Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Treatise: Third Wave Feminism's Irresponsibility Double-Standard

What follows are some excerpts of comments I made regarding sexism on a university post – since the things I said on there are examples of core beliefs I have, you can learn some things about me by reading them.

Here's the main idea. Third Wave Feminism wants women to be free to make their own decisions (great!) -- which normally might mean that they would be responsible for their own actions, correct? No, not according to the third wave feminist, who simultaneously will demand that a woman be utterly blameless--not responsible on any level whatsoever--for the consequences of her actions, or even her choice to perform those actions, irrespective of consequence! Here is a long analysis from me on this contradiction, followed by a response to a post by an angry 3WFeminist afterwards. The immediate context is a discussion about rape and 'victim-blaming.'
This post tackles sensitive subjects and uses frank vocabulary.


“It’s worth considering that there are a number of us who are not personally invested in the sense that we know people who are deeply affected by depraved sexual behavior, nor are we people who perpetrate such behavior. I am neither a woman at risk for sexual assault nor am I the sort of guy who would ever consider violating a woman in the ways that have been described here (and don't take that to mean that there are ways I would violate a woman--the English language isn't clear enough to avoid this vagueness). So as a conclusion, for me to consider this issue, it is certainly an academic exercise. It is entirely intellectual, seeing as for me to understand another person's perspective I cannot sympathize, but must empathize, trying to imagine what it's like to be in their position and doing all sorts of mental analysis to consider their statements, and my position, from multiple different angles to ensure that it all makes sense, both to me and to them. Don't take my lack of personal involvement to mean that I don't care. But take it to mean that I can't intimately emotionally understand your exact feelings as it relates to this topic.”

“[someone I’m commenting sarcastically in response to had made the claim quoted]: "The Vagina Monologues is about ending violence against women..".. By offering, as one of the monologues, a tale where a woman was sexually abused as a child, and then when 13 (later edits change it to 16, because that makes it okay I guess) had lesbian sexual relationships with an older woman, and used to promote the idea "if it was rape, it was good rape," until popular pressure caused that to be edited out as well? Because perversion like this is thrown in whenever an event is held to ostensibly help women, I can not, neither have I been, nor do I suspect I ever will be, able to in good conscience recommend attendance to any woman I happen to interact with. It's junk. And besides being junk, it's freaky weird abusive filth, like 50 Shades of Grey where the woman is beaten by a 'lover' who was abused as a child, and Twilight, where a teenage girl is stalked by a boyfriend who breaks her car to prevent her from meeting her friends.”

“I'm disturbed that several individuals on this thread have indicated that their primary, or singular, outrage is because the said twitter page includes posts that concern homosexuality (either as the motivation for posting, or the object which is posted about). The absence of a comparable outrage over the posts that are not derogatory re: homosexuals, or casting homosexuals in a bad light, implies that the posters(on this forum) do not see the other negative posts as being as bad as the ones they are showing outrage over. Or if they are not as bad, at least the omission indicates that the poster does not think it matters as much, for a different reason. This concerns me more than the crude comments in the first place. The crude comments reveal a lack of basic decency, but the selective outrage reveals a lack of concern for other people.”

“Is accusing someone of being gay for not seeking heterosexual sex necessarily anti-gay or is it actually anti-straight? More to the point, is it more insulting to gays or to straight people who choose abstinence? Being the latter, this is far more of an insult to straight people who hold to a moral standard of sexuality more strict than that of "most people," than it is an insult to someone who is homosexual. It implies that there is no legitimate reason to not want to have sex with someone except if you're gay. It objectifies men, declaring that so long as there's an attractive female in front of you, you're expected to want to have sex with her, and expected to actually follow through if given the opportunity. It's way more insensitive toward straight guys than gay guys.”

“It's been this way since middle school/high school. It never bothered me to be called "gay" or "faggot" because I either didn't fit the stereotypical sexual or physically aggressive behavior that some other guys expressed. What concerned me was the assumption that because you didn't highly prioritize 'getting laid' or because you didn't respond to jerks by threatening them physically, that this made you effeminate. It really doesn't. Not by necessity. What it can mean instead is simple: it means you're restrained. You're like a Vulcan. The Vulcans of Star Trek never show emotions--but it's not because they don't have emotions. Instead, they're a historically very emotionally impulsive and aggressive race, who learned over time to suppress displaying those emotions. It's like that with guys. I have the same basic desires, turn-ons, temptations etc as other guys. I've just learned to be restrained, and to rule my emotions, rather than letting my emotions rule over me. And I'll hazard a guess that this is the case for most other guys that have self-control, as well.”


“Second question for discussion: Yoga pants/leggings/underarmor/etc -- Tacky or acceptable attire? The person quoted in the video wants to excuse their ill behavior by saying "tight fitting clothing made me stare at butts," but the fact remains that since there are such people out there, dressing in a certain way does invite their negative reactions, no matter how unjustified. I think you can wear whatever you want, but you can't wear whatever you want and expect to be respected, if you're not respecting yourself by the clothes--rather, lack thereof--that you wear. Think about what the abovementioned fabrics do -- they fit tight to the skin, such that if you wear them without anything on top, you're essentially walking around in pantyhose. No one can see the color of your skin but that's the ONLY thing they can't see. Whoever dresses this way is essentially walking around naked.  I ask you -- is it appropriate to walk around naked in front of other people? Ignore the question of how other people react. That is a separate issue to whether you should be (un)dressed a certain way. Let's deal with the "it's comfortable" response. I retort, it's comfortable to go naked when it's warm outside. Is that what you'll be seeking to justify next? Just because something is comfortable does not make it acceptable to wear in front of other people. I'm a first-wave feminist. I believe women should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. What I don't agree with is second-wave feminism (that asserts that women should be treated unequally in the eyes of the law) and third-wave feminism (that asserts that women should be allowed to objectify themselves--and men--sexually, but that it's somehow wrong when men do it). I think that what is today called "feminism" is far from what the pro-women feminism of yesteryear was. What passes for feminism these days is a rush by women to degrade themselves so that there will be nothing left for men to degrade, as if this removes their "power over women." Naturally, irresponsible men love this and encourage it. "Sexual equality" is a ruse; it is not empowering to engage in sex without considering the consequences. It's not empowering to dress in ways that tempt males to contemplate your body sexually. It's what encourages the behavior that offends you so much. Can't you see that the whole movement of feminism is creating a culture where boys are taught that they have no responsibility to respect women's bodies, and they'll even be punished if they try to? What do you think happens as a result? Boys grow up taking what they can get from girls, knowing that they are free from responsibility, because feminism has, in its attempt to force a vision of equality, placed all responsibility on women, while simultaneously encouraging them to be utterly irresponsible. It's chaos. It's what results in the ludicrous scenario where girls try to dress as revealingly as possible but get upset when their attire provokes lustful thoughts and words from the boys around them. If you want to talk about a sexual double standard, this is it. You can't disrespect yourself and expect others to respect you. Note what I'm not saying: I'm not saying it's acceptable for people to disrespect you if you disrespect yourself. What I'm saying is that by not respecting yourself, you make it easier for disrespectful young men to be disrespectful of you as well. They can get away with it because you've undermined yourself and have no moral high ground on which to stand on to assert that their behavior is wrong. You are right that they are wrong--but people don't listen to hypocrites. 
Read carefully and you won't misunderstand what I'm saying here. Hopefully what I've written will make a few people inclined to respond with their thoughts.”

Someone responded, and I replied with this: “Briefly, my statements about the different waves of feminism are obviously my interpretations as they were relevant to the current topic of self-respect, and are by no means meant to be exhaustive definitions.  I tried to head off any misunderstanding of my words, but I think I'll have to try to explain myself again. Your quote in question is this one: 

"Telling a woman that it's her fault that men objectify her or harass her or whatever because of what she's wearing is a manifestation of victim blaming."

This is not what I was doing. Here's the relevant quote I made, and then I'll unpack it:  "You can't disrespect yourself and expect others to respect you. Note what I'm not saying: I'm not saying it's acceptable for people to disrespect you if you disrespect yourself. What I'm saying is that by not respecting yourself, you make it easier for disrespectful young men to be disrespectful of you as well. They can get away with it because you've undermined yourself and have no moral high ground on which to stand on to assert that their behavior is wrong. You are right that they are wrong--but people don't listen to hypocrites. " Here I specify that the woman is not responsible for the actions or thoughts of any man toward her.
Do I need to repeat that?

The woman is not responsible for the actions or thoughts of any man toward her.

It can therefore not be victim blaming. Because by definition, I am not blaming the woman for the behavior of the man.
What did I say, though? I said that the woman carries responsibility for herself (contrary to what 3WF promotes, as I mentioned earlier in that comment). She has responsibility for how she dresses and where she chooses to go. If you disagree, then you will find nothing wrong with a woman parading naked around a max-security all-male prison, and surely you will expect nothing to happen to her, and if it does, then she should not have been expected to know better, and none of it is a result of her actions. If, on the other hand, you find that this is clearly an unacceptable conclusion, then you must also acknowledge for the existence of caveats regarding your implied assertion that the woman is not responsible. And hence, I think you ought to agree that women have a responsibility to think about and make responsible decisions regarding what to wear and where to go.
You must interpret this in light of what I've already told you, i.e. that the woman is not responsible for the actions of the men around her. Otherwise you are not being charitable in entertaining my reasoning.


So if men's actions toward her are not her fault, what do I mean by saying that the woman bears responsibility for herself? I simply mean that any intelligent woman knows that despite the fact that men should not behave a certain way, there are men who do behave that way, and to ignore this fact of reality is not doing anything to promote female equality. To ignore it would be stupid, and it puts women at risk and in danger. If you dive headfirst into a pool and break your neck, it is not your "fault" that the water was shallow. But you made the wrong decision in failing to recognize that it was shallow and alter your behavior to protect yourself. I'm not comparing men's decisions with laws of nature, as if men don't have a choice. The comparison is of the fact of the existence of men who will make these decisions to the fact of the existence of the shallow water in the pool. You can't deny that these men are out there. Wishful thinking about how they SHOULD behave does nothing to change the reality. Acting according to what you think SHOULD be the case rather than acting according to what you know to be true reality is moronic. I hope this is more clear. Women don't bear the responsibility for men's lustful thoughts. They do bear responsibility for knowingly tempting those thoughts. Tempting a man who is in control of himself will not result in an incident. Tempting a man who gives in to temptation because he lacks self control will. And every woman should be aware that the second type of man is 'out there,' and should be wise enough to not provoke them unnecessarily. Being attractive is not something you can help. Being a woman is not something you can help. Wearing clothes that reveal your figure, to an extent, is not something you can help. Wearing skin-tight articles of clothing that show everyone exactly what you look like naked is something that you are eminently in control over, and have a responsibility to consider carefully before deciding to do.


‘I think focus needs to be shifted from women and what they're wearing to the men who think that women are inherently theirs to look at and objectify/deem "respectable" or not/etc.’

What I would like to propose is that the culture of 3WF has created these men. The solution to their existence, then, is not 3WF. It is the rejection of 3WF and a return to SENSIBLE agendas for the elevation of women's welfare that will produce the desired results. The sad problem is that 3WF's goals are inconsistent with the methods by which its followers seek to bring about those goals.  The focus should not be on the men who objectify women, nor the women who are objectified, but on the culture perpetuated by a movement that itself objectifies women and bizarrely believes that men ought somehow to remain unaffected by this.”

“For the sake of definitions, When I say the woman is not responsible for men's actions toward her, I use "responsible" to mean "at fault for." When I say the woman is responsible for how she dresses, I use "responsible" to mean "morally obligated to make correct choices in governing oneself." Hopefully this helps avoid any equivocation over the meaning of the word in this discussion.”


Please also see a related blog post made earlier in 2013 about "Feminism, Male Privilege, and Rape Culture," in which I tie the solution (of the ills that 3WF rails against and perpetuates) into the Gospel.

~ Rak Chazak 

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