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Are you a feminist?

  • Yes!

    Votes: 81 29.8%
  • I don't use the label "feminist," but support gender equality.

    Votes: 108 39.7%
  • I'm not sure.

    Votes: 9 3.3%
  • Not really.

    Votes: 23 8.5%
  • No!

    Votes: 51 18.8%
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I think my main issue is that while society may try and overstate the differences between the sexes, others try and greatly understate them. I think the truth lies in the middle somewhere. I agree that at this point it would be impossible to completely determine which are totally biology and which are totally conditioning. But I also feel that while social conditioning can be greatly lessened it can't be completely done away with either, it will naturally happen. In a way biology is what leads to some social conditioning. Someone will notice a general trend in males and say "All males should be this way and the ones who aren't are not real men". But while I disagree with that sort of thinking, it may be inevitable in some level.
Which is why I said you were negating discrimation. This is an excuse people use all the time to prove bigoted beliefs and because it may have a tiny grain of truth at the center doesn't mean we should accept it as inevitable. It should only be acceptable in the circumstances it truly applies without any added qualification, like men and women have different sex organs, women produce milk and give birth, men grow facial hair more often and thicker, etc. The social differences are simply not able to be examined neutrally because of our social constructs and conditioning.

It's far less harmful to tell a boy he can play with barbies and fire trucks than it is to say he must only play with trucks and GI Joes because society and his penis demands it of him.

Note: I am not saying you are making this claim. It's simply an example to illustrate my point.
 

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Which is why I said you were negating discrimation. This is an excuse people use all the time to prove bigoted beliefs and because it may have a tiny grain of truth at the center doesn't mean we should accept it as inevitable. It should only be acceptable in the circumstances it truly applies without any added qualification, like men and women have different sex organs, women produce milk and give birth, men grow facial hair more often and thicker, etc. The social differences are simply not able to be examined neutrally because of our social constructs and conditioning.

It's far less harmful to tell a boy he can play with barbies and fire trucks than it is to say he must only play with trucks and GI Joes because society and his penis demands it of him.

Note: I am not saying you are making this claim. It's simply an example to illustrate my point.
And how is that negating discrimination? Lets say I'm a white man who hates blacks and I make the statement "Black men are more likely to be in prison, see they are no good!" Now that statement actually has truth in it, but that doesn't make the second part any less racist. Admitting that certain statements have truth in them doesn't mean that you are negating discrimination. Like I said, that way of thinking may be somewhat inevitable on some level, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't fight against it.

In the case of gender, biology does indeed lead to some of this social conditioning. I can't tell whether you agree with that point or not.
 

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I have not seen any "truth" in anything Silent 1 has posted in this thread. Sorry.
One of Silent 1's main arguments is that masculinity and femininity are probably determined by biology in some part. It's not an opinion. I call it "truth" because there is science to back it up:
http://autismresearchcentre.com/docs/papers/2005_BC_PhiKappaPhiForum.pdf

So we should be paid less and discriminated against in the workplace because of our biology, regardless of how well we are able to do our jobs. Gotcha.
I think if a woman and man do an equally good job then they should be paid the same amount of money. This only makes sense, as the company will want to retain good employees. I am trying to look at it from the point of view of the employer. Business is ultimately about profit, not equality for all. Women that have children will likely decrease profit compared to a man, all else equal. There are necessary interruptions in a woman's career due to pregnancy and maternity leave. My point is that it's not fair to force a business to hire a woman when they don't know anything about her family plans.

And what about single dads? How do they fit into your theory?
That is a special case. Obviously, if there is only one parent available (father or mother) and no other friends or family to help, that single parent must be the sole financial and emotional support for the child. I think that's a difficult position, whether you're a father or mother, and they deserve sympathy and support.

Then you haven't been "exposed" to real feminism. Feminists aren't anti-mother. They are not anti-homemaker... All feminists want is the right to choose, whatever that choice may be.
I'm pleased to hear that. It seems that there are feminists that both encourage and discourage homemaking, so I won't argue with your point.

And evidently you believe only a woman can be that source? Men can be just as nurturing.
I certainly believe that men can be nurturing. The reason I think it makes sense for the woman to be the "official nurturer" (in the majority of cases) is essentially convenience. It is difficult to maintain a successful career at the best of times, and if you are only working at it part of the time (because the rest of the time you are taking care of your children), you won't be competitive enough to get the "good" jobs. If all you can get is boring, low-wage jobs, what's the point?

What about families where the mother has died? Do you honestly believe those children are doomed to a life of inadequate parenting because they only have a father? Many children grow up without their biological mother, father, or both, and turn out just fine.
I think it is ideal for a child to have more than one loving adult in their lives, i.e. someone that is there for them throughout their childhood and adolescence, financially and emotionally. There is plenty of evidence that children of single-parent households have more problems. Some might turn out fine, but the odds are that the child will have more trouble than average. I'm not saying it's fair - I'm saying it's reality.

And not every couple wants children. Again, it comes down to a woman's choice. She should be able to choose whether she wants to be a high powered business woman, or a stay at home mom. It should not be the right of anyone else to force that role on her because they believe "that's the way it's always been, and therefore always should be."
For those that don't have children, there is obviously more flexibility. As for being a high-powered business woman with children... I struggle with that one. If it means leaving a child in a daycare setting for the majority of the day for years on end, I feel very bad about that. I don't believe in forcing anyone to do anything, but I would want to be a voice for the child in that case.

And I'm not saying it's right because "that's the way it's always been." I'm giving reasons why I think it's right.
 

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Which is why I said you were negating discrimation. This is an excuse people use all the time to prove bigoted beliefs and because it may have a tiny grain of truth at the center doesn't mean we should accept it as inevitable. It should only be acceptable in the circumstances it truly applies without any added qualification, like men and women have different sex organs, women produce milk and give birth, men grow facial hair more often and thicker, etc. The social differences are simply not able to be examined neutrally because of our social constructs and conditioning.

It's far less harmful to tell a boy he can play with barbies and fire trucks than it is to say he must only play with trucks and GI Joes because society and his penis demands it of him.

Note: I am not saying you are making this claim. It's simply an example to illustrate my point.
What is funny is that I have been on the receiving end of this my whole life.

I love all kinds of music, movies, and tv shows. These include those that would be considered gay, or girly (like, say, Christina Aguilera or Beyonce for music, Lifetime movies, and Desperate Housewives and Twilight books and films.)

I am not gay, and am very attracted to women. However, I describe it as I have a feminine side, and I fulfill that. Many other guys have a problem with that. In fact, some have gone so far to ascertain that I'm weak, and have bullied me, simply because I don't listen to Slipknot and watch Saw, like the rest of them.

I do like some interests that are typically male. But some others, like sports, cars, and getting drunk, are simply lost on me. I can't say "Brah" with a straight face, and if anybody ever called me "Brah", I'd probably crack up laughing. I prefer to spend my time writing stories, playing around on my musical instruments, and messing around with computers and computer programs than worrying about if Jessica Simpson is going to take off her top or post a sex video (I wouldn't mind if she did, but my entire life isn't spent worrying about such things.)

Anyway, my point is, it's really stupid of people to treat boys who are into "girly things", or girls that are into "boyish things", as inferior and bullyworthy. Nobody deserves to be bullied for who they are.

This plays into Feminism, because Feminism is all about evening the genders, so you don't have to worry about that kind of stereotyping.
 

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I think if a woman and man do an equally good job then they should be paid the same amount of money. This only makes sense, as the company will want to retain good employees. I am trying to look at it from the point of view of the employer. Business is ultimately about profit, not equality for all. Women that have children will likely decrease profit compared to a man, all else equal. There are necessary interruptions in a woman's career due to pregnancy and maternity leave. My point is that it's not fair to force a business to hire a woman when they don't know anything about her family plans.

That is a special case. Obviously, if there is only one parent available (father or mother) and no other friends or family to help, that single parent must be the sole financial and emotional support for the child. I think that's a difficult position, whether you're a father or mother, and they deserve sympathy and support.
You are thinking that it will be okay because the woman can just rely on her husband's income. What will happen to women that do not have a husband to rely on? Something like 40% of all marriages end in divorce, many women have kids but don't get married in the first place, and some never have kids. If businesses are allowed to discriminate against women because of potential losses due to pregnancy/maternity leave then all these women are officially screwed. They will be destined to struggle financially for the rest of their lives.

I certainly believe that men can be nurturing. The reason I think it makes sense for the woman to be the "official nurturer" (in the majority of cases) is essentially convenience. It is difficult to maintain a successful career at the best of times, and if you are only working at it part of the time (because the rest of the time you are taking care of your children), you won't be competitive enough to get the "good" jobs. If all you can get is boring, low-wage jobs, what's the point?

I think it is ideal for a child to have more than one loving adult in their lives, i.e. someone that is there for them throughout their childhood and adolescence, financially and emotionally. There is plenty of evidence that children of single-parent households have more problems. Some might turn out fine, but the odds are that the child will have more trouble than average. I'm not saying it's fair - I'm saying it's reality.
I actually think that it is better if the father has to or is strongly encouraged to take paternal leave and take care of their kid for a few weeks/months. Since men do not have the nearly automatic bond that women have with their kids because of pregnancy and breast feeding, men (more than women) NEED to spend more time with their kid in order to form such a bond. That is why there are so many dead-beat dads that abandon their children or just really don't care about them much at all after divorcing the mother. Sweden is experimenting with trying to get more fathers to take paternal leave:

http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/f32/in-sweden-men-can-have-it-all-167681/

"Understanding what it is to be home with a child may help explain why divorce and separation rates in Sweden have dropped since 1995 - at a time when divorce rates elsewhere have risen, according to the national statistics office. When couples do divorce or separate, shared custody has increased."

Look at these polls. Most everyone says they prefer their mom or are closer to their mom. I do not think that is healthy. It shows that men are not forming a close enough bond with their children.

http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/f36/mom-dad-2180/
http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/f36/who-do-you-like-better-your-mom-or-your-dad-118009/
 

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I'm only a feminist in that I want to be judged by my abilities, not my gender. If I can't lift the 150 lbs required to be a firefighter then so be it - the real world doesn't make exceptions!
 

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You are thinking that it will be okay because the woman can just rely on her husband's income. What will happen to women that do not have a husband to rely on? Something like 40% of all marriages end in divorce, many women have kids but don't get married in the first place, and some never have kids. If businesses are allowed to discriminate against women because of potential losses due to pregnancy/maternity leave then all these women are officially screwed. They will be destined to struggle financially for the rest of their lives.
But doesn't it follow that if many women are single parents, they might not go for career as much as men? And that could be part of why men as a group earn more and why there are more men 'at the top'?

That's not to say there isn't discrimination - there most definitely is.
For example, men generally have a higher perceived salary entitlement than women do and tend to judge own abilities more generously, which means men are much more likely to initiate salary negotiations and pursue promotions.
But since the companies are run by people (but aren't people in themselves (sorry, Mitt!)) and these people are influenced by these same cultural stereotypes, they tend to see the demands as more reasonable and appropriate when coming from a man.

But..
Studies have also shown that young, unmarried women without kids and who live in a larger city (147 out of the 150 largest cities in the US) actually earn more than their male counterparts; a median income that is 8% higher - in some it's 20% higher.
But take away any of those 4 factors and the median income drops significantly.

There are a couple of important things though.
Firstly, nobody should be "screwed" or destined to struggle financially regardless of their situation. We need to fight poverty regardless and give people good living conditions regardless of gender equality.
Secondly, it's important to abolish these gender-wage stereotypes. If nobody had children it would seem to be a lot easier, but 'sadly' that's not the case.
Businesses of course can't discriminate against women for potentially having children, but even if a woman does become pregnant and has to take time off work, it's still important to maintain good conditions so a group perception of being worth less doesn't establish itself, as this would only lead to discrimination.
This is where it gets somewhat paradoxical though. At the offset, gender equality is about treating people as individuals rather than as belonging to some group, but it's only by recognising the group that the individual is protected.

That has more to do with role-models, dreams and goals in life than with what is right/fair for the individual in the situation though.
If we establish that we should have actual freedom from want and that there should be high minimum standard for the living conditions we'll allow, then flexibility isn't such a bad thing.
If I choose to have a child, I would expect it to impact both my potential career and of course how much money I have to spend on a monthly basis.
The figures show it hits women harder than men and that can be a problem, but if that difference is down to how couples and individuals choose to arrange themselves, it's hard to do too much about other than try to eliminate any unintended incentives there may be and educate people on the consequences of gender roles and stereotypes.
If I had to take leave from work to bond with the child, or for any other reason really, I would very much like to return to work afterwards, at the same pay and the same conditions as before. But if those minimum standards and general, good working conditions haven't been established, I would be pushing out whoever had been doing my job while I was away and put them in the very situation I was trying to avoid.

Sorry for the wall of text :b

Edit:
Just to add a practical angle..
The way parental leave works here is that all employers pay into a fund from which the money to pay the salaries while on leave are taken. This means each individual employer doesn't have a financial disadvantage of hiring people who'll go on leave.
 

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But doesn't it follow that if many women are single parents, they might not go for career as much as men? And that could be part of why men as a group earn more and why there are more men 'at the top'?

That's not to say there isn't discrimination - there most definitely is.
For example, men generally have a higher perceived salary entitlement than women do and tend to judge own abilities more generously, which means men are much more likely to initiate salary negotiations and pursue promotions.
But since the companies are run by people (but aren't people in themselves (sorry, Mitt!)) and these people are influenced by these same cultural stereotypes, they tend to see the demands as more reasonable and appropriate when coming from a man.

But..
Studies have also shown that young, unmarried women without kids and who live in a larger city (147 out of the 150 largest cities in the US) actually earn more than their male counterparts; a median income that is 8% higher - in some it's 20% higher.
But take away any of those 4 factors and the median income drops significantly.

There are a couple of important things though.
Firstly, nobody should be "screwed" or destined to struggle financially regardless of their situation. We need to fight poverty regardless and give people good living conditions regardless of gender equality.
Secondly, it's important to abolish these gender-wage stereotypes. If nobody had children it would seem to be a lot easier, but 'sadly' that's not the case.
Businesses of course can't discriminate against women for potentially having children, but even if a woman does become pregnant and has to take time off work, it's still important to maintain good conditions so a group perception of being worth less doesn't establish itself, as this would only lead to discrimination.
This is where it gets somewhat paradoxical though. At the offset, gender equality is about treating people as individuals rather than as belonging to some group, but it's only by recognising the group that the individual is protected.

That has more to do with role-models, dreams and goals in life than with what is right/fair for the individual in the situation though.
If we establish that we should have actual freedom from want and that there should be high minimum standard for the living conditions we'll allow, then flexibility isn't such a bad thing.
If I choose to have a child, I would expect it to impact both my potential career and of course how much money I have to spend on a monthly basis.
The figures show it hits women harder than men and that can be a problem, but if that difference is down to how couples and individuals choose to arrange themselves, it's hard to do too much about other than try to eliminate any unintended incentives there may be and educate people on the consequences of gender roles and stereotypes.
If I had to take leave from work to bond with the child, or for any other reason really, I would very much like to return to work afterwards, at the same pay and the same conditions as before. But if those minimum standards and general, good working conditions haven't been established, I would be pushing out whoever had been doing my job while I was away and put them in the very situation I was trying to avoid.

Sorry for the wall of text :b

Edit:
Just to add a practical angle..
The way parental leave works here is that all employers pay into a fund from which the money to pay the salaries while on leave are taken. This means each individual employer doesn't have a financial disadvantage of hiring people who'll go on leave.
I wasn't talking about the current wage gap between men and women. I think that Shrinking Violet was saying that it would be best if we returned to 1950s where women stayed at home and took care of the kids. Of course they were forced to do that pretty much because the wages for the jobs available to women back then were so low. Also because housework and cooking took much longer than it does now.

I do agree with her that when both people work 40 hours a week they are probably too tired to really interact with their kids after work. But I see it more as a problem of people working too much and being taken advantage by our corporate overlords. Rather than have the husband work 40-60 hours a week and the wife stay at home, I think it would be best if both parents worked less than 35 hours a week. And if anything I think men should take more parental leave than women because so many of them do not properly bond with their kids.
 

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I wasn't talking about the current wage gap between men and women. I think that Shrinking Violet was saying that it would be best if we returned to 1950s where women stayed at home and took care of the kids. Of course they were forced to do that pretty much because the wages for the jobs available to women back then were so low. Also because housework and cooking took much longer than it does now.

I do agree with her that when both people work 40 hours a week they are probably too tired to really interact with their kids after work. But I see it more as a problem of people working too much and being taken advantage by our corporate overlords. Rather than have the husband work 40-60 hours a week and the wife stay at home, I think it would be best if both parents worked less than 35 hours a week. And if anything I think men should take more parental leave than women because so many of them do not properly bond with their kids.
Ahh, I see.

And yeah, I completely agree. Both parents should take an equal or close to equal number of hours at work. And fathers should generally take much more time than they do to bond with the child, though I think it ultimately has to be voluntary.
I think even to the best of people it's important that the marriage/relationship is fairly even. If one earns all the money and the other does all the bonding with the kids, not only will it create tension living together, but if there's a breakup, will leave both parents in a very vulnerable situation regarding the thing they did not do.
 

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You are thinking that it will be okay because the woman can just rely on her husband's income. What will happen to women that do not have a husband to rely on?
Mothers that want to raise their children must be financially dependent on someone. In most cases, it's either going to be the husband or it's going to be society (via businesses/tax money). In my opinion, it is unfair to force other people to support your child (I wonder if people realize that by increasing taxes, it makes it harder for a family to live on a small income). I realize that it is much easier to sympathize with a mother that just wants to take care of her child than it is to sympathize with a person that wants to keep their business profitable.

There will always be cases where the mother is unwed and the father leaves, or where he leaves after marriage, or where he dies and she is left to fend for herself. There have to be systems in place to help women in that situation, but I don't think the current one is correct. I know that I am coming from a fundamentally different place than you, so I don't expect you to agree with me.

I do agree with her that when both people work 40 hours a week they are probably too tired to really interact with their kids after work. But I see it more as a problem of people working too much and being taken advantage by our corporate overlords. Rather than have the husband work 40-60 hours a week and the wife stay at home, I think it would be best if both parents worked less than 35 hours a week.
I like this, in theory. If it can work out, I'm not against it at all. However, as I stated before, I don't think it fits with reality much of the time. Flexible, profitable work is hard to find. I'm not saying that women that want to be mothers shouldn't pursue education and employment. I'm more concerned with careerism in women that want to be mothers. To get into a good career, it takes a lot of money, education, work experience, networking, and time. By the time you have a child, it may seem impossible to drop out and take care of them (due to social pressure and debt - I am experiencing this now).

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to choose to work less and spend more time with their families, but the world does not work like that. Workplaces often require their employees to be flexible to work overtime, travel, be on call, etc. It is the nature of business. This career lifestyle (from my point of view) cannot fit with mothering. Young children need a parent that is on call for them.

If a mother drops out of a career, it has obvious financial ramifications. Many people would call it irresponsible or at least say that she will be worse off overall and come to regret it. What I find that people don't understand is that abandoning children to be raised by strangers that don't have a loving bond with them has consequences too. They're just harder to understand, and the results are only truly seen a generation later when it's too late.
 

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