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Feminism And Bullying (from The Feminist's Perspective)

I was inspired by earlier discussions to write a story about how we, as feminists, act as ambassadors for the movement and how we attempt to educate others about feminism. Forgive me if part of this post is cobbled together from comments I posted on other threads in another group. Believe me, I have spent a lot of time thinking and writing about this issue because it is something I am very passionate about. I am passionate about feminism, but I am not always happy with how it is portrayed - by anti-feminists and even by some feminists, too.

But what I want to talk about right now is how feminism is can be portrayed negatively by some feminists. LET ME BE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR: NOT ALL FEMINISTS ENGAGE IN THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOUR. MOST DO NOT. But the ones who do speak loudly on our behalf. It is important to speak out against it in order to revive the perception of feminism's true spirit (being freedom, inclusivity and equality). We are the progressive ones and we can only be responsible for ourselves.

If it is our goal to change minds and broaden the understanding of feminism, then we, as feminists, need to look at our approach. It's so unbelievably easy to get angry at anti-feminism because so much of it is straight up bigotry and ignorance. But everything sits on a spectrum, and each person's views and experiences are unique enough that there is definitely room for a moderate and reasonable person to take issue with feminism as they have perceived it.

We can't forget that both sides are part of a dialogue and that both sides are capable of making mistakes and of being hostile, and this hostility only serves to polarize each other. I have seen so much of this hostility on both sides here on EP, and it makes me very upset in particular to see it coming from feminists. Sometimes I even see it coming from myself. I've seen discussions started by people on our side with the aim of picking a fight, and I've seen bullying occur in the subsequent threads. Bullying is not okay - it compromises our movement and serves to validate some of the opinions of those who are against us. We need to stand up against bullying and call it out for what it is. And it happens a lot here on EP. Again, both sides of the debate. Multiple users.

I think that the only way to change minds is for BOTH sides to return to rationality, truth and open-mindedness, though I unfortunately believe that most people aren't capable of this when discussing such an emotionally-charged issue. We need to recommit to the truth, even if it means admitting some of our shortcomings (because we ALL have them). We need to bring people together and have rational discussions that are designed to build an understanding and empathy between both sides of the debate and hopefully educate others on how important feminism has been in our history, and how important it still is today. We need to have discussions about personal responsibility. But as long as we use feminism as a means of alienating others, as long as we leave the inclusivity issues plaguing some branches of feminism unacknowledged, the more ideologically and dogmatically driven we appear and the less likely it is that we will accomplish our goals of broadening the understanding of true feminism to those who are pitted against it in ignorance.

In short, discussions designed for people to react angrily off of each other are counter-productive and polarizing. Bullying people is not productive and it reflects poorly upon our cause. As feminists, we are better than this. Instead of widening the gap, we need to narrow it. I believe the only way to do this is through level-headed discussions where we can build trust and empathy across the divide. And that starts with level-headed discussions amongst ourselves about what we can do to better achieve this goal.

cocochai cocochai 31-35, F 15 Responses Sep 13, 2012

Your Response


In my honest opinion men and women should be politicly and social equal. Im studing this topic because I hate sexism and discrimination of women, mind if you share some knowledge about feminism?

As like a teacher I mean.

Ok so i think i understand what this is about after reading through wiki, this is about Human Rights, Gender Discrimination and Equality. If people are going to turn their back there fellow man, what are the rest of us suppose to do when we don't know how too.

We are not about to just go ahead and put our finger in the fire just because its warm !

But that being said a Little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, a tiny bit more can seriously injure and just a tiny bit more can kill you.

Everyone needs people around them.

I will tell you a True Story. I have Aspergers Syndrome so I have difficulties with
Perception, Communication and Social Skills. While I was going to school I used to get bullied all the time, and I never had any friends and I was desperate for friends. Every day when break bell rang I used to go out side but i never had anyone with me, other then my imaginary friends. I sat in the corner and tried to hide from the bullies, ,which i knew was hopeless, and by the end of break I would be on the floor crying with wet pants, this happened every day so the bullies just coming up with bettor ways to scare me, and beat me up. One day they went to far and broke my ankle, I had to be taken to hospital, I was terrified that my foot would stay the same shape it was all bent and twisted I had pooped in my panties, out of shock and fear i thought, but my mum told me that while I may be wetting myself out of fear its much harder to make someone poo themselves because of fear. I was taken out of that school and placed in my Second School, Malmsbery Park First School once again the cycle repeated, I never made any friends their and I was always being bullied,. Long story short, This went on through college, Today I am not Interested in making friends, or trying, as I have tried many times and it never worked.
However that being said, I',m also Anti-Sexual so just blah to sexuality and romance just not interested.

The point of this Story is to give you some insight in to a world without friends. you wish you had them but eventualy you really wish people would stop bothering you just to say "Hello" makes you madder then the mad march march mad hatter at a tea party.

So if it is "samness2 your after then think again as the human mind can not live in a world run by sameness, Instead Look

So If it is "Equality and Diversity" then this is much bigger then I think any current Government realize.

First of, you need to pick out some of the finer building points from the Series Star Trek and its many incarnations of the show. Look how buildings are put together for that show and see just what a good job the architects did and special effects teams did. (buildings that are meant to be on the ground)
There is a particulate Episode of STNG (The Next Generation) were Ships Security Chief Tasha Ya Is Kidnapped by the Leader of a New World and Diana Troy, and Captain Picard must go down to Ask for her back. The design of the building they are in is like something from Times Arrow (another good episode of STNG and a two part episode at that.

You don't just slap cement all over, Moulder housing can be cheap and affordable, this all depends on were you are going to live, for how long? In an Equal society you would not just buy the house but the living agreement and the services, which would include, electricity, gas, water, broadband, TV, telephone, car insurance, car tax, home insurance, life insurgence and all the other bills to pay.

All homes would be built with a 3D TV So every one will have digital, all homes will come with a built in automation system built in but not activated.

When it comes to Equality Im an Authority on the matter. Men have far to much control over Politics, first thing to do is stop that and give men and woman an equal seat in the house of Lords and the house's of Parliament. Next We need to give Woman a more equal gathering in the Police force and stop this nonsense that you need to be twice as hard on woman going to a police academy just because they are woman and cant do as much.

Next we as a people of the world, need to do just what the Spice Girls told us to do and Unite, we need to do away with violence, hate, discrimination, abuse, religion and start helping each other out, I am not religious and I never have been I personally think its silly that people are following a book they call the bible and another bunch of people over here are following another book called the Qur'an while both these groups are reading eqyption story tales drawn on cave-walls and scribed down on paper and put in to a book for someone else to read and copy, yes both these stories are fascinating but both are Egyptian in origin and both were from a time before Jesus. But every one is entitled to their own beliefs just not a good idea to practice them aloud in an equal society.

There is a lot of radical factions who would not be so easily led as I by that story

ok moving on Equality is choclate perfection

I agree with a lot of what you have said here - I do believe we have to look at equality in the context that as individuals we are diverse, and we have diverse strengths and weaknesses. Biologically speaking, male and female physical characteristics are different and the genders have brains that operate differently from one another. Of course, as individuals we all fall in different places on the biological/gender spectrum, but there is a certain amount of generalization that we can allow for as long as we understand that it is just that: a generalization. There can be a tendency in some of the discussions about feminism to homogenize everyone (in particular, the differences between men and women) which presumably comes from the fact that we have to compete and live up to male standards. I think I understand how this came to be, but it's really unfortunate that in order to deserve equal rights, we are expected to compete instead of finding value in our own unique qualities as individuals, let alone on a gender level.

Also, I LOVE this quote because it is one of the truest things out there: "a Little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing." One of the biggest problems out there in discussions on politics, social issues or other current events is that it's rare to find someone who knows when they don't know enough about a given topic to have a worthwhile opinion about it.

While not exactly on topic, I wanted to add that my fiance has Asberger's syndrome (he's a mathematician and high functioning autistic). While I can't relate to your personal experiences, I have some level of understanding of what you might be experiencing because I interact with him every day, and I have talked to him at length about his struggles in social situations. He has difficulty reading people and speaks in very literal terms, which is difficult because so much of our language is implied through tone, symbolism, choice of words and body language rather than directly said. I'm sorry you have been bullied to the point where even interacting with others on a very basic level is frustrating. It sucks when people push you away and reject you - as a human being it makes you want to reject them (which is part of the point I was making with my story). I have learned a lot from him about the games that people play with each other because of how wired he is not to play them. Seeing this was initially very jarring for me, but once I grew to understand him, it became incredibly educative. So from my personal experience as someone who is in love with someone who has Aspergers, there is a silver lining to all the difficult stuff you have to endure - I bet that you are an incredibly real and honest person and you don't participate in all the mind games and other social BS that us "normal" people do. There is a need for people like that in this world.

I know about Aspergers too - my mother in law, and one of my nieces (who earns megabucks as an actuary) has it. In fact (I know this story isn't actually about Aspies, but I will say it anyway) Aspies people are most often quite admirable, and I'm really sorry you got bullied so badly

I have read through, and well im still not sure if I get this.

1.Is Feminism a discrimination between Gender ?
Regardless of the term used to Denote Gender Gender Discrimination is a Crime Punishable in both Military and Crown Court.

2. Is Feminism Bound by all Local, National and Inter-National Laws ?
Yes Feminism is Bound by all Local, National and International Laws including The Data Protection Act 2004 UK-Int , The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 UK, The Equality Act 2010 UK Int The Human Rights Act 2000 UK-Int

If you want to burn something down let it be those that don't listen to reason when we try to help them live in a world of no violence and perfect equality and harmony.

If I have gotten that idea wrong perhaps this one?

If feminism is related to BDSM then im in no position to be offering advice.

If it is related to transsexuals, or wanting to be a female I suggest you start of by meeting up with your local LBGT Rainbow support club, so you can make sure the life style is what you what then go to your GP. Tell your parents sooner rather then later,

It took along for my mum to realize that I would no longer be her wild heavy rocking daughter, my mum now has a wiled heavy rocking son. One day I just said to her Im going on holiday to America, packed my bag and caught a plane, I had all the money to do with, but blew the lot on making myself look male, I still regret doing it so quickly, if i had waited for it, sure there would have been a sweet 1.525 million left over, but that all went in the cost of custom scheduling Just to change sex in 1 month 1day. So don't rush in to Gender Change It should take a minimum of 2 years, you need to have lived in your selected gender for 2 years and you need another 2 years before SRS will be approved. The first 2 years will get you hormones, then you need to be living as the selected gender for 2 years, then another 2 years for the surgery.

talking about feminizeermizum it pretty much the only thing that keeps it alive anymore. the next generation will not know of this.

Coco & Penn: please read this story and ALL the comments and tell me how Im supposed to.find common ground with these people. How Im supposed to have a rational debate with these people.
It would help if you started at the bottom of the comment thread and worked your way up.

You behave the same as you would with anybody else. Feeding off other people's bad behaviour doesn't help you and it doesn't help the debate, especially if you're beyond making your point. You have to remember that you aren't responsible for other people, only how you conduct yourself. People on both sides feel angry and alienated and unheard - that's some common ground right there. I think you already know the answers, you just have to resist the urge to fight dirty with everybody else.

"BOTH sides to return to rationality, truth and open-mindedness, though I unfortunately believe that most people aren't capable of this when discussing such an emotionally-charged issue"

People tend to prove their assumptions, believing that most people aren't capable increases the likelihood that you will influence your perception and act in ways to facilitate this view.

At the core, I am saying that people can't operate rationally when they are emotionally committed to a particular ideology as opposed to being rationally committed to an impartial truth. These are the "most people" I am talking about, because in debates such as the ones on EP between feminists and anti-feminists, the emotions on both sides of the fence result in defensiveness which ultimately serves to polarize and further commit debaters to their ideology, because any kind of concession equals "losing" in black & white arguments.

And while you are trying to refute what I am saying, your opinion is that people do not act rationally in the sense that they "tend to prove their assumptions" etc - that their arguments are coloured by their prejudices against others.

I recognise that you are trying to leverage this point against me, but really - we are saying the same thing. We have something in common :)

And for what it's worth, per your below comment, I don't think the phrase "sillie nillie's" has any objective merit, but it is reasonable to assume that the author of such a phrase is condescending her audience.

My "condescending phrase" and the ability of the OP to be a role model and "representative" of feminism can be found here

"And for what it's worth, per your below comment, I don't think the phrase "sillie nillie's" has any objective merit, but it is reasonable to assume that the author of such a phrase is condescending her audience." I wonder how long it takes some people to understand that saying one thing and doing another is just as bad for a cause as it can for the reputation of the individual.... I wonder if it wasn't emotion that motivated the assumptions of a "jab" or of" Leverage this point against me" as neither were my intent ... In fact I addressed only subject matter and there was nothing personal about the standards you set for "rational" discourse I do wonder if the "assumptions" claimed as "reasonable" really were? Certainly, no-one but you mentioned it on this thread :)

The point of our original exchange, as I understood it, was to discuss the biases and emotions that influence people's rational arguments. From my perspective, the first two comments we made were an exchange on that matter.

Your comments that follow the first two are a perfect example of what I meant to bring to light. I feel that these comments have personalized and emotionally charged the exchange and that there is no possible reasonable conclusion to it. This is the point in the discussion where I would walk away.

But I want to add that I really welcome your link - the thread there is a more detailed example of how these kinds of discussions can be counterproductive. I stand by everything I've said except for my knuckledragging comment and my unnecessarily catty reply to newjanine. However, I pointed it out up-front that I see this behaviour in myself sometimes, just as I pointed out the need to call out bullying for what it is. It's right up there in paragraph four. So no, I never claimed to be a role model, but I did claim to be a representative of feminism because we all are, including you. Whether we represent feminism well is up to each of us as individuals.

MY statement to you was simply "its best to look into a person and read their works to understand their point of view." you then decided to attack... with
"this comment is baffling and beyond unnecessary based on the thread preceding it - what are you aiming to communicate to me with this particular comment" and I once again explained "alll i am saying you can get to know the views a persons holds better by reading their entire story than you can a single comment. Not sure what is baffling or unnecessary about that. I am very much about content within its context, therefore I always suggest understanding a authors point of view by getting to know the author as well as their works." and you then began responding profusely, and personally attacked me more times than I have toes.... you then made this remark to a anti-feminist "Wow, newjanine... unprecidented level of idiocy. What did the fall of the Soviet Union and the moon landings have to do with you? Because unless you were directly involved with both of those things, your analogy is illogical." then when others tried to suggest maybe you were out of line for your attacks on me you stated things like this "I find that in general, people who like to stir the pot generally fall into the category of "opine first, back it up later." People like that can almost never be trusted because their own personal agenda is a higher priority than truth is. Dente has demonstrated herself to be a person who stirs the pot. If in doubt, look at what started this whole discussion: an empty insult designed to inflame knee-jerk opinions on both sides of the spectrum and to give herself some fodder for grandstanding. Thoughtful discussion was never the intention here." and "By the way, before you accuse others of ad hominem attacks, you might want to remind yourself that your original post - in all its two-line glory - was an ad hominem attack in its entirety." and "Dente did not approach the debate rationally in that case, and in fact throughout the debate as a whole she retorted at a level of detail that Sensual wasn't arguing upon, therefore attributing beliefs to Sensual based on assumption that she could summarily trump. This tactic is commonly used in illogical debates to create social leverage over the other person." (when in fact I had QUOTED the EXACT thing sensual HAD POSTED in a comment and she admitted she said it) "Unfortunately Dente didn't actually discuss any of those issues or put any thought into her initial post - she threw that statement out there like a steak to a pack of wild dogs, adding the deliciously condescending "sillie nillie's" on the end of it." Dente could do a lot of good in the world if they would just slow down and think a little bit more about the consequences of their actions." and "abrasiveness has absolutely coloured my perspective - it's the essence of this discussion as far as I'm concerned. We will have to agree to disagree about the rest - I don't believe that discussions where two sides react angrily off of one another are helpful to the cause, and to me it's clear that that is what this topic was intended to provoke." (in fact to my knowledge all your comments except two were personal attacks either on myself or a few antifems) "A good mark of a logical discussion is if someone is presented with new information and changes their way of thinking. Unfortunately, most people form their opinions based on strong feelings and create their arguments afterwards to support the opinion they have already made up their mind on."
When I asked you if you were done attacking me and trying to put me in my place you stated " I would argue that I'm just trying to take you down " <---bullying
"from the alpha status you were clearly claiming for yourself before I jumped in."<--- assumptions and mean girlism !!!!

and I posted the link because it shows the absurdity of this post....

(It's weird happening upon this nearly a year later seeing Sensual referred to as 'she.' LOL. Her turning out to be some old geezer in a frock was part of a turning point that destroyed my liking and respect for an antifem with whom I had much in common despite our labelling differences)

I do agree that a great many people form opinions based on strong feelings and create arguments afterwards to bolster their conclusions. Heaven help anyone who attempts to dismantle them, particularly if they look like they're succeeding.

Anyone who cannot give ground when they encounter a superior point not only weaken their own stance but are apt to paint themselves into a corner. I've seen it happen so many times. But never with Dente

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"I've seen discussions started by people on our side with the aim of picking a fight" pretending or assuming to know the intentions or motivations of another is not really possible and only leads to prejudicial treatment of the actual content. The only way to truly debate is to debate the merit of the subject through objective validations when possible and only subjective validations when those may also be supported through some objective support...

do you consider yourself a woman, or just a political pawn

The problem here is that the feminism you described above and in the comments begins and ends with you. Radical feminist are the ones making policies, writing laws and forming public opinion. Another is that most "coffee shop" feminist back up these decisions and policies because the radicals tell them its "equality for women".
Just remember a person can fight for equal rights for women and still not label themselves a feminist. When someone labels themselves a feminist they are not just saying that they are for equality. They are saying that prescribe to a ideology. Its like a person saying that they are a Christian is saying a lot more than "I believe in God."
I stand against the ideology of feminism and anyone who chooses to label themselves as such.

There are a lot of feminists out there that I don't agree with, but I disagree that I sit here alone with my type of thinking. To extend your example, there are a lot of different types of Christians out there who believe in different aspects of their ideology, regardless of what is explicitly written in the Bible, and regardless of what is written by Christian scholars. I would argue that it is indeed possible that the only common denominator linking all Christians is a belief in the Christian construct of God (which includes Jesus really) and that individual perceptions of the doctrine are wildly varying. Feminist ideology is similarly made up of many different views, both outside academics and in scholarly work too (which I am not intimately familiar with all the details as it is a huge body of work, but I know I have read things that I have very much agreed with as well as things I have very much disagreed with, and everything in between). So I think to pit yourself against feminism as a whole is a little simplistic given the complex nature of the discussion, and to further pit yourself against anyone who chooses to label themselves a feminist is alienating, prejudicial and part of the overall problem in the debate. I think the problem that we have on both sides is that when we are emotionally charged, we see each other's view as overly simplified and radical as a whole, which you allude to in your post. It goes both ways.

Try this. Go into a room of feminist anywhere on the net and start talking about mens issues. Talk about domestic violence being 50/50. Talk about how there are less than 10 domestic violence shelters in the US. Talk about how more men are raped in prison than women overall every year. See how long it takes before everyone in that room is tearing you to shreds. That's the nature of feminism. When a person speaks of mens issues they must be silenced. This attitude is common in feminist ideology. And is the reason for the majority of suffering of men in the US. Feminism controls the conversation. They choose what views are heard and which are not. They choose what facts are revealed and which are hidden. They don't want men to have a voice. Look at what is happening in Vancouver. Feminist tearing down posters that say "men's rights are human rights". A debate was arranged by a neutral third party between feminist and MRAs. The feminist sent the organizer, the neutral third party, death threats and hate mail until she called off the debate. Now a fathers rights advocate has stepped up and the debate is back on. However now the feminist are refusing to participate.
Your thoughts and views on equality are a minority in your movement. Your ideas of what your movement is are uninformed.

I'm sorry that you no longer appear interested in finding common ground in this discussion, or having a discussion that's different from the status quo. You don't need to prove to me that there are problems within the feminist/anti-feminist debate - that's what my post was about.

KR... you are precisely and unequivocally missing the point, and you're being a bit of a hypocrite. According to YOU and other MRA's, a woman who calls herself a feminist is subscribing to an ideology which must include the aggressive feminist agenda. As stated here and on many other threads, this just simply isn't the case. And, you continue to disappoint me where you pick fights based on principle instead of actually trying to see where there is common ground.

The problem isn't that MRAs can't find common ground with feminist. The problem is that feminist block our attempts to discuss the issues. How can we find common ground with a group of people that won't listen to what we have to say and doesn't want anyone else to hear our grievances either.
Feminism isn't just ignoring us. Feminism is trying to silence us. How are we supposed to.find common ground with people that believes that we shouldn't even exist as a movement? In Edmonton Canada a feminist ripped flyers from a persons hand, screamed "men have to many rights" and ran away. How are we supposed to find common ground with a person like that? This isn't just an extremist on the fringe of the feminist movement. This is the kind of attitude that we run into on a daily basis. These are the kind of people that make up the feminist movement. Please tell me how we are supposed to open a dialogue on the issues with people like that? Much less find common ground. Please tell me cause I would like to know.

Penn the point of this story was to paint the majority of feminist as warm fuzzy lovers of equality. Although the author of this story maybe the kind of feminist she described the majority of feminism isn't. The majority, the ones in power and control the ones who shape public opinions and form policies, are just as described them. If the majority of feminist were as the author described then there would be no reason for the MRM to exist. But it does exist. And it exists because no one will listen to the issues men face and the majority of feminist work to make sure no one ever will.
I wish feminism was as the author described. But it isn't. I know it isn't. I've seen it.

Another problem is that when we show the average feminist the true nature of the people that are in power in the feminist movement the deny it. Just as in this story and this very comment. If feminist like this author would take back their movement and work toward reasonable solutions then the MRM could work along side feminism for equality of both genders. But as long as feminist ignore the truth they are blocking our path. Both the good and the bad are a problem. The good because they refuse to see that the bad are in control and the bad because they are in control. As long as this is the case we fight all feminist. The good are just as much a problem as the bad because the good enable the bad by refusing to remove them form power.

Hey KR. I totally get what it feels like when you feel like no matter how loud you speak, you won't be heard. It makes you feel hopeless and angry. Believe me, as an opinionated person, I know how this feels. The reality is that we can't change other people, like that person in Edmonton. All we can do is try to inspire other people to change themselves. That means that all you can do is slow down and listen to other people you don't agree with. Try to find something that, as a human being, you can empathize with and talk to them about it. Try to actually be open-minded about the possibility that they might have something valuable to say. People really respond to being listened to and feeling that their opinion is valued, regardless of whether you agree with it or not. You may find that over time, they will begin to listen to you too, and maybe you'll even begin to form relationships with people whose views differ from yours. I'm not saying this to you because you and I disagree, and that I am trying to change your beliefs. I would say this to that person in Edmonton, too. When people don't feel the need to be defensive or reactive, they can be quite reasonable. But before they can do that, they need to calm down and stop pointing fingers at every negative thing the other side has ever done, because that is the opposite of finding common ground. It's remaining divisive. I also want to point out that your posts didn't make me feel like I'd been heard or that my opinions had been carefully considered. I'm not saying that to point fingers, but to give each other something we can empathize with in the other.

I hear what you're saying. But you are an exception to what feminism is. I don't really think you are a feminist. I get your points. But I don't think you get mine.

I'm not addressing the feminism-specific issues you brought up because they're not on topic and I don't want to derail the conversation. Do all anti-feminists have the same views as you? Is there one definitive anti-feminist view, or are there matters that only some of you agree upon?

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To me, the "bullying" comes around because it seems like everyone has a hair trigger these days. There are so many people that cite things like "free speech" and "my opinion counts too" to the point where everyone is talking and no one is listening. <br />
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When one enters into a debate, the intent is that one person loses and one person wins. But, when two people enter a room with the intent on finding common ground, each side must be willing to concede, and that seems to become increasingly rare. <br />
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There are some people that are conservative, others who are liberal. There are some that believe that a woman is most powerful when supporting a man. There are others that believe in equality for all. There's always common ground. It's possible to reach compromise with someone without compromising what you believe. <br />
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I wish more people thought with open minds.


Woot! Well-stated. I especially love "and this hostility only serves to polarize each other" - exactly!

Thank you! :)

This was nice, Cocochai. I don't consider myself a feminist, but I do see feminists on these boards get insulted a fair bit by submissives. As a submissive myself, I like to lend my support as feminism and submission are not mutually exclusive. I dislike seeing bad past behaviour passed off as "my feminist days!" rather than assuming personal responsibility. No "ism" is responsible for how one treats another.<br />
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I agree that it is very important for feminists to speak up. I don't believe in the "I've gotten what I want out of life therefore we can abolish feminism now" view; it is simplistic and demonstrates a lack of understanding about what feminism is and what it entails and protects.<br />
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Thank you for speaking up, and for being part of a movement that helped pave the way for the choices we have today and the protections we continue to need. Ya'll have my support ;-)

Thank RedRubies. It's true - feminism and submission are not mutually exclusive. It's your choice to live your life as you choose, and that is what feminism is all about :)

Exaaaaactly! :-D

While I agree with your sentiments, your talk of 'sides' and 'our movement' troubles me. It is the very language which alienates people, especially men, from feminism. In any discussion about gender equality in a secular society there can be no sides and those who campaign to secure gender equality cannot be described as a movement. In a civilised society gender equality is a given and the debate is only about how that equality is to be expressed so as to accommodate the obvious differences between the sexes.

When I say sides, I don't mean men or women - I mean either side of the feminist/anti-feminist spectrum. In my third paragraph I talked about this spectrum. As far as the movement issue goes, again, that's semantics. If divisiveness is what you take from my post, that's too bad...

No, I understand that divisiveness is precisely what you want to avoid (which I applaud) and I have no concerns at all about the true import of what you say or with where you are coming from. My point is that much of this debate is about semantics, the most obvious illustration being that very few 'anti-feminists' actually disgree with any of the things for which feminism stands: they call themselves anti-femiists because the words feminist and feminism have been distorted. I think a major part of the solution is making it clear that feminism is not the preserve of one sex but is something which should be, and is, embraced equally by both genders. I understand that you agree with this, but I think readers may take a different (and mistaken) view because of the connotations of certain words. That's all.

Your criticism is noted. I think that on some level we have to defer to personal responsibility here. There are always going to be people who misinterpret or read into what others say, and while we can to some extent try to protect against that with the language we use - as I have done above - we could never anticipate all the possible misinterpretations (for example, I didn't anticipate yours). Where do we draw the line? For my part, I write with care but I try to focus on the big picture. In the above case, the big picture is abundantly clear and contrary to the scenario of divisiveness that you are alluding to. Analyzing semantics on this level of detail and defensiveness is exactly the kind of thing I believe we need to move away from in order to have meaningful discussions.

That being said, we all have things to learn from each other and I have learned something from you about how to write more inclusively.

I intended no criticism. You write beautifully. However, the point is important and, funnily enough, is about the big picture rather than about what you wrote. It is that, by their choice of words, feminists can unwittingly make people feel excluded.

Haha. I meant the big picture of what I wrote. Oh, language.... you sly devil. ;-)

Sometimes a little dig is just too hard to resist. I would have whiteboarded that but I respected the No Dogs Allowed sign. And the impenetrable barbed wire fence.

@garcia a wonderful toast

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I have to say, I am delighted that one of the opposing side does see virtue in my side. I am strongly Anti Feminist, but I applaud Feminists who want the exact same things as I do. I will say, I don't believe that Anti Feminists are ignorant, just as I don't believe that all Feminists are ignorant.

I think that reasonable dialogue is important - I try to look at things from a humanist perspective, but feminist issues are still vitally important today, and men's issues are important too. Like I said in another comment, I'm no women's issues scholar. Honestly, I wish we could all look at feminism as distinct part of a larger construct that takes into account the fact that we are all human beings trying to occupy this space respectfully. It doesn't always feel that way. I can be kind of an idealist.

I can't believe Im saying this, I really liked your story. Even though I disagree with some of the things you said. <br />
A debate on feminism is scheduled to take place this month in Vancouver.<br />
<a href="" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a><br />
In this story you will find all the information including links so that you can email your support or even apply to be a on the panel.

Thank you. I know we are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to feminism, so it is good to have found some common ground. :)

I can't believe I'm saying this... but I'm glad I am. KR, I'm thrilled that you're taking a rational tone to this post, which, in my opinion, was well written.

Pennonymous ... I love, love, love this comment. Thank you for sharing it. I especially enjoyed what you said about everybody talking and nobody listening. It perfectly characterizes many debates I've seen played out.

Pennonymous - interesting also, that I actually see a distinct difference between equality for all and feeling that a woman is most powerful when supporting a man (especially that you phrased it "a woman", rather than "women" in general). I find there is an amazing synergy that happens with well balanced male and female energy; I happen to believe that where male and female energy fall doesn't have to be specific to a person's genitals - or even their gender identity. Male energy is logical and focused whereas female energy is creative and compassionate. Even visually, in my own mind, I picture male and female energy working together as a man and a woman, but that's all metaphor to me. When it comes to people - living and breathing people, I am ferociously pro-equality. Which, "equality" is a philosophical concept about which much is written, and one clear definition does not exist. Just an example, as it comes to interpersonal relationships, I believe that "consensual balance" (I'm coining that term) is more important than "equality" by some definitions. With so many words with various interpretations, it is no wonder it is difficult finding common ground.

Penn the biggest reason I liked is because its well written. I don't agree withal majority of what was said. I just like the way it was said.

Ladyfound - great post. I love what you said about male and female energy. In university I took a world religions course and totally fell for aspects of philosophical taoism relate to these ideas. I think that sometimes, in the very necessary fight for gender equality, we can lose sight of the fact that men and women have unique qualities on a biological level (this is of course a generalized, statistical statement and every falls differently on the gender spectrum). It is possible to be a feminist and have the desire to celebrate my feminine qualities at the same time. It feels like according to some of the thinking out there, our right to equality hinges on us being THE SAME, and there can be a tendency to squash those differences (on a general, not individual level) in order to deserve it. To me, this is an example of an aspect of feminism that has turned on itself, but I know that not everyone will agree with me.

KR.. but that's EXACTLY the point I'm trying to make. It's OK for us to disagree. The key is to be able to find common ground through compromise. :-)

Thanks Michelle :-) I've never understood that continued line of thinking myself. I imagine it started because there was a time when we were told - on a cultural and institutional level - what we were and weren't capable of. But I don't think we need "live up to" male standards to deserve equal rights and opportunities. Not all feminists believe we need to prove ourselves against male standards to deserve equal rights (and very few would knowingly believe it), but it's a bizarre self-objectification. However, it is understandably human and reactive given the nature of female oppression over the course of history. It crept into the discussion while everyone's backs were turned. I think that we need to reframe the context under which we argue for equality. As women and more importantly as individuals with unique characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, we are ALL entitled to equal rights and opportunities. * I want to add that there are still issues of institutionalized discrimination against women today - for example, active combat roles in the US military are restricted to men. There are physical fitness requirements for active combat, and anybody who meets them should be permitted, regardless of gender. This should not be construed as living up to male standards of fitness, but as living up to the physical fitness standards required for active duty. For me, knowing like this helps me to put into context how that line of thinking evolved, but I still think that it's counter to the message of real equality.

I think it's important to look at history as a compass for how feminism has evolved. I don't like to harp on the past oppression of women unless it is relevant to the point that I am trying to make, though. I too prefer to move forward and discuss more contemporary issues. I don't believe everything has been resolved yet with respect to policy and laws, but I know for you and I that is a political issue that we have already discussed. For the most part I want to shy away from talking about specific feminist issues because I don't want to go off topic, but I actually want to know your thought process on this, what is it about allowing women who meet the physical requirements to participate in active duty makes you uncomfortable? (besides your point about the next step being the draft - I don't agree that it is the logical next step but that discussion is for another time I think).

I don't believe it is coming from a sexist place, but, as you describe, a protective place. I don't have a problem with your opinion at all in the context that your opinion guides the choices in your own life, and that others are free to make their own choices. :) (Right now they're not, and I wouldn't expect you to argue in favour of changing that).

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