Feminism: No Symmetry between Women an Men (was Re: Giggly Guys)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Tue Mar 23 16:53:56 PST 1999

Rob wrote:
>One of the good things feminism has managed over the last few decades is to
>convince most of us that the best source of information about being female,
>the best way to find out what women's actual interests might be, and the
>best way to achieve those ends, is to have a society where women do the
>talking about themselves, identify their interests among themselves, and
>are materially free to pursue them as they see fit (albeit much of this may
>be enshrined only formally - I'm not making a 'post-feminism' case here).
>So I reckon all this telling us boys about our anxieties is a bit
>irritating. I'm anxious about lotsa stuff, and jokes are a perfectly
>understandable and, I think, potentially useful way to give 'em expression.

Feminism is not simply about researching and learning from women talking about ourselves (though that is certainly part of our project). Feminism is, more importantly, about the abolition of oppressions based upon gender (and properly understood, it must be allied with Marxism). To understand gender, feminists have had to research, among other things, the social construction of masculinity much more so than any man has ever done.

There is _no symmetry_ between women and men. That men do not have access to women's knowledge most emphatically does not mean that its opposite--women do not have access to men's understanding of themselves--is true. (This is a Hegelian insight of the master-slave relationship.)


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