Mar 30, 2011


Yesterday I read a rather disturbing blog entry that slandered feminism, depicting it as a type of sexism or female chauvinism. As I slid down the lines, my eyes grew wider until they were about to pop out. The comment I left lead only to quoting of the text itself, as if an undeliable truth were being revealed in them that my feminist eyes couldn't grasp. I felt the impulse to reply "Honey, I can read". The writer called to turn to "humanism" and leave "machism" and "feminism" aside for "as things are going, in 100 years maybe a group of machists would raise and fight for their rights".

Ever since women started to break from their imposed "inferior condition" they were satanized, their claims and goals diverted and turned into a threat to men, if not to the whole of society. It is known that those women charged with witchcraft in the medieval ages were often free thinking women who didn't abide to the roles society wanted them to assume. Feminists have often been accused of being manhating lesbians, family haters, children haters, bitter, incompetent, unable to find a man, or "women in need of someone to fuck them". It's not a new phenomenon, as we can read it from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, from where I transcribe:

 In the 3rd century bce, Roman women filled the Capitoline Hill and blocked every entrance to the Forum when consul Marcus Porcius Cato resisted attempts to repeal laws limiting women’s use of expensive goods. “If they are victorious now, what will they not attempt?” Cato cried. “As soon as they begin to be your equals, they will have become your superiors.” (Taken from Encyclopaedia Britannica, History of Feminism)
As a fear projected by those who really consider themselves better or superior to women simply for being men, the threat of "women paying back", "women seizing power and condemning men to stay at home, take care of the children and be obedient" has been voiced as if these were the true goals behind fighting for our right to formal education, our right to work, our right to equal labor conditions, our rights to vote and be elected. Have black people pushed after they were recognized by the white as equals, for superiority? Catching white people and sellign them as slaves, taking their property, changing laws and making them pick cotton? Black people are people just like anyone of any other color. Well, women are peopel too, just like men.

This sort of projection of the "reversal of roles" is quite common in the case of a relationship between an abusive partner and an abused counterpart. The more the abusive one abuses thge other, the bigger the fear grows of it coming back to them. The cheating partner becomes more and more suspitious of the cheated one, and throws fits of jealousy thinking they are being cheated too. The boss who constantly harrasses their subalterns fears the moment they will have freedom thinking they will take them down, be bosses and harrass them the same.

The sole thought that those who fight and win their equality won't give a damn about them, would put the past injuries behind and do their own lives, follow their own paths isn't only inunderstandable, but in a way could be seen as offending to the abusers, for that might mean the freed one won't pay attention to it anymore, and actually have a life and goals outside the limited cage set previously for them. So yes, for a cultural frame as the male chauvinism, which builds up entirely on the debasing of the woman and an imagined superiority of the man, when the women disappear as inferior, but not stands in front of it as enemy, but carries on as an equal, the system as a whole collapses. These ideas need desperately of the women either as born slave-animal or as archenemies that seek to take power away from them. Just look back at consul Cato's cry.

Put feminism against male chauvinism, say they are both two sides of the same coin is as misleading, shortsighed and limited as saying that love and jealousy are the same thing, that crimes of passion are comitted from love and rape is the fault of the victim, because they aroused love into the rapist.

The way this topic had been approached in that particular blog entry was quite misleading - perhaps there was some amount of ignorance about the topic of, maybe some amoung of unfortunate wording - aiding to the general satanizing of a movement that's not about reversing traditional roles between the genders, but make sure everybody - regardless of their gender - are considered equal, considered people and get the same rights and the same responsabilities.

Today still there is high discrimination between the genders. Estimates published by UNIFEM indicate that women represent around 70% of the people living in poverty around the globe. The same site indicates that sadly, women have the greatest chance to become poor. The percentage of women who own a mobile phone is lower than the percentage of men who own one. There's also a gap in the access to technology, favoring men over women. The gaps in wages, job opportunities, political participation, access to promotions and leading positions are still there. We have fough, but the fight isn't over yet. It's not a matter of raising to opress men, isn't a race to "get back at men", it's a fight, a struggle to be equal to our fellow men. We are both people, so why are we being treated differently from other people based simply on our gender?

This isn't only about feminism, as I honestly believe we are stronger, seasoned in the fight and we take things from where they come, but it's a sad reflection about all other movements that fight to get the same rights their oppresor ones have. Satanizing, rather than rational, up-front debate is not the way to answer, but a coward, irrational, dirty way to fight back when you know you are not right.


H3dicho said...

Honey, I know you can read, and I quoted myself because i want to make clear that i knew the "feminism" definition of several authors before i wrote the post, so i wasnt making such statement in the side of ignorance.

And as a matter of fact, I do believe that there is no reason why a human have to be treated in a different way, based on their sex or race.

In the other hand, I recognize in my post that some feminism movements have help to win some important legal battles not only in favor of women, but in favor minorities.

But what happens when this same movements are seeking for laws that punish men in general for their past actions, and as it happen in Costa Rica, that we have a law that does not provide the same treatment to man and women, because it only gives rights to women?

I believe in gender & race equality of right, I am not a feminism, and the first women that fight for gender equality did not call their self "feminist", so if you ask me, i am not going to use a definition of "feminism" in a positive way, just because is "pollitical correct", i do believe in equality, i hate male chauvinism in the same way that i have Feminism, even though i can share the some of their principles in the seek of gender equality.

So, maybe we differ in the concept of feminism, but we are in the same side in the fight for gender equality, so as i stated in my blog i have the right to think different even though is not politically correct.

As i said some other time, sorry for my poor english.

Storm Bunny said...

I'd like to check on the bibliography you've researched to describe the feminist movement the way you depicted it. From my side I'd like to enclose you a link to a site I've found rather good to get started on the study and understanding of feminism. Here it is:

I'm glad we fight on the same side of the road, however I do believe that concepts should be ironed out in order to keep us from stepping on one another's toes. ^_^ I am a feminist, proud to be one, and have often taken heat for defending the rights of men, or not partaking in the debasing of men as a phony ritual to empower women.

What happens in Costa Rica, though seems coming from the feminist movements, it's a rather distorted happening, legal tools in the hands of people who want to pretend they do something for equal rights, for women, when what they do really is aid the male chauvinist culture, affirming those fears. Also come from people who lack the vision, the clarity of what they want to reach and haphazardous proposals come by. That's not a matter of feminism, it's a matter of legislative incompetence, just as it happens in several other cases.

Calling yourself a feminist or not, in the end is entirely irrelevant, just like calling yourself Catholic or not: it's not the label, but your actions what define you. ^_^