September 6, 2011

"Feminism is all about taking control away from the individual woman..."

"... and putting it into the hands of women, as determined by . . . feminists."

Says Instapundit, ceding to some feminists the power to define feminism in leftist terms. I wouldn't do that. I mean, I understand his point, but why not fight over what feminism really is or should be? We could claim that real feminism demands individual empowerment.

This reminds me of that set of essays in Slate: "Who Gets To Be a Feminist?"  Perhaps I'm contradicting what I wrote there, but I don't accept "feminism" and "feminist" becoming pejoratives. I would rather say that's not good feminism than the feminists are hurting women. If they are hurting women, they are not promoting feminism as it should be. And I think they would agree with that abstract proposition: if it's hurting women, it's not what feminism should be.

102 comments:

TWM said...

Modern feminism is just socialism with a vagina.

TWM said...

Oh, and hooters. Sometimes really nice ones.

t-man said...

... I don't accept "communism" and "communist" becoming pejoratives. I would rather say that's not good communism than the communistst are hurting workers. If they are hurting workers, they are not promoting communism as it should be. And I think they would agree with that abstract proposition: if it's hurting workers, it's not what communism should be.

Abstract ideology, meet reality.

John M Auston said...

Isn't 'feminism' just the first step on the slippery slope of identity politics?

1. We are all human beings
2. We are male and female human beings (in comes feminism)
3. We are human male and female members of a particular Ethnicity.
4. Religions
5. Sexual Orientations
6. Age
7. Marital status
8. Weight

etc.

Curious George said...

I think I'm gonna start the masculist movement. Seems there could be some nice coin to be made.

ndspinelli said...

I abide the feminism of Camille Paglia.

raf said...

...if it's hurting women, it's not what feminism should be.

Of course they would agree, as long as you are talking about real women, not people like Sarah Palin.

Y'know?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I found that article really interesting, but felt conflicted about it. Overall, I completely agree that many holdings of "feminism" are infantalizing to women. (For example, I've expressed here many times that arguing that abortion is necessary so we have "choice" is absurd, because it presupposes that we have no choice, or ability to understand and manage/accept risks, before the child is conceived.)

All that said, as a blanket policy, I can certainly see the argument for mandatory arrests on domestic charges. The calls come over and over again from the same homes, and the police simply are not able to sort out which cases are serious and which are not. Additionally, in true cases of abuse, there is too great a threat of the abuser (note the non-sex-specific language) threatening/coercing the abusee into dropping the charges. In other words, I guess, if you're calling the police to solve your dispute, you are, by the act's very nature, saying that this is something that is out of my control and I need someone else to take over here. (Note that I'm in no way suggesting that there are no other issues related to men getting the short end of the stick in DV cases, nor am I suggesting that this blanket policy is not unfair in some circumstances, only that it is (probably- I'd have to research it to say for sure) the best for the greater number of circumstances.)

- Lyssa

EDH said...

I would rather say that's not good feminism than the feminists are hurting women. If they are hurting women, they are not promoting feminism as it should be. And I think they would agree with that abstract proposition: if it's hurting women, it's not what feminism should be.

Sure, but while you gals are egaged in that intellectual discussion of what might hurt women, where does a man go to get his reputation back, you know, in real life?

MarkG said...

Women are a majority of voters. They have the power to make nearly every elected official female. They also have an extremely strong personal influence on boys and men. What is the purpose of feminism? Why does it even exist?

Fred4Pres said...

Feminism that is focused on empowering individuals to be treated equally is a good thing and has mostly acheived its goals.

Feminism that is about treating women as some sort of collective that is bad.

Shouting Thomas said...

Why do you concern yourself with this crap, Althouse?

You were born upper middle class and you're rich.

What's the bitch?

Ann Althouse said...

"You were born upper middle class and you're rich."

Neither statement is true.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Shouting T, why do you think that every post that Althouse puts out is a complaint? I saw nothing in her post that could be interpreted as anything more than, "This is interesting; let's discuss it." (Incidentally, this is my understanding of the intent of 90% of her posts generally, and it's why this is my favorite blog.)

- Lyssa

pm317 said...

""Feminism is all about taking control away from the individual woman...""
---------
I don't think this sort of thinking is intentional but some believe there is strength in numbers and therefore group them and talk about their downtrodden state.

On the other hand the case in point for the confused muddle that is American feminism was Hillary's candidacy in 2008 and how some women thought they were much too evolved just because they deluded themselves into thinking 'not this woman' when in fact they were duped by the marketing campaign for 'shiny' penny that was Obama. They failed to see the bigger picture in electing a woman. An event of that magnitude has to happen to say we have arrived. A woman with Obama's resume would have been laughed out of the race and Democrats lost big on their feminism shtick. Because the first woman president more and more looks like a Republican. The irony in that is so thick for lefty women that they will rue the day they passed on Hillary.

Shouting Thomas said...

Neither statement is true.

These things are relative, Althouse.

Yes, in comparison to the vast majority of your fellow Baby Boomers, both statements are true.

And, lyssa, the problem here is penetrating the lie that is feminist history. If you accept the lie as a pre-condition for your discussion, the entire discussion becomes a lie.

Shouting Thomas said...

Oh, well, I don't begrudge you your success, and I appreciate the work you do on the blog, Althouse.

Quayle said...

The facts support Instapundit.

Ann's definition of what Feminism is or shoudl be, while nice in theory, doesn't at all match the facts and results on the ground.

The facts show that in America feminism has benefited educated and rich women to the severe detriment of the poor and uneducated women.

The burdens created by feminism's wholesale changes to our social standards and expectations have fallen disproportionately on these poor women.

I see this repeatedly from watching the outcomes of pro bono divorces I've done for legal aid.

Thanks for feminism, the man is no longer expected by society to be the bread winner - to support the woman in any way. She can get her own damn job, for which feminism won her "the freedom and right."

Plus, under the tenants of the sexual revolution, significantly supported by the sexual empowerment argument of feminism, the man is not condemned by society when he leaves and takes up with another woman, nor is that other woman condemned for being a home wrecker. That's female sexual empowerment.

And the result is that poor, uneducated mothers are "free" to get a job while trying to take care of the kids with no help from dad. And society is perfectly fine with it all.

She's alone but by damn, she's free to get a job and try to homewreck herself another man. (How long will he stay?)

These women's situations are a 24 by 7 hell. They get no breaks, have no vacations, and very little rest. They are tired all the time with no end in sight.

But boy, those educated rich feminists that go on TV and spout the progress of women in America sure have nice lunches in Manhattan and vacations in Paris, don't they.

Tim said...

"I understand his point, but why not fight over what feminism really is or should be? We could claim that real feminism demands individual empowerment."

Oh, it's much too late for that. That game was lost when feminism sprung from Leftist politics. It's like arguing that "real labor unions demand free markets."

As if...

Hagar said...

You can claim whatever you want to, but the fact is that in the contemporary conciousness "feminist" is synonymous with "fem-Nazi."

And as far as I can think at the moment, none of the outstanding women achievers of this world have ever been "feminists."

lyssalovelyredhead said...

And, lyssa, the problem here is penetrating the lie that is feminist history. If you accept the lie as a pre-condition for your discussion, the entire discussion becomes a lie.

You're being ridiculous and avoiding my question. Althouse has told no lies in this post, nor has she relied on any real or supposed history here. I'll ask again: Why do you interpret her expression of interest as a complaint?

- Lyssa

Salamandyr said...

The problem with "feminism" is the same as the problem with "white separatist", or "black pride". No matter what you might mean by it, no matter how laudatory, the word is still exclusionary by its very construction.

Peter said...

A political movement is what it does. It is not the idealistic speeches that matter (all political movements produce idealistic speeches). It is not about the idealists it attracts (all political movements attract idealists). It is what it actually does.

Is it defined by a bland definition that says it's about improving the opportunities available to girls and women? Or is it about dishonesty like the "women earn xx cents for doing the same work," or the various lies surrounding domestic violence?


Is feminism defined by (for example)interpretations of Title X that create proportionality by cutting men's sports? Or is it defined by "a woman would never lie about [whatever]" rhetoric?

When feminists insist on equality, is that equality of opportunity or equality of result? If women in the aggregate chose to work fewer hours per week or demand flex time, or select careers that pay less (e.g., psychiatry instead of surgery) or have more intermittant connection to labor markets and more focus on matters that are not work related (children, usually), is it feminism's duty to demand that pay be equalized with those who have made different choices?


Feminism is defined by what it does (or what's done in its name, as it has no definitive central authority). So, is that more positive than negative?

pm317 said...

@Althouse We could claim that real feminism demands individual empowerment.

How much more individual empowerment do you demand when the richest and most enlightened nation elects a man for president when a woman with his resume would have been laughed out of the race?

Shouting Thomas said...

lyssa, I don't know how to make it any more clear to you.

Feminism is based on the false assumption that there is, or ever has been, a need for feminism.

Can I make it any clearer?

TWM said...

"Yes, in comparison to the vast majority of your fellow Baby Boomers, both statements are true."

Shouting Thomas is correct, considering how much rich has been dumbed-down by Barry you are rich Ann.

Of course, pretty soon anyone making enough to have to pay any taxes at all these days is rich.

GulfofMexico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

I always got a laugh out of the idea that someone like Margaret Thatcher wasn't a woman because she was a Conservative.

Feminism may not be a pejorative, as such (although that may only be due to Hate Speech laws), but a great many people turn off when they hear the word.

GulfofMexico said...

The word and concept of "feminism" are now damaged goods. Time to think of a new word to fit the definition Prof. Althouse offered up.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Feminism is based on the false assumption that there is, or ever has been, a need for feminism.

Can I make it any clearer?


Yes, you could explain how that assertion in any way supports the idea that Althouse's post could in any way be interpreted as a complaint. Or you could just admit that you simply make up things about Althouse and her posts for some odd reason, and try to actually think about the issues before you post in the future.

- Lyssa

Scott M said...

if it's hurting women, it's not what feminism should be

Does that include what's good for women in general, but possibly not for the individual woman?

TWM said...

"but a great many people turn off when they hear the word."

True. I know if a buddy ever asked me to come with him to meet some feminists for drinks, I'd quickly schedule a root canal instead.

Scott M said...

@TWM lol

Time to think of a new word to fit the definition Prof. Althouse offered up.

Naw. We just need a new "wave". Maybe one that doesn't spit on women making the choice to be stay-home mothers? That would be refreshing.

Scott M said...

I abide the feminism of Camille Paglia.

Ditto. I find Paglia to be one of the most balanced writers on issues related to this one. In fact, one of the most fair articles I've ever read on the topic of abortion led me directly to AA's blog for my first visit.

Shouting Thomas said...

Let's try this again, lyssa.

Both you and Althouse are women. You keep arguing that women as a class have a bitch. To me, this looks like a scam to advance your own self-interests, while painting yourself with a halo.

For the past 50 years, every governmental, academic and corporate entity in the U.S. has openly published its determination to give women quota preference. You and Althouse have been able to claim that quota preference.

I'm a white hetero man... the punitive subject of that quota system. My entire working careers has played out under that punitive quota system.

And, yet, I have no class interest to espouse, and I can only argue my individual self-interest.

Both you and Althouse were born to families with some financial assets and a tradition of education. I was born in a shotgun shack to a family that considered college education a far off dream.

Who has the bigger bitch here? Why do you (and Althouse) get to bitch about your class interests, and I am stuck solely arguing my self-interest?

You and Althouse look, to me, like you're playing out a scam.

Shouting Thomas said...

Feel free, lyssa, to once again ignore what I said, and give me a completely irrelevant answer.

That's to be expected.

edutcher said...

Feminism has always been the Ladies' ('scuse me, Womyn's) Auxiliary of the Radical Left.

To make what Ann wants work, you need to destroy it down to the foundation and start building on a clean piece of land.

GulfofMexico said...

The word and concept of "feminism" are now damaged goods. Time to think of a new word to fit the definition Prof. Althouse offered up.

GirlPower?

granmary said...

Feminism was, is, & always will be bullshit. just as unions only recognize union members as workers, so do feminists only recognize themselves as women. All leftists live in an alternate universe that only includes like-minded "victim" class groups.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Both you and Althouse are women. You keep arguing that women as a class have a bitch.

Bullshit. I have never argued anything of the sort. I've not seen Althouse argue anything of the sort. Again with the making things up.


You and Althouse have been able to claim that quota preference.

I have never encountered or claimed any quota preference. You have no evidence that I have ever encountered any quota preference. (I have no idea re: Althouse, and I don't consider that any of my business.)

I'm a white hetero man... the punitive subject of that quota system. My entire working careers has played out under that punitive quota system.

And, yet, I have no class interest to espouse, and I can only argue my individual self-interest.


You just argued a class interest. I have never argued a class interest, yet you seem obsessed with the idea that I and Althouse are arguing class interests and that you are not. Again with the making things up.

Both you and Althouse were born to families with some financial assets and a tradition of education. I was born in a shotgun shack to a family that considered college education a far off dream.

My father was a cab driver when I was born. I was the first in my family to go to college. Again with the making things up.

Who has the bigger bitch here? Why do you (and Althouse) get to bitch about your class interests, and I am stuck solely arguing my self-interest?

You and Althouse look, to me, like you're playing out a scam.


Again, I have expressed no complaints (but for complaints about you making things up), nor have I in any way argued against your "self-interest" (but for arguing against your apparent interest in making things up). You have been reading this blog long enough that if you don't know that I in no way identify with liberal "feminism" then you're truely stupid. Or you are, again, just making things up.

I asked you a simple question: What was the complaint in Althouse's post? Where in Althouse's post did she say that she or anyone had been wronged? You cannot provide an answer. If you want to complain about liberal "feminism", be my guest- there's plenty to complain about. But you don't help anyone's case when you just make things up.

- Lyssa

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

Feminism and Feminist became pejoratives when the leftist elite women, who look down on the rest of the women living in 'flyover country' took over the movement.

When the movement became the lap dog of one political party and became the slavering tool of the pro abortion groups at the expense of representing ALL women....feminism became a pejorative.

Instead of recognizing that all women do not have the exact same mindset or goal and in representing a small portion of women and eliminating anyone who didn't pass the litmus test of the Coastal elites, the movement doomed itself.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Feminism is based on the false assumption that there is, or ever has been, a need for feminism.

I don't think that is necessarily true. In the beginning, in our WABAC machine, there was a big inequality in the way that women were treated in the workplace and in the types of jobs that were available to women.

I'm not talking about construction type jobs or forcing women into jobs that are obviously geared to the physical demands of biology that dictate that men occupy those positions. Things like women could be bank tellers, but never ever aspire to being a loan officer or even branch manager.

There was a need for feminist awareness of such issues and a rectification of the problem. However it doesn't mean that you should level the playing field by making it more difficult for men to succeed.

I think the problem with Feminism is the same thing as the Leftist/Progressives. They think that everything is a zero sum game.

If someone is making money or rich, it is because they have 'taken the money' from someone else.

They think that if women are not doing well or don't have power, it must be that they should "take the power" from men, who must be hogging all the power.

Success and freedom are not zero sum conditions. You can't create equality by suppressing someone else. You can't create wealth by robbing the sudcessful.

bagoh20 said...

Feminists use "women" like Hoffa uses "workers".


"We could claim that real feminism demands individual empowerment."

I think that's just called "freedom".

If you need to know what sex a person is before you care about their freedom, then that's called "sexist".

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Well said, DBQ (on both posts). As to whether there was ever a need for feminism, certainly it's silly to say that there was not- to look at my own profession, there was a time that women were not able to be lawyers, and I doubt that even Shouting T would say that things should have stayed that way. (I assume that the same could be said for DBQ's financial planning profession.) But, if there are certain aspects of law practice (well, some specialities of law practice- it's a diverse field) that men are, in general, better suited for and more successful at (I would guess that would be things that are high-risk/high reward, the punishingly long hours associated with some practices, etc.), that's fine, too.

Doesn't mean that men and women shouldn't get an equal opportunity to show that they can do these things (as some men are not suited for them, either), but there are some "feminists" who want to level the playing field so that those that would be successful at that cannot get the opportunity- that's wrong, and it's issues like that that have caused feminism to have a negative connotation.

- Lyssa

Shouting Thomas said...

Doesn't mean that men and women shouldn't get an equal opportunity to show that they can do these things (as some men are not suited for them, either), but there are some "feminists" who want to level the playing field so that those that would be successful at that cannot get the opportunity- that's wrong, and it's issues like that that have caused feminism to have a negative connotation.

Well, you'll have to speak for yourself, lyssa.

The negative connotation for me is those quota preferences that you get over me.

Stephen K. said...

You two are arguing two different things. Glenn is saying what feminism is, you want to talk about what it should be. Shouldn't you know what a thing is before you talk about what it should be?

Amy Schley said...

ST,

I'm a woman, and I hate that quota system you're bitching about. Why? Because those who don't benefit from them (like yourself) belittle my own accomplishments. Sure, I *may* have been accepted to an engineering college with a 70/30 m/f split because of my XX chromosome. But to assume that means that you also assume that I couldn't have gotten in on merit, a claim that ignores my 32 ACT/3.3 GPA. Sure, I *may* have been part of a quota system to help my law school not be 55/45 m/f, but that would also assume my 164 LSAT/ 3.3 GPA would have been insufficient for a man at my second tier law school.

I may have a "class interest" in a quota system that benefits me, but I also have an individual interest in not having my accomplishments denigrated because some victim of the quota system focuses his ire on the system and not his own inadequacies and failings.

LordSomber said...

People will always argue about the definition of their "ism" because everyone has a different definition for it.

It's not always easy to avoid labels. But labeling this one as "statist" leaves little room for ambiguity.

Scott M said...

I may have a "class interest" in a quota system that benefits me, but I also have an individual interest in not having my accomplishments denigrated because some victim of the quota system focuses his ire on the system and not his own inadequacies and failings.

Logically, it would seem that a beneficiary of a quota system would have a hard time defending any accomplishments in the face of someone with similar accomplishments that did not benefit, or could not benefit (see those with XY chromosomes).

In other words, if you want to show a bunch of peers an accomplishment devoid of name/sex/whatever and have it judged on its own merit, that's fine, well, and good. The problem is that you're expecting equal respect from peers that *may* have had to work extra hard to achieve like success because they *may* not have had the avenues of opportunity you did.

Don't you think a little ire is warranted? Just a smidgeon?

Amy Schley said...

I will buy that some prejudice, conscious or un, may influence one's grade.

But do you think the computers grading standardized tests mark wrong answers right because I've got tits?

Those scores are accomplishments that had nothing to do with the evil quotas, and a man with those scores (that's 95th and 90th percentile, respectively) would have been accepted just as easily (I know that for a fact on the first one, as they accepted my husband too.)

Yes, there is a quota system in place that benefits mediocre women over mediocre men. But mediocre people never go far anyway. You want to succeed, you actually have to work at it.

Scott M said...

But do you think the computers grading standardized tests mark wrong answers right because I've got tits?

Nope. Can we see said tits? I only mention it because you think it's important. I'm not one for internet porn, but I'll certain take a peek.

We're not talking about 90th and 95th percentiles, though, are we? We're talking about the line that's drawn for one group, say 80th percentile, where nobody lower gets in, while another group can be lowered down to 75th and still be accepted. Granted, we're talking in generalities, but I'm suggesting that, in general, quotas will make the non-protected look askance at the protected no matter what rational is used.

As far as mediocre never going very far, I can only assume that the sky in your world is a different color. Mediocre, for far too long, has been held up as just peachy. Do they reach the board room? Probably not. Do they infest middle-management and middle-class workers? Surely.

gutless said...

If women didn't have vaginas who would listen to them?

Scott M said...

If women didn't have vaginas who would listen to them?

Please send me a link with video of a talking vagina.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

if you want to show a bunch of peers an accomplishment devoid of name/sex/whatever and have it judged on its own merit, that's fine, well, and good. The problem is that you're expecting equal respect from peers that *may* have had to work extra hard to achieve like success because they *may* not have had the avenues of opportunity you did.

I was also in Amy's position (somewhat) of being a woman in what is perceived to be a man's field.

I did it BEFORE there were quotas or affirmative action for women. However, when the firm that I was working for at the time came up with the bright idea of 'diversity training' and 'equality in hiring' (aka quotas to hire women and minorities for the brokerage positions), all it did was to create animosity and anger.

Animosity from the male brokers who up until then had accepted the few females that existed in the industry based on our own merit.

Anger from both males and females for being subjected to such stupid distractions from our jobs.

Anger on the part of the existing women brokers because now it diminished our previous accomplishments and made us look weak. As if we couldn't do it on our own. Plus it brought in completely unqualified women just because they were women which just reaffirmed the weak concept.

Anger on the part of the male brokers who saw (rightly) that women and minorities were being given special treatment at the expense of better brokers.

The joke was to be on the top of the hiring heap, you needed to be a black, female, with a hairlip and clubfoot.

The program was a crashing failure. But sure made management feel good and comply with the stupid rules from on high.

Kirby Olson said...

Marxism, which is the foundation of feminism, posits a new class called the party, which speaks in the name of the workers, although it needn't be composed of workers, and usually isn't. Feminism has inherited the structural problem from Marxism. Marx himself recognized the problem, but never addressed it coherently. Instapundit is right. All movements based on Marxism hurt the people they pretend to speak for precisely by eliding them from the political process. I'd give citations and notes, but am on the fly.

Youngblood said...

Then it developed sort of teeth-like little raspy in-curving hooks and started eating. She thought this was cute at first and built an act around it, but the vagina would eat its way through her pants and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags nobody loved it and it wanted to be kissed same as any other mouth. Finally it talked all the time day and night, you could hear her for blocks screaming at it to shut up, and beating it with her fist, and sticking candles up it, but nothing did any good and the vagina said to her: “It’s you who will shut up in the end. Not me. Because we dont need you around here any more. I can talk and eat and fuck."

(With apologies to William S. Burroughs.)

Scott M said...

Marx himself recognized the problem, but never addressed it coherently.

Yeah, some expansion on this would be appreciated.

John said...

Why is it always about women?

It is really about domestic violence. Women are about as likely to be the perpetrators against their male partner as men against women.

The big difference is that women are more likely to use a weapon or a club to even the odds.

Another big difference is that we think violence by women against their husbands is funny and not deserving of opprobrium. Remember Maggie always bopping Jiggs with a rolling pin? Mr Dither's wife beating him with her umbrella? Weezy bashing Snuffy Smith with a frying pan? Andy Capp's wife whaling on him with her pocketbook?

That is from the *FUNNY* pages.

If a battered man calls the cops on his wife, the police are likely to do nothing or worse.

Gay women and gay men are also as likely to commit violence against their partners as men against women.

It ain't about violence against women. It is about domestic violence. It is about people who live together beating each other up.

John Henry

John said...

Speaking of women and the left, I am remonded of what Stokely Carmichael (I think) once said.

He was asked his views on what the position of women in the movement should be. His answer?

"Prone"

John Henry

Lucien said...

Ann might have a "No True Scotsman" problem with folks referred to as feminists, although, admittedly, just about anyone can call themselves a feminist.

@ John's reference to Stokely Carmichael's quote (as to which, someone once remarkee "I hope he meant 'supine'")made me wonder how this thread might connect with yesterday's about Jane Fonda.

ricpic said...

I recently read a story about an engaged couple who were eating in a restaurant when suddenly the young man choked to death on something that got lodged and couldn't be dislodged and the first reaction of his fiancee, or rather the first thing that burst out of her mouth was "How could he do this to me?!" I didn't find those words particularly shocking. Not coming from a woman. Had the situation been reversed they would be shocking indeed. Her immediate reaction goes to the heart of a fundamental difference between the sexes - their very different psychological makeups - and goes a long way toward explaining feminism.

David said...

If feminism has become a pejorative, there are quite a few self described feminists who should be taking responsibility.

Peter said...

Affirmative action in the private sector acts somewhat like a hidden tax.

Because the cost of an EEOC lawsuit can be ruinous, companies seek safe harbors. Of course, there are no safe harbors. But, if your numbers don’t look good, you’re an inviting target. And so, in any company where the numbers are not as they “should” be, there will be a not-so-subtle thumb on the scale, favoring some and disfavoring others.

Part of the ire is that this only goes one way. A law firm with “too many” female partners is not a target; one with “too many” males is. The number of women in engineering is a problem; the number of women in nursing is not. And so it goes.

And, the numbers are seldom as proportional as they’re supposed to be, because even in the absence of discrimination men and women tend to make different life choices with different trade-offs- with women more frequently opting for less risk/more security, and more balance with outside-of-work life. Not all- but statistically significant numbers.

The net effect of affirmative action in the private sector then is to promote the less productive over the more productive, for the purpose of making the numbers. This surely makes a company less competitive. While it may not be a problem for a company with only domestic competition, it’s more serious with those competing globally.

And (of course) it’s seldom a problem for the non-elected government sector, as it seldom has to compete.

James said...

I think you've failed to address the underlying issue of whether should we give two shits about terminologically redeeming feminism.

Yes, there is a quota system in place that benefits mediocre women over mediocre men. But mediocre people never go far anyway. You want to succeed, you actually have to work at it.

Is the second sentence supposed to soften the first? Or is sexism only bad when it affects safe targets?

Scott M said...

terminologically

If that's not a real word, by God, it should be.

roesch-voltaire said...

Just before I clicked on the Althouse blog, I was reading over a list put out by Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute and the accomplishments are impressive. Major research grants in the millions, teaching awards, and Guggenheim Fellow-- to name just a few. And I suspect most of these women consider themselves "feminist," and I know a few have worked on projects to bring more females into the STEM field. These accomplished women and their efforts seems to be about encouraging individual women, and that I think has been the best part of the movement--

John said...

Speaking of women in engineering, I find an awful lot of them in my travels around over the past 20 years.

My daughter is a Chemical Engineer. When she graduated in '98 the majority of the engineering class (all disciplines) was women. I think it was 65-75%.

The dean remarked on it with pride in his commencement address.

This was university of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.

I might also point out that as an Hispanic, a woman, an engineer and esp a ChE, my daughter was golden for job prospects. Being a straight A honor student didn't hurt, either.

She was heavily recruited in her senior year. By January, she had 4 firm offers at salaries that made my head swim. DuPont told her they would make an offer but could not do so til March.

They all flew her up to the states for plant visits and interviews and wined and dined her very well.

She finally signed up with BP in Joliet and was treated extremely well there. She never felt any problem with being a woman in the job.

Since many of the shift workers were Mexican, there was some friendly ethnic razzing eg; she speaks Spanish funny. Never a problem, though.

John Henry

John said...

For the record, the women engineers I have worked with over the years generally seem to be as competent and capable as male engineers.

As incompetent and incapable too, in some cases.

John Henry

Beldar said...

I'm a feminist. I have two sons and two daughters, and I don't want to see any of them denied any opportunity based on their gender. That simple statement fully embraces — and fully describes the proper outside scope of — legitimate feminism.

I agree with you, Prof. Althouse, that there are lots of proposals and arguments that are supposedly asserted on behalf of equal rights and equal opportunities for women which turn out to promote different goals entirely, sometimes including anti-feminist goals.

I also think feminism has already won, for all practical purposes and on a macroscopic level, throughout the United States and most of the civilized world. So I won't be at the barricades anytime soon.

Squid said...

Tell us, R-V, how your feminist engineer acquaintances feel about being told they're not capable of making the decision not to bring up their husbands on criminal charges, in the event that they have a quarrel that draws the attention of the authorities.

(In my experience, engineers of either sex have little patience for political whiners. There's a vast gulf between self-made women who look out for themselves and their acquaintances, versus their Angry Studies counterparts who care far more about grant money and publishing than they do about progress for their 'sisters.')

Kirby Olson said...

After 1989, you'd think that communist and socialist thought would have died in the American academy. But Stalinism has never fully died in the Anglophone academy, or within feminist ranks. Feminism is in fact Stalinism in Skirts as the philosopher Annie Le Brun put it in her book, Vagit-Prop. However, that is only one track of feminism. Ann Althouse is a feminist and certainly isn't going along with that -- and there are many others. They have to face Amanda Marcotte and other psychotic Red Guard factions who aren't aware of where their thought has been: but if feminism has a future -- it's Althouse, not Marcotte.

Beldar said...

@ Kirby Olsen: Feminism isn't a branch of Marxism. To think that, you have to badly understand one or the other. In all likelihood, what you're referring to is something other than a desire that neither men nor women be denied opportunities based on their sex. But feminism need not, and ought not, include any element of "class warfare" at all.

roesch-voltaire said...

Kirby so Mary Wollstonecraft who published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792 was a Marxist? And Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 was Marxist inspired? Really a great example of how ideological blinders cause one to twist and ignore history.

Scott M said...

I'm a feminist. I have two sons and two daughters, and I don't want to see any of them denied any opportunity based on their gender. That simple statement fully embraces — and fully describes the proper outside scope of — legitimate feminism.

That's all well and good, in theory, but it ignores that there are differences in gender that specifically impact employment. This has been and probably always will be one of my biggest complaints about "legitimate feminism". There's simply too much equality of outcome, even if that outcome is only to provide the opportunity as ironic as that sounds, when, wait for it...men and women have specific and easily identifiable, innate differences.

The examples of this are legion. Where feminism fell down involved ignoring them.

roesch-voltaire said...

Squid that is a red herring, I am not the one who made an ignorant claim of what feminism is all about, but only tried to recuse what feminist have been about by highlighting the accomplishments of some against the cheap propaganda mill.

James said...

R.V., why do women and men need different inspiration? Can't a woman inspire men? Can't a man inspire women? Are people in general, and women in particular, too stupid to see someone as a role model unless their genitals match up?

raf said...

Going back forty-some years, when I was staffing a project, I would accept a woman almost sight-unseen. Women in this industry were rare back then and the fact that they were there at all testified to their competence. By the end of my 12 years there, that had completely flipped. By then, any woman candidate had to be seriously interviewed as the chances were very good that she had been hired with marginal skills, such as not being able to write computer code. The feminist movement which institutionalized the quota hire arguably benefited individual (unqualified) women but disadvantaged women as a class.

John said...

Raf said:

The feminist movement which institutionalized the quota hire arguably benefited individual (unqualified) women but disadvantaged women as a class.


That is the horribly corrosive effect that affirmative action as practiced generally has. No woman, black or other minority can ever be certain that they got the job, promotion or whatever because they were the best choice. They will always have that tiny voice of doubt eating away at their brain.

In many cases they may not even be conscious of it but it is there nontheless.

A horrible, horrible thing to do to any human being.

It is one of the reasons I refused to let my daughter work for me when she graduated. If she had, she would never know whether she was successful because she is my daughter or because she is really good at what she does.

Now I have another problem. She is way overqualified for anything I could offer. That is a good problem, though

John Henry

Kirby Olson said...

@Beldar, of course feminism has used Marxism as a justification and exemplar for its politics. In SdB's Second Sex, she says as much in the introduction. Instead of thinking about class, of course, it uses gender. But the argument is that gender is also a class divide (in many cases, or across the board).

Have you ever read The Second Sex? SdB was a Maoist-feminist linked to Sartre. SdB championed Mao's revolution in China.

The Second Sex is the Bible of the feminist movement in America. Read that book. It's pretty good.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In my experience, engineers of either sex have little patience for political whiners. There's a vast gulf between self-made women who look out for themselves and their acquaintances, versus their Angry Studies counterparts who care far more about grant money and publishing than they do about progress for their 'sisters

@ Squid. That is a very astute observation.

Women who are in the practical/business/productive side have little time for the type of feminism that is the bread and butter of the political/grievance type of feminists.

Not in engineering myself, but having been in a financial industry that deals with numbers,facts and requires logical thinking (as well as relationships with clients), I have no patience for the whining victim-hood type of feminism.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orwell46 said...

Early on, by the late 70s, feminism, though lovely in ideal, had turned into tribal politics with a tribe of gals fighting against their enemies an imagined tribe of men.

Tribalism is irrational and powerful, and the enemy of individual rights. It's what western civilization gradually came to transcend over the centuries.

The philosophy professor whose name I forget wrote a book "Who Stole Feminism?" and her answer was the right one: the Marxist academics had stolen feminism. Fairness feminism was defeated by marxist tribe-feminism.

Feminism, as operated by its professional types, became a vicious "women on top" movement, whose motto though never stated was about half an inch under the surface of all they did: "Women are good, glorious, sexy and dominant...thrilling angels of domination...who sometimes need rescue by us manly butch gals...and males are subhuman garbage subject for jailing, castration, bankruptcy and kidnapping of children. You did not hear us say this."

Yes, feminism should not be this way. But if you haven't noticed, Ann, the professional feminists are not having debates where they listen to the opposition and discuss how feminism ought to be defined. Jackbooted, they mean to ride you, using every power of government they can steal, borrow or coopt--not have discussions.

Shouting Thomas said...

A preposterous post, and equally preposterous responses.

Let's examine the fruitcake assumptions.

1. I'm a whining loser if I'm pissed off at quotas that are designed to limit and punish me. Jesus! I don't even know how to respond to this bullshit.

2. Women need a political/social self-esteem movement. I don't really know how to respond to this bullshit either. I know that you all seem to think it's self-evident that this is essential, but I can't quite understand why.

What's with the weeping and wailing over the plight of women?

Answer: It's a bad habit reinforced for 50 years of idiot propaganda. That habit is so foolish that Althouse, who has a position of power, more money than she can spend and incredibly financial and job security can keep bitching.

Folks, it's all foolish romanticism about women. It's time to stop this nonsense.

Looked, I've raised two daughters who both have professional careers. I don't have any particular complaint about how my financial and employment career has worked out.

You're flailing away at a non-existent problem. Feminism is meaningless, pointless, unnecessary crap.

Eileen said...

But Beldar (@2:24), that was my father's attitude regarding me and my sisters as well (I'm 50) -- and his father's before him (my dad was one of 10, 7 of them girls,who all grew up to be college-educated women, born between 1910 and 1932). My one grandmother left Ireland on her own at age 18 (100 years ago this week!), to find a better life for herself here in this country. My other grandmother ran the custodial department for a large steel corporation. For at least 3 generations, there has been no hint in my own family that being a woman was ever anything "less than," and each of our personal goals and dreams were worth every ounce of our fathers' support, and our successes an enduring source of pride. This personal history makes me somewhat sympathetic to ST's claim that there was never really a 'need' for feminism.

This is not to say that women did not need to fight for the right to vote, or that within the culture there has been no bias in favor of men where earning power and political/corporate stature are concerned. This is the area that feminism has targeted, and I think it has been largely successful in opening up this kind of opportunity to women.

However.

Feminism has focused almost exclusively on two goals: (1) increase female financial and political power; and (2) eliminate the impact of the potential for motherhood as a damper to that success.

This has morphed into, among other things, the idea that motherhood is by definition *less* meaningful than a paid career; abortion rights are *necessary* for equality; and affordable childcare is a *right*, not simply a consideration toward the decision to work. (Not to mention the idea that men are not necessary to a woman's success or personal satisfaction.)

It is not about individual women having the power to choose their own destinies based on their personal abilities, hopes, desires and values.

It's about paving the way for those women who would define themselves in terms of financial and political power to be able to do so without the strictures imposed by traditional female roles, and the attendant guilt and/or conflict those roles (and their stereotypes)could impose.

Traditional female roles, therefore, must be destroyed. It's the only way.

*That's* feminism today.

Kirby Olson said...

@Orwell56 -- Christina Hoff Sommers: One of the very rare non-Marxist feminist philosophers. she's about as popular in feminist quarters as Sakharov was in the Kremlin.

Geoff Matthews said...

So who gets to determine what harms women?
And, if it only harms those kind of women, is it still feminism?

virgil xenophon said...

John@3:03pm/

"A horrible, horrible thing to do to any human being."

Yes, my wife, the RN was a "twofer" as a Louisiana Creole and a woman. She opened the first Burn Unit in the State of Louisiana at Charity Hosp in 1973 at age of 25. She ordered all the equip, wrote all the protocols, trained not only the RNs but all the Residents & Interns as well. ONLY SHE had power of ruling on admission and was on call 24/7. She later was a DON at a 500 bed Hosp by age 27 and held several prestigious positions early in her career. Yet my Father, (I came to find out) who, as a coach had championed the black athlete in the 50s, early 60s, before it was PC to do so, assumed she had attained her positions at such a young age mainly because of affirmative action because he had been soured by his own university hiring a very unqualified replacement for his position as Head Tennis Coach when he retired (a twofer--a black female.)

That a Hall-of-Fame Coach could so sour on hiring/promoting women and blacks because of bad affirmative-action hires to such an extent that it blinded him to the intelligence, leadership and professional accomplishments of his own daughter-in-law is more a sad commentary of the poisonous, cancerous, effects that affirmative action, feminism, and the quota system have, than on any short-comings in his powers of analysis.

Milwaukee said...

What I have observed about gender and race is that White Men help women and minorities. When Women and Minorities get into positions of power they too help Women and Minorities. I need to take some time and do a survey on posted data. I do believe each and every Roman Catholic Archdiocese in this country has a position of a person who is in charge of that dioceses schools. My casual observation is that if a man is in charge, his underlings will be a mixture of men and women. If a woman is in charge, all or nearly all, of the underlings will be women. Maybe some minority men are allowed to hang out. This is data I can collect by systematically visiting each archdiocese web site.

My brother once worked for a major tele-com, and was forced to be a member of their union. His observation was that the vast majority of the management of departments was by either Black or Hispanic females. If a Black (or Hispanic) female took charge of a predominantly Hispanic (or Black) department, that department would soon acquire the color of the manager. That can not be good for business or for employees.

Once upon a time it was more common to see an elementary school with a male principal and almost all female teachers. I suspect there is a reason a male leads differently than females do, which is beyond my understanding other to just observe.

Modern feminist seem to be rather bully-like. I further suspect that men treat each other with greater respect than women treat each other.

A previous commenter noted that the prosecutor who was detailed with investigating the "assault" by Bradley as a woman with 12 of 14 underlings being women.

Milwaukee said...

My sad tale is that I married too young and too far away from home, friends and family. After we had been married a while, my now ex- told how her sorority at college had voted on the order in which the graduating girls would marry. Obviously the girl whose wedding was planned for two weeks after graduation was #1 on the list. My ex- was last on the list. The two girls who were last on the list, were the first two married after the #1 on the list got married. I must wonder if part of her need to marry so quickly was a chance to show up those other girls. I do suspect she was jealous of her older sister, who had had many boyfriends. I refer to those people as "girls" as this sounds just incredibly immature. But they prided themselves on being feminist. They referred to unpopped popcorn kernels as "career women" instead of as "old maids".

We were married in another country. Part of the wedding license asked for the bride's condition. She snapped to attention at that, thinking it was inquiring whether she was barren or with child. It merely wanted to know if she was widowed, divorced or a spinster.

Milwaukee said...

Something else I would like to investigate is fire-fighter deaths in co-ed firefighting units. I would bet when the time comes to do the dirty dangerous work, men do and women let the men go forward. Are the death rates for male and female fire fighters the same? What variables need to be controlled for in those numbers?

Ken Green said...

If one simply reads the writing of the founders of the feminist movement, and what is taught in gender studies classes, one can see that "feminism" was always the false-front of a female-supremacy movement, based on the idea that women are innately superior to men.

"Feminism" was the tame version for the gullible masses to swallow, based on a series of big lies regarding domestic violence, workplace harassment, girls "self-esteem," the "wage gap," "patriarchal oppression," women's "impoverishment" by marriage; men's "abandonment" of wives for younger women, and more.

The goal of the supremacy movement was to usher in a society based on total female dominance, where (wealthy, white) women control all property, have supreme status under law, have total control over male sexuality and fertility, and live as pampered goddesses served by male laborers.

The women who blindly accepted the big lies and voted for the perverse legal system that is now routinely destroying the family were the "useful idiots" of the supremacy movement.

For some of these women, who tacitly hit the "yes" button for a thousand feminist initiatives to say "Well, but that's not the feminism I voted for," is far too little, and far too late.

This world of family breakdown, men skipping college, marriage, and fatherhood, the runaway narcissism of women who dress their 6 years olds as prostitutes...this is the world women voted for, in overwhelming numbers.

William said...

Many interesting posts in this thread. Here's my grumpy insight: I have never seen a woman work on a truck in private cartage or for an asbestos removal team. I have never heard of a feminist bemoaning this fact. (I do remember that there were several suits to mandate that the NYC Dept of Sanitation hire female workers--such are the pay and benefits of city workers.) Women want to break through the glass ceiling but have less interest in integrating the dirt basement.....Re feminists and Marxism: When the Bolshies first took over Russia, they claimed that they were governing on behalf of the industrial proleteriat. One problem with that was the fact that Russia, at the time, was overwhelmingly an agricultural society. Some 85% of all workers were in agriculture. Although the Bolshies knew very little about industrial management, it was their ignorance of agriculture that was truly stunning. They starved the peasants in order to advance the interests of the proleteriat. Russians needed things like, say, food far more than they needed a luxury subway system in Moscow. But they got the subway system with chandeliers, and Marxists worldwide rejoiced in their wisdom......I think feminists are to women what Bolsheviks are to workers. They advance the interests of an invented, ideological class at the expense of ordinary women. They can parse the difference between Anita Hill and Monica Lewinsky with a very fine blade indeed. The vanguard of the feminist class are women like Hillary and Anita. Others must perish so that the dream can be reality.

Amy Schley said...

Yes, there is a quota system in place that benefits mediocre women over mediocre men. But mediocre people never go far anyway. You want to succeed, you actually have to work at it.

Is the second sentence supposed to soften the first? Or is sexism only bad when it affects safe targets?


The second sentence is to point out that if someone's career is screwed because they are on the wrong side of a quota system, they weren't going to do very well for themselves without the quota system either.

Yes, men may have to do that little bit better to get past the quota. And women have to do that little bit better so men don't think they got the job just because they are women.

Which ties back to my first comment about hating the quota system.

Blue@9 said...

Feminism and Feminist became pejoratives when the leftist elite women, who look down on the rest of the women living in 'flyover country' took over the movement.

When the movement became the lap dog of one political party and became the slavering tool of the pro abortion groups at the expense of representing ALL women....feminism became a pejorative.

Instead of recognizing that all women do not have the exact same mindset or goal and in representing a small portion of women and eliminating anyone who didn't pass the litmus test of the Coastal elites, the movement doomed itself.


DBQ wins the thread.

Feminism should be about maximizing equality of opportunity for women, but it just became another front group of grievance mongers who shill for the Left. Like the civil rights groups. Like unions. If big-F Feminists really walked the walk, they would be outraged at the treatment of Palin and Bachmann. If the civil rights orgs really cared about minorities, they'd boycott the Democratic party, and the same with unions and "workers."

(Note how the identity politics has just stripped words of actual meaning: You are not a "real" woman, minority, or worker if you don't vote Dem)

James said...

Yes, men may have to do that little bit better to get past the quota. And women have to do that little bit better so men don't think they got the job just because they are women.

Which ties back to my first comment about hating the quota system.


I guess I still don't understand. "Yeah, there are men who are just as qualified as women who are denied opportunities just because of their gender. But you shouldn't give a shit about that."

Person benefiting from sexism tells person penalized by sexism to stop complaining. Knock me over with a feather.

Maybe if women had to take ethics classes, you'd have a better understanding of the soundness of your position.

bagoh20 said...

"But mediocre people never go far anyway."

Hey, hey, I can hear you, ya know!

It's not mathematically possible for everyone who thinks they are, to actually be, above average.

Anthony said...
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Anthony said...

I come from a family of strong willed women. they were mostly conservatives. None felt any real connection with the modern feminist movement. The thing that always got me about movement feminists is, well frankly, what wimps they are. My mother was tougher and more self reliant (and yes far more femenist) than any an entire local NOW chapter.

Shouting Thomas said...

Person benefiting from sexism tells person penalized by sexism to stop complaining. Knock me over with a feather.

Even when they profess to feminism, the women still want to exploit men with romanticism.

You're supposed to give them what they want because they're so adorable.

raf said...

@Anthony:I come from a family of strong willed women.

Me, too, to some extent. I grew up thinking that women ran the world. Housewives were CEOs of the household, responsible for most of the planning, scheduling, financial management, and daily operations. By contrast, feminism seemed to glorify self-pity. Power through victimization. Feeling sorry for yourself can be really addictive. If you think you are powerless you are not to blame for anything that is suboptimal; your sole responsibility is to complain. If someone else doesn't fix it, it just means you need to complain more. Feminism was another way to extend childhood, which seems to be the objective of most leftist schemes -- never having to grow up.

Oligonicella said...

Scott M --

If women didn't have vaginas who would listen to them?

"Please send me a link with video of a talking vagina."

Have you thought at all of how much that would warp your view of sex with your wife? Please rethink your request. It's bad enough to hear complaints and suggestions.

I hope this wasn't too late.

Scott M said...

Too late. I tried to have a long talk with it last night, but they were both ignoring me.