@ Magick Man
Your new avi reminds me to buy the new Muscle Cars (Forever) stamps from USPS.
First, I should say I enjoy reading the comments from folks about equal rights for women. There are a few points I'd like to attempt to make, though I must confess from the start that I'm having a bit of difficulty formulating said points in a satisfactory way this morning.
To start with, I think stopping violence against women is vitally important, and in doing so it's crucial to view supposedly opposing sexes on the more fundamental and encompassing level of human beings. There is a certain bare minimum standard of decency we should afford human beings, and it's something that transcends (or supersedes) cultural differences. For example female genital mutilation: that's simply wrong regardless of the justification. In that sense we can speak of equal rights for women in a specific context: there have been---and still are to this day---individuals who see women as inferior to men. Just as there are individuals who saw / see certain races as inferior to their own. It's much easier to allow violence and general mistreatment to perpetuate when you view someone as a lesser being, as a piece of property and not an autonomous entity.
There are still parts of the world where horrific sh*t like FGM still takes place. Obviously most if not all of us are posting from locations where that's not the case, but even so there are still facets of our social geist that perpetuate the view of women as lesser and contribute to double standards, from the more overt examples like unequal salaries to more subtle ones like language (ex. using slang for female anatomy to refer to someone being weak). Just turn on the television or flip through a magazine: women are still the primary targets of objectification and over sexualization. Young girls are exposed to this from an early age, made to feel worthless if they aren't physically pleasing to men and fed a diet of impossible standards while simultaneously being made to feel ashamed of themselves if they embrace their sexuality too much. There's a mistrust of such female sexuality, a condemnation that it's little more than a tool for her to get what she wants. Even strides made in affording women protection and a semblance of dignity are viewed with suspicion: now she can cry rape or threaten someone with a sexual harassment lawsuit to get what she wants.
I'm not for a moment suggesting that men have it easy, that they're never the victims of stereotypes, or that no social pressures exist for them. What I find rather perplexing however is that at times it seems as though these unfortunate facts are brought up as if to negate the injustices women face, that because it happens to men too focusing on such hardships among women is somehow a waste of time or even wholly irrelevant. It's almost as if the implication is that it's disingenuous. That we're somehow distracting from real issues. Furthermore you see this accusation commonly bandied about that women "want it both ways." The argument goes that feminism is hypocritical because women bemoan the fact that they aren't treated with complete equality, yet at the same time they still expect people to hold doors open for them and still want men to go easy on them and open jars and fix the VCR. This goes back to the previously mentioned point regarding sexuality: women are seen as devious and conniving, so much so that their efforts to improve their lives are twisted into a perverse desire to do as little as possible through the manipulation of others.
I think CdC is spot on when he points out this mentality that puts women in the over-simplified position of being able to succeed if they work at it or put their minds to it, a notion that has a certain appealing kernel to it but often backfires in that it's tantamount to blaming the victim. After all, what of the gap that still exists in places? Are women simply not trying hard enough to better themselves? At the very least this sort of mindset acknowledges that women are capable; there's a certain well intentioned if clueless dimension to it. At the same time it can be completely turned around and used to argue that women aren't capable. It's the sort of logic at work for example in arguments that women are less artistic than men because there are been far fewer well-known female artists. After all, what stopped women from picking up paint and canvas throughout history? It's the sort of reasoning that ignores a slew of social factors such as lack of educational opportunities, raising families, social expectations and stigma.
Women and men are more similar than dissimilar in a lot of respects, and perhaps that ambiguity can be discomforting for some people. I dunno. By making someone else wholly Other it's easier to justify inequality to one's self. Even those who are well-intentioned and would go out of their way not to discriminate against someone can all too readily succumb to this notion of women as Other. The saying---now practically a slogan---of man's inability to understand woman is harmless enough in most cases; at the core of it however lies an operative assumption that women are psychologically obtuse and reside outside the spectrum of conventional logic. It's basically that same stereotype of women as irrational since man can comprehend that which is rational.
There's definitely something to be said for the notion of stuff like International Women's Day further singling out women, a point to which a few posts above have eluded. In fact, one of the more common arguments against feminism---from both sexes---is that is does precisely this: isolates women in a cause and creates further divisiveness where there shouldn't be. As some one put it, we should recognize brutality against all individuals and strive to minimize it in general. We should acknowledge the dignity of people as a whole.
I'm not so sure equality is as cut-and-dry as nullifying all differences however. I still feel as though there's more divergence from one women or one man to the next (difference within each sex) rather than between women in general and men in general; however there's also undeniable uniqueness between the sexes. I think there's a lot to be said for coming to respect---even appreciate---such differences. In that sense the "singling out" that results from International Women's Day is actually quite valuable as a celebration of women and not counter-productive in dismissing the unique parameters of womanhood. Even speaking as someone who likes androgyny and doesn't really go for typical gender roles often times, I still think there's value in notions of womanhood and manhood.
I mean what does "equality of the sexes" often mean? I'd argue that often times it actually translates to "women should be more like men." Often times the entire paradigm---the very stage itself on which the sexes come to negotiate---has been established by men. Until fairly recently even the most radical theories of sexual relations and gender were penned by one side speaking for both. Theories and academic psychobabble aside, what's most important is raising genuine awareness for the very real struggles many women still face.
Holy ship! Please don't let me drown in a sea of lust.
Amazing!! We used to own a 1970 Boss back in the day, those were the times ;).
Heh, I like your avatar
Well, the mistreatment of women (as well as the "celebration" of Women's day) manifests itself different across national borders. From there, it's easy to branch off into different cultures, religions, various other belief systems. I have faith in my fellow Diaryers keeping it civil, but I think it's still likely that the discussion may get political somewhere along the line.
Thanks, but all I did was make a post. Just trying to get the conversation going.
Gotta lay off the vids for a while. Unless... perhaps you could talk about that proposal draft as a thing the Lachlan DOESN'T like?
Even with our current weather? BTW, we had hail down here today. A bit unnerving at first, as the only solid objects that fall around here tend to be stray rounds.
Well, to be fair, the UN's theme for this IWD wasn't really meant to call attention to women as a special lot, but rather the continued mistreatment of women. To be blind to the former would constitute true equality. To be ignorant of the latter would be a shame. That's all I was trying to say.
Doug and me are just friends. The Black Diamond and 515SE are each our own pursuits.
I gotcha, thanks!
Which will continue long after this day is over. But for each new person - for whom today provided a spark of inspiration - we are all the better for it. IMHO
"Stick Shift" Saturday? How 'bout a shot of the shifter??