of Assault

Society · · 4 comments

There has been a recent controversy in the atheist movement about some comments made by Rebecca Watson about sexism. I really don’t wish to explain the whole thing and thus bring that argument to my doorstep, so I’ll just refer you to the summaries of the events made by Jen McCreight, PZ Myers, and Phil Plait. But essentially, one issue that has been brought up as a result is the fear of rape that many women have. As a straight white man, it is difficult for me to truly understand this fear, and the precautions that women take as a result. I can’t say that I’ve ever been nervous at the thought that I might be sexually assaulted. (Although I’ve often felt nervous about walking behind a solitary woman on the sidewalk, for fear she might be fearful of me! Nobody likes pepper spray in the eyes.) I try to sympathize with women on this, and I try to be a decent human being about the whole thing, but it is difficult, and I understand why many men don’t get it. But walking home today, I had an experience of my own that I think might be roughly analogous to it. I hope that some women can chime in and let me know if the analogy is actually apt.Continue Reading

Your Body Is a Battleground

Sizing Up Suffering: A New Language of Liberation

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"Untitled", by Barbara Kruger

I’ve written at various times about gender issues. I’ve written about gender roles, about gender-neutral language, and about feminism as a label. I have had notes stored on my computer for months now for a post about feminism, but I never feel qualified enough to provide my insight about such a broad movement. In short, it seems clear to me that thoughts about gender issues have taken up prominent residence in my mind. So I’d like to share a few of those thoughts. I’d also like to hear what others have to say in reply, so please feel free to comment afterwards.Continue Reading

Multi-Gender Bathroom

Gendered Jargon

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Language changes as culture changes. That is supremely evident from any cursory historical analysis. And as feminism rose and made its impact on Western culture, language changed to reflect that influence. One only needs to read books from a hundred years ago to see the change. Where once humanity was referred to as “mankind”, and where it was acceptable to refer to doctors as “he” and secretaries as “she”, now gender-inclusive language is encouraged and used. Now mailmen are postal workers, stewardesses are airline attendants, and policemen are police officers. I view this as a positive change that better reflects the diversity of the culture in which we live.Continue Reading


Avoiding “-isms”

Philosophy, Society · · 8 comments

I recently had a discussion online with someone who identifies himself as a “men’s rights activist (MRA)”. These MRAs are reactionaries to the feminist movement, and often their complaint is that equality has already been achieved (in the Western world) and that women who continue to push for greater rights are just seeking to achieve superiority over men. As the author of this blog points out, often these concerns seem to stem from frustrations regarding their own failure to have satisfying relationships with women. The frustrations begin to manifest in outright misogyny, and they pin the blame on the feminists who gave women power over men. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make their viewpoints wrong, but it does help us potentially understand how someone becomes an MRA.Continue Reading