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Men Running The Feminism Kritik

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I am not saying that its strategic to use the terrible argument of 'you look like a guy so you can't help women.' I won't even begin to delve into the man problems with that line of attack and I completely agree that males can and should try to resolve the problems they have created.

 

I generally agree with you - the vast majority of Fem Ks don't have alternatives that rely on subject positionality but, as I stated previously, people who identify as cisgendered males should be careful when running versions of Feminism Ks that do rely on the position of the speaker - while they may not be as common they certainly exist and are still quite popular.  My original post gave the example of Lesbian Feminist rage K which depended heavily on the reader being just that.

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I won't even begin to delve into the man problems with that line of attack

lil' Freudian slip there

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If you're trying to advocate for a liberation movement or a group that you don't belong to, I think it requires a real commitment to the argument and an understanding of the issue that's more than surface level deep. Cooption of the ballot is a problem that's far too prevalent in debate, and while it's to some degree inevitable, there's a pretty big difference between advocating for a trade agreement or investment that you don't think actually solves anything, and advocating a certain identity politics movement without actually caring about it (and how discussion in a debate round impacts the way the community sees it). Even if you *do* consider yourself part of the movement, it's important to recognize the way privilege limits your understanding and implicates your ability to effectively advocate for it.

 

Ex: what does it mean when straight white cisgender males pick up a Fem K or Q Theory or some critical Race K and win round after round on it, especially against women/queer people/people of color? When they say that they need the ballot because discussing these structures of oppression is an a priori issue, and there's an ethical obligation to vote for the kritik? Even if they genuinely believe the arguments they're running, using the voices of those they claim to speak for to win rounds is suspect at the very least, especially when it doesn't do much for the exclusion/invisibility that these voices actually face in debate. It takes a hell of a lot more courage to speak up in the face of oppression that continues to silence you, and being able to read identity politics arguments without being accused of exploiting your own identity/experience as "unfair" is a pretty privileged situation to be in, and one that continues to disturb me.

 

tl;dr Realize that your discourse has real and very tangible impacts. If you're a guy and you want to read fem arguments, question yourself why - if it's to be strategic, just don't, there are a million other arguments you could run. If you genuinely think it's an important issue, realize that as someone who benefits from the system (even though the patriarchy is sometimes violent to men), you should take responsibility for the violence you have upheld in the past. Ask yourself if the solution is really for you to be asking for a ballot.

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The vagueness of your post is quite irritating.
 

 If you're trying to advocate for a liberation movement or a group that you don't belong to, I think it requires a real commitment to the argument and an understanding of the issue that's more than surface level deep.

 

What does such an understanding of the issue look like? How is it different from other understandings of the issue?
 

 Cooption of the ballot is a problem that's far too prevalent in debate, and while it's to some degree inevitable, there's a pretty big difference between advocating for a trade agreement or investment that you don't think actually solves anything, and advocating a certain identity politics movement without actually caring about it (and how discussion in a debate round impacts the way the community sees it).

 

Why? What is this difference? Why is it bad?

 

 Ex: what does it mean when straight white cisgender males pick up a Fem K or Q Theory or some critical Race K and win round after round on it, especially against women/queer people/people of color? When they say that they need the ballot because discussing these structures of oppression is an a priori issue, and there's an ethical obligation to vote for the kritik?


I tend to think that it's fine if straight white cisgender males win rounds by discussing issues such as this. Yet from your tone I assume you disagree. Let's move beyond rhetorical questions. What do you think that it means when straight white cisgender males win rounds against minorities? Do you have an actual argument that this is bad, or is raising the mere possibility as much as you're intending to do in this thread?

 

 tl;dr Realize that your discourse has real and very tangible impacts. If you're a guy and you want to read fem arguments, question yourself why - if it's to be strategic, just don't, there are a million other arguments you could run.

 

The presence of alternatives obviously isn't sufficient reason to avoid any particular argument. Again, what argument do you advance to defend your belief than authenticity is so important? Why is it that only "guys" should question their motivations for reading Kritiks and no one else?
 

If you genuinely think it's an important issue, realize that as someone who benefits from the system (even though the patriarchy is sometimes violent to men), you should take responsibility for the violence you have upheld in the past.

 

Here you conflate benefiting from a system of oppression and upholding such a system. There may be theories under which the two are equivalent. But you advance no such theories here. This is frustrating because it makes it very difficult to assess or engage your views on privilege.

 

Ask yourself if the solution is really for you to be asking for a ballot.

 

Despite the popularity of the opposite saying, answers really are much more important than questions. While your post does provide some of the latter, it does very little to achieve the former. Because your post has so few answers, I think it's more about signalling sympathy with minorities and outrage with oppressors than trying to give good advice. That sort of behavior is very counterproductive to making the world a better place, which is why I'm challenging it here.

Edited by Umbrella
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The advice I'm trying to give you is to only read arguments like identity politics critiques if you believe the argument is true and important. I can't provide some normative definition of what a good understanding of a certain issue looks like, only that if you come from a privileged viewpoint with regards to a liberation movement or something like it, a prerequisite to any kind of understanding is that you read the lit/listen to what those people are really saying and recognize your own role in causing that kind of violence, and ask yourself the necessary question: how can I break down these structures? If you're reading the argument just for ballots that defeats the whole point entirely. You paper over others' oppression with your own privilege when you turn their voices into just another way to win the round. I'm not implying that that's what you intend to do, I really hope you don't.

 

If you benefit from patriarchy without actively rejecting it, you're complicit in upholding/greenlighting patriarchal violence. It's a fairly simplistic way to put things, but I think it's pretty applicable in this instance, where most of the people (in the community) that's I'm talking about are people who have only really benefited from the patriarchy - "guys" was more a reference to masculine-presenting, cisgender males who tend to dominate the debate scene. What's the distinction between benefiting from something and upholding it? It's more nuanced, but there isn't a substantive difference. A man who benefits from the patriarchy and then refuses to understand his own privilege and work against these structures is what legitimizes and perpetuates these systems.

 

Back to the point - if two guys asked me if it was okay to read a Fem K, especially against me (I ID as female), I would in most instances say no. Authenticity is especially important when 1) issues of sexism and patriarchy are prevalent both in and out of round and very obvious if you only look, and 2) it's so easy for the privileged to entrench oppression by coopting other voices. I think it's difficult for a privileged team to grasp the complexity of certain identity politics movements when they are often complicit in the very forms of violence they speak out against.

 

Like, if you think you understand the issue and are doing justice to the argument (i.e. taking action outside of round to break down patriarchal structures), go for it. But please realize that the consequences of artificially reading identity politics arguments have a personal impact on many debaters in the community.

 

Sidenote: If four males are debating in a room and one team calls the other out for sexism, I'm all for it - but if someone male were to read the fem K against me, or if someone straight were to read Q Theory, I would be very deeply uncomfortable for a plethora of reasons that are probably too complex to get into here.

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If you're reading the argument just for ballots that defeats the whole point entirely. You paper over others' oppression with your own privilege when you turn their voices into just another way to win the round. I'm not implying that that's what you intend to do, I really hope you don't.

 

How so? I don't think anyone is harmed by allowing people to read Kritiks they don't believe in and don't understand why you disagree. Lots of people read arguments they don't believe in, why is this bad in general or why is feminism an exception to the general rule? You say that it's a manifestation of privilege, and I agree, but refusing to manifest privilege by refusing to read arguments you don't believe in doesn't actually help anyone. At least when people are inauthentically reading the Fem K, they're still learning things and spreading that knowledge.

 

 If you benefit from patriarchy without actively rejecting it, you're complicit in upholding/greenlighting patriarchal violence. It's a fairly simplistic way to put things, but I think it's pretty applicable in this instance, where most of the people (in the community) that's I'm talking about are people who have only really benefited from the patriarchy - "guys" was more a reference to masculine-presenting, cisgender males who tend to dominate the debate scene. What's the distinction between benefiting from something and upholding it? It's more nuanced, but there isn't a substantive difference. A man who benefits from the patriarchy and then refuses to understand his own privilege and work against these structures is what legitimizes and perpetuates these systems.

 

Back to the point - if two guys asked me if it was okay to read a Fem K, especially against me (I ID as female), I would in most instances say no. Authenticity is especially important when 1) issues of sexism and patriarchy are prevalent both in and out of round and very obvious if you only look, and 2) it's so easy for the privileged to entrench oppression by coopting other voices. I think it's difficult for a privileged team to grasp the complexity of certain identity politics movements when they are often  in the very forms of violence they speak out against.

 

Putting these two paragraphs next to each other is startling. On the one hand, you believe that privilege should be questioned. On the other hand, you believe it's problematic for someone else to imply that you are privileged or complicit in patriarchy. I don't even know how to respond to that sort of cognitive dissonance. Patriarchy isn't a system of men oppressing women; it's a system of men and women oppressing each other. Women have just as much a role in maintaining sexism as men do. Using your gender as an ideological get out of jail free card is ridiculous.

Edited by Umbrella
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Women have just as much a role in maintaining sexism as men do. Using your gender as an ideological get out of jail free card is ridiculous.

that's why women are 700% more likely to be raped than men, right?

 

your point about feminism being for everybody is good.

 

don't water it down with stupid, false equivalency arguments though. 

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that's why women are 700% more likely to be raped than men, right?

 

your point about feminism being for everybody is good.

 

don't water it down with stupid, false equivalency arguments though.

 

There are still sexist women-although they don't play as large a role, I wouldn't say Phyllis Shafaly(am I spelling out right?) isn't complicit in patriarchy.

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I honestly don't understand people who think men can't be feminists.  I've identified as a feminist since high school, in no small part due to debate.  At one level its not speaking for others, its some combination of empathy and commitment to moral principles.  Being a man in no way stops you from empathizing with women, nor does it prohibit a commitment to a principle of gender equality.  And in fact we *need* men who are feminists, who actively question whether their decisions are gender neutral, because studies have shown that people, men and women, are unconsciously biased against women in economically important ways - like hiring decisions and salary offerings.  A purely woman's movement is dead in the water, because under patriarchy it doesn't hold the keys to power to make enough real change to matter.  (Patriarchy will tend to put men into dominant positions that make those decisions).

 

Furthermore, if you're saying 'men can't be real feminists', you're also saying male judges shouldn't vote for feminism either, so in the debate world you're shooting your own foot.  If a cis-gendered male judge can agree with the K, it doesn't matter the gender of the debater presenting it either.

 

On another level, we speak for others all the time.  Or rather, others speak, and we interpret them.  As debaters, our job is *not to provide testimony*, but to read testimony by qualified authors.  Our personal experience is not and cannot be the center of a debate round - its not in publicly available material, and it cannot be referenced.  (Debaters providing testimony also has the unfortunate consequence of making ad hominem a legitimate argument type, because its not a fallacy when used to refute testimony). Our job is to provide argument using the testimony we read into evidence.  If this is speaking for others, debate is necessarily speaking for others.  I prefer to believe debate lets our authors speak for themselves, and the debaters provide interpretation to frame those speech acts into arguments.

 

That said, I don't like aff cases or negative arguments that say, effectively, 'we talked about a really important issue, so you should give us the ballot'.  When I write a feminism case, I use real world impacts and propose ways of solving for them (or at least reducing them).  Too much of debate feminism is solely raising awareness when it should be trying to find solutions to real world problems for women.  (Even if those solutions never happen, looking for solutions teaches us to think about positive advocacy that results in change).  Saying the status quo is bad is easy.  Finding workable solutions is hard, and the first step is sitting down with evidence and figuring out what is worth trying in practice.  And you still gain all the awareness benefits when you make a positive advocacy, so nothing is lost and quite a bit is gained.

 

Edit: woh, typo that significantly changed meaning.  Fixed!  -- okay, and clarity better achieved.. I think... ug, that was an awkward sentence...

Edited by Squirrelloid
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There are still sexist women-although they don't play as large a role, I wouldn't say Phyllis Shafaly(am I spelling out right?) isn't complicit in patriarchy.

 

women's sexism doesn't play any part in the patriarchy -- if anything, the ability of a woman to be "sexist" against a man is empowering and can be used as something of a way to fight these structures in your life

 

next -- sexism kinda requires straight men be socialized to consider women as disposable and as basically penis receptacles and brood mares, along with as objects of sexual desire. think of the friend zone.

 

and straight (usually, but not always, white) cisgendered heterosexual men kinda give women enough of a reason to hate them, from the way that they present themselves as all that, to the power structures that make them the most desirable beings, to the way that they act as though women are to be used for sex and nothing else... the list goes on. and you don't have to be a woman to even see it -- queer, trans, nonbinary, everything inbetween, even cishet white men can see why they're definitely hate-able. 

 

tldr: men don't have a reason to be sexist against women but women have a reason to hate their oppressors

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 While I think that it is okay for white people to participate in a breakdown of structures of oppression I think that there is a big problem when they try to rap or freestyle specifically as a means of affirming blackness - that would seem to be a marvelous example of academic co-option. 

 

 

 

This distinction makes almost no sense.

 

1) If a black person does it in the academy its not academic cooption, but if a black person does in the same academy.....its not.

 

2) Also, the distinction between it being ok with no rap.....but not ok with rap.  As if white people don't have pain & oppression.  

Have you seen pictures of poverty from West Virgina or LA's Skid Rod?

 

Should I protest African Americans in professional sports who make milllions, who have more celebrity and economic power than me???  Their black bodies are actually VERY advantegous.

 

Should I protest or physically attack Sports Illustrated models because they have bodies I will never have.....and that 99.5% of the population will never have?  

 

Should we physically attack those with "good luck" via body or other reasoning.

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@nathan: who are you quoting - you stripped the name.

 

On rapping:

If its someone else's rap, then its just like other evidence.  (Assuming the performative aspects are not, themselves, original.  Ie, a faithful reproduction of someone else's performance is simply bringing that performance into evidence).

 

If its an original piece by the debater, then it is testimony (insofar as it is not an analytical argument or a summary of other evidence - certainly the performative aspects are testimony) and is inappropriate for any race.

 

Testimony by debaters destroys the educational foundations of debate, by making it impossible to research or reference their evidence, since it is not publicly available.  No one considers a private e-mail correspondence with a professor, economist, or other relevant authority to be appropriate evidence because it cannot be publicly accessed.  That standard applies to all evidence, and is fundamental to the pedagogical mandate of the activity.

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women's sexism doesn't play any part in the patriarchy -- if anything, the ability of a woman to be "sexist" against a man is empowering and can be used as something of a way to fight these structures in your life

 

next -- sexism kinda requires straight men be socialized to consider women as disposable and as basically penis receptacles and brood mares, along with as objects of sexual desire. think of the friend zone.

 

and straight (usually, but not always, white) cisgendered heterosexual men kinda give women enough of a reason to hate them, from the way that they present themselves as all that, to the power structures that make them the most desirable beings, to the way that they act as though women are to be used for sex and nothing else... the list goes on. and you don't have to be a woman to even see it -- queer, trans, nonbinary, everything inbetween, even cishet white men can see why they're definitely hate-able. 

 

tldr: men don't have a reason to be sexist against women but women have a reason to hate their oppressors

I think you misread my post... Phyllis Shafaly was responsible for the failure of the equal rights amendment to the constitution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_Schlafly

 

I do think the contents of your posts warrant a response. Although I don't claim that misandry is a problem, I don't think hating anyone for who they are is acceptable. You claim that women have good reason to hate men, but is every single man on this planet a chauvinist pig? It could be argued that that Americans have a reason to hate Muslims because of WTC, 9/11, and other attacks perpetrated by extremists. Does that mean Americans have good reason to hate Al Qaeda? Yes. Does that mean we should hate all Muslims? No, because not all Muslims are implicit, endorse, or condone terror attacks.

 

Again, I don't claim that sexism against men is a problem in society, I just think that all sexism is wrong, and your justification for misandry is troubling.

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I think even if there are theoretical reasons why sexism against men is a nonstarter and why the "fight fire with fire" philosophy is good (Radical Fem, Lesbian Seperatism, etc), I think these fail as political paradigms. Yet even given that failure (I don't necessarily think political feasibility is a reason to disengage a specific form of politics), one of the reasons I find this type of discourse problematic is that it actually hurts feminism because it gives fuel to "Men's Rights" movements that are a HUGE step backwards for feminism. Ultimately, I think it's a DA/link turn to any radical fem arg, because as feminist movements adopt the "sexism is only one way" philosophy, however true it is (I think it is very true), and use that as a justification for separatist politics, Men's Rights movements gain momentum and feminists to scapegoat, straw'man' and witch-itize.

 

Essentially, the more radical the discourse feminists movements use, the stronger the reactionary forces grow, which I think allows a lot of men to think that 'Men's Rights' are a real thing and are necessary. Even if it is true, the disparity between the knowledge necessary to understand these theoretical and axiomatic justifications and the knowledge the general public has about gender issues means there is a gross likelihood that men will turn to Men's Rights Activism. This is pretty evident in the fact that a lot of MRAs argue certain things that femnism has been working to solve for generations and are easily explained by entry level feminist theory.

 

I'm a cismale and a feminist. I understand that feminism is at first a women's movement and the dangers of me 'mansplaining' things, but I don't think these are necessary reasons to exclude all men. Most feminists would argue matriarchy is equally as dangerous as patriarchy and are open to 'men's studies' focused on interpreting the construction of masculinity insofar as it doesn't try to victimize men.

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