Feminism and me
So, I mentioned previously that I am trying learn about feminism. My wife is taking a minor in woman’s studies for her associates degree because (aside from the fact she is truly interested) it’s a study path that gives her the most credits transferable to her bachelors in political science. So, I’ve been reading her textbook and some of the recommended supplementary reading.
So, here (at my currant level of ignorance) is my opinion of feminism. First off, I think feminism makes a lot of valid points. It asks questions that it wouldn’t occur to most people to ask. For instance, most people are probably aware that women, in general make about 75% of what men make. Some people are aware that women primarily make less because they work less hours, for fewer years, with more frequent career and work site changes. Adjusted for this, you would find that women make 93% of what men make.
Feminism, looks to the fewer hours, for fewer years, with more frequent career and work site changes and says, but why? Because we have a two tier job market: One tier for people who have no other imperative responsibilities but servicing the job (most of whom are men), and a second tier for people who might need to change hours, or be absent from time to time (most of whom are women). Now, lest you think the first tier exists to provide good employment, it doesn’t. The high wage earning man can be fired at any time. No, the first tier exists to service the industry, and the second tier exists (with poor wages) to subsidize the industry of first tier and not the people in it. Factories can’t keep churning if the (predominately men) on the line have to nip off to pick up sick kids. Nope, thats the woman’s job. Women make less because if they don’t take crappy jobs that let them take care of the kids in addition to work, their husbands will get fired.
Bravo feminism! I would have never noticed that on my own. The perspective of women showed me something I, as a man, would have never thought of. It turns out that there is a lot more flexibility of hours (and far less hours all together) in Germany and France, and better social protection (ie, getting paid even when you can’t go to work) yet according to the UN and CIA those countries have as-good-or-better a standard of living as the US. So, a system with less hours, more flex, and more social protection doesn’t even have to hurt.
But then, I randomly run into these perspectives, under the umbrella of feminism, that are just bat-shit insane. Notably, that Marxism could fix everything if it was just given the right chance, that the phrase “blaming the victim” is a magic spell that can be invoked in any context to absolve the victim of any responsibility whatsoever* and that a the media, and not a person’s choice to believe all outlets of the media are a fount of truth is the cause of bad self image.
*I note here, there in some cases the victim has no responsibility; Rape is such a case. Child abuse is such a case. Poverty is not. Poverty has many causes, some are systemic but some are personal. The people of the US, and the government they elect has not even scratched the surface of the systemic causes of poverty, but that policy failure does mean that we can ignore the personal issues.
I am glad there are feminists out there, and their probably needs to be more. I think feminism is imperative to the healthy functioning of democracy. If I had a sum of money to give away, I could give it to some feminist agencies with clear conscience. I support the goals of the movement. I support the spirit of the movement.
But if Marxism is the answer, what was the question?
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