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Matthieu Miossec

Doctoral Student - Genetic Medecine (Congenital Heart Disease),

TEDCRED 100+

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Our modern societies still need feminism

It is undeniable that the great feminist movements of the 20th century have come and gone and have left in their wake an impressive shift towards gender equality. But has it been enough? Are we really there yet or does the 21st century need to see more feminist movements in order to see gender equality become a tried and true facet of our societies.

Let's hear some arguments for or against the current proposition "Our modern societies still need feminism". Let's also hear arguments for what would and what wouldn't be appropriate for a 21st century feminism.

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Closing Statement from Matthieu Miossec

Whether we agree that our modern societies still need feminism or not, it is clear that the issue is still a hot topic. I greatly encourage everyone to read some of the exchanges of this debate, particularly those which include Andrea Grazzini Walstrom's insight.

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    Jul 9 2011: I like Scott Armstrong's term: peopleist.

    When I was in my early teens, I used to think feminists were just a bunch of lesbians bitter with men. With the years, detached from the deeply religious and chauvinistic culture that, sadly, still remains in the most part of my country of origin, my views changed.

    And I have to say I am uncomfortable with the concept of feminism some people have. I don't see how feminism aims to deconstruct masculinity, nor view it as a self-righteous ideology of hatred against men. It saddens me that this is how it is now viewed, because the extraordinary work of people such as, for instance, the late Betty Ford, or Lucy Stone, Mary Wollstonecraft, Harriet Tubman, amongst many others, is poisoned with these truly unjust labels. I have never been in a position where I have been discriminated for being a woman, or at least that I am aware of, and maybe I don't feel as strong about feminism but, so long as we have cases like the one Debra described; we need feminism.

    I also don't understand what a real man or a real woman is. As far as I'm concerned, we are people who, yes, would benefit from practising more integrity, honesty and selflessness. However, I don't see why it should only be down to the man to emphasize those. And by no means I will surrender to anyone and do not wish anyone to surrender to me. I may have a completely different concept of what love is but surrendering is not a part of it.
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      Jul 10 2011: I don't understand what a real Man or a real Woman is either to be honest. I see a lot of unfortunate gender profiling in this thread which I cannot agree to. Particularly, I can't understand why a man can't be effeminate. I was fairly effeminate and extremely sensitive as a teenager. Am I less of a man for it? Must a human of the male sex really follow societal pressures to be a man? In my honest opinion, a man is man if he's got a dick. The rest is just societal expectation. Given that some of the societies we live in used to see Men as unworthy of being Men if they failed their military service, I couldn't care less what society expects.
      • Jul 10 2011: A lot of trans-gender people of the world may disagree with that last statement and I am not sure I would blame them. I am not arguing with you. I think I know exactly what you mean and I agree with it.

        I think the way to get past all of the unjust prejudice is to insist on tolerance of others. Bigotry is taught. It is not something we are born with. Why should we care how others think and act if it has no negative effect on anyone else?
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          Jul 10 2011: You have a point. I guess you get what I was trying to say though, mainly that societies' expectation of what a Man is, isn't what a Man is.
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          Jul 19 2011: Jason has raised an incredibly valuable point here. In a world where sexuality appears (according to science and not culture) to be on a continuum- the only appropriate response in my view is to adopt Scott's concept of being an advocate for 'peopleists'. (I was striving for a word when I realized that humanist had been co-opted.
      • Eva M

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        Jul 10 2011: Dear Matthieu,

        There is nothing wrong in being sensitive and effeminate.
        The problem is that if people lose their polarity is makes them poorer and less alive. A man and woman experience themselves as such in the relationship to one another. If you want a big spark, you need to have opposite poles. But most of all, it is the power of love, that needs to be there for the spark to appear, and then not to let it die out, but keep the fire going. People need to love and care for one another, to discover the goodness of the other and in order to learn about oneself. If two people build a loving relationship, where there will be enough care and sensitivity for the other, it is a gold mine. There one can find the treasures of who we are as men and women. There is HUGE potential there. Dig love and you will find that out.
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          Jul 10 2011: Your opportunity to explain it to me.
        • Jul 10 2011: Luigi, personal attacks are unwarranted but I am sure that everyone welcomes your comments on whether or not feminism is still necessary in today's world. Cheers.
    • Eva M

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      Jul 10 2011: Dear Helena,

      You are very right, Helena, it is not only the men who should practice honesty, selflessness, and integrity. ALL people need it, indeed. Most and for all. Most and for all people should live in integrity. It is in fact the lack of it that makes all the conflicts between people and between genders, injustice. People are failing to give to the others the right appreciation, the right recognition, the right support. People are failing to see and acknowledge the reality of others and that is the main problem.

      When I speak about surrender to men I mean surrendering to the needs of the men, supporting them, appreciating them, paying attention to them, being willing to give up on what you want, in order to fill the need of the other. There is a way a mother surrenders to the needs of her child. At work, one needs to surrender to the boss, in the sense of being willing to fulfill ones own responsibilities and being willing to do what one is asked to do. It doesn't mean that there is no place for consideration, discussion, creativity and ones own input. But basically surrender is the willingness to give up on ones own personal wants for the sake of the other, without putting up resistance. Without surrender nothing can work, either friendship, nor partnership.

      Surrender is not only for women. It is for all of the people. Men should surrender to the needs of the women too. See the true needs of the women and take on themselves the responsibility for their happiness. The reason why I pointed out that women need surrender in the first place, is because I see that the heritage of feminism, apart of the good things it brought, made a huge and successful campaign against it. Now, giving up on ones own is considered incorrect. If you are a woman you have a lot of "support" in the culture telling you not to do that. And under the same influences men nowadays tend to surrender to egotistical whims of the girls, which is not good either.
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        Jul 18 2011: Hi Eva,

        I totally missed this reply.
        While I think I understand where you're coming from when talking about surrendering, for me, it still has a negative connotation, however that's beside the point.

        I still very strongly disagree with your generalizations. You made some very strong statements which you would need to back up with very strong evidence. I second Jason Kather's reply to your previous comment.

        Let's stop the fallacies, the bigotry, the intolerance and continue to promote respect and tolerance.

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