Feminism Flounders


Dedicated to my muze: @EsthervanFenema

It’s a common misunderstanding that men and women are equal, a myth perpetuated by generations of idealists fed by the declaration of human rights. Lofty as that declaration is, it holds quite a few misconceptions. Next to the misconception that humanity is one big family of entities who strive all for the common good and thereby gain common rights, there is also the misconception about the equality of the male and female of the species.

Biologically, mentally and spiritually they are not equal, they are completely different. They have different bodies, brains, minds, capacities etc. These are biologically predefined. Ages of evolution caused the two genders to be good at some tasks, worse at others but not at the same. Whole neural networks are setup at birth to make that so, environmental feedback only serves to train them.

Along comes feminism. At first for good reason. Women didn’t have the same rights as men, and where treated as second rate humans. Which was a wholly one sided view perpetuated by religious doctrine and completely false. So that got corrected, women got the same rights as men.
Strangely enough nobody thought to attach also the duties which came with privileges leaving the balance somewhat in favor of women. Worse still, to make up for the millennia of female maltreatment even positive discrimination was introduced.

Which left women with a strong feeling of entitlement but overall without the capacity to take part in the acquired rights. Which created a new wave of feminism, the feminism of complaint. Every time women didn’t make the grade this was due to those awful men not giving them their just dues. Fervently the followers of the doctrine of female entitlement battled against the perceived injustice creating a whole new world where us versus them took over.

Men should come down a notch or two so women could more easily take their entitled places. Over the years this resulted in a society where the born with capacities were disconnected from daily life, men had to behave more like women and women started to behave more like men.

The direct result of this are generations of men and women who lost their footing due to the forced roles they had to assume and for which both were not exactly fit. Now none was feeling well in their roles as unisex beings.

Man/women kind should return to what they are good at, instead of desperately trying to deny that nature has reserved different roles for both. Denying your true self can only lead to insecurity, anxiety and various mental issues.

Stop floundering feminists. Start taking yourself seriously as a woman. Accept both genders are unequal, but not thereby more or less worth. Stop bitching about what the world does to you and take control of your own life. Stop trying to level the playing field by forcing men and women into some lowest common denominator, but go and prove yourself by just doing your thing.

23 thoughts on “Feminism Flounders

  1. Glad I found your blog Petrossa, through Neuroskeptic.

    Accept both genders are unequal, but not thereby more or less worth.
    Better …
    Accept that both genders are different but not thereby more or less worth

    • Tnx John. I did consider that more gentle phrase, but i found unequal the better fit, since it is just how it is. The genders aren’t merely different, they are just unequal to many tasks. The stereotypes abound and many of them are mostly true. Many things a female can do, a man totally fails. And the other way around. Sure both genders can learn to do tasks the other is good at, but with equal training the preferred task of each gender will still be executed better by the alloted gender under same circumstances.
      I also used unequal to combat the political correct thinking about equality. In that frame of mind equality is factual, not metaphysical. Evidently all humans are equal in the sense they are homo sapiens, but no one is going to tell me that some nutcase cannibalistic jihadist is equal to me.
      Also i find that assuming factual equality puts undue pressure on the genders leading to gender confusion. Reading how an educational center accepts as gender: undefined makes me toes curl.

      • I accept your idea re “unequal” . In a facebook discussion on some recent research I was trying to convince people that it is rather obvious that sex hormones make a huge difference “below the neck” so it is ridiculous to think it doesn’t have implications above the neck. They wouldn’t budge so I then had to point out the obvious … studies on mammalian species generally indicate gender related differences are the norm and even cited 3 studies pointing this out. Still they would not listen. It is amazing how ideology blinds people!

      • It is indeed amazing. In my mind it is a couple of generations of indoctrination at work. Kids since the 1980’s have been educated with this equality principle, but not in the metaphysical sense. More like it’s a real thing, that 1 on 1 equality is a fact. Which to any open mind clearly isn’t so. What also is weird that only males respond to my post, via other channels females did respond, but just blindly refused to continue the discussion when confronted with the inescapable facts. They just said (each in their own imitable way) “Talk to my hand”

      • It is category confusion, as if we must assume equipotential capacity in order to assert everyone must be accorded a fundamental right to live their life. One is about ability, the latter is a moral\metaphysical position. It reminds me of discussions concerning intelligence, where some people are offended by the idea that some are more intelligent than others. Their position is subtly fascistic because they presuppose equipotential capacity is a necessary requirement to perceive all people as being worthy of being treated equally under the law and in society. As far as I’m concerned even a homo habilis is entitled to the same respect as a person as I would anyone of any talents. Given some of the recent research into animal behavior I even wonder if that principle should extend beyond homindae and even primates.

      • You read my mind and wrote it better then i could. Anyone with pets and takes the time soon finds out they consciously plan ahead to attain a goal. Myriad of anecdotes around, pity this only reaches the ears of by anthropomorphism blocked scientific minds. I guess it’s the innate hubris of our species which is at work. As i said in one of my posts here:
        “Their philosophy of life we do not understand just as little as they understand ours. But by their standards they sure can feel superior over humans with good reason.”

      • Frans de Waal, The Age of Empathy. Wonderful read, can transform our understanding of animal behavior and morality. Some quite amazing accounts of animal altruism.

  2. I find your portrayal of feminism lacking needed nuance– I’m left wondering how much (if any) modern feminist literature you have read, to base your argument on the idea of a single, united version of feminism consisting of “complaint.” In my own experience — and in the readings of gender studies courses I’ve taken on feminism & its history — I have not found there to be in existence any sort of single, united feminism. Like any other group or movement, feminists are divided on issues and attitudes towards certain things, and there is no one end goal of feminism.

    “that got corrected, women got the same rights as men”
    “leaving the balance somewhat in favor of women”
    “even positive discrimination was introduced”

    Your words indicate a fundamental lack of information regarding the experience of being female in modern society; perhaps you should ask — and actually listen to — women to hear their thoughts on your claim of social equality. You call it a “feminism of complaint,” and I wonder if you’ve heard what the serious complaints of serious feminists actually are. Is every one of their complaints trivial, in your mind? Are there any arguments made that aren’t “complaints”?

    You also failed to clarify the population on which you make your argument. Are your statements universal, or (as I suspect) do you speak only of your own experiences in upper/middle-class America? There are, after all, definite differences in the legal and social treatment of women & men depending on where in the world you do your studies (race, location, religion, culture).

    Finally, your last statement grated on me, personally. “Stop floundering feminists. Start taking yourself seriously as a woman.” I am a feminist, and I am not a woman. Please, make your arguments sans the clear condescension and near-sightedness of your initial post. I’d like to actually read your responses to my points and have a civil debate, if possible.

    • Civil debate is always possible. As to your point about western women, obviously. Most non-western women have no rights at all. Many nations refuse to sign the declaration of human rights just because it holds a clause about equal rights for men and women. As soon as i see feminists protesting wearing full body clothing i’ll take them serious on that point. As it stands now, as far i’ve seen, feminists actually protest FOR ‘the right’ of women to wear such denigrating clothing making their viewpoints rather suspect since it shows a distinct lack of understanding what motivates women to be subordinated to the point they actually reclaim their prison.

      • …You didn’t address my main points, which were the important part of my critique of your post. In fact, you continued with the attitude I found most flawed: treating feminism as a single ideology with members who all believe the exact same thing, and argue the same points, and ignore the same issues. Which simply isn’t true.

        To address directly your points here (in your reply), these articles describe feminists doing exactly what you said they don’t; that is, “protesting wearing full body clothing” (i.e., the Muslim burqa and hijab, etc.):

        http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/04/amina-tyler-topless-photos-tunisia-activism.html
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/25/amina-tyler-femen_n_2949376.html
        http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/04/24/is-the-hijab-worth-fighting-over/in-hijab-debate-a-weak-vision-of-feminism
        http://www.citizenside.com/en/photos/demonstrations/2010-03-06/22699/demonstration-against-burqa-in-paris-france.html#f=0/125308

        According to The Stream, “Femen [a radical feminist activism group] is now focusing their attention on Muslim women wearing the veil. Using slogans such as better naked than the burqa’ and ‘Muslim women let’s get naked,’ the group is causing negative reactions from some Muslims[…]” (http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/future-feminism-0022381)

        Are you taking them seriously now?

        Again (and now in all caps, since it didn’t seem to register the first time), NOT ALL FEMINISTS ARE THE SAME. The ones described above are clearly against the culturally-forced wearing of full-body veils. I, on the other hand, am for people wearing whatever makes them feel happy, comfortable, connected to their god, morally sound, whatever reason they may have. (I am “pro-choice” in this matter.) I am against cultural and religious subjugation of women, and I do believe the reasoning and moral laws behind the veils bears examining, but I’m not part of the culture itself — I’m not a Muslim woman, which is the important bit — and therefore I have no actual right to pass judgment or hold protests on their behalf.

        I am also a feminist — or am I not? Because I don’t subscribe to the exact same beliefs as the feminist involved in the anti-burqa protests? (This, by the way, is not an argument I actually want to get into right now. It’s not relevant to your blog post, and can be better articulated in other forums, with people more educated about the culture than me.)

        Now, I’d like to turn your attention back to my original points, paragraphs 1-3 of my comment (from “I find your portrayal” to “arent ‘complaints’?”). Please address these, if you have the energy, because I’m genuinely curious about your response.

      • Femen also protest against prostitution and wants it outlawed. No, i don’t take them seriously. They are an extremist activist group. In Europe mainstream feminists protest FOR the right to wear full body clothing. Please find me a feminist group representing the majority view. I am not going to argue various activist fringe opinions. Those vary from extreme to extremely extreme to pure hatred. Mainstream feminism has the issues i described. Lack of determination, feeling of entitlement.

  3. Forgive me; in my last comment I made an assumption that you were American — this was just proved false upon reading your “About.” For clarity, please replace in your mind my words “upper/middle-class America” with “the Western World” or some similar variation.

  4. I wasn’t expecting to argue “various activist fringe opinions.” My point, for the third or fourth time now, is that not all feminists are the same. There are majority opinions sometimes, or there appear to be. Yeah, okay. But to classify it all as the exact same feminism and make generalizations like your paragraphs

    “Which created a new wave of feminism, the feminism of complaint. Every time women didn’t make the grade this was due to those awful men not giving them their just dues. Fervently the followers of the doctrine of female entitlement battled against the perceived injustice creating a whole new world where us versus them took over.”

    and

    “Stop floundering feminists. Start taking yourself seriously as a woman. Accept both genders are unequal, but not thereby more or less worth. Stop bitching about what the world does to you and take control of your own life. Stop trying to level the playing field by forcing men and women into some lowest common denominator, but go and prove yourself by just doing your thing.”

    is degrading and limiting to the actual issues modern feminists address.

    Where is this feeling of entitlement you claim? Again — and here is a statement from my original comment, which I’d hoped you’d address:

    “Your words indicate a fundamental lack of information regarding the experience of being female in modern society; perhaps you should ask — and actually listen to — women to hear their thoughts on your claim of social equality. You call it a ‘feminism of complaint,’ and I wonder if you’ve heard what the serious complaints of serious feminists actually are. Is every one of their complaints trivial, in your mind?”

    Maybe the issues between us stem from a cultural difference; perhaps the feminism you see in France is different from the versions I see in America and on the world-wide web. Maybe the social issues I see taking place (laws regarding abortion and fetal homicide, disregard of bodily autonomy, representation in media, rape culture, cat-calling, body-policing) are absent or different in your country (I somewhat doubt that yours is the American feminist’s ideal, though).

    The matter stands that you are equating all feminists but the most extreme as seemingly-identical in viewpoint, and honestly I find your attitude lacking respect. Have you read much feminist literature, or are you basing your assumptions on just what you experience in your heterosexual, cisgender, presumably upper-middle class male life?

    • I thought we would have a civil discussion? Here you go of on a rage already and we only have exchanged words for a couple of times. I’m sorry if you find my pov lacking in respect, but that’s your problem not mine. Generally is accepted that there is a movement which for easy classification is called ‘mainstream feminism’ and represent all persons with moderate viewpoint on the gender relations. If you now want to inform me that such a movement doesn’t exist and i fact no unity at all can be found among feminism one wonders what relevance the word actually has.

      I’m not French, and i find the French society extremely retarded on many positions. I’m for freedom of choice, i am for pre- and post-natal abortion, i’m for everybody’s right to earn money with their own body anyway they see fit (male and female) etc. I’m also for people taking their own lives in their own hands and not sit and wait for someone else to hand it to them or blame someone else for their own incapacity to take part in those fields they feel excluded.

      Women and men have equal rights. So take them or leave them.

      • Did I come off as being “on a rage”? Damn. And I thought my attitude was more logical than that.
        Joking aside, I really don’t think I was being textually angry, there; I certainly didn’t use any inappropriate capitalization or exclamation points (the usual cues for online emotion). Is calling someone out on a lack of respect inherently non-civil now? If it is, I apologize, for offending you if not for the sentiment itself. It wasn’t my intention to come across as breaking the idea of a civil discussion and going off on a rage.

        Fine. You have convinced me that your view of one feminism isn’t inherently flawed. I still believe that an image of a multifaceted feminism is more accurate (even if the facets are of one unified feminism itself), but I can see how your unified view would be worth using in discussion as a concept.

        HOWEVER I take issue with your absolute statement of men and women having equal rights. I think many feminists would disagree with you, esp. re: disregard of bodily autonomy.
        For a simpler relevant example, I’d like to point out that in multiple states in the U.S., a newlywed woman changing her surname to her husband’s pays much less for the name-change than a newlywed man changing his surname to his wife’s. Why? Outdated concepts of gender roles and expectations of marriage. These are issues feminism hopes to address, among others.

        ALSO, feminism is relevant regardless of legal equality. Equal rights =/= social equality. Re: representation in media, rape culture, cat-calling, body-policing. These are cultural problems I see feminists fighting and trying to overcome.

        (the words I uppercased are the beginnings of my main two points, by the way)

        Also, what did you mean by “take them or leave them”?

      • Also I take issue with your use of the word “retarded” as a slur. You know. As long as we’re trying to be civil, let’s not be ableist, yes?

  5. I don’t mind multi-faceted feminism, but then you have to accept the fact that those not of that particular ideology have a hard time coming to grips with it. As you present it it’s more like a moving goalpost then a carefully outlined proposition.

    Social equality one obtains by being socially equal. As it stands now labor participation in W-Europe is low for women expressed in manhours (more women work parttime then man) despite having more then adequate education/skills. It’s a lack of interest determined by the biological role women have, something nobody can be blamed for unfortunately.

    Evidently employers aren’t very willing to take on high level personnel which at any time can take off to follow her instinct. It’s very expensive compared to an equally skilled man, even in jobs where it would make more sense to hire women due to their innate qualities.

    So in the end only a determined few arrive at the end, or the elderly after childbearing age.
    As for my ‘retarded’ word, in my language its perfectly in its place/civil and since i am writing this it’s your job to acknowledge our different cultures and not hold me to your cultures narrow political correct phrasing.

    • NOT ALL FEMINISTS ARE THE SAME.

      That’s the problem Ryn, if they are not all the same they should not all be calling themselves feminists. In many disciplines sub-groups distinguish themselves. Eg. Molecular biologist, evolutionary biologist, marine biologist etc. I think Petrossa’s point is that the public face of feminism is represented in a certain way, though that may vary across nations when the appellation “feminist” occurs people typically derive an understanding through that public image presented, not through all the various nuances of that movement.

      Wittgenstein wrote: Words are posts on which we hang meanings. It is not possible nor desirable that we should thoroughly acquaint ourselves with the minutiae of every political movement. The very greater majority of people will attach meanings to words as determined by the general public expression of those words. In my country Australia feminism is very quiet even though Germaine Greer is an Aussie. She has, along with some other feminists, attacked men as basically being bastards. Doesn’t help, highly hypocritical to demand respect from those you are condemning as a group.

      I have noted overseas reports suggesting the demise of our ex Prime Minister Julia Gillard was because Aussies are misogynist. Nonsense, she was thrown out because she did some very stupid things. Activists need to be very careful of what I call “activist over-reach”. Feminism has done a great job in helping women address the discrimination they have experienced since the dawn of time but their too often expressed contempt for men, their too often invoked the misogynist card, has in the last decade made them increasingly irrelevant to young women.

      • Quote: “The underlying thread of all Feminism is self hatred of the natural biology of being a woman, and destruction of the feminine is their goal.” writer i don’t know

  6. The biggest issue I have is with this:
    “Which left women with a strong feeling of entitlement but overall without the capacity to take part in the acquired rights. Which created a new wave of feminism, the feminism of complaint. Every time women didn’t make the grade this was due to those awful men not giving them their just dues. Fervently the followers of the doctrine of female entitlement battled against the perceived injustice creating a whole new world where us versus them took over.

    Men should come down a notch or two so women could more easily take their entitled places. Over the years this resulted in a society where the born with capacities were disconnected from daily life, men had to behave more like women and women started to behave more like men.”

    First off, I would argue that women are still fighting (in many parts of the US) for bodily autonomy. We are still not allowed the capacity to choose what to do with our bodies and when in terms of reproductive justice. Following the logic of your post, we should be able to have this right, as our bodies are made primarily to reproduce and carry children. We should be afforded the choice to do so, yes? For me personally, this is the biggest stink I make about women not being completely equal to men. I volunteer at abortion clinics and can tell you the amount of shit that some poor women go through, not just to get an abortion, but just to get birth control.

    I am not sure as to what you’re talking about with “women not making the grade” and blaming it on men. Also the fact that positive discrimination has been favored lately. What positive discrimination? Telling men not to comment on our bodies like they are toys or a painting? Is that really such a horrifying burden that you have to bear as a man? Personally I don’t blame men. I blame it on the patriarchal structure of our society. There is a reason why only 18% of our US congress is women, while 51% of the US is female. I am not particularly arguing this is due to any maliciousness on the part of men (while some feminists might for sure), but I do think it is something we need to reexamine as a society, especially because of the traditional roles that females have held as thinkers, society-builders, and problem solvers. The employment numbers for females are worse for STEM jobs, but according to your logic that would make sense as women do have have the same math/spacial awareness that men are naturally afforded (that’s been proven again and again by really cool CT-scans showing how male/female brains operate).

    I am also not sure what entitled place when are really fighting for, or which ones you see. The “perceived injustices.” The ones that make men more like women and women more like men. I think a lot of this can also be explained by pure economics. Once women did have the right to become autonomous economically, they were forced by a capitalistic system to only operate the way that men do. We have no other choice but to do that. Even so, we still cannot operate fully in this system if we so choose to have children. In the United States you are not paid for leave to have children, and neither is your husband. This bastardizes our family systems and leads to increased divorce. Increased divorce also makes sense after women gain political and economic autonomy. They can support themselves for the most part, so they are not forced to stay in love-less or worse yet, abusive marriages. This is a bit meta both I think it’s something both feminists and the people critiquing them forget to consider.

    And to be honest, a post like this makes me angry. Because of course you can never understand because you are an older male. Of course it will feel like you are being knocked down a few notches in some places (I am not exactly sure where though?). What work place are you in (perhaps barring education, non-profits, and nursing) where you are displaced, knocked down, silenced, for being a man? Sure internet warriors are a bit overbearing, sure they do like to silence men, and feel that men should be silenced. But their feelings and words across the internet have little translation to real life, where women still make lower income (mostly due to the fact that we are not given paid leave to have children, and further develop society) and still do not have complete bodily autonomy. Many women experience are unable to pay for health care due to their increased costs of being a woman, and having lower income. There may yet still be something there to make a stink about.

    Overall, however, I do agree about the shit name of feminism. I hate to watch justice warriors cling onto issues that have no bearing in reality. I wrote a blog post about a critique of the new wave feminist love of the phrase “rape culture” and how that phrase has no place in describing America’s culture towards women. I also do agree that men and women ARE vastly different. I don’t necessarily think that biology should determine your economic or political role in society, and your blog post can be very easily construed as that. Some women (for the sake of argument let’s say about 10-15%) ARE very good at math and science. Just because they are women does not mean that they should be relegated to some other role because 85 to 90% of women are better at something else. The same obviously goes to men. I would say though, that women in STEM that mythical 10-15% are still experiencing difficulty breaking into their field and being respected within their field, merely due to the fact that they are women. The other thing that I would argue, is that most humans have a masculine/feminine side. This is determined by nature (genetics, evolution) and nurture, and it’s something we should not shy away from, or regulate. It is something we absolutely should embrace and use to our advantages. One more small note on this point: our societal preconceived notions of femininity and masculinity actually affect science to a great degree. Scientists (whether those are anthropologists, evolutionary biologists, etc) are influenced by their societal expectations of how men and women behave, and this influences, and biases their findings. We cannot always trust what we have been told about the roles of males v females biologically and therefore politically, and economically.

    I have been hesitant to say it in this response, but I truly believe that your shock at this, your upset-ness may stem from the fact that you are watching a revolution in process, one in which the power structures are being upheaved. Anyone who benefits from a power structure will critique it when it starts to tip in favor of those who did not benefit from it before-hand. That, that is human nature. Being terrified of someone other than you, and your group, whether that be male, female, Black, white, Latin@, taking over the position that you occupy and the benefits you receive. I will further say that this confusion and uncomfortableness with the way that society is going, or with the way that gender roles are developing, can also seem to be much worse than they actually are in reality. You say men are systematically being knocked down now, that they are experiencing positive discrimination, but when I look at employment statistics (along with the everlasting debate over abortion and birth control in America) I see that women are about equal in most cases. I still see that the majority of land owners in America are male. I see that women are still not accounted for politically. I see that most partners at firms, most CEOs, most economic leaders, are also male. I am not saying that this is right or wrong. But following the logic of your post women should be in certain sectors over others, and I still do not see the numbers there – except in fields where women are favored over men (like nursing and teaching, and I would still argue that this isn’t right, because most PROFESSORS at universities are male).

    I am sorry this is so long, obviously this gave me a lot of fruit for thought. I basically disagree with you, but you do bring up some absolutely great points that I want to think on more myself. Thank you.

    • To put you mind at rest i am a retired selfmade entrepreneur and was never displaced or otherwise involved with female power struggles.
      My ideas i got from observation of the many different workplaces i needed to analyze in my capacity as main systems-analyst in my company.
      As such my insights have the benefit of lots of on hand experience.

      I’ll skip over the part about female ‘objectification’ as being irrelevant. Many women make their money voluntarily that way. As you may or may not know in the Netherlands prostitution is a officially recognized job, no different from CEO. Job placement offers are on display in government run employment centers. I find this a part of feminism narrowminded and disdainful for those who made that choice.

      Women are fighting for being recognized even as human rather then cattle in the majority of the islamic world, which fortunately we aren’t (yet) which is therefore a wholly religious affair. To solve that you just need to take away freedom of religion.

      The USA suffers in a much lesser way from the same issue, religious habits make for the second-rate position of women. Here also the solution is simple.

      There is one problem with your statements vis-a-vis the 10% females not getting their fair chance. In Europe many nations have quota for gender distribution at the high level functions, such as boardroom functions. The EU has decided to make that mandatory.
      The net result wasn’t what you expected… How hard one tried the women qualified for such positions just weren’t available/interested.

      Look at this grossly misleading ‘study’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smj.2123/full where actually no big difference was noted in Denmark after introduction of quota which then got ‘explained’ by the varying size of boards…. This way you turn failure into success and propose to do the same elsewhere. With predictable results.

      Do some research yourself in these papers and see that most suffer from the same positive bias. In that context read this paper on how papers are biased http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001747

      About Professors i tend to agree. That’s a very closed bastion of selfimportant arrogant men. However it’s not therefore exemplary for the rest of the workplace.

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