I'm trying to phrase this in a way that doesn't come off as confrontational or like a "gotcha": you've stated before you're not a feminist and don't align with that movement. What exactly are your views on gender relations and movements? And what are your thoughts on women in other areas of the world? I know some feminists view other countries as being barbaric, and other people say feminists DONT care about these women. I guess my question is your stance on all this?
Legitimately depends on what we’re talking about. “Gender relations” these days is such a broad term – we could be talking about whether or not I think women and men are equal (which I do, obviously), or if I think third genders are valid (which I don’t, as explained briefly here).
I’d be happy to talk to you about specific issues, but “all of this” is such a broad, broad, BROOOAAAAD topic that doesn’t even have much of a meaning anymore. If you’ve got a more specific question, I do encourage you to ask it. Honest discussion is a wonderful thing.
Now, as for the vague “third world countries” you mentioned – I presume we’re talking largely about certain countries in the middle east and elsewhere in the world where women are expected to be subservient to men. I think this mindset is disgusting, and no, I don’t accept it simply being a cultural difference. Mayan culture involved human sacrifice, often torturing the captive to death – “it’s just their culture” is not a valid way to explain away the notion that one human is somehow lesser than another.
Note that I don’t believe ALL other countries are barbaric, nor do I believe all the individuals in those countries are barbaric. But there are certainly barbaric social customs and laws in place in certain countries. You only need to take a look at Iran’s treatment of women who shame their house, or at Indian brides who are set aflame by their would-be husbands and sisters and mothers-in-law to see what I mean.
I dare anybody to look me in the eye and say that these customs and the engouragement thereof in those societies are not barbaric.
I don’t want to speak about all feminists, because I know there are individuals who identify as feminist who LEGITIMATELY DO care about the people trapped in those countries and their LEGITIMATELY OPPRESSIVE societies. But by and large, modern feminism as a movement focuses not on third world countries but rather on first world countries… countries where, sorry, women are NOT OPPRESSED. By law, we have as many rights as men do, we are allowed into any profession we please, and we are protected the same as (if not more than) men by the law.
(There is no wage gap, btw, before that’s brought up. There IS an “earnings gap,” and it’s attributable entirely to the choices in employment that women and men make (and, btw, funnily enough the college degree choices made by women and men. Sorry, a Gender & Women’s Studies major is gonna open only, like, two opportunities for you, both of which are teaching). Unequal pay on the basis of sex, ethnicity, religion, etc. is punishable by law and SHOULD BE and IS prosecuted where it occurs. I’d link to some articles about the earnings gap, but you can find ‘em easily on Google, and this isn’t an argument so much as a quick explanation of my stances.)
The biggest reason why I don’t identify as a feminist is because I hate the label game. I have my own views, and I refuse to identify with some label just to feel like I’m not alone and to feel justified in having the views I do – I’ve thought through them plenty, and don’t need eight million other people cheering me on from an echo chamber to tell me where my morals lie. (Ask @gotabonetapick about the label game; he can tell you AAALLLLL about it.) Also: feminism does not have the notion of gender equality patented. Being a feminist is not a requirement for seeing human beings as equals.
I also refuse to be associated with the more negative aspects of a movement like feminism, and find myself perfectly comfortable as is. If I ABSOLUTELY HAD to choose a label for myself, I’d say I’m an individualist – each human being is their own individual before they are any group, ethnicity, religion, sex, etcetera. Should those people choose to identify themselves as only those groups, and focus entirely on the club mentality involved with that, that’s as good as renouncing their own individuality, which I find incredibly sad.