TED Conversations

Adam Cross

Editor - Newspaper, Swing Vote Chronicle

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Is feminism right or wrong?

Feminism is the act of a woman bettering the circumstances of other women both socially and economically.

However, why does the focal point of feminism revolve around the shortcomings of men?

Is feminism an example of sex discrimination? Does feminism represent the institutionalized use of anger and discontent to attack the morals of men as a whole by citing a few?

What are your thoughts, can anyone accept that feminism is rational if the merits of women are not themselves suitable?


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    Jun 18 2012: Feminism is not, I think, a specific act, does not suggest discrimination, does not necessarily concern the short-comings of men, and does not need to involve anger, institutionalized or personal. Feminism, if I remember correctly, arose as a point of view in reaction to a perception of widely held assumptions about women as a group, their abilities, interests, suitability for certain sorts of work, and so forth. I am generally unfamiliar with the scholarship of feminism, but I agree with Ricky that the thrust of the idea is that women should have opportunities in education, in the workplace, and in society that are related to the merit they bring to the situation rather than being denied opportunities because of gender or assumption about people of their gender.

    Any group of people will vary in how important they find fairness, what they consider fair, and how they propose to reach a goal of fairness.
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      Jun 19 2012: I feel that the goals of the feminist movement have been accomplished. Women are no longer seen as a lower class in 1st and even 2nd world countries. If we do not recognize this then we are standing in the way of real progress. One or two citations of a woman being excluded is not a justifiable excuse to continue. If I had given the same speech as the one by Megan Kamerick I could have sourced just as many male-discriminating articles as she presented.

      Almost all of my employees are women because they are self motivated and ambitious, so why do we need to "help" them get jobs when they are already highly capable AND proficient. Lowering the bar is almost a slap in the face to a woman. It is like saying "you weren't good enough on your own so we forced them to hire you."

      "does not necessarily concern the short-comings of men, and does not need to involve anger, institutionalized or personal." But it does often involve anger or biases from previous experience.

      I guess what I am trying to say is "Is it right TODAY. Have the efforts of feminist actions been successful and if so why is it still an issue?"
      • Jun 19 2012: Women still make .75 for every dollar a man makes in the same position.

        Women are still blamed for their own rapes.

        One in five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

        A woman is raped every forty-six seconds in the US.

        What she is talking about is not blaming men, but blaming the culture at large. You may be a good guy, and so you may feel like some of that was pointed at you, as a man. However, it wasn't. What she was talking about was the culture in which women are devalued. This isn't about men, it's about women.

        You're basically taking a video about the challenges that women face and turning it into being about men. It's not about you, it's about us. We can't even talk about these issues without it suddenly being turned into not women's issues, but men's.
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          Jun 19 2012: You have hit the point I am trying to make, this is not just a woman issue it is everyones issue. The blame game is not going to make anything better, while I believe that women are going to face the same challenges as men in professional feilds I do not think that making this a woman only issue will be effective.

          Rape is not and should not be a feminist issue, that is a criminal matter. It is worse than murder in my opinion. But if I've been offended by feminist action and I've never raped or let alone mistreated a woman then how many other men will become polarized by radical feminists.
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          Jun 19 2012: Good points Kathleen. I feel it is an issue for everyone. If we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem. It is the culture, made up of both men and women that needs to change.
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          Jun 19 2012: It is always useful when someone can speak from data, Kathleen, and has it at hand.

          One issue that still confronts women when they have earned themselves a spot is that some people still believe that the bar must have been lowered for them. Others will think women are eager for the bar to be lowered for them in competing for jobs. I know no one who is looking for this or ever did.

          Other assumptions that are made about women or that women make about themselves, also influence the opportunities they seek and get. Women are often assumed to be hard-working, motivated, and efficient, as Adam notes. Women may well be abundant in jobs that fit this profile. But when it comes to needing someone who is willing to take risks in the face of uncertainty, some employers think that perhaps a woman is not as good a choice. These sorts of perceptions affect roles in an organization.
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        Jun 19 2012: Hi Adam,
        Do you honestly think/feel that women are no longer seen as lower class in some of our world? Do you honestly feel that the movement has been accomplished? Think about that. If the task had really been accomplished, we probably would not be here talking about it because it wouldn't be an issue one way or the other...true? We certainly are moving forward toward equality, and I think there is a way to go before women are considered equal in our male dominated societies.

        In my perception, feminism does not have to revolve around the shortcomings of men, anger and discontent. I don't feel it necessary to devalue one group of people in order to elevate another group. In my perception, the pendulum is still swinging, and it may take time to find the balance. We've experienced male domination for a long time. Then when women started speaking up for themselves, they were angry. Now, some women would like to dominate men, which is not ok either. We need to work together to find the balance.
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          Jun 19 2012: I absoluty agree with you Colleen ii am just worried about the transition period. I am of course excluding the Middle East and related countries when I speak of women being treated equally.
        • Jun 19 2012: Colleen - I think that some of the issue comes from the mistaken idea that feminists are misandrists. Relatedly, I think that once a group feels a weakening of privilege, they feel that they are being treated unfairly (eg the fundamentalist Christians who actually believe that they are being harmed by non-Christians being free to take part in things which go against the Christian religion, like same-sex marriage).
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          Jun 20 2012: Adam, I went to the web site for your paper "swing vote chronical" I could not find a list of your staff. I was interested to see if you employed women and if so in what capicity? As an editor what do you do to ensure that all parties are fairly represented, that the total story is told, and that the best person for the job has been assigned.

          I, like Kathleen, heard the speaker say that perhaps the best person for the job is not always assigned. That sometime the perspective of the reporters could be different. I did not hear her bash men. I, as a male, am not as sensitative or as aware of some issues as a woman would be and that would make her the best to investigate the issue and report . My wife does many things better than I. Some of her talents are "guy" things like cabnet making. She refurbished our kitchen and I was her assistant. I screwed up some things and she caught them. I am proud of her. That does not make me weak or her strong it recognizes where the strengths are and how to properly use them.

          All the best. Bob.
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          Jun 22 2012: Is it still up? I just changed web providers and I'm looking for a webmaster (if anyone is interested) I'm not very experienced with wordpress or joomla.

          I employee 5 women and 2 men including myself. The only other man is a part time ad salesman and PR rep.

          My main focus is presenting a story w/o bias and w/o personal emotions becoming apparent to the reader.

          In terms of the the video in question I deal with presenting information as unbiased as I can. This is very very very difficult to do. At this moment I can change the way you read this WITH ONE WORD!! Emphasis is everything, you probably read the capitalized words before you read the full sentence.

          In the video and in personal experience many feminists use the past treatment of women as an example of what is wrong with the world. What I asked was "Has feminism reached it's initial goal?"
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          Jun 29 2012: Hi Adam,
          In response to your question, Has feminism reached it's initial goal? I think we are in the process of getting there. I think the initial goals of the women that started the movement, was to make a breach for women, for equality between men and women.
          In the present it is true that women have more opportunities that we used to have, specially related with job opportunities, but the reality is that we are not there yet, we are not as equal as we should be.
          In my personal case, I work in an area dominated by men. I am the first women ever hired here in the department, because it was thought to be a man job. And my bosses just realize that is not true, I can do the job even better that some men that had been in the position in all the years the company has.
          I don't consider my self as a strong feminist, but my education and ideals are pro equality, and since I have suffered discrimination just for the gender, I think my answer to your question is that no, we haven't reach the main goal, that is equality.
      • Jun 19 2012: Replying here as it won't give me an option to reply further down in the thread. Just out of curiosity, how do you feel that Megan Kamerick was blaming men specifically?

        Her thesis is along these lines: That men will sometimes not pick up on women's stories, for the same reason women won't pick up on men's stories. Because people want to focus on stories that they can connect with, and for some people, they have a hard time crossing the gender line. Also, there are places that women can go, and people women can talk to that men specifically can't. The stories in these places are not being heard because the majority of journalists are men. So, what she wants is more parity between of how the genders are represented among journalists.
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          Jun 19 2012: I agreed with her message but not with the way she presented it. She presented the issue as being a male dominated industry (which is not true by any means) and that male editors are purposfully ignoring female issues. One of her focal points is the focus on the female body. The female body is art, that is why it has been revered for thousands of years. It is not some deragatory image to be ashamed of.

          I criticize her method not her motivation, but intentions do not exist only actions exist. The motivation is useless without proper action w/o bias and prejudice.
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          Jun 20 2012: Thanks Kathleen,
          I was not aware of the term "misandrists"
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        Jun 19 2012: Adam,
        Why are you worried about the transition period? We are in it right now....are we not?

        Why do you exclude the Middle east and related countries? Those may be some of the women who need our support the most.
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          Jun 19 2012: I am worried about the transition period (which has been happening since the 70's) because I worry about power hounds who are known for taking an ideal and distorting it for their own personal gain. This has happened with communism, religion, and environmentalism and if the advocates of an idea let it happen the ideal is lost. Right now the most adamant (loudest) advocates are misandrists as Kathleen pointed out. These are the harmful few but they cannot just be written off they must be condemned by the community of true supporters or else these power hounds BECOME the cause.

          For example, I am 22. I was not alive during the civil rights movement or the beginning of the feminist movement. Yet, every day I experience racism and gender bias towards myself (just two days ago again).
      • Jun 19 2012: Adam - did we watch the same video? I don't recall her saying that male editors purposefully ignored female issues. What she said was that she doubted that female issues would be reported on as much when lacking a female editor. I really don't think she meant that there was some malfeasance on behalf of the male editors, but rather, just ignorance that there are things that should be reported on, and an ignorant perpetuation of ideas about how men and women interact.

        For example, the gang rape of the eleven year old happened close to where I live, and I followed the story very closely. She was quite right, in most of the articles, regardless of publication, the sympathy was clearly with the rapists. That was not any sort of exaggeration. And some of the quotes about how this child were inappropriately dressed were made by women, so it's not like the blame fall solely on the men. And, in my opinion, this is because people are socialized to blame the victim in a rape, particularly if that victim is female. A man might not question this, because we are all socialized into this attitude, and men rarely have to live with the fear of rape that women do. However, an educated woman, who does fear being alone with a man, *is* going to constantly have on her mind how she is dressed, where she is walking, etc, BECAUSE we are told that if we are not perfect we must be at blame. This kind of outlook in an editor would likely cause the editor to take a more sympathetic view of the victim. They might have talked more about how the child was neglected by her parents (which only came out after weeks of victim blaming). They might have talked more about how no one deserves to be raped because of what they are wearing, or the fact that they have makeup on. They might have even talked more about how it doesn't matter how "adult" this girl was dressed, she was known in the neighborhood as a child. But, none of these issues were covered until weeks into the story.
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        Jun 20 2012: Adam,
        Actually, I percieve the transition period to go back further than the 1970s. The women's suffrage movement was a big step for women's rights. An International Council of Women was formed in 1888, and the Woman's Suffrage Alliance formed in 1904. New Zealand became the first nation to extend the right to vote to all adult women in 1893, and South Australia achieved the same right in 1894. It was not until 1920, that the USA gave women the right to vote.

        There will probably always be people who are "power hounds who are known for taking an ideal and distorting it for their own personal gain". When we have enough MEN AND WOMEN who can see the distortions, then perhaps everyone will have equal rights.

        I'm sorry that you have experienced "racism and gender bias" Adam. That is not ok for anyone.
        "BE" what we want to "SEE" in our world, and hopefully more and more people will see the benefit for all of us.

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