Feminist Friday: What’s Our Next Step? Semi-Open Thread

I’m trying something a little different today. Diana and I have discussed what she and I should contribute next to these discussions several times since last week. We’re not stumped, exactly, but we’re at a bit of a standstill. We’re agreed that education needs to be discussed over the next couple of months in a comprehensive way, and glad we’ve finally got that going. Here’s the problem of the moment. Neither she nor I have studied education very much, and what we have studied is focused on reading and writing pedagogy.

It’s difficult for either of us to write off-the-cuff posts about education as it relates to gender equality. It’s going to require some research. Otherwise, we run the risk getting our facts wrong, or of making some argument that accomplishes nothing except touching off a heated, divisive debate. I started looking for something to use in a post this week on Wednesday, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that even a casual Google search requires me to sift through.

All this doesn’t mean we can’t have a good discussion this weekend, just that I don’t have a post about a single issue. What I’ll do, instead, is toss out a few options and invite you to comment on any or all that interest you. Previous discussions are archived on a page at The Writing Catalog for your convenience, and to give people who join us in the future a way to catch up.

Last week’s discussion went so well the thread was still active on Wednesday. The campaign I proposed was well-received, but it’s not something a handful of bloggers can get off the ground without some help. We don’t have the resources. I proposed it to see whether people thought the idea was sound. It seems as though a lot of people think so. The next logical step is to put together a proposal and try to convince a few organizations to read it. I’m good at writing proposals, but they’re always better with input, and I haven’t given much thought about who I would send it to yet. So we can talk about this.

We can also talk more about early childhood education. Last week we focused on the fact that children learn first by imitating the people who care for them. That’s an important issue – critical, really – but there are other aspects of early childhood education, as well. We can talk about the need for children to have quality, structured educational programs at an earlier age than most children start them. We can also talk about whether or not encouraging more men to choose careers in early childhood education is a good idea. I’ll probably return to both these topics at some point, because I think they both have some bearing on last week’s discussion, but we can start on them now if anyone has thoughts to share.

I am also open to comments on how these discussions have gone so far. Things like:  What was your favorite post or favorite discussion thread? What stands out to you? Have you learned anything you didn’t know when we started? Are you re-thinking your views on any of these issues in light of the previous discussions? Thinking about writing something related to these topics in the future? What could we have done to make these discussions even better?

So, not quite an open thread, but a semi-open one. Think of it as a chance to take stock of where we are and chatter a bit before we get back to the heavy stuff. However it goes, we’ll have another discussion thread next Friday.

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  1. I feel like I’ve let my thoughts get away from me in some of my comments, or rather, have strayed from Feminism. Let’s consider a few points.

    1. I feel like we’ve hit on the topic of Respect in a number of places, I think especially last week. This would be a good topic that is a major focus of Feminism, and a large number of other social movements, and is something I feel like does not get taught very well. When it gets down to it, many of the comments here – about this being a “safe place” – screams at the need for respectful discourse in other places.
    2. We have a lot of people with media and media criticism backgrounds, and that could be a really good place to make some posts, to consider some problems seen specifically by our group that others might not be tuned into. Also, a good source of other people jumping into the conversation to create posts.
    3. There’s been talk about the idea of the maturation of humanity, which sounds good, but could be dangerous. Dangers include it being a turn-off to people who don’t know what we’re saying or what we mean, and it is a slippery-slope to further, possibly insulting language. Or to utopian thinking, or eugenics or any other number of schools of thought.
    4. In part because we have had a number of questions about why Feminism and Education go together, I think that re-visiting the idea of the label Feminism – and maybe also or in another post the ways that it might be addressed – is called for.
    5. When in doubt, I will probably reference science fiction.

    Those are my take-aways from the discussions and for things to consider moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good call. I’ve drifted a bit today myself. Time for a little course correction. Diana, Gretchen and I talked about respect quite a bit in December and January. Here’s a post from each that touches on it. Neither is the post I went looking for, and not sure if either of these have our discussions on the thread. I do think we should bring the issue of respect (and empathy) in at some point.

      I think your reading of the “safe space” discussion is accurate. I also think that, the bigger these get, the harder it’s going to be to keep it that way.

      http://driftingthrough.com/2014/01/23/would-you-type-to-your-mother-like-that-women-and-the-internet/

      https://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/on-teaching-our-children-white-privilege-ageism-and-maintaining-and-open-dialogue/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have finally read the post, and not the now 41 comments! I’m tired after a long day of work, a long week, and just don’t have the steam left in me right now. Maybe tomorrow.

    That said, in thinking about educational programs for early childhood, one I’ve heard a lot about is the Imagination Library: http://usa.imaginationlibrary.com/

    By getting books in the hands of children, you get them starting to be interested and value them. By getting them in the hands of the parents and the kids, you give them a reason to be together interacting, doing something positive and educational. The overt stuff that it is about is solid. The subtle stuff that it does is solid. It’s just a good idea. It’s affordable, and communities can pull together to get it fully funded to just have books being sent to every newborn in the community. A new book a month for five years.

    There’s my tired two cents. Unfortunately that means when I’m less tired I have to somehow top the Imagination Library…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That is acutally a good idea, and it’s doable. I look forward to what you might say on this thread if you re-visit it when you’re well-rested. I think we made some progress today. Me and Hannah found this http://yesallwomenblog.wordpress.com/

      No idea whether that blog is still active. it last posted 12 days ago, but i left them a comment, just in case.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Finally getting a spare moment to weigh in! A few thing mentioned here really stood out to me. The inclusive nature of our discussions (which I LOVE, which makes this a really special thing we have going) and the role of boys and men.

    After #YesAllWomen and all the posts we all wrote and promoted, I saw a few things. I saw some men, men who genuinely were concerned about their role in all of it. Men who were really upset that they may have contributed to some of the things that were being tweeted. I read a post by TwinDaddy that was touching and made me so sad. I had another blogger who I consider a friend express very real and raw pain over the things he read and his worry over things he does and says that may be contributing to women feeling harassed. These men were in very real pain and affected by #YesAllWomen. I would love to see a Feminist Friday post focusing on men and boys. How issues of misogyny also affect them negatively. How they may find themselves where these two bloggers I mentioned find themselves, unwittingly feeling a part of a problem.

    Also, in thinking about the label of Feminism… I find that the issues I’m drawn to: feminism, racism, discrimination of LGBT, etc., they have a lot in common. They are marginalized communities that are still fighting the concepts and restraints that are so deeply entrenched in our society. I just wonder if the idea of “helping humanity mature” (a phrase I now love, thank you JSherwin2013!) is a more inclusive way of defining what we’re doing… just thinking out loud. I have trouble with giving up the label of feminism, but I wonder if so much energy is spent defining and defending the label that could be focused on more productive pursuits. And I want men, like Trent, to feel like they do have something to add.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Gretchen, you continue to amaze. In addition to being a powerful blogger, you have a way of breathing new life into conversations just when I think they’re done. 🙂

      A few things:

      That moment of anguish men feel when they realize they’ve been part of the problem their whole lives is a real thing. I know, because I dealt with it myself at one point. It’s important, when you have a male friend who’s having that realization, to be supportive and help it along. We start out in life with the attitudes we’ve learned from other men, and the locker room culture reinforces those attiudes, which are not always good. Our critical faculties do not develop at the same rate. Some of us get tuned-in to the misogyny as children, and some of us never do. But for most, it happens in our 20s and 30s. This is one of the most valuable aspects of #yesallwomen to me. It’s prompting a few men to take a good look at themselves.

      I totally agree that racism and LGBTQ issues have a lot in common with the Feminism issues. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how to bring the LGBTQ issues into this conversation. I’ve thought about changing the day, or not calling it #FeministFriday – but I think it’s important for these discussions to happen on the weekends, and for them to be discussions for Feminists. Not sure what to do about the larger inclusion issues at this point, but in my view, discrimination is discrimination. I’d like it all to stop.

      I’m torn about about the “maturation of humanity” thing. On the one hand, it’s a good meme. But on the other, there’s a darker side to that whole way of thinking that could very easily drag us into post-colonialism and expose us to criticism of the “first world problems” variety. I’m not opposed to discussing the problems of imperialism, which is still very real in the here and now, but I don’t want to have that discussion on the Feminist Friday threads. So that particular turn of phrase bears thinking about very carefully.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Re: Maturation. I think you’re right, as far as the terminology goes.

        And I think LGBTQ issues are tied up inextricably with rigid gender boundaries. Without them, it’s likely that non-heteronormativity would be a non-issue. We wouldn’t have a framework for that if we weren’t so hopelessly bound in the binary. Feminism tries to work against this binary, though it doesn’t always do a good job of it. So I think we can discuss underlying causes together at terms. And we have to think about the ways that race, ability, class, and sexuality affect one’s experiences—there’s no way to really get at what women are facing without discussing that.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Glad you see that problem with the maturation thing. Was wondering if I was just being too Westernly-sensitive about that.

          So, what are you suggesting with the discussion of underlying causes at terms? Where does that start?

          Do we start with the binary, or with something else? (and dear god, how many times have the problems of binary thinking come up this week??)

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Not sure how much binary thinking has come up, but I have at least one other thought: the political binary of the US. Down below in the thread, there is talk of the Right being actively against feminism. And I’m not going to touch that one, I’ll just leave it there. However, what about the Left?

          We’re in a binary, in a two-party system. If the Right is against, then the Left must be for, right? That is how basically every single issue works in this country. Unfortunately, this is what I see as a result: what real impetus does the Left have to SOLVE issues of inequality? To attack them, at a deep level, and make them go away?

          My point: if they did that, then the marginalized – which by and large define the majority of the Left and their voting base – would no longer be marginalized, and thus would no longer be that base. As someone who defines myself by neither party, I think that would be great. But would it actually happen?

          You see these things being used politically, instead. Thinking of an example here in Alaska, there was a lot of focus around which election the legalization of marijuana would be on – because there’s an expectation of a Left turnout, and then, how will it affect other items on the ballots?

          I guess my point is, much like we’ve said with education – that the current institutions would be so unwieldy to change that it is not the way to solve the problem – I think likewise our politics has grown large and unwieldy and is often no help. Yes, individual and specific teachers or programs or schools can be good; yes, individual and specific politicians or local groups can be good. But as a whole, what’s the benefit to institutions from change?

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I see your point. Not sure what else to say about the left-right thing, though. The lack of incentive is there if you assume that less marginalized people really would erode the base of the left (and I’m using left/right here in the way it’s used in American popular media here, which means it doesn’t say that much about the actual ideologies. American culture, just in general, is pretty conservative atm, at least politically, but I think the pendulum has to start swinging back the other way soon, because of demographic changes).

          I’m not sure less marginalization would actually erode the base of the left, though. It could just as easily translate into more politically engaged and grateful people who support the groups that helped them. I’m not sure. It bears thinking about.

          I do agree 100 percent, though that there’s not much incentive for the institutions themselves to change. The U.S. is in a real bind, political structure-wise. The two-party thing is dysfunctional, and has been for awhile. But short of calling a constitutional convention, which would be fraught with perils aplenty, I don’t see a way for it to change. Third parties don’t work very often, in in the rare cases that they do, they play the spoiler for a couple election cycles, then fade. At best, all a third party’s ever going to do is knock off one of the two big parties and then we’re right back where we started.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I guess the shorter version of my thought is: I don’t think politics is the vehicle which will bring the sort of change we’re envisioning here.

          Like

        5. As to the idea of maturation, I addressed that below as well… it sounds good, but maturity is often something that we consider as having a “plateau” – and socially, that can be problematic.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok, so, a wrap-up comment from me for folks who check in again. I’m taking several things from this thread.

    1. We’ve succeeded in creating a safe space to talk about these issues. That’s good to know.
    2. Gender coding in marketing is something people are interested in.
    3. The whole issue of labeling and what feminism means is important enough to re-visit.
    4. Even though I am archiving these posts on a page, it might still be a good idea to devote one post a month to catching up and reviewing the last three discussions.

    I’m happy to go another round tomorrow, if people find this comment and have further things to add. Thanks to everyone for your support. I have lots of social media projects running, but this is absolutely the most important one.

    cheers!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve been thinking about ways to turn the discussions into action… I’d love to see #YesAllWomen tshirts, and maybe a place to submit tweets/stories so they can be saved, like those sites that call for WWII remembrances. Obviously that would take resources. I’m also happy continuing the thrust of these discussions, in general terms and in ways that affect us where we could ourselves improve things. After discussions on Rose’s blog about story creators and disability, I thought that might be applicable to the feminist discussions too. For instance, the stuff Rose was mentioning in her comment, or romance tropes. I think Gene’O said at some point that a lot of Sourcerer’s followers are writers, and they seem well-represented in the blogosphere in general. I don’t want to dominate further discussion with writer talk, but there’s plenty there for a short series or recurring topic or something.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve been wondering about connections between Rose’s project and this discussion myself. I sat down and went through every word of her series last weekend, and it gave me lots to think about. And yes, writers are well-represented in the blogosphere and on social media in general. I like your idea of a place to submit tweets/stories. That wouldn’t take all that many resources. We could just set up a blog, give several people in the group admin access to it, and promote it. Ask people to submit on the threads, and offer contributor access to bloggers who’d like to do the #yesallwomen thing in a longer format.

      It would take some time and energy to get it going and maintain it, but if the admin responsibilities were distributed properly, it wouldn’t put anyone out.

      I could set up a blog that’s sufficient to get it started in two or three hours, max, but I’d need three or four people to help. I can’t admin another blog by myself. Not enough time in the day.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Well, a little is better than none, and your time isn’t going to make or break it. Neither is mine.I have very little, as well.

          What’s going to happen is either people will notice us talking here after the conversation is done and weigh in on it, or I’ll float the idea at at time that seems good to me and we’ll have a whole thread in which I invite people to either buy in or shoot it down.

          Buy-in is great, but I’ve learned that having an idea shot down is not the end of the world. When that happens, I just move on to the next idea. It’s like dealing with a rejection letter.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. just went and scoped out possible addresses, to see if i could get a good one for later. yesallwomen.wordpress is taken, and the person who registered it hasn’t done a goddamned thing with it, which sucks. But look at this one http://yesallwomenblog.wordpress.com/ I haven’t actually read it to see what it’s saying yet, but still. Just look at it.

          Like

        3. We’ve gone as deep as we can with this conversation, thread-wise, so responding to this one instead. Because notifications.

          I went ahead and shared that blog with friends and invited opinions. Also left them a comment for them about us and a link to this thread.

          If everyone thinks it looks good, no need to reinvent the wheel. We can just help that one succeed, is what I’m thinking.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Much of what I would have said before running around taking care of computer issues has already been said (great input!) I think we have a lot of room to keep the discussions going, including by continuing the micro within the macro as it was put. I think that it helps fostering discussions without things being huge mixed bags or having specific angles for people to chime in (too broad discussions can sometimes be daunting for commenters sometimes). I don’t have much to contribute to the actual topic of discussions with my background that still focuses a lot on media and narrative.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, the micro-macro issue is like walking a tightrope. Too broad is intimidating. Too specific is intimidating in a different way. I agree about the “micro-within-the-macro,” though it’s not something I’ve been doing consciously. It’s been an intuitive thing up to this point, but I’ll definitely be alert to it in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My background is more in geek stuff, pop culture, visual anthro, queer life, and sociology with some marketing and food culture thrown in. I’d really love to chat about gendered marketing at the adult level sometime, as that’s one of my passions.

    That said, I really like the micro topics within the marco, like the one on early childhood ed within the marco of the Institution of Education. I think these are really great for sharing links and resources and might be of help to people writing about and researching those topics as well as people who are just looking for resources for personal education or helping others.

    Finally, I appreciate the tone here–that we can discussion intersectionality and how it affects us and others in a supportive way. I mean, yeah, I’m really angry at/about a lot of things in life, but it’s nice to have a safe space to discuss without ad hominem attacks, trolls, etc.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. *discuss. I cannot type.

      Also, re the anger: yeah, I’ll all-caps all day about stuff, but it feels like calls for inclusion here are never “YO YOU FORGOT POLAND” but like, “Hey, here’s a group to consider–how does it affect them?”

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Heheheh. Well, I live to meme. (I actually deleted a very old image of “you forgot Poland” off my HD last week. Apparently I needed to keep that for 10 years?!)

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you, Leah. This feedback is incredibly important, for three reasons.

      1. You’ve given me an idea for a future post that probably wouldn’t have occurred to me.
      2. The “micro-within-the-macro” is something I’ve been doing unconsciously, and now that I know it works, I can be alert to it and try to build it into future posts.
      3. It’s good to know we’ve succeeded in keeping this space safe so far. We work at that. One of the first things we talked about, back when these discussions were just occasional posts with three bloggers chatting on the threads, was women being silenced by Internet sexism.

      We’ve had trolls on more than one of these threads, and most of them have been polite, as far as that goes. They’ve killed a couple of our threads, and sucked us into a couple of blog exchanges that cost us a lot of productivity. We’ve learned to just dump those comments in the trash. We get borderline comments, too. We always look at the borderline commenters’ blogs before we let them through, and never post them without a response. The question we always ask, these days, is “if this comment lands at the top of the thread, even with a response from us, is it going to end the discussion?” If the answer is yes, we don’t allow them to post. Intentions don’t come into it at all.

      We’re always glad to have new people join in. But, if people are just saying we should give it up or telling us we’re wrong for talking about problems women face AS women, my policy is that they can say that stuff on their own blogs, and as long as they don’t have much of a following and don’t misrepresent us too horribly, I’m good deleting the pingbacks and not acknowledging their presence.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome! And re: #3, it’s much appreciated. I don’t get a ton of trolls on my site but I do moderate comments if needed, and I especially don’t let misogynist blogs post even innocent comments. However, I’m a small fish and in a niche, so I don’t have a huge readership or a lot of trolls compared to other blogs. I like your policy a lot!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. We’re pretty small fish ourselves.

          The policy is a work in progress. We started out allowing just about everything though, as long as it was stated nicely, and debating. But that didn’t work very well. We’re not really into the whole blog-as-a-debating society thing. We can do that on facebook.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Okay, this started out as a reply to Trent, but it got me thinking, and I’m going to broaden it.

    I see a lot of confusion about what feminism even is, inside the feminist movement. I’ve had feminists argue that men have no place in feminism or that women can/should reproduce asexually in order to “break” the patriarchal culture, for example. That’s not even rational. There’s also semantic issues like what Jenny mentioned below. The word “feminist” is confusing and causes people to stumble over whether the movement is about segregating men and women or whether it’s about equality. I understand the movement’s historical roots and I get that it’s been vilified in some circles, but there’s still a linguistic problem with a movement defining itself by who it’s for instead of what it wants. So that may be contributing to what Trent’s niece sees too with women not understanding what feminism is about and declaring it dead, though I’m sure that there are people perpetuating the idea that the movement is dead.

    To that end, I think it’s good to keep talking about ways to include men and boys, ways to address their needs and perspectives, ways to consciously teach boys about respecting themselves AND girls.

    A discussion about whether or not it’s a good idea to encourage more men to go into early childcare would be good.

    I’d also like to see something about media and marketing so much to gender that we have shows with 6 female characters and one male or males only in secondary roles and then the opposite thing where we see a number of male characters and “the girl.” I may have a post on that coming up, but I haven’t done enough research at this point and most of my examples aren’t current (I do have MLP: Friendship is Magic, a couple of incarnations of Strawberry Shortcake, and Winx Club, but that’s not really a complete picture.)

    I been tossing around some ideas based on Natacha’s discussion post for a while; those focus more on my individual perspective on story and media representation though. Probably not conducive to open discussion.

    I’m putting something together about educational barriers and single mothers; it’s taking me longer than I anticipated.

    Some organizational stuff that may be helpful or may just be my obsessive need to catalog things kicking in:

    is anybody saving these comment threads in a word-doc or other offline format? The Internet is transient, and things vanish. I’ve learned to save serious discussions like this offline for future reference.

    If there are relevant conversations going on during the week in other places (Twitter, FB, etc) it might be useful if we had summaries of some kind. It’s not always possible for folks to backtrack through social media feeds and I, for example, have serious issues getting Twitter to behave itself.

    When I was doing activism, we had kind of a “review” every month that covered this sort of thing, and while I realize social media makes this less vital, possibly harder, since conversations are happening in real-time, I think it bears some thought.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I’ll try and respond to as many points as I can, not necessarily in order:

      1. I had the thought this week that I need to be downloading these blogs in their entirety and backing them up on my external hard drive. Haven’t done that yet, but will do it soon. That seems the best way to ensure that the information is preserved.

      2. This is the second mention of marketing I’ve seen, on this thread so far, so I’m thinking about it, but it may be a while before I figure out what I can say about it. Any time you have a post that you’d like to post on Friday and use for the discussion, we’ll be happy for you to host it, and I will promote it just like I do our own, even if it’s weeks before you get the right one together.

      3. Thinking about a monthly review now.

      4. Diana and I were discussing earlier whether or not we might want to re-visit the issue of Feminism as a label. It’s been a while, and new people have joined us since then. That means different perspectives. And really, that’s where all this starts. We may just need to talk it periodically as new people find us and join in.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. I can’t contribute to a discussion of early childhood education, but I can certainly provide information on teacher education focused on seventh through twelfth grade back in the 60s when I was in college. Yes, given my age and the discrimination I faced when I went out to teach, I would call myself a feminist at that time and for many years afterwards. Now I think of myself as a soul who chose to experience the feminine side of humanity in this lifetime. And what a journey this has been! I’ve seen great strides for women as well as for LGBT, but so much remains to be accomplished. While we tend to think of this movement as achieving equality, I think it is just as much as humanity growing toward maturity. I keep the hope that we will move with the planet into a new energy where equality is the norm.

    As for the teacher education for secondary education teachers in the 1960s, the focus was on proficiency in subject matter and teaching techniques for presenting information to students of varying capabilities. There may have been something related to teacher-student ethics as well. Awareness of differences in sexual preference was low in society at that time and thought of mainly through misunderstanding. With the stirrings of feminism came advocacy for the LGBT communities. I’m not sure how history sees this, but I’ve thought that feminism and the hippie period brought about changes in thinking. Any comments?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The idea that we’re watching humanity mature (and helping it do so) is a really interesting one. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but it makes sense.

      And yes, I think that both feminism and the hippie movements contributed to cultural beliefs–they’re both massive movements in response to social circumstances. They have to be thought of a little differently, though, I think. Feminism has had a longer duration as a movement, as it seems to be a response to a more systemic issue. But yeah, I think both movements have been very influential.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. In Star Trek: First Contact, Picard would describe it as “evolved sensibility.”

        I like the idea of thinking of it as a more mature phase of humanity, however. Thinking of maturation means there is the potential for constant growth and improvement, which is what we need, I think, and which is something we see happen over time – generation after generation. Slow change.

        The fear I have with maturation as a model is that maturation seems to plateau, like there is this idea that at some point one can be “mature” where before they were not. Like one day we’ll just be in equality. Which sounds lovely; which sounds utopian. And in our imaginations, utopia tends to always slide into dystopia…

        If we’re not constantly improving, constantly paying attention to the need for change and betterment, then at some point we forget the lessons we’ve learned, and backslide. Since I opened with a reference to sci-fi, let’s close with one too: it’s like in Asimov’s Foundation. In it, we lived so long with perfectly functioning nuclear power that we’ve forgotten how it’s made, how to fix it if it breaks, and galactic civilization collapses.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I hadn’t thought of the plateau thing, but that is a good point, and your observation about the utopia/dystopia shift is spot-on.

          My two concerns with maturation as a way of thinking about it about it are:

          1. The way less developed cultures were described as immature by the European empires as a way of reinforcing those oppressive systems, and the political fallout that could occur when people who have experienced that attitude first-hand (rightly) call it out. It would be very easy to unwittingly use that language in an insensitive way, and since a lot of these discussions already involve hot-button issues, it gives me pause.

          2. We’re critiquing the “culture of maturity” as part of an entirely different, but no less ongoing conversation as a way of saying children’s lit and comics are worthy of study and can yield valuable insights about the cultures that produce them. And at some level, what we are doing here is very much normative. These discussions work because we’ve gotten a group of people together who share some very basic and general views about how things ought to be. So throwing maturation into the mix as a way of communicating our views about the way things ought to be has potential to produce a bit of dissonance, which is never good when you’re trying to communicate.

          apologies for the social science nerdery. It’s the only language I have to articulate this stuff.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. That’s okay, I tapped into my native tongue (science fiction), but I do speak Social Sciences as a second language.

          You remind me of a story. I was in a political science survey course, whole bunch of folks. The professor would introduce the philosophers we were reading by adopting their argument, in part, so that we could argue against it. When we were doing Hobbes, all of a sudden there were people offended at his use of terms like “barbarian.” I think you’re absolutely right, that there is some problematic language and ideas that come from believing one way of life being inherently superior to another.

          I guess another problem is that, to define something like “mature,” you have to be speaking from the point of having it. Mature people talk about maturity and immaturity. Humanity “maturing” makes sense in, say, Star Trek, because you have the elder race of the Vulcans coming to show a more “mature” example. In fantasy, Elves often serve this purpose.

          In the real world… who has that sort of authority? The highly educated? The elected? The first world powers? The Illuminati?

          The answer is: probably no one.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Steven Pinker talks about the “escalator of reason,” where once people start reasoning things like “that person has sensations and an inner life like I do,” you eventually end up unable to deny that human rights are a thing and shouldn’t be infringed. Once you’re on the escalator you’re basically headed to the top unless you hurl yourself down a few steps (or someone pushes you down). It’s basically grounded in logical progression and cultural conditions that encourage or discourage violence, not individuals or a culture’s “nature.” There may still be a hierarchy implicated in the model, but it seems less condescending to put it like that.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with what Diana said. Feminism has a much longer tradition. I’m not a historian of the movement, so, I’m not comfortable giving it a start date. But Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Women, in which she argued that half of humanity was denied basic rights and explored consequences of that, in 1792. That’s one of the great texts of political theory, written by a woman in the 18th century, and it reads like a feminist text to me.

      As far as the hippie movement goes, I think you’re right about it, but that movement also engaged in a lot of excesses that make it an easy target for distortion nowadays. A lot of the positive things it was about get lost in the drug use and the lack of grooming. Which is unfortunate, really. Because both of those things were a reaction to a society that preached liberty but demanded conformity.

      I do think that both the hippies (I’d extend it to include most of the big left-social movements of the 60s) and feminism were important in creating space for the progress we’re making on LGBTQ rights today.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I hate to just “like” a discussion thread and go away, but I don’t have a whole lot to contribute. Just a random thought: a few weeks ago when I was talking to my niece, she was complaining about female acquaintances who seem to have no clue what “feminist” really means and so proclaim it dead. All I can think is that the attitude must be purposefully spread, most likely through mediums such as Fox News. Why else would so many woman subscribe to such a self-defeating point of view?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Interesting thought. A huge part of the so-called death of feminism is, I think, that we’ve let it be defined by outlets such as Fox and commentators like Limbaugh. Another, I think, is that there are a lot of people who honestly believe that equality, or at least as much equality as there can ever be, has been achieved. That part saddens me.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks! Personal experiences are very helpful in these discussions, and you are always welcome. I’ll try and build on Diana’s response a bit:

      1. Ideas intended to damage Feminism and make it go away are absolutely spread intentionally. Not only because of the things Diana pointed out, but also because people who identify as feminists tend to fall toward the leftward end of the political spectrum in the U.S. So the right attacks feminism as a way of shaving off support and moving the political center further to the right.

      2. We’re still explaining to people that feminism doesn’t require women to surrender their femininity, and it doesn’t have to exclude men. The education of boys is a very important issue, long-term, to getting the gender equality where it needs to be.

      3. It’s not dead, but it’s at a low ebb. As a movement, it’s fragmented to the point that there’s no coordination, and as a label, it’s turned into a word that means whatever an individual person wants it to mean. That’s a problem, and it’s one of the most important issues we’re grappling with on these threads. At some point the cohesion has to be restored, and a more inclusive feminism has to emerge without it getting so broad that it loses its descriptive and political power.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I would add one more thought, just from the history of ideas. I think in recent decades we’ve been running into people touting the End of Things – the End of Science (that we’ll end up with a “theory of everything” and all of science will be DONE, possibly FOREVER), the end of history (isn’t that the apocalypse? Nope, Chuck Testa), and other things.

        And in many cases, as seems like what we’re discussing here, it’s posed as a question. Are we at the end of science? Do we know everything the natural world is made of, does, or could be? Doubtful we could ever get there. Are we at the end of history? For that to be the case, history would have to end. Otherwise, things keep happening.

        Are we at the end of feminism? The question here is one that begs, are we at equality? The fact that the discussion is happening at all means, no, probably not. And better, as Lewis’ Law states, the comments on a discussion about Feminism tend to prove it is not done: http://comparativegeeks.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/death-of-feminism-and-lewiss-law/

        It’s similar to saying that racism is done, or class differences are done. Sorry, Marx, but the time may never come when Capitalism is “done,” when it has perfected the means of production and serves no more purpose.

        The intellectual danger, therefore, is in assuming these things can be done. Let’s look at the most extreme example: people believing history is done. People who honestly believe that the end is here, who give up their worldly possessions (which always amuses me, since if the world ends, the people receiving your worldly possessions won’t need them or have a chance to use them), and then often commit group suicide. And yet, the great axis keeps turning, and here we are still. Y2K didn’t end us, and I’m thinking we’ll make it through climate change too… I really, really hope we do.

        But if we have people who can come to believe that the world is ending, and act on this belief – of course we have people believing feminism is done, and acting on the belief. Hopefully the people who believe this are living in equality utopia, in healthy relationships, good and fulfilling work, and all the rest. Something tells me that this is not the case.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It always amuses me when people apply that sort of thinking to things like history.

          The way of thinking is ingrained, I think. Not sure how much is biology and how much culture at this point, but humans need beginnings, middles, and ends. Look how many religions, starting with the first ones we have records of, begin with the creation of the world and end with an apocalypse in which good and evil gets sorted out through divine agency.

          I think it’s because we’re bundles of sensory organs awash in a sea of phenomena. We must impose order on the phenomena to make sense of it. Otherwise, all we’d do, all the time, is wander around responding to stimuli. I’m not saying that’s all humans are, but those are the roots the rest of our psychology grows from.

          This is why stories are so powerful, and have been for longer than we’ve known how to write. (again with the wanky language, but no other way to get at it).

          I really like Lewis’ Law, and i think you’re right about the end of feminism.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. You remind me of some Jonathan Hickman, which makes sense, given the topics he considers in his comics. A scene, early on, when Ex Nihilo is talking to Thor. Asking whether his mythology has a resurrection story – or whether there is a world-ending battle at the end. And you just see Thor’s eyes go big, realizing that he is the latter.

          Not everything is about the Eschaton, and hopefully, not everyone gets lost there.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Natacha Guyot and commented:
    Anyone interested in the Feminist Friday Discussions that I’ve reblogged (or once hosted) in the past few months, feel free to chime in. This week is a semi open discussion about what our next steps might be as well as possible feedback on the previous ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. No specific favorite thread or post per se, but I have to say that I often find some feminist spaces off-putting, to the point where I’m reluctant to label myself ‘feminist’ (I have other issues with it semantically, because activists in other areas don’t base the label on the group that’s marginalized – blackist? minoritist? special needsist? poorist?). It just frequently feels like people have a tendency to discuss in a manner that says, “Oh, well that’s not my idea of feminist, so you’re not a real feminist and you’re just further enabling the patriarchy.”

    I have never gotten that vibe here. I like that things like intersectional issues are welcome for discussion without people getting defensive, and that people are reasonable and happy to discuss ideas without looking for things to tone-police or be righteous about. I really appreciate this space for being so rational and welcoming, so thank you so much for that 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I’m definitely glad that you’ve found this to be an open group, as that’s certainly something that we strive for.
      I think we agree that feminism has been splintered enough as it is. The very first things we discussed as a group were identifying as a feminist and whether, even with its negative connotations, the label was worth saving.

      Liked by 3 people

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