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  1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    On Rolling Stone and UVA

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Steerpike, Dec 9, 2014.

  2. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I remember when I saw this story last week, it seemed almost too horrific to be true, whether it is or not.
    From my limited perspective, it seems like the best way to handle this is to encourage potential victims to come forth immediately. I'm assuming forensics is good enough these days to prove when these things happen.

    If seven people are capable of doing what the victim claims ( and I'm sure there are) then it stands to reason that are are also people who are capable of lying about such things.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Strange to come across this thread just now given that I was having a conversation concerning the harder edge of feminism with another member outside the forum just today. I wish I could read the article that Steerpike posted, but free of the rhetoric that the person who wrote that article clearly wants me to take as being just as important as the facts in that case. I want to engage feminism fairly and objectively, but I feel constantly blocked by feminism itself, like it has a goal of making sure that I know that I can't understand it by dint of penis, no matter the position I take, no matter what agreement I give. It's forever beyond my peripheral vision, to paraphrase Ani Difranco, artist and devout feminist. A few months ago, while looking for interviews given by Joni Mitchell, I came across numerous articles written by hard feminists deeply disappointed in an interview Joni had given and the hard criticism Joni had for modern feminism. If a woman as profoundly iconic as Joni Mitchell, a true iconoclast in every sense of the word, artist, singer, writer, painter, creator of culture, if even she disappoints the feminist view, what chance do I have of understanding any of it?
     
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  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This strikes me as slightly reversed. As I read the articles, they're not about feminism rejecting Joni Mitchell, but about Joni Mitchell rejecting feminism.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. My wording could have been more precise, but yes, exactly. The interview she gave had some harsh criticism for modern feminist direction and drive.

    On the one hand I have my personal experience of trying to engage the feminist conversation, trying to understand, wanting to understand, because there does seem a lot of emotive drive behind it, so I want to be informed, I want to know what it's about, yet I always come away from the conversation feeling rebuffed, and often with a vague sense that I've just been the unwitting dope. The feeling you get when you realize you're trying to be serious and the other person is just fucking with you for the fun of it. Not a nice feeling at all, especially when you feel like you've tried to invest time and effort into understanding something that feels important, and within which you clearly see some plain-fact facets that do need to be addressed.

    On the other hand I have Joni, a woman whose life is the very definition of accomplishment. Even the ugly parts of her life where she stumbled painfully are parts she accepts and owns and weaves into her art and into the larger Joni, the mythic Joni that is the institution, not just the singular woman. And, yeah, I admit that I have an obsession for her. I know what nearly all of her songs are about as regards where they came from in her life, because I've seen every interview, I've read everything she's ever written. I know that her song You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio sounds like a playful summer love song but is actually a scathing middle finger stuck in the face of her record label who were pushing her to get a song up the charts, which the song did accomplish even while telling her label to fuck off in the cleverly written lyrics. I know her song Little Green is about the daughter she gave up in adoption, with whom she is reacquainted today. As a gay dude, she's my Cher, my Dolly, my Bette Midler. I respect her deeply and I could only hope to be one millionth the artist she is.

    So I have this paradigm I'm trying to understand, feminism, and one of my artistic heroines, Joni Mitchell, has told me, indirectly, that at least part of what I'm trying to engage and understand is bullshit. I earlier paraphrased a refrain from an Ani Difranco song (I love Ani, BTW) from her song 32 Flavors. That song, her exquisite writing, encapsulates how I feel about the conversation. That song seems to send me a message that this thing will forever be just outside my vision and scope of understanding. The song tells me it's resentful of me because I will always be looking in the wrong direction, and thus I will always regret what I missed, yet it all seems by design so how is that fair?? Maybe she's saying that as an accusation. Maybe she's just commiserating with me and has the same complaint: how is that fair?

    Maybe I don't get it because I'm a gay dude and I don't engage women as breasts and vaginas and possible sex. They're just people to me. Maybe I'm not the object of feminist frustration and I don't get it because I'm not either side of the engagement. All I do know is that I don't know the answer to any of those questions and that's what leaves me frustrated.
     
  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well that does it. If Joni Mitchell doesn't associate with modern day feminism then no longer do I :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that to some extent "I feel like I'm being played for a dupe" may be happening on the women's side as well. (I say "women" because I'm assuming that you're talking to female feminists; of course, you could be talking to male feminists. I'm going to use "he" and "she" below on the assumption that that's the most likely situation.)

    A discussion, as opposed to a debate, involves a certain level of vulnerability, and a certain trust that one will be respected, on both sides. When both sides have been attacked repeatedly with regard to the very topic being explained, it's hard to establish those things.

    If he doesn't understand, "So why is being a housewife so bad? My Mom loved it, and a lot of people's big dream is to be their own boss," he needs to trust that she isn't going to attack him and paint his sentiments as saying that women should be barefoot and pregnant. And if she says that there's a big difference between choosing a particular life's work and having it imposed, and that a situation where a housewife is completely financially dependent on her husband can be a dangerous one, she needs to trust that he isn't going to attack her and paint her sentiments as saying that all men are untrustworthy.

    Now, this need for vulnerability and trust is true for any discussion--without it, again, all you have is a debate. But I think that it's tangled even more for a discussion of feminism between a man and a woman, because there's a long history of low-power persons (in this scenario, women) catering to the feelings of high-power persons (in this scenario, men.) And this can continue even when the men are supporting feminism--there's still the idea that, oh, my, this is a MAN who's helping us, we'd better try extra hard to make him feel happy and supported and included.

    And that produces a backlash, because why should a movement about equality treat the men in the movement as "more equal"? But that backlash can hit a man who isn't demanding that he be treated as more equal, but is instead just asking for explanations and asking not to be attacked while he absorbs and asks questions about those explanations. Yes, he's asking for a little extra time and attention, but no more than a woman who's new to the ideas would be asking for. There are many times when the woman is more likely to get a warm, wholehearted, open, trusting explanation than the man is, even if they're both basically asking for the same thing.

    Tangling it up even more, there are going to be a certain number of, "I just don't understand" or "If you don't understand, I just don't have another way to explain it" issues--on both sides. And it takes an even higher level of trust to accept "I don't understand it. It isn't just hard to understand, it actually seems incorrect to me. But I'll trust that that's how you feel and that in your position, it's a reasonable way to feel."

    That's a huge level of trust.

    I don't know how those discussions can happen. I'd love to have those discussions. I'd love to try to explain the things that you'd like to understand. If you want to start a thread or start a PM conversation, I'm so up for that, and I suspect that other women here are as well. But I can only try to have that trust; I can't be positive that I'm going to achieve it.
     
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  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know what Joni's issues with feminism are, but I think it's important to note that there are a lot of issues within feminism, as well as criticism from the outside. In a way, it's a strength of the movement - women HAVE been empowered (to some extent) and they've gotten far enough that they're able to start defining their political needs in a variety of directions.

    Like, there's a pretty huge backlash against the white, middle-class, cis gendered, able-bodied, western, educated, straight feminists who often seem to define what the movement 'is'. I'm one of those feminists, and I can see why people would be pissed at me and those like me. Our voices have been unfairly dominant. Within the world of women, we have a shit-ton of privilege. We may not be deliberately oppressing other women, but it doesn't really matter if it's deliberate or not, if they're being oppressed.

    So there's a lot of shit going on within feminism, and, yeah, I think it can lead to a pretty charged environment when someone comes in from outside feminism and starts poking around.

    There's a lot of great writing on feminism. If you're interested in the topic, you can read up on it without speaking/writing/asking questions at all. If you do want to ask questions, be aware that you're asking someone else to spend their time explaining something you could have figured out all by yourself with just a little Googling. And be sure you're actually asking real questions, not trying to make a point with hidden rhetoricals.

    In terms of being gay interfering with your understanding of feminism? I don't think it's likely. One of the most compelling arguments that I've heard for why some men react SO negatively to 'effeminate' gay men is that they see a man acting like a women, and since women are worthy of contempt unless they're sexually attractive, so the effeminate gay man must be worthy of contempt. We could debate that theory, but I think there are definitely a lot of parallels between attitudes towards gay men and attitudes towards women. We're your sisters, brother!
     
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  9. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've felt the same frustration that @Wreybies is talking about, but in my case, it's mostly been the case of me having been heavily indoctrinated basically since birth to be a dominant alpha male, and since I'm straight too, that has led to some ignorance on my part that I have luckily (and gladly!) discarded over the years, piece by piece, mostly thanks to long, enlightening conversations with @KaTrian, usually spurred by one or another issue in our joint writing project (since we have plenty of strong female MCs and equality is a common undercurrent or even a theme in our WIPs).

    I'm not "there" yet, i.e. there's still plenty I don't understand about the experience of being a girl/woman and I'm pretty sure it's not a thing I can ever grasp fully, but it's a path I'll follow all the way to the end.

    The thing is, yeah, the core of feminism is equality for all, but that's such a huge subject, that not all can be explained using only the broadest of terms, meaning at some point some things will come down to matters of principle, and since principles tend to vary from person to person, even in the case of one person as they gain experience and wisdom, I'm starting to think nobody can "understand" feminism 100% fully, not even female feminists because some aspects of feminism are not quantifiable, something that could be measured scientifically.
    Considering feminism as a whole, to me, it seems like an ever evolving concept (on the surface at least since the core remains; the pursuit for equality) that appears to mean different things to different people, at least on some level, or at the very least there are people who call themselves feminists who disagree on matters of feminism (e.g. what promotes and what hurts the pursuit of equality, what's equality and what's sexist or reverse sexist etc), i.e. when seen in that light, there are as many definitions of feminism as there are feminists and even their definitions are often fluid and change and evolve over the years. So a person can only fully understand their own definition of feminism though that doesn't mean you shouldn't strive to understand the definitions of others to gain new perspectives on feminism you might want to implement into your own definition.

    I consider myself a feminist because I see feminism as a cause that strives towards equality instead of female dominance (although I wouldn't oppose a matriarchy, to be honest), but I still have some obstacles that I need to clear, probably mostly stemming from the male gaze (which is proving pretty tricky to avoid on a subconscious level) and misandry (yes, you read that right), but as long as I keep progressing into a direction I feel supports equality, it's all good.

    As far as the Rolling Stone issue... I'm not surprised they fucked up and are now trying to cover their asses and in a despicable way at that. After all, they are Rolling Stone, what did people expect? Good journalism?
     
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