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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Call Me Anything You Want (Just Don't Call Me Late for Dinner)

I'm ready to cut a deal with the New Misogynists: I will happily stop calling myself a "feminist" if they will agree to accord me the same rights and responsibilities of an XY adult. Because seriously, I'm not wedded to "feminism." I'm just a random XX person who wants to do her their own thing, and not be limited by what other people judge to be my "proper place." Can we come to a cordial agreement that, when we meet in a public or professional sphere, we politely ignore our respective genitalia and simply interact as two individuals united by our common humanity? Can we judge one another by the quality of our characters and not the configuration of our chromosomes?

Man, that would be sweet, because truth be told, I want to run away from some of "those feminists" as much as you do. And just because I read We Hunted the Mammoth, it doesn't follow I am exactly in my element in the comments section. In fact, lately, the moderators have been slamming commenters for failing to meet their own exacting standards of political correctness. Well, it's their party, they can do what they want to, but...

Some of the gals over there remind me why I avoided "feminism" for years and years (until the New Misogynists forced my hand).

Back in the late eighties, I returned from a couple of years teaching in a women's college in Al Hasa, Saudi Arabia, a region that Saudis themselves consider "the sticks." It was like escaping a minimum-security, air-conditioned prison. I moved to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to explore a different professional direction (lateral, of course, since my life has been one long series of entry-level positions). 

Glenwood Springs is a beautiful resort town in the foothills of the Rockies and it was close to where my mother was living. However, not being an "outdoorsy" type, I was frustrated by the lack of social opportunities. In an effort to meet other women of similar age and background, I joined the local chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women).

I lasted approximately two months. I wasn't exactly booted out, but I wasn't made to feel welcome, either. See, I had assumed I was a feminist, but I quickly learned that I wasn't the right kind of feminist.

Here's how it happened. The Gulf War had just started. In response to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, the United States was stationing troops in Saudi Arabia. Suddenly there was a great deal of interest in the Gulf. Because I had just returned from the region, the ladies of NOW invited me to speak about my impressions of what life was like for Saudi women. Of course, I accepted. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to become recognized as part of the organization. Besides, who doesn't like to talk about their travels? I had slides and everything!

I spent hours preparing a brief but informative talk about what goes on behind the veil of the Kingdom. I pulled together what I thought was an interesting, original take on what happens when a person is immersed in a very foreign culture. I explained what my preconceived notions had been, and how they had been challenged by the reality of my experience.

I don't remember everything I shared, but I do recall explaining how surprised I had been when I realized that, contrary to envying my free-wheeling life as a single western woman, the female Saudi students and faculty actually pitied me. I could drive? Big deal! They had drivers. I was allowed to work? Too bad! They didn't have to work. I wasn't married? What kind of deadbeat dad neglected to secure his daughter's future?

By traditional Saudi standards, I was a complete washout as a woman: no gold, no sons, no family to support me, just an itinerant worker one level up from their Sri Lankan maids at home. Plus, I was kind of dirty -- not physically, of course, but in a spiritual sense. Girls would carefully sweep aside their skirts when I approached, lest I contaminate them. It was a humbling experience to have a student bolt from the room to perform ritual ablutions because I had inadvertently touched her. They openly speculated I was no virgin, despite my never-married state, and I could hardly deny that. In short, I was regarded as an object of some contempt. Teaching English under these conditions was a challenge. Fortunately, the only English they wanted or needed to learn was what they could use on their next shopping trip to London. I supplemented the heavily censored textbooks with heavily censored fashion magazines.

The experience was a real eye-opener for me, and fundamentally changed my perception of my status as a privileged, liberated woman. I realized how arrogant I had been.

Then I wound up my presentation by speaking in favor of the U.S. intervention in Kuwait, which I supported. It seemed evident to me that when a sovereign nation is invaded, the rest of the world has an obligation to come to its defense. That was not the line this particular crowd of feminists wanted to hear.

I stumbled off the podium to a tepid trickle of applause. During the coffee break, everyone studiously avoided me, although I seem to recall one woman murmuring in passing that my talk had been rather "disappointing." 

That, and a number of similar experiences since, has taught me that as much as I ally myself with card-carrying feminists in the cause of gender equality, I am unlikely to find my social needs met by that community. Because I'm not very interested in "feminism." I am bored to death by feminist theory (the boys over at CAFE have read more feminist literature than I have). I don't really understand what "women's studies" even means as an academic discipline. I took a "Psychology of Women" class as a freshman, back in the day when lesbianism was a form of political expression and Ted Hughes was a brute who had pushed his wife's head into an oven, and I thought the instructor was positively cracked.

I don't know that I have any close friends who self-identify as "feminists" although they sure know (and resent) sexual discrimination when they experience it. Most of my friends are working stiffs like I am, trying to keep their heads (and their families) above water. Some of them are atheists, some of them are believers; some of them are straight, some are queer; some are traditional, some are boundary-pushers; most of them are parents, a few are without issue. The only thread of commonality is that they are all decent people who care about the well-being of their fellow (wo)man and can laugh at the absurdities of life.

Truth be told, I'd rather spend an afternoon with an anti-feminist like "Geisha Kate," Mark Minter's wife, than half the commentators on We Hunted the Mammoth. At least (judging by her comments here) she seems like a pleasant person. The fact that we probably vehemently disagree about everything under the sun doesn't mean we couldn't enjoy a coffee now and then. And, who knows, maybe I could correct the "errors" in her thinking while we got our nails done.

29 comments:

  1. I am SO with you. I don't need zir and hir (or whatever) because I use their. I try hard with trigger warnings but really don't do them well. It all feels like work and insufficient. Oh well, I do try to be intersectional but that's because I'm humanist first.

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  2. I agree with everything you said here. I’ve only commented a few times on Manboobz and as much as I enjoy the laughs provided by David along with the graphics, the commenters and their endless list of forbidden words and their tender sensibilities are just too exhausting.

    I decided long ago, the word “feminist” was so misused, abused and misunderstood that I would just simply refuse to label myself a feminist. Let’s just all be people.

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  3. I completely agree with you when it comes to what I think of as "academic feminism", where people get into weird minutiae that doesn't correspond to the lives of real people - all that "you can't say 'crazy' because someone who's mentally ill will be triggered" stuff (no offence, North Americans, but this seems to me to be much more of an issue in Canada/USA). Also, our foremothers fought for the right of self determination, so if a woman knowingly chooses to go into porn (re: Belle Knox), then I support her right to be safe and properly paid while she does it. It doesn't mean I actually have to think it's a good or empowering choice (I don't) or get celebratory about it.

    There is also an obnoxious strain of "shut up" when people say stuff that other people don't like. This tends to come from student age people, and it's not limited to feminism, but I do cringe when I see tweets and change.org petitions demanding that so-and-so needs their blog shut down, or needs to be silenced and censored for saying something that the petitioner found offensive. Often the thing they're complaining about IS genuinely offensive, but a better response would either be (a) silence (b) satire or (c) asking whether it's an uncomfortable piece because it might contain uncomfortable truths.

    Re: Saudis. It's always interesting to see planes from Saudi arrive at Heathrow. The women get off, throw off their abayas, and stand in the queue in thousands of pounds worth of brand new haute couture.

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  4. Mt working definition of feminism was formed at an early age. I remember riding on my father's shoulders during a women's rights march in the early 70s. I was shouting "Women are PEOPLE!" at the top of my little lungs.

    And that's feminism to me: Women are people, with the same rights as all other people. The rest is detail.

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    Replies
    1. I'd quite agree... And I don't know, this piece didn't sit really well with me.

      Delete
    2. Well, I don't think she's laid down her sword to make common cause with Roosh or anything. It's just that people on the extreme end of the spectrum are...extreme.

      Words matter, and certain words are hurtful and hateful. We can all be clear on that. The one that starts with 'N', for instance.

      However, there is an extreme of language policing that rankles me as well. I am reminded of the person in the UK who wanted to replace the term "brainstorm" with "thought shower". Why? Because epileptic seizures have often been likened to an electrical storm in the brain, and this person thought brainstorm was sufficiently similar that it might be offensive. When the press contacted a rep from the national Epilepsy Association, he said that brainstorm didn't offend him, but the idea that he might be offended by it was itself offensive.

      How am I doing here, Cynthia? Did I come anywhere close to representing your views here?

      Delete
    3. Shadow Nirvana,

      Can you identify what it was about this post that troubled you? I really am interested.

      Strega

      Delete
  5. Hmmm... did something happen recently for you to change your blog header and write this post? Don't get me wrong, I agree with you :)

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    1. This blog, like me, is a work in progress.

      Delete
    2. Whether it's the feminists or the anti-feminists, I'm so weary of dealing with labels and gross generalizations about what is or isn't a feminist, i.e., "You're a feminist, so blah blah blah," or "You're not a feminist because blah blah blah." Look at my voter registration: I'm an Independent (who happens to vote Democrat 100% of the time, but that's only because the other Party is even worse).

      Delete
  6. "And, who knows, maybe I could correct the "errors" in her thinking while we got our nails done."

    LOL Not if I correct yours first! ;)

    But, seriously, I'm up for civil disagreement. Plus, you inspired a term I'm using now called "the new monogamy" based on your "the new misogyny."

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    1. So I was wondering but are you really an eye doctor? (I googled mark minter and some guy named that marrying an eye doctor named Kate came up)

      If do... What does a -3.25 prescription correspond to in 20/xx terms? Lol

      Delete
    2. Really? My God, those poor people. It would be horrible for them to have stumbled onto a freaky coincidence like that. There is actually some Mark S Minter in Florida that is a registered sex offender. And I sure the guy is pissed at me for trashing his name and making his life miserable. Better a registered sex offender than a known person in the Manosphere.

      I really don't think its possible for a dialog between women and the body of men in the manosphere. I personally think that the majority of them suffer from depression. And the spectrum of their depression borders from mild dysphoria to full blown mood disorders. I think the fact they are in the manosphere is evidence of this and is exacerbated by participation. The is the Social Competition Theory of Depression that says depression is an artifact from earlier times where the loser in "agonistic" social competition assumes a posture of defeat that signals to victors he would no longer be threat. There are studies that show a loser in certain competitions shows a lack of willingness to get back up and compete again. Continued defeat, loss creates the depressive state. And some respond to it by withdrawal; others by social aggression against peers or those they deem lesser. Biochemically, they suffer from a continued high level of cortisol and insulin manifesting this constant anger. I went through all of that. And quite honestly, the only thing that can cure their anger towards women, is ironically, a woman. The normalcy, the social acceptance of being with and having a woman, and the slow constant dose of oxytocin is the only thing that can cure that form of depression. I once asked Kate what she thought happened with men that had been former participants and had faded away or dropped out. She said "Honestly, I think they learn the skills to get into a relationship and then that scene no longer seems relevant to their lives."

      I just finished a post describing the demographic reality that favors women in such a dramatic way that PUA skills and lifestyle is becoming near obsolete. The sexual power of women vis a vis that of men just dwarfs the social power that men have. And a large majority of men are destined to be alone. And there will be no change in this reality at least until the mid part of this century unless something dramatic happens.

      There is an old saying that is somewhat operative in this light: "A slut is someone that will have sex with anyone; A bitch is someone that will have sex with anyone - except you."

      So no, I believe this anger is a permanent fixture on the horizon that women must pay as the price for the social and sexual power they have. And there will be no "cease fire".

      Delete
    3. "Better a registered sex offender than a known person in the Manosphere."

      Not better; about the same.

      Failure at social competition is not the only cause of depression, as you've probably learned if you explored the subject at some length.

      But even if it applies in your and other manurespherian cases, you should understand that many of those who fail at social competition do so because of inborn character defects that lead to emotional and social problems, and to development of serious character disorders (psychopathy, narcissism, and others).

      I'm sure that Kate appreciates being "a woman" who "cured" (allegedly) a sociopath of his depression by sleeping with him. If only women everywhere took this as a lesson and sexed up psychopaths left and right, our society would improve in no time.

      But, wait, aren't women who sleep with sociopaths derided by the manurespherians for getting their tingles tingled by those darn alphas, leaving the poor betas in the dust? Oy vey. There is just no way women could ever do anything right, is there (well, unless they completely self-obliterate and turn into sexual / domestic appliances to be indiscriminately used by the human detritus that comprises the 'sphere; that, however, is not going to happen, no matter the wet dreams of the character-disordered alpha patriarch-wannabes who spend their lives complaining about women online).

      As to who "pays the price," I would suggest that you open your eyes for once and notice that women tend to live their lives more or less happily, with or without men. The same does not work in the reverse. So manurespherians are really the ones paying the price -- and rightly so, since the emotionally and socially defective male specimens that inhabit the manuresphere should remain single and childless for everyone's benefit.

      Luckily for them (and everyone else), their basest needs can be met by fembots of the kind that Roissy has highlighted on his blog. Not a moment too soon.

      Delete
    4. Well... I have no problem with monogamy. Fact is, I'm monogamous myself. (I have no problem with polyamory either, I hasten to add -- it just seems like an awful lot of work to me!)

      Delete
    5. @anonmymous
      Yes, I would agree that a human "machine" is born with certain heritable traits that predispose that person to interpret and process the world in such a manner, and to be reacted to by the world, that their choices and actions can lead them into fight or flight situations that can repeatedly lead to loss and stressful life events.

      I have also found that women are not some great monolith and Not All Women Are Like That and such that it is possible to find a woman and have a wholesome and symbiotic relationship that is conducive to positive biochemical outcomes that reduce stress, anger, and malcontent. The act is being happy can be attained merely by not being unhappy.

      Yes, the evolutionary selection process tended to favor offspring of men that bonded to women and that were biochemically punished for abandonment, that men have 18 times the testosterone as women and are compelled to both want them and to suffer from the lack of them. The tends to work in women's benefit far more than it works in men's. To be alone without the stress and obligation of a woman would be bliss provided men were not punished biochemically and emotionally for doing so.

      But sex has been the very least of what my relationship has done to lessen depression. Basically, she is the shield that protects me from contact with other women. And there is this stigma that exists about single men among women. He is suspect until proven otherwise and having a woman allows me access and acceptance to circles of women where the only difference between me before and me now is that I am accompanied. So now instead of being suspect and guilty on sight of being male, now I am witty, now I am an excellent and interesting conversationalist able to speak on a multitude of subjects. And I now have a manner about me where I could care less about other women, I have one, thank you very much.

      So women show me that they are, to paraphrase Harry Truman about bankers, "They are perfectly willing to loan you money if you can prove you don't need it." And after a time, to not take those ass whippings from women, those rejections, that arrogance, that flakiness, that dismissal merely because I was a single male, and then day by day, lowers that cortisol, lessens that insulin, lets that oxytocin do its work that is received from that kind touch, that kind word, that look of approval, that feeling of being wanted and needed, and mostly appreciated.

      This is a two way street between men and women. The world as it is and loss has made those men as they are. I am sorry you are unable to see the side of them that I do when are with me and there are no women around. And while I believe there is much anger among the men and there mental state insures it will continue to exists, comments like these show me there is no common ground. Where both the men and women could find symbiosis, there will be none. And this war will continue and will heighten. And I have found safe haven in a port.

      Sam Harris, MD with a specialty in neuroscience, in his book The End Of Faith wrote of Tibetian Buddhist monks that were able via meditation to enter a mental state during torture by Chinese soldiers and they actually felt pity for their torturers given the damage to their karma their actions caused. So all I can say to you is "I feel your pain" and I hope your anger and hatred ends someday, that you know the peace and contentment I have found, as men and woman can and should find.

      Delete
    6. There is so much wrong with what you say, Mark, that it would take a whole evening to unpack, and I'd prefer to spend my time in more pleasant and productive ways.

      Let me just say that your thoughts (and words) always betray you -- your narcissistic / psychopathic core that projects your misery on others and can see them only through that prism. You don't "feel [my] pain" since I am not experiencing any (and that's apart from the fact that you are incapable of empathy, so you could not feel another's pain even if your life depended on it -- your children, for example, know it all too well). Similarly, the anger and hatred your project are just your own.

      Even if we did not know anything else about you, the fact that you refer to Kate, a woman whom presumably you "love" (yes, we know that narcissists are incapable of love) as one of many interchangeable female beings, "*a* woman," whose main task is being "the shield [an object] that protects me from contact with other women [!]" speaks volumes about your dysfunction -- which, to be clear, is not unique to you, but symptomatic of the manuresphere as a whole. And that you refer to relationships between women and men as "symbiosis" only reaffirms this.

      You know nothing about healthy human relationships, Mark. I suspect the roots of your problems are, as almost always, in your distant past, in your childhood and family of origin. There is nothing that can be done about it now, no matter how devoted your "shield" may be. (And it is just a matter of time before even she, as prone to fits of self-annihilation as she may be, decides that being seen and treated as an interchangeable object is not a recipe for a happy and healthy life.)

      Be assured that your ignorance of that aspect of life (healthy relationships, among others) is obvious to all not similarly impaired people who come upon your words and life story, as well as all those who inhabit your manurespheric circles.

      The "world" has not made you and your fellow manurespherians into the dregs of society that you are, although you want to believe that, since like all narcissists you loathe taking responsibility for your behavior and its results. Yes, we know that spiel: it's always somebody else's fault.

      Again, should you open your eyes some day, you'd see healthy men in the same world, influenced by the same forces as you have been, and struggling with very similar issues, living content and successfully partnered lives, in life-long devoted marriages and relationships, with women who are also influenced by this very same "world" which supposedly is at fault for your life failure.

      See, reality bites, but not quite in the way you imagine. You are not fooling anyone but yourself with those meandering, verbose screeds designed to remove you even further from it, where your existence -- devoid of empathy, responsibility, and love -- is so utterly pointless.

      P.S. Sorry, Cinzia, if that's too straightforward for your new-found blogging benevolence.

      Delete
    7. Question to Minty:

      How masculine is it to be hiding behind your wife's skirts as you use her to "shield" yourself from other women? I thought you won GeishaKate's heart through displays of "dominance" and other "Alpha" characteristics.

      Delete
    8. Minty, it almost appears as if two different people are writing your sad lamentations and internet screeds.

      On these blog comments you write of the "peace and contentment" you have found. Yet, would a truly peaceful and contented person write endless screeds complaining about how "there are no women." Good god, haven't you been married at least FOUR (or five?!?) times by now?!?

      For all your empathy and consideration for others, why does your latest post exhibit so many more I's, me's and my's than the few we's and ours?

      Kate, you seem like a lovely person. I wish you much luck.

      Delete
    9. LOL! Anon @ 8:54 -- good catch of His Alphaness hiding behind a woman's skirt -- from other women, no less!

      Yes, I think it is obvious all those online Red Pill alphas and wannabes are cut from the same cowardly cloth.

      What's funny is that they are so used to spinning and throwing at others all this faux-intellectual BS that they do not even notice how transparent they are, not even when they say something as hilarious as Minty did above.

      I'd agree that Kate needs much -- much -- luck. According to whatshisname from The Rational Male, she and Minty do not even live together (not gossip as such -- whatishisname confronted Kate with this on his blog and did not get a response, AFAIK). Which could be for the best (for her), since she chose to hook up with the man who openly and proudly said the following, among other equally revealing things:

      "Get it through your head, Men are from mars; women are FUCKING IDIOTS.

      Never marry. Duh. Plate Theory. Duh. Game. Duh. Pump them, dump them, next them. Duh. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO WIN. Duh!!!!!

      (...)

      Women will only stay with you if they have to and they don’t have to any fucking more. Get it through your head. They get just as sick of your dick as you will with their tired ass boring pussy.

      Pump them, dump them, next them."

      http://www.returnofkings.com/319/who-is-mark-minter

      A real catch, that one.

      Don't know if there is that much luck in the whole Universe to make this work. Well, unless one is into that kind of thing.

      Delete
  7. Sorry, Cynthia: you, Mark, and I are all capable of a "separate peace," but others are not. Its too bad because I enjoyed your writing, but now this is just another place I can't enter without expecting attack. It makes me sad, but you're better off having nothing to do with me.

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    1. I wasn't deliberately playing the spider to your fly here, Kate. There's a bit of a dig at me in that comment as well, you'll notice.

      Delete
    2. What NPS said.

      It stings to be on the receiving end of such criticism, but, seriously, Kate, what did you expect? You are like that young woman who married (or is going to) Charlie Manson. That Mark has not killed anyone, as far as we know, does not make his personal pathology any less obvious.

      You'd have to expect backlash -- why, your own parents were correctly alarmed by your choice -- and questions about your motivations, among other things, and about the future of this peculiar union.

      Given your history, and by that I mean especially Mark's (but your entanglement with him certainly looms large here), your best bet for having some kind of a peaceful existence together -- if that's what you desire -- would be to cease your online presence, move to some small town in the middle of nowhere, and possibly change your names. If you continue your association with the manuresphere and cultivate your public presence online, you should expect that kind of ongoing reactions from people and they will continue to affect your psychological health and that of your relationship.

      If you are genuinely interested in living a happy life as a couple, my unsolicited and, believe it or not, well-meaning advice would be to drop out entirely of this cesspool known as the manuresphere, give up your blog, which continues drawing all kinds of attention and speculations, and start a quiet life anew somewhere far from the curious eyes of others.

      Unlike Mark, you do sound like a decent enough, though naive and misguided person. But it takes all kinds, and if you make each other happy and help each other become better people (because it matters), then you deserve a shot at a decent and more or less happy life.

      Delete
    3. Kate, on this thread people have called you "lovely" and a possible optometrist, while wishing you luck. You seem to perceive this as attack. When in fact, your husband is the one who refers to women as "f**king idiots." Not quite seeing the peace and contentment in that one...

      I observe his writing identifies how you benefit him, not just as a "shield" he can hide behind. (Isn't this whole exchange an example of that?! Instead of facing these comments himself, you are the one here responding for him.) You are the vehicle by which he perceives himself to be "wittier" and an all-around better catch.

      But what does he do for you? A guy who has debts, back taxes, neglected child support, and according to his 2nd wife, a LONG history of unemployment while he mooches a spare room off of his sister. (He seems to have a history of hiding behind women's skirts.) Will he EVER get a job?

      I guess I am not seeing the "Alpha" here. The guy seems like a massive juicebag who doesn't bring a whole lot to the table. Other than his ability to talk an auctioneer to the ground about how women have wronged him.

      Anonymous @ 10:37am gave you some good advice here. I suggest you take it.

      Delete
  8. Kate, sorry that people are attacking you. That really isn't fair. OTOH, you and Mark have made yourselves sitting ducks for that--Mark by his very public denunciations of marriage and very public reversal of that position, you by marrying a man with some real red flags. I wish you well, but I'd be lying if I said that I would advise a friend to become the fourth Mrs. Anyone, especially a friend with a child to look after. Now add in the public misogyny and the chronic unemployment...It's a situation that invites comment.

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  9. I am very much in line with this article. I have learned recently to explain that I became a feminist in terms of a lifestyle choice, not in terms of political activism. I'm fresh from college, and as far as academic feminism and social activism in the U.S. go, the modern feminist movement is beating a dead horse. There is nothing explicitly oppressing women anymore (other some sexist tropes/stereotypes.) All empowered women have to do now is do whatever the hell they please.

    The reason I initially became a feminist when I was in high school is because I liked the fluidity of gender and sexuality the modern feminist and the LGBT movement promoted. I didn't feel like I fit a lot of the traditional expectations of girlhood (although I am generally cis and straight), plus I came from a traditional Asian family that taught me that from a very early age I was destined to get an arranged marriage by the time I was 25, and dedicate my life to bearing children (the horror!) So the whole "independent don't need no man let's be career women" part of modern feminism also appealed to me. Of course, there is nothing wrong with women wanting to be SAHM's, but I have seen the consequences of women marrying against their will.

    However, I'm also quite put off with people immediately calling me a man-hater because I identify as a feminist.

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    1. As an older ("second wave") "feminist," I do worry though that younger women may take this empowerment for granted. We can't be too complacent. One of the reasons I got caught up in following the New Misogynists is my fear that we could lose what was so hard won (see the attempts to roll back Roe v Wade for example).

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    2. Yeah...I think one of the reasons I don't take it for granted is because I come from a background with pre-second wave practices (the arranged marriage thing). Nowadays, I see a lot of young women rejecting modern feminism (they acknowledge that they still credit previous successes) because of the radfems. Many insist that I reject it as well, but I can't bring myself to be an "anti-feminist" - it sounds too negative. I have my critiques of the current movement, but I became a feminist for positive reasons.

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