What it means to be a Feminist

Peter

question

is feminism a pro-choice movement?

i.e. prochoice vs prolife?

Valentine

is the question you’re going for “can someone be pro-life and conceivably still a feminist?”

Peter

yes

apparently the women’s march on saturday had some infighting between prochoice and prolife feminism

people are talking bout it on [REDACTED] politics

Valentine

I think there’s a difference, in the prochoice/prolife debate, between personal values and those things you believe ~all~ people have to do

e.g. I feel that most feminists would be fine with somebody who personally would never have an abortion but would be okay with the right to have one existing

That said, I think the vast majority of feminists conceive of that as an issue of bodily autonomy (which I personally agree with) so would say that someone who said that ~nobody~ should be able to get an abortion would essentially be antifeminist

Peter

this is the article that is being discussed

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/us/womens-march-abortion.html

Valentine

incidentally, the women’s march had a lot more infighting than just over abortion lol

Peter

*shrug* you get that many people in one place, its bound to happen

I personally don’t think prolife activists meet the fairly high burden of proof I internally have for restricting other people’s ability to do things

that being said, in their heads I suspect ‘murder’ is about as good a justification as you can get xD

Valentine

the infighting over racial questions was the narrative I’ve heard more over the last couple days

Peter

i heard that quite a bit too, but I don’t see race so

Valentine

really i don’t know enough about why that was a controversy to talk about it

Peter

and frankly that question is less interesting to me

well part of the reason its less interesting to me is because its not a mainstream opinion

Valentine

what do you mean?

Peter

like, the separation of black feminism and white feminism (and that white women need to specifically subvert their own ‘white’ goals – whatever that means – for black ones) is less a mainstream view than ‘prochoice is a staple of modern feminism’

but feminism as an ideology should theoretically cross political lines if it really is about making men and women equal in the eyes of society and the law

Valentine

i think part of your issue with what you believe “feminism as an ideology should do” and what it often actually does is bc of the difference between “equal in the eyes of the law/in what society says it believe” and “equal in fact”

I also think the first thing about “subverting” white goals isn’t exactly the point

It isn’t so much about subverting “white” goals so much as recognizing that those problems exist and then some for people from other communities

so, to not narrow the field of vision so much that those problems continue to be marginalized

Peter

i think people who have the more moderate views that you mentioned in the second part are also not the people who are complaining about white people at the womens march xD

like there is definitely a more radical aspect of this that is very openly like ‘white women should subvert institutions of power or they aren’t equal feminists’ or whatever

Valentine

eh, intersectionalism is hard

Peter

in any case, wrt the equal in law vs equal in fact – maybe. I don’t know that the government or even large organizations should try to legislate cultural norms beyond making sure everyone is treated as an individual person. But I don’t even think that’s the issue. Read the NYTimes article – its very clear that the march was very openly against any form of pro-life opinion

apparently according to pew, the split between prolife and prochoice among women is 50% prochoice, 41% prolife, and 9% undecided

sorry, gallup*

http://www.gallup.com/poll/170249/split-abortion-pro-choice-pro-life.aspx

 

which like…for a women’s march to openly declare that 40% of women don’t count leaves a bad taste in my mouth

Valentine

re: legislation – I don’t think even radical feminists call for ~legislation~ that goes beyond technical equality

Also, for 40% don’t count – the march presumably also openly declares that women who support Donald Trump’s presidency are out, right?

Those women aren’t being excluded because of identity but because of views they hold, so it doesn’t feel like some kind of against-their-will unfair profiling

Peter

Well, ok so then related question

can you be a feminist if you voted trump?

also, I’m still skeptical when you say that people wouldn’t call for legislative inequality. I think people do call for it, and I think in some cases it has been implemented, e.g. affirmative action

Valentine

probably not tbh

I don’t think “being feminist” is one of those things where everyone can just say they are lol

Can you be left-wing if you voted for Trump?

Peter

depends on how much you didn’t like clinton, see sanders-flip-flopper-types

I guess this just bothers me particularly because when people ask, ‘o are you a feminist’ and I say no, the response is like ‘HOW COULD YOU NOT BELIEVE IN THE EQUALITY OF MEN AND WOMEN’

Valentine

well yeah, cuz that’s what it colloquially means

even if, say, “third-wave feminism” also entails a bunch of other stuff

Peter

language sucks

Valentine

also like, for whatever reason the assumption will always be that you disagree with the most important claim of the movement you claim to not support

rather than a sub-claim

probably also because that’s usually a fairly good assumption

Peter

I actually think asking the question ‘are you a feminist’ has at this point become a gotcha

its like, ‘o you disagree with me about affirmative action…are you a feminist?’

 

say yes: ‘well then as a feminist you must agree with me about affirmative action’

 

say no: ‘you think men and women shouldn’t be equal?’

though you could replace affirmative action with any political cause

this actually feels similar to the whole ‘calling milo not-gay’

Valentine

milo’s an odd refuge for that point

Peter

ok, thiel

http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2016/10/14/peter-thiel-shows-us-theres-difference-between-gay-sex-and-gay

Valentine

but either way, i wonder what real-life conversation you’ve had where people have used feminism as a gotcha like that

Peter

whenever I talk to [REDACTED] xD

I think other concepts are used similarly, e.g. intersectionalism

or even privilege

Valentine

either way, if we assume the most charitable things about the people you’re talking to who make that point (using your own metric there), I think you can assume that what they’re actually saying is “this thing you disagree with is a thing that is actually necessary, and that necessity logically follows when one considers how to bring about the state we both agree is good”

at which point you say “no but I disagree”

Like I don’t think it’s a failing of feminists to believe that their opinion is correct lol

Or even to take argumentative shortcuts for the sake of trying to persuade others, though obviously the hypothetical world where everyone unpacked all of their claims immediately after making them would be better

Peter

ok sure, but this doesn’t really explain the original question. Can a trump supporter, or a prolife activist, call themselves a feminist?

Valentine

anyone can call themselves anything

whether other people will take that claim seriously is obviously more suspect

I think someone who voted for Trump is somebody who is okay with putting a lot of women’s issues at major risk and tacitly accepting of a lot of trump’s personal misogyny

like, dude literally bragged about assaulting people

so while a trump supporter might claim to be a feminist i would personally believe that person to be kidding themselves

and tbh would take the same opinion, though perhaps a little less stridently, about prolife

Peter

does being a feminist mean you have to put feminist issues above other issues?

Valentine

like what? economic ones?

Peter

sure

Valentine

it’s funny that you use that argument while still claiming to dislike intersectionalism lol

Peter

ive been fairly consistent about my belief that class is the root of all of this

Valentine

class is the root of trump grabbing people by the pussy?

Peter

class is the root of trump getting away with a comment like that

Valentine

like when white republican men want to restrict rights from white women, i don’t think that’s a class issue

also like, for your original question: I think a standard of reasonability holds here

Peter

its also what allows, say, a well off person to prioritize feminist causes over, say, someone who promises to bring jobs to your factory

Valentine

I think a person who decides that Trump’s other promises are somehow enough to offset his misogyny doesn’t realize the gravity of how bad those latter things are

Peter

I suppose a nazi couldn’t call themselves pro-jewish rights xD

Valentine

which means that I’d have a lot of trouble considering that person a feminist

also like, if there is such a thing as the world as trump probably ideally imagines it, i don’t think women work in factories there

Peter

Maybe its the other way around, and someone who decides trumps misogyny offsets his promise for jobs doesn’t realize how bad the situation is for the people who need it

whatever, i think the trump issue is a bit more clear cut than the abortion one

Valentine

i’ll be honest: I think being okay with low key raping some people makes you unfit for office no matter what your economic policy is

Peter

truly you manage to surprise me with how radical you’ve become :O

Valentine

and yes, I think disagreeing with that proposition disqualifies you from ever being considered “feminist” in any meaningful sense of the word

hey, you’re disagreeing with me on it lol

so apparently that’s still a controversial thought

Peter

im disagreeing with the latter part

the first part (unfit for office) is just true xD

we don’t even have to look at the misogyny for that

Valentine

I think what you’re saying is that “someone can still be a feminist but decide to subordinate gender equality in the face of other issues”

Peter

yea

Valentine

two things:

  1. considering that one of the big problems feminism tries to raise is the fact that women’s issues have always been subordinated (or even the inequities that men face because of gendered beliefs), that feels like a way to just rob “feminist” belief of all meaningful power
  2. I think the level of subordination that would require meant that the person wouldn’t really believe gender equality to be all that important, so hence not really qualifying as a feminist

Peter

so is there a bright line? like for x amount of subordination you can still consider yourself a feminist? Or does that cause have to precede all others? Follow up: in a conflict between two candidates, one who’s really good at, say, climate change, and one who’s really good at, say, women’s issues, does choosing the former over the latter mean you’re not a feminist?

Valentine

I’m absolutely sure there were Nazis who voted for Hitler based on economic issues, but didn’t think of themselves as thaaat anti-jewish

To the same level as “I’m not a racist but…” white people do now

I think that the indifference to what such a leader would mean for jewish people, though, means that those voters can’t meaningfully be said to care about jewish rights

I think the point where you are willing to sacrifice the rights of a group of people in favor of some other issue means you don’t really care about the rights of that group of people enough

Like for your hypothetical two candidates, is the first one somebody who believes in climate change who also believes women should stay in the kitchen, while the latter is an intersectional feminist who also believes global warming is a hoax?

Peter

yea

sure xD

Valentine

then I’d say that both candidates are shitty lol

Peter

xD well yes

Valentine

I don’t think there’s any way to evaluate a politician on one axis alone

Peter

What about like…clinton’s support of israel?

Valentine

like that’s the point right

Clinton wasn’t perfect but I still supported her because on net she wasn’t nearly as much of a bastard as Trump

I think somebody who supported trump when clinton was the alternative just didn’t care enough about the people he would hurt, which I think fairly easily shows them to not be that much of a feminist

Peter

so I think there are two problems

Valentine

Incidentally I have to do work

So if you send problems will reply to them later

Peter

one: neither of us live in detroit, so its kinda easy for us to be [REDACTED] students (fairly wealthy ones at that) and say, ‘well of course you have to prioritize <X> issue over man-who-says-he-will-give-you-jobs-back’.

two: (and I disagree with this, but) a significant contingent of trump’s supporters seemed to believe that he wouldn’t be comparatively worse for women’s rights in the first place, citing things like being pro-overturning-roe-v-wade as a good thing and things like bill clinton existing.

We’ve said that we have to look at politicians on net. In the former case, where is the scale?

In the latter case, if people legitimately believed trump would be better for women’s rights, are they not feminist because even though their intentions were correct we disagree on the follow through?

Valentine

two just means person is wrong

And I think that the reasons that they are wrong are fairly evident

So I think to some point a person who “legitimately” holds that belief has simply not done their research or doesn’t care enough to think about it heavily

I think that for a statement like “I am a feminist” to have any real meaning/value you have to actually let that inform your beliefs and decisions lol

So I think that person who is apparently just so indifferent/so willing to overlook certain issues when convenient doesn’t really apply

Peter

is that in response to the first problem?

Valentine

cuz like, it takes a special level of indifference to ignore “grab them by the pussy”

no, all the second

Peter

ah

im gonna go shower, i thought you had work xD

and im willing to concede the second

i think the easier answer is just, sarcastically, ‘what you mean electing the first woman president wasn’t enough’

Valentine

as for one: sure, there’s always grey areas – as soon as I try to defend any kind of definition there’ll be bound to be thousands of outliers and exceptions right

Valentine

Ultimately every kind of belief requires some kind of bright line right lol

Like, the form of many of these criticisms could be applied to anyone holding any belief

Peter

could I be a feminist?

Valentine

no

100% not

Peter

fuck women amiright

Valentine

exactly

Peter

no but seriously

like i obviously disagree with huge chunks of thirdwave feminism, but for implementation not cause

does that disqualify me?

Valentine

I mean, there’s a reason I keep asking you not to lead with “I’m not a feminist” lol

I believe you could still viably consider yourself one (admittedly a fairly retrograde one)

But you don’t seem to lol

so apparently you have higher standards for ideological purity than I do

Peter

fair

it was more of a curiosity question

i think people are inconsistent.

we said at the top that it was reasonable to assume that when people claim they are or are not part of a group, that they do or do not support the largest tenet of that group. Yet at the same time, people who may still have women’s rights at heart (but may disagree on implementation) are labeled as not-feminist

I guess i also just fundamentally disagree with the idea that in western lib societies women have it worse off categorically

which seems to be a pretty important prereq for being a feminist

Valentine

“i think people are inconsistent.” — yes lol

Still working btw will reply more later

I do think your belief that they “do not have it worse off categorically” is a weird manifestation of optimism bias

Also the fact that you don’t believe people who experience lives which are different than yours lol

Peter

what do you mean by the last thing?

like obviously the entirety of humanity isn’t living the exact same life as I am

o wait i mentally inserted a “that’ in between believe and people

I mean, I believe that other people have different experiences of course. I never denied that women or different demographics face unique problems to those demographics

I just question the ‘worse off’ part

as in, women are categorically worse off than men, compared to women and men have different, not really comparable problems that both suck

 (and as a result of questioning the worse off part, I also disagree with a lot of the mentality of, ‘men are uniquely privileged and need to own up to it’)

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