Clarifying my views on feminism

Below is my reply to a comment that was made in response to my open letter to Emma Watson. You can read the original exchange on Reddit.

“Feminism aims for equal rights and opportunities, but it also presupposes that it’s women who are being systematically oppressed by the patriarchy.” I’m wondering what you meant by this.

Well, the word itself suggests that this movement is about the empowerment of women, so if you want women to increase their “power” and at the same time you claim that you want gender equality, then it is only logical that you must assume that they don’t have equal power yet, i.e. they are oppressed. And as long [as] you strongly identify with feminism, you will continue to assume this, in spite of any evidence to the contrary.

Where is the evidence that oppression is “scarce”?

It is certainly not scarce in some parts of the Middle East; I clearly stated that this does not apply to the whole world. I was talking mainly about the Western world, and while you may still disagree that it is “scarce”, you cannot claim that the amount of oppression in the West did not decrease over the last century.

Basically, I was NOT making an empirical statement that the oppression of women in the West is scarce, I was explaining the logic of why I think feminism has a built-in flaw that will eventually make it counterproductive. Some people would say that this is happening now.

But hey, feminism was useful in the beginning. It certainly had a positive impact towards gender equality, I’m not denying that. But, maybe it’s time now to evolve to the next level.

what about people who are intersex? I find it curious that Emma Watson mentions a gender spectrum, and yet you continue to use these gender-binary norms

Yea, I used binary man/woman distinction. I was focused on making my argument clear and simple, so honestly, I didn’t even think about that. But, you are right for pointing that out.

Biological sex can be on a spectrum, too. So how do we categorize or find differences there and say what is innately this or that?

We don’t. We support gender egalitarianism and let everybody have the same rights and opportunities. We let people, no matter of their gender identity, to decide for themselves what they want and how they want to live.

I have yet to find any empirical evidence that gender is innate – because it’s so embedded in society that you cannot tease it apart.

Steven Pinker would disagree here. Read his book that I was referencing in my letter to Emma (The Blank Slate).

it’s pretty cool that Emma Watson addressed that men are also subject to this gender role socialization

Yes, we are. And there certainly can be a downside to gender role socialization, but pretending that gender is a social construct will not help. These problems (e.g. some men being incapable to express feelings) have to be addressed individually.

The innate differences between men and women produce gender roles, i.e. statistically significant differences between lifestyles of both sexes. However, egalitarians refuse to judge people by gender stereotypes, even though they might be correct. They treat each person as an individual. Women might (!) really be worse drivers on average than men, but does that mean that no woman should be allowed to become a professional truck driver? Of course not.

Thank you for your response and for being constructive.


Posted on December 28, 2014, in Social change and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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