Category Archives: feminism

Women against feminism part three – think outside the box

The momentum that has ushered white, educated, wealthy woman in the western world out from behind the veil and into the wide where-and-when-ever-I-want-to-go world is not ubiquitous. The momentum exists in pockets of privilege and well lit corporate hallways, but it is conspicuously absent in many non-western societies.

Our momentum is improving our neighbourhood, but it isn’t helping the woman trapped outside the boundaries of our accumulated privilege at the same rate or in the same way it helps us. Only our active engagement with the feminist movement can do that.

nellie     louise     emily

Women against feminism are not only turning their back on the movement that fought for their comfortable ability right to turn their back at all. It’s like a dog biting the hand that feeds it. This isn’t the first movement to have a free rider problem and it won’t be the last.

But that isn’t the worst of their folly.

The true tragedy (and disgrace) is that they are turning their backs on all the women who have not yet gained the privilege of being treated like human beings, being safe in their own bodies and being allowed to pursue their own happiness.

Hey, you know, sometimes it’s not all about you, right? Think outside the box.

Too many of us don’t want to acknowledge what has come to be a globally accepted, albeit comicbook, truism: with great power comes great responsibility. We are empowered and have the responsibility to work extend that empowerment beyond our immediate selves.

Be a feminist for the woman who hasn’t got that option.

Be the feminist face to a government other than your own that thinks it can ignore the women it refuses to represent.

Be a feminist for the sake of other women until those other women are able use momentum to propel themselves to the place you currently take for granted.

Dec 6 1989 – Let’s talk about 25 years

December 6, 2014. Twenty-five years since the day that a man that believed that ‘feminists’ had ruined his life purposefully selected and killed 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal.

I was days away from my 21st birthday. Montreal was really far away from Edmonton, and the massacre was really far away from anything I had ever experienced or imagined could happen in my world. Afterall, I lived in a western democracy where women’s rights were respected. I mean, maybe when my mother was young there was a problem, but for me? I couldn’t imagine.

The blessing of my life is that I have never been the victim violence, sexual or otherwise.  I’ve known sexual harassment, and obviously I know that nagging fear every woman who finds herself suddenly alone in an unfamiliar place knows. I’ve struggled with body image, but I’ve managed to get through with pretty good self esteem. I am lucky in ways that a human being should never have to refer to as luck, yet in a way that for women is realistically characterized as coin-toss good fortune.

Reading the news today I wonder what has changed between that and now, days away from my 46th birthday.

What I do know now is that the world is not as safe and benign as I naively thought it was then. Have we made any progress since Dec 6 1989? I have a hard time sorting out the progress from the regress and I don’t know if I can do the topic justice.

Here are 6 views on the topic written by people trying to sort that out.

Women against feminism part two – get thee behind me, momentum

So my point, continued, is that neither anger nor misandry are inherent to feminist ideology and shouldn’t be used as reasons to reject feminism. The core of feminism is a call for human rights. We need people to stick with feminism to keep the core large in order that the fringe is kept in check.

Now, the thing about being a white, educated, wealthy woman in the western world is that it doesn’t leave a lot of starkly obvious[1] things to object to. My grandmother and mother took care of the stark and obvious injustices. For instance, their lot gave me the vote, personhood under the law, and access to the education I want. That is the big picture, and it can give the impression that everything is taken care of.

But you know the devil is in the details. That’s leaves us, as white, educated, wealthy woman in the western world, with issues that are grey and have softer edges. They are harder to clearly define. They take more detailed evaluation and more strategic motivated action to address. They are no less important as issues, they are just less clearly defined. For example we need to address the pay gap between men and women, unrealistic beauty standards, access to family planning and reproductive autonomy, and body sovereignty.

I accept that those issues already have considerable momentum behind them and are easy to lose enthusiasm for. The blessing of being a white, educated, wealthy woman in the western world is that we have a choice between losing enthusiasm; cheering halfheartedly or opting out of the discussion; and still the momentum will carry us forward. How long it will carry us forward if everyone chooses to not participate I don’t know. It’s a gamble that holds very good odds in the short run that even those who opt out will benefit. As in many circumstances, playing the odds is selfish and one person’s win is another person’s loss. Opting out and making gains from the efforts of other people is a bit selfish. In the long run staying the course, identifying as a feminist, continuing to point out the remaining inequalities and helping the feminist cause stay on course and strong enough to resist fringe elements, is the generous and less risky course. Opting leaves the continued work from which all HUMAN BEINGS (not just women) benefit, up to a minority of the population. It leaves us all open to the risk of being dragged down by the fringes and/or backward by outliers who actually do not believe in the feminist cause (and by extension in human rights).

I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I not only opted out, but also denied that any work needs to be done, which is precisely what ‘women against feminism’ do.

My next blog, continuing this topic, is about the majority of women. Most of us are not white, educated, wealthy woman in the western world with momentum behind us.

 

[1] It didn’t until recently anyway. But I simply don’t have the energy right now to bring up Jian Ghomeshi and the beautiful can of worms he has opened up

Women against feminism (pt 1of4) – The Fringe Mentality

I know I am not the only person who has noticed that the ‘women against feminism’ are privileged white women – privileged with reference to the fact that they can vote, go to school, testify in a court of law, and generally exist without anyone asking for permission. In turning their back on the movement that earned them these privileges, anti-feminists reveal they are either not the brightest crayon in the box or something is being lost in the constantly evolving communication of modern feminist ideology. (Quite probably some combination of the two)

There are mistakes being made in communicating feminism to a new generation of women. The worst damage is being done by a vocal minority attempting to define feminism leadership and the ideology a feminist must adhere to.

Listen – NEVER confuse an ideology with that ideology’s fringe element. I know they are vocal and easy to point out. I know they are cocky and pretty sure they are in charge. I know that they can rub moderate fence sitting types the wrong way.

The thing is, ‘women against feminism’, (and I CANNOT bring myself to type that phrase outside of quotation marks) make the mistake of equating angry, bitter women with feminism in its totality. Yeah, there are angry feminists. There are happy feminists. Feminists vary as much as people do (go figure) Exacerbating the ‘angry’ image problem is the fact that frequently women who speak up about anything are swiftly caricaturized as angry and pointed out. Which coincidentally, is a good indicator of how fragile our hard earned western feminist privileges are and how easily the layers of equity can be peeled away with a label like ‘bitch’ or ‘femi-nazi’.

Another point of miscommunication is the idea that feminists hate men or want to take away rights from men. I am loath to touch ‘man hating’ because it makes the worst of all mistakes; it continues to draw a strict line between human beings based on gender.

difference-between-men-and-women42-300x296

Let’s just say that human rights are not a zero sum game, and granting women human rights in no way strips men of human rights. It’s not a war, win or lose, us or them. You can love cooking dinner and still maintain the feminist belief that you are equal to your husband. You can give respect a man while still insisting on respect for yourself. You don’t have to be personally victimized to understand victimhood. Being accountable for your own actions does not mean you cannot expect others to be accountable for theirs. You can dislike one man and love a hundred other men. Feminism and motherhood are not antithetical (why would they be?) Looking out for women does not mean over looking-men (in fact feminism benefits men, more on that in another post) You can lift yourself up without pushing someone else down.

If what you are doing is your free choice you are standing up to patriarchy. If you are actively making your own free choices in your life no matter what they are, understand that whether you own up to the label or not, you are a feminist. Feminism isn’t about conforming to an ideology, it is about conforming to your own inner narrative about who you are and what you need to be fulfilled.

 

 

Confirmation bias

I have a few fears that come with behaviors attached, and high on my prioritized list of scary things I could do is the fear of not taking into account as many vantage points as are presented to me. As Aristotle wrote – It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. I aspire to an educated mind.

The ability to present our own views without being blinded by them is fundamental to effective communication. The key to not being blinded by our own attitudes is avoiding confirmation bias.

For the sake of clarity, confirmation bias is defined as the tendency to interpret evidence or points of view that are presented to us only as they confirm our own pre-existing world view, and to disregard and/or avoid any evidence or point of view that would lead us to question the same. It involves purposefully seeking out only the information that confirms what we believe and ignoring what calls our beliefs into question. Confirmation bias is strongly ingrained into human nature.

Avoiding this pitfall is important for me, and sometimes it is hard work.

After all, who doesn’t want to unfriend that one idiot who posts all the (not thought) provoking tea party, anti-climate change, you’re either ‘with me or against me’ tripe on Facebook?

Or the ninny that posts about meditating to cure illnesses; who likes  and shares every bit of drivel that Deepak Choprah spews out?  (FYI, I always get a giggle out of this: http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/)

Who would it hurt to end what is obviously not a true friendship, but what is probably at best an acquaintance based on some perverse intellectual voyeurism?

Therein lies the rub. It would hurt me.

I keep my circle wide because it helps me maintain my mental acuity. How else would I encounter a daily challenge to my ability refute inanity? What other reason do I have to keep that logical fallacies poster by my desk or to maintain solid knowledge of Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement? I could end up being one of those people who defends her opinions with the lazy way out “Because that’s the way I was raised/the tradition/how we’ve always done it”

More importantly, I keep my circle wide because disagreeing with one person’s one point of view does not mean that that same one person does not have something to teach me, because we don’t just learn from agreement. I particularly cherish the people who do really think critically and rationally, but still arrive at different conclusions from me.

Confirmation bias is a real danger.  When all our contacts and information are selected from sympathetic sources it is too easy to become intellectually compromised, and maybe even to become one of the nitwit someone else blogs about.

So I thank all the nitwits, simpletons, cretins and nincompoops that exist within the parameters of my network. You keep me sharp. My family, however, may not be as grateful because thanks to you they get to listen to a lot of frustrated raving about the sad state of society and how much I despair for the future of the human race.

 

 

 

We need a feminist re-brand and collective smack upside the head

(this was written very quickly – albeit after I calmed down because this has me very agitated – and I will probably come back to revisit grammar and spelling and rhetoric, but I felt compelled to post it, imperfect as it may be)

http://globalnews.ca/news/1588583/iceland-announces-men-only-un-conference-on-women-gender-equality/

“Iceland Announces men-only UN conference on women, gender equality”

When I posted this on my Facebook page I did so because I thought this was wonderful news.

Men wanting to talk about gender equality is, to me, a clear sign of commitment to seeing gender as an issue that transcends male and female. It is, after all, a human rights issue, which it makes it an issue whether there is a woman in the room or not.

However, gender equality effects men and women differently. And, it DOES effect men. Sadly, many men are not aware that it does. Societies that are more equal are not only coincidentally also more stable and wealthier. Countries that have lower rates of violence against women have over all lower rates of violence.

Perhaps if men in positions of influence sit together and talk they can share how it effects men and come to understand why it is so important for men to work toward constructive change in the way that gender is dealt with in our societies. They can discuss how dimorphic gender roles harm men as much as they harm women. The best person to demonstrate that fact to a man is another man.

When I saw this article I was encouraged that these men wanted to band together and talk about how they can be my ally, and about how they can walk beside me in a way that only a man can – and let’s be clear AGAIN, men and women will be addressing the issue from different vantage points.

I was glad to see the battle for equality will be fought on two fronts. I was glad that these men were going to gather and talk about how, in their male relationships, they can work toward the same goal I am working toward. We need men to model positive male behavior to other men.

I want them to meet. I want them to talk. It is wrong to not allow them the space to do that.

No one has any logical reason or moral right to object to or  to be offended by or to mock manhood’s sincere attempt from a uniquely male perspective to come to terms with an issue they are expected to help solve.

This is why my boys roll their eyes when they hear the word feminist. Because they are being told they must join a group for women, driven by women on women’s terms. It doesn’t accommodate their maleness. Feminism isn’t just for women and a man cannot experience it on a woman’s terms. It’s for humanity, and men must come to understand it on their own terms before we can have equality.

We need a feminist re-brand because the ideology has gotten off course, steered by people who are NOT thinking critically before they react and collectively all need a smack upside the head.

Our mission, here at Planned Pedanthood

Pedant. The word has a negative connotation on the outside. And by outside, I mean among people who have never bothered to master communication or critical thinking. The word seems to have gained a connotation of snobbery. Let’s begin with that, shall we?

Pull back the curtain and …. Darcy’s BLOG

Here at Planned Pedanthood I believe it is important to dispel some of that negativity with an illumination of the benefits of pedantry, the exquisite beauty of sententious communications and the laconic aphorism.

Planned Pedanthood stands for the fundamental right of each individual throughout the world to master his or her communication, regardless of the individual’s income, family background, access to formal education, proximity to public libraries or personal flair for the dramatic. We believe that respect and value for message delivery in all aspects of life are essential to society’s well-being.

Based on this belief, and reflecting on the community I live in, my mission for Planned Pedanthood is:

  • To provide complementary eloquent, flippant and sagacious commentary in this blog setting, to preserve and protect my personal and public sanity in an insane world
  • To advocate for public advancement in the areas of communication
  • To guarantee the basic human right to not be forced to endure fatuousness
  • To provide an outlet for my individual pedantic tendencies lest my education be earned in vain
  • To promote language and the advancement of elucidatory discourse with an emphasis on the use of social media, and to encourage understanding of the ethical, behavioral and social implications of bad communication

I look forward to future opportunities to blog my frustrations and concerns, and to bring to light shining examples of true eloquence where I find them.