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View Full Version : Interesting NYT op-ed.



Holly
10-29-2009, 09:03 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/opinion/24lipman.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

The Mismeasure of Women.

I thought that this piece allueded to how feminism has become passe, and how it has morphed, and how there are still significant changes that need to occur in the role of women within the world.

What do you think? Where has feminism gone wrong? How do we change this lack of respect? How do you balance your role as a woman?

LdyJhawk
10-29-2009, 02:47 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/opinion/24lipman.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

The Mismeasure of Women.

I thought that this piece allueded to how feminism has become passe, and how it has morphed, and how there are still significant changes that need to occur in the role of women within the world.

What do you think? Where has feminism gone wrong? How do we change this lack of respect? How do you balance your role as a woman?

What's begun to bother me about some self proclaimed feminists is that they forget that in their yelling that "women should be xyz!" it's just as bad as men telling women they shouldn't be something. I have seen hardcore feminists mock friends of mine for their CHOICE to be stay at home moms. Not one of them seemed to understand how contrary to their belief that women can and should be allowed to do ANYTHING they choose with their life.... including cooking, cleaning and raising children

Phoenix McHeit
10-29-2009, 02:55 PM
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to LdyJhawk again.Grrrrrr... thank you - well said!

I would love to be able to afford being a SAHM again - and when I was one, I was at my happiest. My sister, OTOH, would run screaming from the state if she had to be home with kids. "Feminism" did some wonderful things - and some not-so-wonderful things as well. I think trying to pigeonhole women into nice neat little boxes - one labeled 'breadwinner', another labeled 'homemaker', one more 'SuperMom', or perhaps 'Career Woman', even the ridiculous 'Domestic Engineer' did more to harm the cause than help it.

I am more than what a label says about me.

Gemdrite
10-29-2009, 05:08 PM
I think that, over time, feminism has become too much of a good thing, so to speak. Like Phee said, it did a lot of great things, necessary things, for women. But some people got overzealous, and the struggle for "equality" became the struggle for "superiority" in some some cases, and in others, it strived for "equality" to the point of silliness. And unfortunately, that's what "feminism" has come to in the media...because those situations are what are deemed media-worthy. Things like changing the names of job positions because there were female and male names instead of just one is silly. I was a waitress. I didn't need someone to come along and fight more me so that I was called a "waiter." In the grand scheme of things, it didn't matter what I was called, as long as I was paid the same as my male counterparts (or rather, fairly, based on my own merits, not my gender.) Instead of focusing on the major battles, it seems like the feminist movement started focusing on minor skirmishes, if that makes sense.

Betty Munro
10-29-2009, 08:15 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/opinion/24lipman.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

The Mismeasure of Women.

I thought that this piece allueded to how feminism has become passe, and how it has morphed, and how there are still significant changes that need to occur in the role of women within the world.

What do you think? Where has feminism gone wrong? How do we change this lack of respect? How do you balance your role as a woman?


I read the article, and really wasn't as intrigued with the article as I am simply by your questions.
Feminism went wrong when they created the "superwoman" model of a breadwinner and homemaker and mother all in one, all at one time.
We lost respect when we paid the bills and cleaned the house and entertained the kids and allowed our men got overly comfortable taking advantage of our willingness to do their job while also doing our own. Personally, I handle the lack of respect by staying single.
I haven't figured out how to balance all the roles yet. So I got rid of a few, simplified my lifestyle, and now answer to no one.

RedFox
10-29-2009, 09:09 PM
Like the questions - we were actually discussing something similar to this in my women's studies course. My teacher turned to the class and asked us "what does society expect from you?" Almost everyone's answers were "to be successful, to take care of the home, to raise a family" and mind you NONE of it was separate. When she asked us why that was so she got a lot of dumbfounded looks. I think feminism did wonderful things but as of right now its only causing distress for women who are just trying to do what they WANT to do not what society thinks they should be doing. Why is it women are "suppose to be" not only successful and smart but also "non-threatening" to male counterparts? And at the same time have to keep a home, take care of the husband, etc etc. Society confuses me @[email protected] If I didn't know better I would be assuming that the world is trying to create a bunch of mindless zombies that do what everyone else wants and not what they themselves want. Imho that's a bit ridiculous.

(Italic quotes are phrases taken directly from an article in my textbook btw)

Torra
10-30-2009, 09:25 AM
First off, I have to say it's great being around such intelligent, thoughtful women who look past what they're "supposed to". Feminism at its finest, in my opinion, is not about "empowerment" or something like that, but rather about not feeling as though you must diminish a part of yourself in order to be acceptable. Whether that's about being paid the same as men for the same quality of work, about being viewed as more than a witness to a crime when raped, or about what role society ascribes to you.

Feminism as a movement has stopped focusing on what's truly important and has begun demanding that women, in order to be feminist, be more than men and feel that superiority as further evidence they can do it all. Never mind that no one should. The lack of respect comes, I think, from the distaste most people feel for others when they try to be better than you, or a know-it-all. So feminists remedy that by no longer telling women what they need to do to be equal, what their feminist role should be, and shrieking at women who are happiest when doing what is thought of as a "traditional gender role".

Myself, I am working toward a career (that is mostly female, but I didn't think about that). I don't particularly care for children, but I'd love to have the ability to not work if I so chose - to be financially stable no matter what I chose to do. I like cleaning and love cooking and baking. But I don't feel any of these really define me as a woman. They're just things I enjoy doing. I'm a woman because of genetics and an indescribable mystique and ethos that I feel but cannot articulate. I am a woman because I am. So to me, my role is more about my character than my gender so there's no balancing to be done. I am fortunate in my fiance; he doesn't think any more or less of me if I cook, clean, or make babies, so long as I contribute in some way to our family unit. That's no more than what we demand of every person. I wish feminism (in some forms) was less sanctimonious. But I call myself a feminist and I try to exemplify that by being accepting of the choices of all the women I meet regardless if it's a choice I wouldn't make for myself. That's the biggest step feminism could take.

LadyLaura
10-30-2009, 10:11 AM
I don't think "feminism" itself "went wrong." It just ran smack up against patriarchal society. The basic underlying system didn't change all that much.

By the way, I'm thinking we're ALL most likely feminists, by definition:

feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests feminist n or adj feministic adj

I'm thinking we all would like political, economic, and social equality, right? Great article on Tomato Nation that makes this point:

http://tomatonation.com/?p=677

daBaroness
10-31-2009, 06:38 PM
I'm a feminist of my own design I guess. When I was a teen-ager in the late 60s through the late 70s - the traditional roles of women were being questioned and the push for equal rights through the passage of the ERA (though it never passed) was a great step forward in the lives of many women. But in any revolutionary change - there are people who run the gamut of philosophies about what "that" should look like.

I never thought bra burning or the rise of the feminazi faction in any way espoused what I wanted my life to look like. I guess like Donnie and Marie were a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll - my desires for my life as a woman fell somewhere between the man-hating feminazis and the Stepford Wives.

I think as women we have come a long way. To me, it's about having the freedom to choose what our lives will be without the restrictions of someone else dictating what we can and cannot do because of our gender. Had I chosen a different path during my 20s, I'm sure I would have been happier on many fronts. I did my best to raise my sons with the same values as my parents raised me with - but because I'm a single parent - it just couldn't be the same in many of the ways I would have liked. I did the PTA thing, the baseball mom thing, the Boy Scout thing - but I would have loved to have been a stay-at-home mom and home schooled my sons.

I'm forever grateful to my parents for instilling the value of higher education in me and making it possible to earn my bachelor's degree. It made a huge difference in my earning ability - and as my sons' sole means of support - it was a God-send.

I'm grateful that I can now return to school and pursue a second career as a nurse. I'm really grateful for the sacrifices of women who went before me that made it possible for women to pursue careers and earn good salaries. We still have a way to go before we achieve economic parity with men - and that stinks.

But I've come to believe that oftentimes women are one another's greatest enemies in terms of personal freedom. I don't know if it's because throughout history - women had to wield their power through men and therefore continue to do so or if women are just naturally snarky. I know I personally don't want to work for a female boss, because too many of them are still trying to fit into the male world of power by leaving the gifts of their femininity at the office door. To me - that kind of work style and philosophy is old school, in-your-face feminism. They're trying to be men with breasts in the workplace.

And the other thing that bothers me is the schizm that exists between women who choose to be stay-at-home wives and mothers and those who choose to focus more on their careers. My mother used to tell her seminar attendees that women can have it all - just not all at the same time. We treat ourselves and those around us unfairly when we try to do it all at the same time. There just aren't enough hours in the day to be good wives and mothers AND good high-powered career women. Those who give the appearance of having it all don't. Something in their lives is taking a backseat to other things.

But men can't have it all, either. When I was growing up (and I grew up in a wonderful family a la Ozzie and Harriett), men were the breadwinners and women were the homemakers and mothers. While it didn't ensure that a family was healthy and functional, I think children got far more attention and thus behaved better than they do today. The sad thing for families is that men, like my dad, were very focused on providing for the family financially that much of the child rearing was left to the women. In those terms, I think modern fathers are much more involved in the lives of their children (or can be) than they were when I was a kid. But children with two parents who work outside the home are really getting short shrift in my book. And sadly, it seems like too often it is the children in the family who end up being the "thing" that gets shorted when parents are trying to live the modern American dream and do it all. I'm all for families in which the dad is the one who stays home while the mom is the breadwinner.

Women really have come a long way in the last 40 years. But we're still our own worst enemies. Young women still believe the most important thing to affirm themselves is to have the approval of a male. Many, many of our ranks don't value education and find themselves in the position of staying in bad relationships and horrible situations because they have no skills or ability to earn a living to support themselves, muchless their children. Workplaces are still intolerant of "women's issues," particularly women's health and reproductive health. In families where both parents work, it is generally the woman who must put her job in jeopardy to care for a sick child or go to the school. That stinks, too!

There are still a lot of inequalities out there that women must deal with. There are still a lot of good old boys in charge that put roadblocks in our way. There are also a lot of us who for one reason or another add roadblocks and unnecessary hardship to our sisters. Every woman who will cheat with another woman's man is betraying women everywhere. Every woman who puts herself in harm's way is putting her sisters in harm's way as well. Every woman who gossips about her coworkers, family members or friends is betraying others.

Sadly - when one of us undertakes something and gives up - we're all judged by that one woman's experience. It wouldn't happen with men.

I believe we can best further our own right to choose our lives when we support other women in their efforts to do the same. I believe we can support women without betraying men. I believe if women turned to each other more and on each other less, the world would be a much better place.

We've come a long way, baby. But we've still got a long way to go.

Mistress Morigianna
11-01-2009, 03:17 AM
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to daBaroness again.

Holly
11-03-2009, 01:10 PM
I think that the ideals espoused by feminism is a great idea. I would also agree that even if we aren't a feminist organization, being explictly put in our motto etc, it is strongly implied in our actions, humor, topics of interest etc. I thought that the artilce was interesting because it did touch on the fact that feminism has become a concept that society partially shunns. I wondered why is that, I had my own opinions, but I wanted to hear what you all felt.

I agree with DaB that often women are our own worst enimies. I am not sure if it is a social aspect of women, or a genetic one that predisposes us to make those choices. Sometimes I think that feminstic women who are polarizing act the way that they do not because they are women, but because they define themselves as 'not accepting a prescribed role'. Those choices have little to do with gender.

Either way the societal construct of feminism needs to be re-evaluated, and being a assertive-women's group, we have a stake in that re-definition and how society percieves and operates within that construct.

bah! I can't find the spell check on this version, please excuse the typos. I can NOT spell anything.

Phoenix McHeit
11-03-2009, 01:20 PM
Sadly - when one of us undertakes something and gives up - we're all judged by that one woman's experience. It wouldn't happen with men.

I have the quote on my profile page - it says "Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say 'She doesn't have what it takes.' , they will say 'Women don't have what it takes.' " - Clara Boothe Luce

Gemdrite
11-03-2009, 02:29 PM
I have the quote on my profile page - it says "Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say 'She doesn't have what it takes.' , they will say 'Women don't have what it takes.' " - Clara Boothe Luce
That's a really good quote. I may have to steal that and put it on my Facebook page as well.

shyanwench
11-03-2009, 02:31 PM
daBaroness...most respectfully to ya lady... You need to send your post to every woman's magazine for publication! Huzzah!

daBaroness
11-04-2009, 12:41 AM
I have the quote on my profile page - it says "Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say 'She doesn't have what it takes.' , they will say 'Women don't have what it takes.' " - Clara Boothe Luce

It's so true.

I'm in a funky mood tonight - algebra is giving me fits and bad flashbacks to 1972. One of my high school friends who is on FB posted this today and I just howled.

Woman's Rule of Thumb: If it has tires or testicles, you're going to have trouble with it. ~Author Unknown

Vixynne Rose
11-04-2009, 05:41 PM
Weighing in...*waves with a fistful of Halloween MnM's*

I grew up in the 70's. I watched my mom go from being a full-time housewife (which she was pretty darn good at) to getting her own paycheck. She had no college education and her options for employment were rather limited by that; but she worked doggedly to raise my family's standard of living...sometimes at two simultaneous "nametag-and-a-hairnet" jobs for minimum wage.

At no point did my father ever step up his game and do more than he was accustomed to (i.e. light yard work, basic mechanical/plumbing when needed--which translates loosely to "changing lightbulbs and plunging toilets"--and the occasional "listen to your mother" by way of parenting skills). Mom still cooked, cleaned, shopped, fluffed and folded, weeded the flowerbeds, painted the house, and played "bad cop" when disciplining three daughters.

At no point did my father ever stop making snarky "women's Lib" commentary while belching, scratching and beer-guzzling in front of the television, barely lifting his feet out of the way of her canister vacuum. Dad put the "oink" in the phrase "male chauvinist pig".

This woman, who adopted me during her first hellish marriage, and had to give BACK an adopted son because her first husband bolted on her before the paperwork was final--this woman who regularly worked like a farmhorse from bedraggled sunup to exhausted nightfall for her entire adult life--taught me lessons I'll carry with me the rest of my days. Those lessons weren't about feminism. They weren't even about humanism, or any other 'ism you might happen to have laying around.

They were about fairness.

They were about what a partnership--a friendship, a marriage, a committed relationship, whatever--is supposed to be. (Okay, that one was taught by negative example, but it was still powerful.)

They were about being a decent, caring, contributing member of society, whether you pull a six-figure paycheck or raise six kids.

She stayed for almost 30 years, until he turned a mental and emotional corner and became violently bipolar. (She stayed for all the reasons DaB mentioned, never realizing that what she was gaining by staying was in NO WAY a fair trade for her dignity and self-worth.) She was in her 50's, it was crisis time, and it could have crushed her. That's when her true mettle showed. She divorced him, sold the money pit that was our childhood home, and launched her independent, self-created future; for the first time in her life.

A feminist might find my mother's early adulthood disappointing and crow about her later achievements. But see, my mom was no less amazing when she was ironing my dad's work shirts than she was when she bought a second apartment to become a landlady after her divorce.

A woman who can swim upstream and make ANY sort of progress in today's world, no matter what her personal choices are for career/family/self-fulfillment; THAT is the definition of astounding. I could go further and say anyone, male or female, who lives a life of significance to another human being--is amazing.

We aren't on the planet for long. It really does seem like so much "sound and fury, signifying nothing" to holler about whether it's more valid to stay home and raise children or be a corporate drone. It's time to stop pointing fingers and judging those who choose differently than we would. (Yes, I'm talking to you, feminazis...actually, to extremists on both ends of the spectrum.) Time to step up, accept that we all have strengths, apply those talents and get the #$*!ng work done, isn't it?

My vote (since I'm a mom and a teacher) is that we need more stay-at-home parents of both genders...so many of our children lack guidance at the most basic levels; so many have no empathy, not enough conscience, nothing but a sense of "I'm entitled to __________, so fork it over and be quick about it."

Meh, I know I'm rambling. And yes, we have come a very long way from the days of "female hysteria" and the idea that any man married to a working woman must be a failure as a male...but we also live in a world where girls still have their clitorises excised so that they won't feel sexual pleasure. Where women who aren't behind walls must be veiled so that their inherent ability to corrupt men's souls won't be flaunted.

Progress is good. But every moment we waste in judgement is a moment lost for bringing the ethical-treatment scales into balance for everyone.

(Yes, Dad. That's your "pinko-commie-daughter" talking. What can I say--my mother taught me well.)

Phoenix McHeit
11-04-2009, 07:55 PM
Vix...

I don't think I've ever loved you more than at this moment.

(And that's sayin' sumpin' !!! )