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feminism and sexism

 
paul wheaton
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It is my impression that there are two camps of feminism:

1) people that are concerned about sexism, no matter which gender is being discussed.

2) people that advocate the advancement of women - even if it causes sexism against men.

When people talk to me about feminism, I share this impression. They universally state that they are part of the first group. And then I state "oh, so you are equally upset about the sexism with the draft?" To which, every single response has been "the draft has been dead for years." Nope - still exists. 18 year old boys must still register.

I have had some women then tell me that it does not matter to them, because they are not male. My response to that is "then I suppose no man should be concerned with sexism against women because they are not female."

I think the problems with sexism still exist today. And while I have great concern in this space, I have much greater concern that for every REAL problem, there are dozens of red herrings. There are so many pseudo-problems being tossed about that any attempt to have a healthy dialog in this space is mired in false information.

Things are different now.

In the last few years I have stumbled onto a few things that I find helpful:

(source)















And then we have this:





Don't get me wrong, I do think there are problems with sexism for both genders. But I think we need to make a big list of all the problems and then start to take on the issues that are the most horrible. To ignore the things done against men strikes me as wrong.

The rule should be, I think, to advocate for decency and goodness for everybody.


 
Craig Dobbelyu
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WARNING: POTTY MOUTH ALERT!



I've been thinking about two extreme demands people tend to make of one another when things get heated or sensitive.

1. Don't be a Dick! (implied callousness and over use of force)

2. Don't be a Pussy! (implied weakness or unwillingness to be brave)

You can't be a pussy your whole life, otherwise people won't respect you. The world will walk all over you and you'll be miserable.
But don't be a dick because people won't like you, won't want to associate with you and you'll be miserable and alone.

Now think about the people you like AND respect and wish to associate with.

This is just an observation I've made and I think it says something about the struggle that exists between EXTREME MAN and EXTREME WOMAN. I mean masculinity and femininity.

And now I don't even know if I'm supposed to hold a door for a lady or not. Which is a real pain in the ass because now I have to hold the door for everyone. And they smile and say thanks. SO... that's a real pain too. I mean, people being nice? That shit ain't right. It just ain't right.

But the rule around here is a positive one: be nice!
It doesn't say what you can't be, only what we can all be.

Thanks Paul

Sweet deal.


 
Landon Sunrich
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I'm laughing that Paul now has infinity + 2 apples...

I grew up hanging around men, women, boys and girls all of whom where fairly well adjusted. Some of my lady friends consider themselves feminist and are awesome for it.

What has always bothered me is people who take things as an insult right off the bat. And those who over identify with a group and who insist that their group is a persecuted group and in turn you need to change your self to suit their idea of what is correct, non-judgmental, non-threatening speech and behavior - even before they get to know you.

and lots of other things...

I am easily bothered. Mostly by people.

I prefer to think of myself as an Individualist who gravitates towards other awesome individuals. Gender tends to be meaningless unless it ends up causing romantic complications (and they are always complications in my experience). Sexism (towards either sex) can be very real and ugly thing, but over-defensiveness as a primary reaction in any situation (which seems to be common amongst many) is a real turn off. Which sucks, because I'm sure beyond some basic insecurities many of these people are actually pretty cool. I'll just never put up with the line they insist on being towed long enough to find out. Sigh. Now I feel like a judgmental ass. Which I am.
 
Amedean Messan
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Your a great guy Paul. Don't let this addiction of negativity from a few people place a burden on you. Lets talk permaculture!
 
paul wheaton
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Jessica Gorton
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Okay, I've started some responses to several of the threads going on regarding feminism and sexism in the last few days, and haven't quite gotten it right, yet. This is a personal issue for me, and a complicated one.

I don't agree that there was any implicit sexism in the lineup for the Voices conference, and I don't think that a boycott was appropriate, particularly since there didn't seem to be any real discussion of whether there was sexism in the conference or in the permaculture community before it escalated to that. I am glad, however, that we are having the discussion, because there does seem to be real disparity of gender in the leadership of the permaculture community, and I think it's important to discuss why that might be.

Some of the posts I've read have suggested that it could be that men and women are just different, and men are simply more likely to step into leadership roles because of that. Paul's suggestion to women that feel underrepresented was to "Step up" (and I know you've stepped back from that statement, but you sure weren't the first to say it in a situation like this one). There is truth in both of those thoughts, and here are my reactions to them.

To the first, yes it is true that women and men are different, not just because of our bodies, but because of generations upon generations of fitting into different roles in our society. It's hard to say where nature leaves on and nurture, in the form of culture, picks up. But perhaps that means that we, as a community, have a responsibility to reach out and invite women to share their knowledge in a different way than we do with men.

Women are taught very clearly in this society that our value is in our bodies, and that women who are loud, who speak up, are generally considered shrill or bossy. Yes, Barbie vs He-man, sure, but boys had all sorts of toys and heroes - girls had dollhouses, horses, and Barbie. So to ask us to "step up", while that may seem like a reasonable request, actually goes against what we were taught is "becoming" in a woman. Not to mention, women generally "step up" into jobs that are undervalued and often demeaning, like teaching, secretarial work, service work, nursing, and motherhood.

Do I think some people who call themselves feminists go too far towards hating men rather than lifting up women? Absolutely. I also agree that we have to fight for equality for the sexes in all things - if there is a draft, women should be included, and I want my boy child to grow up able to be sensitive, caring and empathetic without fear of prejudice. I think men suffer plenty from the system that's in place now - another reason to have these kinds of conversations.

I also can't forget the history of civilization, and that for the vast bulk of it, women were second-class citizens, if not property. Or that rape is still a real threat for women in many parts of the world. Or the women of Saudi Arabia, still fighting to be able to drive. Or the domestic violence in this country, the vast majority of which is directed at women. Having a conference of Voices is all well and good, but women have only had any real voice in the conversation for a couple of generations, and we're still fighting to give that voice to every woman, and we're only just learning how to use our own voices, and how to teach our daughters to use theirs.

And that's another point - Paul, you make it very clear what your stance is on "purple" or "woo-woo" topics. You also don't like to wade into issues of politics or social justice. And that's fine - it's your life energy to focus in whatever direction you choose. But you do leave a lot of women out of the conversation because of it, women traditionally being the keepers of the culture's moral compass, as well as drivers of social justice and anti-war movements.

I happen to agree that metaphysics doesn't have a place in a "design science", but in terms of the political and moral arena, I can't personally see how permaculture can ignore it. Permaculture changes how we live with nature, and has the potential to structurally change how we interact culturally, but only if we ask the questions, "What does a sustainable government and economy look like?" and "How can every person live without fear of starvation or violence?". While food systems and energy are important parts of what needs to change, they're not the whole picture. I believe that if permaculture can't help us answer those questions, then it won't save us.

There is no evidence that the permaculture community has any inherent sexism in it. But that doesn't mean that we are exempt from the double standards and injustices that are perpetuated in our larger society, and I would hope, as people who are striving towards what we think is a better way, that we would examine closely our own prejudices as we go, to make our shared future an equitable one.


 
Adam Klaus
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If there was even any doubt that Paul sees the world a bit more clearly than most, this thread is the proof.

And done with humor!?! You bet. For The motherfucking Win Paul!

Can we move on to real shit now? Instead of imagined shit?

Lots of good work to do....
 
David Livingston
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Well said Jessica !
I think that we live in a sexist society and here in France it's even worse than the UK.
Also while I think that the likes of topless models in " news papers" is wrong so is the actions of the group Fremen too.

David
 
wayne stephen
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I think we need to nurture a culture that honors the individual as the basic unit of society . Every group - Men , Women , Black , White , Gay , Jewish , Muslim - is different from every other group . Groups are easily divided from other groups . People in groups is an easily exploitable commodity . More important is that each individual within those groups is a unique one-off . When you view an individual human being in their totality you see them not only as unique but also as a member of many groups and subsets . View each subset on a diagram - Man , Father , Spouse , Christian , Democrat , Weekend Warrior - not as a series of concentric circles but a series of interlocking rings that connect the individual to others in a complex pattern that politicians and propagandists are unable to exploit. The bonds that individual forms with other individuals coming together as groups are more dynamic than any political , gendered , or ethnic divisions . That is , if you value the individual more than the group .
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Adam Klaus wrote:If there was even any doubt that Paul sees the world a bit more clearly than most, this thread is the proof.

And done with humor!?! You bet. For The motherfucking Win Paul!

Can we move on to real shit now? Instead of imagined shit?

Lots of good work to do....


I think that Paul has many valid points. I am in TOTAL AGREEMENT that we all have biases and they need to be looked at. I also think that statistics can go both ways.

For example:

--The assumption of the man and woman who “choose” not to be a father or a mother assumes that the woman had an abortion. It assumes abortion was an option for her and if it was that there were no social barriers to her having one. It also assumes that she didn’t have the baby and then give it up for adoption. It also assumes that there would be no social shaming of the woman if she decided to have the baby. How many girls/women have been publically shamed because they were “unwed mothers”. How many boys/men have been publically shamed because they were “unwed fathers”. Why is a baby born to an unwed mother deemed “illegitimate” and stigmatized, even though the child is “legitimately” alive regardless if the father chooses to recognize it? Why do we have nasty labels for these children, like “bastard”? Historically, why have mothers dropped out or been forced out of school to raise children when fathers have not?

--Why has the Equal Rights Amendment, first brought before Congress in 1923, never been ratified? I think that if I am unequal, then I shouldn’t have to be part of a draft. If I am equal, then I should.

I think the use of the term "motherfucking" is interesting. Why not use "fucking" or "fatherfucking"?

I think the fact that this whole topic of conversation is seen as a game to "win" speaks volumes about why many people who would like to participate in this conversation do not - including the "gentle souls" of both genders. As does the comment “can we move on with real shit now? Instead of imaginary shit?”

Shaming a group of people trying to have an adult conversation about issues that have plagued all societies in all times – where does that get us? I think the comment could have just as easily been “Shut the hell up about something that makes me uncomfortable enough to want to shout you down and I hope by using strong language and cheering on ‘my side’ that you will be cowed enough to shut up and never bring up this subject again.”
I think this how conversations become exclusionary – because people use mocking, derisive tones and effectively shut down the conversation.

I think the post quoted above is the antithesis of "nice".

I think there are other ways that we can have reasoned conversations about hot issue topics. I hope that we can all use the real skills we have as permaculturists and problem solvers to create an inviting space where people feel safe to share their thoughts.
 
Matu Collins
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I'm tired of people giving me their pity because I have three small boys. I can't count how many people who have said things that indicate both the idea that boys are a burden and the idea that everyone knows this and agrees. My boys have a lot of energy and I am grateful for it. I had children because I wanted children. I had children because I want to raise the next generation of PEOPLE to carry out the permaculture principles and make a future possible. I'm working to ensure that my boys grow into capable and honorable men. They need that energy!

Grumble grumble.

I'm pondering becoming a masculinist.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I'm a stay at home, home schooling, permaculture focused father of two young kids. One boy and one girl. My wife is a professional career woman who earns ALL the money. We like to joke that her job is bring home the bacon and my job is to turn it into a permaculture paradise. In other words, I do all the cooking, cleaning, child care, animal care, gardening, wood cutting, SAVING ... yeah everything except laundry and earning cash money. I just hate laundry. To be fair, I wear the same clothes for a few days so the laundry isn't too much of a task for my wife. My sole purpose in life is to ensure the overall well being of my family by diversifying things enough to make sure nothing ever impedes my ability to be with them. I love them. Even the little crazy one

My wife pointed out an interesting observation that she's noticed in "our" situation.

When people hear about this arrangement they have a pity party for my wife. It's almost always assumed that I'm not able to work or that I am lazy and she's picking up the slack. It's even worse when they find out that I have a college degree that I'm not using. For some reason a Stay-at Home Dad isn't given the same "hero worship" that a stay at home mom is.

The most common responses that my wife get's are as follows.

"oh that's too bad that he doesn't work. You could be so much better off with two incomes." This assumes a stranger is better suited to taking care of my kids than I am and that I'm only good for "working outside of the home".

"don't you worry about your kids being raised by a man than by their mother?" This assumes I'm not as compassionate, caring or capable as a woman in this area.

"why doesn't he get a job so that you can stay home and relax more" This assumes that "normal" is a working man and a house wife, and that a reversal must be an inferior situation.


Ummm Am I the only one who thinks this is just a little fucked up? If I had a vagina, I'd be a Super Woman, but because I have a penis, I'm automatically not as good as a woman in my same position.

I'd like to hear what others think of this. Why is a role reversal in this regard seen in this way? Why are stay at home dads not seen as at least equal to stay at home moms?

How come I have to make up a nice sounding title for myself just to get a little respect in the hardware store?
I gotta say I'm a "landscape design consultant". Then when they ask about my services I have to tell them that while I offer a huge range of services, I only work for one client and have no openings for further contracts at this point in time. That's just so I don't have to get that fucked up look that people give me when I say I'm a stay at home dad. Sorry, I'm fresh out of business cards.

Just sayin

Anyone else in a similar situation? Anyone have thoughts on this angle of the "sexism/Feminism" question?

 
Jessica Gorton
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Craig, those kinds of responses are sexist. You happen to have a life that crosses people's expectations of gender normality, and their reactions to that are sexist. Congratulations - you have first-hand experiences that give you insights into what it feels like to be a woman!

I'm only being a little facetious, there. Because, to be honest, stay-at-home-anything is never a job with lots of accolades - there may be a lot of "super woman" talk, mostly from the Hallmark folks, but in terms of real community support, nope. And women are stuck in this no-man's-land (hmmm, pun not intended?) where half the idiots think she should stay at home for the good of her children, the other half want her to "lean in" (stupidest self-help mantra of the new millenium, for sure), and some asshole sadists try to get her to see that she can "have it all!!". Having it all - maybe the most anti-permaculture sentiment of all time.

I get that it feels like those people are somehow insulting your choices, or belittling you, but it seems to me that they are belittling the job of "mothering" that you've taken on. You must be lazy or selfish towards your wife, because why would any intelligent, hard-working man want to do such worthless work? Your wife must be so exhausted, having to do all that real work, while the rest of us housewives have it so easy...

I agree that no one should think that a man can't have the same gentleness or compassion that a woman could. That's totally sexist. So why do you feel like you have to come up with a "manly" job description for yourself when at the hardware store? Do you see that doing that feeds the same sexism? I think you should take pride in your place as homemaker, and show those dudes with their hammers that there are more ways than theirs to be a man.

That's the thing about sexism - and what all those double-standards highlight - it hurts all of us, including men. Any cultural norms that rigidly define roles are going to limit the full expression of humanity, and I for one think that's a bad thing.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Craig - I think people expect the "norm". Outside of the norm, people try to make sense of things. In doing so, they come up with nonsensical explanations or rationalizations.

"Homemaker" is sometimes celebrated but more often a title that is denigrated for both men and women - but at least for women it is a traditional role. The rationalization would then be - why, given the choice and a college degree, would a MAN want to do such an unglamorous job? This could lead to thinking there must be something "wrong" with the man who chooses to be a homemaker. He is "lazy", "stupid", "not driven enough" etc. Just because he finds childrearing and home economics to be worthwhile things to do, and because he and his partner have the type of mutually beneficial relationship that allows for this. People not being able to wrap their minds around something often leads to making the thing causing them to think outside the box bad and wrong.

I know several guys who are in your position and they say the same thing. They are thought of as "less than" or somehow incapable of holding a "real job".

The reverse can also be true. When women fought to work outside the home they were often seen as "pushy, aggressive" women who had no chance of finding a husband to "take care of her". She was somehow unfeminine for wanting to do something other than being a homemaker. And was made bad and wrong for so doing.

When I was 20 years old, I sought to have my tubes tied. I have never, ever, wanted to have kids. It's just something that didn't appeal to me. I went around to several different doctors and asked them to perform the operation. They would not. Every one of them, both male and female, told me that they were afraid I would change my mind and later regret my decision. To them I said that I would accept my decision and adopt - am I not an adult and capable of living with my decisions? A few were even shocked and appalled that I would even consider this as all women should experience motherhood and that I was being selfish by not wanting children (what?!?).

Again, the assumption was that women want children. That was the "norm". Not wanting them was somehow bad and wrong and I should be made to feel bad for even thinking such thoughts. I never did get my tubes tied, never had kids and never regretted it. My decisions and feelings are still vilified by some.

 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I think the point I was trying to make was that my wife is on the receiving end of a lot of this criticism. I'm home so I don't really have to deal with it. It's as if she's the victim of and the accomplice in a situation that for most people, just doesn't stack up. So it makes her feel like people think she's a "poor thing"/ victim of the patriarchy.

It's also been a challenge for some of our extended family to understand. Some of them are from the "old world", I mean... right off the boat... No english. A MAN SHOULD NOT BE CHANGING DIAPERS! so say they. It's been tough getting them to see that I can wipe bums too.

Jessica hit on some really good points too.
Why am I making up shit? Well, it's mostly a factual statement that I've worded to make it sound like a money job. So instead of " I'm a stay-at home dad" (which comes with some baggage) I choose to say that I have an exclusive clientele that takes up all of my working hours. I get paid in songs and smiles, hugs and kisses, and vomit from time to time as well. In the hardware store, it gets me better deals on stuff from time to time. Certain DOT crews are more willing to deliver wood chips to a "landscaper" for free than "Mr. MOM".
I admit that the wording changes from situation to situation. When I bring the kids to the doctor, I hype up the "organic farming" thing so that they see an emphasis in quality food and nutrition as well as a caring parent who's always available to their children. I get respect for that.
So maybe it's that I do so many different things that I can't really explain it all in a simple way so I just choose to pick the easiest piece for a particular person to grasp and I use that. Most conversations don't last more than a minute anyway.

Man guy at the hardware store
Mr. Mom at the doctors
Gear head Guy at the mechanic
Super Dad at the park
Landscape designer at the greenhouse
Fisherman at the docks



Perhaps I'm just adapting to my environment just to avoid the hassle. Let's face it, most people aren't listening when we talk anyway.

Oh... I wore a dress (think prom dress) to high school in protest over a dress code that eliminated "pants with rivits" as well as many other things. This was in response to the columbine shootings. Having nothing other than a stack of jeans (copper rivited) I wore a dress. The administration was not pleased when I noted that there were no rules in the new dress code that said a boy couldn't wear a dress. They reprinted the entire 40 page booklet to include a line that banned kids from "dressing in a manner that was a distraction to the other students ability to learn".
40 pages X 800 students= waste of money for a dumb rule.
 
Matu Collins
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Craig, you're not making things up! You are a landscape designer.

I do a very similar job to you. I think I've of the reasons I call our place a farm rather than a homestead is that it sounds more like a job to manage a farm than a home.
 
Cj Sloane
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I was talking to my daughter & remembered this awesome bit Laurie Anderson did about protesting the exploitation of playboy bunnies from the 80's/90s & I was glad I actually found it:
 
Matu Collins
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http://www.policymic.com/articles/88731/wharton-study-shows-the-shocking-result-when-women-and-minorities-email-their-professors

This is is a really interesting study about academia. I like the research design.
 
paul wheaton
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Sam Barber
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Herre is an example of one double standard being fixed.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/judge-questions-why-only-the-boy-is-charged-in-underage-sex-case/story-fni6uo1m-1226934612872
 
wayne stephen
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I found this TEDTalk intersting . Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook :

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Wayne - thank you for posting that - it was EPIC!

I appreciate the fact that Sheryl Sandberg doesn't make either men or women wrong. To me, this video felt like breath of fresh air.


 
wayne stephen
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Camile Paglia said :

"If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts."

I think that was meant as criticism . For the Earths sake and humanitys' future evolution that may have been a good thing .

Alternetely Kurt Vonnegut has stated :

"Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia."

Carry On , Permie Ladies !
 
wayne stephen
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At one point in my younger years I bought into a critique of masculinty that left me shamed . I don't like being ashamed so I quickly formed a world view that left self esteem available to me . Without putting others under my feet . Camile Paglia and Vonnegut have always made me laugh and think about humanity and individuals . To step outside isms and scisms' . I am a man and I don't assume guilt for the collective crimes perpertrated by men before me .



I like peacemakers like Vonnegut . I also like people who can make people on both sides of an issue squirm in their seats .
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Jennifer Wadsworth
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I would love to be locked in a room with Camile Paglia for a day. I would LOVE to have an argument with her.

I think part of what she's doing is acting out her role of contrarian. Some people are made for that role. I know it well as I often do it myself. She has some really valid points. But she makes them by MAKING OTHERS WRONG. This is what I'm tired of. This is why Sheryl Sandberg's TED talk was such a blast of fresh air.

The part about biology - yep - we're different. However, I don't think that translates into women not going out into the world and being geniuses. How does that work? I don't feel like men are motivated to create stuff because they somehow don't know who they are because they can't give birth. WTF? I'm motivated to create stuff because I CAN give birth. I want a better world for those who come after me. How is creative genius limited to men? Perhaps it looks that way because women have been limited to roles predicated upon biology in the past. And, in many cases, women could not receive or did not receive credit for their creative genius - especially women who were not from the upper classes.

I don't think that creative genius/serial killer are flip sides of the same (male) coin. That's pretty damn limiting. I'd say it's about as limiting as the Madonna/whore coin that women deal with.

Somehow feminism has been misinterpreted to mean "man haters". Do some feminists buy into that? Yep. It's too bad. But not all of them do. And it's ALWAYS been that way.

When I see a movement forming, I always wonder what need caused it to come into being - because, let's face it, it takes a lot of concerted effort to get a movement going. As permaculturists we know this. So what is the need that is being expressed? To speak into a space that you consider to be at best, unfriendly and at the worst, openly hostile or violent towards you is damned scary. And yet, people who have some kind of need that they feel is not being met do it all the time. Usually the need is access to something that others have that they don't: the right to vote, land, jobs, representation in government, the right to attend school, clean water, self-rule, etc.

Social movements usually follow a similar pattern:
--there is some kind of issue/need that people grow restless around.
--the cause organizes
--the establishment fights back (sometimes violently)
--this fuels the cause and more people join ranks
--(repeat the above two several times)
--polarization occurs
--there is some kind of capitulation and the pendulum swings the other way - the opposition is made to feel wrong/self-hate
--there is backlash - both from outside and inside the ranks - members of the movement are made to feel wrong/self-hate The pendulum has now swung back
--contrarians emerge, but so do people who want to find answers (swing pendulum, swing)
--the movement is fragmented as each group decides to do what works best for them. The pendulum has much less radical swings - but continues to swing back and forth in perpetual motion....

So the question then becomes - how do we meet the needs of men and women WITHOUT making each other wrong? Or worse yet - hating each other or becoming violent towards each other?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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So in watching "Epic Feminist Fails" above my question still remains:

How do we meet the needs of both men and women WITHOUT making each other wrong? Or worse yet - hating each other or becoming violent towards each other?


I choose not to hate. I have very specifically chosen not to link to things that show men behaving badly. I choose to do that because where does that get us? It's an endless pissing match. And at the end of the day it SOLVES NOTHING. Because no true conversation was had. There was just a bunch of "making wrong". We still stand divided with needs unmet.

Permaculture is about designing resilient systems. So, how can we build resilient social systems where all members feel valued and have access to resources? How can we use acknowledged differences to support each other in what we want to accomplish?
 
Judith Browning
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:I would love to be locked in a room with Camile Paglia for a day. I would LOVE to have an argument with her.

I think part of what she's doing is acting out her role of contrarian. Some people are made for that role. I know it well as I often do it myself. She has some really valid points. But she makes them by MAKING OTHERS WRONG. This is what I'm tired of. This is why Sheryl Sandberg's TED talk was such a blast of fresh air.

The part about biology - yep - we're different. However, I don't think that translates into women not going out into the world and being geniuses. How does that work? I don't feel like men are motivated to create stuff because they somehow don't know who they are because they can't give birth. WTF? I'm motivated to create stuff because I CAN give birth. I want a better world for those who come after me. How is creative genius limited to men? Perhaps it looks that way because women have been limited to roles predicated upon biology in the past. And, in many cases, women could not receive or did not receive credit for their creative genius - especially women who were not from the upper classes.

I don't think that creative genius/serial killer are flip sides of the same (male) coin. That's pretty damn limiting. I'd say it's about as limiting as the Madonna/whore coin that women deal with.

Somehow feminism has been misinterpreted to mean "man haters". Do some feminists buy into that? Yep. It's too bad. But not all of them do. And it's ALWAYS been that way.

When I see a movement forming, I always wonder what need caused it to come into being - because, let's face it, it takes a lot of concerted effort to get a movement going. As permaculturists we know this. So what is the need that is being expressed? To speak into a space that you consider to be at best, unfriendly and at the worst, openly hostile or violent towards you is damned scary. And yet, people who have some kind of need that they feel is not being met do it all the time. Usually the need is access to something that others have that they don't: the right to vote, land, jobs, representation in government, the right to attend school, clean water, self-rule, etc.

Social movements usually follow a similar pattern:
--there is some kind of issue/need that people grow restless around.
--the cause organizes
--the establishment fights back (sometimes violently)
--this fuels the cause and more people join ranks
--(repeat the above two several times)
--polarization occurs
--there is some kind of capitulation and the pendulum swings the other way - the opposition is made to feel wrong/self-hate
--there is backlash - both from outside and inside the ranks - members of the movement are made to feel wrong/self-hate The pendulum has now swung back
--contrarians emerge, but so do people who want to find answers (swing pendulum, swing)
--the movement is fragmented as each group decides to do what works best for them. The pendulum has much less radical swings - but continues to swing back and forth in perpetual motion....

So the question then becomes - how do we meet the needs of men and women WITHOUT making each other wrong? Or worse yet - hating each other or becoming violent towards each other?



Jen, thank you for expressing so well something I mull over in my own thoughts frequently, and am unable to express so clearly as you have done. Having grown up in the fifties into the sixties, I know that leaders in the 'feminist' movement were doing the best they could and breaking new ground. Our insistence on liberation was a new thing for all of us and not always expressed in crowd friendly terms...it was what it was...for that period in time. I really like and agree with your take on what is important now in this century.
 
Amedean Messan
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:How do we meet the needs of both men and women WITHOUT making each other wrong? Or worse yet - hating each other or becoming violent towards each other?


I think the question is too plural and not singular enough to address the emotional needs or insecurities of individual people to really afford itself a practical answer. There are people not interested in leveling the field, and their goals do not necessarily fall in line with a selfless greater good.

There will always be bigots and my only sustainable solution is to grow a thick skin.


Jennifer Gorton wrote:....women who are loud, who speak up, are generally considered shrill or bossy.


Not buying into this idea because men who fit the same description are often called cocky, jerks or assholes.
 
wayne stephen
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The theory that women are physically weaker than men falls apart when you look at individuals . Consider this ;

1 - Laila Ali
2 - Zach Galafianakis
3 - Most American men are in as good a shape as Zach Galafianakis
4 - Laila Ali could kick Zach Galafianakis' ass .
5 - Therefore Laila Ali could kick most American mens asses !

My five step formula proves that one women alone is stronger than most men !

Camile Paglia also said :

"Every man must define his identity against his mother. If he does not, he just falls back into her and is swallowed up."

Camile Paglia holds in common with Ayn Rand an adoration for the end products of a male dominated society . Skyscrapers , trains . I think she is on to something with the grass huts thing , though . Since women bear and nurse children this puts them into a position needing protection . At least for awhile . Hence humans developed the village , hearth , and home . What's wrong with that ? I look at history and see men using the nurture they recieved under the care of women as a stepping stone into all manner of hijinks . Mans striving to be different than his Mom has led us to where we are today . Guns , rockets , missiles , round-up . If the boys had invested more of their brain and brawn into horticulture and efficent homes rather than swords and armour permaculture would have been the norm thousands of years ago through today . I believe the fact that women have huddled together throughout history is why we have art , storytelling , literature , clothing , oral histories , cooking ,and song . I would venture to guess that is why we have language and horticulture .

That is why sepp holzer , Bill Mollison , Fukuoka , and toby hemenway should be role models of masculinty . Not just to men and young boys . Young girls should have a solid idea of what a future mate should be doing with their time .

We should be living on a planet in which women would look at Skeeter Pilarski and say "What a hunk !" . Because he is .
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Amedean Messan wrote:
Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:How do we meet the needs of both men and women WITHOUT making each other wrong? Or worse yet - hating each other or becoming violent towards each other?


I think the question is too plural and not singular enough to address the emotional needs or insecurities of individual people to really afford itself a practical answer. There are people not interested in leveling the field, and their goals do not necessarily fall in line with a selfless greater good.

There will always be bigots and my only sustainable solution is to grow a thick skin.


Amedean - you make some valid points. And I think there are some things that could be general enough to address a plurality of people. Will it be perfect? No. However, change is based on generalities - especially at first.

I think some real progress could come out of a group discussion where various parties are present. For example, this thread was started in response to something that occurred as an injustice to Paul/Diego and was perpetrated by a group of women who may or may not identify as "feminists". Paul made some valid points on why he felt he/Diego were attacked unfairly.

However, I think at a certain point this thread devolved into a "let's make all women (or feminists) wrong" post. Then it kind of became a free-for-all, "ooh lets see how much we can pile on" post (flashbacks of Reddit behavior here!). I think the women who posted to this thread showed admirable restraint in not responding in kind. Obviously, not every post in this thread was a free-for-all - some were pretty enlightened and furthered the conversation. Kudos to those folks.

But back to the original issue - Paul had an injustice he wanted to be heard about. Have we made progress on the actual issue? Was progress the intent of this thread? Or perhaps I've got it completely wrong and this thread is about feeling justified and right and the "other side" be damned. In which case we've come full circle and the victim has become the perpetrator.

Amedean Messan wrote:
Jennifer Gorton wrote:....women who are loud, who speak up, are generally considered shrill or bossy.


Not buying into this idea because men who fit the same description are often called cocky, jerks or assholes.


I think there's a slight nuance here.

I think the act of trying to make one's voice heard ("loud" as in speaking up and being noticed) is not considered a favorable trait in women and therefore we have words to shame them for speaking up. It is not "ladylike" or "modest" or "respectful". Most women are not encouraged by their society, religion or even sometimes their family, to "speak up".

I think being loud in the sense of speaking up and being noticed, is considered a favorable trait in men and is encouraged and applauded as it is a sign of self confidence - especially in business. I think there's a difference when men become loud as in "braggarts". Then they are seen as cocky, jerks and assholes. I also think that men in higher social status groups can get away with more in the "braggart" department than men in lower social status groups. And I think that many men are not going to fit this stereotype either and there will be shaming from within their own group and from certain groups of women involved.
 
Charles Tarnard
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Here's what I've observed. I work in the construction trades under a union contract. Our union is working to even the ratio of women to men in the trades. In this way, it could be said that women are getting an advantage over men in the selection of apprentices. That is where any advantage ends.

Women are set up to fail in our apprenticeships. Not long after I turned out of my apprenticeship, I was handed a girl apprentice in her third year, and I asked her to do a pretty common job with only minor obstacles to getting the job done. She was super excited because she was almost never allowed to do this kind of work on her own. This is a trend I've seen since then. Coddle the silly girls along and then hammer them with the real education when they finally get their license and have to produce on their own.

Incompetence in men is frustrating, incompetence in women is systemic. Women are weak, and need to be coddled on the job. Women are weak, and need to be ridden into the ground to test their mettle. Women are stealing the good jobs from men who are more deserving. These are all pretty prevalent themes in men I've met.

There are certainly times where men get the short end of the stick, and hating on men isn't going to do anything but anger us, but I do not accept that women are currently on an even playing field. It's much better than it's been, but it's still not close to even, IMO.
 
Cj Sloane
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wayne stephen wrote: Mans striving to be different than his Mom has led us to where we are today . Guns , rockets , missiles , round-up .


All death spewing phallic symbols except the last one. Then I thought of Rosanne Barr's bit about men being extremely proud to be able to write their names in piss in snow, and I thought, OK, the round-up fits.
 
Amedean Messan
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:But back to the original issue - Paul had an injustice he wanted to be heard about. Have we made progress on the actual issue? Was progress the intent of this thread? Or perhaps I've got it completely wrong and this thread is about feeling justified and right and the "other side" be damned. In which case we've come full circle and the victim has become the perpetrator.


Yes, the conversation and corresponding reactions exhibited by certain individuals reminds me of a video I watched recently. It articulates how well I feel that conversation went. Just replace the male character with Paul and the people who organized the Permaculture Voices conference, the nail represents the reasons they gave as to why there was not as many female speakers, and the female character plays the role of the people refusing to acknowledge the merit of these reasons who then banned themselves from attending in protest. To be fair, I think the organizers went a long ways to try to include creditable female speakers.



Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Or perhaps I've got it completely wrong and this thread is about feeling justified and right and the "other side" be damned.


I think you hit the nail on the head (pun intended) with that statement if you count the number of apples being placed. Just my opinion, but I have read permaculture design ideas that deserve more apples than the traditional 1. I dont think it is healthy for threads to look like the picture below, and frankly I wish this venting would dissipate sooner.

 
Cj Sloane
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I want to go on record, as a woman, and say, "it's totally about the nail."
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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What is it that I've heard so many permaculture giants say? [I paraphrase here]

People systems are the hardest to get right.


Got that right! And we still have to try to make it work in the end.
 
paul wheaton
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Wow! A lot of excellent information here. Including some schools of thought that are new to me.



Somehow feminism has been misinterpreted to mean "man haters". Do some feminists buy into that? Yep. It's too bad. But not all of them do. And it's ALWAYS been that way.


I wish to go back to my first post. I don't think all women are man haters. I also don't think all feminists are man haters. In fact, my first embedded image is a feminist that thinks other feminists are doing a disservice to feminism.

I think there are still serious problems that need to be addressed in the world of sexism against women. And I think for every real problem there are a dozen red herrings or exaggerations. And, at the same time, there are also some serious problems of sexism against men that the general public is generally unaware of.

The first step for solving any problem is admitting that there is a problem. I think that if we are going to talk about pulling the nail out, we need to make a complete list of all the issues for everybody and then start to sift through them all.



We should be living on a planet in which women would look at Skeeter Pilarski and say "What a hunk !" . Because he is .


My impression is that many women already feel that way.



this thread was started in response to something that occurred as an injustice to Paul/Diego and was perpetrated by a group of women who may or may not identify as "feminists". Paul made some valid points on why he felt he/Diego were attacked unfairly


Funny thing: many of these people have started a conference and their speaker lineup is about 25% female (the last time I checked).


I think at a certain point this thread devolved into a "let's make all women (or feminists) wrong"


I sure hope that that is not the case. I hope that what I am sharing is that there are many schools of thought in the world of feminism. Some appear to find that the core of their feminist beliefs is hating men, while others find the core to be decency for all.


 
Julia Winter
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paul wheaton wrote:

I think there are still serious problems that need to be addressed in the world of sexism against women. And I think for every real problem there are a dozen red herrings or exaggerations. And, at the same time, there are also some serious problems of sexism against men that the general public is generally unaware of.

The first step for solving any problem is admitting that there is a problem.


I agree that there are still serious problems related to sexism, both against men and against women, but I disagree about there being a dozen to one ratio for exaggerations versus real problems.

There really are a lot of real problems out there.

Still.

Now, could there be 12 times as much bullshit on the interwebs? Sure, the internet is full of bullshit. Could there be a surfeit of complaining in the permaculture community, among mostly fairly privileged individuals who are trying very hard to be politically correct? Could be, I haven't spent too much time in "the permaculture community." I only went to Permaculture Voices (and that was awesome). I've never been to any other major permaculture gatherings.

I'm talking about the real world, when it comes down to bodies and voices, to dollars and cents. Are things getting better? I think so, but we are so not there yet. I'm living sort of a gender-switched life, with the mom being the primary breadwinner and the dad doing most of the child rearing duties. I've seen issues on both sides (? have you ever tried to set up a play date for your young daughter as a father rather than as a mom? why does the dentist and the pediatrician and the school keep calling mom's cell phone, when dad is the one who sets up the appointments, etc?) but in terms of sheer quantity and mass (as in life-impacting), there's more going down on the other side.

Your draft example is quite valid, though. I personally would like all young people to be required to do a year of public service, but that should be a choice between multiple types of service. Digging swales in drylands should count! Helping understaffed schools should count, too.
 
Cj Sloane
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Julia Winter wrote:
Your draft example is quite valid, though. I personally would like all young people to be required to do a year of public service, but that should be a choice between multiple types of service. Digging swales in drylands should count! Helping understaffed schools should count, too.


This could be its own thread but I'd love to see that too. Like in Germany, a choice between military service or community service. Unfortunately, those who you think would support this on the right are convinced our kids would be brainwashed (the community service one, not the military).

I did ameriCorps 10 years ago and my daughter is waitlisted for the ameriCorps NCC program.
 
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wayne stephen wrote:At one point in my younger years I bought into a critique of masculinty that left me shamed . I don't like being ashamed so I quickly formed a world view that left self esteem available to me . Without putting others under my feet . Camile Paglia and Vonnegut have always made me laugh and think about humanity and individuals . To step outside isms and scisms' . I am a man and I don't assume guilt for the collective crimes perpertrated by men before me .



I like peacemakers like Vonnegut . I also like people who can make people on both sides of an issue squirm in their seats .


Camille Paglia's arguments make no sense at all in this because half of the things she is saying are provably wrong. For example, she notes that from the moment of puberty, women know exactly who they are (in itself a false statement) and that men have to search for who they are. She then goes on to say that this is the reason there are no female Mozarts. Clearly she is just pulling a name out of the thin air because Mozart was amazing in his pre-pubescent state. He was performing for royalty by age 5. His gender played nothing into his talent. I end up ignoring people like this quickly. They say whatever it takes to support their view rather than researching information and accepting that their own view might be wrong when they gather enough information.
 
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