Friday, February 24, 2012

The Feminist Law

I think women tend to take for granted (okay, I take for granted) the ways that "feminist laws"  have been created that protect my interests and my quality of life. I'm not talking about laws regarding sex/gender discrimination, rape, stalking, marriage, children etc. that are written in books and enforced by the police or lawyers. I'm talking about the laws that women and men have been indoctrinated to follow and enforce themselves.

I have taken many classes where there were only one or two men in a room full of women. If one of those men said something sexist or something that ignored the contributions of women they were swiftly corrected by the feminist police in the room (including the professor). They were enforcing the feminist law that sexism is "illegal" and efforts must be made to include their contributions in discussions or publications about science, art, technology and almost everything else. This law is written in codes of ethics, workplace policies, and school codes of conduct. It is also displayed in films, television, and advertising so that we are socialized to know these laws (there is plenty of sexism but also many messages that sexism is wrong. Sexist advertising is criticized and boycotted not anti-sexism messages right?). In many cases failing to uphold these laws would not be criminal offenses. But any violations could lead to private or public criticism and shaming, possibly the loss of a job, or suspension or expulsion from schools. There was a time when these feminist laws did not exist! These laws are pervasive and now anyone who wants to get along well at school, the workplace, or with any woman has to know and follow these laws or risk being shamed or punished.

So not only are there unspoken rules that a man can't hit a girl and women must be protected, there are these new rules that women must be included and sexism is wrong. Feminists are responsible for the new rules! A professor can not stand in front of a class and state "Some female scientists have contributed to this research, but we all know their findings must be invalid, so let's ignore that" but now men know better and would expect to have complaints filed about that (which could actually lead to a reprimand). Any man who says publicly (or to his wife) "women belong in the kitchen" risks being shamed by women, some men, and his wife for being sexist. This did not happen in the past. The "law" is on women's side.

These feminist laws fall under the spectrum of political correctness (PC) and some people just hate being PC but they do it to avoid the criticism, shaming, and possible negative consequences that could come from not following these laws. Prior to the PC "laws" people could be as sexist or racist as they wanted. Women and racial minorities were totally unprotected but now we can have the expectation (there are exceptions of course) that most people will follow these laws, feel ashamed if they are caught violating these laws, or someone will come to their defense if these laws are violated. Due to these laws the most privileged members of society, White men, feel like they are not free to do or say whatever they want anymore. They feel like they are being are the ones being racially profiled, followed around by the feminist police, and being unfairly arrested, judged, and punished. Of course this is a new thing for them and while some understand that these laws protect those who were totally unprotected in the past, other men are furious about it. These are the men who claim being sexist or racist is part of their freedom of speech and rebuke any laws enforced to stop hate speech. They claim that being PC makes things boring, unfunny, and too serious. They want to be able to call anyone the n-word or any woman a b**** with impunity. I'm glad that they can't do that anymore without the feminist and racial police knocking down their doors.

So once again, although I disagree with some of the things feminists do and say today, I am glad that these feminist PC laws exist. They make my life easier. I feel protected. I have taken this for granted and many of us probably have. One might point out that the feminist law is not applied equally to all women and that the feminist police consistently ignore "PC crimes" or real crimes against Black women. I agree this is definitely the case. That is the reason why women like myself are unwilling to call ourselves feminists. Why take on the burden of that label when the group doesn't even help us? Now let me ask you this, if feminists suddenly started fighting just as hard for transgressions against Black women as they do for those against White women would you change your mind about them? Would you be more likely to support their cause? If the answer is "yes" then what you are saying is that you actually believe in their cause, but you are boycotting them until they give you service! I totally understand the "don't buy where you can't work" mentality and I constantly (even without realizing it sometimes) boycott groups, stores, organizations, and even people who don't include Black women or Black people (I am actually suspicious and less likely to want to be friends with a person who doesn't have any racial minority friends...I just realized I do that!!! I also do that when I date interracially. I may still give them a chance but I am less confident that our relationship will work out because I suspect they are closet racists. Wow!).

So, we (that includes me) must not confuse disliking a group because we disagree with their goals and actually agreeing with their goals but boycotting them until those goals include helping you. I'm still boycotting them but I love the laws they have created. I benefit from them. If you are a Black women who goes to a predominantly White school or works in a predominantly White company/organization/institution then you benefit from the feminist laws enforced by the feminist police. We can't deny that privilege and expect others to recognize theirs. Of course if you don't live in those situations and are never protected by feminist laws then I don't blame you for being mad as hell!

Also in regards to the Men's Rights Movement, I agree with some of their points that it is unfair to pay for a child that isn't yours and that a child should go to the most stable and capable caregiver. But I am boycotting them because of the other messages they endorse that could cause me harm (and have already harmed me mentally by reading them). I will only listen to those arguments when they come from men not affiliated with that group. I don't agree with the 'look past the fact that I'm punching you in the face and just listen to what I am saying' defense. If you hurt me I no longer hear you. If you don't follow the PC laws you go straight to jail and don't collect $200 :)

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