Feminism isn’t about man-hating…

I received a rather long comment from Jim on my recent blog about Dominic Raab and his ‘analysis’ of feminism. I felt like turning my reply to Jim’s comment into a blog post.

Jim argues that sexism has nothing to do with the gender pay gap, whilst relying on biological and stereotypical arguments formed through wide-scale generalisations:

Because many job salaries are dependant on how you sell yourself to the company through negotiation. Men, it seems, are better at this. Some more so than others. Women hate competing with men. (All the while claiming they are our equals) Which is why they instigate so many “equality” laws.

Hmm. Not a testament to many women I know who like competing with men. Through my time playing football, I have been routinely denied the ability to play against boys simply because I was a girl. But, for instance, my sister and I were amongst a hand-full of girls who went to a Sheffield United training day, and we loved playing against the boys; with a few of us picking up certificates for our achievements. Now, I loved these challenges, I loved proving those people, who think all women can’t kick a ball or don’t know the offside rule, wrong.  Another personal example, which I am sure stands true for many others, politics itself often has a very masculine environment. I have been on the receiving end of a few negative comments because I am a female who enjoys politics. It doesn’t put me off though. And whilst it isn’t all about competition with others, I rather enjoy political debates (ask anyone who knows me!).

Jim raises his objection to all-women shortlists. Again an area some feminists have in common with anti-feminists such as Jim; I find the measures unhelpful in their ability to tackle the root causes of women’s low representation; areas such as poor child care and poverty.

Jim goes on to say:

If anything young women should be earning LESS than men. In what universe do companies pay women more with the mindset that they will soon depart them to raise a family? LOGICALLY they would be paid less as they are a BAD INVESTMENT for their employers. Men are the ones who should be earning more from the outset as the companies see them as an investment for the future.

Jim’s comments ironically support my argument. My point was that younger men are more likely to start working at a lower salary to progress up the carer structure; whereas younger women often go in for a job that is better paid (only slightly, not even Raab says it is a lot) but are not likely to see this rise as it’s not a career, the company are not investing in the worker as they can just replace them; but a man is more likely to be invested in by a company as they are less likely to have the interruptions of childcare etc that even Jim admits women are more likely to experience. Again, this goes back to the root causes of women’s inequality. There are also problems with women having to gain more skills than men to get these higher wages.

Jim complains:

Why is it that when a man tries to highlight the plight of men you must constantly drag the focus on women?

Well, that’s simple. I relate to women because Dominic Raab was talking about men to women. It is rather hard to talk about men’s position without a relative comparison!

Jim argues:

The reason a woman may or may not do more (you provided no evidence..) is because they do not work as much as men so of course have more time available to do so. Do you expect men (who work longer hours) to also contribute to 50% of the housework??

Many women volunteer because they are BORED. Boredom is a LUXURY most men do not have.

If Jim needs me to provide evidence that women do more housework then it just shows how ignorant he is to the literature on this topic. I agree, men are beginning to do more housework; as i stated at the end of my blog, times are changing; but women are predominately the ones expected to stay at home and do the housework. And look, again, the stereotypical argument that women choose to do the housework (some do, mind). How naive. Does Jim question why women are less likely to work? No. I will never have kids because I don’t want to be subjected to the belief I have to stay at home and look after the kids whilst the man goes out to work and ‘supports’ me. Nor would I expect my partner to do the same. Boredom is not a luxury, I hate boredom and I know many who do. Many women would be love to be working but simply do not have the resources to do so.

Jim reiterates previous complaints:

God. You are forever shifting the focus from men to women. OK. Women living longer. How is this discrimination? How about the FACT that the government spends much, much more money on women’s cancers than men’s?

Cancer in general is a health concern for men and women alike. Furthermore, things such as lung cancer that Jim cites are not only suffered by men; I would never just say that breast cancer or cervical cancer is what we should focus upon, nor would I say that to be true for prostate cancer; it is important for research to look into tackling all forms of cancer. This again reverts to my central point; feminists want equality between men and women, and as i stated in my blog, I recognise men experience inequality and as I argued (but Jim has ignored), this should be part of the feminist movement.

Jim continues.

God, Im getting bored now. Im supposed to FEEL SORRY for women who have outlived men. Im sorry. I always believed it was better to be than not to be. Those poor women. They have lost their cash cow, I mean workhorse, sorry I mean husband (he had the cheek to die..) and now they struggle on with LIFE while their husband rots in the ground. They are the ones hard done by indeed…. I cant be bothered to go on with that. You are beyond help.

It’s nothing about cash cows. I never want to be dependent on a man (nor a woman, for that matter) for making a living, precisely why I don’t want to have kids. But why should I have to deny myself kids because of that? Is it because women are more likely to suffer from the unequal childcare arrangements, the insecurity and the stops and starts this brings to their work undermining their ability to build up a pension and savings? Is it because women have to deal with the prejudice of men such as Jim, and this biological assumption that women should stay at home and look after the children?

I think men such as Jim need to stop complaining about how hard done by men are and actually put their feelings into actions. There are some legitimate grievances of Jim’s I recognise. I agree, the feminist movement does need to become more receptive to the inequalities men suffer from. But why don’t people like Jim put their words into actions and initiate a movement for changing these inequalities? Especially if they hate feminism so much.

Feminism is a movement primarily for and by women, there is no doubt about that after all it is about reversing a legacy of oppression against women. But, as I have stated, this does not mean that feminism is not working towards equality for both sexes of which many men take part in creating. Not all feminists are man-haters. Some are, granted. But the majority work for a society where women and men can have equality. Jim should consider becoming more receptive to both sides of the argument and help fight for the injustices that face both women and men.

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19 thoughts on “Feminism isn’t about man-hating…

  1. I don’t generally agree with Jim’s reasonings, so please don’t take my response as support for his pinions, but there are a few of your replies I felt the need to reply to…

    “but a man is more likely to be invested in by a company as they are less likely to have the interruptions of childcare etc that even Jim admits women are more likely to experience. ”

    I think you are making a mistake as to who’s doing the investment. Earlier in the paragraph, you acknowledge that men are making a career while women are just after the job… It isn’t that the company invests more in men, but rather, men invest more in the company, and are thusly rewarded. Women who focus on a career rather then a job likewise receive these rewards. It is hardly fair then, to claim the companies are investing more in men (rather, employees, male or female, that invest themselves in the company) based on discrimination.

    “Does Jim question why women are less likely to work? No. I will never have kids because I don’t want to be subjected to the belief I have to stay at home and look after the kids whilst the man goes out to work and ‘supports’ me.”

    Perhaps instead of swearing off children, you can opt not to marry up, instead you can marry a man that makes less money then you, and upon having children, he can stay home with the kids and housework. Have you ever considered that option? The fact that you only see the options you at home or no children at all shows that it is your own perceptions, not those of others, that impose that choice, and it is a choice, upon you. Women are often the ones to stay home because they CHOOSE to marry up, and when kids enter the picture, the one making less money tends to sacrifice career for home… and given the woman choose a higher earner (men don’t tend to concern themselves with a mates earning potential), that usually means them.

    “precisely why I don’t want to have kids. But why should I have to deny myself kids because of that?”

    Again, you don’t. You just need to choose a man based on his family traits rather then his income, and he can be the primary child caregiver while you are the earner. again, the fact this option never entered your mind is disturbing. Remember, a woman only need take 6 weeks off to recover, after which, she is quite capable of returning to work.

    “Is it because women have to deal with the prejudice of men such as Jim, and this biological assumption that women should stay at home and look after the children?”

    you seem to be the one with the biological prejudice. You don’t need to forfeit children in order to be career oriented, you simply need to look for a different kind of man then your biological prejudice urges you to.

    “But why don’t people like Jim put their words into actions and initiate a movement for changing these inequalities? ”

    I see this shaming language often on feminist sites. what makes you think men like jim aren’t putting their words into action? Is it because he is responding to you online, on a blog? Why is he unable to do both? How do you know what he does outside your blog? Why is he not allowed to speak on a blog without being accused of doing nothing, yet you can post and aren’t deemed to be wasting time and not doing anything? It’s hypocritical to denounce someone for posting on a blog by posting on that very same blog (even if it’s your blog). I’m also curious how men gathering and speaking out on the internet is any different them women gathering together and speak out before the internet? getting the word out, getting people to see the problems, even just one at a time, IS doing something. and there is a TON of feminist opposition to this, FYI, and you yourself have experienced it, so don’t play off like feminism is about equality when you know better. You aren’t a feminist, not as it is defined by the actions of the people who influence politics and industry who call themselves feminists. THEY are who have defined what feminism is, and it isn’t about equality anymore, if it ever really was.

  2. I agree, the feminist movement does need to become more receptive to the inequalities men suffer from.

    You have got to be kidding, what “injustice”? Any “injustice” they suffer is a direct result of the limitations they impose upon women in order to differentiate us from the default human. Oh, hi! (I always forget to say hi right before I start spewing :))

    If you feel that feminism needs to concern itself with Pomeranian Yaks on dialysis then fine but why not let them start their own group if they think life is so unfair to them? Why do feminists need to fight for every cause in addition to our own, especially when no other activist group bothers to concern itself with how some of their members are affected by sexism? Are we their mommy? And when does it occurr to feminists that men — in large numbers — need to fight for us? Don’t they love women?

    If the MAJORITY of humans are genuinely desiring that women be equal to men, then who exactly — really, who — is actively denying women equality? Of course they’ll guilt-trip the gullible into fighting for “their rights” instead of our own, it’s an easy way to distract the gullible or insecure. Do Black people need to “fight for the rights of whites”? Do they need “to love white folks” in order to fight for equality? Only if Black folks are insecure enough to think they don’t deserve equality… Face it, Jim’s a dud who won’t ever stop being a dud. Walk away from duds and hold your head up high!

    Okay, done spewing. 🙂 Nope, one more thing. A mentally healthy person does not forgive an abuser until the abuse actually STOPS. Okay done now, have a great day. And apologies if all that spewage came out of nowhere, just one of billions of feminazi browsing the intarwebs… 😉

    • “why not let them start their own group if they think life is so unfair to them? Why do feminists need to fight for every cause in addition to our own, ”

      I thought feminism was about equality? not just equality for women (which is an oxymoron, because if it’s just for women, it’s not equal)? Many men joined the feminist cause BECAUSE it was defined as equality for all, therefore, men HAVE joined a group for equality, unfortunately, they appear to have been duped by feminist like you, who don’t actually believe in equality, just female entitlement. Just for the record, it’s attitudes like your’s that earns feminist the title “bigot”.

      I’m currious, do you think feminism would have made the accomplishment’s it has made if truly egalitarian men and women didn’t sign on due to the deception?

      ” is actively denying women equality?”

      men have been asking that since the feminist movement started.

      Oh, one more thing of my own. being receptive the inequalities of men does not require you fight for them… But resisting men’s attempts to help themselves with accusations of misogyny, or demands they don’t expect of themselves, isn’t being receptive, it’s being resistant. Examples include; demanding the very small handful of privately funded British men’s shelters require police checks of their residents, when women don’t require the same, and even suggesting it would be offensive, even for government funded shelters. Accusing Kristina Schroeder of being hopeless and unqualified for opening a boys and men’s department within her ministry. Resisting changes to Custody, child support, divorce and alimony laws. And attacking male favoured football (both European and American) with blatantly false accusations of child sex trafficking.

  3. Okay so I’m quite brusque, apologies. And I’ve had way too much coffee (which is basically just an excuse).

    As long as you take this middle-of-the-road wishy washy attitude, your blog will only attract a string of concern trolling duds who waste your time.

    Please take the a moment to seriously consider how you would react to a string of racist white people, all concern trolling your blog with dozens of ridiculous arguments justifying racism? Would you patiently hold their hand? Most people would send them packing post haste because by now those folks have had plenty of time to read up on racism and to realize that their justifications are unfounded. That’s why most feminist bloggers send the sexist equivilent to http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/

    Again, cheers and toodles!

    • I am sorry you feel I have misrepresented feminism; bbut I feel you have taken what I said wrongly.

      All I was saying was that there are many men (not like these hating men commenting) who want to take part in feminism and mae relations between men and women equal. You can’t make society equal if you don’t consider injustices that do affect men too. They are rarer, but ignoring they occur doesn’t help. I am not saying that feminism should be about men mainly. But we want equality. Not more oppression, with gender roles reversed.

      Also, stop patronising me; I have read a lot of feminism in my time.

      • Also, things such as masculinity pressures for men, well tackling them would help free women too – as they help create the dichotomous stereotypical expectations women face every day!

      • “But we want equality. Not more oppression, with gender roles reversed.”

        I think you’re finding that this is no longer the case, if it ever was. the average woman who calls themselves feminist and truly believes in equality doesn’t actually do anything for feminists. Those that call themselves feminists and act upon it will more often then not be like what you’ve encountered here and in your domestic violence post. I do hope your experience with these two situations will allow you to see modern feminism for what it has become, and prompt you to ether take it back, or cut yourself free of it to become egalitarian rather then feminist.

      • Hi again Jane! Yes, I was nit-picking on one sentence, sorta taken out of context. The rest of the article was great and of course I should have mentioned it.

        It’s just that, “equality” is assumed to already exist for white people. As a white person, I don’t need “more” rights or opportunities, and I don’t need anti-racism efforts to focus on “areas that disenfranchise” me. I’m white and therefore can appropriate whatever characteristics of Blackness I want. I don’t have to wait for a Black person to voice their approval or fight for my ability to do so.

        As an example, if Black people are assumed to have a monoply on expressing cooperation, nurtance, etc and I want to express those characteristics, then I can, right now. I don’t need anybody’s help to appropriate Blackness. I’m entitled to do that now. The only flack I would get would be from racist white people who have a vested interest in keeping the monoplies seperate. Whereas Black people would approve of my appropriating a characteristic normally attributed only to Blacks, as my appropriation “proves” they don’t have an essential Black essence.

        White people who join anti-racism efforts in an effort to increase equality for People of Color, do so precisely because it is only POC who lack the ability to take whatever rights they are entitled to. The dominant social group can do whatever they want with impunity, so the anti-racism group is wasting their energy by focusing on “the lost opportunities” which are supposedly not available to white people.

        I’m guessing that I at the time I first read your article, I had also just read similar somewhere else. So it was the meme I was reacting to. “Don’t forget about the white people” just seems like a red herring to me — more internalized racism from one Black person to another telling everyone to focus on the special snowflake needs of white people. “Equality for everyone” is a worthy goal, but white people already have equality AND the social power to take whatever they want, so it’s only People of Color that I would focus on helping. My ignoring the special snowflake needs of white people is not “bigotry”.

        Anyway, cheers Jane you’re awesome. Suppose we can agree to disagree, it is a relatively minor point… And yet, it still seems like internalized male supremacy but ah well.

      • I guess my point is that men can appropriate whatever feminine characteristic they want, right now, without anybody’s help. Assuming they need assistence to appropriate ANYTHING assumes men have less social power than they do in reality. And it also assumes that the reason which explains why they don’t appropriate feminine characteristics is “lack of ability”, when the more accurate reason seems to be “lack of desire”.

        Their keeping the status quo in place — an oppressive system for women — is more important than their desire to express traditional feminine qualities. Sorry it took me so long to get to the point. The feminist focus on “oh men need help expressing feminine qualities” seems like avoiding the idea that most men would rather not improve the status quo in any significant way.

    • Lets take a closer look at this list, shall we. To be honest, I’m quit surprised to see such a misandric piece hosted on an MIT website.

      Overall, I think the list was correct… 40 years ago, but in today’s modern era, it’s actually far from the truth.

      1: Affirmative action says otherwise. if the job is up between two equally qualified and experienced candidates, more often then not the woman will get the job as an example of the companies gender equality policy.

      2: A very outdated opinion for most jobs. physically demanding jobs requiring brute strength only and Child workers being the only examples (former for women, later for men, or have you not heard that men working with children are often pedophiles?)

      3: men nowadays are terrified to engage with women for fear of harassment suits filed against them, so men harassing other men is far more common, but seems to be considered friendly banter rather then harassment. Don’t just look at lawsuits filed to pick this number.

      4: this is true more for women then men. Women are generally held to a lower standard then men (just ask any firefighter). You can call this discrimination if you want, but it’s not in favour of men.

      5: If I choose to stay home and raise my children, my masculinity will be ridiculed far greater then anything a woman has to suffer.

      6: If I have children, everyone will think I’m selfish if I’m not the provider.

      7: My elected officials are feminized to the point that despite their gender, the only gender concerns they address are those of women.

      8: Becoming less and less true, certainly not a given anymore.

      9: As a child, my pain was largely ignored as I was told to “be a big boy” and “walk it off”, while my sister was coddled and loved.

      10: ROFLMAO!!! how about this, as a child, I didn’t see a man in a position of authority until I was 16.

      11: if it’s because you bought $4,000 in shoes and purses, damn right. Otherwise, this isn’t applicable today. PS “boys and their toys” is the male counterpart to girls and shoes.

      12: As a man, I get charged 2-10 times the rates for insurance.

      I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point. If your basing your attitudes on 40 year old arguments, you need to wake the hell up and take a look at the real world.

      “29. I have the privilege of being unaware of my Female privilege.”

      You seem to be guilty of this one now.

  4. Just to correct any misconception that men are not actually doing anything, Google “A Voice For Men”. You’ll find there a very articulate spokesman for the emerging Men’s Rights Movement, as well as daily updates on new developments including the establishment of an online men’s radio channel. Funds were called for and over-subscribed almost immediately.

    Before you start seeing the progress that’s coming, you will first start hearing about it. Women have been extremely good at promoting their own interests and tying men up with empty language and rhetoric. Good for them. But men now need to develop their own plan and start looking out for number 1 as well (though don’t expect them to be as candid as I in future – they will be playing by the feminist playbook in that regard). Part of developing men’s survival skills is teaching them to be outspoken and not to flinch in the pursuit of their own advantage. That means angry talk – deliberately angry, considering how effective anger is in neutralizing feminist insincerity. It also means learning how to identify and ignore feminist debate and anti-reason tactics.

    Expect to see much more Dominic Raab style commentary in the coming months, and complete dis-engagement from all feminist argumentation.

    Game on and may the best practicer of cynical self-interest win. I wish you no luck whatsoever.

  5. This seems a very balanced & inclusive blog. I see no reason for haters from either “side” , some might agree or disagree with a few points, but basically I would say Jane you have things well balanced, and are considering many points of view.
    Just a few points to add. A lot of statistical “evidence” is often used to “prove” points in many arguments, one does have to be VERY careful using statistics, as the same figures can be talked round to prove opposite sides of arguments. Remember no one is AVERAGE. Men & women are different, yet men & men are different, as are women & women! Yes men & women SHOULD be paid equally for equal work, no doubt about that.
    *SMILES*
    Chris

  6. Thanks Andrea for the comment,

    I can see why you thought that and I apologise for any way in which I made it look as though I was arguing for male supremacy. I just don’t think we can end patriarchay if we don’t also attack the problems it can cause men. Gay men are a good example of this, they are oppressed by the focus on ‘masculinity’ etc. I rather like Butler’s work on the heterosexual matrix here. However, as I said women have been historically oppressed, we need a movement and we are a long way off from achieving equality. I just think we have to recognise a lot of things aren’t black and white and that men can help the cause – some of the best feminists I know are men!

    • Hi, Jim here.

      I had no idea you turned my rant into a blog entry. And it was a rant. I apologise. But, you need to open your eyes to male oppression.

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