Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

The Triumph of Fake Feminism

I’m gonna make some enemies with this one, but this has to be said.

Feminism…

has failed.

At least modern feminism has failed. It has been co-opted, diverted, lured and seduced by false goals – the goals that are deemed acceptable by our society… a society historically constrained by testosterone. It has been subverted by a race that essentially threw away the advances in thought brought to us over 2,000 years ago by the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in favor of that most masculine form of expression, war. A few early victories, such as gaining the right to vote, still stand as the only significant accomplishments for feminism as a movement.

There are many examples of women who have achieved success and status in America. But, in my opinion, most (no, not all) of these successful women have sold out. I say this because it seems that, to climb the corporate or the political ladder, what’s required of a woman is that she abandon the very qualities that makes hers the finer (again, in my opinion) gender.

The feminine qualities of nurturing, caring, empathy, the ability to not only see the other person’s point of view but to FEEL their feelings even if just for a second, the emotional intelligence, the talent for real, two-way communication, and the tendency to prefer cooperation over conflict seem all too often to be abandoned in the quest for status. Either that, or it’s just the women who least exhibit these qualities in the first place that are able to advance in our society.

Before I get 10,000 pieces of hate mail, I’m well aware that a human being is very complex. Both men and women share qualities that, for the sake of discussion, have been labeled as the exclusive domain of one or the other. These qualities overlap to varying degrees and there is no linear spectrum.

However, our political and business landscapes are largely penis measuring contests. Who’s toughest on crime? I am! Who wants to spend even more on our military? I do! Who’s got the most Leave-it-to-Beaver-like family values? I have! Who wants our company to make the most money at any expense? I do! Who’s the most greedy? I am! Who will sell out every principle of civilized conduct in order to advance “our” interests? I will!

What we’ve (men) said is essentially that we’ll allow you, as a woman, to rise up, but only if you act like a man, embrace masculine behavior, and lead with masculine policies.

We have not seen the rise of femininity or feminine traits in our society. Instead women have gained the right to “succeed” – if and when they act like men. Women who espouse the greed-is-good “philosophy” are allowed to join the man-created rat race to run on the hamster-wheel of materialism, faster and faster, until they die.

Most of the women who have succeeded in our society have done so only by masculine definitions of success. The images of successful women with which we are bombarded on TV and in the movies are of ass-kicking, gun-toting, tough, and sometimes ruthless “winners.” They prioritize money and power and status and they get those things and they let no one stand in their way.

Thankfully, there are notable exceptions to the masculine imperative. Some women have shown true strength in either defining their own goals and their own criteria for success, or in gradually doing their part in turning science or academic thought in new directions. Oprah Winfrey is one example. Oprah is not merely an entertainer; she’s a social-engineer who works to advance the positives of both the feminine and the masculine. Others include many of the women scientists and activists, some of whom I have been lucky enough to know personally, and others whose works I have read.

Women like Elinor Ostrom, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Vandana Shiva, Sandra Postel and Malin Falkenmark are great examples. The word “hero” get’s tossed around way to much in our country, but these women really are heroes – not to feminism, not to women, but to humanity. They are working to make the world a better place for everyone – men, women, children, and in some cases, animals too.

I make my criticisms with a great deal of sadness. I’m tired, disgusted and damaged by what the men with the biggest penises have done to our world. Certain masculine qualities – logic, rationality, courage, decisiveness, the ability to calculate risk and choose a course of action accordingly – would blend so well with the best feminine qualities if we weren’t all enslaved by violence and misguided competition.

I pray that one day this world will graduate from junior-high and enter a new, more advanced mode. If we start listening to the feminine, it could happen.

-Tom Rossi

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com

___________________________________________________________________________

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

9 thoughts on “The Triumph of Fake Feminism

  1. I joined this blog with the understanding that racism, sexism, homophobia and discrimination would not be tolerated. I was excited to be part of that vision. This blog post does not fit that criteria. With great disappointment, I am resigning as the Saturday blogger for Left Coast Voices. – RhondaJo Boomington

  2. Rhonda Jo – I’m sorry to see that you’ll be resigning. I know many people will be disappointed to not have your voice as a counterbalance to the others here.

    The way I see it is this, which probably won’t sway your decision, but here it is anyway: Tom wasn’t being sexist. Tom was probably trying to stir up a little controversy, and I wonder, Tom, if you thought about your fellow species, albeit differently gendered, when you wrote this. I see the hidden love-letter to women faintly in the background. But truthfully, the end result was that you made a sweeping generalization of women across our nation, if not across our globe, and it isn’t a fair one.

    More truth: I’m not what would be called a ‘feminist.’ I don’t believe in nor support such labels. I’m a woman who makes her own way in the world, alone for the longest time but thankfully now while holding my partner’s hand. My partner happens to be a very supportive, loving husband who has the same vision I do, which is it’s not about gender that dictates how far you get in this world, it’s the person themselves. This coming from a former executive of an international company. I have managed to carve out a name for myself that has nothing to do with what decorates my body in the way of private parts.

    Final rebuttal: We women simply coexist in the world that you men have created. But, that was long ago. Rules have changed, society has changed. Note how women still find ways to adapt, and survive, while a majority of businessmen would rather play the same tired games of pissing contests. And those contests are perpetuated when postings like this one, despite their best intent, give voice to them.

    Tom – re-read your post. What was, I truly think, a sincere effort to appreciate women turned out to be a slam against them instead, and you probably managed single-handedly to piss off many of them while playing on their guilt at the same time – and that, my friend, is not the best I’ve seen of you here on this site.

    ~ K

    • Kymberlie, I appreciate your posting very much. You elegantly made excellent points.

      And, except for one thing, I agree with everything that you said.

      However, if I make a sexist, or racist or homophobic comment – if only to stir up controversy, or increase sales – I believe that it remains a sexist, racist or homophobic comment. And such discriminatory comments disempower people and perpetuate harmful attitudes and beliefs and action.

      Growing up in the fundamentalist South, I’ve lived a life where sexism permeated essentially every belief, every conversation and even became the basis to justify violence against women. And much of that belief system remains intact today.

      As either attorney, chaplain or counselor, I have worked in North Carolina, Hawaii and California with women and girls who experienced violence because of their gender. And sexism is the root of much of that violence.

      This post alone may or may not have implored me to resign. But this post, coupled with the picture of the silicone breasted, bikini-clad woman in the ‘flag’ swimsuit which appeared on this blog a few weeks ago, is enough.

      I do not want to spend my energy on liberal blogs debating whether the statement “A few early victories, such as gaining the right to vote, still stand as the only significant accomplishments for feminism as a movement” is sexist.

      I do not want to spend my energy debating whether women who do not have “feminine traits” are considered women.

      I want to spend my energy creating healing for women and men who are harmed by sexism. And sexism does create harm. – RhondaJo Boomington at rhondajoboomington@yahoo.com

      • Rhonda Jo, you are correct that I have not experienced firsthand as you have the effects of sexism. I have been a survivor of abuse in many ways, but that wasn’t ever truly based on my gender. I applaud your work, and respect your beliefs, and am still sorry to see you go. Best of luck to you in your endeavors going forward.

        Sure wish you’d come back to the Berkeley Writers Group though! Miss your stories! 🙂

  3. Thanks Kimberlie. I appreciate your support!

    I know Alon is on vacation, and I’m not sure when he returns.

    Since he left with the understanding that I would be blogging in his absence, I will write until he returns. I had already begun a post on World Naked Bike Day – so that’s probably what the Saturday posting will be this week if he doesn’t return by then.

    All the best – RhondaJo at rhondajoboomington@yahoo.com

  4. Tom Rossi on said:

    RhondaJo, I read your comment to my post just yesterday and it made me very defensive, so I decided to wait until that feeling subsided to respond. It’s now a day later and the feeling has NOT subsided, so here I go anyway.

    Your reading of this post was evidently incredibly shallow. I think you must have read the first paragraph and shot off a pissed-off response right away. Either that or, once you were pissed off, the rest of the post just didn’t matter. I suppose that if I had written, “The civil rights movement has had its successes, but remains largely incomplete.” you would have read that as, “Black people suck and I hate them.”

    If you say that this issue (feminism, sexism, or whatever) is settled and you are the guardian of the ultimate truth and that, therefore, no more discussion is needed, no debate, no explanation, then you are WRONG. If you simply say, “I’m taking my toys and I’m going home,” then I have no respect for that. This is an incredibly weak response and if that’s the best you can do, then I have no use for you. What you’ve done here is to repeat the patterns you claim to have escaped – “My way is right. SOOOO right that I need not explain, defend, nor discuss it.”

    By the way, if you have indeed suffered abuse, either mental, emotional, or physical, then I truly am sorry. I mean that. But this has no bearing on this discussion because I have not in any way played down the suffering of you nor of women as a group.

    But I’m most disgusted and dismayed by your ridiculous attempt to take the high-ground concerning your expectations of a “liberal blog.” Your definition of “liberal” is as primitive and unproductive as your definition of “sexism”, and is exactly what the so-called “conservatives” accuse us of – being the same as them, just on the “other side.” We like the Clintons, they like Reagan, Etc. Well conservatives and liberals are NOT the same, nor equals-but-opposites.

    My version of liberalism is, at it’s core, the rejection of unsupported or illogical dogma. That means that, not only do I reject the dogma of Bush or Reagan, but I have the same standards of logic and evidence when the speaker is Michael Moore or Dennis Kucinich. My liberalism is about freedom of thought and speech. REAL freedom. Including freedom from would-be oppressors like you. Freedom of speech IS the freedom to offend. You don’t need freedom of speech to say, “What a lovely day. I think I’ll go and vote for the incumbent because everything is so wonderful!”

    In addition, my liberalism is about thought, study, reading, discussing, and debating until we have positions which are both internally consistent, and externally consistent with the overall goals of the movement. What are those goals? Again in my opinion, the goal is to create a new ethic, a new system, and new policies that clearly put the well-being of humankind ahead of money or anything else.

    If you at all agree, get off the high horse and write a post about what YOU think feminism means and what it has accomplished. That would actually advance the movement. You can bitch me out by name if it makes you happy! Just know that I won’t just lay down and die when you do. I will not accede to the tyranny of the right, nor the tyranny of the left.

    Kymberly, I thank you for your attempt at playing peacemaker. I’m too ticked off to make peace yet. Maybe later. We’ll see.

    Everybody have a nice day.

    -Tom Rossi

  5. I, as a male of color, have to agree. Women who display “male” characteristics are the ones who are seen as “successful”. As a business person the idea of consciousness business is slowly taking hold. Sustainability, green and consciousness business fall within the female cultural dimension. These characteristics are slowly being identified and acknowledge as the forms that have the best possibility to save us as a species. The “male” idea of slash and burn have had disastrous consequences.

    !Viva Feminismo!

  6. I happened to stumble upon this post and found the subject and writing interesting. I’m actually taking a course and feminism. I agree with Kymberlie comment that you appeared to be generalizing quite a bit. And what I’m assuming Rhonda mistook for sexism is actually a belief instilled in the author by society. “Certain masculine qualities – logic, rationality, courage, decisiveness, the ability to calculate risk and choose a course of action accordingly – would blend so well with the best feminine qualities . . .” I’m sorry, but this quote does not read well. It sounds as if you’re suggesting that logic, rationality, courage and decisiveness are all qualities that relate specifically to males. I question your understanding of women. Personally, being a women studying science I highly value logical, rational thinking and I find it saddening that you seem to assume women want to have and always have feminine characteristics. But perhaps if you were to define your version of “feminine qualities” I would have a more concise idea of your beliefs.

    With that in mind, I would also like to note, I did not find mention of the racism, homophobia and discrimination Rhonda referenced in the post (and I did search for a time). I also whole heartedly agree with your thoughts that feminism still has much to work on (in the business industry) and that women are pressure to exemplify men in business situations. I do think that feminism is more about choice than being “feminine.” If a woman chooses to move up by playing the game, I believe it is ultimately her choice. Women can simply not win because if they’re feminine they’re weak and manly they’re “bitches.” It’s a confusing standard that someday women, men and feminists hope to conquer.

  7. Brenna, thanks for your intelligent comments and insights. I have to say, though, that I have been surprised by your and other comments on this post (some made to me personally and not seen here) in at least one way. I did say this: “…a human being is very complex.Both men and women share qualities that, for the sake of discussion, have been labeled as the exclusive domain of one or the other. These qualities overlap to varying degrees and there is no linear spectrum.”

    I had thought that this would show that I was using the terms “feminine” and “masculine” simply as common-ground terminology. I tried not to generalize too much, except about the part that you called, ” women are pressure to exemplify men in business situations,” as that was the point of my post. But I’m not the perfect writer and, judging by the HUGE spectrum of responses I got from this, it’s too emotional a subject for most readers to process without an emotional response. You sound like one of the few who kept your brain in control! I appreciate that, even if you see things somewhat differently from the way I do.

    I wrote this piece, as others have done before me, as a wake-up call. I think that now, thanks to the Occupy Wall Street crowd (who have my respect and admiration) people are starting to wake up to the effects of an overly-masculinized society – war, economic cruelty, etc.

    Please continue to point out to me the times when what I think I’m saying isn’t necessarily what comes across. And also, if you’re interested in science, follow some of the links in this post to see what a few of the great women in the world have done and are doing. There are MANY more examples, but these are some that I admire.

    One last thought… as I was getting feedback on this, I started to think that the readers were confounding the feminism movement with the women’s movement – which are arguably not the same thing. Then I thought, “Whoa! I confounded these two movements myself!” If you have any thought on this we’d all love to here them.

    Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: