Feb. 19th, 2008

sunflowerp: (Default)
It's not altogether accurate to say that I'm planning a series of entries on feminist issues.  It's more that they're in me, and want to come out.  Some have been waiting for more than 30 years for me to have the life experience, the cohesion of thought, the shape and frame of words, to do them justice.  I can't blame them, now that I have these things, for getting a tad impatient.  "Planning" comes into it mainly in keeping their emergence organized.

Rest easy; you won't be reading any man-bashing rants.  You may, though, read some rants about those - feminist and anti-feminist - who present feminism as a philosophic monoculture opposed to men.

Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of the English Language, in the edition distributed as a companion to the 1959 (note the date) Encyclopaedia Britannica, says, "feminism n  1.  The doctrine which declares the equality of the sexes and advocates equal social, political, and economic rights for women."  (Def 2 is medical, and irrelevant.  There is no def 3.)  While there are quibbles that can be made about that definition (and, being a word geek, I expect to do so in some later entry), it makes, IMO, an excellent baseline.

That's about all the "philosophic monoculture" - what feminists all agree on - that there is.  Feminists disagree, often vigorously and sometimes virulently, about what that means, how best to accomplish it, how much or little has already been accomplished, whether men can be feminists, and what time to adjourn for lunch.  (Not unlike Pagans, or SF fandom.)

Personally, I don't see a damned thing in that definition that excludes men qua men (or includes women qua women, for that matter).  And if I get too hungry, I'll make the motion to adjourn; if the motion is defeated (or bogged down in interminable consensus-building), I'll slide out the back door and go eat.  Which, jesting and snark aside, says quite a bit about what kind of feminist I am.

If the idea of many kinds of feminism, some at loggerheads with each other, is new to you, I recommend Wikipedia's article on the subject (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism).  It may not be accurate in all details, but it's certainly accurate enough to give you a solid notion of the diversity involved - that is to say, it'll probably confuse the hell out of you; feminism really is that diverse.  (Also not unlike Paganism, or SF fandom.)

I'm not an expert on feminism.  I've never taken even one Women's Studies course.  I haven't read anywhere near everything I "ought" to have read - and have read quite a few things that I "ought not", by some feminists' lights, to have tainted my mind with.  (I'm a Heinlein fan - that's like having a lifetime membership in the Acrimonious Debate With Certain Feminists Club.)

These posts are just what one feminist looks like, and thinks about.

Incidentally, of the "schools" of feminism listed in the Wikipedia article, I probably identify most closely with sex-positive feminism.  This will show in my entries (both in this series, and not), sometimes explicitly.  When that occurs, I'll use cuts with content warnings.  Minors are advised that the laws of their land may opine that they're not supposed to know about such things.

November 2009


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