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  #1  
Old 09-28-2010, 04:46 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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  #2  
Old 09-28-2010, 08:34 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

A very passionate, engaged, and therefore engaging discussion. I wish more BloggingHeads discussions were as passionate. When the Heads disagree more, they often retreat into a polite distance from the subject and underplay their feelings about it. (For example, Tim Noah occasionally shot down some silly talking point of Rich Lowry's (e.g., the stimulus didn't stimulate because it didn't keep unemployment down to 8 percent) and then retreated in embarrassment for his opponent.
The very best BHtv discussions are probably those where the ideological distance is greatest but the personal distance is minimal -- a liberal and a conservative who happen to be good friends. Eli Lake and Spencer Ackerman are a good recent example. Mickey and Bob are the paradigm (though Mickey is a neoliberal and Bob is himself, not an all-out liberal -- cynical as he is about human nature and sympathetic as he is to some forms of social conservatism. My favorite example remains the first Ezra Klein/Will Wilkinson diavlog -- very spirited, very cogent and good humored.
I'm not sure that Eli Lake and Heather Hurlburt are actually friends (or that they were before they diavlogged the first time, but somehow they weren't afraid to disagree forcefully.

Some might think I have no place pronouncing on feminism, but I agree with Traister that Sarah Palin should be allowed to count herself a feminist. If I recall correctly, I think Susan Faludi defines feminism as at bottom the view that women are persons. What follows from that commitment to women as persons is a matter of debate. It's quite understandable that many feminists do regard abortion rights as a consequence of that commitment, for example, but there's a LOT of argument between the beginning assumption that women are persons and the conclusion that the state may not restrict a woman's right to have an abortion beyond the restrictions inherent in Roe v. Wade.

Last edited by Bloggin' Noggin; 09-28-2010 at 09:27 PM..
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  #3  
Old 09-29-2010, 01:12 AM
GCox GCox is offline
 
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Default Feminism

Can someone post a link to what feminism stands for today? They hinted in the dialog that it meant supporting subsidized child care but that was about all I got out of it. Rather than slam the entire movement for one issue briefly stated I will gladly read up on what the movement is fighting for.
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  #4  
Old 09-29-2010, 08:12 AM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism

I don't have such a link, and I hope someone will post one. Traister is actually wrong to say that anyone calling herself a feminist is a feminist. I think the central assumption is that women and men are equal (not exactly the same, but equal as persons) and this means that women should not be subordinate to men and they should have equal opportunity with men to pursue their life plans and projects as they see fit. If someone thinks it is a fundamental, basic truth that women should be subordinate to men, then they really shouldn't be called a feminist, even if they call themselves that. Perhaps there would be a way to start from the assumption that women matter as much as men, but are all better off being subordinated to men, and such a person might have some case to make that he or she was a feminist -- except that such an argument would likely depend on ridiculously implausible factual assumptions (deeply implausible now that we have experience of a more equal society).
Not long ago in this country and still in other countries, women were subordinated explicitly to men. This is no longer true in the West, but surely AT LEAST it's arguable that explicit legal subordination is not the only thing that keeps women from having equal opportunity with men. Culture and biology combine to make women bear more of the burdens of reproduction ---men, even "liberated" men do not share the burdens of reproduction with women and this holds women back from having equal opportunity with men, given theexisting culture. What is the solution? A liberal feminist will not see a big problem a solution that uses government subsidies. A conservative feminist might have more of a problem with that, but would propose a more cultural solution -- make the men do more of the work, get employers to change their attitudes about flex time etc.

When it comes to abortion, feminists are quite right that anti-choice laws involve a kind of control of women's bodies by the state that men don't actually have to face. And it is a real question whether, if they suddenly faced this kind of state control of their bodies, whether men would accept it. See Judith Jarvis Thompson's famed case of the famous violinist who has been attached to your kidneys over night (for a period of 9 months) by the Society of Music Lovers to keep him alive until a permanent donor comes along.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:27 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin View Post
...not exactly the same, but equal as persons ...
What does "equal" mean? If it's not synonymous with "the same", then there's a lot of wiggle room for people to redefine its meaning from time to time as convenience dictates.

As an example, let's postulate the existence of an uneducated but reasonably happy stay-at-home mom. She cooks and cleans but has no income, and doesn't participate in major family decisions, like where to live and how to allocate resources. That fits my definition of subordinate. Am I a feminist when I tell her that she is unequal? Or is she a feminist when she tells me that she considers herself to be "equal as a person".

Who gets to define the language?
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  #6  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:05 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin View Post
I don't have such a link, and I hope someone will post one.
I think it would be tough to find one that everyone would sign on to, so am hesitant to try and define it based on issues. It's not a political agenda, precisely, and there are definitely different approaches (as you say later in this post).

Quote:
Traister is actually wrong to say that anyone calling herself a feminist is a feminist. I think the central assumption is that women and men are equal (not exactly the same, but equal as persons) and this means that women should not be subordinate to men and they should have equal opportunity with men to pursue their life plans and projects as they see fit. If someone thinks it is a fundamental, basic truth that women should be subordinate to men, then they really shouldn't be called a feminist, even if they call themselves that.
I agree with this (and you said it better than I did in my post to you before I saw this).
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  #7  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:01 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin View Post
Some might think I have no place pronouncing on feminism, but I agree with Traister that Sarah Palin should be allowed to count herself a feminist.
I agree, but Traister annoyed me a little simply because she seemed to be taking a somewhat different position than she had in the diavlog with Liz Mair, and wasn't as clear about what her position was as it seems that would require. Mostly, she tried to shrug off the question by saying that of course they (Palin et al.) were if they said they were, as it's only a conservative slander that there's any questioning of credentials beyond whoever calls themselves a feminist. Given that Traister is my age, and I know from being involved in feminism somewhat in college and law school (I was on a feminst journal once upon a time) that there was tons of "you aren't really a feminist" being tossed around (usually by radical feminsts against more liberal feminists, but also some discussion of the conservative women who might use the term even back then), her comment seemed a bit disingenuous.

That sounds harsher than I mean, though, as I generally liked her and this discussion, even if I had a very different perception of the '08 campaign and what Hillary's mistakes and successes were.

Quote:
What follows from that commitment to women as persons is a matter of debate.
Personally, I think this makes sense as a way to approach it. My personal approach is simply that women are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as men, without a distinction based on sex alone. The reason for the rephrasing is that one could easily take a conservative twist on "women are persons" to justify an argument that does not involve the basic assumption of equality. A conservative might even think that approaching it based on equality does not help women (as some radical feminists also argue, IMO), and I do think that equality is the key element.

However, I'm not all that wedded to the term, either, anymore, and I'm all for anyone calling themselves feminists, as opposed to it being used as an insult.
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  #8  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:19 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
My personal approach is simply that women are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as men, without a distinction based on sex alone.
so, in your opinion, where specifically does there need to be more work done in the U.S. to achieve this? what are the outstanding challenges?

just curious.
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  #9  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:40 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
so, in your opinion, where specifically does there need to be more work done in the U.S. to achieve this? what are the outstanding challenges?

just curious.
I think the law is basically fine, that the changes that needed to be made have been made. There are adjustments still (I think the Lilly Ledbetter amendment is one example), but the major victories have been won. [Edit: that I think this is one reason some feminists would probably say I'm not one. I call myself one because I care about equality and about a lot of the issues that get grouped under feminism, and because I think we should be clear about thinking that men and women should have the same opportunities and not be placed in roles based on sex alone, and the term is an easy way of making my view on that known. I'm happy for anyone who agrees -- as Palin seems to, based on her life choices -- to call themselves feminists, I think, although I'm open to argument.]

Thus, the arguments become about more difficult issues (it seems to me) -- media coverage that seems slanted, how people really live their lives, and so on, and for the most part I think that's not so much a political issue (although there are political issues that one can argue for based on these things) and instead a social one. (And here's where the personal is the political thing comes in, of course, although I have mixed feelings about that and what's meant by it these days.)

I'd say a feminist stance is to lead one's life in a way that places equality as a priority, in terms of how the family is run, etc. This need not mean that one partner can't stay home, but it should not assume that the woman is the default person to stay home, it should not consider the cost of day care vs. the woman's salary and not vs. the man's, it should resist talking about women working vs. raising their children when men don't get talked about that way. And, as a corollary, it should not assume that men should consider the cost of supporting a family in choosing a career, whereas women consider only the need to support themselves or contribute to a family income. These are all built in biases that I think are fading (I think they've changed a lot since I was a child and even starting my first job and now).

As far as related political issues, I can certainly see abortion rights or birth control availability as feminist issues (although I think one can be a pro life feminist), and I'd also argue for various accomodations for family leave and the like as a feminist issue, although that as a necessary part that the leave and other benefits be absolutely equally available to men. I'd include in here an opposition to some of the social con ideas proposed by people like Quayle (years ago, obviously) and Douthat -- a family wage, where men supporting families get priority, for example, or tax benefits strongly based on traditional families or marriage and having a partner at home (the traditional way it's been, where the code benefits this, and penalizes spouses who make similar incomes).

Not sure what conservative feminists might consider big issues -- quite possibly there would be arguments for anti-pornography type stuff, in fact, which obviously has been a big thing also for radical feminists like Catherine MacKinnon.

Last edited by stephanie; 09-29-2010 at 12:49 PM..
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  #10  
Old 09-29-2010, 03:16 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
Thus, the arguments become about more difficult issues (it seems to me) -- media coverage that seems slanted, how people really live their lives, and so on, and for the most part I think that's not so much a political issue (although there are political issues that one can argue for based on these things) and instead a social one. ...

I'd say a feminist stance is to lead one's life in a way that places equality as a priority, in terms of how the family is run, etc. ...
The tension some of us feel (at least one other commenter used the word "tension") derives from the assumption that feminism is strongly political. And so there's a problem with the Sarahs of the world who are successful but seem to stand in opposition to many aspects of traditional feminist politics. We imagine a choice: shun successful women (impossible) or accept their politics as aspects of their feminism (also impossible).

In your definition, you seem to lean more toward the latter choice, but importantly, you take the sting off it by emphasizing that the big political battles are largely resolved. This ties to my earlier point that it's hard to measure any gender-based differences concerning political issues. Most of the remaining issues are social attitudes that are not directly controllable via legislation.

I think you have crafted a good defensible position. Just let me know a convenient time; I'll drop by and wash your dishes.
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  #11  
Old 09-28-2010, 10:16 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

I couldn't read Susan Faludi's article because a subscription is required.

Perhaps someone else knows how to access that article. It sounds like an interesting topic since it can start a discussion on how feminism has changed over time and about the longitudinal conflicts that get generated. Younger women having gathered the benefits of feminism may not be fully aware of the process by which we got where we are now, or where we're coming from. Empty of context many of the basic concepts that pertain to feminism may get lost. It is possible then to find women who embody the successes of feminism while unwittingly rejecting the very principles that lifted them. I would give less importance to mother-daughter dynamics, and more to the historical blindness that's typical of post strife generations.
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  #12  
Old 09-28-2010, 10:42 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
It is possible then to find women who embody the successes of feminism while unwittingly rejecting the very principles that lifted them. I would give less importance to mother-daughter dynamics, and more to the historical blindness that's typical of post strife generations.
Unwittingly? Should one not address the problems of the present? I don't advocate disrespecting history, but I can't criticise someone who declines to re-fight battles of the past.
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:12 AM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

One of my favorite BHTVs remains this one, with Will Wilkinson and David Runciman. I've linked to the snippet where Runciman taught me I had the option of continuing to view Hillary as a transparent phony while still finding her cold-blooded public persona preferable to Obama's [potentially dangerous Will-I-Am 'ultra-sincerity']. I could never consider supporting Hill over Obama, but Runciman's case for preferring her to him rattled my pro-Obama preference more than any other pro-Hill argument that was presented to me during the campaign.
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:14 AM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Abdicate View Post
One of my favorite BHTVs remains this one, with Will Wilkinson and David Runciman. I've linked to the snippet where Runciman taught me I had the option of continuing to view Hillary as a transparent phony while still finding her cold-blooded public persona preferable to Obama's [potentially dangerous Will-I-Am 'ultra-sincerity']. I could never consider supporting Hill over Obama, but Runciman's case for preferring her to him rattled my pro-Obama preference more than any other pro-Hill argument that was presented to me during the campaign.
I missed that one. Tha Cambridge guy seems very smart.

What do you make of Obama now? I think his economic policies, with their emphasis on borrowing, accumulation of debt and restrictions on commerce ( you can't buy health insurance unless the government approves of the terms ) are disastrous. As one who belives individual states have to break free of the center to enable their people to be free, I think Obama, by hastening the fall of the federal system thru faulty policy making, is doing the country long term good.

Regarding this diavlog with the two left wing gals talking their brand of feminism. Irrelevant and boring. Just as much as the jewish guys in the episode before this one talking about the international war against the muslims from the perspective of Israel. Both have nothing to do with Kansas.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:33 AM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

I'm still a big supporter of Obama--as my fundamental reason for supporting him was because I identified with his vision. I opposed the Stimulus but still believe it may have done some good; any Democratic president would respond to a massive economic collapse with a deficit-financed stimulus. (Indeed, it's difficult to imagine a Republican president not borrowing to prime the economy. Obama's two-term predecessor--whose economic policies, granted, are now disavowed by Republicans--borrowed hugely to enact TARP, right?)

Every advanced country that has national health care requires universal buy-in, doesn't it? During the health care debate, the Right had the option to respond to the universal buy-in requirement with this honest retort:

'We believe you should be free not to buy health insurance for yourself and/or your dependents. That's your freedom and responsiblilty--but while we're on the topic, let's remind you that if you get an illness, you're on your own. And that means that if--say--your non-working spouse gets cancer and has no health insurance, she will be 100% on her own--with zero public assistance and no requirement for any hospital to provide her free or discounted care.'

No Republican came forward with that brutally honest response, for reasons too obvious to mention.

Last edited by Abdicate; 09-29-2010 at 09:34 AM.. Reason: rhetorical clean-up
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:56 AM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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... any Democratic president would respond to a massive economic collapse with a deficit-financed stimulus. (Indeed, it's difficult to imagine a Republican president not borrowing to prime the economy. Obama's two-term predecessor--whose economic policies, granted, are now disavowed by Republicans--borrowed hugely to enact TARP, right?)
right, and GWB would not win a republican primary because he spent too much money. The establishment of both parties might support borrowing to prime the economy, but that does not make it right. If people are economizing in their own lives, what right does the government have to, in effect, force people to borrow money and spend it on stuff they don't need?

An economy at the local level is simply people buying and selling, producing and consuming stuff they need and want. One person builds houses, the other teaches school, another grows food, practices medicine, builds furniture, paves roads, etc. I am far from convinced such a system would collapse without high finance and quantitative easing.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:06 AM
DenvilleSteve DenvilleSteve is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Abdicate View Post
Every advanced country that has national health care requires universal buy-in, doesn't it? During the health care debate, the Right had the option to respond to the universal buy-in requirement with this honest retort:

'We believe you should be free not to buy health insurance for yourself and/or your dependents. That's your freedom and responsiblilty--but while we're on the topic, let's remind you that if you get an illness, you're on your own. And that means that if--say--your non-working spouse gets cancer and has no health insurance, she will be 100% on her own--with zero public assistance and no requirement for any hospital to provide her free or discounted care.'

No Republican came forward with that brutally honest response, for reasons too obvious to mention.
a few problems with this. The cost of HI is higher than it would be in a free market because of goverment mandates and reporting requirements. The price of medical care for an individual paying cash is way high because ( I don't exactly know why ) of the requirement that hospitals and doctors treat those who cannot pay. I am not opposed to all rules. What about a rule that those who pay cash for treatment pay the medicare rate?

I would address the problem of people not being able to afford the care they need by having goverment run clinics and hospitals. The clinic offers rationed but adequate care to all comers, at a price based on their ability to pay. Get rid of medicare and medicaid. Allow there to be a totally free market medical system in the country.
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2010, 07:27 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Unwittingly? Should one not address the problems of the present? I don't advocate disrespecting history, but I can't criticise someone who declines to re-fight battles of the past.
Of course we need to address the problems of the present. But, we have to remember our history, the conditions and problems of the past and the difficulties to overcome them, so that we don't slip into the same or similar conditions. Always vigilant kind of idea.
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:48 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

What does a feminist believe? What defines a feminist? For me, the difficulty answering these basic questions subsumes the more esoteric distinctions argued about in this diavlog. The only clue I found in this diavlog was Hanna's comment about things that "make women's lives better". This leaves me grasping at straws when I try to understand the meaning behind the passionate discussion.

I made a simple attempt: I guessed that abortion rights must be pretty close to a strict indicator for feminism. When I looked up polling results on abortion, I find men slightly more in favor than women (though probably within the margin of polling error). OK, so I picked the wrong issue. Can one of the commenters name something with a positive polling correlation to gender difference that these women would consider a feminist issue? And if there's no gender difference, should we be using the word "feminism"?

Last edited by Simon Willard; 09-29-2010 at 12:51 AM..
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:01 AM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

It's not really possible to define feminism in any clear way, other than as an amorphous party line. Like all party ideologies, it's a philosophical mishmash. It's a label any female is allowed to pin on her lapel.

Last edited by Abdicate; 09-29-2010 at 01:18 AM.. Reason: missing article
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  #21  
Old 09-29-2010, 01:45 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Abdicate View Post
It's not really possible to define feminism in any clear way, other than as an amorphous party line. Like all party ideologies, it's a philosophical mishmash. It's a label any female is allowed to pin on her lapel.
Why only females? I have a Y chromosome, but I certainly consider myself a feminist.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:44 AM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

What if you are a male who strongly supports Sarah Palin--and strongly desires a Constitutional Amendment to allow states to ban abortion? Would calling yourself 'a feminist' still be considered meaningful?

If you're a female who supports Sarah Palin, calling yourself a feminist is cool. If you're a male who completely agrees with Sarah Palin, calling yourself a feminist would be perceived as being wrong.

Last edited by Abdicate; 09-29-2010 at 10:01 AM.. Reason: clean-up
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:27 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Abdicate View Post
What if you are a male who strongly supports Sarah Palin--and strongly desires a Constitutional Amendment to allow states to ban abortion? Would calling yourself 'a feminist' still be considered meaningful?

If you're a female who supports Sarah Palin, calling yourself a feminist is cool. If you're a male who completely agrees with Sarah Palin, calling yourself a feminist would be perceived as being wrong.
That sounds like a pretty problematic definition, no? Are you willing to say that women who don't agree with the traditional basket of policy prescriptions associated with feminism can still be feminists, but men who do so cannot? Does it really make sense for Feminism to either be an ideological system or some sort of identity-based, freely modifiable label depending upon one's gender?
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:57 PM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

'Feminist' is problematic label and merits a problematic definition. (It's an amorphous label with delightfully movable goalposts.) If a man can adore Sarah Palin and seek to have abortion banned nationally--and sincerely believes he does so in part 'to make women's lives better'--Rosin believes he can still rightfully call himself a feminist. (Or does she only allow Sarah Palin herself this latitude?) It's a 'club-membership' term that means nothing.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
What does a feminist believe? What defines a feminist? For me, the difficulty answering these basic questions subsumes the more esoteric distinctions argued about in this diavlog. The only clue I found in this diavlog was Hanna's comment about things that "make women's lives better". This leaves me grasping at straws when I try to understand the meaning behind the passionate discussion.

I made a simple attempt: I guessed that abortion rights must be pretty close to a strict indicator for feminism. When I looked up polling results on abortion, I find men slightly more in favor than women (though probably within the margin of polling error). OK, so I picked the wrong issue. Can one of the commenters name something with a positive polling correlation to gender difference that these women would consider a feminist issue? And if there's no gender difference, should we be using the word "feminism"?
I have identified abortion rights as one of the core principles of feminism because its a proxy for a woman's right to her own body. If we don't respect that right, I don't know how we can expect other forms of respect. But, during the discussion we had in this forum recently, we also concluded that there isn't one single absolute principle, at least not in concrete terms.

The definition of feminism arises from the conditions from which it developed. Historically, men have had a tendency to create conditions under which women's autonomy and participation in decision making were severely limited. This was achieved by limiting women's roles in society, withholding access to the tools that would permit it (education, political power), and assigning other responsibilities that would preclude such participation. Reversing those conditions is the core goal of feminism. Since the conditions have been present for so long and they are so intertwined with the rest of our culture, feminist goals can't be achieved overnight. Feminism is then a process of ongoing examination of the conditions, as they reveal themselves, that lead to inequality and taking steps to counter them.

Your last question is, I think, easy to answer. There are gender differences. Those differences should be openly recognized and celebrated. But having differences doesn't have to lead to inequality.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:47 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Your last question is, I think, easy to answer. There are gender differences. Those differences should be openly recognized and celebrated. But having differences doesn't have to lead to inequality.
Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I'm speaking of gender differences on the issue of women's rights in our national conversation. So my last question still stands. If both sexes are in rough agreement, why do we use the term "feminism"? I'm trying to tease out whether feminism is really a name for a basket full of political positions with support that is gender-neutral.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 09-29-2010 at 11:07 AM..
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:35 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I'm speaking of gender differences on the issue of women's rights in our national conversation. So my last question still stands. If both sexes are in rough agreement, why do we use the term "feminism"? I'm trying to tease out whether feminism is really a name for a basket full of political positions with support that is gender-neutral.
Historically women have not had the same opportunities, freedom of choice and participation in decision making as man have. Anybody, man or woman that recognizes that's the case and that advocates or takes action towards correcting that problem so that there are no legal or cultural obstacles to equality, is by definition a feminist. What specific legal or cultural limitations need to be changed may vary over time, but the goal remains the same.

I don't know what you're asking, but I provided the above to see if you can develop your question from there.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:53 AM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

Reversing those conditions is the core goal of feminism.

If Sarah Palin is a feminist, then any woman should feel free to publicly identify as a feminist. If you're a male who supports Sarah Palin, you're greatly testing our patience should you attempt to pin 'feminist' to your lapel, even if you agree that your grandmother should have had more opportunity.
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:08 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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If you're a male who supports Sarah Palin, you're greatly testing our patience should you attempt to pin 'feminist' to your lapel, even if you agree that your grandmother should have had more opportunity.
No, if you are a man who supports Sarah Palin yet considers yourself a feminist for some reason, you should explain what that reason is. I might agree with you and I might not. Same with a woman who supports Sarah Palin -- I see no difference.

Last edited by stephanie; 09-29-2010 at 12:10 PM..
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:13 PM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

If Traister and Rosin accept the legitimacy of Palin's calling herself a feminist, then why should a male supporter of Palin be asked to provide an explanation as to why he calls himself a feminist?

Why can't some defender of the 'feminist' label provide a clear definition of the term? (Stephanie--Can you?)

Rosin's definition [someone who seeks 'to make women's lives better'] essentially allows everyone to call himself a feminist. If 'feminist' simply means a supporter of legal abortion, then I'm a feminist and Sarah Palin is an anti-feminist.

Neither of these definitions seems very defining.

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Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.

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Old 09-29-2010, 01:17 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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If Traister and Rosin accept the legitimacy of Palin's calling herself a feminist, then why should a male supporter of Palin be asked to provide an explanation as to why he calls himself a feminist?
I think it's clear why Palin might call herself a feminist. She seems to think that women are entitled to be treated equally and pursue the same opportunities as men and leads her own life in a way consistent with that.

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Why can't some defender of the 'feminist' label provide a clear definition of the term?
I gave one above, and agreed to one that Bloggin' Noggin' gave.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:40 PM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

Bloggin Noggin: "I think Susan Faludi defines feminism as at bottom the view that women are persons"

[!]
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:06 PM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

Stephanie wrote:
I think it's clear why Palin might call herself a feminist. She seems to think that women are entitled to be treated equally and pursue the same opportunities as men and leads her own life in a way consistent with that.

In American public life today, who would not count as a feminist, under your definition? If Sarah Palin--a strong ally of James Dobson--counts as a feminist...then I'd like to know who isn't a feminist?
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:29 AM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

I'm curious where you are coming from here, Abdicate. Are you trying to argue that certain people aren't feminists? That feminism is BS? That people shouldn't call themselves feminists? What? If you have a point, it's unclear, and I wish you'd be more upfront about it.

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In American public life today, who would not count as a feminist, under your definition?
I don't believe my definition would apply to everyone, not even close. I think lots of people (even in public life) still believe in traditional sex roles being the one right way to live one's life. Now, granted, even conservative politicians who want to appeal to mainstream America will probably at least be quiet on the issue, but being quiet and not claiming the term feminism doesn't make you a feminist, even if you don't actively oppose the views that I have identified as central to feminism.

I think feminism kind of has two parts. First, the movement -- people who are actually involved in trying to work toward the goals of equality in an activist way. Second, and what we are talking about here, people who generally see themselves as in agreement with the goals or achievements of feminism. These people may think that feminisms goals are largely achieved or may see a lot of work left but disagree about what's required to bring these goals about. If everyone did agree with that goal and fit into my definition of feminist (and was willing to proclaim it happily), I wouldn't see that as depriving feminism of its specialness or importance, I'd see it as a victory. That no one disagrees about women having the vote (well, Ann Coulter aside) and it's more and more a fringey position to defend workplace discrimination and that even conservative politicians speak up for women's rights (even if they disagree with certain policy positions that I support) is a victory.

The discussion here seems to be whether people who believe in certain tactics can claim only those in agreement with them as "real feminists" and dismiss others who share the goals (and are happy about the extent to which they've been achieved) but prefer different tactics.

Personally, I don't see how they can -- who says their preferred tactics are definitive of "feminism" and how is this different than Catherine MacKinnon or her followers telling me I'm not a real feminist because I have a different view of the first amendment?

Moreover, there's a long history of feminists (especially the older generation, the people bitching about younger women as described in the diavlog, in part), complaining that younger women, including people like Sarah Palin and other conservatives, but especially just your usual woman who enjoys the benefits won by feminism, are hypocritical in not calling themselves feminists. That's because the "I'm not a feminist but" crowd clearly did generally share the basic assumptions and goals of feminism, the ones that have basically been achieved, especially, which they take advantage of.

Thus, it seems to me that as far as the basics go, feminism is stronger if it's seen as an "of course" kind of view, "of course I'm a feminist," "of course I believe women should have equal rights and opportunities," even if that means that the social or political form of feminism is watered down somewhat. It's never been the same as the movement, after all, in that someone like me (or even Rebecca Traister) and someone like Andrea Dworkin were never going to agree on most tactical things.

So you ask:

Quote:
If Sarah Palin--a strong ally of James Dobson--counts as a feminist...then I'd like to know who isn't a feminist?
I don't know if Palin is a feminist. I see reasons to believe she could be, so if she wanted to proclaim herself one (she's gone back and forth), I wouldn't disagree. If she did so while claiming that most women should stay home with the kids and it was more important for men to have jobs first and so on, then, no, but she hasn't said that.

Dobson, on the other hand, takes the position that women and men should follow their traditional roles and mothers not work outside the home because they are mothers. Thus, he is not a feminist. If Palin said she agreed with Dobson on this, I'd have no problem saying she's not a feminist either (I don't see Phyllis Schafly proclaiming herself a feminist, but I wouldn't agree with her either).

Last edited by stephanie; 09-30-2010 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:16 PM
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

What if we take Sarah Palin out of the equation and look to some women who evoke far less strong reactions: Nikki Haley (well, she evokes strong reaction from racist hicks like Jake Knotts, but that's besides the point...), Meg Whitman, etc.

I wouldn't label myself a feminist and I wouldn't label myself anti-feminist. I like Haley a great deal due to her stances and her personal integrity (managing to succeed in South Carolina as a second-generation Indian American is pretty cool, too). So while she's on my very short list for politicians I am hopeful will have a national future (joining Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and Allen West), I wouldn't say that her being a woman is a major factor.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:23 PM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

No, Operative--I say we leave Sarah Palin in the discussion--and solve the problem by having someone provide us with a clear definition of what feminist means, if anything.

It appears to be a term which mainly gets to be 'owned' by leftish women, so a 'pro-life', Palin-supporting male who calls himself a feminist ought to feel required to provide some explanation. It appears that everyone involved in this thread accepts that the term can't be defined crisply, with words, so we need to point to individuals, though Sarah Palin shouldn't count.

That strikes me as being awfully mushy.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:08 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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It appears to be a term which mainly gets to be 'owned' by leftish women
No one has said this, neither in this discussion nor in the diavlog you are commenting on.

Quote:
so a 'pro-life', Palin-supporting male who calls himself a feminist ought to feel required to provide some explanation.
Anyone who uses the term will presumably have some reason why, with which others may or may not agree. It's silly to say you are a feminist and then when asked why say "oh, because" or "it's a nice word" or "I'm a lesbian in a male body" or some moronic thing. When most people use the term they do so to mean something, and it's generally not all that confusing or hard to figure out -- as I pointed out, that's so certainly with Palin and with the various other conservative women who are claiming it.

So, if some pro-life Palin supporting guy told me he was a feminist, I would assume by that that he was saying that he supports equal rights and opportunities for women, thinks that women and men should be treated equally when it comes to organizing their lives, with no assumption that women with children must stay home or the man must be the breadwinner and the woman do all housework or the like, and that the husband and wife would be equals, not the woman subordinate to the man in terms of leadership (I know there are some religious conservative women who would take issue with this).

And if my assumptions were right, sure, he's a feminist in my view, even if I might argue with him about some of his policy preferences. If he really thinks women need to stay home and do what their husbands say and that women working are taking jobs from men or that men with families should be paid more than women or single men, well, then, he's not, and just messing with you in using the term. It doesn't seem that hard.

As for mushiness, everything's mushy. What "conservatism" means is mushy (although libertarianism doesn't fit, IMO), what "liberalism" is mushy. Like I said before, radical feminists and liberal feminists traditionally disagree on tons of issues, and there are all sorts of other disagreements and splits even within the movement (and my use of the term here and that in the diavlog is broader than the "movement" usage). So what?
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:12 PM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

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Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
As for mushiness, everything's mushy. What "conservatism" means is mushy (although libertarianism doesn't fit, IMO), what "liberalism" is mushy. Like I said before, radical feminists and liberal feminists traditionally disagree on tons of issues, and there are all sorts of other disagreements and splits even within the movement (and my use of the term here and that in the diavlog is broader than the "movement" usage). So what?
If we were trying to define the political label conservative, I think we'd have got significantly farther by this stage in our back-and-forth. Every definition of feminism I've heard, within this thread, includes virtually every person in American public life. Were we discussing the label conservative, I suspect we could agree on some commonsensical definition that included John McCain and excluded Barack Obama.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:41 AM
Abdicate Abdicate is offline
 
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Default Re: Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

Yes, I too groaned at Hanna Rosin's definition of 'feminist' [Someone who wants to 'make womens' lives better.'] Pabulum!

Should 'feminist' merely equate to 'supporter of legal abortion'? (I thought these Bloggingheads accepted that Sarah Palin deserves praise for publicly identifying as a feminist!)

Last edited by Abdicate; 09-29-2010 at 09:46 AM..
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:02 AM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Clinton, Palin, and Feminism (Rebecca Traister & Hanna Rosin)

I haven't watched all of the diavlog yet. I will have to since I am curious if they think Angle, Haley, O'Donnell, and Palin are feminists or right wing weirdos. Somehow I have equated feminism with the left not a broad ideological spectrum.

John
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