Useful Notes Feminism Discussion

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09:11:18 AM Oct 7th 2014
Is this article meant to be read from a purely 'English-speaking' (American/British) perspective, is the feminist movement largely homogeneous throughout different cultures, or is this page lacking a global perspective? Most of the names that I saw mentioned when I skimmed the article looked European, and I figure that Middle Eastern, central African, or Japanese feminism couldn't all follow the exact same template.
10:14:55 AM Oct 7th 2014
Most of our contributors (and much of feminism) come from English-speaking countries. That's why.
11:46:12 AM Feb 13th 2014
To elaborate on the whole "better than men" thing, we turn once again to The Nostalgia Chick, who posted a scathing rant on the movie Frozen—or, more specifically, a scathing response to Dani Coleman's critique of same. Coleman claimed that the movie was anti-feminist because its two leads are such flawed people:
"When it comes to women I’d look up to or consider role models, especially for young girls, Anna ranks somewhere around Mean Girls’ Karen Smith, and certainly well below bookish Belle, feisty Merida, determined Tiana or even kindly Cinderella. I certainly didn’t spend the movie thinking how approachable Anna was, as so many other young women breathlessly profess to; I spent it wanting to grab her by the pigtails, give her a good shake, and tell her to wake up and smell the snowflakes."

Chick's response was that it was precisely Anna and Elsa's flaws that made them role models—that, instead of being perfect, idealized Action Girls, they were allowed to make mistakes, come to Eureka Moments, and have Character Development. To her, this was far more relatable than if the sisters had emerged from their isolation well-adjusted and totally lacking in vices. "[T]he thing that pissed me off the most about [Coleman's] article ... was that it decried character flaws as anti-feminist."

Again, feminism is a highly-fragmented field, and there are definitely people who agree with Coleman, who like the empowering fantasy of being an Action Girl and want to see women admired for their moral fiber. But the point to take away is that a non-zero amount of self-professed feminists are okay with the averting the Women Are Wiser trope. Indeed, what the Chick wants is merely for women to be equal:
"Feminist theory within media isn’t about seeing more characters strapping on boots and fighting the Patriarchy©, it’s about seeing more and greater variety of character types on the same level as men. It shouldn’t be unusual to see a female character like Loki. It shouldn’t be weird to see one like Thor."

Removed, at least for the moment. There's still (one would say not very feminist) drama going on about this, and Dani posted a rebuttal to Lindsay's rebuttal. Also she didn't say Frozen was anti-feminist because Anna and Elsa were flawed, she said it was because they were under-developed.
09:09:49 PM Dec 27th 2013
"There's more of a consensus on fanservice: feminists are generally not against seeing sexy ladies in media, but don't like how often this leads to objectification, with Character Development deferred in favor of Male Gaze."

As much as I would wish for this to be true, the more I look at the stuff across the web and in real life on the subject, the more that this seems likely untrue. It seems that feminists are against any kind of fanservice. Even when a fictional woman is sexy and yet has a lot of character development, people just refuse to accept it and condemn the character as "nothing but fanservice"; the whole thing just reeks of Unfortunate Implications.
08:12:46 AM Jul 23rd 2014
edited by
There may be cases where whether it's objectifying may be ambiguous. In those cases it likely depends on personal interpretation whether it is or isn't.

In an example such as the one you've mentioned, it depends on the context. Is there a reason for the character to be sexy? Can you elaborate or provide an example? There's a big difference between a character being sexy because there's a justification for it and a character being sexy in a way that makes no sense beyond appealing to audiences. Compare a character who may wear a sexy outfit because she's going clubbing and it's the sort of outfit she'd like based on the personality that has been previously established for her, and a character who is an action hero but is wearing an outfit that is sexy without making any sense in a combat setting. Compare, too, something like a character being established as attractive and a character who is supposed to be average-looking or ugly bing played by a conventionally attractive actress.

Overall, fanservice that ends up emphasising a character's sexuality to appeal to audiences, instead of the character being sexy due to a reason that makes sense within the plot, can lead to objectification and be very obviously intended to cater to the Male Gaze.

By the way, if you're genuinely interested in feminism, a good way to start would be by not making broad generalizations about feminism or treating it like a monolith and try to look at the reasoning behind something instead of taking it at face value.
03:19:08 PM Jul 24th 2014
A woman in lingerie during a sexy evening with her partner? Not a problem.

A lingering cleavage shot in a Carl's Jr. commercial? Problem.

It's like the difference between Watsonian and Doylian explanation.

However, you're somewhat correct, Rahkshi, in that some branches of feminism, notably radical feminism and separatist feminism, object wholly to sexy ladies, arguing that they are necessarily in support oppression and patriarchy. However, radical and separatist feminism began in the second wave, more than thirty years ago. Since then, feminism has moved on to the third wave and sex-positive feminism, although the other branches still exist, of course. So some feminists are utterly opposed to fanservice, while others recognize that it is sometimes appropriate and acceptable.
03:26:47 PM Jul 24th 2014
Ahem, that post is several months old.

Anyhow, discussions on feminism have this forum topic - the discussion tab isn't really the place.
05:28:36 PM Aug 1st 2014
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@ Bored And Bored and Surgoshan

I've seen this kind of argument many times before, and I still don't agree with it, and even find it problematic in its own right. Going by the sexy outfit analogy that's used above, many would like to argue that it's "putting sexuality where it doesn't belong" except the problem with this argument is that it fundamentally ignores the fact that human sexuality has evolved a lot beyond things like procreation, and has already been found and projected sexual attraction in areas that wouldn't normally be sexual. All of these paraphilias and fetishes didn't appear out of thin air from a different dimension and invaded the minds of humans; they came from within us as we evolved as a species. I'm not arguing that it's fine to always have it be used in everything, whether it makes sense or not, but at the same time, I don't agree with it being restricted to one place and one place only either. The sexy outfit in adventuring/fighting is one such paraphilia(one that I admit to having), and I can offer and give in-universe reasons and justifications why such things are in it, but again, out of universe is always the big thing that comes into question; the truth is that no fictional character ever truly owns anything, because everything they had has been placed into them by the creator, and feminists have done the same thing regardless of reasons. These things always exist for the audience in someway, and when it comes to sexuality, however feminists and non-feminists use it, it still at the end used for audience appeal.

The argument about using the sexuality thing for characters is problematic as well because also ignores a part about real-life people, who do do things that are otherwise sexual without the person themselves being sexual. To say that whenever a woman dresses sexually because she is being sexual, regardless of where it is at, is falling into the same kind arguing that problematic people use to justify harassing women in the first place. Real life people do dress in sexual clothing without actually being sexual in behavior, so I don't see why it can't be the same for fictional women, because otherwise it's turning into a case of trying to keep sex and sexuality hidden again instead of being out in the open without having to fear judgement, which is something I don't agree with. Is it oversaturized? Yes, I would agree it is, but I would still defend against it having to be shoved back and locked up in the bedroom again.

@ Bored And Bored: It would be nice to not make broad generalizations of feminism, but the problem is that it doesn't stop feminism from making the same kind of broad generalizations and monolithic assumptions about things, as well as taking things at face value instead of looking at the reasoning behind it as well. It's even a problem amongst some of the sex-positive feminism, who still put restrictions on people that can still be harmful. The part you wrote about me whether I'm interested in feminism or not, is making the assumption that I don't know anything about feminism, which actually I have looked and read up on a lot of it, and I would actually agree with most of the stuff is said, but when it still comes to sex and sexuality(which is where I'm trying to keep a hold of and empower myself in what I like in, while also desiring not to be judged by others for it), is where my disagreements with them happen. Just because I have an interest in it doesn't mean that I have to be agree with everything they say, and it doesn't mean that I can't still find things problematic in what they say too.

@Septimus Heap

My apologies for bringing this into the discussion, though I thought that such things were allowed, because the place is called the Discussion Thread. Anywho, as I've said before, my own issues with Feminism only seems to boil down to the parts of sex and sexuality, but other than that, I would find myself agreeing with them. However, because I don't have an issue with feminism as a whole, I won't bring it into the other forum, though if anyone still wishes to speak to me, I would much prefer it in personal messaging.
12:07:10 PM Apr 17th 2013
There's some things that need fixing. I'm changing it. No matter what men should NEVER be accepted into feminism. NEVER. It's FEMINISM, NOT MALE PATRIARCHY TAKING OVER.
01:36:14 AM Apr 18th 2013
Okay, thanks for coming, but real feminists disagree with you so enjoy your ban for your vandalism.
01:43:38 PM Nov 5th 2013
"Real feminists" do not necessarily disagree with Misandristextreme. Indeed, radical feminism argues precisely that men should not identify as feminists for the reasons now listed on the main feminism page. Hell, I'm one of those radical feminists. That said, I don't know how Misandristextreme supposedly "vandalized" the page, so it's entirely possible that what she wrote was completely disconnected from radical feminist theory and may have just been angry ranting. My point in leaving this comment is just to make clear that some feminists do believe that men should not identify as feminists.
09:34:25 PM May 28th 2014
not only "some feminists believe men should not identify as feminists" but also this is a fact, regardless of whether we're talking about liberal or radical feminists. feminism is a WOMEN'S movement and struggle, WE are its protagonists and cis men have nothing to do with it; men are not allowed to identify themselves as feminists because they will never live the reality of being a woman in a patriarchal society. and there is no such thing as "real feminist", especially coming from a male mouth/fingers. I'll be fixing this page, by the way.
12:30:32 AM May 29th 2014
That'll get you in trouble, mate. We don't like people going on crusades on this wiki and not every feminist thinks that men should be excluded. Feminism is not a monolithic opinion.
03:43:35 PM May 29th 2014
edited by
it's not a matter of "being excluded". men may identify themselves as PRO-feminists, should support our struggle and must combat sexism inside male-dominated spaces. what they can't is be regarded as feminists: feminism is about women and only women. it's a matter of knowing their place — ALLIES, not protagonists. we'd be happy to accept cis men into the movement under these terms. (and this isn't a crusade, I'm explaining to you how feminism works.)
04:58:07 PM May 29th 2014
No, you're explaining how your particular brand of feminism works. Which is fine, but not all self-identified feminists agree with you about these things. Therefore it's fine to ensure that the article is clear that many feminists feel the way that you do, but it's wrong to reword it so as to imply that anyone who disagrees with you isn't a "real" feminist.
02:10:24 PM Mar 22nd 2013
This seems more like Useful Notes: Straw Feminism than Useful Notes: Feminism. The bulk of the article is about what feminism is *not*.

And there's a problem with that: Poe's Law. (No, it doesn't just apply to Christian fundamentalists, even though that's what Poe himself thought of it.) No matter how extreme a caricature of feminism is presented, it is possible to find actual feminist who really is like that. The SCUM Manifesto really does call for killing all men except the ones to be kept as sex slaves; Andrea Dworkin really did say all heterosexual sex is by definition rape. And these works are *not* universally condemned by all feminists.

One last problem: feminists are not all angry, bitter harpies—but this is an angry, bitter page about feminism.
12:23:02 AM Jul 19th 2013
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Actually no, Andrea Dworkin never said that, and neither did her friend Catherine MacKinnon, whom it's also been attributed to: However Dworkin did say "Penetrative sex is by definition violent" as mentioned in the snopes article.
01:57:31 PM Nov 5th 2013
It's also important to analyze what Dworkin meant when she said that "penetrative sex is by definition violent." Dworkin and many radical feminists believe that so long as sexism and misogyny exist, intimate relationships between men and women can never truly be equal. In calling penetrative sex violent, Dworkin means to highlight the misogyny and sexism inherent in the very way that we talk about heterosexual sex. Heterosexual sex is commonly defined as the penis penetrating the vagina. The concept of penetration is incredibly phallocentric and erases women's agency. This becomes obvious when you deconstruct the sentence "the penis penetrates the vagina," as penis is the subject acting upon the vagina, the object. If we imagine in any given heterosexual encounter that it is the man who makes the initial move towards penetration, then indeed we can accurately describe the act as penetration. But what if the woman makes the first move towards what we traditionally think of as penetration? If she is the forward actor, is it not more accurate to say that the vagina envelops the penis? This turns the vagina from object to subject. Thus acknowledging that heterosexual sex can also be described as "the vagina enveloping the penis" puts both participants on a more level playing field and can lead to alleviate some of the sexism inherent in all heterosexual relationships in a patriarchal society.
08:54:13 AM Jan 28th 2011
edited by MoG2
I'd like to know how the author(s) of "most [feminists] agree that it's fun to dress up and look fancy sometimes" came to this conclusion. Did he/she/they ask all the women in the world a) whether they're feminists and b) what they think about this topic?
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