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Defining Feminism, Part Deux

madamab's picture

Cultural Imperialist Kitteh Lays Down the Law

Monday's post got quite contentious, and sadly, a bit nasty. I was even called a "white middle-class cultural imperialist" for trying to define feminism. This bothers me a lot, mainly because "cultural imperialist" is a somewhat less obvious way of saying "racist." Hooray! I haven't been called that for almost a year! (Oddly, I didn't miss it much.)

What I don't get is why I'm being attacked for doing what every person who calls her/himself a feminist is already, automatically doing. "Feminists for Life," the "pro-life" "feminist" organization Sarah Palin belongs to, is working from one definition. Hillary Clinton is working from another. I'm working from mine. Violet's working from hers. I'm sure there are as many definitions as stars in the sky, and glasses of tequila on Spring Break.

Do I think that my definition should be universally adopted? Well, there was a lot of snark in my post. My actual goal was to start a conversation about how other people define feminism, and why, and whether one can be a feminist and still actively fight against women's rights to control their bodies. So today, my activism recommendation is going to be a little different:

Ask a woman about feminism.

Blog it, Facebook it, talk it, text it, Tweet it. Let's get the word "Feminism" into the atmosphere today!

I will have the opportunity to speak with two women at length today, and I'll see another tonight at work. I'm going to ask them all three questions and report back to you tonight:

  • Do you consider yourself a feminist?
  • Why or why not?
  • What do you think feminism is?

Let's have a conversation with ourselves and with others, and try not to call each other names. How does that sound?

No votes yet


sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

about the label of "feminist" given to anti-choice people. I thought, long ago (1967), when I was going door-to-door, in my predominantly low-income, roman catholic neighborhood with petitions to legalize abortion (lost a lot of baby-sitting jobs there, LOL), that a pivotal leg of feminism, women's rights, equality, revolved around the right to self-determination. The ability to control one's own body and its treatment is so basic, I couldn't imagine divorcing it from the arena of women's parity in all life's areas. Who are the people that now insist that this is negotiable, or even unimportant in the scheme of things? Is this the new Sparkle Unicorn? That is, "look, there are aallll these other goals we can achieve, let's let that one hang, because, you know, it's contentious". I can't fathom it. There has to be a bottom line, you can't be orthodox and eat pork, you can't be green and not recycle, you can't be for true healthcare reform and support the PO.
To answer your questions, yes, I consider myself a feminist, because I believe that gender has nothing to do with ability, and that any human should have the right to grow and work, love, and live in the way they want/need to. To accomplish that, you need to be safe in your body, mind, and spirit. Any attempts to control any part of that "self", restricts humankind, and robs the Earth of the wealth of potential wonders.

Submitted by Anne on

There are probably as many definitions for feminism as there are people, so while it may be interesting to get an insight into what that word means to women, and to men, what do we then do with all those points of view?

I’m a person whose gender is female. I stand up for myself for me, and what my needs are, what my interests are, in my interactions at work and at home and wherever else I happen to be and in whatever situations in which I play a role. I don’t do that in the name of an entire gender, but in my own name. I would like to think that whatever victories I achieve for myself are – or may be – victories for the women who work with me, or who come after me, but I advocate for my interests because they are mine.

Sounds selfish, but I grew up with parents who never, ever diminished my opportunities or dreams because I was female, so I grew up without that mindset of “oh, I’m a girl and girls don’t do that, they don’t go there, they don’t get to do that, that’s not ladylike, that’s a boy thing.”

I know others were not and are not so lucky.

Do I think one can be a feminist and be pro-life? Well, yes I do, if being pro-life is a personal choice and not something one believes must be imposed on others. I have always been in favor of a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, and believe that one can believe that abortion is not the right choice for her, and also believe that it may be the right choice for someone else.

I don’t need others to share how I define feminism; what I do need them to do is to see me as a person, and judge me on my actions and performance rather than my gender; that’s what I work on in my daily life, as need be. There will always be those who won’t change their minds, who will always make gender central to their judgments of others, just as there will always be those who think there is only one way to be a feminist, and if it’s not their way, then, off with your head!

There is enough conflict in life without an entire gender being at each other’s throats fighting over what it means to be a woman; I’m a person, I’m human – just like everyone else. The more we work, in whatever individual or group way we can, to further our own and others’ ability to see our common humanity, the better it will be for all of us.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I always love reading what you have to say. As for me personally, I want to hear what people think about feminism, because it tells me where we are as a movement.

I do also wish that we weren't at each other's throats, but living in a patriarchy does that to women, on purpose.

My worry is that feminism has a long history as a movement for equality and social justice. After the massive clusterfuck of 2008, feminism is ripe for subversion by those who actually wish to push for inequality and social injustice; i.e., Sarah Palin.

Do we want to lose the word "feminist" the way we lost the word "liberal," by allowing the word "feminist" to lose all objective meaning?

I do not want to say to anyone "off with your head." That is a misinterpretation of what I'm trying to do. The opportunity cost of taking a stand on any issue is that you will lose people and alienate people. I'm okay with that. I always have been. But that doesn't mean there's something wrong with standing on principle.

I would like other people to think and talk about their principles and what they're willing to stand for.

Submitted by Anne on

the "off with your head" camp; it's clear to me that while you have your own ideas about what feminism is, you are obviously interested in what others think.

Sometimes I think terminology will be the death of us.

For me, the whole issue of reproductive rights comes down to the issue of choice, not life, so if I have to label this, it would be pro-choice and anti-choice; having the right to make these choices is an issue of self-determination for all women. Having control of one's own body should be a given, but there are too many - and I think Obama is one of them - who need to have some control over women, who do not trust us to make good decisions, who don't believe we are capable of making those decisions on our own. Having to be subject to some man's - or some woman's - need to control others is, for many women, a fast ride to poverty, lack of opportunity, abuse and invisibility; while this is a women's issue, it is also, I believe, a human rights issue - and as long as women cannot determine the course of their own lives, they will not be viewed as fully human.

I mourn the death of the term "liberal," because with it has gone the drive to advance liberal ideas and issues - much to the detriment of far too many people, and much to the detriment of the democracy itself. I refuse to call myself a progressive, for reasons I suspect you share.

I want to be known as someone who fights for and believes in the rights of all people; what lifts me up should not repress anyone else. When I stand up for others, I stand up for myself, too. I'd call myself a "humanist," if I didn't think that might be too much like "progressive," if you know what I mean. Maybe you're right that losing the term "feminist" would mean losing too much of what we still need to work toward.

Anyway, great conversation; lots of food for thought.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I think it often is!

I didn't think you were suggesting I was in the "off with their heads" category, but other people seem to think I am giving anti-choicers a big "fuck you." They don't seem to realize that it is they, the anti-choicers, who are giving pro-choicers a big "fuck you." If I don't reach out to them and hope that I can convert them to my cause, well, perhaps that makes me a bad person; or perhaps, it makes me someone who is willing to learn from my experiences.

Thanks again, Anne, for your thoughtful remarks.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

My definition is that of one who would restrict abortion/contraceptive rights, e.g., "anti-choice", NOT someone who reserves their choice personally, but doesn't desire to enforce their beliefs upon others..because if you have a CHOICE, that's yours to make.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I do not think it's any of my business what a woman's personal beliefs about abortion are. It's when they're trying to push their beliefs on me - and an entire society - that I say they are "pro-life" or "anti-choice."

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

This seems self-evident to me.

The ability to control one's own body and its treatment is so basic, I couldn't imagine divorcing it from the arena of women's parity in all life's areas. Who are the people that now insist that this is negotiable, or even unimportant in the scheme of things? Is this the new Sparkle Unicorn? That is, "look, there are aallll these other goals we can achieve, let's let that one hang, because, you know, it's contentious". I can't fathom it. There has to be a bottom line, you can't be orthodox and eat pork, you can't be green and not recycle, you can't be for true healthcare reform and support the PO.

Have you ever been to the New Agenda? I used to write for them, but I couldn't buy into their premise for long.

I don't know what they (and those who are like-minded) think they're going to get in exchange for giving up our sovereign rights to control our own bodies and reproductive destinies. It varies according to the person/group. TNA is interested in violence against women, predominantly - I went to one of their forums and it was excellent. And yet, if they had not abandoned the idea of reproductive rights as a premier tenet of feminism, would they have gotten fewer people to show up at the forum? What do the two things have to do with each other, and furthermore, where is their evidence that giving in to the fundiegelical agenda will advance women's rights in any way? Isn't there quite a bit of evidence to the contrary?

I believe wholeheartedly in the change that will come when 30% of our Congress is made up of women. But since the Stupak/Nelson Amendments were thrown into the Health Whatever Bill and not ONE WOMAN voted to kill the bills because of them, I believe that both Parties are equally misogynistic in nature and will not allow any elected woman to vote her conscience.

Thus, I believe our system is too broken right now to hope that electing more women will have the same effect it does in other republics/democracies across the world. First, we must force the Democrats to become responsive, and responsible to pro-choice women. (Anti-choice women have the Republican Party.) Then, we can proceed to elect more of them, knowing that they will not be pressured into voting against their own, and our own, interests by the National Party.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

Needless to say, from my S/O, I am involved in healthcare, and I'm seeing more and more horrible things coming thru the ER doors as a result of restricted choices for women, so yes, anti-choice rhetoric and laws definitely negatively impact women, and their health, from unprofessional abortions (THEY'RE BAAACK), to increased spousal and child abuse...and with the economy affecting women, and low-income families, more intensely, I can only see a geometric increase in the future There are consequences to anti-choice positions, not just to providers and their staff, but to the women who are more and more intimidated, marginalized, and fiscally squeezed out of options.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

is a feminist issue for that reason and because of Hyde, and I'm going to ask Dr. Martha Livingston about it in, oh, about 40 minutes.

Yes, the promised interview is finally happening! I'm giddy as a schoolgirl.

I will, of course, post it on Corrente when I've painfully transcribed it from the recording.

Wish me luck!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I can't imagine how anyone could think you have "latent hatred for other women." It boggles my mind. Your job alone should give them pause...

I think there is a distressing tendency for all of us, liberal and conservative, to label people and then demonize them. I've certainly done that millions of times myself; since 2008, I'm trying to get over my labeling addiction. :-P

I wish we could stop doing that to each other, but I have a feeling that "them" and "us" is pretty powerful stuff, and it makes us feel good to have an enemy, real or imagined.

The problem with labeling is that sometimes, the real enemy can go unrecognized because the label has been misapplied.

Ah well. Off to my interview. Thanks, everyone! Remember, say the word "feminism" to a woman today and see what happens!

Submitted by hipparchia on

looking forward to reading about this very much!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

One of the advantages of being an extrovert - I just went up to her and asked for an interview. Voila! ;-)

Do you ever get the feeling that the person you're talking to is several googleplex smarter than you are?

That was what the interview was like.

Thank Goddess, Dr. Livingston is a wonderful, funny and generous person.

I'm going to try to transcribe the interview quickly. She pointed out that some of it may lose relevance if I wait too long, and she is right!

Submitted by hipparchia on


i've worked in engineering/science all my working life, and have gone for weeks, and even months sometimes, being the only woman on a job site. i can't tell you how excited i was the time i got to a relatively small job [~20 people] to find that i would be working with two other women! 15% female! and none of us was relegated to the role of admin assistant or anything like that, we were all scientists! woo hoo!

we're 50% of the population and there's no reason in hell why we can't be 50% of the scientists, 50% of the engineers, 50% of the salmon fishers, 50% of the moose hunters, 50% of the ski jumpers, 50% of the politicians, 50% of the doctors [we're getting there], 50% of the lawyers [we're getting there too], 50% of the __________.

also, there's no reason in hell why men can't be 50% of the secretaries, 50% of the hotel maids, 50% of the school teachers, 50% of the __________.

so yes, women who are helping the cause by working in non-traditional fields while simultaneously hurting the cause by working to abridge the right to not have children are a thorny issue, but rather than defining them as non-feminists, i usually think of them as 30% feminist, or 50%, or 60%, somewhere along a scale, depending on how much influence they have in each sphere. absent a lot of detailed information about their work and influence, i generally place people like sarah palin at 50% feminist on my scale and adjust up or down as i learn more about them.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Palin is Schrödinger's Feminist.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Palin is using the Obama strategy. For some reason, people seem to look at her as a "blank screen upon which their ideas and desires are projected," despite her giving pretty clear signals as to how she would govern if elected President.

To me, that simply means that some people are right about her and others aren't, not that she actually is both a feminist and not a feminist at the same time (like Schrodinger's cat).

But I guess you're more in the "unresolvable paradox" mode than I am.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I'm in IT, and I am LITERALLY the only woman in my department - out of 14 people! (This is exceptionally sexist even for IT, but the general tendency is on the money.)

The idea of a sliding feminist scale is completely fascinating - and very appealing - to me. I think it's brilliant!

Of course, you do need to have a definition of what makes an 100% feminist in order to use that scale, don't you? (bats eyelashes innocently)

I'd place Palin in the 30% range, merely because she goes around speaking at huge pro-life events and wants to overturn Roe v. Wade...and so far, has not done anything I know of since leaving the governorship of Alaska that would constitute supporting another woman other than herself.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

And, the Family Guys were mean to her! And she's PRETTY! And and and...

point taken.

You could always friend her on Facebook to see what feminist activities she's participating in these days.


vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

But the "Family Guy" joke seemed like a wholly gratuitous exploitation of a hated person's sick child.

The voice actress, who has Down Syndrome, defended it as "sarcasm." What I wonder is, why is it funny? It's not even good sick humor.

Submitted by Anne on

even if it had not been a not-so-thinly-veiled shot at Palin, it would have been offensive.

Sometimes, things are just wrong. Period.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Family Guy is well-known for pushing the envelope, and sometimes they go way too far.

I couldn't even watch the whole thing. It made me cringe.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Just read/heard the descriptions by some of its defenders. I wouldn't ordinarily pass judgment on a creative work I haven't seen, but as people who think it's just fine describe it, it sounds like a rather vulgar and cruel cheap shot.

Even as sick humor goes (and a lot of us can admit that naughty and even cruel humor can make us laugh), it sounds like a total misfire, unless the mere act of referencing a hated person's sick child is somehow risible.

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

I'm liking this concept a whole lot. It gives us a mechanism to evaluate where someone is on their journey to accepting women as fully human, without declaring that a person has no feminist contribution to make, and is not a feminist because they don't support tenet X, Y, or Z. My definition of feminism is simply accepting the proposition that women are fully human, with all that entails, including the good, the bad, and the sometimes not pretty at all. It is human to err, no? So if women are human, they will make mistakes, and when they do, it should not be ascribed to the supposed frailty of an entire gender. When we get to that point, when women are able to screw up on a par with men, and not have it ascribed to our femaleness, we'll be post-patriarchy. We're a long way away from that day.

I can also relate to being the only woman in the room at work, having also been an engineer for all of my post-college working life. When I started, there was exactly one other female engineer in my work group, and she took it upon herself to monitor me for any type of behavior that could sink any future female hires, to include what I wore. No jeans or people would think I worked in the mail room; no feminist conversations at work, or the guys would get twitchy thinking I might be one of those women. Those women being the ones who want to mount a global conspiracy to have women be an equal voice in the running of things, apparently. Such women have to always be guarded against, marginalized, belittled, demonized and other such words lest their insane ideas take hold and create real change.

Nowadays I'm not the only woman in my working group, I wear jeans to work when I want, and when one of the guys lets slip a sexist brain fart, I simply laugh, and if they ask nicely, I explain why they made a funny. Sometimes I inwardly grimace when I see what some of the young women engineers wear to work, and some of the personal conversations they conduct at work, and their general ignorance of the price many brave women paid who came before so that they could do those things. But I always bear in mind that they are committing a subversive feminist act, just as I am, everyday, by doing a job my poor little brain isn't supposed to comprehend.

Every woman, and some men, each in their own way, have a contribution to make to feminism. Personally, I'm all for letting them make those contributions since that's the only way we'll ever get to that post-patriarchal place that I think most people want to be, whether they actually realize it or not. Some of this conversation actually reminds me of Anglachel's brilliant essays on Stevensonian vs Truman Democrats. Instead of insisting that people must achieve some sort of ideologically pure feminist state before they can strike a blow against patriarchy, it makes more sense to have them get to work right away, wherever they happen to be. Bloom where you're planted and all that. Women, moreso than men I think, having less agency, often find themselves being planted. I found out during the last election that I've always been a Truman democrat, but didn't know it until my former compatriots wanted me gone. I'm guessing that Trumanesque spirit is also present in my feminism as I won't hold others to a purity test before I allow as to how they are already making contributions, and hope they keep right on bucking the most systematic and widespread groupthink out there, the male supremacy myth.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

In the smithy of my female soul, having been on the planet for a while, I think I have my own hard-won sensibility of feminism.

Sarah Palin as a feminist? Still not in my book.

Ya see, I think Cindy Sheehan is the real feminist because she is fighting for a feminine, yin, or humanist paradigm shift to peace, to an end of patriarchal violence. Is Sarah a role model for empowerment of a woman? Yes. Ann Coulter? Yes. But I guess I don't measure power and control and successful competition to rise above men and women as feminism, to me that is masculine not feminist framing of success and not equality but superiority in terms of fame or success ... my "feminism sensibility" is ideological, in terms of promoting the nurturing of others to bring about equality for and of all and cultivating one's own confidence to cultivate a belief in one's equality. Not wresting power from others or exclusivity of celebrity. Power and mastery, a sense of them, is vital to thrive for both men and women. But power in terms of I am strong and you are not ... not congruent with my feminism sensibility.

I appreciated the consciousness raising of the 60s feminist movement, but I felt a certain cliqueishness among the leadership which I felt was so not the point of real feminism... Gloria's gang ... it should be anti-clique, anti-we are superior because of who we are ... that power and competition and exceptionalism and entitlement went with the patriarchal sensibility... the traditional masculine or yang way of being. and also perhaps an overcompensation to their femaleness by masculine flexing into power and control which perhaps was a logical next step but with disdain for more traditional sisters, but in its essence, the opposite of what a "feminine sensibiity" in my mind would be. But there were important beliefs and rights that this base camp of women banged the drums for, so there you go. I was grateful to stop fetching coffee for bosses. One small privilege taken away from male execs, one giant leap for woman kind. Though it still exists, of course in some cases, but less common.

Okay, the very important pro-choice rights. How profound and victorious were they. A woman's self-determination re her body and whether to reproduce or not. And considering how women in our culture were often so less assertive to men at a young age, their naivete and lack of empowerment and even sex education in not risking pregnancy and succumbing to peer pressure from the males close up and personal and also females, it seemed like a fair and just right for women as to whether to reproduce or not if impregnated.

The women's movement did achieve important consciousness raising and softened up my generation for opportunity in some cases, but in more cases for the next generation of women, promoting their entitlement and career imaginations, many of whom I found had a nose-wrinkling disdain for their mother's generation of "feminism" as being overly harsh on the masculine gender. I find myself wondering what their daughters now feel about feminism or what they feel about it now.

Marion Woodman writes about what the world needs is a feminine paradigm shift, to partnership and cooperation, away from the masculine, power and competition one. Now I speak of this shift as a humanist one, since there are many men who have a feminine or humanist sensibility or yin to harmony and peace and I don't want to exclude them or limit their identity in this shift because I mean "feminine" as an essence not biologically, but culturally, a "feminine" sensibility is such a negatively connotative label for even the most enlightened man and maybe hard to embrace. But God bless these men. Women can be misogynists, can be authoritarian followers in the male-driven patriarchal and often female-enabled culture. And men can be feminists. Men who see the value of human nurturing and the toxicity of the patriarchal gamesmanship are so valuable.

I think both males and females have authority issues with women because more often than not the mother was such an ever-present role model for women to copy and for men to "not copy", and the father was more traditionally and culturally remote, and more enigmatic and with issues he generated in his children, but perhaps different from those they have with the mother, perhaps with less imperative to not be controlled by a maternal and controlling force from a childhood of needing to fight hard against mommy's ever present will. Women have a close role model to emulate, but the boys don't have the male role model that conveniently close. So they get busy trying to figure out the mommy's traits to reject, sadly. The writer Dorothy Dinnerstein wrote a book called the Mermaid and the Minotaur and it is about the need of the male child to reduce the specter of the early all-powerful mommy in his need to relate to the remote father figure, and more second guessing went into that image of who daddy was and what it means to be male and less authenticity and maybe more stereotyping and far more dependency on peers for cues to be a "normal" male. This can be dangerous. Again, less humanism and more peer pressure cues collecting about what it means to be masculine.

And yet ironically society is far more forgiving of a male being out there and eccentric and iconoclastic as an individual. Women in the past did not have as much patience extended to them for being "out there." To go against the image of what a woman should be or do or behave had a greater stigma. I think for women writers to reveal themselves and their uniqueness is far more self and culturally threatening than when men do it. I am not saying no courage in men to do that. But for women to be branded outside their gender tribe is pretty damning. This may be lessening... but still exists.

you also have the madonna and the whore dichotomy, for example. Men don't have that stigma as much. how confusing for young women still. The mandate to be sexy. The shame of being labeled slutty. And it can be a razor's edge.

I think there is a stronger spirit of sisterhood and feminism among gay women between each other, than straight women between each other or between gay and straight women. More cultural loyalty. More empathy. And being a minority, persecuted and demonized by many in this country, enhances that bonding. Duh you say, but I think this is a dimension worth acknowledging, too. Straight women network. But nothing like the networking I have witnessed among gay women.

So this is my further two cents on the subject. Just some late night brainstorming.

Glad the discussion continued.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

And I'm glad.

I can't fully respond now, but here are some questions your post inspires me to ask:

1) According to your definition, is one only a feminist if one works outside the current (patriarchal) power structure?

2) What is the goal of feminism as a movement? I haven't gone that far in my discussion, because simply the act of reminding people that an "ism" must have a real, concrete definition seems to enrage and scare people.

I'm not an expert on networking amongst gay and straight women. I agree that's something that all women should be better at, but the divide and conquer patriarchy does a good job with keeping us from each other.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I know I was long-winded cuz I was thinking out loud and late at night. I realized I never used the phrasing "feminist values" vs. "masculine or patriarchal values." And I think that sums up some of my long winded explanations. And the word values I guess parallels my word sensibility from earlier.

I guess I see feminism as humanitarian sensibility that promotes partnership and cooperation on an individual to a global level. Patriarchy is about competition and power and control.

So even discussing a woman as role-modeling empowerment as a celebrity. To me that is a masculine-patriarchal value, even though it is a woman standing out and above in terms of fame, celebrity or power.

I think when a woman stops promoting altruism and humanitarianism, she leaves my definition of feminism.

Famous female leaders in history, if they were promoting wars, or injustice among the classes economically, or religious movements that were not humanist, then I would from my IMHO definition not put them on my feminist list. Or I would list some feminist characteristics and some patriarchal characteristics within an individual.

Gandhi to me seemed to have a strong feminist spirit. Mother Theresa.

I would like to reread that Dinnerstein book about the issues with the mother. Since men are breaking the traditional remote father accessibility more and more, young boys and girls have more accessibility and can integrate some authentic lessons from both parents and genders, and hopefully that will not lock them into gender role-playing that is stifling.

When I was raised, women were allowed to cry but getting angry and expressing it was not encouraged. More shaming for that with girls. Whereas men were expected to get angry and crying was seen as more shocking and worthy of shaming.

Also, in that Dinnerstein book, because the boys need to find a male identity and break away from the far more present mother, boys find identity in separation, whereas girls need to find identity by learning what it means to be a woman from an up close mother and they find identity strengthening in bonding and closeness. So men and women are going in different directions sometimes to feel complete. Women on the whole may have a comfort level for closeness and men have a comfort level for separation, not being overwhelmed or enthralled to that primal mother figure.

Now this has issues for both men and women with the mother. Maybe with the mother's expectations of the gendered children. Maybe too much perfectionism and control projected onto the daughters, or a covert jealousy or a protectiveness for them not to wander into dangerous anti-female behaviors. Being "nice" such a mandate in my generation of women.

Maybe with the males in the old days mothers supporting the gender-typing with the aggressiveness or need for independence, etc. But this is all about generalizing and lots of exceptions to lots of rules.

Testerone and estrogen factors being a whole other dimension of this discussion.

I have often thought, when you have two little kids. And you shove a toy doll into the girl's arms for her to project onto, mimic mommy's caretaking. And you shove a toy gun into the little boy's hand to pretend KILL other people, WTF??????? What cultivation of the male gender and the female gender is this? Little girls need to be maternal, but also need to NOT be so self-denying in being maternal they give up their own soul goals for actualization. And boys need to appreciate their mastery, but to gear their imaginations into dominating and destroying others to get it, is very damaging for them and the planet.

St. Francis quote, "Nothing to excess, including moderation." :) But still, balance is needed.

Again, as Marion Woodman has said, we need a serious feminine paradigm shift to save this planet and all its global family from destruction in terms of psychic and spiritual destruction as well as physical erosion and destruction.

When I was writing about fascism recently, one of the items of that list was about repressing women's rights, can't remember the exact wording now. In fact pumping up more role-hardened traditional behaviors for men and women. To encourage men to not feel and fight gratuitous corporate wars and for women to shut up and serve men and not presume to inflict a maternal, altruistic sensibility on an unfair class divided society.

Another 2 cents.

Gotta go. Thanks for the exchange, madam! :)

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

yes? And against contraception, aside from 'natural family planning'. (nb: that link is to an anti-choice site, so folks may not want to click it). Gandhi was also against both. MT was against divorce as well, although I can't find what she would recommend to women trapped in an abusive situation.

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

That piece on Gandhi is very interesting, bearing in mind it's written by someone studying to enter the priesthood, no doubt looking to bolster the Church's position by looking to heroes from other traditions with similar positions, albeit with different motivations. Much of the Church's positions on everything to do with women came from St Augustine who evidently thought men should have nothing to do with women except to procreate, as women were dirty and the source of all evil. It's possibly instructive not to overlook St Augustine's misspent youth doing every woman he could find with his mother following him around trying to get him to leave off and come back home. I'm thinking Gandhi wouldn't have approved.

But then, what about Gandhi and his attitudes towards women? The author in that piece keeps mentioning Gandhi being protective of women's dignity, but some of Gandhi's behavior with women might be deemed as less than dignified for a man so highly esteemed. He was human, after all, and achieved great things, but I'm wondering where he would fall on the sliding scale of feminism in light of some of these things that most would overlook?

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

Marion Woodman writes about what the world needs is a feminine paradigm shift, to partnership and cooperation, away from the masculine, power and competition one.

I'll have to check out Marion Woodman. I completely agree that the world needs a paradigm shift to put itself into balance. There is no good system that can sustain itself that is not balanced; when a system is unbalanced, it will tend to run open-loop until it inevitably crashes and burns. That's where we are right now, an unbalanced system with way too much yang for its own good. I think the only way to save ourselves is to balance the yin and yang forces at work in the world. I would say that restoring that balance is the solution to just about everything, but I don't know that that balance has ever existed in our collective memory.

One point that I would take issue with is viewing all power as bad simply because in today's world, most if it belongs to men and is exercised in a male way - dominance. There is nothing wrong with women having and exercising power, but in a preferably female way - sharing and cooperation. I think one way patriarchy keeps women down is by instilling in them the idea that all power is bad, and women should shun it, every which way they can. When women exercise power in the sharing mode, it lifts up other women and their larger communities as a whole; this type of thing tends to be rare, or more likely, purposely overlooked. It's almost taken as an article of faith that absolute power corrupts absolutely. I think that's true of power exercised only to dominate others; I have serious doubts about that being the case with power shared around to lift up others. I would use the term, empower, but due to the co-optation of the term by Dude Nation, to cast pole-dancing and the such as empowerful for women, and therefore, feminist, I tend to ride on by the word these days.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

As I was writing my thoughts re feminism I kept remembering a quote from a self -help book on assertiveness I read long ago. The author (it was a really good book, wish I could remember his name) said "power is a vital social nutrient". Yes, to avoid doormat-ville, we do need a sense of empowerment. A moral and personal courage. A grounding. But not the "power to take what isn't nailed down." Not the Win/Lose power scenario that goes with patriarchy and traditional masculine values. Win/Win scenario is the feminine paradigm.

I look at what has happened with the wars and the economy and I see this incredible "I am going to pillage all that I can and if you can't and don't stop me, I am just going to keep on taking and taking and taking. And I have no shame, and I will reap bonuses even after me and my comrades have wrecked countless lives!!!!!"

And all these reports about why we are in a mess. Because, duh, the institutions just weren't capable of being responsible, monitoring their illegal and unethical actions. No self-regulation. And all that juicy time to morally unravel the checks and balances in our government system during Bush regime and what the hey now during Obama, our business system, our military system. Rationalization or not even that. Bald greed. And it gets easier and easier. And the cronyism poisons the system, and it becomes a game. An addiction. And Glass Steagall. Why isn't that first on the agenda in Congress to bring it back???? WTF????

Pure piracy is alive and well. Amorality still thriving.

And what is this administration doing about monitoring these bad boys and girls now? Where is the tough love to say NO!!!! STOP IT!!!! ???

When Obama wrote that book, Dreams of My Father, I kept thinking from the title, also dreams of his corporate daddies, too? Is the elite men's network just so seductive for him? The economists and the generals. And the slippery slope to war with Iran. The horrors of Afghanistan and Iraq still. PATRIARCHY!

To get in the game you gotta sell out your potential soul maybe? The women who make it to that level, they have to sell out even more to compensate for being women? God forbid they reveal serious E-M-P-A-T-H-Y!

I think Hillary Clinton got it during her campaign, a sense of awe from the support of women, the clean and wholesome support of her women followers, a sense of their will and their power and their potential power. I was glad for that. They hung with her. (I didn't. Edwards with his populism drew me. His talk of the two Americas.) But I don't think it stayed with her judging from her gamesmanship. And all her baggage from Bill, with the outsourcing of jobs, etc. The militarism. She was more honest than Obama about the war talk. But she is promoting war. And when she called the bull dozing of Gazan Palestinian homes "unhelpful" ... UNHELPFUL!!! too much Zionist kool-aid for me, but welcome to America! I found that moment pretty breathtaking.

Can you be in the game and keep hanging onto your soul?

Does America have anyone's back in terms of anyone in power now or near it supporting morality, anyway? The majority of Americans?

I'm bouncing around here. Gotta go.

But thanks for the exchange, Heroes!

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

This is one of the guiding principles of a feminism that would effect real change, not just symbolic change. Greg Mortensen was on Bill Moyers awhile back talking about his time in Afghanistan and his book Three Cups of Tea. Moyers kept asking him why the focus on educating girls in Afghanistan, and he talked about how he's seen girls share whatever knowledge they come by with their families, turning it into the gift that keeps on giving. He didn't know how many times he'd seen girls go home after learning to read, and read to their mothers, often worn newspapers the mothers had been saving for some distant future in which they would come to discover what's going on in the outside world. Knowledge is power.

An example of the opposite principle is the economic system we have now run by banksters, most of whom, as Naomi Klein pointed out, are men. I'm sure there's got to be a woman somewhere grabbing everything that's not nailed down, and I rest easy in the knowledge that as soon as she's found she'll be on the tv 24/7, and be held responsible for the entirety of the economic meltdown. I don't know how often I've seen this gambit, and how often people get taken over by the exception to the rule being the cause of all the evil. Look over there, Martha Stewart! Look over there, Lynndie England! She's responsible for all the torture, don't you know. Another week, another designated hate receptacle, and so it goes.

And yes, there's that infamous warmonger, Hillary Clinton. I'll never forget the fauxtrage over her remarks on obliterating Iran:

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran (if it attacks Israel)," Clinton said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them," she said.

What was incredible to me was the hysteria that ensued following her remarks, considering that what she said was altogether unremarkable, at least to anyone paying any attention to the Mideast. Nobody paying attention would bet on Iran attacking Israel; if there's an attack, it'll be the other way around. Then there's the language itself, we would be able, not we will, or we should. Of course we'd be able to obliterate them; if not, after spending all that taxpayer money on the war toys, we'd be considered rather pathetic, at the very least.

Meanwhile, Obama was talking about launching unilateral attacks on Pakistan based on actionable intelligence, whatever that means. What has been an unfortunate pattern with our intelligence, is that it's not very intelligent. But we have wiped out entire wedding parties! I could only hope that Hillary was more honest on the war talk than Obama, considering what Mr Nobel Peace Prize has done to expand the AfPak war.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

... so they certainly would both have stuff go on MY non-feminist side of the balance sheet inventory. Touche.

I guess what I am putting forward or trying to is my own definition of feminism. A promotion of altruism. Of partnership and cooperation and harmony, not power and control and injustice.

I am sorry I was so defensive earlier on the nuance thread, to you in particular. I can appreciate what you were saying and particularly what you were saying about my and others like my myers-briggs configuration. You were right.

I was in a fragile and at the same time defensive mood from stress and lost my balance as a civil commenter. Again, my amends. Glad you are engaging now.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

A bit OT, but speaking of varying definitions of feminism....

Historiann takes on the myth of the perfect female presidential candidate (has paralells with perfect feminists only should apply). Read the comments, they're worth it.

libby (and madamab) -- sorry that my last comment (on Mother Teresa) was so short, basically I haven't been feeling v. well the last few days so my participation has been rather drive-by and terse. Hoping to rejoin the discussion more fully soon.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

And I also do not believe that "altruist" and "feminist" are the same. Why must women always put others' rights before women's rights, in order to be "good enough" for other women?

Putting women first is within the name "feminist." We have lost the idea that putting women first is a radical and groundbreaking act on its own. This is yet another reason for reclaiming feminism for what it is.

There is nothing wrong with that, and there is also nothing wrong with using one's power to elevate women's empowerment, quality of life, and equality throughout the world. See: Clinton, Hillary.

A New Gender Agenda

Q: In your confirmation hearing, you said you would put women’s issues at the core of American foreign policy. But as you know, in much of the world, gender equality is not accepted as a universal human right. How do you overcome that deep-seated cultural resistance?

Clinton: You have to recognize how deep-seated it is, but also reach an understanding of how without providing more rights and responsibilities for women, many of the goals we claim to pursue in our foreign policy are either unachievable or much harder to achieve.

Democracy means nothing if half the people can’t vote, or if their vote doesn’t count, or if their literacy rate is so low that the exercise of their vote is in question. Which is why when I travel, I do events with women, I talk about women’s rights, I meet with women activists, I raise women’s concerns with the leaders I’m talking to.

I happen to believe that the transformation of women’s roles is the last great impediment to universal progress — that we have made progress on many other aspects of human nature that used to be discriminatory bars to people’s full participation. But in too many places and too many ways, the oppression of women stands as a stark reminder of how difficult it is to realize people’s full human potential.

Q: I’m curious about what priorities you’re setting. Will the Obama administration have a signature issue — sex trafficking or gender-based violence or maternal mortality or education for girls — in the way that H.I.V./AIDS came to symbolize the Bush-administration strategy?

Clinton: We are having as a signature issue the fact that women and girls are a core factor in our foreign policy.

There is no way in the world that anyone could convince me that a woman like Hillary Clinton is not a feminist, but a woman like Cindy Sheehan, due to her antiwar activities, is. Hillary Clinton cannot end American imperialism on her own, and neither can Cindy Sheehan. But Hillary is focusing on empowering women as a way to make all the world a peaceful and more equitable and yes, FEMININE (as in your meaning, or in The Chalice and the Blade) place.

How can you claim a woman like that doesn't have a right to call herself a feminist?

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I think Hillary got it during the campaign when women were hanging with her. I think she bonded with women. But I think she has accomodated the patriarchy for so long, that her moral imagination, her feminist imagination, is limited. Narrowed. Pragmatic? I have come to hate that word.

Appreciate this rhetoric you share from her.

We need to cover her back if she does. But with the militarism. She cannot have it both ways.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

If she were President, that would be another matter. But the ultimate responsibility for the current spate of warmongering is Obama's, is it not?

Why is it always the woman who has to fix what the men have been doing for the past several thousand years, and are continuing to do?

I would ask that you recognize the fact that Hillary has been standing up for women's rights for her entire life. And I respectfully state that her marriage IS none of your business, and I think it is APPALLING that you would bring it up as an example of whether or not she is a feminist.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I can't help wondering what would Hillary Clinton have done as Prez? If she had gone with her authentic womanliness, and listened to that voice, would it have caused a national freak-out? Does she have the yin juice or has she cultivated the political yang for so long?

Granted in smarts, she is like the proverbial story of Ginger dancing even better than Fred, doing it backwards and in high heels. She would have been stronger clearly than Obama. But I think that is so not saying much.

I gotta confess, I always wanted Hillary to dump Bill as a hubby for the philandering, but that I know endeared her to more than it didn't. Her not doing that. And it is NONE OF MY BUSINESS, I know, I know, I know. .... but there I said it. :)

And look where she is now having played the games and negotiated all the political and media traps. But what is she doing there?

Anyway, re HRC, the corporatist agendas have devoured the souls of most of our leaders and media commentators.

And the warmongering is appalling.

But we should rally as women or as humanists, rather, and speak truth to power and morality to power. And keep on keeping on. Calling them out, especially the women but all of them, toward the spiritual and the humane.

Feel better, Val!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

"Humanism" is not the topic of this piece.

It's called "Defining Feminism," not "Redefining Feminism as Humanism."

My womanly hackles are raising, sister!

Submitted by Anne on

feminism, but if one person’s definition includes elements of humanism, that’s “derailing” the thread?

How come I didn’t get that rebuke – I mentioned humanism in my comment, too; I don’t get that.

We all bring different things to this discussion – I thought that was the point – and those things inform how we define feminism and how we define ourselves.

The easy answer is that if you don’t want to get into a discussion about humanism, then don’t engage when it is raised; but if the problem is that you don’t want anyone to take the discussion there, then I think you have to change the title of your post to something that warns people that the discussion is not going to be as inclusive as the current title suggests.

And if only some people are going to be singled out for raising it, you might want to consider that perhaps there is more going on.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Libby is actually saying that feminism IS humanism. That is not the same as "Feminism has elements of humanism."

Also, I found her points so interesting that I allowed myself to be derailed. That was my fault, I agree.

Submitted by lambert on

Challenging fundamental premises is not the same as "derailing." For example, single payer advocates surely "derailed" discussion at Obama health care parties, no?

Now, I realize the loophole here leads directly to "What about the menz?" but all I can say is that these things have to be handled case by case, and since, madamab, you state libby's position so clearly and succinctly -- "feminism IS humanism" -- I don't think that derailing is really going on. (The other proposition that's interesting is the one I put forward on dependent and independent variables). You might, therefore consider making another post that takes those clearly stated views, with which you disagree, as a starting point.

After all, a derailleur allows you to shift gears, no?

Moderation is hard....

Submitted by lambert on

... vs. feminism is humanism thread before. It seems a hardy perennial.

To me, the nice thing about Violet's definition ("equality for women") is that it's clear and an easy yardstick to measure policy against. Humanism is far less clear, and far less operationalizable. I know that's an argument from technique, and therefore weak, but then again, no philosophical issues are ever reconcilable: That's why they're philosophical!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Does that include sovereignty over our bodies, just as men enjoy? I mean, how could it not?

And if it does, then how in the bloody hell could Sarah Palin be a feminist according to Violet's definition?

Where is the paradox there? Surprise. There isn't one!

Equality for women is one of the three tenets of feminism I believe in. As I said before:

1) Support for a woman’s right to choose.

2) Support for the ERA. Explicit protection of women’s equality should be enshrined in the Constitution.

3) Support for other women against societal misogyny.

And every philosophy has a definition. Do we have to reconcile them? No. But that doesn't mean they can't be defined.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

and yet, in an earlier time in America (say, 1992 or 1996, the last years we had an honest Presidential election), I would agree with Violet. Hell, I used to agree with her. That was until Obama proved that our electoral system was entirely broken, and Sarah Palin quit the governorship of Alaska and proved what is more important to her - her conservative beliefs - rather than the well-being, political or otherwise, of her sisters.

Equality of representation is a great goal if you have a functioning democracy. We don't. Both parties represent the top 2%, and neither is standing up for women's reproductive rights, which are constantly being eroded. Do you understand what I'm saying? Neither Party is willing to stand up for my civil rights. Male, female, it doesn't matter. They have both thrown me and my sisters under the bus.

I refuse, REFUSE to support this situation with my money or my votes. I REFUSE to agree that women who actively work against my equal rights should be classified as feminists. I REFUSE to support these women on the basis of equal representation. Clearly Palin will not support me or women like me if she's elected. Why should I support her or women like her?

And I'll be damned if I'll sit by while feminists fall for the "abortion is dividing us, let's stop talking about it and we'll all be united" crap. Hey, anti-choice women, stop calling me a murderer. Stop all your attempts to make abortion and birth control illegal. Respect my right to make my own decisions, just as I respect yours. Democrats, Republicans, you too. Then we'll talk about unity. But not before YOU STOP DIVIDING US! The way to beat the patriarchy is to correctly identify and fight it, not to re-package its marketing strategy and call it "feminism."

We must fix the system first. Bring the Democratic Party to heel. Show them that they must start honoring their commitments to women or they won't get our votes, money or time. Then let's get equal representation going so that women will be free to vote their conscience.

Otherwise, we'll keep electing women and they'll keep throwing us under the bus. And you know what? We'll deserve it because we're the ones who voted for them.


sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

My take on that is it can signify a "specimen", or, (especially where I come from) "to represent" means to perform as an example of good, or excellence. One cannot divorce a particular "specimen" from the "thing" it represents, and therein lies the rub.

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

Independent vs dependent variables, and I do believe the reality is that they are independent wrt women being represented, and then comes the policies that will benefit women as a group.

As a practical matter, if women are to achieve equal representation, someone has to be a first as POTUS. In the current political climate, as much as I would like to see liberal/progressive women elected to represent me and every woman who shares my views on policy, it's not going to happen. O has poisoned the well for women who would run as dems, see Coakley, Martha. The same thing is likely to happen to Gillibrand, and countless others in November. Women who run as independents will be most likely to win, and {shudder}GOP, with the dem affiliation coming in dead last due to the current political climate. O has no coattails whatsoever. What he has is the kiss of death, especially for women who might try running against their own party - how do you run any kind of national contest without party money? O controls that now, and if you want the dough, you'll have to pledge allegiance. Has the time come yet that someone can actually win without a sizeable campaign war chest? Maybe. After all, O spent more money than anyone ever has on the PA primary and still lost. People are tuning out the know-nothing see-nothing punditocracy, but are we at a point when a truly independent low-budget candidate can win? I want to see that deal, but I don't think we're there yet.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I am sorry I offended you.

Hillary is promoting war with Iran. That is frightening and alarming. Hillary refuses to acknowledge the horror and reality of the Gazan massacre.

I will pay more attention to the non-warmongering stuff, but the above is hard to get by.

I envy you your faith in her in a way.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I am not following you down the path of first trying to redefine feminism as humanism, then attempting to bring everything around to Israel. One controversial topic is enough for me, thanks very much - I think it's a little much to ask for me to try and tackle Israel and Iran in the same post!

Can we pleeeeeez stick to the topic of feminism?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... a third-rail topic. As Lambert says, "a hardy perennial."

Some take the half-emptying view, that connecting feminism to a more expansive set of concerns dilutes it.

Others take the half-filling view, that considering feminism as a fundamental part of a healthy human agenda promotes it.

Never, it seems, shall the twain meet on this.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I simply don't want to lose the word "feminism" the way we lost the word "liberal" (although I never stopped using it).

If humanism includes elements of feminism, great. If feminism includes elements of humanism, great.

Just don't redefine feminism AS humanism.

Other countries have recognized that we need a balance between traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine values (as outlined in The Chalice and the Blade). They are the countries that have, for the most part, adopted the figure of 30% or greater female representation as a governing philosophy. And, in terms of wealthy countries, they all have strong safety nets, low instances of violence against women, and honor women's equality in pay and bodily rights.

If we didn't live in a patriarchy, I could agree that we have no more need for feminism, and could progress on towards humanism. But until we reach that goal of choosing justice, cooperation and peace (traditionally feminine values) over competition, individualism and war (traditionally masculine values), then we must keep feminism as a separate movement.


Submitted by Anne on

I am not a female who happens to be human. Given that men are humans who happen to be male, as opposed to males who happen to be human, I see humanism as what connects us to each other; I don’t think one can separate feminism from it.

As a woman, I am of course interested in women attaining the equality they deserve, but as a human being, I can recognize that women are not the only ones who suffer inequities and disadvantages and lack of opportunity and repression and so on. I believe that whatever work we do to further our goals of equality has to be done with our hands open to help others who also strive for it.

I guess I am not someone who believes we have to see everything through what can be the narrow lens of gender when there is so much inequity in this world; that’s the humanist in me, I guess.

Certainly, we have to legislatively address many of the issues that affect our equality; while there should be strength in numbers, it’s pretty hard to make headway when we’re on the outside looking in - there are still not enough women in government, and even among those that have made it, not all of these women share the same goals.

Who we are and how we define ourselves will always be – should be – an evolutionary process: I’m not the same person now that I was 20 years ago, and I hope to not be the same person in 20 years as I am now. I hope I am better now, and will be better in the future, but that doesn’t happen like magic – it takes work – and discussions like these are part of that process.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I do see a need for a philosophy which puts women first. I see nothing morally wrong with that, nor do I see the need to subsume it into other philosophies in order to legitimize or make it better politics. I think it needs to be revitalized and made a political force, in the face of the absolute abdication of any concern for women as a group in either of our two political parties. Otherwise, who is going to fight for our survival? Who is going to fight for equal pay for equal work? Who is going to fight for more, not fewer, reproductive health providers?

It sure ain't the Dems or Republicans.

I would challenge you and Libby to find "humanist" groups that are truly dedicated to fighting for women. I would think it would be quite difficult, especially considering that even the feminist groups have floundered quite badly in the face of their desertion by the Democratic Party.

Unlike many feminists, I do think that men can be feminists, and indeed, I encourage them to say so. (Don't tase me, Hipparchia! LOL) I think that a man using the word with the root "feminine" to describe himself is helping to break the patriarchial gender division that people who prefer humanism see so clearly.

As you say, these discussions are part of a process, and one in which I think it's very important to engage.

Submitted by Anne on

I think I’m done with this discussion.

I never made moral judgments about how people want to approach or define feminism, so I don’t understand why you say you “don’t see anything morally wrong” with a philosophy that puts women first – I mean, what do morals have to do with that at all?

Second, I did not suggest that we don’t need woman-centric organizations, or that women’s issues must be subsumed into the larger humanist frame; I think you are finding ways to knock down something I didn’t build. Do you find my views threatening somehow? Because this is starting to feel a whole lot more territorial than it should for an exploration of views on what feminism is, considering that I’m not calling for the elimination of the term “feminist” or all vestiges of it as a separate issue.

I don’t need to find a humanist group that is strongly dedicated to fighting for women, and I don’t understand the point of your challenge. Isn’t that kind of like saying it’s all well and good to have an ACLU – or even an American Cancer Society - but if they don’t focus specifically and totally on women, their work isn’t good enough?

For what it’s worth, the biggest problem women have is that they spend so much time fighting AGAINST each other on things like what “feminism” means, and who is and isn’t a “real” feminist, that they lose the time and opportunity and energy to fight FOR each other.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Any more than there's no need to be vigilant and proactive in fighting racism.

There's a question of whether it's offensive and/or poor politics to conceptualize feminism as under an umbrella of concerns for a humane society.

Card-carrying_Buddhist's picture
Submitted by Card-carrying_B... on

is a total insult, feeds into feminazi social hypnosis, and it works very well.

In the MA Dem primary, I especially enjoyed reading letters that backhand-complimented Coakley for being "a feminist," then proceeded to dump on her fronthandedly. The old one-two punch.

This widely-accepted social hypnosis resulted in the now-classic plague of "I'm not a feminist, but . . .. .".