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Melaszka August 17th, 2010 11:36 pm

Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Righty. This is the last chance to discuss the issue of feminism on CoS. If this thread rapidly descends into the squabblefest of mass bickering and rule-ignoring of the previous version, it will vanish into the ether, never to be replaced.

Some questions to get you started:

1. How would you define feminism?
2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?
3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
4. What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now? What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?
5. What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?
6. Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?
7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?


A reminder of the rules and of the fact that, this being a Hot Zone, if you break them, there will be no inthread or warning, you will be banned from the DoIMC for the time period specified below:

Hot zone policy

MoM rules, 3rd edition

All posters are also asked to keep in mind the fact that the cultural landscape varies a lot around the world. What looks like an unbelievable fairy tale to one member may be an adequate description of the reality another member lives in. So, please, do not show disrespect for your fellow posters' descriptions of their experiences.

DancingMaenid August 18th, 2010 1:38 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
1. How would you define feminism?

A movement centered around the rights and dignity of women. Also, more academically, a school of thought where society, culture, or art may be studied with an emphasis on women and/or feminist thought.

2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?


I've always identified as a feminist, and probably will continue to do so. To me, it's a natural thing. Equal rights are important to me, and sexism and prejudice based on gender bother me a lot. I'm also very interested in gender and how it's treated in society. So aside from caring about what many feminists want to achieve, I'm also very interested in what a lot of feminists have to say and feel like parts of my experience are relevant.

I'm very proud to support feminism.

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?

I think feminists have done a lot to push for equality. I think a lot of the strides women have made in recent years, such as better employment opportunities, were contributed to by the feminist movement. I also think feminists have played a big role in exploring gender and gender roles, and have added some good alternate perspectives that may not have been there before.

4. What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now? What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?

I think wage discrimination is something that should be focused on. Another issue I think is important is helping victims of things like domestic abuse and sexual harassment. While people can seek help, there are still some big flaws with the system that I think could be improved, and some people have a hard time finding the help and support they need. I think it's a feminist issue because women make up the majority of abuse and harassment victims, and male victims are frequently taken less seriously because they're male. Either way, gender and sexism can play a big role.

I would also like to see focus on supporting women in other countries (when they want support). I've seen more focus lately on LGBT rights, which is nice to see, because even though LGBT rights is an issue of its own, I do feel that there's a lot of overlap with feminist issues.

As for how goals should be achieved, I think we need to work on multiple levels. Some things can actually be fought for in courts or at a legislative level. But I think just talking and letting our voices be heard can make a difference, if it makes people think.

5. What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?

To be honest, I can't think of a negative effect that I feel feminism has caused. However, feminism is made up of people and people have flaws, and there are things that could be done better and, I'm sure, mistakes that have been made. I know some people feel that feminism has been too focused on only white, western women, for example.

While feminism has helped usher in some great changes, there have been some growing pains. For example, women have more freedom to have careers, now, but they're still expected to get married and have kids. And if they want to do both, they can end up juggling a lot. I don't think it's fair to blame this on feminism, and I absolutely think that the growing pains have been worth it to give women more choices, but it does go to show that some things don't come totally easily.

6. Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?

No, not really

7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?

In my experience, a lot of feminists are willing to disagree with things they find offensive, even if voiced by other feminists. I don't think I've ever been involved in a discussion on a feminist website where someone expressed an extreme or prejudiced opinion and wasn't called out on it. Like with any group/philosophy, there are some people who are extreme or who are maybe in it for the wrong reasons, but I think a lot of feminists are aware of this.

Also in my experience, most feminists want a woman to be happy and be treated well first and foremost, and want women to be able to make their own choices.

MistressofRaven August 18th, 2010 5:05 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
1. How would you define feminism?
I would describe feminism as the philosophy that every person should be treated with respect and dignity, without respect to sex. So feminism is anti-sexism. In the real world, that translates into uplifting women because sexism, as it currently operates, more often than not puts women at a disadvantage.

2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?
I do define myself as a feminist because I am am against sexism and want to do what I can to destroy it.

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
Feminist movements (plural) have brought maby positives to the world. A general thing it has brought is the belief that women are the intellectual equals of men (even if everyone doesn't believe this). It has helped women stand up for themselves, given women the right to vote (and consequently, the right to be involved in the political world and have a say in what laws are passed and how laws affect people).

4. What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now?
Everything. There is no specific things feminist movements should be working to to achieve because there is enough time and energy to fight for many feminist causes. But, if I had to name something very broad, I would say teaching people that women are the owners of their own bodies is very important. Many of the problems I see in the world come from refusal to acknowledge this very fact.

What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?
Education. People should learn this stuff in school, at community centers, even on forums like these. Humility would also help, but I don't know how to teach that.

5. What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?
None, honestly. I can't think of anything negative that's been brought by feminism. I do think, however, that feminism is often used as a scapegoat for many of the world's problems, especially concerning relationships and economy.

6. Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?
N/A

7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?
A common misconception is that feminists want to be men or are somehow ashamed of being women. Another one is that every feminist must feel the same way about every issue. I would tell people who think this to use common sense. A feminist doesn't want to be a man anymore than gay rights advocate wants to be straight or an antiracist of color wants to be white. All people want is equality and to be treated with dignity. And there are people in every philosophy who disagree; that doesn't mean our core beliefs aren't the same.

Midnightsfire August 18th, 2010 5:39 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
1. How would you define feminism?
Hmm..with difficulty.
However, the very word suggest pro-woman, perhaps an affirmation of the "feminine principal" maybe.

2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?
Nope. Too subjective.

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
From a purely objective view, I'd say very little.

Alastor August 18th, 2010 6:27 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
Me thinks International Woman Suffrage Timeline provides quite a good list of the more important achievements. :)

Yoana August 18th, 2010 9:54 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
1. How would you define feminism?

As the movement to establish equality between the sexes, to fight discrimination and violence against women, to improve women's lives, to draw attention to problems women face because of their sex, and to define womanness (being a female) in a non-male-centric way.

2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, I do. As I read recently on feministing, I think, feminism has always been obvious to me.

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?

Before the suffragettes, women were basically property. Now we can vote, study, work, have control over our sex lives. I say that's plenty.

4. What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now? What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?

Well first of all, women in developing countries should be a priority, because things are dire for them. In my opinion, it's crucial that attention be drawn to their lives and the way they are seen and treated, because I feel not enough is being said about it.

Secondly, lately I feel like I'm noticing things moving backwards for women and it pains me extremely. I think feminists should work to identify the cause for this and see what we can do about it. Women are still paid less. Women are still underrepresented virtually everywhere with any authority or power. Women's problems are still seen as a secondary issue. Violence and harassment are still not only fairly widespread, but still enjoy a high level of social tolerance, in my opinion - the most prominent example of that is victim blaming; another is the rarity of reporting such crimes. The image of women in media and advertising, especially as a target group, is very worrying, in my opinion, because a lot of it is based in making women feel bad about how they look, dress, act, smell, what they eat, what they do, how much attention they get, etc. The sexualization of younger and younger girls poses a very serious problem. There are too many unsolved problems for me to list.

As for methods, I'm afraid I've lost hope. Discussion doesn't seem to work, and all the conferences and congresses in the world would be doomed if people continue to not care to choose to believe it's all just an exaggeration, or think feminism has done its work. Perhaps working on a government level for the enforcement of laws against violence against women and harassment would be a good idea. I think it's crucial to expand the issues beyond the narrow circles of people actively engaged with or interested in feminism and women's issues - awareness raising campaigns? I really don't know, I'm afraid. :sigh:

5. What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?

Maybe some controversial ideas, branched and/or individuals have helped paint a negative picture of the whole extremely diverse and complex idea of feminism. As DancingMaenid said in the old thread (I think), if one of us says something perceived as reasonable, people would say it's just a lone voice, and exception, but if we say something perceived as controversial or aggressive, it's taken as representative of the whole movement. That doesn't help. In any case, from what I know of feminism, the negative effects have come primarily from the backlash against it and from continued misunderstanding. After all, in what way can equality be bad?

6. Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?

No, never. I don't know any in real life.

7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?

Yes, plenty. What I would like to say I've said a thousand times. Only very rarely has anyone paid attention to it.

Trixa August 18th, 2010 11:46 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?

Quite a lot but the latest was introducing paternity leave and I think that's a good step towards making sure women and men get paid the same for doing the same job. Employers no longer have the excuse of having to pay a woman less because she stays home with her children. Now men are doing the same.

What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now? What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?

Getting rid of gender stereotypes and enlighting people as to what the differences between sexes really entail. Sorry guys, but having more testosteron doesn't mean you can't do the dishes.

Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?

Most misconceptions stem from ignorance so getting knowledge about what feminism really is and what feminists do would be a step towards understanding it properly.
Also, I was thinking in regards to our discussion as to why can't feminism simply be called Human Rights. I see Human Rights as being a political thing. Everyone should have the same rights because we are a democratic society and we need to be politically correct. However, there is a difference I believe, between thinking all people should enjoy the same rights and that all people are equally worth. The latter is a very personal belief, the former is being politically correct. Feminism takes care of the dignity of women, it makes them feel empowered and really equal to men. It makes them feel as though they can do whatever men can do and that their perspective on the world is equally valid and valuable. I don't think Human Rights alone could achieve this. It's the same for homosexuals. We give them equal rights and fight discrimination but they need to feel accepted and valued, not just tolerated. This is why I believe Human Rights isn't enough. This is also why some people have such a problem with feminism even though they support equal rights. They believe women should enjoy the same rights but object to anything which makes women believe they are equal to men.

Midnightsfire August 18th, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Trixa (Post 5592188)
Quite a lot but the latest was introducing paternity leave and I think that's a good step towards making sure women and men get paid the same for doing the same job.

"Paternity leave?"

I believe you meant maternity leave.

Hmf...most workplaces (in the US) don't have a paternity leave. (for men) But then that's considered acceptable.

Trixa August 18th, 2010 3:28 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnightsfire (Post 5592250)
"Paternity leave?"

I believe you meant maternity leave.

Hmf...most workplaces (in the US) don't have a paternity leave. (for men) But then that's considered acceptable.

No, paternity leave. Men stay home with small children. It doesn't exist in every country so maybe that's why you haven't heard of it. I hope it will though because men have the right to bond with their children just as much as women have.

Melaszka August 18th, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Trixa (Post 5592272)
No, paternity leave. Men stay home with small children. It doesn't exist in every country so maybe that's why you haven't heard of it. I hope it will though because men have the right to bond with their children just as much as women have.

:agree: This is something which feminists have fought for, so IMO a good example of how feminists do fight for men's rights, as well as women's.

We have Statutory Paternity Leave in the UK, too:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/...ay/DG_10029398

although the amount of time fathers can take and the amount of money they're entitled to is limited and falls far short of maternity leave and benefit, which is a shame, IMO.

Yoana August 18th, 2010 4:01 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Bulgaria has paternity leave, too. Actually it's just called "parental leave" and either of the parents can take it.

lightreading August 19th, 2010 11:40 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
1.How would you define feminism?
As the movement of people who believe men and women are equal and want them to be treated as such.
2.Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, I do, but if I give my reasons, I may get carpel tunnel. :D
3.What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
Many--the vote, of course, and it has raised a lot of awareness about discrimination in countries all over the world.
4.What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now?
To legalize abortion worldwide, fight for women's rights in poorer countries, end bride-burning, stop rape (banned topic so I won't go into it) and loads of things that are practically impossible but that shouldn't matter at all.
4.What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?
No idea. I'm still new to this. But I do think it's important--even essential--to get men involved in the efforts.
5.What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?
It's made men and women resent each other quite a lot...but hey, they sort of did anyway. :lol:
6.Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?
Nope.
7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?
:sigh: I've said enough on my thread. At least for now, anyway. :)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnightsfire (Post 5592057)
3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
From a purely objective view, I'd say very little.

.....The vote? :huh:

FGG August 20th, 2010 3:11 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lightreading (Post 5593067)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnightsfire
From a purely objective view, I'd say very little.

.....The vote? :huh:

I think what Midnightsfire means is that taking into account how many years there has been a feminist movement around, most of their achievements stopped right around the time women were allowed to vote and own property. Even if lawmakers consider themselves feminist, most of them don't work purposefully towards reforms that only include the advancement of women. Second Wave feminism did focus much more on social research about gender and gender roles, but I don't think Third Wave feminism has done much in any of these respects at all.

Yoana August 20th, 2010 12:35 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FGG (Post 5593153)
I think what Midnightsfire means is that taking into account how many years there has been a feminist movement around, most of their achievements stopped right around the time women were allowed to vote and own property. Even if lawmakers consider themselves feminist, most of them don't work purposefully towards reforms that only include the advancement of women. Second Wave feminism did focus much more on social research about gender and gender roles, but I don't think Third Wave feminism has done much in any of these respects at all.

As far as I know, Third Wave feminism has done quite a lot for women from underprivileged groups (minority women, gay women, etc.), and that's definitely something, in my opinion.

FGG August 20th, 2010 2:38 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5593271)
As far as I know, Third Wave feminism has done quite a lot for women from underprivileged groups (minority women, gay women, etc.), and that's definitely something, in my opinion.

I mean Third Wave feminism as an ideological movement, not the generation of women it encompasses. As far as I've learned in class, TWF has fought for reproductive rights like abortions, language (reclaiming derogatory words like the b-word and the fact that most jobs include the word "man"), the representation of women in the media, and the riot grrrl movement. While I think all these fights are great if that's your cup of tea, I don't see how they can compare to, say, what the Suffragettes did. Nothing conclusive has been reached on the reproductive rights arena (or any of the others) since Roe vs. Wade. If anything, most places (besides Mexico City) are going backwards in that respect. I'd say one of its biggest achievements has been to find a nice-sounding name for the fact that they can't make up their minds about anything: "embrassing diversity and contradiction".

lightreading August 20th, 2010 3:30 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FGG (Post 5593298)
I mean Third Wave feminism as an ideological movement, not the generation of women it encompasses. As far as I've learned in class, TWF has fought for reproductive rights like abortions, language (reclaiming derogatory words like the b-word and the fact that most jobs include the word "man"), the representation of women in the media, and the riot grrrl movement. While I think all these fights are great if that's your cup of tea, I don't see how they can compare to, say, what the Suffragettes did. Nothing conclusive has been reached on the reproductive rights arena (or any of the others) since Roe vs. Wade. If anything, most places (besides Mexico City) are going backwards in that respect. I'd say one of its biggest achievements has been to find a nice-sounding name for the fact that they can't make up their minds about anything: "embrassing diversity and contradiction".

Must we compare the waves of feminism? Honestly, IMO, it just doesn't matter.

flimseycauldron August 20th, 2010 5:12 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5593271)
As far as I know, Third Wave feminism has done quite a lot for women from underprivileged groups (minority women, gay women, etc.), and that's definitely something, in my opinion.

I think the differences here are the legal barriers that the Women's Rights movement was able to break through. Those barriers being broken was a huge achievement. The task for third waves, imo, is more about making the best use of those achievements. But again the more equal people of both genders become the less activism is actually needed and more inner focus is required, imho.

DancingMaenid August 20th, 2010 5:27 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5593347)
I think the differences here are the legal barriers that the Women's Rights movement was able to break through. Those barriers being broken was a huge achievement. The task for third waves, imo, is more about making the best use of those achievements. But again the more equal people of both genders become the less activism is actually needed and more inner focus is required, imho.

I think that's true to a large extent. There are still some legal barriers, but I think in the U.S. it's becoming more and more about enforcing existing laws and making sure that they're taken seriously.

In my experience, at least, a lot of third wave feminism is centered more on analysis and criticism as opposed to activism or legal battles, and I think that makes sense. I think today, at least in the U.S., people are less likely to support overt, tangible sexism (like denying someone a job because of their gender), but may be less likely notice sexist attitudes or stereotypes. So I see a lot of feminists today challenging things like the idea that a man harassing a woman is just a compliment, or the perpetuation of sexist stereotypes in the media.

FGG August 20th, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lightreading (Post 5593315)
Must we compare the waves of feminism? Honestly, IMO, it just doesn't matter.

Well, this thread IS called "Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions". The definition of feminism has changed with time, that's why there is more than one wave of it. How is this not relevant?

lightreading August 20th, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FGG (Post 5593444)
Well, this thread IS called "Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions". The definition of feminism has changed with time, that's why there is more than one wave of it. How is this not relevant?

I just don't want to get into 'this wave was more productive/important' or anything like that. Simply discussing the way it has changed is fine--sorry.

kittling August 21st, 2010 9:55 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5593355)
Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5593347)
I think the differences here are the legal barriers that the Women's Rights movement was able to break through. Those barriers being broken was a huge achievement. The task for third waves, imo, is more about making the best use of those achievements. But again the more equal people of both genders become the less activism is actually needed and more inner focus is required, imho.

I think that's true to a large extent. There are still some legal barriers, but I think in the U.S. it's becoming more and more about enforcing existing laws and making sure that they're taken seriously.

In my experience, at least, a lot of third wave feminism is centered more on analysis and criticism as opposed to activism or legal battles, and I think that makes sense. I think today, at least in the U.S., people are less likely to support overt, tangible sexism (like denying someone a job because of their gender), but may be less likely notice sexist attitudes or stereotypes. So I see a lot of feminists today challenging things like the idea that a man harassing a woman is just a compliment, or the perpetuation of sexist stereotypes in the media.

I also feel as is there is tendency to focus on legislation and ignore social change. In some respects this is understandable it is much harder to measure shifts in opinion, and the way day to day activities have (or havenít) changed that to measure if a law has changed! However changing a law makes no difference if it isnít enforced, and that is largely dependant upon changing social attitudes.

I think that often the unseen work of feminism done at the grass roots of womenís daily life has had as big an impact as the more obvious work done by academic & affluent feminist Ė yet it often remains unrecognised. The world has already, I think, seen situations where women became equal in the work force but then had to go home to the same workload as women in countries where they were in the majority still housewives Ė thatís not a good deal at all imo :sigh:

All Iím really saying is that the home/domestic sphere is as important as the commercial sphere and think there has been, and continues to be, change in that area. :)

FleurduJardin September 14th, 2010 11:03 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Sorry to jump in with a non-sequitur, though it is within the subject of this thread.

This morning I got an owl from a male friend, a member of this site, with this question, which I think relates to misconceptions about feminism. I'd like to know what the rest of you think.

Quote:

I was discussing the film Fargo on another website and I mentioned that the thing that bothered me most about it was the character Marge. She looked to be at least 7-8 months pregnant and she was on the street chasing criminals and eventually engaged one, violently. When I mentioned that this bothered me, the following was posted by the only female on the board:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Female Respondent
FRA***, YOU SEXIST PRICK, THERE ARE DISCRIMINATION LAWS FOR A REASON

I AM ANGRY

I'm Fra***.

My reasoning behind this complaint of the film is that I don't think it makes any sense when logic is put to the test. Marge is putting herself, along with the fetus inside her, in danger. I seriously doubt you would find a case of a female police officer who is that far along in her pregnancy chasing criminals and engaging them phsically. If you can, I doubt there's a trend. She may cruise around, as most police officers do, but I can't see one actively making arrests and drawing a weapon and firing it.

What do you think? Am I being sexist?
My personal opinion is that the woman quoted didn't think it through, that Fra*** is not being sexist. I would react the same way he did if I saw a man carrying a small child (maybe strapped on his chest of on his back), with nowhere to leave the child safely, were to go and tackle a criminal, putting the child's life in danger.

What is the rest of you's opinion(s)?

MasterOfDeath September 15th, 2010 1:15 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Hmm, that is a very interesting point of debate.

Now I definitely do not support a woman this far along in pregnancy engaging in any dangerous physical activity but this was in a movie. In a film, things like symbolism are more important than reality a lot of the time (unless it is non-fiction or a documentary). Perhaps the director was trying to symbolize an idea that motherhood doesn't or shouldn't impair a woman from doing her job and being what she wants to be. Perhaps it works more as a metaphor? It's similar to the debate about female characters in movies kicking butt and beating up guys and everything. Some people get really offended at something like this because they say it's not realistic that a woman can beat up a bunch of guys, but yet when it's a man doing unrealistic things like James Bond taking down a bunch of thugs at once and never messing up his hair, they don't bat an eyelash. Fantasy is fantasy and we are all entitled to have them represented in film and stories, no matter what they are or how unrealistic it is.

I do think the poster on that forum was a very harsh to your friend and taking it too far, but there perhaps is a case for the other side of the debate, as long as it's not taken too literally and imitated in real life.

halfbreedlover September 15th, 2010 2:20 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FleurduJardin (Post 5609521)
Sorry to jump in with a non-sequitur, though it is within the subject of this thread.

This morning I got an owl from a male friend, a member of this site, with this question, which I think relates to misconceptions about feminism. I'd like to know what the rest of you think.

My personal opinion is that the woman quoted didn't think it through, that Fra*** is not being sexist. I would react the same way he did if I saw a man carrying a small child (maybe strapped on his chest of on his back), with nowhere to leave the child safely, were to go and tackle a criminal, putting the child's life in danger.

What is the rest of you's opinion(s)?

I disagree with your friend. I think it is sexist to say that pregnant women shouldn't do certain jobs, simply because they are pregnant. It amounts to sexism because only women can become pregnant.

Of course, I'm not entirely sure where his issue is. Is he angry with the woman for continuing to work a dangerous job while pregnant? Is he saying that police departments should fire pregnant employees as soon as they reach 7 or 8 months? In either case, I think he's being quite paternalistic. It isn't his place to decide what a woman does with her body- and as long as the fetus is inside her, it is part of her body. Without wanting to veer too much into the abortion issue, a baby is a person with its own body and a right to be protected. A fetus simply doesn't have those rights, nor should it IMO.

In terms of (American) law, pregnancy discrimination is sexual discrimination. Employers cannot legally fire someone because of pregnancy.

canismajoris September 15th, 2010 5:14 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by halfbreedlover (Post 5609633)
I disagree with your friend. I think it is sexist to say that pregnant women shouldn't do certain jobs, simply because they are pregnant. It amounts to sexism because only women can become pregnant.

As far as I can tell nobody said she shouldn't be a law enforcement officer, only that she shouldn't have been at work pursuing dangerous criminals while pregnant. Firing her because of her pregnancy is not at issue at all.

It's also not terribly convincing to call this sexism because "only women can become pregnant". That's the result of the definitions of the words, not any specific intent to discriminate because of her sex. I wouldn't call it sexism to say that a man should take time off work when he's recovering from prostate cancer either. The result would be the same if we're talking about police: it would reduce one's ability to perform duties, and it would also potentially be more than usually harmful. Those are the criteria that matter.

Being pregnant is a medical condition, and while sure, a woman can do whatever she wants when she's pregnant, I think society is at least allowed to have consensus on what she really should not do. Unless it's also sexist to say women shouldn't drink or smoke while pregnant?

Midnightsfire September 15th, 2010 5:15 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
If you are pregnant and engaged in behaviour that can endanger the welfare of your unborn then you are going to bump into the law.

Yoana September 15th, 2010 7:36 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
In my opinion, it's judgemental to insist what pregnant women can or cannot do. It's her right to do whatever she wants, being pregnant doesn't cancel it out. Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No. I notice the same trend with mothers - everyone seems to feel at liberty to criticize their parenting decisions and tell them how to raise their children (from what I see). That's just as judgemental, in my opinion.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 8:54 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5609728)
Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No.

True, but in many countries the social services would get involved if the mother was a serious alcohol- or drug-abuser (although admittedly that is probably more to do with concerns about how she will care for the child after birth than fear she will damage it in utero). In cases where mothers have serious substance abuse problems or mental health issues, there may be a case for the state overriding the mother in making decisions in the child's interest, although I really, really don't like women being treated as mere baby-carrying vessels, whose rights and choices about their body are considered secondary to the perceived needs of the unborn child. But in cases of alcohol dependency or serious mental illness, in many countries, the state also has the right to step in to protect a person (of either sex) from themselves.

In the case of a police officer chasing criminals/a woman doing another dangerous job, I think it's up to the woman herself to decide if she still feels it's safe for her to continue. She is probably best placed to make that decision and doesn't need the Nanny State to do it for her.

And what really annoys me is when a mother with young children does something dangerous like mountaineering or applying to be an astronaut and gets far more flak than a man with young children would.

Hysteria September 15th, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
I'm in two minds about this. I think it would be hypocritical to say that female police officers can't be on the beat while pregnant, but still smoke a pack a day (one is potentially dangerous while the other is proven to be). There's a woman at work who is about 5 months pregnant and doesn't do any heavy lifting or anything else that'll put strain on her body. It was actually the male boss's idea and I don't think it's sexist at all. He wasn't telling her she couldn't do it, but rather encouraged her not to and she was more than happy to agree from everything I can see.

I think it'd be extremely irresponsible to be intentionally putting yourself in a dangerous position late into a pregnancy but the idea of telling women what they can and can't do with thier bodies makes me far more uncomfortable. One would think that past 5 months it'd be extremely difficult to do active police work (as an example). If the officer is slower than usual or in any way underperforming (due to pregnancy, or anything else) this could potentially put her partner in danger and isn't doing anyone any good. Put her on office duties for a few months if that's the case.

canismajoris September 15th, 2010 9:27 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5609728)
In my opinion, it's judgemental to insist what pregnant women can or cannot do. It's her right to do whatever she wants, being pregnant doesn't cancel it out. Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No. I notice the same trend with mothers - everyone seems to feel at liberty to criticize their parenting decisions and tell them how to raise their children (from what I see). That's just as judgemental, in my opinion.

It's a complex ethical issue, and I'm not suggesting there's a set of rules pregnant women must follow. However, wouldn't a father be within his rights to hope a woman carrying his child isn't needlessly endangering herself and the fetus? If that is the case, I think it's hardly fair to blame anyone for feeling this way about pregnant women in general, even where their genetic line isn't at risk.

My examples of smoking and drinking during pregnancy: while they do in my opinion suggest irresponsibility, they were only meant to assert that this reaction is not specifically sexist. There are behaviors at all levels and in all spheres of human existence that most of us would agree are unacceptable. Children, and unborn children as well, are important to protect. I think it's fairly clear that we have a biological reflex to be protective of them. That's why parenting is often criticized (however sexist the bias against women versus men might be in this area) and I think it comes from the same place. People believe that the welfare of a child is more important than the feelings of a parent.

Tenshi September 15th, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5609728)
In my opinion, it's judgemental to insist what pregnant women can or cannot do. It's her right to do whatever she wants, being pregnant doesn't cancel it out. Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No. I notice the same trend with mothers - everyone seems to feel at liberty to criticize their parenting decisions and tell them how to raise their children (from what I see). That's just as judgemental, in my opinion.

When I see a pregnant woman smoking... ohh how do I want to scream at her. That she's an egoist, who doesn't care about the well-being of her own child. Mothers like that should face full responsibility, when something happens. Everyone knows that smoking can endanger your childs health. When the child is born and something is wrong, then I am the last one who felels sorry for the parents.

As for the other example. When their parenting decision also endanger the kids health or are otherwise go against common sense, then people should say something, in worse cases should the parents face punishment.

I am absolutelly against "women should do whatever they want". They shall not! Nobody should. They are responsible for themselves, like they are responsible for the people around them. When my actions or decisions, influence or endanger others then I shouldn't be allowed to carry them out.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609759)
However, wouldn't a father be within his rights to hope a woman carrying his child isn't needlessly endangering herself and the fetus?

What gives a father the right to decide what is and what isn't "needlessly endangering herself and the foetus"? He is not in loco parentis to his own partner. She is a sentient adult, too.

Quote:

Posted by Tenshi
When their parenting decision also endanger the kids health or are otherwise go against common sense, then people should say something, in worse cases should the parents face punishment.
I don't really like the phrase "common sense", because it is so often used to mean "What I personally believe", as a way of trying to block any opposition (I don't mean that's how you're using it, Tenshi - you didn't actually give an example of what you think does go against common sense - but I find in many contexts what one person thinks is "common sense" isn't always as obvious to the next person).

Take in the example of the policewoman chasing a criminal - it may seem "common sense" to some people that she shouldn't do it, but she must knows the risks of the job much better than a civilian bystander and can feel the strain she's putting on her own body.

Midnightsfire September 15th, 2010 3:36 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
So...A man that hits a pregnant woman (that is already engaged in dangerous activity) is considered endangering the unborn child.
While the woman who has already put herself in such a position to begin with isn't engaged in dangerous activity?

Yeah..ok...no.

(this pdf file was an interesting read. It seems that some police depts have specific policies for pregnant women:
A. POLICY STATEMENT
1. The Concord Police Department values the health and welfare of its
employees. It is with that organizational value in mind that this maternity leave
policy was developed. The policy strives to provide the utmost protection for the
expectant mother during her pregnancy by removing her from the foreseeable
dangers of the police field environment. The policy is designed to be consistent
with Citywide Maternity Leave Policy.
)

Tenshi September 15th, 2010 3:44 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
A lot of people don't even know what can be dangerous and what might effect their health or in that case the health of the unborn. They think they are invincible.

We have laws that forbid ungoing mothers to work and also after giving birth are they not allow to work for a few weeks. I think that these regulations are justified to protect the mother and the child.

In the case of the police women, first she should work in an environment where she doesn't endanger herself, the child and others. I forgot who stated before that she might hinder her colleagues. They should give her the option to do easier work, office work for example during those weeks of pregnancy.

flimseycauldron September 15th, 2010 4:13 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
If she is that far along then she has already taken responsibility for her child. I don't know any mother who would take her child (of any age) into a situation where it is extremely he/she might get shot or severely harmed despite whatever precautions the mother takes. In the case of this police woman she's probably wearing a bullet proof vest. As far as I know they don't make bullet proof baby belly protectors. Also she is risking her own life. By that point in pregnancy if something happens to the baby the mothers life is in serious danger. The running and jumping and excercise may all be fine and dandy. Those are things that the mother can control. But the danger of the unknown she can't control and would be foolish to presume that she could.

canismajoris September 15th, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5609835)
What gives a father the right to decide what is and what isn't "needlessly endangering herself and the foetus"? He is not in loco parentis to his own partner. She is a sentient adult, too.

I would say his share of chromosomes growing inside her gives him at least the right to decide that. Bear in mind, nobody's talking about imprisoning this woman, I'm only talking about perception and opinion here.

If some day I'm going to be called sexist or criticized for worrying excessively about my pregnant wife and unborn child, then I might as well give up now. :no:

Yoana September 15th, 2010 6:16 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
You guys remind me why I don't want to ever have children. Thanks.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 6:29 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Calm down, everyone!

Remember that the scenario Fleur raised was from a TV drama, so it was a hypothetical situation which probably wouldn't happen in RL, anyway.

FirefightingMuggle September 15th, 2010 6:50 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609860)
I would say his share of chromosomes growing inside her gives him at least the right to decide that. Bear in mind, nobody's talking about imprisoning this woman, I'm only talking about perception and opinion here.

If some day I'm going to be called sexist or criticized for worrying excessively about my pregnant wife and unborn child, then I might as well give up now. :no:

I have to agree with you somewhat canis. I think that the father should have some sort of say in the hypothetical situation.
I think that whether or not the expectant mother continues to do police work, or any other sort of work that could be considered dangerous, should be something that the couple decide.
The baby belongs to both parents, and it should be the decision of both partners, equally, to make this decision.

I am of the mind that feminism is an equality movement. If we are going to have true equality between different groups of people then it means working together to find common ground where all are satisfied (or somewhat) with the outcome. it also means that both sides get their voices heard.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 7:16 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609860)
I would say his share of chromosomes growing inside her gives him at least the right to decide that. Bear in mind, nobody's talking about imprisoning this woman, I'm only talking about perception and opinion here.

Quote:

Originally Posted by FirefightingMuggle (Post 5609919)
I have to agree with you somewhat canis. I think that the father should have some sort of say in the hypothetical situation.
I think that whether or not the expectant mother continues to do police work, or any other sort of work that could be considered dangerous, should be something that the couple decide.
The baby belongs to both parents, and it should be the decision of both partners, equally, to make this decision.

I'm not saying that the father doesn't have a right to voice his opinion - of course he does. I just don't think he has a right to decide anything on the woman's behalf. To discuss it - yes. To make sure she takes his feelings on board as well as her own - yes. To impose his decision on her - no.

I may be overreacting to some of the language here, but it's only about 150 years since we were in a situation (in the UK, at least - I can't speak for other countries) where women had no domestic legal rights at all and I can actually remember when domestic violence and other kinds spousal abuse were still usually not pursued or prosecuted by the authorities. We're not so far away from times when wives were considered childlike figures whose smaller brains or hormones meant they couldn't be trusted to make rational decisions and they needed a paternal, authoritative husband to discipline them and make decisions for them. That's why I get scared when I think people are suggesting that a man has the right to make decisions if his pregnant partner is doing things he considers unreasonable.

I find Rosemary's Baby one of the scariest films I've ever seen - not because of the devil worship stuff, which is far too tongue-in-cheek and OTT to be frightening - but because of the way that the power to make decisions about her own life are rapidly taken away from Rosemary after she becomes pregnant.

I know the whole issue of reproductive rights is a thorny one and I can understand that many men feel excluded from the process these days and why they would feel hurt and frozen out by that. However, while I agree that the fact that the father gave 50% of the child's chromosomes should not be ignored and he has a right to be heard, IMO the fact that the woman not only gave 50% of the chromosomes, too, but it's her body and lifestyle that is affected means that she should have the final say.

flimseycauldron September 15th, 2010 8:34 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5609927)
However, while I agree that the fact that the father gave 50% of the child's chromosomes should not be ignored and he has a right to be heard, IMO the fact that the woman not only gave 50% of the chromosomes, too, but it's her body and lifestyle that is affected means that she should have the final say.

But we're not talking about abortion here. The scenario didn't say implicitly whether the woman was married or not, or if the baby was concieved willingly, or if the father was even in the baby's/mother's life. But let's go with the assumption that the woman IS married. Concieved with the father's blessing. And the father is willing to raise the child. He has more right than most men in the raising of his daughter/son. And that includes in utero. She implies that when she gets married that she will take his opinion into account in everything that she does. This includes the baby, imho. In this day and age of father's skipping out on their children I don't know any mother who would want to actively shut the father out of all baby decisions and leave her child fatherless because she was unwilling to compromise in her own marriage. After all we are talking about a police woman whose job is dangerous. This obviously isn't a run of the mill pregnancy.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 8:49 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5609980)
let's go with the assumption that the woman IS married. Concieved with the father's blessing. And the father is willing to raise the child. He has more right than most men in the raising of his daughter/son. And that includes in utero. She implies that when she gets married that she will take his opinion into account in everything that she does. This includes the baby, imho. In this day and age of father's skipping out on their children I don't know any mother who would want to actively shut the father out of all baby decisions and leave her child fatherless because she was unwilling to compromise in her own marriage. After all we are talking about a police woman whose job is dangerous. This obviously isn't a run of the mill pregnancy.

I'm not going to disagree with you. I agree that most women in that situation probably would want to take their partner's concerns on board. And I think a lot of the disagreements people are having over this may well derive from the fact that it is a hypothetical, fictional situation, far more extreme than the situations most of us are likely to find ourselves in in RL.

I've been chewing this over and I also think that in that situation it probably would be fair for the woman to compromise. On the other hand, though, I also think that if the pregnant partner of a male police officer were worried about him carrying on in his dangerous job, with the risk that their child could be left fatherless, it would be fair for him to listen to her and compromise. (Although in neither case do I think they should legally be compelled to). I totally agree that romantic partnership, marriage and parenthood should be about give and take, compromise and considering the other person's feelings and needs - I'm not saying the woman should have everything her way. But I think that applies to both partners equally.

canismajoris September 15th, 2010 9:05 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5609927)
I'm not saying that the father doesn't have a right to voice his opinion - of course he does. I just don't think he has a right to decide anything on the woman's behalf. To discuss it - yes. To make sure she takes his feelings on board as well as her own - yes. To impose his decision on her - no.

You asked me: "What gives a father the right to decide what is and what isn't 'needlessly endangering herself and the foetus'?" That is not the same question as "What gives a father the right to decide what a woman can and can't do". Not even close. Any competent human can decide what constitutes needless endangerment. Otherwise court cases contingent on negligence or recklessness could never hope to seat a jury. A father's right to take a stand and say "that is irresponsible behavior" is so basic I can't imagine why it's being construed in the light of patriarchy. Because that's not what it is: It's about our society as a whole placing a value on protecting successful procreation. Are special parking spots for pregnant women sexist and patriarchal? Should I complain that pregnant women are treated to a bevy of specialized care and entire wards of hospitals that aren't available to men? No, it would be foolish to do so. Because having the healthiest babies we can benefits everyone. If feminists would argue that this special care and attention for pregnant women is sexist, then I wish them luck having children, because they'll need it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5609927)
I may be overreacting to some of the language here, but it's only about 150 years since we were in a situation (in the UK, at least - I can't speak for other countries) where women had no domestic legal rights at all and I can actually remember when domestic violence and other kinds spousal abuse were still usually not pursued or prosecuted by the authorities. We're not so far away from times when wives were considered childlike figures whose smaller brains or hormones meant they couldn't be trusted to make rational decisions and they needed a paternal, authoritative husband to discipline them and make decisions for them. That's why I get scared when I think people are suggesting that a man has the right to make decisions if his pregnant partner is doing things he considers unreasonable.

Ideologically I think everyone in the thread is quite far away from thinking women have small brains and can't make their own decisions, so I would reassure you that your fear is reasonable but unfounded.

And so since we're talking about childbirth, let me ask a question: a woman is on the verge of dying in childbirth. She's asked whether she would prefer to save the baby or save herself, and she says save the baby. Does the father get any input in this case, and if not, should he (whether legally speaking or on feminist principle)?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5609927)
I find Rosemary's Baby one of the scariest films I've ever seen - not because of the devil worship stuff, which is far too tongue-in-cheek and OTT to be frightening - but because of the way that the power to make decisions about her own life are rapidly taken away from Rosemary after she becomes pregnant.

I know the whole issue of reproductive rights is a thorny one and I can understand that many men feel excluded from the process these days and why they would feel hurt and frozen out by that. However, while I agree that the fact that the father gave 50% of the child's chromosomes should not be ignored and he has a right to be heard, IMO the fact that the woman not only gave 50% of the chromosomes, too, but it's her body and lifestyle that is affected means that she should have the final say.

Surely this is not to suggest that a man's lifestyle isn't affected by having a pregnant partner, is it?

I would also add that people obviously make the wrong decisions sometimes, so just being a woman whose body is carrying a child isn't proof that you're making a good choice. From the perspective of a father whose partner and child are at risk, why would he not do everything he could to stop her from making a mistake? Say what you will about her right to autonomy, he has some pretty compelling reasons too, doesn't he?

The point here is that you, feminists, the world at large, we can all judge what we feel to be right and wrong. And if the matter at hand is danger to my child or even someone else's child, unborn or not, you better believe I'm going to intervene as aggressively as I can. If you still find that to be a scary notion, I'm sorry. But like I said, if feminism dictates that a woman need not take any precautions, heed any advice, or make any lifestyle changes after she consents to have a child, then feminism is not looking out for the best interest of our species.

As Yoana succinctly put it, the alternative is just deciding not to have kids.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 9:57 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Haven't got time to do your post justice at the moment, Bill, but a couple of things:

Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609995)
Any competent human can decide what constitutes needless endangerment.

I think that's what needles me about this argument - the assumption that the theoretical, non-existent pregnant woman we're thinking of isn't a competent human and that the father in the scenario would have better risk assessment skills than her.

As I've said, I think one of the reasons why people are disagreeing so much is because we're not talking about a real scenario and we're all assuming that the person we're siding with in the anecdote is as reasonable as we are. You're probably thinking that, as a reasonable person, you would never try to stop a partner of yours from doing anything reasonable, so obviously you have the right to protest if she's doing something reckless. I'm thinking that, as a reasonable person, if I were pregnant, I would never do anything ridiculous, so I should be left alone to assess for myself what is and is not safe.

If I was faced with a RL example of a woman who was recklessly endangering herself, I possibly would agree with you. But, as I said in my reply to flimsey, I'd probably also feel the same about a man about to become a father who took needless risks.

Quote:

Are special parking spots for pregnant women sexist and patriarchal?
No, but IMO forcing a woman to park in one, when she'd rather park further away and walk would be.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to take care of people who are pregnant, it's admirable. But I think there is a danger of infantilising pregnant women. This is not necessarily sexist, though, as I think many of us do this to other vulnerable adults, too. I know I try to micromanage my elderly father too much, because I care about him and I worry about him trying to do too much and hurting himself or making himself ill. It's understandable and I do it because I love him, but it's still a bit patronising and annoying for him and an infringement of his rights as an autonomous individual.

Quote:

Ideologically I think everyone in the thread is quite far away from thinking women have small brains and can't make their own decisions
I just want to make clear, in case I offended anyone, because I don't think it was clear from the way I phrased it, I do not think anyone in this thread does think that. I was just trying to explain why this issue presses my buttons and I might read things into people's posts that aren't there. Apologies if I've done that.

canismajoris September 16th, 2010 12:30 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5610024)
Haven't got time to do your post justice at the moment, Bill, but a couple of things:

I think that's what needles me about this argument - the assumption that the theoretical, non-existent pregnant woman we're thinking of isn't a competent human and that the father in the scenario would have better risk assessment skills than her.

As I've said, I think one of the reasons why people are disagreeing so much is because we're not talking about a real scenario and we're all assuming that the person we're siding with in the anecdote is as reasonable as we are. You're probably thinking that, as a reasonable person, you would never try to stop a partner of yours from doing anything reasonable, so obviously you have the right to protest if she's doing something reckless. I'm thinking that, as a reasonable person, if I were pregnant, I would never do anything ridiculous, so I should be left alone to assess for myself what is and is not safe.

If I was faced with a RL example of a woman who was recklessly endangering herself, I possibly would agree with you. But, as I said in my reply to flimsey, I'd probably also feel the same about a man about to become a father who took needless risks.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to take care of people who are pregnant, it's admirable. But I think there is a danger of infantilising pregnant women. This is not necessarily sexist, though, as I think many of us do this to other vulnerable adults, too. I know I try to micromanage my elderly father too much, because I care about him and I worry about him trying to do too much and hurting himself or making himself ill. It's understandable and I do it because I love him, but it's still a bit patronising and annoying for him and an infringement of his rights as an autonomous individual.

Well I'm with you to an extent. But what I've been trying to say is that pregnant women are naturally going to be considered as a special group that deserves all the protection and support we can give them. But that's not an implication that they're incompetent or unwilling to make the best decisions for themselves or their babies, save whatever exceptions we might be able to find. I can tell you personally, that though I love my dad, he is fairly oblivious about certain things, and if my mother had had to rely on his risk assessment skills I might not be here. :rotfl:

And just to clarify: considering that we had a specific example, though it was a fictional one, the assumption you mentioned--which I believe must exist somewhere--wasn't a factor in my comments. OK, I may have gotten a bit carried away, I admit, and implied something like that pregnant women are helpless. I do not believe that, but my point was that pregnant women represent two or more lives in one package, so yeah, they may have to put up with greater scrutiny. It's something men aren't subject to because we can't be, and I don't think it's because of prestige or privilege or culture. What are men supposed to do, after all? We are in every literal sense outsiders to pregnancy, and advising, supporting, and protecting our mates (and unborn kids is) one of the few ways we can be involved. I'd be afraid that if some of the arguments here were followed to their logical conclusions, men would simply be disposable sperm dispensers who have no role after conception. And those men who want to be involved are fully involved--powerful incentives abound. If anything, the overbearing behavior that has been suggested, call it patriarchal or sexist, is just evidence of our helplessness.

And your counterexamples about risky male behaviors and jobs are perfectly valid. But the arithmetic of a possible life and death situation still leads me to pay more attention to pregnant women. Maybe it's unfair, but at least pregnancy only lasts nine months.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5610024)
I just want to make clear, in case I offended anyone, because I don't think it was clear from the way I phrased it, I do not think anyone in this thread does think that. I was just trying to explain why this issue presses my buttons and I might read things into people's posts that aren't there. Apologies if I've done that.

Oh, I suppose I was only bloviating, I'm sure nobody thought that's what you meant. I've actually quite appreciated your insights.

NumberEight September 16th, 2010 1:30 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
I am the one who sent the PM. To be clear, I am not saying that a pregnant woman can't and shouldn't do certain jobs; my PM doesn't even imply that. Yes, the scenario is from a film. My problem is that it doesn't jive with reality. I will say that such a scenario would never take place and as said in the PM," I seriously doubt you would find a case of a female police officer who is that far along in her pregnancy chasing criminals and engaging them phsically. If you can, I doubt there's a trend."

DancingMaenid September 16th, 2010 5:30 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609995)
Any competent human can decide what constitutes needless endangerment. Otherwise court cases contingent on negligence or recklessness could never hope to seat a jury.

I disagree. Certainly, there are some things that are pretty clear-cut. We know, for example, that smoking can harm a fetus.

But I don't think the average person can judge what is or it not safe for a pregnant woman to do, in general. For one thing, most people are not medical professionals. Also, most people are not the pregnant woman's doctor. What's safe for one woman may not always be safe for another.

How many people really have accurate and realistic expectations for what a pregnant woman can do? Personally, it always surprises me to hear of pregnant women exercising, but certain exercises can be safe for a lot of women up until a certain point. Since I'm not the woman in question, and I'm not her doctor, I don't really have the authority to know if she can exercise safely or not.

And I think your mention of juries supports my point, actually. We have juries in part because not everyone is going to see a situation the same. That's why juries have to deliberate and come to an agreement. If these situations were obvious, we wouldn't necessarily need juries, or even trials.

Quote:

Are special parking spots for pregnant women sexist and patriarchal?
No, but it would be to insist that all pregnant women have to use them.

Quote:

And so since we're talking about childbirth, let me ask a question: a woman is on the verge of dying in childbirth. She's asked whether she would prefer to save the baby or save herself, and she says save the baby. Does the father get any input in this case, and if not, should he (whether legally speaking or on feminist principle)?
I don't really see why he should. It's her life at stake. She has a right to preserve it, and if she chooses to save the baby instead, he has the option of putting the baby up for adoption if he doesn't want to raise it.

canismajoris September 16th, 2010 6:04 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5610223)
I disagree. Certainly, there are some things that are pretty clear-cut. We know, for example, that smoking can harm a fetus.

But I don't think the average person can judge what is or it not safe for a pregnant woman to do, in general. For one thing, most people are not medical professionals. Also, most people are not the pregnant woman's doctor. What's safe for one woman may not always be safe for another.

How many people really have accurate and realistic expectations for what a pregnant woman can do? Personally, it always surprises me to hear of pregnant women exercising, but certain exercises can be safe for a lot of women up until a certain point. Since I'm not the woman in question, and I'm not her doctor, I don't really have the authority to know if she can exercise safely or not.

And I think your mention of juries supports my point, actually. We have juries in part because not everyone is going to see a situation the same. That's why juries have to deliberate and come to an agreement. If these situations were obvious, we wouldn't necessarily need juries, or even trials.

Well the point I was making about juries is that determining right from wrong is not rocket science. It's true that juries are somewhat unreliable in themselves, because they rely on only the facts presented to them (in stark contrast to "what really happened"). Furthermore, I would argue that the nature of the law assumes that juries can reach a consensus on moral and ethical issues (as defined). If there were such a marked diversity in people's opinions, I maintain that the whole system would be useless and we'd have abandoned it by now.

But I say no, you don't have to be a medical doctor to feel something is irresponsibly risky. If I understand you correctly, it's like saying you shouldn't stop a child from playing with a gun, because you're not the child's parent, and the parents probably advised them on proper gun safety.

And in fairness I'd like to remind you that I was reacting to a scenario involving a pregnant woman chasing down and fighting criminals. And not to put too fine a point on it, but women aren't different enough from each other to exclude most of the more salient behaviors I had in mind. Smoking, drinking, anything that's excessively dangerous, and so on. I'm not talking about berating a pregnant woman for taking a hot bath or anything so paltry.

But in the end, what you've said seemingly brings up a troublesome contradiction to the point that has been made previously, that women themselves are the best judges of what's safe for them and their unborn kids. If you're claiming that people in general are not to be relied upon, then women, as a subset of people, aren't either. Back to square one?

Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5610223)
I don't really see why he should. It's her life at stake. She has a right to preserve it, and if she chooses to save the baby instead, he has the option of putting the baby up for adoption if he doesn't want to raise it.

I'm inclined to agree with you, I was just wondering what people thought. The stereotypical (and perhaps entirely fictional) case is usually presented as the woman not being conscious or lucid enough to make the choice, so the father has to, but I was thinking to myself how I might feel about it. Turns out I'd be rather distraught either way, I think, so even if I would wish to override her, the best thing is probably for her to make the decision.

FurryDice September 16th, 2010 10:27 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Just on the matter of the film scenario, although it's one I can't see happening in real life. I'm of the opinion that responsibilities are sometimes neglected when the discussion on rights comes up. IMO, rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. In this scenario, if a woman makes a choice to take a pregnancy to term, and give birth to the child, she has a responsibility to take the welfare and safety of the foetus into account, IMO.

Another out-there scenario, but if an action sports centre/adventure centre has a policy of not allowing heavily pregnant women to abseil, or kayak, or bungee jump, is that sexist/discrimination? Or trying to protect their business by ensuring there are no disasters with a high-risk category?

Quote:

Originally Posted by halfbreedlover (Post 5609633)
Of course, I'm not entirely sure where his issue is. Is he angry with the woman for continuing to work a dangerous job while pregnant? Is he saying that police departments should fire pregnant employees as soon as they reach 7 or 8 months?

I think a lot of countries now have legislation preventing employers from dismissing women solely on the grounds of pregnancy. However, a female police officer can be assigned desk duty for a few weeks before her maternity leave commences.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnightsfire (Post 5609844)
So...A man that hits a pregnant woman (that is already engaged in dangerous activity) is considered endangering the unborn child.
While the woman who has already put herself in such a position to begin with isn't engaged in dangerous activity?

I can see the double standard there, yeah.

Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5609854)
The running and jumping and excercise may all be fine and dandy. Those are things that the mother can control. But the danger of the unknown she can't control and would be foolish to presume that she could.

I agree, whether it's safe for a pregnant woman to exercise is a matter for her and her doctor, and is nobody else's business. However, the scenario in the film, chasing after felons, who may be armed, is clearly a risk, IMO. It's not the same thing as someone not minding their own business and telling a pregnant woman she shouldn't jog, for example.

Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609995)
But like I said, if feminism dictates that a woman need not take any precautions, heed any advice, or make any lifestyle changes after she consents to have a child, then feminism is not looking out for the best interest of our species.

Even leaving aside reproduction, as not every woman (and not every man, either) wants to have children, I do think it's an issue. I think people have responsibilities as well as rights, and I personally don't think it's reasonable to want one without the other.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5610024)
There's nothing wrong with wanting to take care of people who are pregnant, it's admirable. But I think there is a danger of infantilising pregnant women. This is not necessarily sexist, though, as I think many of us do this to other vulnerable adults, too.

I agree that people do this with people other than pregnant women - for example, personally, I'd stand up on a bus to give a seat to an elderly person (male or female) a person on crutches (male or female) and, yes, a woman who is clearly pregnant.

DancingMaenid September 17th, 2010 1:09 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5610231)
But I say no, you don't have to be a medical doctor to feel something is irresponsibly risky. If I understand you correctly, it's like saying you shouldn't stop a child from playing with a gun, because you're not the child's parent, and the parents probably advised them on proper gun safety.

Huh? Not sure where you got that from my post. I pointed out that some things are pretty clear-cut. Of course it would be dangerous for a kid to play with a gun -- we know guns are dangerous.

But would it be dangerous for a child to learn how to shoot a gun in a controlled environment, with a responsible adult teaching and supervising them? A lot of people would disagree on that, and I'm sure a lot of people would agree that this might depend on the specifics (the child, the family, etc.).

I think you may be overestimating peoples' ability to know others' physical limitations. Around a month ago, I had some minor surgery done in my mouth. After the first few days, my family definitely did not have realistic expectations of what I could and could not eat. Either they expected that something would be too difficult for me when it wasn't, or they thought I was being overly-cautious when in reality I was paying attention to physical cues (and my doctor agreed that I was right to do so).

My mom has a heart condition. While I more or less know what could be dangerous for her, I'm definitely not in a qualified position to know what she can handle. She knows her body a lot better than I do.

Yes, it's easy to say that a pregnant woman shouldn't smoke, shouldn't engage in overly-strenuous or dangerous activity, etc. But do you really think you'd be able to judge if a pregnant woman could handle a light exercise regimen? Or if she'd be okay standing for a bit? Could you decide, without being in her shoes or knowing the specifics of her condition, if she's capable of walking the full distance of a parking lot or if she should opt for a special parking space?

I know I can't judge any of this. I'll never even be pregnant myself, let alone be able to know what someone who's pregnant feels like.

canismajoris September 17th, 2010 1:34 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5610643)
Huh? Not sure where you got that from my post. I pointed out that some things are pretty clear-cut. Of course it would be dangerous for a kid to play with a gun -- we know guns are dangerous.

That was my analogy for your assertion that a woman should follow the advice of a medical doctor and nobody else is qualified to tell her what to do.

Some children have probably been taught gun safety well enough that they could theoretically handle a gun without much disquiet, but the consequences of believing this and being wrong are far greater than the inconvenience of admonishing a child who happens to know better.

My point is not that pregnant women are like children, only that pregnancy is probably a condition that most people are familiar with. If I think a pregnant woman is doing something reckless, I'd rather eat crow later than find out something terrible happened.

In fact, I would feel rather strongly obligated to err on the side of caution. How is that unreasonable?

_mollywobbles_ September 17th, 2010 2:06 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
1. How would you define feminism?
Movement towards political, cultural and economic equality for Women.

2. Do you define yourself as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, I am a Woman and I care about my rights, and the rights and
issues that affect others.

3. What positive things (if any) do you think the feminist movement has achieved?
The Vote. I am also particularly proud of my county's heritage. Women's Suffrage was granted in New Zealand in 1893 (a world first!), to which I thank Kate Sheppard and Mary Ann MŁller, both of them mothers and intellectuals.

In 1919 Women were eligible to be elected into the House of Representatives, and in my lifetime I have been governed by 2 Female Prime Ministers - Im hoping for more. I also consider a Women's right (in most countries) to: work, own property, be educated, serve in the Military, and have maternity/paternity leave, be considered as a person in a marriage as opposed to chattel and be in a relationship with another woman - positive outcomes of the feminst movement.

4. What (if anything) do you think the feminist movement should be working to achieve now? What methods do you think should be used to achieve those goals?

Reproductive rights for all Women (education, control and support - including the right to legal and safe abortions), Parental rights (particularly adoption rights for lesbian couples) and abolishing gender discrimination (particularly in the workplace). I believe more positive female representation in politics would be the best place to start.

5. What negative effects (if any) do you think the feminist movement has had?

Negative stereotyping.

6. Have you had any negative experiences of feminists in RL?

Assumptions stemed from aforementioned negative sterotyping. Feminism when paired with the fact I am a lesbian is apparently intimidating. My opinions, future plans and even my dress sense has been judged and criticised. Apparently if I want to be a feminist lesbian, I have to shave my head, start wearing plaid and hating all men.

7. Do you feel there are any common misconceptions about feminism and what would you say to someone who holds these misconceptions?

See above for misconceptions.

My response would be:

Feminism is all about giving women a choice. I am young, I have a feminine dress sense, I enjoy being in the kitchen, I want to get married and have children - I want to do this with another woman. I want a career. These are my choices.

___________________________________________

In regards to the current debate. I am all about choices, I believe a woman has the right to decide what her limits are in regards to her pregnancy, but I belive that should also include taking into account her unborn childs safety. If it was me I think I would opt for a desk job for at least the final 3 months, but that's just me.

I also think that it is fair for the other parent (if there is one) to have a say as they have an invested interest, and not neccessarily chromosomes.

DancingMaenid September 17th, 2010 2:07 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5610656)
In fact, I would feel rather strongly obligated to err on the side of caution. How is that unreasonable?

Well, I've been in a lot of situations where well-meaning people have given medical advice when they weren't qualified to do so, and have done more harm than good in the doing. When it comes to my health, I'm very careful about who I trust.

canismajoris September 17th, 2010 3:12 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5610668)
Well, I've been in a lot of situations where well-meaning people have given medical advice when they weren't qualified to do so, and have done more harm than good in the doing. When it comes to my health, I'm very careful about who I trust.

I can agree with you there, but, not everything we're talking about here falls under "medical advice". There is a rather small set of things I'd have any reason to mention, and they're mostly not things that require a comprehensive knowledge of physiology or someone's medical history. That list quickly delves into the extreme and unlikely, but frankly I've seen pregnant women doing some pretty questionable things (like I've seen every other possible category of person doing questionable things), so I don't think I'm blowing anything out of proportion.

Anyway, I think the original complaint here, although based on a fictional character, was that telling a pregnant woman she shouldn't be running down criminals is sexist. I feel rather certainly that a pregnant woman represents a special case that isn't strictly comparable to much else, and that sexism is not likely to be among the motives if someone's overprotective.

MmeBergerac September 17th, 2010 9:35 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Posted by FurryDice
Another out-there scenario, but if an action sports centre/adventure centre has a policy of not allowing heavily pregnant women to abseil, or kayak, or bungee jump, is that sexist/discrimination? Or trying to protect their business by ensuring there are no disasters with a high-risk category?
I don't think that's sexist. It's the same that when theme parks don't allow people with heart conditions to get into roller coasters. The centre must guarantee the safety of its users; if they think they can't guarantee unborn children's safety, the responsible thing is not allowing their mothers to do those activities.

FurryDice September 17th, 2010 10:39 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5610656)
Anyway, I think the original complaint here, although based on a fictional character, was that telling a pregnant woman she shouldn't be running down criminals is sexist. I feel rather certainly that a pregnant woman represents a special case that isn't strictly comparable to much else, and that sexism is not likely to be among the motives if someone's overprotective.

I agree, most of the time, concern for a pregnant woman's safety is just concern, not sexism, imo. Loads of people give well-intentioned advice, whether it's welcome or not, and they give it to women and men alike. Pregnancy is only one such situation where people give unsolicited advice. Most of the other situations are ones that affect men and women.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MmeBergerac (Post 5610834)
I don't think that's sexist. It's the same that when theme parks don't allow people with heart conditions to get into roller coasters. The centre must guarantee the safety of its users; if they think they can't guarantee unborn children's safety, the responsible thing is not allowing their mothers to do those activities.

I agree, they're doing the responsible thing there. But following on from arguments that it's up to a heavily pregnant cop if she wants to chase armed felons, an extension of that would be it's up to a heavily pregnant woman if she wants to go on a roller coaster or skydive. I think the same argument applies - in either situation, the pregnant woman needs to be responsible, for herself and for the foetus. I don't think that's unreasonable; if a woman decides to carry a pregnancy to term, I think she should take precautions where the safety of the child is concerned. However, scenarios like the one in the film, and the rollercoaster/skydive are extreme examples, imo, and generally, a pregnant woman and her doctor know what's safe better than a bystander or well-intentioned friend or relative.

But there's the example of a pregnant drug addict or chronic alcoholic, for example. I can see why people may have reservations with preventing her from making her own choices about her body, but then I think it's a good idea for the child to be taken into care once it's born - then it's not her body, it's a newborn who is in a high risk situation if a parent isn't sober or in control enough to take care of a child. Personally, I really, really don't like the idea of people being able to do whatever they want and not take responsibility - male or female.

canismajoris September 17th, 2010 10:59 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FurryDice (Post 5611174)
But there's the example of a pregnant drug addict or chronic alcoholic, for example. I can see why people may have reservations with preventing her from making her own choices about her body, but then I think it's a good idea for the child to be taken into care once it's born - then it's not her body, it's a newborn who is in a high risk situation if a parent isn't sober or in control enough to take care of a child. Personally, I really, really don't like the idea of people being able to do whatever they want and not take responsibility - male or female.

Well to that I would only say that alcohol has been proved harmful to a fetus, and that drug abuse is typically illegal in most jurisdictions. So while I don't happen to know my local statutes, I think I'd be comfortable arguing that drinking and drugs are not protected under the umbrella of personal autonomy for a pregnant woman. Drugs at least are not generally permissible for anyone to use, so whether there are additional penalties for pregnant women in these situations, there would be a penalty regardless.

FurryDice September 17th, 2010 11:31 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5611186)
Well to that I would only say that alcohol has been proved harmful to a fetus, and that drug abuse is typically illegal in most jurisdictions. So while I don't happen to know my local statutes, I think I'd be comfortable arguing that drinking and drugs are not protected under the umbrella of personal autonomy for a pregnant woman. Drugs at least are not generally permissible for anyone to use, so whether there are additional penalties for pregnant women in these situations, there would be a penalty regardless.

I was referring to previous posts expressing discomfort with the idea of a woman's choices being put behind the needs of the foetus in terms of drug and alcohol use. Personally, I think that if a woman decides to take a pregnancy to term, she should take responsibility for the health and wellbeing of the child - starting while pregnant, in order to maximise the chances of giving birth to a healthy child. I'm not too sure of the statutes either, but I agree, illegal substances are illegal for everyone, and if a pregnant woman is in custody for drugs-related crimes, or is otherwise discovered to be using drugs, I think it's understandable that attempts would be made to prevent or at least dissuade her from using drugs.

FGG September 18th, 2010 4:15 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana
In my opinion, it's judgemental to insist what pregnant women can or cannot do. It's her right to do whatever she wants, being pregnant doesn't cancel it out. Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No. I notice the same trend with mothers - everyone seems to feel at liberty to criticize their parenting decisions and tell them how to raise their children (from what I see). That's just as judgemental, in my opinion.

Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5610668)
Well, I've been in a lot of situations where well-meaning people have given medical advice when they weren't qualified to do so, and have done more harm than good in the doing. When it comes to my health, I'm very careful about who I trust.

I see where you guys are coming from, but I dunno... I think it's pretty safe to say that if smoking is known to cause cancer and is generally known to be bad for non-pregnant people, it's probably bad for pregnant women too. That, and it's also kind of a medical fact that smoking is bad for a fetus. The same goes for drinking in excess, doing illegal drugs, overexercising, overeating, and pretty much every other unhealthy thing out there to do. I mean, sure, there's freedom to have as many habits and vices as you want, but pregnant or not pregnant, that doesn't make it less bad for your overall health; let alone your child's.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka
What gives a father the right to decide what is and what isn't "needlessly endangering herself and the foetus"? He is not in loco parentis to his own partner. She is a sentient adult, too.

So a father's only options are:
a) Stay, but give up the right to express your opinion about your partner and/or child's well-being.
b) Leave and pay for every expense the mother and child may have, but give up the right to express your opinion about your child's well-being.
Maybe I'm misconstruing your argument, but this is what it sounds like. The baby wouldn't exist without the father. If parenting is supposed to be team work, why are fathers made out to be disposable, unimportant variables?

Alastor September 18th, 2010 5:13 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FGG (Post 5611312)
Maybe I'm misconstruing your argument, but this is what it sounds like.

Me thinks she made clear what she meant in her next post on the matter.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5609927)
I'm not saying that the father doesn't have a right to voice his opinion - of course he does. I just don't think he has a right to decide anything on the woman's behalf. To discuss it - yes. To make sure she takes his feelings on board as well as her own - yes. To impose his decision on her - no.


DancingMaenid September 18th, 2010 7:55 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FGG (Post 5611312)
I see where you guys are coming from, but I dunno... I think it's pretty safe to say that if smoking is known to cause cancer and is generally known to be bad for non-pregnant people, it's probably bad for pregnant women too. That, and it's also kind of a medical fact that smoking is bad for a fetus. The same goes for drinking in excess, doing illegal drugs, overexercising, overeating, and pretty much every other unhealthy thing out there to do. I mean, sure, there's freedom to have as many habits and vices as you want, but pregnant or not pregnant, that doesn't make it less bad for your overall health; let alone your child's.

Again, I was clear in my post that there are things that are pretty clear-cut. No one is suggesting that it's a good idea for women to smoke or drink while pregnant; as far as we know, those things are dangerous for everyone.

But when you get beyond the obvious stuff like that, it can be very hard to judge these things. There are a lot of things that may be dangerous for one pregnant woman but okay for another, and the average person, or even the woman's partner, may not be able to accurately judge. You mention overexercising, for example. Who decides how much exercise is too much? Some women might not be able to handle much exercise at all, so anything might be too much. But others can exercise. See how it's subjective?

This discussion started regarding whether it's sexist to suggest that a pregnant woman shouldn't be doing active police duty. That's an extreme example, and I think it's pretty reasonable to conclude that chasing criminals could be dangerous for the developing fetus.

But what if it wasn't such an obvious danger? What if the character had a job that was not necessarily dangerous, and her boss made her go on leave because he/she assumed that a pregnant woman wouldn't be able to handle it? What if this was contrary what the woman's doctor said was okay, and what the woman herself was comfortable with. Would this not be patronizing?

If we were talking about people with disabilities, I'm sure we could agree that if someone can prove they can do something, they should be able to do it. It would be patronizing to suggest, for example, that no one with a condition that limits their mobility can ever drive. If someone can pass a driver's test and prove that they're safe to be on the road, they're entitled to a license.

Why shouldn't pregnant women be treated with the same courtesy? Sure, if we're talking about something that's documented as being dangerous, like cigarettes or alcohol, that's one thing. But I don't think the average person is qualified to tell a woman how to handle her pregnancy.

FurryDice September 18th, 2010 11:05 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5611375)
But what if it wasn't such an obvious danger? What if the character had a job that was not necessarily dangerous, and her boss made her go on leave because he/she assumed that a pregnant woman wouldn't be able to handle it? What if this was contrary what the woman's doctor said was okay, and what the woman herself was comfortable with. Would this not be patronizing?

It could also be a case of the boss trying to protect him/herself and the business against possible litigation, if anything were to happen to the pregnant woman or her baby in the course of her work duties.

flimseycauldron September 18th, 2010 1:17 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5611375)
But I don't think the average person is qualified to tell a woman how to handle her pregnancy.


Yes and no. The average person? Probably not. That being said pregnancy is is full of stuff that mmany women do not even educate themselves about. For instance, did you know that a pregnant woman should not eat imported cheeses (here in America) because they tend not be pasteurized and can lead to certain bacteria that is harmful to the fetus? I don't think most women would know that unless specifically instructed by heir doctor. I think it's just as presumptuaous to say that every woman "knows her body". If we were all experts on human anatomy that would be one thing but in this case many woman willingly do not educate themselves about their pregnancy. Some women "assume the worst" and other women are frightfully naive. The doctor def is the best source of info. And mostly the doctor will tell you that if you are used to doing something it safe for you to continue to do so providing that you don't over exert yourself. The doctor also says that if a woman is sedentary, like at a desk job, that taking up a new excercise program isn't healthy for the fetus. And here I think is the rub. When you decide to take a pregnancy to term you are deciding to take care of the child. Period. That means not doing anything risky or damaging to your body because that, intrinsically, would be bad for the baby.

moogirl September 18th, 2010 2:49 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5611440)
Yes and no. The average person? Probably not. That being said pregnancy is is full of stuff that mmany women do not even educate themselves about. For instance, did you know that a pregnant woman should not eat imported cheeses (here in America) because they tend not be pasteurized and can lead to certain bacteria that is harmful to the fetus? I don't think most women would know that unless specifically instructed by heir doctor. I think it's just as presumptuaous to say that every woman "knows her body". If we were all experts on human anatomy that would be one thing but in this case many woman willingly do not educate themselves about their pregnancy. Some women "assume the worst" and other women are frightfully naive. The doctor def is the best source of info. And mostly the doctor will tell you that if you are used to doing something it safe for you to continue to do so providing that you don't over exert yourself. The doctor also says that if a woman is sedentary, like at a desk job, that taking up a new excercise program isn't healthy for the fetus. And here I think is the rub. When you decide to take a pregnancy to term you are deciding to take care of the child. Period. That means not doing anything risky or damaging to your body because that, intrinsically, would be bad for the baby.

I think here we need to remember that she is the one allowing the child to grow inside her body, and that the child does not have rights to her. Of course, most pregnant women intending on keeping the child would ensure they do everything possible to make sure said child is healthy. But one needs to remember that this is nine months of someone's life - telling a fitness freak she can't exercise at all, or a food critic she can't eat certain types of cheese at a restaurant, or a scientist she can't do her job any more because of possibly dangerous chemicals that she knows how to handle... it's just not right. Just because a woman decides to keep a child does not mean that she owes the child anything - she should not be obliged to give up all of her normal occupations to just sit in bed eating mushed peas for nine months because doing anything else might harm the baby. Admittedly, I think pregnant women should take a little bit more care when going about their daily lives than other people, but there is risk in everything we do. If a pregnant woman was not to do anything risky for the term of her pregnancy, she'd be completely deranged by the end of it.

Melaszka September 18th, 2010 3:44 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5611440)
Yes and no. The average person? Probably not. That being said pregnancy is is full of stuff that mmany women do not even educate themselves about. For instance, did you know that a pregnant woman should not eat imported cheeses (here in America) because they tend not be pasteurized and can lead to certain bacteria that is harmful to the fetus?

I did know that, because it was very well publicised in the UK a few years ago (and my sister kept moaning to me throughout her pregnancies that she was dying to eat Brie and couldn't). I think the answer is more public education through antenatal classes, government advertising campaigns etc and then let women make up their own minds, rather than well-intentioned bystanders or the woman's partner trying to police her behaviour. In extreme cases (e.g. if the woman is doing crystal meth or something), I think social services should step in, but in general I think, as long as women are given the information to make an informed choice, they can be trusted to do what is best for their family.

Quote:

The doctor def is the best source of info.
:agree:

Midnightsfire September 18th, 2010 4:19 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FurryDice (Post 5611417)
It could also be a case of the boss trying to protect him/herself and the business against possible litigation, if anything were to happen to the pregnant woman or her baby in the course of her work duties.

Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5611440)
Yes and no. The average person? Probably not.

If I may combine these two posts..

..and say that the average person is qualified to protect him/herself and her/his business from litigation should said pregant person become injured because of her...blanket blank self.

MmeBergerac September 18th, 2010 6:02 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Just because a woman decides to keep a child does not mean that she owes the child anything - she should not be obliged to give up all of her normal occupations to just sit in bed eating mushed peas for nine months because doing anything else might harm the baby
Indeed, if that was necessary, humanity wouldn't have reached this far; we would be extinted by now. Does anyone else wonder how our great-grandmothers could have babies eating non-sterilized food, farming and working while pregnant and wihout prenatal classes? I'm not saying that a pregnant woman can do whatever she fancies without minding the consequences, but honestly, all the precautions in the world won't prevent that a tile falls on your head or that you slip on the stairs, and that has more probabilities than getting harmed for eating brie cheese.

canismajoris September 18th, 2010 6:39 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MmeBergerac (Post 5611549)
Indeed, if that was necessary, humanity wouldn't have reached this far; we would be extinted by now. Does anyone else wonder how our great-grandmothers could have babies eating non-sterilized food, farming and working while pregnant and wihout prenatal classes? I'm not saying that a pregnant woman can do whatever she fancies without minding the consequences, but honestly, all the precautions in the world won't prevent that a tile falls on your head or that you slip on the stairs, and that has more probabilities than getting harmed for eating brie cheese.

Well as for that, I would speculate that 100 years ago women simply had more babies and fewer of them survived into adulthood. In my country it definitely appears that a baby born today is far more likely to survive labor and be healthy.

Anyway, anybody got any somewhat more feminism-related items to discuss? :lol:

ETA: just for the sake of stats, it looks like the birth rate today is about half of what it was in 1910 (even though with our greater population now that still means way more live births per year, and consider that we apparently have one abortion for every three births), but the overall population growth rate looks to be about the same as it was in that decade.

ETAA: our growth rate may not be that high after all, the recession has apparently significantly impacted it.

Melaszka September 18th, 2010 7:23 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5611561)
Well as for that, I would speculate that 100 years ago women simply had more babies and fewer of them survived into adulthood. In my country it definitely appears that a baby born today is far more likely to survive labor and be healthy.

Anyway, anybody got any somewhat more feminism-related items to discuss? :lol:

ETA: just for the sake of stats, it looks like the birth rate today is about half of what it was in 1910 (even though with our greater population now that still means way more live births per year, and consider that we apparently have one abortion for every three births), but the overall population growth rate looks to be about the same as it was in that decade.

ETAA: our growth rate may not be that high after all, the recession has apparently significantly impacted it.

Sorry to be picky, but if the birth rate in 1910 was double what it is now, doesn't that kind of prove MmeB's point - that babies survived their mothers' pregnancy, even though pregnant women were doing farmwork and eating unpasteurised cheese. It was after they were born that they began dropping like flies.

canismajoris September 18th, 2010 7:35 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5611576)
Sorry to be picky, but if the birth rate in 1910 was double what it is now, doesn't that kind of prove MmeB's point - that babies survived their mothers' pregnancy, even though pregnant women were doing farmwork and eating unpasteurised cheese. It was after they were born that they began dropping like flies.

Oh, I don't know what it means in particular, I was just musing. I believe that birth rate is only counting live births, so who knows how many miscarriages and dead births there were. It seems way more women had way more pregnancies and the population was still barely growing faster than it is now. Part of the reason is that the infant mortality rate is a tiny fraction of what it was even 50 years ago. So I think the implication is that we took a "quantity over quality" approach. My conclusion is that even though there's a lower birth rate now and we seem to have a lot of abortions, the babies actually born are practically an order of magnitude more likely to survive a month and a year and live to adulthood.

Anyway, just being born alive doesn't mean a baby didn't suffer significant problems in utero.

Melaszka September 18th, 2010 7:38 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5611583)
Oh, I don't know what it means in particular, I was just musing. I believe that birth rate is only counting live births, so who knows how many miscarriages and dead births there were. It seems way more women had way more pregnancies and the population was still barely growing faster than it is now. Part of the reason is that the infant mortality rate is a tiny fraction of what it was even 50 years ago. So I think the implication is that we took a "quantity over quality" approach. My conclusion is that even though there's a lower birth rate now and we seem to have a lot of abortions, the babies actually born are practically an order of magnitude more likely to survive a month and a year and live to adulthood.

You're probably right, Bill. I'd kind of assumed that it's more likely that vaccinations, clean water etc had eradicated the main causes of infant mortality, not that babies were emerging from the womb stronger, but we don't really have the evidence to prove it either way, so I'm just going to drop this argument.

canismajoris September 18th, 2010 7:43 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5611587)
You're probably right, Bill. I'd kind of assumed that it's more likely that vaccinations, clean water etc had eradicated the main causes of infant mortality, not that babies were emerging from the womb stronger, but we don't really have the evidence to prove it either way, so I'm just going to drop this argument.

:lol: Yeah, we could use some medical authority here... are there any OB/GYNs on CoS?

FurryDice September 18th, 2010 10:27 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5611440)
When you decide to take a pregnancy to term you are deciding to take care of the child. Period. That means not doing anything risky or damaging to your body because that, intrinsically, would be bad for the baby.

I agree, completely. I think that if a woman decides to take a pregnancy to term, she should take into account the welfare of the foetus. I don't think it's fair to try to have it both ways, if a woman doesn't want to do a single thing to keep the baby healthy, why is she continuing with the pregnancy?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnightsfire (Post 5611505)
If I may combine these two posts..

..and say that the average person is qualified to protect him/herself and her/his business from litigation should said pregant person become injured because of her...blanket blank self.

I'm not sure I fully get that statement. But, I think an employer would want to have it on the record that he/she asked the pregnant woman if she would prefer less physically taxing duties while pregnant. Because, imo, a lot of people are very quick to file lawsuits nowadays, and making the option available is one of the ways of protecting his/her business against lawsuits.

Beatifically December 13th, 2010 7:59 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
*pokes thread* :whistle:

Feminism was brought up a few weeks ago in one of my classes. My professor - a passionate feminist herself - was talking about it and then asked if anyone in the class would identify themselves as a feminist. The only people who raised their hands were two other people and me. She then asked if any men supported feminism and not one of them raised their hands.

After talking about it, one guy mentioned that, while he supported women's rights, he didn't identify himself as feminist because of the negative stigma that goes with the word. In his mind, feminists are radical women who hate men.

As a rebuttal, my professor came up with a good point, I think. While there are extremists who use feminism to back their hatred (and in the most extreme cases, violence) against men, should that be any reason to not support feminism? For instance, there are many POC who hate white people, but, because of their hatred, should we say we do not advocate helping them achieve their rights? Granted, every ideology (social, religious, political, etc.) has extremists one way or another, but this is a poor excuse to say that one does not support a cause. I think this applies to feminism as well.

Yoana December 13th, 2010 8:07 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Beatifically (Post 5668990)
*pokes thread* :whistle:

Feminism was brought up a few weeks ago in one of my classes. My professor - a passionate feminist herself - was talking about it and then asked if anyone in the class would identify themselves as a feminist. The only people who raised their hands were two other people and me. She then asked if any men supported feminism and not one of them raised their hands.

After talking about it, one guy mentioned that, while he supported women's rights, he didn't identify himself as feminist because of the negative stigma that goes with the word. In his mind, feminists are radical women who hate men.

As a rebuttal, my professor came up with a good point, I think. While there are extremists who use feminism to back their hatred (and in the most extreme cases, violence) against men, should that be any reason to not support feminism? For instance, there are many POC who hate white people, but, because of their hatred, should we say we do not advocate helping them achieve their rights? Granted, every ideology (social, religious, political, etc.) has extremists one way or another, but this is a poor excuse to say that one does not support a cause. I think this applies to feminism as well.

[staff edit] I wonder how that "stigma" came to be at all. Since MOST feminists are not man-haters or extremists of any sort. Actually I don't wonder that much...

Siriusandme December 14th, 2010 7:10 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FurryDice (Post 5611671)
I agree, completely. I think that if a woman decides to take a pregnancy to term, she should take into account the welfare of the foetus. I don't think it's fair to try to have it both ways, if a woman doesn't want to do a single thing to keep the baby healthy, why is she continuing with the pregnancy?

I always thought this was really unfair. There is a risk involved in just about everything people do and for some reason some risks are accepted (driving cars, riding a bicycle) and others aren't (eating certain foods of drinking a glass of wine). Even though in my (completely unfounded) opinion driving a car is way more risky than drinking a glass of wine.

MmeBergerac December 14th, 2010 11:19 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Posted by Beatifically:

After talking about it, one guy mentioned that, while he supported women's rights, he didn't identify himself as feminist because of the negative stigma that goes with the word. In his mind, feminists are radical women who hate men.
Perhaps he should have asked first what the teacher understood by feminist. The discussion would have been more interesting.

Melaszka December 14th, 2010 11:37 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Guys, could we please steer clear of statements of what is and is not safe in pregnancy? Remember the CoS "No health advice" rule.

Melaszka December 15th, 2010 12:00 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Just changed the thread topic title a tad, as it was pointed out to us that the word "misconceptions" in the title contained an inherent bias, as it implies that one definition is the "right" one.

Midnightsfire December 15th, 2010 3:17 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MmeBergerac (Post 5669476)
Perhaps he should have asked first what the teacher understood by feminist. The discussion would have been more interesting.

I would have been interested myself.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beatifically (Post 5668990)
*pokes thread* :whistle:
As a rebuttal, my professor came up with a good point, I think. While there are extremists who use feminism to back their hatred (and in the most extreme cases, violence) against men, should that be any reason to not support feminism? For instance, there are many POC who hate white people, but, because of their hatred, should we say we do not advocate helping them achieve their rights? Granted, every ideology (social, religious, political, etc.) has extremists one way or another, but this is a poor excuse to say that one does not support a cause. I think this applies to feminism as well.

Allow me to rebut;
Feminism is a slippery term. Much like the words, Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, and as such can mean something very different to those that either use such tems to apply to themselves, or to those that view others that do so.
Feminism has (to me anyway) come to be dismissed as a political term.
:argh:

FleurduJardin December 17th, 2010 5:26 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
At one point earlier, we discusssed whether a "neutral" word (since English doesn't have feminine or masculine articles, "the" and "a" both being neutral) could have gender connotations.

This is a NY Times article which deals partly on the matter (it's a review of a book called "Through the Language Glass").

This long article can be a bit dry, but don't be discouraged. Skim through it, you'll find some interesting tidbits, such as:

"speakers do indeed, on a subconscious level, form associations between nonliving ("neuter") objects and masculine or feminine properties." [Some of us already knew this....]

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/bo...ckerton-t.html

This also reminds me of a discussion I had on another thread in this forum. It was about how, in the TV series Battlestar Galactica, female officers are addressed as "Sir" and not "Ma'am" (as they are, for example, in the US military, among others) and how the female president, though addressed as "Madam President", will be answered "Yes, Sir" when she gives a particularly important order.

A male debater told me that, if he were a woman, he'd be pleased to be addressed as "Sir" because that would mean he was getting as much respect as a man. I strenuously objected to this, because it showed, once again that, perhaps subconsciously, the masculine is perceived as superior to the feminine.

My whole fight about the feminization of function titles stems from that. I would like women to be considered equal to men as a matter of course, and that addressing them as "Ma'am" in no way diminishes their authority. That an actress is just as good as an actor, a queen just as powerful as a king, a heroine just as, well, heroic and admirable as a hero, a huntress as deadly as a hunter (whoever called the goddess Diana a "hunter" or worse a female hunter, or the female god of the hunt?)

Someone earlier also said he didn't think that supposedly neutral words carried gender connotations. Does he really think "male" when he hears "nurse", "prostitute" or "receptionist"? Just curious...

Midnightsfire December 17th, 2010 12:21 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Look at the word "God." Aside from the word "goddess," does one refer to He, She, or It?

FleurduJardin December 17th, 2010 10:43 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnightsfire (Post 5671039)
Look at the word "God." Aside from the word "goddess," does one refer to He, She, or It?

Excellent example. :tu: Most people will automatically think "he".

This reminds me of the controversy in France (I don't know whether the English-speaking world ever asked itself that question) about which gender angels are. It's funny because in French, without changing the gender of the article, one can say to either a man or a woman "vous Ítes/tu es un ange" ("un", not "une") ("you're an angel") wherewas, for a child, it's "un enfant" or "une enfant" (the word in the feminine doesn't take an "e" like most French words do, but the article changes.) Not to be mixed up with "un infant" or "une infante", which is a Spanish prince or princess royal. Confusing, I know.

Sorry for the digression. My point is, words, even when deemed "neutral", do have a gender connotation. I'm firmly convinced of it, whatever other people may say, think or write. :)

I am however open to discussion on the matter, bearing in mind that my native language(s), unlike English, has/have gender differentiation in the articles. It makes a world of difference.

FleurduJardin December 20th, 2010 11:19 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

My whole fight about the feminization of function titles stems from that. I would like women to be considered equal to men as a matter of course, and that addressing them as "Ma'am" in no way diminishes their authority. That an actress is just as good as an actor, a queen just as powerful as a king, a heroine just as, well, heroic and admirable as a hero, a huntress as deadly as a hunter
I forgot to add: Whether the answer is "Yes, Sir" or "Yes, Ma'am", an order is obeyed in exactly the same way, isn't it? It bothers me no end that for certain people, saying "Yes, Sir" is seen as carrying more weight, and as giving more power to the order-giver (even if she's a woman) than "Yes, Ma'am". :grumble:

Pox Voldius December 21st, 2010 1:36 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FleurduJardin (Post 5670974)
This also reminds me of a discussion I had on another thread in this forum. It was about how, in the TV series Battlestar Galactica, female officers are addressed as "Sir" and not "Ma'am" (as they are, for example, in the US military, among others) and how the female president, though addressed as "Madam President", will be answered "Yes, Sir" when she gives a particularly important order.

A male debater told me that, if he were a woman, he'd be pleased to be addressed as "Sir" because that would mean he was getting as much respect as a man. I strenuously objected to this, because it showed, once again that, perhaps subconsciously, the masculine is perceived as superior to the feminine.

Quote:

Originally Posted by FleurduJardin (Post 5672645)
I forgot to add: Whether the answer is "Yes, Sir" or "Yes, Ma'am", an order is obeyed in exactly the same way, isn't it? It bothers me no end that for certain people, saying "Yes, Sir" is seen as carrying more weight, and as giving more power to the order-giver (even if she's a woman) than "Yes, Ma'am". :grumble:

Reminds me of a scene from The King and I (1956) --

Anna Leonowens: "Please, do tell me, why do you keep calling me 'sir'?"
Lady Thiang: "Because you scientific, not lowly like woman."

DancingMaenid December 21st, 2010 3:53 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
I agree that feminine titles should command as much respect as masculine ones.

But I don't care for the fact that, when both masculine and feminine titles are used, the masculine title still seems to used as the default sometimes, and the feminine one still seems to be an "offshoot." For example, I can hear someone refer to a mixed-gender group as either "actors" or "actors and actresses," but never as "actresses."

In Spanish, which uses different forms of words depending on the gender of the people being referred to, defaults to the masculine forms when talking about a mixed group of people. You never default to the feminine form.

I guess I don't really see a point in creating different versions of titles and profession names when the gender of the person holding the title or profession doesn't really matter. And if a woman can be a great actor or a great actress, why can't a man be a great actress?

FleurduJardin December 21st, 2010 6:04 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pox Voldius (Post 5672700)
Reminds me of a scene from The King and I (1956) --

Anna Leonowens: "Please, do tell me, why do you keep calling me 'sir'?"
Lady Thiang: "Because you scientific, not lowly like woman."

That is exactly my point, thank you Pox.

That is also why I fight so hard for the feminine word to be used when it exists in languages (like English) where the articles are neutral, or, in languages where the articles are not neutral, that the feminine article is used for a woman if the word is the same ("le" ministre, "la" ministre).

Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid
In Spanish, which uses different forms of words depending on the gender of the people being referred to, defaults to the masculine forms when talking about a mixed group of people. You never default to the feminine form.

It's the same thing in French. Unfortunately that's a grammatical rule we cannot change. In French, even an animal, or an inanimate object, if it is in the masculine, will determinate the form the adjective or complement will take. Like "A dog and a woman were kidnapped", "kidnapped" will take the masculine plural form. Ditto for "A truck and several nuns were seen", "seen" will be in the masculine plural. :sigh:

So, since we have to live with it, I have no problem with "a group of actors" meaning both actors and actresses. Or at least I accept it as inevitable. But I strenuously oppose a woman calling herself an "actor", not when the word "actress" exists, or people hailing a woman as a "hero" when the word "heroine" exists. I'm not for inventing new words because a woman enters a profession that was exclusively male before (though, in French, when they started having male birth attendants, they were quick enough to invent a new word instead of using the feminine existing one) - but I am for using feminine words when they already exist and have been in use for centuries.

Reminds me of an article I saw recently (but which was written some decades ago) where Amelia Earhart was referred to as an "aviatrix" - or, in legalese, the use of the word "executrix" (of a will) - but I won't push it, as no one uses those forms nowadays, except for... "dominatrix". :lol: :p

ETA: It really bothers me that in a TV series like BattleStar Galactica, where the two genders are totally equal - there are both men and women pilots, commanders, admirals, presidents, etc. They dress the same, they even have the same communal bathrooms and showers, they do the same work, but the women with power are still "Sir" to show that they are not "lowly women". :grumble:

It's the only show of that kind that does that. In others, from JAG to Babylon 5 to Star Trek Voyager (which has a female captain), the female officers are all "Ma'am". I wonder why this difference in BSG. :hmm:

MmeBergerac December 21st, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Posted by FleurduJardin:

This reminds me of the controversy in France (I don't know whether the English-speaking world ever asked itself that question) about which gender angels are.
Well, that was source of a lot of controversy during the Middle Ages,too... :lol: In Spain we have the phrase 'argue about the gender of angels' to refer a long discussion that's doomed to take nowhere.

I can't stand the "actors and actresses", "boys and girls" discourse to refer a mixed group of people. It kills my patience, I can't help feeling it a waste of words and breath.

P
Quote:

osted y DancingMaenid:

I guess I don't really see a point in creating different versions of titles and profession names when the gender of the person holding the title or profession doesn't really matter.
And the obsession that all words with a female meaning have to end in -a and that any word that doesn't means male (I'm talking of Spanish). For instance, there's that mania of calling female judges juezas, while everyone agrees that it would be ridiculous to call male journalists periodistos. The day I graduate I'll entitle myself as ingeniero though I'm a girl, and I think people should be more worried about my planes flying properly than wether the final letter of my title is an -a or an -o.

Melaszka December 21st, 2010 2:26 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FleurduJardin (Post 5672777)
So, since we have to live with it, I have no problem with "a group of actors" meaning both actors and actresses. Or at least I accept it as inevitable. But I strenuously oppose a woman calling herself an "actor", not when the word "actress" exists, or people hailing a woman as a "hero" when the word "heroine" exists. I'm not for inventing new words because a woman enters a profession that was exclusively male before (though, in French, when they started having male birth attendants, they were quick enough to invent a new word instead of using the feminine existing one) - but I am for using feminine words when they already exist and have been in use for centuries.

Reminds me of an article I saw recently (but which was written some decades ago) where Amelia Earhart was referred to as an "aviatrix" - or, in legalese, the use of the word "executrix" (of a will) - but I won't push it, as no one uses those forms nowadays, except for... "dominatrix". :lol: :p

Well, you know how I feel about this, so we will have to agree to disagree.

My problems with -ess and -trix endings in English are:

(a) they are not a feminine equivalent of the -or or -er endings they replace (as is the case with -euse for -eur or -ienne for -ian in French), they are a suffix added to that ending and both etymologically and semantically, I feel they have a diminutive quality. NOT because they are feminine (like I said, I don't have that problem with -euse in French, because it's not a suffix added to the male title and it doesn't have a trivial sound to it - I can't explain this, -ess just sounds patronising to me.)

This is even more the case with the -ka suffix in Polish, which is added to e.g. "aktor" (actor; feminine = aktorka), "piosenkarz" (singer; feminine = piosenkarka), "nauczyciel" (teacher; feminine = nauczycielka). There the "-ka" is definitely a diminutive, with something of the sense of "little". It's considered insulting to apply it to women with "serious" professions, like doctor (=lekarz. Women doctors are known as lekarz, not lekarka). It's like the -ka used in familiar forms of female Christian names (e.g. Anka for Anna, Jolka for Jolanta, Melaśka for Melania), which are usually only used with very, very close friends/family members or small children. Melaśka is kind of the Polish equivalent of Melsy-Welsy! Why would you want that kind of suffix added to your professional title?

Similarly the -ette ending in English. If a "kitchenette" is a small kitchen with fewer technical accoutrements than a "kitchen" and "leatherette" is a cheaper, ersatz form of "leather", then what does that say about the relative merits of an "usher" and an "usherette"?

(b) -or and -er are not exclusively masculine endings and have not been for centuries. There are many, many words in common use (e.g. writer, teacher, worker, banker, campaigner, visitor) which you'd never even think of adding an -ess or an -ix to, so why use it for a very narrow range of professions? It just seems to me that often the -ess and -ix endings have been used in the past to stigmatise and trivialise women trying to pursue "traditionally" male careers and to imply that they are doing something different and lesser than a man doing the same job (in some circumstances still the case - some opponents of women priests insist on calling them "priestesses", drawing on both the pagan and the diminutive connotations of the word to try to paint the idea of a woman priest as an absurdity).

I do take your point that often when people hear the word e.g. "banker" or "doctor" or "police officer", even those those words are supposedly "gender-neutral", they will envisage a man, and that's not good, but I think that preconception will fade away as people get more used to women in these jobs. They'll probably also envisage a white, middle-class, heterosexual person, too, but no-one proposes we should add different suffixes for race, sexuality and social background. I think the problem is people's limited expectations, not the word itself. IMO, we should be using words that emphasise the job, not the gender of the person doing it, and using language that celebrates how similar all human beings are, not that which emphasises and exaggerates gender differences.

(c) If I have to say "My favourite actors are Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman and Tobey Maguire and my favourite actresses are Kathryn Hunter, Francesca Annis and Josette Simon" or "Toni Collette, IMO, is a better actress than Sam West is an actor", instead of "My favourite actors are..."/ "X is a better actor than Y", it's (i) very cumbersome and stilted (ii) implies that what women who act do is qualitatively different from the job that men who act do and that the two cannot be directly compared. I dislike the fact that there is a Best Actress Oscar and a Best Actor Oscar for this reason.

And yet if we call women who act "actresses" when we're talking about them as individuals or in single-sex groups, but revert to "actors" when we don't know the sex or are talking about a mixed-gender group, then that is more sexist, IMO, because it's making the male the superior, default term.

Much better, I say, to call them all by the same word. It's not that I think the "male" term is more prestigious: I don't care if it's actor, actress, actperson, actbod...I just think that people who do the same job should be called by the same word.

I'm with you all the way on the Sir/Ma'am thing, though.

And, to go back to the idea of definitions of Feminism, I don't think that someone who insists on calling women who act "actresses" or someone who insists on calling them "actors" is necessarily a feminist or not a feminist - it all depends on their reasons.

FleurduJardin December 21st, 2010 7:52 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MmeBergerac (Post 5672831)
Well, that was source of a lot of controversy during the Middle Ages,too... :lol: In Spain we have the phrase 'argue about the gender of angels' to refer a long discussion that's doomed to take nowhere.

It's the same in French. :lol:

Quote:

I can't stand the "actors and actresses", "boys and girls" discourse to refer a mixed group of people. It kills my patience, I can't help feeling it a waste of words and breath.
I agree about a "group of actors" meaning actors of both sexes, but I'm puzzled by your "boys and girls" example. Would you call them all "boys" even when there are girls in the group, or would you say "a group of young people"?

Quote:

And the obsession that all words with a female meaning have to end in -a and that any word that doesn't means male (I'm talking of Spanish). For instance, there's that mania of calling female judges juezas, while everyone agrees that it would be ridiculous to call male journalists periodistos. The day I graduate I'll entitle myself as ingeniero though I'm a girl, and I think people should be more worried about my planes flying properly than wether the final letter of my title is an -a or an -o.
Yes, "periodista" meaning journalist of either sex is one exception in Spanish. Like I learned that the adjective for Vietnamese was "vietnamita" and invariable, whatever the gender of the subject.

In French, a sentry is "une sentinelle", and a military courier is "une estafette" with the article in the feminine, whether the person is male or female. The exception that confirms the rule, I guess.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5672874)
Well, you know how I feel about this, so we will have to agree to disagree.

Yes, we already agreed to disagree.

Moreover, my arguments are really founded on the fact that I'm basing myself more on the French language than on the English one.

Quote:

It just seems to me that often the -ess and -ix endings have been used in the past to stigmatise and trivialise women trying to pursue "traditionally" male careers and to imply that they are doing something different and lesser than a man doing the same job (in some circumstances still the case - some opponents of women priests insist on calling them "priestesses", drawing on both the pagan and the diminutive connotations of the word to try to paint the idea of a woman priest as an absurdity).
I disagree with the feminine ending being patronizing in all cases, and I see nothing wrong with using "priestess". In the cases where it is perceived to be down-putting and patronizing, I feel that using it more would take the negative connotation away.

That also reminds me of a science fiction series where the highest authority in a certain religion is called "the Son of the Sun". When a woman did get to that rank for the first time in the history of that religion, she was also called "Son" (and not daughter) of the Sun. That drove me nuts.

But we already agreed to disagree on it, so I won't repeat my arguments. :)

Quote:

I'm with you all the way on the Sir/Ma'am thing, though.
Hurray for that! :clap:

But don't you see, it just confirms what I was saying, and what I'm fighting against - that the male form of address, or a masculine noun, is always perceived to be superior, and that using the feminine form, if widespread enough, would eliminate that perception of inequality.

It's the same argument you used for the opposite, actually. That when there are enough women doctors, police officers, etc., and people acknowledge that there are male nurses and male prostitutes, the perception will change. As you said, our objectives are the same, but the ways we think those objectives can be reached are diametrically opposite.

Quote:

And, to go back to the idea of definitions of Feminism, I don't think that someone who insists on calling women who act "actresses" or someone who insists on calling them "actors" is necessarily a feminist or not a feminist - it all depends on their reasons.
Well, in my case my reason is a feminist one - but I see your point too. Back to agreeing to disagree. :)

Muggle_Magic December 21st, 2010 10:35 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MmeBergerac (Post 5672831)
I can't stand the "actors and actresses", "boys and girls" discourse to refer a mixed group of people. It kills my patience, I can't help feeling it a waste of words and breath.

That's interesting, from a man's point of view. Because I usually make a point of saying "guys and gals", having been berated by women when I said "You guys" when addressing a mixed group.

MmeBergerac, would you also do without "Ladies and Gentlemen" too? Just say "Gentlemen", considering that would include the ladies, the way the word "actors" includes actresses? Or maybe "Gentlebeings"? :lol:

canismajoris December 21st, 2010 10:40 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Muggle_Magic (Post 5673044)
That's interesting, from a man's point of view. Because I usually make a point of saying "guys and gals", having been berated by women when I said "You guys" when addressing a mixed group.

MmeBergerac, would you also do without "Ladies and Gentlemen" too? Just say "Gentlemen", considering that would include the ladies, the way the word "actors" includes actresses? Or maybe "Gentlebeings"? :lol:

But those are not the only options...

kids
children
folks
people
everyone
you all
etc.

NumberEight December 21st, 2010 11:27 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Is saying "ladies and gentlemen" when addressing a group only consisting of adult men and women wrong?

canismajoris December 22nd, 2010 12:02 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NumberEight (Post 5673060)
Is saying "ladies and gentlemen" when addressing a group only consisting of adult men and women wrong?

I'm not sure why it would be. I mean first we have to accept that there is no right or wrong here, it's all a matter of the types of unforeseen reactions one is willing to elicit and put up with. Looking at Muggle_Magic's example, saying "you guys" to a mixed group reflects (in my opinion) a perfectly reasonable adaptation of our language. It doesn't imply that the female members of the group are male, because English can accommodate any old person as a "guy" in collective situations. And really my comment to him was only a reminder that we do have gender-neutral words available for such a task--one need not choose between unwieldy inclusiveness and misogyny.

Ultimately though, I am not of the school that language and opinion are so tightly espoused, as many here seem to believe. And not just here, specific minutiae of usage are matters of contention in every debate. What I'm left with is a feeling of guilt, that I should choose my words to avoid offending women, when in reality this is a level of deference that I rarely pay to men. So what's my motivation, as it were?

NumberEight December 22nd, 2010 12:18 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Well, the vibe I get from this thread is that if you say a certain thing, you are looked down upon and considered wrong. For instance, I don't think there's anything wrong with a female officer in a television series being called "sir."

Yoana December 22nd, 2010 7:46 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Sorry to interrupt this interesting discussion with something completely irrelevant, but last night I was out with a friend and when I went to the ladies' room and closed the door, I saw a yellow post-it on the door from the inside that read (in a handwriting): "You are beautiful - just the way you are!" It made my day. That's feminism to me - women supporting other women.

MmeBergerac December 22nd, 2010 8:26 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Posted by FleurduJardin:

I agree about a "group of actors" meaning actors of both sexes, but I'm puzzled by your "boys and girls" example. Would you call them all "boys" even when there are girls in the group, or would you say "a group of young people"?
Quote:

Posted by MuggleMagic:

MmeBergerac, would you also do without "Ladies and Gentlemen" too? Just say "Gentlemen", considering that would include the ladies, the way the word "actors" includes actresses? Or maybe "Gentlebeings"?
Quote:

Posted by NumberEight

Is saying "ladies and gentlemen" when addressing a group only consisting of adult men and women wrong?
Okay, I think I didn't axplain myself very well.

I lke the formula "Ladies and Gentlemen", and I don't think it's wrong at all. It's, as you've posted, a corteous way of adressing a mixed group of adults. What I can't stand is the overuse of that and other formulas. If you hear a politician giving a speech in Spain you'll surely hear something like:

Amigos y amigas, os aseguro que todos y todas los diputados y diputadas y los ministros y ministras trabajamos para que todos y todas los ciudadanos y ciudadanas...

(Impossible to translate to English)

In Spanish, the way of referring a mixed group of people is the male plural form. The use of both male and female is for emphasis. But if you use constantly the emphatic form, a) the emphasis is lost; b) you sound unsuffereably pedantic, specially if you are in a colloquial context.

Muggle_Magic December 22nd, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5673048)
But those are not the only options...

kids
children
folks
people
everyone
you all
etc.

All of those options are good for an informal meeting, but not a formal one. You can't see a politician's speech on the senate floor or a high-level meeting starting with "Folks", "People", or "You all". At least I can't imagine it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by NumberEight (Post 5673097)
For instance, I don't think there's anything wrong with a female officer in a television series being called "sir."

I do, for the reasons Fleur and Pox stated earlier. It implies that calling them "Ma'am" would reduce them to the rank of "lowly females" (this is a quote, don't jump on me!!!)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5673305)
Sorry to interrupt this interesting discussion with something completely irrelevant, but last night I was out with a friend and when I went to the ladies' room and closed the door, I saw a yellow post-it on the door from the inside that read (in a handwriting): "You are beautiful - just the way you are!" It made my day. That's feminism to me - women supporting other women.

That was a most welcome interruption, Yoana. :tu:

Quote:

Originally Posted by MmeBergerac (Post 5673310)
In Spanish, the way of referring a mixed group of people is the male plural form. The use of both male and female is for emphasis. But if you use constantly the emphatic form, a) the emphasis is lost; b) you sound unsuffereably pedantic, specially if you are in a colloquial context.

I see your point. :)

NumberEight December 22nd, 2010 8:46 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Muggle_Magic (Post 5673531)
I do, for the reasons Fleur and Pox stated earlier. It implies that calling them "Ma'am" would reduce them to the rank of "lowly females" (this is a quote, don't jump on me!!!)

If reality was reversed, that women were considered superior and male officers were addressed as "ma'am," would the same opinion be held?

Seriously, I have to wonder if some of you think "woman" is a terrible word because the word contains "man" in it.

Muggle_Magic December 22nd, 2010 9:04 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NumberEight (Post 5673532)
If reality was reversed, that women were considered superior and male officers were addressed as "ma'am," would the same opinion be held?

IMO, of course it would. How, as a man, would you like to be addressed as "Ma'am"? :hmm:

Quote:

Seriously, I have to wonder if some of you think "woman" is a terrible word because the word contains "man" in it.
You're stretching it here. But it's not for me to say, let the ladies respond to that.


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