Tag Archives: human rights

Personal Pedantic Political Peroration, the Social Edition

I am going to keep saying this until it sinks in; Yes, government has a role in legislating morality.

We need to elect progressive, liberal minded representatives that understand why philosophical-esque ideologies clash over individual and plural rights in our communities. Look:

  • liberalism = commitment to balancing individual freedom and social justice.
  • conservatism = commitment to traditional values, the goals and ideologies of which vary.

The definition of social conservatism includes the caveat that traditional values vary between groups. In any society there are potentially multiple traditions, and potentially values may not align.

I hope you can hear me over the wailing right-wing nuts when I say this. Do try…

If we’re all going to live together, we need balance. Maintaining balance between personal and secular values isn’t a zero sum game.* Sharing a human right doesn’t eliminate it; or halve it, or quarter it, or reduce it by any fraction. Removing a tradition from the public realm doesn’t necessarily remove it from the personal realm. In fact a zero sum only happens when progressive liberalism governance is NOT present.

Herein lies the peril inherent in democracy. Votes are equal individually, but not collectively. The risk that a majority can run roughshod over a minority exists because there is considerable pressure for government to conform to majority held views.

But the role is government is not to pander to the majority, it is to rise above and serve the whole.

In a progressive liberal democracy we avoid the trampling minority rights by implementing reforms that protect the right to have personally different values. A progressive government implements reform where there is contradiction between current traditionally informed and non-traditional choices. Progressive governance mitigates inequality founded upon tradition.

The catalyst for this Personal Pedantic Political Peroration is the Bill 10 fiasco in Alberta. Bill 10 panders to the worst pockets of social conservatism in our society. I expect my government to enact legislation that makes it unlawful for any group to use tradition to deny rights to the others. I’m not alone either. Alberta is full of progressive liberal minded people.

I don’t care what any religious tradition says about homosexuality. I am not bound by other traditions. Everyone is free to be offended by LGBT people in any old heteronormative tradition bound way. However, finding something personally offensive does not give anyone the right to censure it. We are all free to disregard any tradition, or the word free doesn’t apply at all.

The right to challenge tradition has been asserted before, and it will be asserted again:

Well, Alberta, now there is so much racket that something must be out of rightness.

I think that between the social progressives in the cities and the reality of what constitutes a human right, the traditional bigots will be in a fix pretty soon. Let’s be honest about what we all are talking about.

The zealots over there say that LGBT students don’t need to be helped to feel safe, or given a place to share, and that they have anti-bullying protection already. Don’t ask don’t tell will help them, doctrine over compassion, because that’s what scripture says.

Was Delwin Vriend protected? Was he? Now look at his students. Tradition clearly allows them to be marginalized, or be punished for who they are, here in this system. Isn’t that bullying? You should look at the statistics and look at these children – maybe you’ll get it – LGBT students suffer your bigotry. Do they deserve it?  They all bear higher risk of suicide, and GSAs mitigate that risk, and aren’t their lives important – doesn’t god love even sinners? Aren’t you a sinner? I hear you all talk about this scripture or that – why use them to justify contempt? What’s that got to do with a moral life?

If you have the right to choose your religion, and you are choosing it freely, doesn’t that give us all the right to choose for ourselves which path to follow? All the small minded keep saying it was Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve; how does your wife feel about Abram and Hagar? Which scriptures do you follow? Which ones are discarded? Use logic and reason for human rights. Your religion has nothing to do with it.

If we have already as a society made a clear distinction between church and state, and we have already agreed to allow our neighbours freedom of conscience, you few right-wing nuts rallying behind your irrational traditions shouldn’t be able to hold the rest of us back from moving human rights forward!

The progressives are speaking, and the government better start listening.**

 

* FUN FACT: Zero Sum one of my favourite pedantological terms, I slip it into every conversation I can.

** With all due respect for the great Sojourner Truth; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

 

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Women against feminism part four – the man update

(Maybe) this is the last time I will address women against feminism. I cannot say for sure because both women and men keep undermining the (human rights) cause(s) that are in their best interest.

For example, this sad example of women blaming women for our unwillingness to accept the status quo, where the status quo is not acceptable. Or this offensive example of trying to erase women from a global discussion.

Anyway…myth busting…

A woman who hates men is not a real feminist, she is a person with problems. I love you guys … when you treat me well, and when you don’t I don’t. A real feminist’s affection for men is a reciprocal affection.

Feminism is not about targeting any segment of the population for contempt. That would be misandry. Misandry is the b-side of a really bad record (the a-side be misogyny). True feminists do not march to that tune.

Feminists promote extending human rights to all human beings, not taking them from men. Human rights are not a zero sum game, rights shared are not rights diminished. Extending human rights to one more human does not in any way mean there are fewer human rights for those who already enjoy them.

Human rights are an infinite resource and hoarding them or restricting their possession to and elite group of humans can in no way ever be justified.

In fact, the one thing that restricting access to human rights CAN and WILL do is make those rights less certain for every last one of us regardless of gender.

Men can and should be self-identifying as feminists. Not for our sake; although I appreciate that sentiment; but for their own sake. What is universally available is very hard to take away.

Feminism is not a power grab, it is a method of solidifying prosperity and freedom for all of us whether we like each other on an individual basis or not.

Men have absolutely nothing to lose by feminism and a great deal to gain by  actively working in unison towards feminist goals. When women win we all win, and denying that men need to be involved or asserting that feminism is not fair to men is just not productive. We are stronger when we stand together.

 

 

I’m dreaming …

I’m dreaming of a rights Christmas, 

With rights for everyone I know

With no native women missing, Two men not fearing kissing, Where we all understand that no means no

I’m dreaming of a rights Christmas

With every tweet and blog I write 

May we keep our government in line, So that all our futures stay bright

leg xmas

I am breaking for the holidays but even while I am away I’ll be keeping up with the little details of my pet issues:

#bill10

#ableg

#abpoli

#cdnpoli

#yesallwomen

#heforshe

#ferguson

#torturereport

#AmINext

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.

 

 

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.