August 3rd, 2004

breaking bad

Religion and feminism

Brief thought on the Vatican's advice to women. Contrary to their argument, the distinguishing feature of feminism is not 'there are no significant dfferences between men and women'. Some feminist believe that. Some believe the opposite. So do non-feminists and anti-feminists. There is a wide range of opinions on the matter (biological essentialism, social constructionism, deconstructionism, pragmatism, humanism etc) and they are quite independent of how 'feminist' someone is.

The distinguishing feature of all feminism is a belief that women's suffering is as important as men's. It sounds simple but once you espouse that belief, everything else unravels. For instance the Vatican complains that

a certain type of feminist rhetoric makes demands 'for ourselves'

But women must be allowed to make demands for ourselves. We can not be entirely passive and silent. If not now, when? If we do not speak for ourselves, who will speak for us?

They complain that:

Faced with the abuse of power, the [feminist] answer for women is to seek power. This process leads to opposition between men and women... leading to harmful confusion regarding the human person

But I think it is quite right for any person, faced with abuse, to seek the power to resist that abuse. This applies whether a man or a woman is abused, or of course a child.
breaking bad

The medium is the message

Further to my last post where I said 'if we don't speak for ourselves who will?' Here is something that livejournal can do so well. This post from misia where she has provided a safe space for abuse survivors to tell their stories.

I have closed down comments on this post. No further comments on this post will be displayed. It has received close to one thousand comments in a little over 24 hours thus far... I apologize to anyone who wanted to add a comment here in solidarity and in witness to their own strength and survival.

This thousand-person comment blizzard an example of the sort of multi-user discourse which was impossible before the new technology. Most analyses of blogging concentrate on the 'big bloggers' - the nodes in the communication network (such as Atrios or Instapundit). But I think there is another way in which blogging works, which is by creating a widely-spread net of millions of small blogs. It just couldn't have existed a few years ago, partly because nothing was quite as easy to use as livejournal, so people with limited specialist knowledge were excluded. Anyway, I wonder what type of long term effects this opening up of communication will have.

EDITED to add - the 'slogan' of the post that I referenced is no pity, no shame, no silence: just thought I ought to make clear I am not pitying the women and men who commented, I'm applauding them.