feminism, democracy, and gender equality

women in congress

Fem­i­nism, Democ­racy and the ‘War on Women’

Food for thought– should women who are emo­tion­ally and/​or eco­nom­i­cally invested in second-​class sta­tus have the power to shape laws that effect other women?

Tracy Hig­gins explained in 1997 why courts should review and some­times even reverse demo­c­ra­tic out­comes in order to ensure equal pro­tec­tion on the basis of gen­der. Con­sti­tu­tional the­ory pre­sumes an autonomous, self-​defining indi­vid­ual and thus jus­ti­fies “state action as the legit­i­mate expres­sion of pop­u­lar will.” Fem­i­nists have coun­tered that this lib­eral view of indi­vid­ual agency does not cap­ture women’s expe­ri­ences under patri­archy. Instead, people’s pref­er­ences are socially con­structed, such that “women’s choices should be under­stood as nei­ther fully free nor com­pletely deter­mined.” In other words, “[h]ow can a cit­i­zen mean­ing­fully con­sent if her nature and beliefs are them-​selves a prod­uct of the sys­tem to which she con­sents?” Sit­u­ated within cer­tain cul­tural norms of “lan­guage, law, myth,[and] cus­tom” some “indi­vid­u­als may not be the best judges of their own inter­ests or those of the com­mu­nity.” This is a con­tro­ver­sial view of agency. An alter­nate view is that women gay sup­port poli­cies that are not in the strate­gic inter­est of their gen­der because changes “could threaten the short-​term prac­ti­cal inter­ests of some women, or entail a cost in the loss of forms of pro­tec­tion which are not then com­pen­sated for in some way.” How­ever, under either con­cep­tion of agency, the fail­ure of demo­c­ra­tic processes to ensure gen­der equal­ity means that judi­cial review can be nec­es­sary to check major­ity outcomes.

misogyny online

steubenville rape joke

Why Women Aren’t Wel­come on the Inter­net by Amanda Hess at Pacific Standard

Accord­ing to a 2005 report by the Pew Research Cen­ter, which has been track­ing the online lives of Amer­i­cans for more than a decade, women and men have been log­ging on in equal num­bers since 2000, but the vilest com­mu­ni­ca­tions are still dis­pro­por­tion­ately lobbed at women. We are more likely to report being stalked and harassed on the Inter­net — of the 3,787 peo­ple who reported harass­ing inci­dents from 2000 to 2012 to the vol­un­teer orga­ni­za­tion Work­ing to Halt Online Abuse, 72.5 per­cent were female. Some­times, the abuse can get phys­i­cal: A Pew sur­vey reported that five per­cent of women who used the Inter­net said “some­thing hap­pened online” that led them into “phys­i­cal dan­ger.” And it starts young: Teenage girls are sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to be cyber­bul­lied than boys. Just appear­ing as a woman online, it seems, can be enough to inspire abuse. In 2006, researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land set up a bunch of fake online accounts and then dis­patched them into chat rooms. Accounts with fem­i­nine user­names incurred an aver­age of 100 sex­u­ally explicit or threat­en­ing mes­sages a day. Mas­cu­line names received 3.7.

This Is What the Harass­ment and Abuse of Women on the Inter­net Looks Like, Part II

Rape and Death Threats: What Men’s Rights Activists Really Look Like by Katie J.M. Baker at Jezebel

Men’s Rights Activists are rage-​filled misog­y­nists who claim fem­i­nists inten­tion­ally “cover up” issues like male rape and work­place injury rates so women can achieve global dom­i­na­tion. Har. Those pesky fem­i­nazis, how­ever, keep get­ting in the way, so it’s up to the MRAs to win the world over. And how do they do this? By threat­en­ing to “gag, rape and gut” bitches who dare to ques­tion their flimsy politics.

End Online Misogyny

The Inter­net – a stalker’s haven

book review: “Misogyny: The Male Malady”


Henry Fuseli
Swiss, 17411825
Oedi­pus Curs­ing His Son, Polyn­ices, 1786
oil on canvas

Oh, Andrea Dworkin a review of Misog­yny: The Male Mal­ady by David Gilmore at the Lon­don Review of Books by Jenny Diski

… we can con­cen­trate our thoughts and con­cerns on the real vic­tims of the mal­ady of misog­yny: the psy­chogeni­cally chal­lenged male who needs all the under­stand­ing we can give him. Appar­ently men’s psy­ches are ‘trou­bled’, they are in ‘mas­cu­line tur­moil’ as a result of uni­ver­sal expe­ri­ences in ‘the male devel­op­men­tal cycle’. Lord, how eas­ily the image of the oppressed is appro­pri­ated. If women think they’ve had a hard time as a result of being loathed and bul­lied by men, it’s noth­ing com­pared to the hard­ship suf­fered by men that has resulted in their feel­ing the loathing. If you are begin­ning to get an uncom­fort­able sense of milky moth­ers and moist mer­maids loom­ing on the hori­zon you are right, because men’s fear of help­less­ness, suf­fo­ca­tion and sub­mer­gence, in the inescapably female and del­i­ques­cent form of uterus, breast and vagina, is judged to be at the root of it all. Women drip with dan­ger for men, who, as we know, first can’t live with­out us and then can’t live with us. You can love your mother for a while, but then she betrays you with your father and you have to marry other men’s sis­ters: ene­mies, out­siders, who as like as not are plot­ting against you with their sex­u­al­ity and secre­tions while try­ing to abort your sons on whom the patriliny depends. Of course, it’s not women’s fault that it’s all their fault – Gilmore has all the rhetoric of a mod­ern man and throws his hands up sadly at the unfor­tu­nate social and bio­log­i­cal arrange­ments that make it this way – but men suf­fer from hav­ing been given birth to by women from whom they have to sep­a­rate in order to become men; they suf­fer from hav­ing to desire peo­ple of the same gen­der as their mother (my, this is very awk­ward, Jocasta), and they suf­fer because they can­not per­form the mir­a­cle of repro­duc­ing the species directly from their own bod­ies. Men suf­fer. No, they do. It’s awful.