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-   -   Feminism: Definitions and Opinions (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=125690)

kittling August 21st, 2010 9:55 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid (Post 5593355)
Quote:

Originally Posted by flimseycauldron (Post 5593347)
I think the differences here are the legal barriers that the Women's Rights movement was able to break through. Those barriers being broken was a huge achievement. The task for third waves, imo, is more about making the best use of those achievements. But again the more equal people of both genders become the less activism is actually needed and more inner focus is required, imho.

I think that's true to a large extent. There are still some legal barriers, but I think in the U.S. it's becoming more and more about enforcing existing laws and making sure that they're taken seriously.

In my experience, at least, a lot of third wave feminism is centered more on analysis and criticism as opposed to activism or legal battles, and I think that makes sense. I think today, at least in the U.S., people are less likely to support overt, tangible sexism (like denying someone a job because of their gender), but may be less likely notice sexist attitudes or stereotypes. So I see a lot of feminists today challenging things like the idea that a man harassing a woman is just a compliment, or the perpetuation of sexist stereotypes in the media.

I also feel as is there is tendency to focus on legislation and ignore social change. In some respects this is understandable it is much harder to measure shifts in opinion, and the way day to day activities have (or havenít) changed that to measure if a law has changed! However changing a law makes no difference if it isnít enforced, and that is largely dependant upon changing social attitudes.

I think that often the unseen work of feminism done at the grass roots of womenís daily life has had as big an impact as the more obvious work done by academic & affluent feminist Ė yet it often remains unrecognised. The world has already, I think, seen situations where women became equal in the work force but then had to go home to the same workload as women in countries where they were in the majority still housewives Ė thatís not a good deal at all imo :sigh:

All Iím really saying is that the home/domestic sphere is as important as the commercial sphere and think there has been, and continues to be, change in that area. :)

FleurduJardin September 14th, 2010 11:03 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Sorry to jump in with a non-sequitur, though it is within the subject of this thread.

This morning I got an owl from a male friend, a member of this site, with this question, which I think relates to misconceptions about feminism. I'd like to know what the rest of you think.

Quote:

I was discussing the film Fargo on another website and I mentioned that the thing that bothered me most about it was the character Marge. She looked to be at least 7-8 months pregnant and she was on the street chasing criminals and eventually engaged one, violently. When I mentioned that this bothered me, the following was posted by the only female on the board:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Female Respondent
FRA***, YOU SEXIST PRICK, THERE ARE DISCRIMINATION LAWS FOR A REASON

I AM ANGRY

I'm Fra***.

My reasoning behind this complaint of the film is that I don't think it makes any sense when logic is put to the test. Marge is putting herself, along with the fetus inside her, in danger. I seriously doubt you would find a case of a female police officer who is that far along in her pregnancy chasing criminals and engaging them phsically. If you can, I doubt there's a trend. She may cruise around, as most police officers do, but I can't see one actively making arrests and drawing a weapon and firing it.

What do you think? Am I being sexist?
My personal opinion is that the woman quoted didn't think it through, that Fra*** is not being sexist. I would react the same way he did if I saw a man carrying a small child (maybe strapped on his chest of on his back), with nowhere to leave the child safely, were to go and tackle a criminal, putting the child's life in danger.

What is the rest of you's opinion(s)?

MasterOfDeath September 15th, 2010 1:15 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Hmm, that is a very interesting point of debate.

Now I definitely do not support a woman this far along in pregnancy engaging in any dangerous physical activity but this was in a movie. In a film, things like symbolism are more important than reality a lot of the time (unless it is non-fiction or a documentary). Perhaps the director was trying to symbolize an idea that motherhood doesn't or shouldn't impair a woman from doing her job and being what she wants to be. Perhaps it works more as a metaphor? It's similar to the debate about female characters in movies kicking butt and beating up guys and everything. Some people get really offended at something like this because they say it's not realistic that a woman can beat up a bunch of guys, but yet when it's a man doing unrealistic things like James Bond taking down a bunch of thugs at once and never messing up his hair, they don't bat an eyelash. Fantasy is fantasy and we are all entitled to have them represented in film and stories, no matter what they are or how unrealistic it is.

I do think the poster on that forum was a very harsh to your friend and taking it too far, but there perhaps is a case for the other side of the debate, as long as it's not taken too literally and imitated in real life.

halfbreedlover September 15th, 2010 2:20 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FleurduJardin (Post 5609521)
Sorry to jump in with a non-sequitur, though it is within the subject of this thread.

This morning I got an owl from a male friend, a member of this site, with this question, which I think relates to misconceptions about feminism. I'd like to know what the rest of you think.

My personal opinion is that the woman quoted didn't think it through, that Fra*** is not being sexist. I would react the same way he did if I saw a man carrying a small child (maybe strapped on his chest of on his back), with nowhere to leave the child safely, were to go and tackle a criminal, putting the child's life in danger.

What is the rest of you's opinion(s)?

I disagree with your friend. I think it is sexist to say that pregnant women shouldn't do certain jobs, simply because they are pregnant. It amounts to sexism because only women can become pregnant.

Of course, I'm not entirely sure where his issue is. Is he angry with the woman for continuing to work a dangerous job while pregnant? Is he saying that police departments should fire pregnant employees as soon as they reach 7 or 8 months? In either case, I think he's being quite paternalistic. It isn't his place to decide what a woman does with her body- and as long as the fetus is inside her, it is part of her body. Without wanting to veer too much into the abortion issue, a baby is a person with its own body and a right to be protected. A fetus simply doesn't have those rights, nor should it IMO.

In terms of (American) law, pregnancy discrimination is sexual discrimination. Employers cannot legally fire someone because of pregnancy.

canismajoris September 15th, 2010 5:14 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by halfbreedlover (Post 5609633)
I disagree with your friend. I think it is sexist to say that pregnant women shouldn't do certain jobs, simply because they are pregnant. It amounts to sexism because only women can become pregnant.

As far as I can tell nobody said she shouldn't be a law enforcement officer, only that she shouldn't have been at work pursuing dangerous criminals while pregnant. Firing her because of her pregnancy is not at issue at all.

It's also not terribly convincing to call this sexism because "only women can become pregnant". That's the result of the definitions of the words, not any specific intent to discriminate because of her sex. I wouldn't call it sexism to say that a man should take time off work when he's recovering from prostate cancer either. The result would be the same if we're talking about police: it would reduce one's ability to perform duties, and it would also potentially be more than usually harmful. Those are the criteria that matter.

Being pregnant is a medical condition, and while sure, a woman can do whatever she wants when she's pregnant, I think society is at least allowed to have consensus on what she really should not do. Unless it's also sexist to say women shouldn't drink or smoke while pregnant?

Midnightsfire September 15th, 2010 5:15 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
If you are pregnant and engaged in behaviour that can endanger the welfare of your unborn then you are going to bump into the law.

Yoana September 15th, 2010 7:36 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
In my opinion, it's judgemental to insist what pregnant women can or cannot do. It's her right to do whatever she wants, being pregnant doesn't cancel it out. Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No. I notice the same trend with mothers - everyone seems to feel at liberty to criticize their parenting decisions and tell them how to raise their children (from what I see). That's just as judgemental, in my opinion.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 8:54 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5609728)
Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No.

True, but in many countries the social services would get involved if the mother was a serious alcohol- or drug-abuser (although admittedly that is probably more to do with concerns about how she will care for the child after birth than fear she will damage it in utero). In cases where mothers have serious substance abuse problems or mental health issues, there may be a case for the state overriding the mother in making decisions in the child's interest, although I really, really don't like women being treated as mere baby-carrying vessels, whose rights and choices about their body are considered secondary to the perceived needs of the unborn child. But in cases of alcohol dependency or serious mental illness, in many countries, the state also has the right to step in to protect a person (of either sex) from themselves.

In the case of a police officer chasing criminals/a woman doing another dangerous job, I think it's up to the woman herself to decide if she still feels it's safe for her to continue. She is probably best placed to make that decision and doesn't need the Nanny State to do it for her.

And what really annoys me is when a mother with young children does something dangerous like mountaineering or applying to be an astronaut and gets far more flak than a man with young children would.

Hysteria September 15th, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
I'm in two minds about this. I think it would be hypocritical to say that female police officers can't be on the beat while pregnant, but still smoke a pack a day (one is potentially dangerous while the other is proven to be). There's a woman at work who is about 5 months pregnant and doesn't do any heavy lifting or anything else that'll put strain on her body. It was actually the male boss's idea and I don't think it's sexist at all. He wasn't telling her she couldn't do it, but rather encouraged her not to and she was more than happy to agree from everything I can see.

I think it'd be extremely irresponsible to be intentionally putting yourself in a dangerous position late into a pregnancy but the idea of telling women what they can and can't do with thier bodies makes me far more uncomfortable. One would think that past 5 months it'd be extremely difficult to do active police work (as an example). If the officer is slower than usual or in any way underperforming (due to pregnancy, or anything else) this could potentially put her partner in danger and isn't doing anyone any good. Put her on office duties for a few months if that's the case.

canismajoris September 15th, 2010 9:27 am

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5609728)
In my opinion, it's judgemental to insist what pregnant women can or cannot do. It's her right to do whatever she wants, being pregnant doesn't cancel it out. Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No. I notice the same trend with mothers - everyone seems to feel at liberty to criticize their parenting decisions and tell them how to raise their children (from what I see). That's just as judgemental, in my opinion.

It's a complex ethical issue, and I'm not suggesting there's a set of rules pregnant women must follow. However, wouldn't a father be within his rights to hope a woman carrying his child isn't needlessly endangering herself and the fetus? If that is the case, I think it's hardly fair to blame anyone for feeling this way about pregnant women in general, even where their genetic line isn't at risk.

My examples of smoking and drinking during pregnancy: while they do in my opinion suggest irresponsibility, they were only meant to assert that this reaction is not specifically sexist. There are behaviors at all levels and in all spheres of human existence that most of us would agree are unacceptable. Children, and unborn children as well, are important to protect. I think it's fairly clear that we have a biological reflex to be protective of them. That's why parenting is often criticized (however sexist the bias against women versus men might be in this area) and I think it comes from the same place. People believe that the welfare of a child is more important than the feelings of a parent.

Tenshi September 15th, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 5609728)
In my opinion, it's judgemental to insist what pregnant women can or cannot do. It's her right to do whatever she wants, being pregnant doesn't cancel it out. Is smoking while pregnant a crime? No. I notice the same trend with mothers - everyone seems to feel at liberty to criticize their parenting decisions and tell them how to raise their children (from what I see). That's just as judgemental, in my opinion.

When I see a pregnant woman smoking... ohh how do I want to scream at her. That she's an egoist, who doesn't care about the well-being of her own child. Mothers like that should face full responsibility, when something happens. Everyone knows that smoking can endanger your childs health. When the child is born and something is wrong, then I am the last one who felels sorry for the parents.

As for the other example. When their parenting decision also endanger the kids health or are otherwise go against common sense, then people should say something, in worse cases should the parents face punishment.

I am absolutelly against "women should do whatever they want". They shall not! Nobody should. They are responsible for themselves, like they are responsible for the people around them. When my actions or decisions, influence or endanger others then I shouldn't be allowed to carry them out.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609759)
However, wouldn't a father be within his rights to hope a woman carrying his child isn't needlessly endangering herself and the fetus?

What gives a father the right to decide what is and what isn't "needlessly endangering herself and the foetus"? He is not in loco parentis to his own partner. She is a sentient adult, too.

Quote:

Posted by Tenshi
When their parenting decision also endanger the kids health or are otherwise go against common sense, then people should say something, in worse cases should the parents face punishment.
I don't really like the phrase "common sense", because it is so often used to mean "What I personally believe", as a way of trying to block any opposition (I don't mean that's how you're using it, Tenshi - you didn't actually give an example of what you think does go against common sense - but I find in many contexts what one person thinks is "common sense" isn't always as obvious to the next person).

Take in the example of the policewoman chasing a criminal - it may seem "common sense" to some people that she shouldn't do it, but she must knows the risks of the job much better than a civilian bystander and can feel the strain she's putting on her own body.

Midnightsfire September 15th, 2010 3:36 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
So...A man that hits a pregnant woman (that is already engaged in dangerous activity) is considered endangering the unborn child.
While the woman who has already put herself in such a position to begin with isn't engaged in dangerous activity?

Yeah..ok...no.

(this pdf file was an interesting read. It seems that some police depts have specific policies for pregnant women:
A. POLICY STATEMENT
1. The Concord Police Department values the health and welfare of its
employees. It is with that organizational value in mind that this maternity leave
policy was developed. The policy strives to provide the utmost protection for the
expectant mother during her pregnancy by removing her from the foreseeable
dangers of the police field environment. The policy is designed to be consistent
with Citywide Maternity Leave Policy.
)

Tenshi September 15th, 2010 3:44 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
A lot of people don't even know what can be dangerous and what might effect their health or in that case the health of the unborn. They think they are invincible.

We have laws that forbid ungoing mothers to work and also after giving birth are they not allow to work for a few weeks. I think that these regulations are justified to protect the mother and the child.

In the case of the police women, first she should work in an environment where she doesn't endanger herself, the child and others. I forgot who stated before that she might hinder her colleagues. They should give her the option to do easier work, office work for example during those weeks of pregnancy.

flimseycauldron September 15th, 2010 4:13 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
If she is that far along then she has already taken responsibility for her child. I don't know any mother who would take her child (of any age) into a situation where it is extremely he/she might get shot or severely harmed despite whatever precautions the mother takes. In the case of this police woman she's probably wearing a bullet proof vest. As far as I know they don't make bullet proof baby belly protectors. Also she is risking her own life. By that point in pregnancy if something happens to the baby the mothers life is in serious danger. The running and jumping and excercise may all be fine and dandy. Those are things that the mother can control. But the danger of the unknown she can't control and would be foolish to presume that she could.

canismajoris September 15th, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaszka (Post 5609835)
What gives a father the right to decide what is and what isn't "needlessly endangering herself and the foetus"? He is not in loco parentis to his own partner. She is a sentient adult, too.

I would say his share of chromosomes growing inside her gives him at least the right to decide that. Bear in mind, nobody's talking about imprisoning this woman, I'm only talking about perception and opinion here.

If some day I'm going to be called sexist or criticized for worrying excessively about my pregnant wife and unborn child, then I might as well give up now. :no:

Yoana September 15th, 2010 6:16 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
You guys remind me why I don't want to ever have children. Thanks.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 6:29 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Calm down, everyone!

Remember that the scenario Fleur raised was from a TV drama, so it was a hypothetical situation which probably wouldn't happen in RL, anyway.

FirefightingMuggle September 15th, 2010 6:50 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609860)
I would say his share of chromosomes growing inside her gives him at least the right to decide that. Bear in mind, nobody's talking about imprisoning this woman, I'm only talking about perception and opinion here.

If some day I'm going to be called sexist or criticized for worrying excessively about my pregnant wife and unborn child, then I might as well give up now. :no:

I have to agree with you somewhat canis. I think that the father should have some sort of say in the hypothetical situation.
I think that whether or not the expectant mother continues to do police work, or any other sort of work that could be considered dangerous, should be something that the couple decide.
The baby belongs to both parents, and it should be the decision of both partners, equally, to make this decision.

I am of the mind that feminism is an equality movement. If we are going to have true equality between different groups of people then it means working together to find common ground where all are satisfied (or somewhat) with the outcome. it also means that both sides get their voices heard.

Melaszka September 15th, 2010 7:16 pm

Re: Feminism: Definitions and Misconceptions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by canismajoris (Post 5609860)
I would say his share of chromosomes growing inside her gives him at least the right to decide that. Bear in mind, nobody's talking about imprisoning this woman, I'm only talking about perception and opinion here.

Quote:

Originally Posted by FirefightingMuggle (Post 5609919)
I have to agree with you somewhat canis. I think that the father should have some sort of say in the hypothetical situation.
I think that whether or not the expectant mother continues to do police work, or any other sort of work that could be considered dangerous, should be something that the couple decide.
The baby belongs to both parents, and it should be the decision of both partners, equally, to make this decision.

I'm not saying that the father doesn't have a right to voice his opinion - of course he does. I just don't think he has a right to decide anything on the woman's behalf. To discuss it - yes. To make sure she takes his feelings on board as well as her own - yes. To impose his decision on her - no.

I may be overreacting to some of the language here, but it's only about 150 years since we were in a situation (in the UK, at least - I can't speak for other countries) where women had no domestic legal rights at all and I can actually remember when domestic violence and other kinds spousal abuse were still usually not pursued or prosecuted by the authorities. We're not so far away from times when wives were considered childlike figures whose smaller brains or hormones meant they couldn't be trusted to make rational decisions and they needed a paternal, authoritative husband to discipline them and make decisions for them. That's why I get scared when I think people are suggesting that a man has the right to make decisions if his pregnant partner is doing things he considers unreasonable.

I find Rosemary's Baby one of the scariest films I've ever seen - not because of the devil worship stuff, which is far too tongue-in-cheek and OTT to be frightening - but because of the way that the power to make decisions about her own life are rapidly taken away from Rosemary after she becomes pregnant.

I know the whole issue of reproductive rights is a thorny one and I can understand that many men feel excluded from the process these days and why they would feel hurt and frozen out by that. However, while I agree that the fact that the father gave 50% of the child's chromosomes should not be ignored and he has a right to be heard, IMO the fact that the woman not only gave 50% of the chromosomes, too, but it's her body and lifestyle that is affected means that she should have the final say.


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