I recently had a discussion on Facebook with a friend about the term "feminism". Almost any source will tell you that the definition of feminism is the effort to achieve equality between both genders. However, the term masculinism is usually defined as the effort to achieve male superiority. I argued that the concept that feminism supports should be renamed "equalism". It makes grammatical sense that equalism should be about equality and that if masculinism is for male superior, feminism is for female superiority. Though nowadays it does feel like feminists are more for female superiority than they are about gender equality.
It's an ambiguous term, all right.
From my reading on the subject of Feminism, Masculinity, manliness, etc.... Feminism in the fifties was all about an 'equality of opportunity.' It didn't take long for that to change - to "equality of results." Meaning... the opportunity wasn't enough. You need to prove your 'non-discrimination' by the results. You could also call it a quota.
Any discussion of 'Feminism' gets complicated because there are roughly 30+ distinct 'flavors' of Feminism with the 'slippery' one being 'Christian Feminism.'
In a nutshell however, manliness is under attack, especially the touchy subject of 'masculinity' because Feminists stereotype 'masculinity' to mean aggressive, abusive and controlling.
We'd better start wearing athletic cups! LOL
In my reading on Feminism, masculinity and manliness, Feminism can be tricky because there at some 30+ distinct flavors of Feminism. The most slippery one is "Christian Feminism." In regard to your question, even feminist writers acknowledge that Feminism moved from an "Equality of Opportunity" to a expectation of "Equality of Results." It's like having to prove you are innocent of discrimination - or as you would say, a quota system.
You are correct in one thing. They threw "equal" under the bus as early as the late seventies. Now it's all about two sets of rules; and getting an advantage! And they are winning. All is not lost however. From what I'm reading, the tide is beginning to turn.
I argued that the concept that feminism supports should be renamed "equalism".
Egalitarianism is a better word, in that it is actually a word.
Feminism has a different definition depending on who you're talking to. The mainstream of feminism has drifted leftward from the original "political, social, and economic equality of opportunity for women" meaning. The aims of those original feminists have largely been accomplished ... so they don't call themselves feminists anymore. They're just women.
These days, feminism is far more radical because the only people they left in the movement are the radicals from the 60s ... readers of Dworkin and MacKinnon. Some are genuine advocates of women's superiority, some are misandrists (like Dworkin was, though not without reason), and some are just crazy. Many are just political leftists who claim feminism as their niche of a larger relativelyt radical left-wing ideology.
I agree, except that there is a reactionary movement about "feminism," like there might be about "manliness." It's sparked by Moran's book, "How to be a Woman," in which she reasserts the old definition of "feminism" and talks about ways it's still relevant. The book was released in the US in the last month, so it's good to be aware of the trend, depending on which newspapers you read.
I haven't read the book. I've read a few reviews.
On the semantics, *shrug*. Words aren't as important as the ideas behind them, though we have to be careful our words match our ideas, and so discussions like this are useful. On whether women have achieved equality of opportunity, I don't think we have. I think that's mostly our own faults. I do think institutions are still adjusting to having women involved, and that involvement will change the institutions in ways that make things better for women. For example, when it began hiring women professors, my law school had to write a maternity leave policy. With more women administrators, the policy will probably change. With more women professors, policies will become more common, more clear, and more public.
Thank you Jack, for pointing out that egalitarianism already covers what I'm trying to put forth. I'll make sure to use it henceforth in the hope it will make my point seem more legitimate.
And thank you Rebekah for your reply as well. As far as semantics go, yeah, it can be pretty wishy-washy. However, most feminists are strung up on semantics that "favor" males, so if they're going to be pushing for that change, I might as well push this point as well. I do agree that there are some areas in which women are not "level" with men, and that they need to start playing the game, rather than try to change it. This is strictly speaking for most industrialized nations. I think this view point can hardly be supported in areas such as the Middle East and Africa.
I'm not sure what you mean by "playing the game" rather than "trying to change it." The idea that important areas of public life are "games" strikes me as inherently disadvantaging to newcomers, usually women and minorities. "Games" are recreational, inefficient. Consider, when the way into the professions was through something like an apprenticeship, it was all about whom you knew, and often about paying your dues with years of boring work, and in many areas it was easy for a small group of established professionals to exclude anyone they didn't like, and to promote rapidly anyone they did.
In some ways, we've been seeking to destroy such "games" and "good ol' boys' clubs" for millennia. People of sense recognize that it is both more fair and more efficient to have clear criteria for admittance and advancement within the professions. The professions have changed and will change some more based upon who's in them, though. That's not necessarily through special effort of the newcomers; it's just the organic process. I believe, for example, that having women in the legal profession has toned down the rhetoric from a colorful height right before women started becoming lawyers in large numbers. This is not because the women's bar associations sit around sipping pinot grigio strategizing how to "change the game." It's because such rhetoric is ineffective from a woman, and so is seen less, and so becomes disfavored.
I suppose what I meant by play the game is to just do the job and earn it rather than complain about there being too many men. It seems like many women nowadays expect to be given the job because there "needs" to be a woman in there so women can have a chance. I say do the job best you can and you'll get what you deserve.
This discussion seems more appropriate somewhere other than the Introductions board.
Drawing the line nowadays as to what is still proper concerning male/female differences has certainly gotten tricky. I remember my grandmother telling me she has voted in every single election she could during her life, and her passion is very understandable considering she was voting less than 30 years after women earned the right to vote in America. She never had much more to do with feminism beyond enjoying that basic right.
In the modern lingo, I'd almost consider calling someone a "feminist" to border on insult, as if you were claiming they were just crying out about any reason it appears men have an advantage over women. Now, from experience I can tell you it doesn't matter if the person doing a job has balls or boobs, and I'd say stuff like the glass ceiling is some of the worst B.S. around today, but crying that a man gets a nicer office, more smiles, or just seems to do better without really having a reason said imbalance is wrong seems more like spoiled attitudes than valuable social influence.
My main experience with gender balance issues has mostly been along the romance lines. Feminism today, IMO, just seems to have created more chances for awkward situations and arbitrarily blurred the traditional lines of respect and courtesy my parents raised me with. I've had many a discussion with male friends over the proper way to treat a woman you hope to be/are in a relationship with. Do you treat her as a woman and play the protecting, dominant man, do you disregard gender outside of the bedroom, do you acknowledge gender but still try and be equals? Every conversation has ended with the opinion "it depends on the girl," but the modern morays of dating seem to be the biggest outcome of feminism since woman's suffrage in America.
A number of academic writers use the term "gender-neutral society" to refer to the crowd - which includes some men (especially in academics). Their theory is that 'actually' there is "very, very little difference between the sexes..." Oh really? As Dr. Henry Mansfield has shown in his book, the various sciences have proven otherwise!
As for the confusion, even the women are frustrated. In a recent opinion article for Fox News, (Why Are There So Many Peter-Pan Men?) Penny Young-Nance was bawling because 'men are SOOOOO confused' and went on to suggest that there was no reason for it; that men just need to grow up! I wanted to reply, 'you wanted change; you got what you wanted, and now you don't like it?'
The different brain structure is one reason I think the professionals will change organically with women in them.
As for women today complaining about the over-reaching of past generations of women, you can't blame women today for what past generations did.
Would I be reaching to far if I said there may someday be a kickback from all the equality efforts in the last half century? By no means do I have any research/evidence on this, but I wonder if people won't get tired of equalizing the sexes like Penny Young-Nance was and cause a shift (to what degree I don't know) back towards following the more clearly-defined lines of gender roles in the general public.
It almost seems to me that sites like AoM are an early version of just such a mentality I know I joined because I wanted to find a place/men that I could proudly call "distinctly male."