Friday, October 20, 2006

"Equal" Ain't "Same"

As I recently reported 'bout m'self, I've trouble feeling comfortable posting on the concept of Feminism. It really is simply that I have a perspective, as a white dude, which has been both trampled and buffeted, as well as carried along and even sublimated throughout my personal history amidst the social upheavals of the latter half of the 20th century in America.

I've been given the benefit of the doubt for my white dudeness, as well as spurned unfairly by folks whom I've admired for the very same - beyond my control - fact of nature which is my bein' a boy. And an essentially sexually straight one at that! Intellectual confusion arises from, among other incidentals, my being raised in a modern Liberal Roman Catholic household, and being exposed by family, friends and educators to both unconscious racism and sexism
and a still heartfelt and honest desire for egalite.

Emotionally ... well, lemme just say that such is where I start to get all ver klempt and start looking to others who might be able to describe what Feminism means to me, without getting all caught up in my own silly, and oh so personal, humanity.

Thus I present to you: A modern feminist's take on
Our Gender Differences.
[Snippet]

Problematically, while we never seem to suffer from a lack of people willing to critique, from every conceivable angle and spanning the spectrum from fair to absurd, how women’s sex-specific qualities manifest themselves, what they mean for policy, and how they affect women and men, there is much less exploration of men’s sex-specific qualities and how they function in a changing culture. Critiques of the patriarchy (which is a crap paradigm for most men, too—especially not-rich ones) or sexism are not the same as redefining manhood, the women’s equivalent of which is rooted in the feminist movement, of which there is no male-centered counterpart. Certainly feminism is about achieving equality for women, but it is also about womanhood, which is both biological and cultural.

The lack of such an equivalent framework for men is part of what (makes) discerning biological difference versus cultural difference within themselves a dubious proposition for many men. As we see with women who reject feminism, they are keen to believe that what are easily identified cultural imperatives are really biological ones. For straight men, who exist in a culture largely structured to accommodate male primacy, pulling apart the intrinsic nature of men from the socialization borne of a society that reinforces the privilege of maleness, is exponentially more difficult.

[Oh! So much more and all so very very worth the read!]
The good Sistah's exemplary essay does truly do much towards helping me intellectually clarify the path of humanism upon which I myself am traveling. The search goes on, thank goodness! For, were it over, 'twould unquestionably mean I's be dead.

6 comments:

  1. Definitely an excellent read and important to think and talk about. The fact that you are even thinking about it, says a lot of good about you and your relationship with life.

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  2. It's a topic I wish more o' my friends cared consider; women as much as men.

    Ahh, well. I loves 'em anyhow.

    Happy Weekend, PCM!

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  3. Here's my take on "feminism." There are as many "brands" as there are types of Christians.

    No two feminists think the same.

    Do you mind if I reference this great post at the Peace Train and write a post on my slant on this? It might surprise you in how guy-friendly my brand of feminism is.

    IM me there and let me knw, Michael.

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  4. Yes, you have always come across as very sensitive and aware of the ways the world works unfairly, and I think you have every right to post about feminism. I strongly believe that feminism is as much humanism as it is anything else. We are all hurt by a rigid dicotomy, and your voice is important in bringing about a better world!

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  5. Glenda already referenced this great post at the Peace Train and tonight I'm writing a post from the male point of view. But I'm not writing about feminism, I'm writing from the other end of the spectrum "Masculinity - What's Wrong With Our Boys?"

    I took the liberty of linking to your post too.

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  6. Suzanne, Glenda, Earl: (And Shakes 'n' Coturnix too) Thank you all very much!

    Your kind words and linkage (to) here, and in each of your posts, have really touched me. I'm of that ilk who has a wee bit o' trouble with such appreciation because inside my brain ignite connections of synapses causing thoughts of all the things I've done in my life which belie any truth to my deserving appreciation. I know that's not "fair" to you, and its certainly not fair to your perceptions of me or me my silly ol' self.

    But I made the decision to come out of my head and my circle of friends and share these parts of who I am and how I think in a nonanonymous manner and to deal with the consequences of such, quite honestly, in the hopes of overcoming my own selfhatred and whatever it is that made me think my destructive/demeaning choices were ever options at all. Your words and linkage, though typically resulting in the aforementioned bursts of unwanted memories and associations, truly do push me towards finding the means to be damping down those self-reproachments as well as any new reactive behaviors/urges/anaesthesiological attempts to ignore or flee the same.

    I've an ego which seems the size of a football field at times, whilst at others it barely reaches beyond my three pounds of brain and that average length of bio-tubing evolutionarily developed to keep me going when I'm gone. {-; Being recognized as having said something worth hearing by such wonderful people as all y'all is proving to be an effective antidote to my Fear of Me.

    You've all so many wonderful and well-considered posts on ideas and realities which our species has bio-culturally evolved and encountered. It is simply and amazingly a fantastic and salvatory boon for me to have found and been found by you.

    Thanks again and I hope others can benefit even a little from this wonderful attempt to discover what Feminism, Masculinity and Humanism can truly be not only for each of as individuals, but by extension and the synergy of numbers, for the entirety of our species and our world.

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