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Bloggingheads 08-31-2010 04:38 PM

What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 

Don Zeko 08-31-2010 04:58 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
I found the first part of the conversation that discussed Sarah Palin and women in politics to be pretty spectacularly bad analysis. Rather than point out why I think that they're off-base, I'll link to Jonathan Bernstein's excellent take-down of Traister's NYT Op-Ed.

...Ok, I can't help it. I'll provide a five-word rebuttal: Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

carkrueger 08-31-2010 08:38 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Rebecca, it's ashame Liz is not pro-life to better defend the conservative position (although she tried). When I read your article in the NYT I thought it was angry. I could really feel the venom coming through on your feelings towards Sarah.

For you to openly admit "You can't be a feminist and be pro-life" my thought is--who are you to decide? Better yet, progressives don't get to decide anymore and that really is the rub isn't it?

Sarah's following of Pro-Life women is in the 10's of millions. She has reclaimed the mantle of Feminism in 2010 and she is inspiring a generation of women, young and old.

The most critical point Liz made is that Pro-Life women are making decisions with the life of their un-born childs rites in mind. What could be more Pro-Women than giving the gift of life.

jimM47 08-31-2010 09:02 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
What's the verdict, Zeke? Is it worth watching?

Don Zeko 08-31-2010 09:06 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jimM47 (Post 177405)
What's the verdict, Zeke? Is it worth watching?

I'm not sure; I only had time for about 20 minutes of it before I had to go to work. Based on that 20 minutes, it's hard to say. Lots of discussion of basically unfalsifiable, i.e. BS, narratives, and a bit of discussion of feminism and abortion. I'm going to watch the rest of it myself, but I'm not sure whether I'll regret it or not.

Don Zeko 08-31-2010 09:25 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by carkrueger (Post 177404)
For you to openly admit "You can't be a feminist and be pro-life" my thought is--who are you to decide? Better yet, progressives don't get to decide anymore and that really is the rub isn't it?

Sarah's following of Pro-Life women is in the 10's of millions. She has reclaimed the mantle of Feminism in 2010 and she is inspiring a generation of women, young and old.

The most critical point Liz made is that Pro-Life women are making decisions with the life of their un-born childs rites in mind. What could be more Pro-Women than giving the gift of life.

It's always seemed to me that, if one is approaching the issue from a Pro-Life position, abortion doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Feminism. Obviously one would want to recognize that the burdens of a pro-life legal regime will fall almost exclusively on women, but the underlying moral logic of an abortion ban really has nothing to do with the mother; it's all about the assertion that the fetus has an inviolable right to life.

Wonderment 08-31-2010 09:38 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Rebecca's argument seems to be that you can hold private pro-life views, even deeply religious ones, but that holding an anti-abortion public policy view is inconsistent with feminism (and presumably inconsistent with freedom and democracy).

"You're not a real feminist" is a hard case to make, however, and I think it's fair to ask, as a poster did above, who gets to define "feminism?" Certainly millions of women CLAIM to be both feminist and anti-abortion; it's seems odd to have Rebecca summarily disqualify them.

I say this as someone who is extremely pro-choice and who finds pro-life arguments 100% unpersuasive.

Whatfur 08-31-2010 10:00 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 177411)
...
I say this as someone who is extremely pro-choice and who finds pro-life arguments 100% unpersuasive.

Would pictures help?

JonIrenicus 08-31-2010 10:21 PM

Does talk of representation just mean the group concerned is insecure?
 
There was alot of talk about how many women were represented in congress and politics and in the workforce and whatever else... Why is there so much concern over that? With the exception of the latter, what do the others really matter?


The best example of a group that does not seem all that bothered by political representation by their group affiliation are asians.


Doesn't it seem a much stronger and healthier state when the health and well being of a group does not rest on who represents them?


Asians don't seem to care how many asians are elected officials to the same degree of some other groups like say the black community or even women. And guess what? lack of representation means jack squat. Well being and prosperity does not stem from the group is of who represents you.

And I think the more secure people/groups take that to heart.

Ocean 08-31-2010 10:44 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 177409)
Obviously one would want to recognize that the burdens of a pro-life legal regime will fall almost exclusively on women, but the underlying moral logic of an abortion ban really has nothing to do with the mother; it's all about the assertion that the fetus has an inviolable right to life.

Precisely. And the feminist point of view in the context of our culture as it is, can only be pro-choice. It is a woman's inviolable right to decide what grows inside her body. No woman should be forced to remain pregnant.

A woman, who is politically pro-choice, may decide that if she were to be pregnant, she wouldn't pursue an abortion, for a variety of reasons (religious, philosophical, emotional). But that doesn't invalidate her acknowledgment that other women also have a right to decide otherwise.

Ken Davis 08-31-2010 11:03 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 177413)
Would pictures help?

And that would help someone form a rational opinion on the matter? I've seen the placards they wave across the barricades from the clinics I've defended. No, it didn't persuade me to join them. That's because I see the life of the woman, a self-aware individual with hopes and fears in the present, as incomparably more important than that of the foetus, which is essentially no one yet.

Ken Davis 08-31-2010 11:08 PM

Re: Does talk of representation just mean the group concerned is insecure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JonIrenicus (Post 177415)
Asians don't seem to care how many asians are elected officials to the same degree of some other groups like say the black community or even women. And guess what? lack of representation means jack squat. Well being and prosperity does not stem from the group is of who represents you.

And I think the more secure people/groups take that to heart.

Asians are hardly "more secure". They are more communal.

badhatharry 09-01-2010 09:26 AM

Re: Does talk of representation just mean the group concerned is insecure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JonIrenicus (Post 177415)

Asians don't seem to care how many asians are elected officials to the same degree of some other groups like say the black community or even women. And guess what? lack of representation means jack squat. Well being and prosperity does not stem from the group is of who represents you.

Asians also don't seem to care that they are not well represented in the NBA.

badhatharry 09-01-2010 09:38 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
I can't agree that Roe vs Wade changed the world as much as Rebecca suggests. I would say that birth control changed the world just as much for women if not more. I wince when she says that abortion rights are equal to reproductive rights when the use of birth control is certainly every bit a reproductive right (the right to control pregnancy) and in most cases, if used properly can preclude the use of abortion.

I realize that killing a fetus may not be a serious matter to some, but it seems that preventing the killing by means of preventing the pregnancy is a superior form of 'reproductive right'.

AemJeff 09-01-2010 10:05 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 177440)
I can't agree that Roe vs Wade changed the world as much as Rebecca suggests. I would say that birth control changed the world just as much for women if not more. I wince when she says that abortion rights are equal to reproductive rights when the use of birth control is certainly every bit a reproductive right (the right to control pregnancy) and in most cases, if used properly can preclude the use of abortion.

I realize that killing a fetus may not be a serious matter to some, but it seems that preventing the killing by means of preventing the pregnancy is a superior form of 'reproductive right'.

Of course, many people see the State getting involved with a woman's decisions about her uterus as an intrusively repugnant idea. The "right" is to do with personal physical integrity.

Ocean 09-01-2010 10:29 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 177441)
Of course, many people see the State getting involved with a woman's decisions about her uterus as an intrusively repugnant idea. The "right" is to do with personal physical integrity.

Exactly.

badhatharry 09-01-2010 10:48 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 177441)
Of course, many people see the State getting involved with a woman's decisions about her uterus as an intrusively repugnant idea. The "right" is to do with personal physical integrity.

Her decisions about her uterus are not in question. It is the life which resides in her uterus which is.

Whatfur 09-01-2010 10:53 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ken Davis (Post 177417)
And that would help someone form a rational opinion on the matter? I've seen the placards they wave across the barricades from the clinics I've defended. No, it didn't persuade me to join them. That's because I see the life of the woman, a self-aware individual with hopes and fears in the present, as incomparably more important than that of the foetus, which is essentially no one yet.

Yes I do. Many are still ignorant of how quickly humans develop in the womb and their state of development at the time of many abortions. Many more are also ignorant of some of the grotesque methods utilized. Seeing the unmistakable human form dealt with like someone is cleaning fish has caused many a revelation of thought. These babies have nothing but words, placards and pictures to defend them. Abortions also are seldom because of the "life of the woman" although disingenuous people seem to always include this as one of their arguments.

[added] Now I do not think Wonder "Boy?" is one of the ignorant while I do think him like most pacifists are afraid to confront evil.

AemJeff 09-01-2010 11:22 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 177446)
Her decisions about her uterus are not in question. It is the life which resides in her uterus which is.

Well, of course. The interesting questions are in regard to untangling that. Why should a sixty-four cell blastocist be treated with the same regard as an adult human? Why shouldn't a full term fetus be accorded that regard? Where are the margins?

Markos 09-01-2010 01:01 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
One of the many things that annoyed me about Sarah Palin was that she was an active politician campaigning for our second highest office and she promotes a policy of teaching abstinence-only to teenage girls, rather than also teaching them about birth control. And when that approach proves to be an utter failure in her own family, she takes the position that pointing that out in a political campaign is an out-of-bounds personal attack on the privacy of her family.

That's not the most annoying thing about Palin, but I do think that if someone runs for political office with the intent of imposing policy on the public, a failure like this in her own family should be an inherent part of the debate.

AemJeff 09-01-2010 01:07 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Markos (Post 177461)
One of the many things that annoyed me about Sarah Palin was that she was an active politician campaigning for our second highest office and she promotes a policy of teaching abstinence-only to teenage girls, rather than also teaching them about birth control. And when that approach proves to be an utter failure in her own family, she takes the position that pointing that out in a political campaign is an out-of-bounds personal attack on the privacy of her family.

That's not the most annoying thing about Palin, but I do think that if someone runs for political office with the intent of imposing policy on the public, a failure like this in her own family should be an inherent part of the debate.

So let's generalize your observation as follows: The most annoying thing about Sarah Palin is the dishonesty and hypocrisy with which approaches policy issues, even when evidence of that dishonesty and hypocrisy is obviously manifest in both her personal life and in how the observation of such events in her personal life affect her approach to public debate.

Markos 09-01-2010 01:12 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 177462)
So let's generalize your observation as follows: The most annoying thing about Sarah Palin is the dishonesty and hypocrisy with which approaches policy issues, even when evidence of that dishonesty and hypocrisy is obviously manifest in both her personal life and in how the observation of such events in her personal life affect her approach to public debate.

Exactly.

Whatfur 09-01-2010 01:33 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Markos (Post 177463)
Exactly.


I spoke of fish cleaning above...and now I have found the fishwives.

Glad you had time to enlighten us between One Life to Live and All My Children.

kezboard 09-01-2010 01:54 PM

Re: Does talk of representation just mean the group concerned is insecure?
 
Jon, have you ever talked to actual Asians about this, or seen what Asian advocacy groups have to say about this, or is your assertion about Asians based entirely on a stereotype?

JonIrenicus 09-01-2010 02:06 PM

Re: Does talk of representation just mean the group concerned is insecure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kezboard (Post 177466)
Jon, have you ever talked to actual Asians about this, or seen what Asian advocacy groups have to say about this, or is your assertion about Asians based entirely on a stereotype?

Just based on my observations and a few conversations or overhearing conversations.

I have heard more talk about lack of representation in the media with movies and tv and the music industry. But congress? That was almost nonexistent based off what I picked up.


The preoccupation just seems so much less. There is no equivalent of the sharpton/jackson figureheads pining for more representation. And frankly, having someone from the same "group" as you is no guarantee of improved governance. It is just unhealthy.


It elevates the superficial over the substantive. And some may say well of course no one ones a representative from your own group that is a bad representative, but the point is that simply having a group id test to begin with is a mostly meaningless point in favor of the person.


Unless you want to make the case that simply seeing representatives that look like you has some beneficial effect? And what would that be?

Ken Davis 09-01-2010 04:41 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 177447)
Abortions also are seldom because of the "life of the woman" although disingenuous people seem to always include this as one of their arguments.

Disingenuous in what way?

Don Zeko 09-01-2010 04:59 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 177416)
Precisely. And the feminist point of view in the context of our culture as it is, can only be pro-choice. It is a woman's inviolable right to decide what grows inside her body. No woman should be forced to remain pregnant.

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this, but I think that I disagree with it. So let me suggest hypothetical bundle of attitudes. Our hypothetical is on board with almost all elements of traditional understandings of feminism: strongly in favor of easy access to contraception, taking steps to help women reach parity in the workplace, encouraging men to share home-making and child-rearing responsibilities much more equally, etc. etc. etc..

Yet I'll also throw in a belief that a fetus has the same moral rights that a very young child enjoys: not just a right to life, but a right to be provided with food, shelter, etc either from his/her parents, guardians, or the state. For this reason, our hypothetical person doesn't think abortion should be legal. Would you consider this person a feminist?

AemJeff 09-01-2010 05:48 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 177483)
I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this, but I think that I disagree with it. So let me suggest hypothetical bundle of attitudes. Our hypothetical is on board with almost all elements of traditional understandings of feminism: strongly in favor of easy access to contraception, taking steps to help women reach parity in the workplace, encouraging men to share home-making and child-rearing responsibilities much more equally, etc. etc. etc..

Yet I'll also throw in a belief that a fetus has the same moral rights that a very young child enjoys: not just a right to life, but a right to be provided with food, shelter, etc either from his/her parents, guardians, or the state. For this reason, our hypothetical person doesn't think abortion should be legal. Would you consider this person a feminist?

How many weeks from term is the fetus?

Wonderment 09-01-2010 06:03 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

How many weeks from term is the fetus?
The problem with taking a hypotheticals approach is that anti-abortion activists are happy to incrementally erode abortion rights.

Once you allow for contingencies (she's eight months pregnant and depressed; she's 13 and doesn't have her parents consent; she 8.5 months pregnant but was the victim of rape AND incest, the state can allow abortion but not fund it as a healthcare benefit, Catholic hospitals are exempt, etc., ad infinitum), the "right" eventually is subjected to all sorts of onerous restrictions and ceases to be a right.

So it's a very sound feminist position to support abortion rights unconditionally as a public policy question, just as you would support free speech unconditionally, although there are some questionable fringe expressions of speech you might wonder about.

I would not go so far as to say you can't be a feminist and oppose abortion, but I think Rebecca's argument, seconded by Ocean, is sound.

AemJeff 09-01-2010 06:20 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 177490)
The problem with taking a hypotheticals approach is that anti-abortion activists are happy to incrementally erode abortion rights.

Once you allow for contingencies (she's eight months pregnant and depressed; she's 13 and doesn't have her parents consent; she 8.5 months pregnant but was the victim of rape AND incest, the state can allow abortion but not fund it as a healthcare benefit, Catholic hospitals are exempt, etc., ad infinitum), the "right" eventually is subjected to all sorts of onerous restrictions and ceases to be a right.

So it's a very sound feminist position to support abortion rights unconditionally as a public policy question, just as you would support free speech unconditionally, although there are some questionable fringe expressions of speech you might wonder about.

I would not go so far as to say you can't be a feminist and oppose abortion, but I think Rebecca's argument, seconded by Ocean, is sound.

Eh. I don't see a problem with a policy that treats a viable, full-term fetus in a different class than a two-week blastocyst. I don't think treating the former with essentially the same set of moral constraints that you would a newborn is an undue burden on a woman's right to self-determination. All rights are eventually measured against the effect the exercise of those rights will have on the rights of others. It's also true that treating that blastocyst with the same respect due to a pap smear presents no real challenge to anyone's rights. The degree to which a belief in feminism ought toi be subject to the argument above in regard to a full term fetus is, in my opinion, just about nil. On the other hand, I think anybody argues for the rights of fertilized ova is arguing something explicitly anti-feminist.

stephanie 09-01-2010 06:36 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 177409)
It's always seemed to me that, if one is approaching the issue from a Pro-Life position, abortion doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Feminism. Obviously one would want to recognize that the burdens of a pro-life legal regime will fall almost exclusively on women, but the underlying moral logic of an abortion ban really has nothing to do with the mother; it's all about the assertion that the fetus has an inviolable right to life.

I haven't listened yet (I plan to shortly), so may be ignoring something significant said in the diavlog, but I agree with this.

The problem is, what is feminism? There's a variety of possible definitions and varieties. I was a member of a feminist journal once upon a time and the radical feminists were fond of telling the liberal feminists they weren't feminists. That's why, having been told I wasn't a feminist, I've always found the bemoaning about too few women admitting to the term when they clearly are feminists kind of, I don't know, funny but frustrating. (For the record, I both consider myself a feminist and don't think the word is entirely meaningless.)

Similarly, however, I see a conflict between this oft-stated frustration that lots of women who seem to agree with the basic values of feminism and have benefited therefrom will say that aren't feminists and the draw a line around it position that would say that not only Palin but any pro choice woman must be excluded by definition.

The first position (the broad tent, "why won't women admit to the term?" position) seems connected to the notion that feminism basically means that women are entitled to the same legal rights as men, not restricted by societal pressure or conditioning into traditionally female roles, and generally encouraged to pursue the same range of opportunities. If that broader definition is what feminism is, then one could certainly believe that a fetus has the moral status of a person and thus be opposed to legal abortion without ceasing to be a feminist. (And, one could be irritated that someone like Palin, who clearly takes advantage of the benefits achieved by feminism, would deny the term, as she's definitely gone back and forth on this.)

On the other hand, people often cite anti-feminist views (implicit or explicit) in connection with pro life positions, obviously. I'd say that if one is a pro life feminist, presumably one should avoid doing this and, further, have related positions that at least recognize the natural burden placed exclusively on women here and seek to address this. For example, focus on shared child support, help for women facing unplanned pregnancies, concern for people being able to balance work and parenthood, etc.

Ocean 09-01-2010 06:42 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 177483)
I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this, but I think that I disagree with it. So let me suggest hypothetical bundle of attitudes. Our hypothetical is on board with almost all elements of traditional understandings of feminism: strongly in favor of easy access to contraception, taking steps to help women reach parity in the workplace, encouraging men to share home-making and child-rearing responsibilities much more equally, etc. etc. etc..

Yet I'll also throw in a belief that a fetus has the same moral rights that a very young child enjoys: not just a right to life, but a right to be provided with food, shelter, etc either from his/her parents, guardians, or the state. For this reason, our hypothetical person doesn't think abortion should be legal. Would you consider this person a feminist?

You and I already had this discussion, or a similar one about abortion, quite some time ago. Let's see how to unpack this one.

In terms of your question about considering someone who is pro-life a feminist or not, first, there is no checklist to complete in order to meet criteria for feminism. There's no detailed definition as far as I can tell. So, I don't think you would include or exclude people in that group based only on one criteria. However, all ideologies or socio-political movements hold certain principles that are pillars to their basic existence. One of the pillars of feminism is reproductive rights. There is another principle contained withing reproductive rights, and that is about bodily integrity and autonomy. That principle means that if a woman, for whatever reason becomes pregnant but doesn't want to continue this pregnancy,she should be allowed to medically terminate that pregnancy safely. The superseding factor is that such pregnancy occurs within the boundaries of her own body. And a woman owns her body.

The law is always negotiating the rights of adversaries. Sometimes a hierarchy of rights has to be spelled out. A woman's right to make decisions about her reproduction, or about what grows inside her body supersedes any other rights of the fetus. Please note that the difference between a very young child (from birth on) and a fetus, is that the fetus requires someone else's body in order to grow, i.e. the woman who conceived.

I don't think there's any argument about how much more desirable it would be to have contraceptive methods in place in order to avoid pregnancy. But stuff happens, and when there's a rape, or an accident, or poor planning, or whathaveyou, there has to be another means to terminate pregnancy. Women should not be enslaved into continuing an unwanted pregnancy.

Perhaps someone who is not pro-choice could be considered a partial feminist.

stephanie 09-01-2010 08:28 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
I knew I'd regret jumping in before I listened, so now that I have I'll flesh out the points a bit.

First, I just don't buy the whole thesis that Palin is a poster child for women in politics.

Second, I found myself agreeing with Liz Mair a lot. I don't know her work, so perhaps I typically would not, but here I found much of what she said reasonable. To begin with, the point about the assumptions that women should take certain political views or that only certain types of women really represent women or the like, which are ideas that I've heard and think are wrong.

This gets to the argument about "who is a feminist," because I think it's why I'm basically bugged by the idea that feminism is both some big tent thing that young women should claim if they care about having good jobs and educations, etc., but yet tied to certain political views beyond basic beliefs in equality and opportunity. That's because Liz is right (sort of obviously) to point out the diversity in views and interests and lifestyles that women have. To take such a large and diverse group (roughly half the population) and assume they share a real political agenda makes no sense. Thus, to assume that women, by virtue of being women, should support a woman also does not. This is something that is at least being demonstrated yet again by the prominence of numerous women of a variety of views. (Although not new, obviously, as there have been women of a diversity of views prominent for as long as I can recall and before that.)

Rebecca then turned the question to "it's not whether a woman should have some particular political view but whether a feminist should and focused on anti legal abortion (in some sense) as the view in question. Had I listened to this first, I think my response would have been more "who cares?". That is, why is it being presented as useful to debate whether or not some woman politician who is pro life must inherently be non-feminist? As I mentioned in my prior post, outside of the kinds of feminist arguments that most people don't care about, I mostly hear or read people bemoaning that young women don't realize the benefits of feminism, that they are feminists, etc. That feminism is a negative word, associated with radical views and hating men, etc. If that's true, seems people using it as a positive, even if those people are successful women with political views that liberals may dislike in some respects, would be generally helpful, not harmful.

Also, given the diversity of interests and views that women have, I again simply don't see a rational way to define the word other than to focus on the broad shared interest in equality under the law and encouraging opportunity. I can't see a particular view on abortion as being a required element of this.

Finally, part of this is that there are multiple arguments for legal abortion. One has to do with a strong claim for bodily integrity, independent of the nature of the unborn. This is not actually the argument that was accepted in Roe (which is fine, I have problems with the reasoning in Roe like apparently everyone), and it's not the argument I accept, so if that's required to be a feminist, I'm not. (It seems wrong to tie feminist to this, however, as it has nothing to do with sex, as we could discuss with the numerous dumb analogies people have come up with, like Tribe's violin player.)

The other has to do with the definition of personhood and who is entitled to determine that definition given the lack of agreement in our society, philosophy, etc. Although I am not comfortable with any of the arguments on any side of the abortion issue, this is the one I suppose I go with, at least at the early stage of the pregnancy.

Whatfur 09-01-2010 08:32 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ken Davis (Post 177482)
Disingenuous in what way?

Come on Ken its "way" in embedded in the statement. Its statistical insignificance does not warrant it being brought into the discussion at all and you doing so brings into question your veracity.

chiwhisoxx 09-01-2010 09:00 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 177454)
Well, of course. The interesting questions are in regard to untangling that. Why should a sixty-four cell blastocist be treated with the same regard as an adult human? Why shouldn't a full term fetus be accorded that regard? Where are the margins?

I don't find that first hypothetical question all that persuasive, because the consequences for the sixty four cell whatever and the adult human are quite different; death versus a surgical procedure.

AemJeff 09-01-2010 10:08 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx (Post 177504)
I don't find that first hypothetical question all that persuasive, because the consequences for the sixty four cell whatever and the adult human are quite different; death versus a surgical procedure.

I'm not sure I follow you. Extreme "pro-life" arguments assert that both a blastocyst and an adult human are exactly alike in this regard; such that terminating the blastocyst is an act indistinguishable from murder.

Ken Davis 09-01-2010 11:33 PM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Whatfur (Post 177501)
Come on Ken its "way" in embedded in the statement. Its statistical insignificance does not warrant it being brought into the discussion at all and you doing so brings into question your veracity.

The significance of the risk is up to the woman to decide, not a statistician or an interpreter of statistics. You've got your priorities skewed, sorry. Foetuses are a dime a dozen. Individual women are priceless.

I love babies, Whatfur, everything about them. My daughter in law announced her first pregnancy a couple months ago. But her foetus isn't a person, and she is. If she decided something was not right and she wanted to abort the foetus, who is anyone else to say no honey you can't.

chiwhisoxx 09-02-2010 12:03 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 177510)
I'm not sure I follow you. Extreme "pro-life" arguments assert that both a blastocyst and an adult human are exactly alike in this regard; such that terminating the blastocyst is an act indistinguishable from murder.

Ok I think I misunderstood what you originally said.

Don Zeko 09-02-2010 01:10 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 177496)
You and I already had this discussion, or a similar one about abortion, quite some time ago. Let's see how to unpack this one.

We did, so I'll try to keep this reasonably short.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 177496)
In terms of your question about considering someone who is pro-life a feminist or not, first, there is no checklist to complete in order to meet criteria for feminism. There's no detailed definition as far as I can tell. So, I don't think you would include or exclude people in that group based only on one criteria. However, all ideologies or socio-political movements hold certain principles that are pillars to their basic existence. One of the pillars of feminism is reproductive rights. There is another principle contained withing reproductive rights, and that is about bodily integrity and autonomy. That principle means that if a woman, for whatever reason becomes pregnant but doesn't want to continue this pregnancy,she should be allowed to medically terminate that pregnancy safely. The superseding factor is that such pregnancy occurs within the boundaries of her own body. And a woman owns her body....Perhaps someone who is not pro-choice could be considered a partial feminist.

Yet believing in a right to bodily integrity doesn't solve the abortion question on its own. One still has to determine what rights we acquire and when as we develop from a fetus to an adult person. So one could imagine determining that a fetus has rights that outweigh the mother's right to bodily autonomy, and your belief in a woman's strong right to bodily autonomy won't provide any direct input on that question. It will merely raise the bar on how strong the fetus's rights have to be to justify prohibition of abortion.

What troubles me about your position is that you seem to suggest that holding a given set of beliefs about women's rights and their place in society should proscribe your conclusions on other difficult moral questions. It's as if a Libertarian were to argue that anyone who believes animals have moral rights that ought to be safeguarded by the law can't be a libertarian. There are moral/ethical/legal questions here that are inherently orthogonal to each other.

Ocean 09-02-2010 07:59 AM

Re: What We Talk About When We Talk About Palin (Rebecca Traister & Liz Mair)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 177524)
Yet believing in a right to bodily integrity doesn't solve the abortion question on its own. One still has to determine what rights we acquire and when as we develop from a fetus to an adult person. So one could imagine determining that a fetus has rights that outweigh the mother's right to bodily autonomy, and your belief in a woman's strong right to bodily autonomy won't provide any direct input on that question. It will merely raise the bar on how strong the fetus's rights have to be to justify prohibition of abortion.

You don't seem to be able to solve the abortion question on its own, because you keep focusing on the alleged rights of the fetus, instead of focusing on the rights of the woman. If you shift your focus, like most feminists do, then it becomes clearer. The problem implicit in your line of questioning resides in your attempt to establish degrees of personhood for the fetus. Let's assume that you are talking about legal person status. You could say that the fetus acquires legal person status once it's able to survive outside the mother's womb. That option may work for the mother's right of bodily integrity and autonomy. So, if she decides to interrupt her pregnancy at a time when the fetus would be able to survive, then, she may be mandated to give birth instead of aborting, as long as the procedure is equivalent in risk to the woman.

At this point you would have to rely heavily on medical science to determine when the fetus is deemed to be able to survive and what procedures can be used to extract the fetus safely. This idea varies widely since there are extremely specialized intensive care procedures that may allow the survival of a fetus that would normally not be viable. The next logical question is, who would pay for such medical care. Not the woman, since her interest is only to terminate her pregnancy. Would the state assume financial responsibility? Would religious organizations step up and offer financial aid for this option? Would pro-lifers create a fund? Obviously I'm not expecting you to have a ready answer to any of this, but, I'm throwing this out there because these are the practical aspects that need to be considered before making certain decisions that could have dire consequences.


Quote:

What troubles me about your position is that you seem to suggest that holding a given set of beliefs about women's rights and their place in society should proscribe your conclusions on other difficult moral questions.
I'm restricting my opinions to what I think should be women's rights with their corresponding legal protections. The moral questions are always vaster and intrinsically more ambiguous. I consider morality to be man-made and culturally-bound for the most part, although it's based on moral intuitions (built-in tendencies and repulsions). So within certain boundaries we fine tune the dial.


Quote:

It's as if a Libertarian were to argue that anyone who believes animals have moral rights that ought to be safeguarded by the law can't be a libertarian. There are moral/ethical/legal questions here that are inherently orthogonal to each other.
As I said in my previous comment, there is no checklist that has to be completed in order to qualify for the label of feminist. There are only general ideas and concepts that most feminists consider to be basic to their understanding of women's rights. Moral questions are always and inherently at odds with each other. How do you define a "good person"? Someone who does good 100% of the time? What about 80% of the time? Does the person have to do good deeds or also have good thoughts? I know this sounds silly, but it's an example of the kind of discussion we would be having in order to answer the question of who qualifies for the label of feminist.


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