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Ms.Q

Excellent topic, Dylan. Your thesis is well supported! This is a very complex issue and I could write about it ad infinitum. That's a Latin word that means endlessly. I just said that in case some stupid people were trying to read this. hahaha. I'M JOKING.

It is pretty common for me to get comments like "wow, you're really smart!" but the way they say it is "I'm stunned! How can that be, since you are a girl". The worst part to me? It comes equally from men and women.

Obviously, it is ridiculous to think that women aren't capable of developing ideas that don't involve scrapbooking or new ways to clean the oven.

However, I think women (including me) could take some of the responsibility for perpetuating this notion. I am guilty of playing dumb to get my way or keeping quiet to preserve harmony. I am also guilty of apologizing for being smart. I feel like many of us were raised to apologize if we are intelligent, as if being an intelligent female is an incurable and contagious disease. Reminds me of the movie Pleasantville, now that I think about it.

I think it's brilliant that this topic was born out of insensitivity/ignornace but it has sparked a very thought-provoking debate.


jo-fo

It amazes me that after several millenia of human "civlization" that people, sometimes including women themselves, just can't seem to accept that women's voices are an important and vital part of our society that should be much more integrated than it has been. Male dominance is a joke. It usually just degenerates into a big whip-it-out-and-compare-sizes fiasco.

Not to say that males are all wrong, or all irrational, or all too competitive. True, but not always. I am just in awe of the fact that there are still people who will boldly wear their disdain for women's opinions and input on their sleeve and feel totally justified in doing so. This is not the stone age - or is it? How much we have yet to learn.

Dylan

You know, this is why I wrote the post... Not because I was trying to point something out, but because, even though I know where I live, I was absolutely shocked that someone would be so bold about this.

Mrs. Q, you bring up an interesting point: women as peacemakers. It is truly a sad state of affairs when women themselves feel like they have to be peacemakers just to avoid massive confrontations. A good example is Hilary Clinton. She stood by her husband, and gets bashed by some for giving into to his male dominance, but when she stands up for issues or is outspoken about something, she is called a bitch.

Barbara Boxer is the same, while those of us on her side have applauded her for standing up so strongly on several issues, she gets called an obstructionist and a hysterical complainer by others.

To quote Jed Bartlet, "It's amazing what we do to women in this country."

Ms.Q

Exactly! John Lennon said it well also:
"We make her paint her face and dance
If she won’t be our slave, we say that she don’t love us
If she’s real, we say she’s trying to be a man
While putting her down we pretend that she is above us

We insult her everyday on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she’s young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb"

I sincerely appreciate you and your attitude, Dylan. We really can change our world one person at a time, you know. You really rock.

alley rat

i think part of the reason some male bloggers seem to intellecualize things rather than write passionately and personally is because for many of them, politics is an intellectual pursuit rather than an passionate one. and that's because many, many of them...at least, the big guns, are privileged (white, middle class, male, many straight) and so these issues are not the life or death issues that many "feminist" issues are for women.

it's also a privileged style, this detached intellectual thing. i see it rewarded in grad school all the time, and cultivated, and i can't stand it.

the thing about feminist women is that most of them became feminists because of personal experiences with feminism, whereas for many (white, middle class, straight) men some of the most pressing "liberal" concerns are relatively abstract to them...

alley rat

urgh, i meant to write "personal experiences with sexism/misogyny"....

(which, actually, just means "life as a woman")

Lauren

I have nothing to say because Alley Rat already said it. Thanks, yo.

Dylan

Alley (and by extension, Lauren letting Alley speak for her)... I think there is something to that. Let me rephrase what you've said in ways that are more from my (white middle class male) perspective.

I have a great deal of passion about my ideology and beliefs, but I always feel more "successful" at explaining myself when I can disconnect from that passion and intellectualize what I'm talking about (I think my posts in the past couple of days might have a lot of that).

But, with the exception of the general attack on my beliefs as a result of the current political and cultural climate, I've never felt "threatened" in any real way because of them or the way society reacts to them. And though I consider myself a feminist, it is in the abstract, because I've never actually had to deal with being attacked simply because of my chromosomes.

The more and more I try to understand what you women have to deal with, the more and more I am in awe that you are sane.

alley rat

Dylan-

I think maybe part of the "success" you're experiencing when you go the disconnected/intellectual route is because that's the culturally favored (and supposedly "masculine" style. As a man, you also are granted a certain authority to speak that women, especially women of color or working class women lacking a certain cultural/social capital, are denied, or have to work extra hard for. I often take on the disconnected, intellectualized style when I'm teaching and have very conservative white guys rolling their eyes at me (happens all the time) because it's the only way to hang on to my credibility. Passion is often understood as irrational, emotional - just as women are discounted as irrational and emotional. When talking about race or gender or class or sexuality with students, I often have to adopt this other style as a strategy in order not to be completely discounted, ignored, or blatantly disrespected. But straight white male teachers don't have to worry about it as much because they don't have people questioning their "objectivity". (As if there is such a thing, and as if that should be the privileged place from which to speak. An old assumption...)When a straight white guy talks about class or race or gender privilege, he is not understood as grinding an axe, while I often am.

If any of us are sane, or close to it, it is partly because there are guys like you who get it, who listen, and who are in solidarity with us. I think feminism benefits men just as or almost as much as it benefits women, but I think it takes a special kind of sensitivity and intelligence for men to get that. But the men who have gotten it, during every phase of feminism, have been instrumental to making change happen.

You rock, Dylan.

Dylan

My sister and I talked a little about this tonight, and it was interesting to get her perspective on it.

The whole Lawrence Summers situation comes to mind here. Without delving into it, and though I certainly don't agree with much of what he said, it is obvious that there are differences between men and women. I've never really considered before, however, the idea that there is a male method of presentation and a female method of presentation, and that, irregardless of the worth of the two methods taken in a vacuum, that the male method is most often considered the best or better one.

I always feel strange talking about these issues because I feel like it seems like I'm trying to appear to be sensative to these issues, thus appearing more open-minded (leaving the fact that it makes the ladies dig me aside), but I've really never considered some of the intricacies of all this before.

Alley (and Lauren or others in the know), if you could recommend some good books of the history of feminism or the theory of it, I'm interested in reading more.

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