Don’t Like: 4th Wave Feminism (But It’s VERY Complicated)

Warning: This is a discussion of semantics.

I am a Feminist… I am a dude.

Understand I’m not trying undermine the notion of being a feminist. I know some women take issue with how liberally men are willing to label themselves as such and deeply respect that. I know this guy who considered himself a feminist and he was also a remarkable verbal abuser and one-time physical abuser.  But in his deranged head, he was “oh so feminist”. So one can understand the apprehension.

But… well, I’m going ahead and saying it anyway.

I’m doing it because feminism has a lot of different definitions, and most of them are pretty reasonable definitions. That’s what happens in a good discourse.

To be fair, 4th Wave Feminism isn’t even a thing. It’s a term some people kind of assigned to describe what’s happening right now in feminism. There were of course other real waves: 1st wave) suffrage. 2nd wave) women’s lib movement of 60’s-80’s. 3rd wave) early 90’s corrections to the “failures” ie women have the right to act like a man, earn the same wages/positions/etc. There’s more to third wave, but since there’s no singular defining trait/event, that’s an okay description.

So… 4th wave.

First off, let me state that I think that sexism is still such a huge problem in this country. HUGE.

Societal Problem #1- the mixed messages we’re sending young girls. We live in a culture with an increasing religious population which abhors both women’s sexuality, femininity, and homosexuality. At the same time, we have a secular society where sexuality is increasingly out in the open (some in a good way too, but mostly a bad way). Think about MTV/Reality shows. Hell, most everything on television is nuts. It’s not the “showing of the skin” it’s the unintelligent and crass way this sexuality is presented (HBO may be the most gritty but they deal with their subjects so intelligently it’s often to make a point… except Entourage but that show sucks).  With the two conflicting messages, every young girl is trying to fight between being a madonna and a whore. This conflict has always been an element to humanity no doubt, but within today’s culture there are a lot of new kinds of obstacles. (There was a great recent movie about this subject: “Towelhead” by Alan Ball.)

Societal Problem #2 – Frat culture – I’m not speaking ill of fraternities necessarily. I’m speaking ill of the associating stereotype of how “frat guys” behave. And we all know what I mean by that. Now going off that mentality, I have this dumb pseudo-pop-psychology theory and it goes something like following: Elementary school boys grow up and are afraid of girls. They want the approval of their guy friends and for those guys to think they’re totally awesome. They start to grow up and have problems relating to teenage girls and react by starting to get angry/misogynistic. It gets worse and worse and soon they’re just trying to score chicks so they can get high fives from their buddies. So they hate/resent women and only use them patriarchal status symbols…. And I think this is fucking 50% of the male population. I really do. I see it everywhere and it pretty much disgusts me. Don’t get me started on the college boys who put drugs in girls drinks at parties. To me there’s nothing more abhorrent than that kind of behavior. It’s a hate crime to me.

Societal Problem #3 – It was kind of always this way. These are not new problems for our society. It’s mostly just that sexual abuse is FINALLY starting to be reported with more frequency. And these aren’t the final numbers by a long shot. The amount of rural sexual abuse that goes unreported is simply stunning. Absolutely stunning… And historically it was even worse.

Societal Problem #4 – there’s no central concrete obstacle for feminism at the moment – the problems with the third wave feminism are only multiplied today because the perceived problems are all conceptual. With the advent of title 9, increased support for equal pay, etc. there are fewer and fewer concrete obstacles.  So why are things still so shitty? It’s because the attack is now on a thought system and that makes things, uh, rather difficult.

As a result, I think 4th wave feminism is pretty fractured. It’s somewhat like today’s music, it’s like there’s competing genres. Do you like emo or hip hop? Are you super indie Mr. Hipster or top 40? Feminism has similarities. There’s some more militant forms of feminism now, but since I tend not to like militant forms of pretty much anything, I won’t even get into that.  One the other side of the political spectrum, there’s the amazingly strange “feminists for life” group . The name does not imply they are feminists for the remainder of their living years, but instead being women who are intensely pro-life… that one’s… interesting. But most kinds of feminism today are now in the form of micro-analysis; the daily interaction of men and women, the subtexts of film and literature, and international comparison. It leads to a lot of fascinating stuff that I enjoy reading with vigor.

… It also leads to a lot of unfair stuff.

What’s specifically is unfair? Lots of stuff really, but one example of the negative aspects would be modern feminism as a game “of gotcha”. Now the dynamics of “gotcha” are now surprisingly popular in the era of Palin and her complaints of “gotcha” media tactics. The main difference is these journalists are trying to expose the woeful political ignorance of a candidate. Asking about the Bush Doctrine is not a gotcha question. Heck, if I know what the bush doctrine is it is NOT A GOTCHA question. Anycrap, I digress. Gotcha feminism is taking valid arguments and points and applying them to situations where they don’t necessarily apply.  It’s like (a) set up a valid point (b) apply point to a given situation that may not apply and (c) tear into it. Examples:

Example #1: The bechdel test

let’s go to wiki: The Bechdel test: The strip popularized what is now known as the Bechdel test, also known as the Bechdel/Wallace test, the Bechdel rule, Bechdel’s law, and the Mo Movie Measure. Bechdel credits her friend Liz Wallace for the test, which appears in a 1985 strip entitled “The Rule“, in which a character says that she only watches a movie if it satisfies the following requirements:

  1. It has to have at least two women in it,
  2. Who talk to each other,
  3. About something besides a man.[4]

(ignore the boldness here, I’m have formatting problems, sorry) First off. I really love Bechdel rule. As a writer it helps me immensely. I also think it’s pretty obvious the point of the test is to really just point out how few movies actually do this… which is great. But following this test? My god. There’s so many great movies that say a heckuva lot of interesting things that do not pass this test in any way. AND there are a lot of shitty, pandering movies that say awful things about females and DO pass the test (I’m looking at you 27 Dresses). And yet I’m constantly surprised by how many people use the test as some kind of justification for a movie’s validity. (It all goes back to how most screenwriters are males who have no idea how to write female characters, that’s how simple it is).

Example #2 – Firefly is sexist!

Here is an excerpt from a feminist blog that got passed about the internet for awhile for it’s almost stunning over-reaction. It was in regards to Joss Whedon (a popular figure in the “girl power” arena) and his show Firefly. The author decided to tear into the show and expose it for the sexist piece of shit she thought it was:

Aside from women being fuck toys, property and punching bags for the men, the women have very little importance in the series. I counted the amount of times women talk in the episode Serenity compared to the amount of times men talk. The result was unsurprising. Men: 458 Women: 175. So throughout the first episode men talk more than two and a half times as much as women do. And women talk mainly in questions whereas men talk in statements. Basically, this means that men direct the action and are active participants whereas women are merely observers and facilitators.

That’s what we call gotcha tactic. The points she brings up have no real baring on whether a show is sexist or not. It simply can’t. It’s classic scientific conundrum of correllation and cause.  Add in the fact that most of the characters are male (especially all the evil baddies) and one of the female’s main character is crazy and only talks rarely, then well… it just seems even more irrelevant.

I really suggest giving this blog post a look http://users.livejournal.com/_allecto_/34718.html … the funny thing is the more I read the post the more I find bits of validity to her points… but it is such a strong reaction to something that doesn’t have nearly the kind of malice she is describing. Of course the show doesn’t stand up as the perfect model of feminism. That’s not what he’s trying to do in the slightest. The kinds of feminist issues in Buffy aren’t even on this show’s radar. And more importantly, they don’t have to be. Firefly is really about a universe that’s crumbling. It’s crumbling on a epic scale and they live in a stunningly depraved world. So a lot of bad, bad shit happens. On top of that, much of whedon’s “sexism” is coming from a critical view. Every one of them is a deeply flawed character, that I don’t think he even had a chance to scratch the surface with (look at the first season of buffy… and where it ended up going. That first season was crap in comparison). I’m inclined to think that he’s cognizant of the females and I think he’s hyper-aware of their feminist drawbacks. But oh yeah… the show happens to be pretty darn good.

I showed the blog post to my friend and he simply wrote back “here’s a list of things that do not fit in with my narrow world view”

Sure that’s a little curt (he did so for humor’s sake) but it gets at the very point I’m trying to make. It may seem like I’m just picking on these two examples but there are countless other instances that overwhelm my impression of the direction of feminism (at least on the collegiate level). Most forms of modern 4th wave feminism are just so darn limiting in their scope. Does “not feminist” = bad? It’s just an inherent question one has to ask themselves when participaing in “feminism”. By adopting any ideology do we limit the exceptions?

At one point in the blog the author digs into the interracial relationship in firefly and makes this comment:

Let me just say now that I have never personally known of a healthy relationship between a white man and a woman of colour. I have known a black woman whose white husband would strangle and bash her while her young children watched. My white grandfather liked black women because they were ‘exotic’, and he did not, could not treat women, especially women of colour, like human beings. I grew up watching my great aunts, my aunty and my mother all treated like shit by their white husbands, the men they loved. So you will forgive me for believing that the character, Wash, is a rapist and an abuser, particularly considering that he treats Zoe like an object and possession. Joss Whedon does not share my view, of course, and he paints the relationship between Zoe and Wash as a perfectly happy, healthy union.

First off, I’ve personally known healthy white male/black female relationships. That statement is wholly fucking ridiculous and maybe even racist. There can’t be? Really? That’s simply naive. The author may claim I’m naive because I’m being ignorant, but that’s horseshit and i’ll stand by it. And yes, OF COURSE the aforementioned racist exoctism is an issue in our society. But that doesn’t mean we have to rush out and make every interracial relationship ABOUT the problems of the interracial relationship. That’s ridiculous. She even goes onto bring up excellent films which deal with the subject of racial sexuality and says we should watch those instead. The movies she mentions are all excellent (like Rabbit Proof Fence). But, folks, wtf does that have to do with Firefly. That’s not the subject

As a result of this kind of feminist gotcha-ism, many males go on to make ridiculous conclusions about feminism on the whole… like this:

Needless to say, but that’s a dumb conclusion. Is it complete without merit? YES. That is a sentiment without any merit. It’s a sexist statement down to its very core. But what it does highlight is an unintended consequence to some of the 4th wave’s more unfair analysis. Now I’m not JUSTIFYING a reaction like this in the slightest. A sexist reaction is a sexist reaction. But in the wake of discourse, it awakens the notion of pragmatism in micro-analysis.

There it is… pragmatism. It seems like the biggest obstacle of the 4th wave is the limits of its structure. Does micro-analysis eliminate the scope of macro-analysis? Does feminism need to incorporate the human condition? Can feminism adapt to incorporate a wide range of definitions?

Most of the male/female relationships I know are pretty even handed, both economically, socially, and fundamentally.  But some of them definitely would run against the grain of someone’s differing notion of feminism. And once again, YES this even-handedness is CERTAINLY not the consensus on the whole of this country. How can it be? The 50% frat culture I mentioned before and religious sentiments make me nuts. Most pornography makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Those are the obvious battles and I’m talking about the more subtle ones that stem from battles over the things that shape our modern cultural landscape like Firefly and the Bechdel test.

With that, how does 4th wave feminism, in it’s current position, move forward?

There are still some public obstacles. The glass ceiling in the economic front. I think there needs to be some rebellion against the confines of the growing religious attitude, the confines of frat culture, and a global movement toward feminist aid in 3rd world countries where human life is worth less than an IPhone.

And heck I’ll say it… In some ways I think the American feminist experience is becoming much more about redefining the male role than ever before. How do men indeed become feminists while still owning, well, let’s just call it “the male mystique?” (to borrow a phrase). Yes, I’m sick of the “frat” culture. I’m sick of the blatent sexism… but how does feminsm combat that? I simply don’t see the trend of micro-analysis helping. I don’t know… Sometimes it does very well and I’ll read an article that pinpoints these exact problems in our daily life… but a lot of times I encounter the other stuff.

Maybe we’re just approaching a difficult time where the line between feminism and humanism is becoming blurred.

* Final note: I fully realize this whole post is dangerous. Please keep in mind It’s not a paper. It’s not well thought out. I only looked over it once.  It’s kind of a stream of consciousness tangent designed to bring up points. That’s all it is intended as. And I hope all it’s taken as. Thank you.

UPDATED –

-Finally have a second post that sort of adds to this discussion in somewhat tangential ways. About Gene Tierney’s performance in the 1944 film LAURA.

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41 Responses to Don’t Like: 4th Wave Feminism (But It’s VERY Complicated)

  1. Hacky Comedian says:

    PLUS they take like two hours to get ready!! Am I right, fellas???

  2. foxglove says:

    I consider myself a feminist, and tend to agree with a majority of 4th wave feminist analyses of pop culture, frat culture, society, and the like. However, I really appreciated many of the points you brought up in your argument. I feel that 4th wave feminists spend a lot of time pointing out sexism that we are exposed to in everyday life, sexism that we are, for the most part, blind to. However, these “exposes” often go too far. While examples of sexism can be found everywhere, often these analyses take a slightly sexist piece (as most things in this world are at least slightly sexist) and search deeply for multiple examples of sexism elsewhere in the piece where no more really exist. They search for some dark framework of patriarchy, objectification, and abuse. Your example of Firefly is perfect. Joss Whedon is, in my opinion, a very womanist and feminist-minded filmmaker who makes an effort to craft complicated, strong, multifaceted female characters. I think that fourth wave feminism definitely has problems, but I’ll stick with it because it’s better than letting feminism fall by the wayside and giving in to the patriarchy.

  3. torepelghosts says:

    I appreciated your honest stream of consciousness rant regarding fourth wave. “Gotha’s” always get in the way of the big picture it seems. Thought control is a real problem these days for all of us, and making clever observations with the end result of coming off elitist is not the way to getting out of this shit we are in.
    I want to change feminism to another name. I feel the name itself cannot shake the ghost of what gender binaries do on a psychological level. Fuck Gender. Humans are sexual beings. Fuck Homo/Hetero/Bi. Fuck Race. I say this because we are far more than our census tells us. We need to acknowledge difference but in a way outside of binary thinking. Because of this, Rhetorical Sovereignty belongs to all of us who want to have our identities outside the self/other dichotomy. Men are fucked over by this just as much as women in some ways; to say otherwise would be contradictory to how patriarchy was put into place to begin with. To quote some smart person I recently read–creating meaning through contrasts is “analytical violence.”
    Frat culture—keeping our youth drunk, divided, consuming, and isolated. In reaction to your post, I feel feminism is one of many societal ills birthed from the homogeneity western binaries, capitalism, globalization, etc… but I know it is more complex than that. What is at stake for all of us is the loss of difference. Therefore, race is relevant as well. Class too. Also environment—American landscape is becoming a repetitive shrine to buying more shit we don’t need made by people treated like shit to get the great low prices. I came to this article attempting to find information on a class project I am presenting on tomorrow for materials regarding graffiti and feminism. I was hoping for a section on stencil art related to Crass and feminism, but this came up instead. I appreciate your sincerity and informality. Writing in a way that only canonical peer review journals respect will never result in a revolution. I might use this for a class as a read and respond article. I do love the Foucault, but that shit ain’t gonna change many minds in this new world. So many resources…so little thinking. Today’s youth is just as capable as any other generation in creating change on a biological level—they may have more white noise to work through before authentically engaging themselves intellectually to get their bullshit filters up and running, but I do have faith in that, and posts like this certainly help in keeping it. Thanks.

  4. Valerie says:

    This was so refreshing to read.

    Thank you so much!

  5. Laura says:

    I’d love to respond to your post in a highly intellectual and thoughtful manner, but I’m going to be frank. One of the many thoughts swirling through my head while I read this, was that I want to meet you, talk with you, and show you to the world that CONSTANTLY insists to me that men like you don’t exist. I’ve been telling my parents for years now that I want to be with someone who is a humanist/feminist like I am, and they say, “good luck babe.” I feel justified via your existence…thank you!

    So ah…Where do you live, and are you in a committed relationship? I say this as a joke…unless you’re interested *insert comically over-the-top wink*

    But seriously, I’m curious…do you have an academic background in this area or is it an elective interest? I ask as a feminist/gender/sexuality studies student.

  6. Hacky Comedian says:

    Hey, Laura, I got your feminism/humanism for ya right here [grabs crotch, while friends laugh uncontrollably]

  7. damien says:

    Isn’t feminism the cause of the downfall of modern society as a whole? I’m for equality not for feminism. Really feminism is about payback, it’s like the blacks in America. It has gone beyond equality to the other side.

  8. mgss says:

    Nice trolling.

  9. damien says:

    BTW Laura they do exist. The problem is that they tend to be a little on the non-masculine side. So as long as you don’t require your mate to be a ‘man’s man’ (which I know girls find attractive) then you are on your way.

    I’ve met several girls that want what you want. In reality the best you will get is an equalitist that is still masculine enough to make your loins burn. Any more and they get a little feminine (call it metro, or in touch with their feelings). But mark my words he will teach your kids to sew not to play sports or ride a bike. Hell I bet he even has a cake recipe memorized.

    Good Luck

  10. damien says:

    Not a troll I actually believe it to be true and am open to a debate about how feminism has broken the very fabric of what holds our civilization together.

    My email is melencoy@gmail.com if you want to discuss this more. It will be a private forum and thus no advantage to a troll since they all want an audience.

    mgss why is it that every time people don’t like your opinion they call you a troll. Is your argument so weak it can’t stand a debate?

  11. mgss says:

    Haha. Deal. Will respond some more soon. Gotta finish some stuff up in the meantime. Looking forward to it.

  12. damien says:

    sorry that was supposed to say melencoly@gmail.com

  13. mgss says:

    1) I called you troll because of the severity of first remark. After all, it was very troll like and your positions are extreme enough that one could go ahead and call a duck a duck. As to your assertion, I think that’s the first time I have ever actually called someone a troll. So there’s that.
    2) Part of the inherent problem here is that I radically disagree with your off-base assessment of America and racial/feminist progression as “payback.” If that’s your perception of what the heck is going on I don’t think there is much I can say other than “that’s simply not true… whatsoever.” So I don’t know how we would have a conversation here because I find that kind of assertion to be inherently sexist or racist (not saying your either, I’m saying the statement implies it).
    3) How are we beyond equilty exactly?
    4) I’m not sure what an “equalitist” stands for exactly.
    5) You thankfully use the word “tend” which softens your statement on emotionally responsible men lacking masculinity, but I still disagree. I love sports. I watch ESPN all day. I’ve played sports my entire life and play basketball weekly. I’m pretty damn good too. Anecdotal, yes. But true.
    6) Once again, I just don’t get the assessment of feminism breaking “the very fabric of what holds our civilization together.” Really? That’s the source of our problems? Not globalization, world banks, pollution, warfare, economic deflation, or any of those? Or somehow feminism is related to those? Huh. I just don’t get how we’d have some kind of debate when you believe that feminism is destroying us. You have an extreme position that is, quite frankly, completely false and maybe even bigoted.

  14. damien says:

    For now let’s deal with 3 and 4.

    Clearly an ‘equalitist’ stands for equality. That would be equal rights and oportunity for everybody. I’m not sure it’s even a word but I like it and would define myself there.

    I guess the big question is are men and women equal? I like to in general to say yes. Women being better at somethings and men being better at others. I’m sure we don’t need examples. To re-itterate; I believe men and women to be equal. That being the case why does feminism continue to try to move forward? The only place to go from equality is to tip the scale. Why does feminism therefore still exist? To me it’s like don’t stoke the fire unless you want it bigger.

    Now if you don’t think they are equal, I can see why feminism continues and I suppose I have nothing more to say about it.

    And a question from 6. What do you believe the fabric of society is?

    More tomorrow, and thank-you for the insight.

  15. damien says:

    On #5

    I play co-ed soccer in the summer (because it’s the only adult league in my small town), co-ed hockey in the winter (because I am origionally from Africa and only learnt to ice skate a few years ago), I snowboard in the winter and mountain bike in the summer. Now there are always exceptions to the rules but thinking about those sports over the last few years.

    The girls that were good at those sports were generally slightly masculine to full on butchy. Anecdotal, yes. But true. Over the last few years I have been attracted to a single person in those sports, and truth be known she sucked at the sport.

    All I’m saying is that when you break the gender mould you actually break the mould. You can’t break it for sports but not for attitude, or appearence. This is true for both men and women. It seems to me that if we break the gender moulds we will end up with a society that is probably more androgenous than it should be or was.

    On another note machoism didn’t make women feel good, and feminism doen’t make men feel good. Essentially both movements strive to make their gender the superior one. It’s just the way it is. While women didn’t like the feeling of opression that machoism gave to them, somehow women feel that it is okay to turn the tables and make men feel oppressed with feminism. With slogans like ‘girl power’ it’s hard to believe that feminism is about equality.

    While it’s definition spews something about equality for sexes it’s practice doesn’t. Like Marx’s communist manifesto, sounded good on paper but the practice of it left in-equality amounst the socialist/communist classes (not like it’s definition). Again on paper the bible seems pretty good too, but with groups like the KKK, the Black Panthers, Wacko Texas, etc. swearing that they are following gods words, clearly the practice of those great words leaves something to be desired. Feminism is the same.

    One last note if feminism was practiced like it is preached/or written I’d sign up immediatly. But it’s not so I’m out.

  16. damien says:

    https://stuffilikeandstuffidontlike.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/like-candace-parker-brawler/

    This article emphasises my point. The WNBA can’t attract male viewers and therefor is a commercial failure. The problem is one of two things:

    1) The girls are not good looking enough (they are too masculine) to attract male viewers.
    2) The girls can’t play well enough (NBA level) to attract male viewers.

    Men don’t want to watch second class sports unless there is some eye candy. Take lingerie football or soccer. From a sport point of view terrible but still it gets the male viewers to keep it all going.

  17. george says:

    I’m also a dude and am a feminist. What I love about feminisim is that if you go to a feminist rally as a guy all the girls there think you are so caring and sweet. I started to attend these meetings and rallies in University and have yet to go to a meeting that didn’t end with me and a feminist in bed.

  18. george sucks says:

    george:
    you’re an idiot. and i seriously doubt the content of your post. and if it’s true i’m terribly sorry for the probably newly feminist women that you seduced with trickory and their obviously unrefreshed self-esteem. you suck you suck you suck you suck. also, here’s a thought how in the hell do you call your self a feminist
    love,
    a weathered feminist.

  19. mgss says:

    Yeah the probability of george’s post being accurate are about 1:5000

  20. george says:

    mgss,

    I’d say the probability of the post being real is about the same as the probability of you getting laid tonight.

    Think about it 🙂

    george sucks,

    Fortunatly I never date people who refer to themselves as weathered, so consider yourself safe.

    And so everybody knows I don’t seduce people. The fact that I’m one of the few guys in a crowd of girls somehow really seems to get their loins fired up. That said they always come and talk to me, I never approach or seduce. And BTW they suck not me 😉

    I call myself a feminist cause I like girls more than guys…. isn’t that what feminism is all about.

  21. jg dragon says:

    fyi, 4th wave is queer liberation… and gender identity issues.

  22. mgss says:

    See now, I don’t think that is a fair classification. It seems like an association with feminism, but not a singular trend of feminism itself. Which is not to say feminism has to be wholly singular, yet in order to truly have the “wave” classification it has to apply to a majority. Where as the queer liberation and gender identity issues are movements I find to be singular to themselves, but maintain obvious overlaps of course.

    I really think labeling the 4th wave as such is indicative of the kinds of general clarification problems I mentioned in the post.

  23. george says:

    Oh I thought 4th wave was the fem-nazi androgeny we seeing in society right now. That seems to include the whole gender issue thing mentioned above.

    So mgss in one broad sentence what is the 4th wave.

    I’d have to say…’the 4th wave of feminism is the quest to remove the gender related roles of society’.

  24. george says:

    that should have been …’androgyny’ 🙂

  25. ms says:

    I agree with you on everything in this article (especially about the whole “frat boy” culture today) but when it comes to problems todays feminist face… well i would have to disagree with you on that one.

    yes, past feminists have fought hard for the rights we have today, but everything is not perfect yet. having experienced this first hand, there is still a big problem with sexual harassment and unequal pay in the workforce.

    as well as the EXTREME disrespect and degradation of women all over in our culture; movies, tv, video games. but i would have to say one of the most important degrading things to women today in pornography. now, thats a whole other issue to discuss, but all i am trying to say is that there are still big problems facing feminists today and woth fighting for.

    otherwise, i truly enjoyed your article. thanks!

  26. d says:

    one problem i’ve always had with feminism is that it does not address WHY people shouldn’t be sexist.

    If there is no God, creator, spirit, or other-worldly source of meaning for human life, or a kind of human “essence” or “nature” which gives humans dignity–then humans do not have dignity objectively.

    That means that it’s up to each of us to respect whoever we please, and disrespect whoever we please (so long as we can get away with it).

    So, in a world that is completely atheist, there is nothing wrong with sexism, racism, or other types of discrimination. You might say a lot of people are moral people without being religious; I would argue that they are raised that way and have adopted that sort of standard, but since there is no objective morality to speak of in an atheist world, then people who AREN’T already moral are not in any way inferior to moralists–that is, to people like feminists and equal rights activists of all types.

    It is no a coincidence that so many human rights movements actually have their roots in some sort of religious or mystical teaching. Even some hippies believe that there is some kind of “world spirit” which gives humans and nature intrinsic value.

    I typed all this up to show how it is in fact quite reasonable for some feminists to be pro-life; because anyone in favour of equal dignity must deal with this problem about objective morality, and religion is one way in which that problem can be dealt with.

  27. mgss says:

    um… huh.

    I think there is a big, big problem with your logic. For one. Why does the source for meaning in human life have to be other-worldly? It is a absolutely ridiculous assumption to say we need other worldly meaning in order to be kind one another.

    I learned kindness from my human relationships. I learned compassion and honor from them too. I did not learn them from my relationship with god or the church. We are not “free” in an atheist society to be sexist or racist, because we live in a society of laws, which are not god’s laws, but man’s laws (when you think about it, only two overlap: stealing and killing). There is ENTIRELY an objective morality. And that morality is balance of the freedom for an individual to express himself, whilst not imposing on the various freedoms of others. It is the fundamental basis for the entire country. And we have built a society founded on those principals. Many of these founders were atheists, contrary to popular conception. John Adams. Thomas Jefferson. Yes. Atheists. Yes. You last few ideas have more validity, but I have to bring this up to show how shoddy that string of logic is in the beginning of your comment.

    You see, Religions are just another one of those objective moralities. It’s not a singular solution. It’s just another set of values, and they are NOT benevolently good. Human amoralism, believe it or not, is spread across all gamuts. Yes an atheist can kill someone and not care. Yet we have religious people killing in the name of god. Amoralism is amoralism no matter which set of principals it is done by. In fact the only people who are truly “moral” in a specific religion are the only ones who within that religion. It is epically exclusive.

    My central problem with religion, is that it is defined by the after life. And people who believe that if they live according to god’s wishes they will be rewarded in the afterlife. Which means they don’t care if world they’re living in goes to hell. In fact many seem to perfer it, so long as their soul is secured. It’s a primary reason that people even start wars and one of the central problems of islamic fundamentalism. People are killing in the world we live in today, so they can do right in an “afterlife” which by the way is different in every religion and completely unproven by science.

    An afterlife and religion, while well-intentioned, is the last thing I would want defining my value set because it is inherently defined by non-societal conditions and a solipsistic outlook.

  28. damien says:

    mgss .. how come you weren’t showing any of your kindness, compassion, or honour to me at the begining of the comments? It’s not something you should turn on and off at your leasure. It is a way of living, not a way of living when convinient to you. Really did the Dali Lama only practice those things when he felt like it?

    You should be ashamed of yourself. And remember

    Those who know do not say, and those who say do not know. The very fact that you claim to be kind, and compassionate means that you likely are not.

    Since when was religion about after life? You don’t seem to have a fundimental grasp of what religion is about. Mystisism is a fundimental belief for humans. Scientifically proven that people who believe there is something bigger than themselves live longer, are healthier, are better paid for the same job, are closer to there families, are happier, tend to be more forgiving, tollerant, and donate more to charity.

    Judging all religion on a few extremists is like judging all Americans based on Charles Manson.

    That said mgss how old are you? Your opinions seem very young, extreme, and based on the childhood ideas we all used to hold.

  29. mgss says:

    Ugh.

    Why am I arguing with you? You found what I wrote lacking compassion and kindness? The guy who thinks “the blacks in america” have taken civil rights past the point of equality?

    Why bother? You’ve positioned your last comment as a direct challenge of sorts, but honestly the merits do not even warrant a response (except in the case of your religion comments. that is sound counterpoint).

    Why should I be ashamed of myself? That’s utterly ridiculous. I’ve been nothing but rational. You’ve made statements that could be construed as absurd. And by simply pointing this out, never with swearing or offensive behavior, always being genial, I somehow lack kindness? What? When you’ve also had the gall to tell a girl in this comment thread what will make her “loin’s burn?”

    You have no idea who I am. To insinuate you have some insight into my kindness is again, absurd. At no point in this thread have I made an assumption about your public sensibility because it is impossible. This is post about ideas and discussion. And that’s what we’ve done.

    You wonder why so many people call you a troll? It’s because you came onto this thread, present way out of left opinions that don’t really make sense and align themselves with some sexist/racist sensibilities, and you keep coming back and back and back to make contrarian counterpoints that don’t really seem to line up with each other when examined in total. That’s the DEFINITION of trolling. That is why people apparently keep accusing you of it. Because you exhibit that kind of behavior.

    And yes. If I have to defend myself. I live my life by the principal of the community. Politically, structurally, and in terms of volunteering. These principles are essential to my life. It makes me a very happy person. I really do try to do is be kind in my life. And I do not need religion to do so. The concept of community can be a secular practice. In fact I find it is often healthier when it is secular.

    No. I’m not judging religion on extremists. Yes. I think Religion is chiefly about the afterlife. I am not pulling this out of my butt or from some rough impression of the world. Religions are largely defined by their outlook on the afterlife. Yes there is much about how to behave in life, and very much of it is good, but the biggest problem I have with Religion is the belief in the after life often hinders people’s desires to uphold a standard for the world (I.E. the community) in this life and focus on themselves and their own relationship with god.

    How old am I? Really? My opinions seem very young? What a wonderful observation. How old are you? And my opinions are extreme? Really? From the guy who thinks feminists are the reason for the downfall of society.

    “Those who know do not say, and those who say do not know” To quote this, you sure have done a whole lot of saying. Can it not be turned around back on you? No. Because I find using this quote to prove any kind of point to be silly. Think about it. How can anyone use that quote in an argument unless the argument is about the merits of not having an argument?

    This has officially become inane.

    I’m done.

    And not ashamed of my self.

  30. damien says:

    Actually only you accused me of being a troll.

    BTW the Wiki definition of Troll is;

    In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or collaborative content community with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional or disciplinary response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

    By that definition anybody who posts to this topic (including you) is a troll. The subject itself is emotional and tends to elicit emotional responces.

    Should we all run around saying ‘you make me mad so you are a troll.’ You had a post that claimed somebody else posted something that had a 1:5000 chance of being true. I scream TROLL, or at least troll like statement. Tisk tisk tisk.

    You have yet to rationally disprove any of my opinions.

    Your opinions don’t seem to make you happy, but then again we all have a different definition of happiness.

    I suppose you could turn around anybodies argument back onto them. Does it make you seem intellegent? Probably not! Childish? I’d say yes.

    I never claimed to be anything. Not kind, nor compassionate, nor intellegent, nor etc. You however did make all sorts of claims.

    BTW the loins comment was not mine. But I’ll let you re-read the thread.

    Also not all religions believe in god.

  31. damien says:

    And yes I would be ashamed if I was sitting on your high horse looking down on everybody else and claiming how much I knew about everything, without even really listening to anybody elses point of view beause mine was so right.

  32. mgss says:

    I wish you way more than luck.

  33. damien says:

    With what? Life? That’s funny since you know nothing of my life except for a few opinions.

    Bravo on that amazing point BTW. Is tht insult meant to be part of your kindness? compassion? gentleness?

    Typical however to resort to psudo-insults when you speak and nobody believes.

    Oh and to everybody else mgss is a Troll.

  34. mgss says:

    I am the author of the article. This is my blog. Which does not make this trolling. But maintaining appropriate conversation on the blog. You see, you made some borderline inappropriate comments (possibly sexist or racist), which I do not permit. Rather than outright delete those comments I decided to inquire to their validity in the public forum. There were a few interesting exchanges and then this turned into a problematic cycle. If you continue with this accusatory behavior your comments will not allowed anymore. Not being one for any form of censorship, I assure you I do not want to do this. Either contribute to the points dealing with the subject within the article or stop. That is all.

  35. damien says:

    I don’t really care what you do. I feel censored regardless of your actions. I am in essence being told what I can and can not say. That in itself is censorship. It’s the same thing all the time, our society has gone so far into the politically correct that the mention of the word ‘black’ invokes the ‘you are a racist’ response. We have become so fearful of saying anything against a minority because of the race card that is always pulled.

    BTW I am black, and I see it `the gone too far` way because of the interactions I have had with my own race. Many of my black peers feel as though something is owed to them because of the treatment our forefathers received. Many of them feel as though they are justified with this attitude. And I don`t like it one little bit.

    Maybe I should pull out my racist card and claim that I`m being oppressed since I am of a non-white color and my opinions are met with hatred, anger, and censorship.

    To maintain the topic you really should look into the Government role in the creation of feminism. Not only is it surprising but a lot scary that society can be shaped so dramatically by the government. We all know that Gloria Steinem had several links to the CIA. Including Ms magazine which was funded by them and was the premier feminist publication of the time. How about the Chester Bowles Student Fellowship which was funded by the government and Steinem was the only recipient ever? These links can not be ignored.

    Be wary of the evil that discuses itself in good deeds.

  36. damien says:

    I hate my auto correct speller!!! That should have said…

    Be wary of the evil that disguises itself in good deeds.

  37. Tom says:

    all feminism is the same… stop playing semantics. if you don’t like “fourth wave” feminism then you don’t like feminism full stop.

  38. Tom says:

    “I feel that 4th wave feminists spend a lot of time pointing out sexism that we are exposed to in everyday life, sexism that we are, for the most part, blind to. However, these “exposes” often go too far. While examples of sexism can be found everywhere, often these analyses take a slightly sexist piece (as most things in this world are at least slightly sexist) and search deeply for multiple examples of sexism elsewhere in the piece where no more really exist. They search for some dark framework of patriarchy, objectification, and abuse.”

    It’s interesting that women/feminists and ONLY women/feminists get to nitpick through a culture and point out the TINIEST thing it does not like. There is no other group in society which is allowed this privilege; men certain aren’t. This “practice” of “fourth-wave feminism” (nitpicking any tiny thing they dislike, often in mainstream media column space) shows that women are actually a privileged class today.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Women are not a privalaged class today. Its an unfortunate symbiotically placed blinder on the facde of all society…..saying that women are a privilaged class is as obtuse to reality as saying that there is no racisim or ignorant hate left in the world…… LOOK AROUND!!!!!

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