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Entry 1819, on 2016-11-08 at 22:32:26 (Rating 4, Politics)
Every now and again the old subject of how women are disadvantaged in our society comes up, especially in relation to pay inequality and under-representation in politics. I think both of these issues have some basis in reality, but there is rarely any real debate about the true extent of the problem because everyone has to be so politically correct around it.
For example, in a recent on-line "debate" a woman claimed that she had suffered disadvantages every day and that her career had been held back more than a man's would have been. But she seemed to have quite a good job in a traditionally male-dominated profession and when asked, didn't give any specific instances of sexist behaviour against her.
I asked her - and I put this very carefully because I wasn't specifically suggesting this was the source of the perceived problem (since I was discussing it from a distance and didn't know many details) - whether there was any chance that the problem was with her. Maybe she (like me) was good at her job but not seen as being suitable for promotion into a more senior position.
Well, or course, that was when the "feminazi" thing started! I was accused of being misogynistic and sexist and part of the problem, etc, etc. Now I have never tried this but I suspect if I said the same thing to a man he would have either conceded there was an issue with himself (like I do) or said that the fault was with the attitudes of management in his workplace (like I also do).
So being a woman seems to be a "get out of jail free card" to excuse any deficiencies that person might have. There's a similar phenomenon with Hillary Clinton. On many occasions when I criticise her I'm accused of doing that just because she's a woman. But when I am just as (or more) critical of Donald Trump no one says a thing!
The truth is I don't like either of them. I don't like Clinton because she represents the political establishment which is the direct cause of many of the world's problems. And I don't like her because she seems to be so fake and just says what she thinks people want to hear rather than what she really believes. My dislike is not because she is a woman, and I have indicated some qualified support for some female politicians in the past.
And I don't like Trump because a lot of what he says is simply untrue, and he seems to be more interested in gaining power for himself rather than genuinely doing something good for the world. My dislike is not because he is a man, and I have indicated some qualified support for some male politicians in the past.
So I'm a little bit sick of the two common responses I get to this sort of issue. First, the extreme feminist perspective (AKA feminazi) which is just totally out of touch with reality, and second the politically correct position, often illustrated by men who want to over-compensate for the real and imagined transgressions of men in general.
So what is my position on this issue? Well, how about reality? I'm OK with criticising genuine misogyny, but when that is used as a condemnation of anyone who dares to criticise a woman it just weakens the case against real instances of it.
As I said in a recent debate with a feminist (actually, she was close to being a feminazi): I'm more on your side than you are! I said that because I realise that if you take a political view, like feminism, too far you don't actually make it stronger, you make it weaker, because it makes it just too easy to dismiss that view in general.
I take the same position on other political views too. For example, I often debate against my presumed political allies on the left because they sometimes go too far. This causes quite a bit of consternation on occasions but I think it is important to follow what I see as my genuine moral standards rather than those that I might be expected to follow based on some political label such as "liberal" or "lefty".
When I see the mindless fanaticism of both Trump and Clinton suporters in the US it makes me feel really uneasy because no person should agree with any politician's policies to that extent. In that case I think people are blindly following a leader who may not genuinely stand for what's best for them.
We all need to fight against those extremists. Whether they are conservative nut jobs, politically correct left-wing zombies, or (God help us all) feminazis!
Comment 1 (4604) by Derek Ramsey on 2016-11-09 at 09:04:00:
Do you think that there are enough people who are not ‘conservative nut jobs’, ‘politically correct left-wing zombies’, or ‘feminazis’ to fight against this? Or put another way, why is it getting worse and not better?
Comment 2 (4605) by OJB on 2016-11-09 at 09:04:24:
Well, political correctness *seems* to be getting worse, and extreme conservatives *seem* to be becoming more visible as traditional “values” are challenged, and radical feminists *seem* to be more prominent. It’s entirely possible the situation is worse, but I have no data so it’s hard to know for sure. The real point is that I blog about issues whether there is much that can be practically achieved or not. Just starting a discussion is worthwhile in itself.
Comment 3 (4606) by OJB on 2016-11-09 at 09:11:33:
Two other points I should have mentioned...
1. I realise there is a wide range of people who class themselves as "feminists". I'm not trying to criticise them all, just the radicals who take feminist ideology too far and lose touch with reality.
2. By using the term "feminazi" I might have fallen victim to Godwin's Law (especially the feminist corollary which states "as an online discussion about sexism continues, the probability of a woman who speaks out being called a feminazi approaches 1". I fully realised that when I wrote this post. I just used the term because it is in common use and is quite descriptive.
Comment 4 (4662) by Anonymous on 2017-03-10 at 12:37:55:
Unfortunately Owen you are doing what many people on the right do which is to reject progressive political actions by simply labeling them as political correctness. Don't like a new way to give women more power? Call it political correctness. Don't like treating Muslims like real people? Call it political correctness. Why not call it what it really is, which is just correctness.
Comment 5 (4663) by OJB on 2017-03-10 at 12:46:32:
Yeah, I understand that calling something you don't like "political correctness" can be used as just an easy way to reject an idea without really having to deal with it. But notice in what I said above, it was the other person who used politically correct attitudes in exactly that way.
There was no need to have any real evidence that the person was prevented from progressing because she was a woman and we all know (according to received PC wisdom) that that's just what happens. Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. And sometimes women get promotions just because they are women and there is a need for "gender balance".
I totally agree that over-using political correctness to dismiss ideas you don't agree with is a tactic some on the right use, but that doesn't mean that PC doesn't exist and I reserve the right to criticize it in genuine cases.
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