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Women, men, and labels

metafandom just exploded in feminism, so I wound up over at commodorified's LJ again, to join in the discussion.

I think I'll quibble about semantics. Feminism is the fight for equal legal rights (and with them, responsibilities) for women, and the attendant social battle for the possibility of equal social position, especially where gender intersects with the business world.

Coming bundled with feminism are activists, who fight for said rights. Sometimes this includes militant radical activists. And when gender issues come up, sometimes this means militant radical activist misandrists. (Hooray for the lunatic fringe of any legitimate movement!)

I am not a fan of militant radical activist misandrists; they generally cause me to either back away slowly or run screaming. I'm none too fond of the domestic passive-aggressive misandrist either.


Feminism should be the positive side of the backlash against misogyny and rigid gender roles. Misandry is the shadow side. But all too often, people say "feminist" and mean "psychotic misandrist". It may be too late now, but please, please, please, separate the legal and social movement of equal rights (and responsibilities) from some of the (scary!) people in it.

Because of said scary people, there's been a backlash against the spectrum of psychotic militant radical activist misandrists. Hiding in that backlash are reactionary misogynists, who not only object to scary militant radical misandry, but also to women breaking free of the traditional societal mold and doing their own thing. (Okay, maybe not "hiding in" so much as "creating it as a front and trying to attract feminists who dislike misandry for deniability purposes", but same general effect.)

Objecting to misandrists is a legitimate position. I don't much care for misandrists, whether they come screaming for women's rights and acting up in public, or whether they're an aproned homemaker with five kids and nothing but loathing for her husband and all other men. I think that anyone with that much hatred for one of the two primary genders on this planet has more problems than I'm ever going to care to touch, let alone try to fix (unless I'm called to say or do something, which is another story).

I think that it's an excellent step for feminism that reactionary misogynists feel that they have to hide behind the objection to misandry. They're in retreat now, and looking more and more like the outdated fools they are every single day. They have no legitimate leg to stand on, so they're relying on stirring up confusion about where the lines between misandry and feminism actually lie. That kind of confusion can be dispelled by being crystal clear and pedantic about words, and calling a reactionary misogynist a reactionary misogynist when one sees one.


(Next up on the revolution front: once women have equal social as well as legal right to do whatever they please that any man can do, men are going to start the revolution to be accepted as homemakers. But that one will probably wait until the power imbalance corrects itself more, and maybe it will be a non-issue by then and we'll be on to the next big thing. tygerr, you are as always very good about pointing out misandry when you see it and calling it for what it is; I wouldn't even be aware of it as an issue without you pointing things out.)
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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