One of the most widely-used tools to measure sexism is the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI), by social psychologists Peter Glick and Susan T. Fiske. The original 1996 paper (available here) has been cited more than 2,800 times (Google Scholar). It’s been influential for its idea that sexism has two components: hostile sexism (overtly negative attitudes towards women) and benevolent sexism (subjectively positive attitudes towards women that still contribute to gender inequality). The actual test (take it for yourself here) has been used for educational resources, population research, etc.
While I appreciate that Glick and Fiske (being academics) have a more nuanced view of sexism (and power) than most activists, I still want to point out some problems.
Continue reading “Problems with the Standard Tool for Measuring Sexism (the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory)”
There is a widespread tendency within feminism to address men’s issues by framing them as really being about women (i.e. merely a side-effect of negative attitudes towards women, problems with how we see women, or disadvantages for women). This could be called the “trickle-down equality” approach to men’s issues, because it means that we can focus on women and their issues and equality will “trickle down” to men and their issues. This reluctance to acknowledge men’s issues as real issues in their own right is one of the clearest deal-breakers to feminism being the answer to men’s issues.
I think this comes from a general bias towards seeing women as victims, and a tendency for people (here, feminists) to situate new topics in terms of what they already know (a doctor might have a tendency to assume that a new patient’s unexplained problem will turn out to be related to the area of medicine they specialize in, for example).
Continue reading “Trickle-Down Equality and Framing Men’s Issues as Really Being About Women”
A common misconception among people (even feminists themselves) who are less familiar with the terminology of feminist theory is that radical feminism is a generic term for extremist or fringe feminism. In reality, it is an actual kind of feminism with actual beliefs. It is indeed more extreme than some other kinds of feminism (notably liberal feminism), but that doesn’t make it fringe or non-mainstream.
Radical feminism has classically been one of the two main kinds of feminism in America and Britain, alongside liberal feminism in the former and socialist feminism in the latter . Socialist feminism lost ground in the 1990s, but “liberal feminism and radical feminism remain strong currents in feminist political thought” .
Radical feminism provides the “bulwark of theoretical thought in feminism”, acting as an “important foundation” for other varieties . It is a more “indigenous” feminism, less grounded in other ideologies than liberal and socialist feminism are .
Continue reading “Radical Feminism Is Not Fringe Feminism”
Wikipedia describes horseshoe theory as the idea that the far left and far right, rather than being opposites, actually resemble each other. It’s often used to compare the totalitarian left (communism) with the totalitarian right (fascism). On this page I look at horseshoe theory and identity politics, comparing the social justice left and the alt-right.
Continue reading “Horseshoe Theory: the Social Justice Left on Men, and the Alt-Right on Jews and Blacks”
Title IX (of the Education Amendments of 1972) prohibits discrimination based on sex at federally-funded educational institutions in the United States. Historically most known for ensuring equality between male and female athletics programs, in August of 2011 it was invoked to apply a new policy for sexual assault to all federally-funded universities and colleges. The “dear colleague” letter (pdf) from the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama administration defines acts of sexual violence (rape, sexual assault, etc.) as “discrimination based on sex”. Among other policies, this letter mandates that universities and colleges (if they want to keep federal funding) investigate claims of sexual assault made by students and apply the “preponderance of evidence” standard when determining guilt.
Continue reading “Title IX and Low Standards of Evidence for Campus Sexual Assault”
There’s a saying going around that “political correctness is just common decency”. If the issue in question is not calling groups by names that they consider demeaning or insulting (e.g. not saying the word “tranny” for someone who’s transgender) then that is just common decency, but political correctness is so much more than that. In a 2015 article, American journalist Jonathan Chait calls political correctness a “style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate”, which involves treating “even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses”.
Continue reading ““Sexist! Racist! Homophobe!” Political Correctness and Illegitimate Speech”
Recently I came across a paper called “Wikipedia’s Politics of Exclusion: Gender, Epistemology, and Feminist Rhetorical (In)action” (2015, published in Computers and Composition 37) where feminist academic Leigh Gruwell tackles Wikipedia’s “gender gap”: only 13% of its editors are women. That’s a valid topic to discuss, but she takes it in a very frightening direction. She argues that Wikipedia’s standards on verifiability and objectivity are exclusionary, and that the subjective knowledge of women and feminists should be given a privileged status.
Continue reading “A Look at One Feminist’s Critique of Wikipedia, Verifiability, and Objectivity”
The word “patriarchy” is used by many feminists to refer to the system of gender (the differences in status, condition, and treatment that depend on whether you’re a man or a woman) in our society. This page is a short explanation of why I don’t use the term, with reference both to stronger definitions and weaker definitions of it.
Continue reading “Why I Reject the Term “Patriarchy””
One of the ugliest elements of the social justice movement is that “privileged” groups (especially men, white people, and straight people) are considered acceptable targets for various types of mistreatment that would not be tolerated for sympathy-worthy groups (especially women, racial minorities, and LGBT people). Many people become disillusioned with “social justice” after realizing that inside the movement, acceptable treatment depends less on the action itself and more on which group is targeted.
Continue reading “Social Justice’s Punching Bags: Men, White People, Straight People”
The oppressor/oppressed gender dichotomy (OOGD) is a view of gender held by many feminists that sees men as an oppressor class and women as an oppressed class, and looks at gender issues and gender relations in terms of class warfare and class oppression—essentially a “battle of the sexes” with “men keeping women down”. A similar approach has been applied to other demographic traits like race (in social justice), and economic class (in Marxism).
A lot of the seemingly extreme or unexpected behaviour from feminists makes more sense in light of the fact that many of them see the world this way. And a lot of the aversion from people to identifying with feminism comes from not seeing the world this way. (The term was coined by /u/Karmaze on reddit.)
Continue reading “The Oppressor/Oppressed Dichotomy in Gender and Beyond”