posted on Apr, 29 2006 @ 03:56 PM
Just for the hell of it, I thought I'd post my opinions.
Firstly, I'm absolutely in favour of legal, financial and personal equality for women. And I do not feel that in all these areas the battle has been
However I went to university in the late 70s/early 80s, at a time when the feminist movement had some rather strident and ugly overtones. One that
particularly wound me up was the smug slogan, "all men are potential rapists", which used to get bandied about in student discussions. I would try
my best to say that there was no conceivable circumstance in which I could be moved to commit rape, but the discussion was absolutely at the level of,
"you have a penis, therefore you can commit rape. Women cannot commit rape."
My interlocutors couldn't see why I found it insulting.
It is a matter of some amusement to me, though, that an ex of mine (who is now a moderately successful author and meejah person), when she was
teaching law, blew the myth that only men can commit rape out of the water rather effectively. She told her class that coc aine, applied to an
erection, renders it, if not absolutely permanent, than certainly far less temporary than usual. Thus, given the right combination of circumstances,
rape of a man (not involving penetrating him) is possible. She was a wild one even when I knew her...
As far as gender roles are concerned, I admit to, at times, finding them very oppressive. The male is expected to be the breadwinner in most
relationships, is expected to be mechanically minded, and so on and so on.
I think it's also important to look at the other side of the coin, too. Some women derive much pleasure and self-esteem from being good at the
traditional wife/mother skills - no easy feat. I guess I'm basically for people doing what they want, which is pretty hard in the society we live in
(though not as hard as it is in (for example) Iraq, where the feminist gains made under Saddam's secularist rule have been brutally rolled back, and
where women dare not go out alone, and certainly not without being 'properly' dressed according to Islamic standards).
The balance of power within relationships is a very difficult one to negotiate, however. Attractive as the slogan "the personal is poitical" is, in
my experience, power within relationships is entirely due to personal predilections of the people involved, and people are incredibly, magnificently,
various. One of the most amazing women I've ever known, one of the sharpest, smartest, funniest people I've ever known, really liked to be
dominated, and indeed beaten, as a part of her sex life. Should her partner refuse to do this on the basis that it was enforcing ludicrous and
outdated gender roles? Should she have had therapy to try and correct her attitude?
I shouldn't (but discussion boards being what the are, I will) have to say that there is no condoning partner abuse - by either sex.
I guess that I think that as long as feminism restricts itself to fighting battles for equality under the law and in economic and social terms,
that's great. When it starts intruding into personal lives, that's not so good because I don't believe that, beyond a very few and obvious
limitations, human behaviour can be rule-governed at that level.