Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sometimes Instagram comment arguments beget productive things

This piece I wrote is in response to the misconception or belief that feminists seek to gain equality at the expense of men, either socially, politically or economically, or some combination thereof. I have attempted to explain how generally most feminists do not believe in gaining equality at the expense of men because we do not blame our inequalities on all men in society but rather view the oppression as a by product of patriarchy in its historical and contemporary functions. An easier way of understanding this concept is to view power relations or oppression not simply as top down processes but as a process that exists within a larger matrix of domination. 

Oppression or power isn't some easily seen or defined thing, a singular force from whence ideologies are made and disseminated. To view it this way would be only looking at one aspect of the process. It's like if the oppressed or the individual affected by a certain type of power relation were a rock, and this rock was being pushed into the ground by the palm of someone's hand and you only saw the person doing the pushing and assumed that that was the only force at work. Where in fact there are many other things to consider in how far down that rock goes. Is the soil wet or dry? Or some variation there of? What type of soil is it? What is the reason for the person pushing the rock? Is the rock digging into their hand and making it difficult to push it into the earth? How strong is the person? Did they get enough sleep or food etc to be able to actually do a good job of pushing the rock into the ground? Is it raining or really hot? .. The list can go on and on and on. The important thing to notice is that that power relations or oppression is being affected by many things other than one single force. We don't think that there is one man or one thing to blame for the oppression of women. The oppression continues because it is influenced by past ideologies that we still cling to, because why would the dominant want to relinquish power (when in fact the only way anything would be taken away is other peoples level of tolerance for any misogynistic actions or beliefs)? In short, the oppression continues because the way in which power relations work for this particular category are no longer appropriate or valid for a world and a country that claims that women are equal to men . We have moved on in many aspects but still cling to views that have no relevance in the way the world is experienced and the direction the world seems to be going. Power is omnipresent and it comes from a seemingly infinite amount of directions and is influenced by a seemingly infinite amount of conditions and situations. We cannot change the presence of power and power relations but we can attempt to analyze it more thoroughly and identify areas that for one reason or another have come to oppress millions of people, in this case women. To raise one person up to the level of another does not mean that we have to drag the other down. We do not seek to drown men in an attempt to save ourselves from drowning. We want to be thrown a life saver and ride it out with the men at our sides as our equals; equally deserving of respect, economic and political equality, and a feeling of relative reasonable safety in our everyday lives regardless of how we look or act. 

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