piranha: red origami crane (Default)
one in a long if casual series illuminating "why i am not a feminist, but an egalitarian humanist".

this was originally written as a comment in somebody else's LJ, but i decided not to post it because the thread was too old, and because i went off on a tangent. the post that started it regarded a feminist protest of violence against women and children as "duh, like who's in favour of violence these days other than psychos". then there was a reply saying that feminists are doing it because people need to have it pointed out, that everyone accepts violence by strangers as the real thing, but domestic abuse is somehow not viewed as just as bad. and that didn't ring true for me -- but i wonder whether i am now too far removed from the mainstream to have a good feel for what they think. i'm judging mostly by what i read on mainstream news and social commentary on blogs.

i've been straining my brain and i cannot think of any people nowadays openly claiming domestic abuse against women isn't a serious problem, anywhere i read. nobody (in any significant numbers that i can see) wants women be injured by their husbands [*]. i think some feminists might be misreading a reaction against broadening the term "violence" as a denial that abuse happens. i myself do make a distinction between "violence" and "force" (and lots of acquaintance rape uses force, IMO, not violence), but i think either is inappropriate in a supposedly loving relationship; i don't make the distinction in order to trivialize acquaintance rape -- i think it is by far a more serious problem than stranger rape. i think that such protests are done simply because domestic abuse keeps happening. (i'll keep my thoughts about their efficacy for myself just now so this doesn't become about that.) i don't know a single person who thinks domestic abuse is ok, not even a little bit (excepting self-defense).

what i can think of however, is plenty of people who're upset at violence against women, who are outraged at pedophilia -- but they think spanking is ok, and is somehow a totally different thing, not violence at all, not even inappropriate force. and frankly, i don't see feminists at large actually having this on their agenda -- when they do seem to care about children as a matter of policy, it's all about pedophilia as well, and the incredibly common woman-on-child violence is a dirty little secret that is swept under the rug. google some time for hits about spanking and feminism, and you'll find vastly more hits about BDSM and its defense, together with conservative rants against all of what allegedly destroys the family (where feminism and anti-spanking movements are named separately), than you find feminist critique of spanking. i consider feminism's silence on the issue of spanking to be particularly suspicious, since it doesn't happen to fit well with the idea that men are the aggressors and women the victims.

maybe feminism shouldn't be about children but just about women; that'd be sort of ok by me -- though i find some issues hard to separate, especially in the areas of sexual abuse, and well, the battle of equality starts long before the age of majority. but then take children off the signs that purport to be against violence. it's long struck me as a token effort, and i dislike tokenism, especially when it uses children.

i agree that it seems harder for people to empathize with domestic than with stranger violence. i see it in myself; i do empathize just as much initially (if not more; i find abuse by loved ones so much more destructive than abuse by strangers), but i have difficulties maintaining that empathy when somebody stays in an abusive situation (assuming no death threats are involved), when somebody falls more than once for the abject apology route after the abuse, when somebody says "but i love him!". if anything, i think feminism needs to support those women more, because they obviously still have very bad tapes running in their heads with "stand by your man" as the soundtrack, and some fundamentally horribly damaging ideas about what love is.

and i wonder how much spanking has to answer for regarding those tapes, how much it is responsible for bad boundaries, and how much it has to do with raising men who become abusers. how can this possibly not be a feminist concern? at least be on the table for discussion?

[*] upon rereading i remembered that i've read sean connery is purported to have said that some women need slapping around. but upon googling this i see that that's not what he said. and while what he did say is questionable, i'd really like to see the full context for it before i count it as evidence.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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