Radical Feminism
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08-08-2014, 11:50 PM
Radical Feminism
Feminism has come up a couple times recently on these forums, and I have heard it said (by well meaning people that I respect, btw) that "radical feminists" have given feminism a bad name. I would describe myself as a non activists feminists, in that I agree with what feminism represents but I don't take part in the movement. From my position I have never encountered "radical feminists", and I was curious what radical feminists is.

I googled it, and this is what wikipedia had to say on the topic:

Wikipedia Wrote:Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that focuses on the hypothesis of patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the assertion that male supremacy[1] oppresses women. Radical feminism aims to challenge and overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and oppression of women and calls for a radical reordering of society.[1] Early radical feminism, arising within second-wave feminism in the 1960s,[2] typically viewed patriarchy as a "transhistorical phenomenon"[3] prior to or deeper than other sources of oppression, "not only the oldest and most universal form of domination but the primary form"[4] and the model for all others.[4] Later politics derived from radical feminism ranged from cultural feminism[1] to more syncretic politics that placed issues of class, economics, etc. on a par with patriarchy as sources of oppression.[5] Radical feminists locate the root cause of women's oppression in patriarchal gender relations, as opposed to legal systems (as in liberal feminism) or class conflict (as in socialist feminism and Marxist feminism).
...
Radical feminists assert that their society is a patriarchy in which the class of men are the oppressors of the class of women.[6] Radical feminists seek to abolish patriarchy. Radical feminism posits the theory that, due to patriarchy, women have come to be viewed as the "other" to the male norm and as such have been systematically oppressed and marginalized. They also believe that the way to deal with patriarchy and oppression of all kinds is to address the underlying causes of these problems through revolution. They assert that men as a class benefit from the oppression of women.

While some radical feminists propose that the root cause of all other inequalities is the oppression of women, others acknowledge the simultaneous and intersecting effect of other independent categories of oppression as well. These other categories of oppression may include, but are not limited to, oppression based on gender identity, race, social class, perceived attractiveness, sexual orientation, and ability.[7]

Patriarchal theory is not always defined as a belief that all men always benefit from the oppression of all women. Patriarchal theory maintains that the primary element of patriarchy is a relationship of dominance, where one party is dominant and exploits the other party for the benefit of the former. Radical feminists believe that men use social systems and other methods of control to keep non-dominant men and all women suppressed.[citation needed] Radical feminists also believe that eliminating patriarchy, and other systems which perpetuate the domination of one group over another, will liberate everyone from an unjust society.

Some radical feminists called[8] for women to govern women and men, among them Andrea Dworkin,[9] Phyllis Chesler,[10] Monique Wittig (in fiction),[11] Mary Daly,[12] Jill Johnston,[13] and Robin Morgan.[14]

Redstockings co-founder Ellen Willis wrote in 1984 that radical feminism "got sexual politics recognized as a public issue",[2] "created the vocabulary… with which the second wave of feminism entered popular culture",[2] "sparked the drive to legalize abortion",[2] "were the first to demand total equality in the so-called private sphere"[2] ("housework and child care ... emotional and sexual needs"),[2] and "created the atmosphere of urgency"[2] that almost led to the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.[2] The influence of radical feminism can be seen in the adoption of these issues by the National Organization for Women (NOW),[citation needed] a feminist group, that had previously been focused almost entirely on economic issues.[15]

Another source on their ideology:

womanshistory.about.com Wrote:Radical feminists tend to be more militant in their approach (radical as "getting to the root") than other feminists are. Radical feminism opposes existing political and social organization in general because it is inherently tied to patriarchy. Thus, radical feminists tend to be skeptical of political action within the current system, and instead tend to focus on culture change that undermines patriarchy and associated hierarchical structures.

Radical feminism opposes patriarchy, not men. To equate radical feminism to man-hating is to assume that patriarchy and men are inseparable, philosophically and politically.

Radical feminist is a "dirty word".
rationalwiki Wrote:Contrary to the impression deliberately created by wingnut ideologues (such as Rush Limbaugh, who coined the irony meter-breaking term "feminazi"),[4] the term "radical" does not necessarily imply extremism or even militancy. Radical feminists essentially seek to get to the "root causes"[5] of oppression in order to dismantle it, and believe that this root cause is sexism, from which other forms of oppression such as racism were copied. However, exactly how sexism is to be challenged is a matter for debate.
Despite this, some fundamentalists have succeeded to some degree at convincing the American public that, instead of only opposing a system that disproportionally benefits men and seeking a more equal one, feminism is opposed to men in general, and seeks to create an inversion of gender relations in which men are persecuted by women. They do this by holding up those radical feminists who do engage in inflammatory rhetoric and harbor extreme ideas, such as Andrea Dworkin, Valerie Solanas, and Mary Daly — poster children for the right's version of the term — and then claiming that the only difference between these feminists and the rest is that the latter are better at masking their hate.[6] This is not particularly new; see watermelon.
"Radical feminist" hence serves as a snarl word against anyone who espouses liberal or egalitarian positions on sexuality and sexual politics (or even against female left-wingers in general).

It appears to me that people use the term "radical feminist" incorrectly. To summarize what was said about it, "radical" is being used in the philosophical sense to mean "to the cause of abolishing the existing system". When feminists make the point that we live in a patriarchal society that favors a class of men at the expense of woman and a class of subservient men, I think they have a strong case. I don't know if I agree with this position, but to call it "extreme" or "militant" or to categorize them as a "bunch of man haters" is a gross misrepresentation. I wanted to talk about some ideas associated with radical feminism, and why, even if I don't completely agree with their position, I see merits in it.

We live in a patriarchal society that inherently oppresses women: This is one I agree with, we do live in a patriarchal society.

The definition of patriarchy from wikipedia:
Quote:Patriarchy is a social system in which males are the primary authority figures central to social organization, occupy roles of political leadership, moral authority and control of property, and where fathers hold authority over women and children. It implies the institutions of male rule and entails female subordination. Many patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage. The female equivalent is matriarchy.

By that definition, without a doubt, a patriarchy exists in America and much of the west.

Furthermore...

Men don't have a monopoly on violence, and the military is no longer male-only any longer, however the military is principally a male institution that promotes bravado, male strength, and male leadership. In many ways the power of our leaders is measured by how close of an association that have with our armed forces. The president is the commander and chief (in the US anyway). We (the US) and many other nations have a long history of electing general and military conquerors.

By extension of that, business is seen as something of monetary domestic warfare, where all of the same male attributes; male bravado, male strength (this time described in character attributes) and male leadership are emphasized. In many ways conquests in business are seen as something like conquests of war. In both areas, women not only do not have a place, but are actively discriminated and not welcome. The very foundation of the family, the government, and the economy is built upon an inheretly sexists and patriarchal system. In my view, this is not at all extreme, this is an observance of recent history and an acknowledgement of fact.

When radical feminists say we need to tear it down and start over, I don't agree with them, I think the system can be reformed, but I understand where they are coming from. This is not a delusional extremism, this is a rational and justified philosophical and political position.

Pornography Objectifies Woman:

This is another hot button issue, and feminists get a lot of flack over it. I wanted to examine it a littler closer. Principally, porn is just sexually explicit media, which may or may not include nudity, sex acts, or sexually perverse language. I would not be inclined to say that porn is inherently sexists or objectifing, although some feminists might argue otherwise.

However, women are typically portrayed in porn in a number of objectifying ways.

Sexual objectification is defined as:

wikipedia Wrote:Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person merely as an instrument of sexual pleasure, making them a "sex object." Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object, without regard to their personality or dignity. Objectification is most commonly examined at the level of a society, but can also refer to the behavior of individuals.

In porn, woman often play the part of a subservient to a male dominant. This can be expressed in a social dynamic (male professor, female student), physical (larger male physically restrains or dominates female) or emotional (male blackmails female with social repercussions, ex. video tapes a woman changing and threatens to go viral unless she has sex with him).

Other objectifying porn tropes:
Man tricks woman into having sex with them (poses as twin brother, fake porn casting addition, ect).
Man spies on woman leading to sex (peeping tom routine)
rape fantasy (acknowledgedly not always consumed for sexists interests)
sadism (not inherently sexists, but objectifying)
man pays woman for sex, either in cash or favors
gangbangs (not always consumed in a sexists interest)

For some of these tropes the sexual thrill is in seeing the woman in a submissive or objectifying position, which is not always deviant nature. The reverse tropes exists objectifying men and portraying them in a subservient way as well. The difference is, men are not the disadvantaged sex which impacts the perceived message when viewing, and women are disproportionately sexually objectified in pornagraphy as compared to men.

I think sometimes porn can be a chance to put woman in a position of sexual power, and furthermore I think porn is healthy way to indulge what otherwise might be a deviant sexual fantasy. I do agree with feminists, however, in that porn very probably does contribute to the sexual repressions and objectification of women in our culture.

Bra Burning:

This is just a little aside, because if is the classic caricature of the "radical [extremist, militant] feminist".

From a feminist blog:
https://sites.google.com/a/lakewoodcitys...s-protests

Quote:In the 1960's the phrase "Bra Burning" was well known. People say that very few women actually burned their bras, but many supported those actions. Women burned their bras because they felt that it proved a statement or made a stand for Women's Rights. Another reason they burned their bras was because it was a symbol that showed independence of men at the time. The women that didn't burn their bras often walked around wearing no bra at all. This was also meant to show independence of men. Many women thought that it meant freedom to be natural instead of pushed up. At the Miss America Protest there were trashcans that women called freedom trashcans. Women threw things such as bras, girdles, curlers, tweezers, high heels, etc. into them to be burned.

I wanted to focus here on the bra as a symbol of female sexualization. In many ways the female body is summarily defined by their breasts. They are a symbol of female maturity, fertility, and motherhood, but more than all of those things symbolic of female sex. There is so much that can be said about a womans breasts: keep them hidden, keep them perky, don't show them to just anyone, but don't keep them from your husband; wouldn't want to be accused of being frigid now. Dress them up but if you do your slutty. Don't bring them out in public ever, not even to breast feed. Don't let them sag, or or be uneven. A good woman in our society can almost be reduced to a good pair of breasts. As a symbol of protest and female liberty, I think bra burning is an great form of protest.

Radical Feminists hate men:

Radical feminists do not hate men, they hate the what they define as the "male patriarchy". The see structure of our society as an inherent patriarchy, built upon the oppression of women, in particular, but also a subservient class of men.

In general, feminists see men as victims of the patriarchy too, because just like woman men are confined to suffocating gender roles and narrow gender identities. Men in our society are not allowed to be overtly emotional, not allowed to cry, and most importantly not allowed to be emotionally vulnerable - especially with other men.

Men who are not aggressive, not strong, or who are overtly empathetic or emotional do not have a place in the patriarchy. Men born in a disadvantaged position and minorities do not have a place in the patriarchy. In a society that emphasizes male authority and dominance, it is no surprise that there are a class of dominated men. Feminism sees these men as victims of the patriarchy alongside woman.

In addition feminists, even radical feminists, have male friends, colleagues, and life partners. They have brothers and sisters and fathers and brothers.

Radical feminism is not a descriptor it is a position. The 'feminazi' characterization of radical feminists, and of any feminists, is grossly unfair and misleading. They posit ideas that are, excuse the term, radically different from what we are used to. Naturally there is a cultural backlash, but the backlash is ill deserved and very misrepresenting.
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09-08-2014, 03:08 AM
RE: Radical Feminism
I'm a lazy man, and won't pretend I read the majority of that.

But I am an enlightened and moral man (feminist), so I don't think it was intended for me anyway.

If something is ineffective or weak, then radicalization of that thing only brings it up to par. So I have no issue either way. You can't have too much of a good thing... better than not having enough of it anyway.
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09-08-2014, 03:58 AM
RE: Radical Feminism
I agree Michael. I have had some good friends who described themselves as radical feminists. But there are some radical feminists that give all the other rad-fems a bad name. I was going to make this distinction before and should have done. I am specifically thinking of the type of radical feminist who are also likely to be Terfs (Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists).

My experience of these people is that they have normally been educated in the social sciences and view both society and individuals according to academic theories. My big problem with the social sciences is that they aren't actually proper science. I've worked with academics in the social sciences. They take some academic theory, come up with their own version of it, do some little project, collect interviews and scan through their massive amounts of data looking for anything 'interesting'. In other words anything that confirms their own pet theories.

These academic theories are at best just broad ways of describing the world but some people actually take them as gospel truth. Some radical feminists can have very set views on why people act the way they do regardless of evidence to the contrary. Prejudice in all its forms is damaging because the individuals are perceived as being the same as everyone else in their group despite what they say and do. Academic theories on gender are particularly prone to this. For example the offensive idea that all men are rapists is prejudice because it means that a man who would never in his life ever want to rape anything is still perceived by someone like Marilyn French to be a rapist.

I suspect (or hope) that this minority of radical feminism seems to be a left-over from the 70's when western society was far more imbalanced than it is now and is therefore on the wane. But there are still some extremely prejudiced radical feminists out there giving feminism a bad name and damaging the fight for gender equality.
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09-08-2014, 10:22 AM
RE: Radical Feminism
I think equal rights are important. I suppose I can be called a feminist but then we have feminazis. They are not for equal rights. They want women recognized as superior and perhaps they are but I bet they're aren't any fun in the bedroom. I know they ain't any fun anywhere else..... Smile
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09-08-2014, 10:58 AM
RE: Radical Feminism
"Radical feminists" are the demons misogynists invented to feel better about maintaining their own prejudices.

... this is my signature!
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09-08-2014, 01:06 PM
RE: Radical Feminism
(09-08-2014 10:58 AM)cjlr Wrote:  "Radical feminists" are the demons misogynists invented to feel better about maintaining their own prejudices.

But is a radical feminist the same as a feminazi?
Are we defining "radical" as 'getting to the root(fundamentalist)' or as 'extreme?'
At any rate I doubt that the term was designed by misogynists to demonize anyone. In fact there are those who believe in the superiority of women. I know this because I've met one or two in my time. There are all kinds of people with all kinds of ideas both good and bad. To ignore that there are man hating women out there is to ignore reality.
It takes all kinds to make a world.
Some proverb..... I think
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09-08-2014, 01:29 PM
Re: Radical Feminism
Well established thread, it deserves to be recollected when others start questioning how it's a travesty that undermines atheism because some atheists are feminists.

By that usage of radical, I may as well consider myself a radical humanist... Or a radical atheist which makes no sense but sounds cool.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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10-08-2014, 01:15 PM (This post was last modified: 10-08-2014 03:03 PM by Res Publica.)
RE: Radical Feminism
(09-08-2014 10:58 AM)cjlr Wrote:  "Radical feminists" are the demons misogynists invented to feel better about maintaining their own prejudices.

Why don't you go to tumblr and see the SJW's. They are not "invented".

[Image: Hymns+from+a+Hambeast.+Desperate+as+fuck...115522.png]
This is the radical feminism.

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10-08-2014, 03:50 PM
RE: Radical Feminism
(10-08-2014 01:15 PM)Res Publica Wrote:  
(09-08-2014 10:58 AM)cjlr Wrote:  "Radical feminists" are the demons misogynists invented to feel better about maintaining their own prejudices.

Why don't you go to tumblr and see the SJW's. They are not "invented".

[Image: Hymns+from+a+Hambeast.+Desperate+as+fuck...115522.png]
This is the radical feminism.

I wouldn't say that men have to atone for anything just because they are men. In all other respects though, those points, while not the particularly well conceived, are all justifiable with good arguments.

For those unfamiliar with some of the terminology "cis" (pronounced ceese) is a person who is mentally of the same gender they were born with physically. I am not a fan of the term, but it has taken off in some segments of the LGBQT and feminists communities. "White privilege", another term I am not particular fond off (I take objection to the word "privilege") means the advantageous state of being white in american (in this context).
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10-08-2014, 04:01 PM
RE: Radical Feminism
(10-08-2014 03:50 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  
(10-08-2014 01:15 PM)Res Publica Wrote:  Why don't you go to tumblr and see the SJW's. They are not "invented".

[Image: Hymns+from+a+Hambeast.+Desperate+as+fuck...115522.png]
This is the radical feminism.

I wouldn't say that men have to atone for anything just because they are men. In all other respects though, those points, while not the particularly well conceived, are all justifiable with good arguments.

For those unfamiliar with some of the terminology "cis" (pronounced ceese) is a person who is mentally of the same gender they were born with physically. I am not a fan of the term, but it has taken off in some segments of the LGBQT and feminists communities. "White privilege", another term I am not particular fond off (I take objection to the word "privilege") means the advantageous state of being white in american (in this context).

None of those points are at all good. You are not obliged to be attracted to anyone.

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