My views towards Feminism — you can call me one if you like
I honestly find it deeply annoying that I have to write about this, simply because I can’t believe this is still an issue. The reason I feel compelled to do so because a minority of atheists I’ve encountered on social medias have some twisted outlook towards women and equality, and it’s causing a stir. And this stir frustrates me. Atheists are butting heads together over this, while thousands of Megachurches continue to swell with tens of thousands of people twice a week in their ongoing mission to infiltrate governments, militaries and schools. Atheists, agnostics, and infidels are outsourced, out-financed, and way out numbered, and we should be focusing our efforts to countering those who wish to keep humanity drowning under the waters of delusion.
Now that is not to say that I think Feminism, sexism and misogyny are light topics that we should ignore. They are definitely not. I only express my annoyance because I am shocked that the atheist movement is being divided by something which, I think, we ought to know better because we understand intolerance better than most. Susan B. Anthony, an atheist, knew what intolerance was, and she made history trying to right the wrong. Bear in mind, I was not surprised about non-theists disagreeing with each other, I was just taken aback a bit on this subject. As a movement, the atheist/secular community should understand the importance of gender equality and sexism in society. Frankly, I expected a freethinker to be well above this. But life can be odd at times, especially when you find a freethinker who believes in bloody Homeopathy.
I am one to speak my mind, and people say keeping quiet is the same as giving permission. Well, all that is going on these days, such as GamerGate, I think it is important that another voice speaks up now. I usually take to the streets to make my voice heard on political issues, such as my opposition to war and the NSA. I rarely have the free time to blog, and sometimes when I post a blog it is something I intended to write about a long time ago. And this is one of those times. I have been thinking and intending to voice my views on the issue, but rarely had the time for it. But as the days went on, more new things kept popping up that I could add to my piece. Unfortunately, there’s a lot to talk about, and I don’t plan to address them all. I might as well write about it now before the chance slips away.
I should also mention that this blog may be odd to follow. I thought best if I start off with a background of myself and then jump to what seems to be the hype in the present day.
In life, I would hope that all humans be more consistent with their worldviews. Growing up, even as a child, before the turn of the 21st century, I was curious why there was even a debate on gender equality.
I sometimes heard that women were deemed the “weaker sex” but I knew right away that was horseshit. Women were competitors in sports and the Olympics, they could be more than physically qualified to do certain jobs deemed for men. There were female martial artists and cage fighters, who could mop the floor with your ass – don’t tell me that being a woman means you are somehow weak. Having some Norwegian in my family, I was aware that women fought side by side with Viking men. As a kid, I knew perfectly well that there was not a job that a woman could do as well as a man. I knew there were female doctors, female police officers, female lawyers, female Senators, female teachers, female plumbers, female pilots, and so on and so on and so on. (actually, the only job I knew that a woman did not have at the time was being President of the USA, but I knew since I was a kid that would change sometime in the future, perhaps in my lifetime) And it seemed like a joke at first when I heard that women are not paid as equally as men for doing the same job. I thought “that’s ludicrous! Why should women be paid less for the same job as a man?”
I also knew rape wasn’t just a woman’s issue, it is a human’s issue that EVERYONE should passionately care about. Men get raped, as do little boys. And sometimes the rapist could be a woman. It may seem unimaginable to some, but it’s true. And I knew the excuse “she was wearing revealing clothing, so it’s her fault” was a nonsensical argument. Like I said, men and boys get raped, were their clothes revealing their tits or too much thigh? No! Doesn’t matter how much skin is revealed or concealed, rapists will still have their way if and when they get the chance. So clothing is not the central issue, the issue that should be focused on is the rapist, not the victim.
Speaking of clothing, I also support the right for women to walk topless in public, if they so choose to. Believe it or not, it was once illegal for men to be topless at the beach, now they can if they so choose to. Why can’t women do the same? Women once could be fined or punished for revealing an ankle, now they can wear bikinis with no problem. I think we as society are on our way to growing up and just letting women go topless like men already can. Though I’ve heard people object to it by bringing up children and rapists. I’ve heard others say “I don’t want to see a fat or old woman’s breasts.” Well hey brother, ever notice those fat topless dudes at the beach, with their triple D man titties? Or what about topless grandpa with his foot-long white chest hair jogging down the road while listening to his iPod? I am sure you don’t like looking at their man-boobs, I don’t either — but let’s be consistent, we don’t object to them and tell them to put on a shirt, we simply just don’t pay them any mind and we’re over it. So there is no reason why we should object to all women having the right to be topless. In regards to the “rapist objection” like I already said, the problem regarding rapists are the rapists. It doesn’t matter what the woman (or man) is wearing or not wearing, rapists will still commit the crime. And what about the kids? How can a kid seeing female nipples be harmful? Aren’t breasts family friendly, don’t they feed and nourish babies? (that’s another thing I don’t really get these days, it is perfectly okay for a PG-13 film to show violence and death, but they cant show a single female nipple? It’s ridiculous!)
Moving on, to when I got a bit older and first learned about Feminism. I wasn’t even aware of the word “Feminist” until I was in my mid-teens. At first, I did not know that a man could be labeled a feminist. It wasn’t until my college years when I had my first discussion with a self-described feminist woman. Based on our talk, she concluded even I was a feminist. And that didn’t bother me at all. Still doesn’t bother me. I know that the word “Feminist” kinda has a weird stigma attached to it, but so does “atheist”! I know that some atheists don’t even want to call themselves atheist, but not me. I don’t believe in a god, and therefore by definition I am an atheist (I’m also an Igtheist and Apistevist). I should not have to hide that, or shy away from that label, even if society in general puts a bad attachment to the word.
But I leave it up to my readers to judge if I am a Feminist, for objectivity. As you read through the rest of this blog, I will leave it up to you in my views mirror that of Feminism.
When I first heard of Feminism, I thought “Feminist” was just another word for “equality” (which I am all for). I’ve considered myself a Humanist for a long time, because simply being an “atheist” only declares what you don’t believe in, it doesn’t say what you do believe in. And everyone needs a social and moral code, and the one that made the most sense to me was Secular Humanism. All humans have value, so treat all humans as equal as you would want them to treat you. The Golden Rule is as simple as I can make it.
But when I did my own research on what Feminism means, in every definition that I am aware of, Feminism only means the advocacy of equal rights and treatment for women. Or in other words, women are people too.
Just based on that alone, I find absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I would fully support it with no hesitation. And by extension, I think there’s no arguing that if you are not for equal rights and treatment for women (or simply Feminism), then you are for the opposite: you are not in favor of granting equal rights and treatment for women. And by all accounts that I am aware of, that is what Sexism is.
In college I met a woman who self-described herself as a Feminist. We talked for quite a bit, and her views seemed to match my own, even on topics where I had the preconceived notion that we would deeply disagree, like on prostitution and pornography. The opposite happened. We found a lot of common ground. We had no problems with prostitution and pornography, if it is handled in a careful and common sense manner. Now I know that this one person did not embody everything about feminism and she was only expressing her personal views. I get that. But it seemed like no accident when I met other self-proclaimed feminists later on who shared the same views. I was slowly beginning to see a trend of agreement. Basically, if a person (male or female) wishes to engage and partake in selling their bodies for sex, or filming themselves during sex, they are more than welcome to do so. More power to them. My only advice to them is, “be safe and take care of yourself.”
Views on abortion and sex education
I’m pro-choice and perfectly satisfied with that. It’s not my child, it’s not my woman, it’s not my family, it’s none of my freakin’ business. I support laws that keeps abortion clinics open. Because even if they all close, that would not end abortions. Abortions will still happen, but they will be unsafe and the mother will likely die. So I say keep the clinics open to all, and provide safe abortions. I am not saying that I “like” abortions, I don’t. It’s not pretty, but I cannot overlook the fact that it is sometimes unavoidable. For instance, ectopic pregnancies will kill the mother, and abortion is the only solution. I think that it is better to lose one than lose two, especially considering that the mother may already have children. So better to save the mother’s life than leave her children motherless. Or she could have future children. Like my best friend in the world, he and his brother would not be here unless his mother had an abortion during an ectopic pregnancy many years before she met my friends father.
I also think women should have complete access to birth control. If insurance companies can cover Viagra for men, it should be a no brainer to cover women’s birth control. I also don’t like abstinence-only programs. I think the jury is out, abstinence programs just don’t work. They may postpone teens from having sex, but you cannot erase the biology of the human body. Teens are developing, and you can’t halt their biology and their drive to satisfaction. That’s why statistically abstinence programs postpone teen sex on average for 18 months. And then when two teens decide to have sex, thanks to the abstinence-only programs robbing them of a proper sex education, teens are more willing to practice unsafe sex, catch an STD, or get pregnant.Take a look at Texas, where those conservatives are high in abstinence-only programs, and yet the State is ranked as the highest in repeat teen pregnancy. American teenagers engages in about as much sex as teenagers in the rest of the developed world, but American girls are four to five times more likely to become pregnant, to have a baby, or to get an abortion. Young Americans are also far more likely to be infected by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The rate of gonorrhea among American teens is seventy times higher than it is among their peers in France and in the Netherlands.
The MRA – Men’s Rights Activists
However, a couple months later from my talk with a feminist, I heard of a group called MRA, Men’s Right’s Activists, my first thought was “WHAT?! Men’s Rights? Don’t men ALREADY have all the rights?”
But that aside, when we talk about Feminism, we are talking about equal rights for both genders, not equal rights just for women and equal rights just for men. Equal rights for both genders, that’s what “equal” means. It seemed the MRA wanted to be more equal than women. And I should make this clear, if there was ever a woman or a women’s group demanding more equal rights then men (which is a form of supremacy) then those women would not be Feminists either.
At first, I heard the MRA were concerned with divorced parents and how women seem to always get the children. I didn’t really get it. As a child of divorced parents, even now as a adult, I would’ve came to the same conclusion that my mother was a better choice to raise me over my own father. I will not share why, for I don’t owe anyone a reason to explain. My point is that sometimes, if not a lot of the time, it is far better for the mother to gain full custody of the children. And in some cases, the father may be the ideal choice, to which I say go for it, and I am sure that happens quite a lot. But I am not going to sit here and drum up some conspiracy that there is a bias towards mothers always getting the upper hand.
My uncle got divorced twice. But he only had children in his second marriage. In that case, his wife made the choice to leave him, and when they got divorced, they got shared custody but the children were mostly left with their father. Sounds fair to me, she is the one after all who decide to leave them out of the blue. My point is that I don’t think these divorce cases are biased towards the wife. I think they these cases are treated individually.
“Some Feminists go too far!”
I’ve heard this one plenty of times. And guess what, I could find that agreeable sometimes. But before I go into any details, I must express something clearly: one over the top feminist or a handful of feminists do not define what Feminism is. It’s the same way that we as atheists understand that Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church does not dictate what Christianity is as a whole. We know Phelps is just a twisted old hater, who has turned his family into a bigoted cult. When atheists like myself criticize and oppose Christianity, we focus on it’s doctrines, not the haters who parade under the banner of Christianity. So if you wish to criticize Feminism, criticize the belief that women should have equal rights. Then you can target a handful of radicals.
Even though I admit that some feminists can go too far, does that justify the perpetuation of sexism in society? Of course not.
Just like Fred Phelps, we do not say all Christians are haters towards homosexuals and non-Christians. Even homosexuals can be Christians. Atheists and agnostics know better than to label every Christian as a “hater” simply because people like Fred Phelps exist. In the same respects, citing a few self-described Feminists as “man-haters” does not mean that Feminism and all Feminists are man-haters.
I’ve already made it clear that any self-proclaimed Feminist who seeks supremacy over men is by definition not a Feminist, because it throws the definition of Feminism right out the window. Even Gloria Steinem of the Women’s Liberation Movement has said that women deserve equal rights, but women don’t deserve special rights over men.
That being said, the first time I ever thought “that’s going too far” occurred in 2012 when a radical left group in Sweden was trying to pass legislation to make it illegal for men to stand while urinating. But when I brought this news to three of my feminist friends, each of them lashed against it too. Since then, every conversation I’ve had with a Feminist, I always bring up this example. And to this date, I have not met a Feminist in person or online who agrees with this radical left party as a good idea. So it became clear to me that a handful of Feminists in an other country do not define what Feminism is.
I remember when George Carlin made his “that’s going to far” case in regards to Feminism when it came to words and labels, and I think he was right. I think mankind ought to humankind. I think that police man/woman ought to be police officer. And I agree that we should not over do it. In my circle of friends, I am the Wolfman. That should not have to change to Wolfperson.
But that being said, I do not think Feminism is any less important. It remains very relevant.
Feminism and sex
But the moment I knew the MRA were full of crap was when California passed a consent law “Yes means Yes.” This law mirrored my own lifestyle and how I behave before I engage in sex. I always ask for consent, specifically three times. If I receive a “No” even once in those three times, I stop. Quit. Done. And it has served me well thus far, never had any complaints. Asking for consent just seemed like a total no-brainer to me. So when the MRA were objecting to this law, basically arguing that they should be able to have sex with a woman without her consent, that was the moment I realized what a bunch of douchebags these guys were.
To me, women are people too. If you want to have a “good time” with them, you ask them like they are an actual person if they want to partake. I don’t understand how that is so hard to grasp for some. And as a person, she has every right to say “No.” And what struck me was that there seems to be some growing social trend that if a woman says “No” she is sneered as a prude instead of respected for her freedom to choose her lover. On the other hand, if she says “Yes” to you, others people who are not you may sneer her as a “slut.” There seemed to be no upside to this. Like the world is inclined to not like women. –though of course there are indeed women in this world that I definitely do not like. Ann Coulter and the wife of Fred Phelps comes to my mind. But then again, the same can be said about men (Fred Phelps comes to mind).
But to the best of my knowledge, Feminism does not mean that women should refrain from sex, nor does it say that women should not enjoy sex.
Now to jump back a bit in regards to clothing. I don’t know why this is a big deal. Again to the best of my knowledge, Feminism doesn’t say that women can’t dress sexy if they want to. If a woman wants to dress sexy, why in the world should I think any less of her? GUYS DRESS SEXY TOO, and they want to. Even I do it! I’ve come to learn that a well dressed man in a suit is incredibly sexy to a great deal of women. It really is.
Now I am not saying that every man should not say a word to a woman on the streets. That would be hypocritical of myself. I see no harm in passing a compliment. It wasn’t all that long ago I said to a woman on the streets “I love your purple hair.” Yeah, I see women with dyed hair, and I happen to like that particular color (black and purple are my colors). She gave me a big smile, her eyes lit up, she briefly paused from walking, and took a moment to thanked me kindly and went on her merry way. I’ve even had women walk up to me and compliment my long hair. Some women on the streets say nice things about what I am wearing, like my necklace that my grandmother made me. I’ve never said anything to a passing woman beyond the parameters of the example I gave.
But let me make it perfectly clear: there is a big difference in giving a woman a polite compliment and creeping her the fuck out with inappropriate comments. (need a hint? Watch the Jessica Williams clip I linked above, where women hear things like “I want to fuck you in the ass” from male strangers.)
Yes I pass compliments to women, but I know better, and it should not be hard to know better. You don’t walk behind a woman and say “I bet you’re a freak in bed” or “you’ve got a nice ass.” Would you say such things to your own mother? I don’t think so.
But what about people who stare? I personally think it’s harmless, but I am not saying that everyone should think that way. I remember when I was 17, I went to a festival with my grandfather. He was on oxygen and had to ride on his stroller. I was still much faster, so he strolled a bit behind me. Long story short, we are making our way through a crowd. Eventually he rides over by me and says, “what did you do?” I had no idea what he was talking about. He then said, “Those pretty girls that walked by and looked at your butt. Did you smile or wink at them or something to get their attention?” I was surprised, I totally did not see the girls. I asked how old they were, he said about my age. How did I feel after learning about girls starring at my butt? I felt mainly surprised, but not creeped out or uncomfortable at all. To be honest, it made me feel a bit good about myself – after all, I was a teenage boy who wanted to catch the attention of girls, and I did it without trying. As an adult, I still have that desire. Maybe that’s why I like to dress classy.
Sometimes I catch the attention of men. I don’t swing that way at all, but I don’t feel creeped out. When I was 22, I started to volunteer at the Museum of Tolerance. One day, I was stationed with two old women to operate a section of the museum. When we were talking about upcoming events, one of the events was about a former White-Power racist man, Tim Zaal, who was with his group of racist friends and they assaulted a gay man, Matthew Boger, on the streets and left him there bleeding. These men eventually found each other many years after the incident and became (and remain) good friends. It was such a happy story, and I’m so glad they became friends. I hope they share their story with as many people as they can. But as the ladies and I were talking about Zaal and Boger’s upcoming event, one of the ladies said to me that she saw Boger “looked at your butt” (those were her words) and based on the way she said it, she sounded like I should be concerned that a gay guy was looking at me. I told her why should I be concerned? If what she said is true (and I never verified it, she may have been seeing things), I still would not be creeped out. A gay guy looked at me, so what? It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The man is gay, I bet he always look’s at other men’s butts. Let him, he likes men, you can’t think any less of him for his sexual preferences.
My point is is that I, and it’s just my opinion, I don’t think starring or glancing is harmful. That being said, I am not trying to encourage it. I am not the thought police. If a girl or guy sees me and find’s my body appealing, great, take a look. And when I glance and/or stare at a woman, I mean no harm. Don’t do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Judge me if you wish. If you think looking at a person whose body has caught your attention means you are not a Feminist, then don’t call me one if you think so. But I have yet to meet a Feminist who thinks it is wrong to simply “look” so I don’t think I have anything to worry about. But if there is a Feminist reading this and thinks otherwise, feel free to notify me in the comments section and explain why.
Misogyny in Video Games
Now that I think I’ve said enough on that, I guess I should talk about the recent events concerning feminism and misogyny in video games. I don’t follow the news concerning video games, because I don’t play them all that much. But from all that I know, is there some form of misogyny in video games. I don’t doubt that all. I am sure there is misogyny in video games, just as I am sure there is misogyny in fantasy and romance books and movies. I am sure we all can agree on that, and in so doing cannot label an entire industry as “misogynistic” for a handful of cases.
One thing I know a bit more than video games are comic books. I’ve read comic books since I was a kid, I was big X-men and Marvel fan. I’m positive if I go back and read my childhood comic books, like the first editions of Wonder Woman or Miss Fury, I’m sure I could find misogynistic elements in those editions. I remember the first year of published Wonder Woman comics, there was A LOT of spanking, and I mean a lot. But I also remember in one WW comic, specifically one published in Sept. 1942, a man literally chains a disguised Wonder Woman (who he mistakes for his wife) to the cooking stove, and WW says word-for-word “How thrilling! I see you’re chaining me to the cookstove. What a perfect caveman idea.” Bear in mind, that was in 1942! Other WW comics showed woman working in factories as steel workers or working in construction. The comics back then, despite all the spanking, was trying to get the idea out there that while men were off to war in Europe and in the Pacific, it was up to women to get out of the house and take up jobs; women were fully capable of doing these jobs despite being women; and we as Americans should support these women. That being said, I do not doubt that these same comics may have had misogynistic elements, but I think comic books have come a long way for the better in regards to social issues as well as their views on women.
But back to the video games. The last video game I played was Call of Duty and a bit of Destiny (not entirely fond of it, to me it’s like Halo had a baby with Borderlands). My brother plays way more games than me, way more. But whenever I heard these debates on video games popping up online, they seemed to focus on Hitman, Grand Theft Auto V, and Far Cry. I only played the multiply player part on Far Cry, but my brother told me the story behind the game, including that you play a guy and a island princess rapes you.
I’ve seen my brother play the fourth Grand Theft Auto. I personally don’t like car games, they bore me. I don’t know why my brother plays them, he’s got like five car games as far as I know. But one argument I heard popping up in regards in the video game debate was “games are making men kill unarmed women.” My first thought was, they make you kill unarmed men too. In the case of Grand Theft Auto, it doesn’t discriminate on who you kill on the streets, and it doesn’t matter who you kill (be it male or female of any age) once you kill or steal anything, every cop in town is after you. If you are mad at games for things like this, your anger should be entirely be focused on the killing unarmed civilians, not singling out the female victims. But sometimes the enemies you have to kill are women, I remember my brother playing Metal Gear Solid. I recall that four of the main villains you had to kill were women, but on top of that, there were battalions of elite enemy soldiers you had to kill and they were all women called FROGS (I have no idea why they are named that).
I guess all I am trying to say is that, comic books and videos games have their Ups and Downs, but the one thing I want to make 100% clear is that no one ever should be threatened in any way for merely disagreeing and/or objecting to an industry like video games. We are rational human beings, so lets just have a rational discussion over this please.
Do I think some video games have elements of sexism in them? Sure.
Do I think the video game industry itself is sexist or has strong sexist tendencies? I don’t know. I’m not well educated enough, I am not a big Gamer. However, I would not say the comic book industry is “sexist” based on a handful of comics, so I should not have a double standard when it comes to the video game industry (unless I was given clear proof that either or both industries were indeed sexist to their core, then I’ll change my mind).
Am I Feminist, I’ve been told that I am? The label and being one does not bother me. But in order to be objective, I leave the decision in the hands of my viewers, particularly any Feminist viewers.
Either way, whatever the answer, at the end of the day I call myself a Humanist, simply because I want to treat all humans of both genders of all backgrounds and of all ages as fairly as maximally possible. If that is on par with Feminism, then call me one if you wish if you think I fit the description.
Greta Christina, a feminist and atheist, and blogger on Freethought Blogs (I wish I could post on there), once said “I don’t give a damn what people call themselves. If they’re atheists, and they’re on-board with social justice, then they’re a friend of mine.”
It doesn’t look like Feminists are man-haters to me. I haven’t detected any impression from the Feminist movement as a whole that wishes superiority over men or to be divisive.
My last two cents: the atheist community should also not be divisive or be exclusionary. We want a more rational world, and we should do what we can to achieve that. But we cannot have a rational world where sexism is rampant and gender supremacy is favored over gender equality.