Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

Research dismisses the validity of gender studies

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

A couple of months ago, a Swedish researcher called Helen Lindberg presented her doctoral thesis called Only Women Bleed?: A Critical Reassessment of Comprehensive Feminist Social Theory.

In her thesis she has evaluated four different feminist theories, with regard to internal coherence, and their usefulness as theories in a research context:

Is there a viable specifically feminist social theory that can serve as heuristic devise in our social research? This thesis is a critical reassessment of the ontological and normative assumptions of four social theories with specific and clear claims of being feminist. These are Catharine M MackInnon’s Radical Feminism, Anna G Jonasdottir’s Theory of Love Power, Luce Irigaray’s Feminism of Sexual Difference and Judith Butler’s Queer Feminism.

The English abstract only summarizes her findings on the internal coherence of these feminist theories in very general terms:

The feminist social theories are examined and critically discussed according to their internal coherence and their external relevance; which includes the normative political implications that can be inferred.

However, in the more extensive Swedish abstract, she clearly states that all of these four feminist theories show a lack of internal coherency, meaning that they are filled with contradictions that cannot be reconciled.

Similarly, when she talks about the usefulness of feminist theory within the context of research (such as the entire field of gender studies), she is very conservative in the English abstract:

The thesis claims that implicit in every comprehensive feminist approach, there is also a specific view of science. Then follows a meta-inquiry of comprehensive feminisms as social science and as social theories, including a discussion of the effects of comprehensive ideology on social science research in general, and of the relationship between ideology, theory and a scientific approach in particular. The thesis concludes that it is highly problematic to do science feministly, but that we do need the critical questions feminists raise in order to reevaluate concepts, theories and research priorities. It is argued that feminist social theories are perhaps most helpful as ideological guidance for political action.

Still, if you read the parts I made bold, you realize that her criticism of feminist theory is pretty severe. I will also translate part of the Swedish text, so that you can grasp the full extent of her criticism:

The thesis demonstrates that these four feminist theories about society each turn out to be unsatisfactory as tools in social science research since they rest on strong ideological premises and demonstrate a lack of internal consistency. Even though the theories appear to be different, they display two common theoretical weaknesses where one follows logically from the other. First of all, they all use structuralistic and therefore deterministic assumptions about the relationship between the individual and society which leaves little room for individual agency and thinking, which in turn leaves little room for developing and changing society. The theories therefore display a theoretical and empirical ignorance of the multidimensionality of society, and variance at the individual level. Furthermore, the thesis discusses the political goals and action plans that can be derived from their ideological and theoretical content, and finds that where they aren’t Utopia-like, they are unilaterally reduced to a monolithic identity or are normatively underdeveloped and unclear. Finally the relationship between science, politics and ideology is problematized in a general way, and feminism as science, politics and ideology in a specific way. To be able to conduct social science research about gender relations-the author claims-it isn’t useful to use the examined feminist theories, since they are too ideological and theoretically underdeveloped. They should instead be judged and valued the same way other normative and ideological theories are, such as Marxism, especially when it comes to their critical role in defining problems and acting as guides in political practice.

The short version of what she’s saying is that using feminist theory as the basis for conducting research, is about as useful as using Marxist theory to conduct research. This confirms what I’ve long been suspecting: gender studies are not a scientific discipline, they are a method for applying a certain ideology onto whatever data you collect during your “research”.

How Feminism Hurts Women

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I recently wrote about how feminsm defines women, and I’d like to follow up with a post about how feminism hurts women – because it does, in very tangible ways.

Here is a brief overview:

  • Women are told that it’s easy to become pregnant after the age of 35, which can lead to intense regret in women who bought into this myth
  • Women are taught that they should never have to worry about rape, regardless of what they wear, where they walk, how they flirt, or even if they bring a stranger back home after a night on the town – which leads to more women being raped. The problem here is that feminism isn’t making the distinction between how things should be and how they actually are. No woman (or man!) should be raped, but since it happens regularly, you need to make wise decisions about how to live your life. (This is similar for every crime there is: it’s not your fault if you’re mugged, but why not try to avoid it by staying clear from dangerous neighbourhoods at night?)
  • Women are told that it’s perfectly possible to combine a high-powered career and having toddlers. This leads to lots of mothers being stressed out, and always feeling guilty for not having enough time for the children. The realistic assessment is that one parent, or both parents, will have to slow down their careers.
  • Many young women study feminism (a k a gender studies or women studies), and as a result discover that they have a newfound sense of anger and hate towards all men. This anger makes it that much harder to create a loving relationship with a man.
  • By spreading factoids about domestic violence and the wage gap, women are made to feel depressed and without hope, since the odds seem to be stacked against them. If the truth was told in the media, then women would see that while there are serious problems in society, both sexes are affected – and all we can do is strive towards a better future.

Since feminism hurts both sexes, it is high time to let go of this ideology, just like the world has let go of communism. The good sides of feminism can easily be included in a gender liberation movement, so we have everything to gain and nothing to lose by allowing feminism to fall by the wayside.

How Feminism Defines Women

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

The more I think about feminist theory and rhetoric, the more I realize that it is in many ways an ideology that doesn’t serve women any more than it serves men.

Even though feminism does pay lipservice to the belief that women are strong and can do anything they like; the whole feminist political framework is built around the belief that women are weak and need external help to get anything right.

In fact, feminism defines women as being weak in a number of ways:

  • Women are said to need affirmative action in order to be able to compete with men in the labor market
  • Women are said to accept salaries that are too low, and therefore salaries need to be monitored and regulated
  • Women are incapable of leaving an abusive man (and incapable of being angry to the extent that they themselves become abusive)
  • Women cannot make good choices for themselves, since they insist on being teachers or homemakers instead of engineers or executives
  • The major way that feminism invalidates women and portrays them as weak is… by claiming that women have allowed men to subjugate them for thousands of years! (this line of reasoning presumes that women are weak or stupid or both).

If I were a woman, I’d be furious at feminism, and sue the whole feminist movement for character defamation.

Personally, I view women as perfectly capable individuals, who can make their own choices in life, and make new choices as culture and society change over time.

The Sweet Pink Rules of Feminism

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Today I want to share a tongue-in-cheek list about feminism that was originally posted on feministing.org.

Feministing.com is a well-known feminist blog, and to the best of my knowledge, feministing.org was a spoof site pretending to be the real Feministing blog. It is now long gone, but here is a quote from the spoof site:

Young, middle-class, college-educated white women are rarely given the opportunity to speak on our own behalf on issues that affect our lives and futures because we’re so horribly and obviously oppressed.

Feministing.org provides a platform for us to comment, analyze, whine about our unending victimization, and (best of all) COMPLAIN CEASELESSLY!

One of the texts posted on the site was a list that made fun of feminist ideology, both to have some fun but also to critique the internal inconsistencies of the feminist framework. Please note that I’m not posting this list to make fun of equity feminists and other feminists who are honestly fighting for equality between the sexes (however, those feminists are not very vocal in the gender discourse).

The list below is addressed to the feminists who take up space in the media, the blogosphere, and yes – even in political circles:

  1. Feminism requires you to talk about “equality” for both sexes but some sexes are more equal than others.
  2. God could be a womyn, but the devil is most certainly a man.
  3. We’re equal to men, and this makes us morally superior to them.
  4. We are equally capable of doing anything a man can do and men can’t do anything right.
  5. We must scorn behavior which is associated with stereotypical masculinity while whooping with praise when the same behavior is exhibited by womyn.
  6. We must demand that womyn be allowed into military combat because we’re equally capable of smashing-in the faces of vicious terrorists. But we also laugh at the idea that a husband could be the victim of a wife’s physical abuse because everyone knows that women are never violent.
  7. We seek to stop “violence against womyn” but girl-on-girl violence and lesbians who batter their partners don’t bother us quite as much.
  8. We attack the gender-stereotypes that portray womyn negatively as we gleefully embrace the ones that portray womyn positively. It’s customary to invert this rule for “you-know-who”.
  9. Helping womyn succeed is not nearly as satisfying as seeing men fail.
  10. “Power” in the hands of men is always destructive, selfish, tyrannical and harmful. This same “Power” in the hands of womyn is always democratic, nurturing, honest, good for the environment and good for humanity.
  11. Men of quality support womyn’s equality but womyn never have to do anything to prove that they are “of quality”.
  12. Finally, us feminists are absolutely not anti-male and that’s why we rarely have any positive things to say about those penis-having bastards.
  13. Women are just as good at everything as men are, except for things at which women are better.
  14. We feminists are equal to men, and that gives us the elevated authority to pass judgment upon them.
  15. If you’re not female then your opinion doesn’t count, you sexist bastard.
  16. Any criticism of feminism is a form of Hate-Speech. A feminist’s own speech is allowed to be as hateful as she wants it to be.
  17. If somebody has the temerity to criticize the behavior of feminists, you should dismissively sneer that they’re attacking “strawfeminists”– absurdist caricatures who don’t exist. Feel free to resume your usual attacks on strawpatriarchs every day of the week.
  18. The only feminist you are officially allowed to criticize is Valerie Solanas. That’s because a feminist has to literally advocate the extermination of half the planet before the rest of us start to wonder if she’s got a screw loose.
  19. You have 10,000 years of grudges to seek vengeance for in your single lifetime.
  20. Collective guilt and collective punishment are anathema to a society which fulfills the feminist goal of treating people as individuals, which is why us feminists must constantly intimate the collective guilt of men and suggest that they need collective punishment.
  21. You must demand that a father shoulder half of any effort to raise “his” children as you simultaneously demand that a mother be granted automatic sole custody of “her” children after divorce.
  22. Whether or not you feel “offended” is the central principle to how the world should be re-organized.
  23. A feminist must say “Patriarchy” at least ninety-seven times per hour. The ten millionth time you say “Patriarchy” you will trigger a shower of confetti and receive a fabulous prize.
  24. As a feminist, you are opposed to the spread of stereotypes. But don’t let that stop you from constantly stereotyping men as being an over-privileged class of dimwitted exploiters who always get everything they want.
  25. Ovaries good, testicles bad.
  26. We believe every woman should have unrestricted access to any kind of abortion, no questions asked. We also believe that abortion should be tightly restricted in China to prevent millions of potential girls from being robbed of their lives.
  27. We feminists must demand aristocratic levels of deference while never behaving with aristocratic levels of gentility.
  28. We must grouse continuously about traditionalist expectations of women while we conveniently forget to pay half the check on our dinner-dates.
  29. Men avoid us because we’re too gosh-darned smart.
  30. If a man works 60 hours a week to support a wife who cooks and cleans, the man is a lazy shit who exploits his wife.
  31. If a woman works 60 hours a week to support a husband who cooks and cleans, the man is a lazy shit who exploits his wife.
  32. If the majority of women do not call themselves feminists, the root problem lies with the majority of women and not with feminism.
  33. We demand respect for all women and their diversity. That is why we dismiss, infantilize, mock or denigrate stay-at-home moms, traditionalist women, pro-life women, Republican women, Catholic women, Protestant women, Mormon women, Orthodox Jewish women, Muslim women who don’t object to hijab standards, Hindu women who don’t object to dowries, women who care about their weight, women who wear cosmetics, female researchers who study innate behavioral sex-differences, women who look forward to marriage, women who warn about giving birth after the age of 40, sorority sisters, cheerleaders, girls who like playing with dolls and any other woman who doesn’t slavishly dance to our tune. Except for them, we demand respect for ALL women and their diversity!
  34. Falsely accusing a man of rape is a great way of raising his consciousness.
  35. If a teacher were to beat black boys more than white boys, we’d excoriate him for hateful discrimination. If the same teacher beat only boys, that’d be fine.

Reverse Feminism

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Today I’d like to do a thought experiment and have some fun at the same time.

We’re all familiar with feminist rhetoric, it’s hard not to be, since it comes at us from feminists, the media and policy makers. The gender messages reaching us are so streamlined and consistent that it’s easy to simply accept the rhetoric as fact, or at least as mostly fact. Even men and women who are critical of feminism are likely influenced by these messages on a subconscious level.

What if we were to turn the tables on this feminist rhetoric, and use a similar language to describe the male gender role and the suffering of men? In other words, what would it sound like if we were to describe the experience of men and situation of men using a feminist style of language, to show how ludicrous and one-side most of the feminist ideology is?

I’m not saying that we should actually start implementing a reverse rhetoric, far from it! But I believe it could be a good thought experiment in order to demonstrate that the blame game and the claiming of victimhood can be done by men too, meaning that each gender has just as many disadvantages.

So what kind of statements would masculism make, if it was just as strong and just as pathological as mainstream feminism? Here’s a preliminary list:

  1. Women force men to work full-time by only marrying men who are providers, thereby limiting the choices of men.
  2. Women structurally oppress men by claiming the closest connection to the children.
  3. Women expect men to protect them physically, thereby subordinating the men (men’s lives are less worth).
  4. Women do not mind that their husbands have dangerous jobs while they are safe at home, caring for the children. This matriarchal power structure keeps men away from a loving environment, and keeps the ruling class (women) out of harms way.
  5. The power of the sisterhood represses any inquiry into why men live significantly shorter lives than women. The only acceptable explanation is biological differences, which in all other gender scenarios is a prohibited explanation according to the sisterhood.
  6. Breast cancer gets more funding than any other cancer, which removes resources from prostate cancer research.
  7. Men commit suicide far more often than women, which is yet another sign of men facing matriarchal structures that keep men trapped in impossible life conditions, and ultimately the only way out may be to take your own life.
  8. Women demand that men act tough and repress their emotions at all times, which is why men do not dare report domestic violence.
  9. 70 to 80 percent of the homeless are men, since our matriarchal society is reluctant to help a man who doesn’t perform, while women (as the ruling class) always have their intrinsic value intact.
  10. Men are always given the task of defending the country against aggressors, since the ruling class must be kept safe at all times.
  11. Women are not held responsible for the crimes the same way men are and receive shorter jail sentences. The matriarchy knows that men must be punished properly to stay subordinated, while women are always considered to be basically good and therefore less in need of punishment.
  12. Cutting off genital tissue from boys is condoned by society, in order to teach men from the start that they are expendable, and inferior to women. Developing countries who cut off genital tissue from girls are judged harshly.
  13. Boys do worse than girls in school since they feel tremendously unsafe and confused once they realize what the constricted and  dangerous male gender role demands of them in the future.

Could you add anything else to this list?


Google