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comment by arguewithatree
arguewithatree  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Rape Is Sincerely Hilarious

    Our society is still quite sexist, but it's not sexist in a way that stratifies power along gender lines.

Isn't stratified power along gender lines exactly what sexism gives sexism its power? How can society be sexist without power stratified across gender lines?

Economic or class privilege is very important but it's also inextricably linked with race. Within the subsection of race, you continue to have huge disparities between gender and power. Hispanic and Black women make less than white women, which I think is ignored by even very vocal anti-wage gap arguers. Women of color are raped at a greater rates than white women, especially Native women (RAINN). When you look at economically underprivileged communities, non-white women women suffer at more significant rates than white women. In this way, I would argue that sexism is still a massive problem and that power is still stratified against gender lines with the addition of race. That is a more nuanced picture that you don't capture by looking at gender alone, which is why intersectionality is so important.

Asians tend to fall in the "brown" category of the so-called privilege scale. They suffer from not being white but benefit from not being black. Anti-blackness is rampant in all sorts of brown communities. White Jewish people are white. I am a white Jew. I benefit from white privilege. I am capable of being discriminated against though. This is why I don't like to lump anti-Semitism in with racism. It's a different history. There are non-white Jews and they suffer immensely at the hands of the Israeli government.

Again, I have to disagree with you with regard to the balance of power in sexism. As we discussed, there are instances where men suffer from the nonrecognition of their vulnerability. But, that's the inverse of assuming that women lack agency. They're two sides of the same coin, not different coins. Men are affected, but by and large, the issue stems from viewing women as the weaker sex.

Intersectionality doesn't defend patriarchy theory. It supplements and covers gaps. I need to run to an office event and I wanted to see yur response to this so i'm sorry it's super rushed at the end here i promise i can type cbetter than this

edit: ok I am back. I'm going to pick up where I left off in responding to your post

I don't know that it's possible to focus excessively on one aspect of one's identity except to another person. For example, yes I will focus on gender because it's what colors my experience first and foremost. People look at me and see, for all intents and purposes, woman first. My queerness and Jewishness are secondary and not evident on the surface. There's no physical indicator of that. The other primary physical indicator that you get about my identity is white. Whether that precedes or follows the definition as woman, I can't say. When noticing a stranger, I usually notice both attributes in tandem. It's not possible to avoid this information about me or about another person. On the internet, you can't make assumptions about anyone's identity or descriptors, so it has to be spelled out for us. So I don't think it's possible to focus on one attribute or another to an excessive degree; if the person in question is sharing specific attributes related to their identity, it's in order to inform us about their specific world view. It's not excessive to remind you that I am a woman because that is what colors my experience first and foremost.

The knock at tumblr is uncalled for. It's a great resource for me to find cat pictures and I won't allow you to speak ill of it in such a way. (In all seriousness, I think attacking tumblr is lazy because it's a space for you to tailor your experience. If you're looking for otherkin headmate blogs, you'll find them. If you're looking for porn or cats or whatever other non-political thing, you can find that without ever crossing paths with the nutters. If you're looking for rational poitical discussion and education, you can find it. If you're looking for whacky fringe radicalists, you can also find them. )

Teaching anti -isms to people should be straightforward, but the fact that it isn't is why we have theory and metaphor which convolutes your correct but simplistic "everyone should be treated the same". If it was that easy, we wouldn't be having this conversation. There is no magic wand or perfect law that will undo the effects of history that have propped up the dominant social classes. It's a long and difficult process of unlearning that takes people willing to challenge themselves and recognize where they benefit from the system. Again, identities color experiences, and everything is relative, which is why people bear down and get defensive with regard to addressing their own privileges. Being able to separate one's individual experiences and identity from the broader scheme of history and society is incredibly difficult. And that's why you can't simply say everyone should be treated equally because that;s passive and requires no effort on the parts of those who benefit from the system. Discrimination is still codified social practices in ways that seem invisible.

I think current antisexist campaigning reflects this oversimplified view. People hate the "don't teach men not to rape" campaigns and rightly so -- it completely oversimplifies the issue. It's not teaching men not to rape; it's teaching society to reexamine situations we assume are normal and okay and illuminating the abusive practices there. I was assaulted for 2 years straight by my boyfriend because no one ever told me that it's still rape if you've had sex before or plan to have sex with them again. That's a message that is totally lost in "don't teach men not to rape". The message there is about boundaries and respect.

aidrocsid  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I don't know that it's possible to focus excessively on one aspect of one's identity except to another person. For example, yes I will focus on gender because it's what colors my experience first and foremost. People look at me and see, for all intents and purposes, woman first. My queerness and Jewishness are secondary and not evident on the surface. There's no physical indicator of that. The other primary physical indicator that you get about my identity is white... It's not excessive to remind you that I am a woman because that is what colors my experience first and foremost.

I don't think it's excessive for anyone to relate their experiences. I'm surprised that you say being a woman colors your experience first and foremost, though. Gender is definitely one of the first things people notice when they look at someone, but there's a lot more to human experience than gender differences. I'd expect, for example, that the life experiences of people of different economic classes or in countries with significantly different standards of living would be much more stark than the differences between genders within those situations.

And as far as the whole teach men not to rape thing, that's an insanely complex issue. We've got massively conflicting standards of consent, the increasingly publicly visible issue of false accusation, the dear colleague letter's kangaroo courts, and, as highlighted by the video that started this thread, a general sense that men can't be raped and certainly not by women.

arguewithatree  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

On the run right now so I only have another probing question at this time. What's surprising about gender being my predominant lens? That might be the key to the disconnect in the whole gender discussion

aidrocsid  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It just seems like such a minor factor in life.

Like I've been homeless and inevitably I eventually looked it. People looked at me like I was a piece of human garbage. Shave, haircut, some clean clothes, and a few weeks in your own place to shake the sense of desperation? Completely different. The same people who'd damn near spit on you when you asked them for a quarter will give you a cigar and a decent tip if you drive them to the airport. Hell, I once got kicked out of a bagel shop at 5am in subzero temperatures that I ended up being the baker at a few years later working for the same woman who'd kicked me out. Total sweetheart once I stopped being some faceless asshole who couldn't be bothered to freeze to death quietly.

I'm not trying to downplay sexism against women or anything, I think it's a problem, but I don't see such a huge difference in gender that it ought to be the primary identifying feature of an individual. There are too many other crazy things in life. Like I'd say the differences between quality of life in any given area tend to be much more along lines of economic class than gender.

Then again I'm probably not the best example of identification with my assigned gender to begin with. I don't exactly conform to the general standards of masculinity. If I think about other men it seems like a lot of them see their masculinity as pretty defining, though, so maybe gender is a bigger identifier for most people than I'd considered. Men may also just be less encouraged to talk about and think about themselves in relation to their gender.

Personally, though, I find that it's my life experiences that have colored my perception of things. Some of those as a man particularly but most of them just as a human being.

arguewithatree  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

And that's where you're dead wrong. That's where you're missing everything in your arguments. That dismay and indignance you felt when you realized the "disposability of man"? That's all consuming for women. Every single second of our lives has to be composed and put together for consumption. And that's how it always has been. Have you seen stats on how early women noticed men looking at them sexual? Some as young as 9, averaging around 12. Society has made its point loud and clear : women are only valuable as sex objects and the highest thing she can aim to be is sexually appealing to men.

It's shitty that you were homeless. Honestly, the rates of poverty in the US make me so sick to think about. Empty homes outnumber homeless people in the US. that's disgusting. But the fact that you can discount gender as "minor" is so telling. That is the definition of privilege.

More cogent thoughts coming. But I had a visceral reaction to your words so I had to respond

aidrocsid  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's not like there's not a comparable situation happening with men, though. We just don't talk about it as a gendered issue if we talk about it at all. I think i was probably like 8 or 9 the first time someone called me a faggot, maybe younger. The first time I had a bully, by which I mean someone who physically assaulted me on a regular basis, I was 5 or 6. I don't think the difference is gendered experiences, I think it's the way we're encouraged to process them.

I've heard the message that women are only valuable as sex objects since I was a kid. And I don't mean in print media and social pressure, I mean the concept that women are reduced to sex objects. Never once, until I was well into my twenties, did I ever come across the idea that men were in any way discriminated against, let alone disposable. I'd been in and out of a relationship where I was being abused for years and it hadn't even occurred to me that it was abuse. I just thought of it as sometimes she's a little out of control. No matter how cruel the things she said and did were it wasn't something I processed as abuse because it's not something I was trained to see as abuse. Now it's obvious, totally clear cut, but at the time, as a man, I hadn't been trained to see it that way.

Maybe that's part of it?

I also have to say that although your gender may be all consuming for you, it's certainly not for all women. I've talked to women about this who say it's not a defining factor in their lives. It certainly seems that it's more often a defining factor in the lives of women than in the lives of men, but again, women are encouraged to think about this stuff whereas men are not.

graphictruth  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This too, is privilege. It's the dark, fun-house side of privilege - but only if you are blissfully unaware of the benefits can you be blissfully unaware of the potential price. Not just in this case. It's really an observation of a situation that continues to exist because for whatever reason, it's invisible to you. I sometimes think the word, "privilege" gets in the way. It's more of a set of assumptions that affect you in ways you are unaware of until it's far too late.

aidrocsid  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Isn't stratified power along gender lines exactly what sexism gives sexism its power?

Not at all.

    How can society be sexist without power stratified across gender lines?

Because we judge people based on their gender and prescribe behavior based on gender.

    Race x Economic Class = :(

I'd certainly agree that race is a significant factor and contemporarily you can't extricate it from economic class. Just as you say, the effects of sexism are statistically enhanced when you apply them to women of color. They're also enhanced, though, when you apply them to men of color. Black men are, like men, overrepresented in prison, in the military, and on the streets, while being underrepresented in college.

  1 (plus) 3 = 2 (plus) 2
'Three plus one' and 'two plus two' (sorry, Hubski formatting) in this equation are, as you might say, "two sides of the same coin". This is true. Does that mean, though, that only 'two plus two' is legitimate? That only 'one plus three' is legitimate? Regardless of how we frame it, how we break the numbers down, the point is that 4=4.

If that's a little less than clear, I'll be more explicit. We've got this dichotomy of agency/vulnerability, yeah? You can describe it either way. You can say that men are considered to have more agency, more culpability, and less vulnerability, or you can say that women are considered to have less agency, less culpability, and more vulnerability. These two statements mean the same thing, the only thing that's different is who we're focusing on as our object.

The only difference I see in what we're saying, as far as our description of sexism, is that an explanation supporting patriarchy theory insists on emphasizing one side of the coin over the other. So we'd say men may die in droves in the military and at work while women don't, but that's because we don't take women seriously. That doesn't do anything to deny the legitimacy of the statement, but it attempts to invert it to dismiss male vulnerability as objects of industry and war in favor of a specific narrative in which power is stratified by gender.

It's tricky but it doesn't really mean anything. Does that make sense?

We basically need a transitive property of sexism to clarify. The interconnected set of biases and double standards that make up the sexism faced by both genders (and thus, lest we forget, all human beings) is universally needlessly limiting.

Again, nowhere else in intersectionality do we see a supposed privileged class that faces any form of discrimination or increased statistics for poverty, imprisonment, mortality, or at-risk behavior. Nowhere. How are we to believe that this is an anomaly when it comes to men when we've got documentation of institutional and systemic sexism against men?

arguewithatree  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Absolutely men of color face their own struggles. As men of color. White women have a history of abusing men of color for their benefit (Emmett Till, any of the "I was attacked by a black man oh wait no I wasn't tee hee" stories). Which again falls back on the issue of women's agency. Both groups face disadvantages, but they play out in different ways.

I think I understand where you're trying to get with the transitive property, but you can't quantify oppression; hence the term there's no Oppression Olympics. You just can't quantify it because of the ways that race, class, etc overlap.

What doesn't really mean anything? The issue of men being considered disposable still boils down to women being viewed as lacking agency and strength and vim and vigor and whatnot -- all positive "masculine" traits, a dichtomy which relies on inherently defining "feminine" as weak. In no situation is masculine considered weak. There is no inverse there.

Men are viewed by patriarchy as disposable because they are desired for their masculinity. Masculine women aren't desired, only masculine men. Ideally, there would be no war, then no one would be shipped off anywhere to die. But what would people say about a leader who refused to go to war? In this way, men suffer at the hands of men. It's not sexism against men; it's patriarchy back firing on men for valuing masculinity and devaluing femininity. And I don't think you can reverse the two. In no situation is femininity valued over masculinity.

Have I been chasing my tail? Are we back where we started at patriarchy theory?

arguewithatree  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

give me just a second i'm editing my last response to make up for running away mid post

edit; ok edits made, now i'm going to address this post

aidrocsid  ·  2288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Haha, sorry if I wind up doing a bit of that too. I tend to do a first draft, edit once, post it, and then edit a lot more.