Except, "Feminism" does not mean the same thing as "equal rights for women". Feminism does want pretty much exactly that, states explicitly as its primary objective.
I'd call Gloria "all sex is rape" Steinem only marginally more sane than Lepine, with only the knowledge that she wouldn't get away with it keeping her from forceably castrating half the human race.
(Green, if you must know, with strong Libertarian leanings).
It is much easier to simply say that JD has more privilege than I do because he's a man. It is more accurate to say that in certain circumstances, JD's male privilege will dominate and show a clear advantage, while in others it will not help him at all.
Here's the scenario to illustrate the Kyriarchy concept:
We go out to a restaurant. JD is male, so the waitstaff may automatically assume he's paying for the meal. The food is terrible. JD's male privilege means that if he complains to the management, he's more likely to be taken seriously and get compensation. Then we both get food poisoning. my socioeconomic privilege now trumps his male privilege. I have excellent insurance and am able to expect good care and be seen the same day. JD has terrible insurance, and his only real option is emergency room or to call all around town trying to find an urgent care facility that takes his insurance. Once we're in to see our respective doctors, his (relative) thin privilege gives him an advantage because the doctor is more likely to take him seriously and treat his illness instead of blaming it on his weight and telling him he wouldn't be nauseous if he didn't stuff his face. BUT, JD is in therapy, therefore in the mental health system. In this case, my current mental health privilege may mean I will get better care because my doctor won't ask me condescendingly if I've been feeling a lot of stress lately and conclude that my illness is psychosomatic.
And if you are not receiving the full benefit of your White Middle-Class Male Privilege in 'enlightened' society today, you are not doing it right.
You are imbued with a certain degree of privilege because of your demographics, and with that privilege comes a certain degree of responsibility ...
They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have
come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They
all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and
some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty
of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of
their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their
makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of
their skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery.
But times have changed. The defeat of the New Deal coalition in the late 1970s and early 1980s splintered the left, creating a proliferation of political projects that more often than not had tenuous connections to the type of social welfare liberalism that held together the American left for decades. Among the most visible of these "new social movements" were the efforts of people of color, women, queers, and other historically oppressed groups to combat their subordinate positions and demand representation in the mainstream of American society. Such identity politics has been enormously successful on its own terms. While there are still many struggles against identity-based oppression to be won, the United States is a far less racist, sexist and homophobic society than it was even a couple of decades ago, and multiculturalism is a key component of standard educational curricula and corporate human resources policy. You also may have heard that our country recently elected its first African-American president. The recent passage of the Proposition 8 gay marriage ban in California notwithstanding, old-style racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of identity oppression based on individual attitudes has been definitively discredited. Oppression simply doesn't work that way anymore, for the most part.
However, these welcome victories have occurred against a backdrop of massive and growing social inequality the likes of which we have not seen since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. Since Milk's time, the gap between the rich and the rest of us has widened dramatically. The federal minimum wage is worth 19% less now (in real dollars) than in 1979. Union membership rates have plummeted to about 12% of the American workforce (only about 7.5% in the private sector), down from labor's high-water mark in the 1950s when around 30% of all workers were in unions. Three decades ago, corporate executives made 30 to 40 times more than the average worker. Today, they "earn" about 344 times the pay of most of their employees. Income shares for the top 20% of American households have skyrocketed while those for the lower and middle portions of the distribution have barely kept pace with inflation. Unless radical measures are undertaken, the contemporary economic crisis will likely exacerbate such disturbing trends.
Surprisingly, such issues of structural social inequality and class power have gone largely unaddressed in the groves of academe and the pages of political theory journals (to say nothing of the wider society or the political system), as theorists under the influence of postmodernism and post-structuralism have mostly turned their focus to investigating issues of identity and diversity. As anyone who has been through the American higher educational system in the past two decades can attest, there's an almost obsessive focus in academia (both in the classroom and in campus life) on issues of identity and diversity but nary is a word spoken about socioeconomic inequality...
If assertions of difference are to be truly emancipatory, Schwartz argues, 'a democratic pluralist polity that affirms the value of "difference" can only be achieved if the ethos of solidarity - a sense that the fate of each citizen affects the destiny of all - is revived as a public philosophy underpinning majoritarian support for social rights.' Absent such a commitment to building a politics of solidarity, assertions of difference (or the "performativity" of identity in the postmodern argot) will simply play out on a terrain of vast inequality and do nothing to combat the oppression that people experience through the operation of structural forces such as the labor and housing markets. As Schwartz pointedly observes, "one can't ]'perform' one's way out of an under-funded inner-city school or out of being a laid-of auto worker with dim prospects of finding a new job with comparable wages and benefits." But the defeat of the left as a mass social force has led many social and political theorists to retreat into advocacy of small-scale, localized and individualistic responses to oppression and inequality.
'This is because it reifies the individual and locates privilege in them like it were original sin, even if it's seen as fluid and varying somewhat in each given situation.
But that's to look at it entirely backwards - the problem is processes and institutions that reproduce and survive barely affected by the myriad individuals who live and die in the bounds they set when those people are considered in isolation or even in their personal dealings with others.'
So it's not that I think any mention of the word is inappropriate but that it contributes to this excessive focus on moral persuasion of individuals, which is self-defeating because it seeks to end oppression but actually shifts the focus from the kinds of actions that will really achieve that.
You know, pla, I am one of those people who ended up writing only a "thank you" to Hildegarde and posting a dot. I was going to write something more-- [snipped for space - original here] -- But I didn't, because your ignorant comments in that thread pissed me off to the point where I couldn't write something civil
None of this is to imply that new professionals are left without goals. Ironically, however, the primary goal for many becomes, in essence, getting compensated sufficiently for sidelining their original goals. Robert H. Frank, a Cornell University economics professor, tried to find out exactly how much compensation people deem sufficient for making this sacrifice. He surveyed graduating seniors at his university and found, for example, that the typical student would rather work as an advertising copywriter for the American Cancer Society than as an advertising copywriter for Camel cigarettes, and would want a salary 50% higher to do it for the cigarette company. The typical student would want conscience money amounting to a 17% salary boost to work as an accountant for a large petrochemical company instead of doing the same job for a large art museum. Indeed, employers that are seen as less socially responsible do have to pay a "moral reservation premium" to get the workers they want. Frank found that men are more likely than women to sell out, and this accounts for at least part of the gap in average salaries between equal men and women.
1. Robert H. Frank, "Can Socially Responsible Firms Survive in a Competitive Environment?" in David M. Messick, Ann E. Tenbrunsel, editors, Codes of Conduct: Behavioral Research into Business Ethics, Russell Sage Foundation, New York (1996), ch. 4 (pp. 86-103). Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 February 1997, p. A37.
trying to explain why the raw numbers appear they way they appear, one possible explanation is that society is unintentionally biased against women, or gives privilege to men.
Okay. What's another explanation?
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