Friday, June 13, 2008

The Ongoing Gender Wars


Continuing a post from Monday, there were some more things I wanted to write about the firestorm of controversy. On Thursday, I snuck a peek at the Cybercommunity webboard when someone sent me a private message. I read the responses to my last post, but didn't respond and won't. Interesting that at least one snuck a peek at my blog and objected to my use of the term "feminazi" (no surprise, actually). The irony escaped her, however, because she had no qualms calling me a misogynist (labeling me) while hating being labeled herself. That told me everything I needed to know, but I knew that already because they often accused conservatives of falsely labeling people to silence them and here they are doing the same thing to a fellow liberal. I love exposing hypocrites by giving them a taste of their own medicine because they are blind to their own sins while they stone others.

People on the webboard know that I'm not perfect and because I'm honest about my flaws and defend my positions, it probably drives them crazy because they put on a false facade of perfection and don't like anyone cracking chips in it. For me honest dialogue is controversial because people will reveal what they really believe and if we don't like what they say, the more sensitive among us get offended and want to silence the offending person. I'm completely the opposite. I want the ugly truth over the flattering lie. I want to know what people REALLY think. I don't get that impression from these radical feminists. They live in a fantasy world where sexism is everywhere, where men who tell them things they want to hear is always speaking the truth (or if a man doesn't argue back, it means he agrees with their opinion when in reality, maybe he just doesn't feel like arguing). Because I share personal experiences of what I've seen, they don't like it because it doesn't fit their fantasy world where women are always the innocent victims of misogynistic men who don't want to give up their power.

So, they attack me viciously. Interestingly, a Mormon male who lives in the UK was the only one who defended me and his views were criticized, just because he wrote about his observations on the gender differences. What is it with these radical feminists, anyway?!? Why are they so threatened by the idea that physical and psychological (biological) differences exist between men and women? I thought the whole point of feminism was to gain greater equality in the workplace. Here I am, a male, getting paid low wages in an office predominantly made up of females. I have a female supervisor. One of my critics makes way more money than me, but she's in info technology and most of her co-workers are male. Another of my critics chose to live in the most macho of American states (Texas). So, it's laughable in a tragic way that they've made me the scapegoat for whatever anger they harbor towards the men they work with or live among. I'm not the one keeping them down. I have no power to influence anything in my workplace. I'm just a drone, seeking a more fulfilling career elsewhere.

I did a Google search on feminism and came across this list of "Myths of Feminism" which I thought was interesting:


Myth #1:

The traditional role of a woman is less significant than the traditional role of a man.

Myth #2:

Equality is achieved when you cannot distinguish the role of a woman from the role of a man.

Myth #3:

Marriage is legalized rape & slavery.

Myth #4:

Husbands & Fathers are disposable.

Myth #5:

You don't need a man to be happy.

Myth #6:

All men are untrustworthy idiots.

Myth #7:

Anything a man can do, a woman can do better.

Myth #8:

Never submit to a man; they are the source of all suffering.

Myth #9:

The purpose of femininity is to get a man to do whatever you want.

Myth #10:

The right to an abortion is sacred.

The reason I bold "Myth # 9" is because that is my deepest impression of what feminism has become today. Radical feminists aren't happy unless they can CONTROL the thoughts men have. Any views, experiences, observations, and opinions they find offensive, they want to censor and pretend doesn't exist. Yet, go to any bookstore and look at books on human relationships (besides those "Mars and Venus" books that were the rage in the 1990s) or about the crisis boys are supposedly having in schools. They cite numerous examples of the way men and women think and we need a translator, it seems, to understand one another.

I'm all for the idea that women can become doctors and men become nurses (both my dad and one of my uncles are nurses), or that they can be pilots while men are flight attendants. I support equal opportunity regardless of gender or race. So why the controversy?
I also read the dictionary definition of the following words:

sexism

1. The belief that one sex (usually the male) is naturally superior to the other and should dominate most important areas of political, economic, and social life. Sexist discrimination in the United States in the past has denied opportunities to women in many spheres of activity. Many allege that it still does.

2. Discrimination based on gender, especially discrimination against women.

3. Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender.

mi·sog·y·nist

One who hates women.

Of or characterized by a hatred of women.


When have I been either of those things? I want to see more females in public office and corporations. I believe that the inherent values they bring (being quality focused rather than quantity focused as men tend to be) will truly transform our world. Back in 1991, I believed Anita Hill over Clarence Thomas. And I was outraged over the harassment that took place at the Tailhook Convention in Las Vegas the same year. When Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Pat Murray, and Carole Moseley Braun won seats to the U.S. Senate in 1992, I was thrilled. I had hoped that Feinstein would've won the governorship of California in 1990 when she ran, but a Senate seat is just as good.

Even though we're bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, I'm fully on board and willing to serve if Bush decided to invade Burma to restore the National League for Democracy to rightful power (as mandated by the overwhelming majority of the Burmese people in 1990's election), making Aung San Suu Kyi the president to lead them into a new era.

As a teenager, when my church finally allowed women to serve in priesthood roles, I didn't see what the big deal was. I thought it was long overdue. In fact, when pondering who to ask to give my Evangelist Blessing (a church ordinance that my Mormon friends know as a "Patriarchal Blessing"), I decided that I wanted a woman to give mine, partly because if anyone ever said to me that women holding priesthood offices is wrong or offensive to God, then I'd have proof that God does indeed work through women. And let me tell you, my Evangelist Blessing was so right on target. I read it again a few months ago and even though it was 9 years ago when I received it, it's still as relevant today as it was back then.

My first crush in elementary school was a neighborhood girl I used to walk home with. I remember one day, we talked about what we learned in class about strangers and I had made a comment that all strangers were bad. She corrected me by using an example of a person she knew who was a stranger to me, yet he was not a bad person. I remember being struck by her intelligence and appreciated the insight she gave me. To this day, the women that have most attracted me or impressed me are the ones who appealed to my intellect. I totally view women as my equals in every way, so it is deeply hurtful that these radical feminists who should see me as an ally continue to view me as a villain and the source of all the pains in their lives (probably inflicted by Alpha Male types). All this over disagreements regarding gender differences.

I think I know what it is, though. In the fall of 1999, I had the fortunate luck of having two prospects to date. One was a feminist lady who belonged to the same church as me. As I got to know her, I was actually turned off by her political correctness and obsession with gender politics (including using the term "Creator Goddess" in a prayer). Once, when she heard the song "Mambo #5" by Lou Bega (you know the one..."a little Monica in my life, a little Susan on the side, little Mary next to me..." type of lyrics), she just went off on how offensive it was.

By contrast, for months, I had gotten to know a Mormon lady from the Dominican Republic (who also served a mission). She was easy to talk to, intelligent, classy, with a great sense of humour. Whenever I asked what her plans were for the weekend, for the summer, or for after graduation, she'd always tell me: "Get drunk and have lots of sex." Each time she said it, I'd just start cracking up. Well, it's a bit unusual for a Mormon lady to joke like that, so after she kept on saying it, I asked her why. Her response was: "I just like seeing you laugh and you always laugh no matter how many times I say it." Wow. That was probably one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me. What's more is that she loved the song "Mambo #5". She thought it was hilarious, as I did. Most telling of all, when the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal hit, I was so angry that I thought Clinton should resign and she said that he shouldn't. We disagreed on it and had an interesting discussion. In the end, she was right and I was wrong.

My point in bringing up these examples is that one lady is so obviously comfortable around men to joke like that, a song doesn't offend her, and she even saw a president's sexual problems in a relevant light (that it didn't warrant a resignation). Her ambition was to be a lawyer in Miami. I don't know what happened to her, but I wish I could meet more women like her. She was so easy to get along with because she wasn't always trying to censor thoughts and ideas, she had a sense of humor about things, and she could hold her own against anyone. The other lady was obsessed with political correctness, gender politics, and found things to be offended about everywhere she looked. Now, when you're given a choice between two people like that, isn't it generally the case that most people prefer to be around the one with a great sense of humour and doesn't get offended easily?

What these radical feminists are blind to is that their obsessions with the complete end of any gender differences has created a backlash among conservatives. That backlash comes in many forms, but the most famous is "Promise Keepers." While "feminists" have put an ideological spin on the word "feminine" (any time you add -ism to a word, you are an ideologue), no word like "Masculinist" exists. Why?

So, Promise Keepers is that back to the 1950s mentality of the nuclear family (or some might say back to the cro-magnon mentality) where men are the head of household and women play a subservient role. What do feminists have to say about this movement? I have some ideas, but I haven't read any feminist essays on the topic. However, I think it's interesting in recent light of the controversies my honesty has provoked in the radical feminists, they demonize me and label me...when I'm nothing like a Promise Keeper at all. I'd actually feel uncomfortable at a Promise Keepers rally. I guess in my personal philosophy, I generally follow the Buddhist advice of seeking the middle way in all things. Feminism is extreme on one side while Promise Keepers represents the extreme on the other side.

Besides that, I'm also an advocate of Hegel's Dialectic. The basic summary is: "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis." What that means is that you take any idea you're presented with and then you read the opposing idea, then you try to find a common ground between the two ideas. Thus you come up with a new idea. Both feminism and Promise Keepers want a society that I don't agree with and wouldn't want to live in. There has to be balance between the two. Equal opportunity, equal pay -- yes. Allowing natural gender differences to exist without demonizing people for being who they are -- yes. Feminizing men -- no. Making women subservient to their husbands -- no.

When I attended the Atlanta Community of Christ congregation, they started up a men's group that I was invited to participate in. When I saw that the reading materials they were using were from the Promise Keepers organization, I flat out refused and told one of the associate pastors my reasonings why. For me, I have a strong sense of identity and can see the dangers in churches signing off on things they have no deeper clue about. It was a little disheartening to see my congregation continue with the program (I think it eventually fizzled out, though) after I raised my concerns, but I made a choice not to participate.

Do the radical feminists give me credit at all? No! They lump me into this category of the kind of men I've never agreed with. I am a liberated male, as many in our generation are. When I see my married friends at home, they do a kind of chore sharing and equal partnership that many of our parents generation did not do. So, I'm thinking that radical feminism needs to find new enemies all the time to make itself relevant because equality is here. If they truly want to find sexism, they should join the Republican party. Accusing Obama and his supporters of it is beyond the pale. As I said before...when you make your allies into enemies because you disagree on something as trifling as "biology versus culture" in regards to gender differences, your list of allies will shrink until you're left with nobody.

Rest assured, I don't intend to post any more on this topic. I've said all that I've needed to say about the recent controversy. All in all, they lost an ally and a friend. Now when I meet people who complain about that webboard or about radical feminists, I can share with them my own experiences of being burned by the fury of these radicals who care more about ideology than human relationships and honest dialogue. It was kind of funny when the board hardly inspires a dialogue (as often happens when you only have like-minded individuals posting), some would complain that no one was posting anything. Maybe someday, no one will post but the blame is entirely theirs. Honest dialogue only gets you grief, so I'm moving on to people who can talk with each other without applying labels or throwing stones. We can all learn from one another's experiences, even if we don't agree with how they view it. But it's in the understanding of how another views his or her experiences that helps you grow into a fully realized person.

4 comments:

Margie's Musings said...

Ah, Nicholas, you are as offended with Krista's board as I am with the church's web board. I'll not go back there until Pam is gone. She offended me just as Terri and her family offended you.

The only way I would return would be if I would get an apology and hell will freeze over before that happens.

I was given a thirty day ban there for expressing an unpopular opinion and that seems to be your situation as well.

Sansego said...

To their (Cybercommunity) credit, though, they did not ban me. I'm just fed up with their ideological blindness. I never said sexism did not exist. I'm just tired of having a discussion and their bringing up previous disagreements in an attempt to discredit me all the time. When you argue with someone, it's only supposed to be on the issue at hand, never past issues. It makes me wonder if one of them treats her husband the way she treats me.

j janell cf said...

that's funny that someone would call you sexist or misogynist. you shouldn't worry about it, because they obviously don't know you. you're one of the last people i'd say that about...

Sansego said...

Thanks Janell. That's what I tried to tell them, but they prefer to believe the image they had of me.

Part of my outrage stems from the fact that they are fellow church members who are hostile towards me. If we can't have peace and understanding within our small faith community, how can we ever expect to reach out to those of other faiths and backgrounds?

They lost a valued friend and ally when they made me their enemy. I hope that they will meet a real misogynist one day! Just yesterday, I got mad when I heard a guy refer to a woman by a certain body part. I encountered that a lot in the Navy and I never understood it.