Women’s Day: Liberation and Lies

March 8 is International Women’s Day

Feminism is a lot of things, and some of it isn’t especially helpful, but if you define it as a belief that men and all women should have equal rights and opportunities, I’m a believer myself.

I’ve written something ahead of International Women’s Day the last two years, and as I have a tendency to focus very much on one single theme for a period, I have covered a lot of ground. I told myself a year ago I probably wasn’t going to write on the topic this year because I was starting to repeat myself, and some of the issues I’ve been writing about can be covered by my posts on religion. March 8 was somewhere at the back of my head, but I was surprised when I realized yesterday that it was already that day of the year. It feels like we just had Valentine’s Day, and now we are already a week into March.

I was reminded of the day when another blogger invited her readers to share what they thought were important March 8-issues. I guess this is my response. I don’t have a problem with feminism. There is clearly inequality, but I hope most feminists focus on the main issues. I have to take into account that I hardly ever read/listen/watch mainstream media anymore, so it’s possible I’ve missed important information, but if I view March 8 based on what I have picked up from media and bloggers, it seems that little or nothing has changed. It’s for the most part about less important issues.

We are often inspired or influenced by the United States. Things that happen there have an impact on Europe, and I suppose that applies to the feminists too. The feminist movement started when the abolitionists movement in the 1800s inspired the female suffrage movement. The same thing happened in the 1960s when the civil rights movement won major victories after both houses in Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. These were important victories to feminists in general as well. They all benefitted from less discrimination among minorities. This also opened up for increased equality among other groups in society, including women.

I don’t know if we can say that white feminists in the United States deliberately turned their backs on the black feminists after this early progress toward equality in general. That would be too blunt, and possibly a lie, but they did seem to forget where it all started. I do believe, however, that both sides committed errors, because neither the civil rights movement or the feminist movement seem to adequately take into account the fact that minority women experience double discrimination. Immigrant women are discriminated against because they are women and because they belong to a minority. This leaves them with little or no advocacy and legal protection.

In Norway both feminist and civil rights organizations are in danger of making the same mistake.There are many examples of highly educated immigrants (as well as 2nd and 3rd generation) not getting relevant jobs. They have to work in another profession, also unskilled jobs, and of course work for a lower salary. There are also many Norwegians that don’t want minorities moving into their little mono culture. I have read several news stories where a minority family won the bid for a house, but the owner chose to sell to someone else at a much lower price because this family didn’t “fit in.” In other words, they were not white. Still Norwegians maintain that there is no racism in Norway, and as it doesn’t exist, there’s no point in talking about it.

Not that it’s not important with equal pay in general, which is usually the main issue feminists address, but the fact is that the people we call minorities are becoming an increasingly larger part of the population. This is because the fertility rate (average birth per woman) is low throughout Europe, including Norway. In a country completely without immigration the fertility rate needs to be 2,1 to keep a stable population. Many European countries are in the area around 1,5 and Norway is among the highest with 1,9. In other words, we need people. We can say what we want about other cultures, but they are the people that will ensure Norway’s future.

There are some among us that seem to want a low birth rate, but also low immigration. I’m sure you can do the math. It’s important to fight for “the others” as well. If we don’t the rights women have today, could vanish. If minority women don’t have rights, what will happen as they become a larger percentage of the overall female population of Norway? We clearly need immigration, and I think we need to encourage immigration. It’s not a question of whether we should have immigration or not, but about where these people come from, their religions, what education they have or that I think we should give them for free, what political traditions they come from etc.

Still, I don’t think we should do as Sweden has done. They have too much immigration and although the official view is that tolerance is the only accepted attitude, they are experiencing “white flight” in major cities and increased hostility. No one thought about how to make these immigrants a part of the community. Incidentally, we are starting to see “white flight” in Oslo as well. This could have been a feminist issue, but it isn’t.

One of the reasons I wrote about feminism last year was a blogger named Susanne Kaluza. There is an accepted tradition in Norway, more than a law, called the reservation right. It means that you could refuse to do something you are obligated to do in your job. It’s a general principle that can emerge in any profession, but it has been mostly connected to GP’s. A Catholic GP in Telemark for example didn’t want to refer women to abortion. It wasn’t a problem because he just let another doctor at the same office handle those patients. There was a lot of outcry and many said that any doctor that didn’t refer women for an abortion shouldn’t never be allowed to work as a doctor. This was portrayed as a brave woman fighting oppressive men, and these men were trying to attack the abortion law, but the whole situation was just bizarre to me.

The truth is that women in Norway don’t need to be referred for an abortion. They can contact the hospital directly, and the strange thing is that the doctors and nurses performing the abortion do have this right to refuse. No one seems to think they shouldn’t. This was some of the background for my posts last year.

handcuffs
Maybe I never understood enough to be jumping on the bandwagon in the first place, but I would have fallen off when women saw handcuffs and a “sex-contract” as liberating.
Foto: Patrisyu via freedigitalphotos.net

It surprised me that the books and the film Fifty Shades of Grey was such a huge success. I must admit that I had ignored it, so I didnt know what it was really all about. Media frequently refers to it as housewife-pornography, but that was about all I knew.

So I was quite shocked when I read a movie review where the writer described the plot as a man who demanded that the woman in this story sign a contract in which he defined the sexual relationship. I think he also tried to control her actions while they were apart. I must admit that this is a sexual liberation I don’t understand, and it surprises me that this is what women like.

It’s often said that men and women don’t understand each other because they communicate very differently, and this is certainly a success I didn’t see coming. This sounds more like a male abuser’s fantasy to me. Maybe this is controversial and criticized by feminists, but it’s not that obvious to me. I read somewhere that the sales of the books had passed 100 million copies, and I believe it replaced the Bible as the most sold book in Norway. I would argue that the missing solidarity after the victories in the 1960’s is still a problem. When it comes to minorities in Norway the main issue seems to be circumcision of girls. The feminists seemed to be think that the fight was over after Parliament passed a law.

As for equal rights in general might it not be a little harder to help minority women because that means more competition for jobs and houses? There are in fact some feminists that accuse women in power of making things worse for other women. Internationally there are many opportunities for expression of solidarity and for protesting. Saudi Arabia is one of our allies for example. This is a list of things women in Saudi Arabia can’t do, and this is actually a quite moderate Muslim country. It’s a lot worse in Iran and Iraq.

I didn’t hear any protests when Iraq considered adopting a law that made it possible for men to marry 9 year old girls. Read about it in Huff Post There are many battles to choose between, and I don’t think Susanne Kaluza picked the most important  one. I have written extensively myself about the Child Welfare Service. They seem to be going after single and immigrant mothers, and there have even been multiple cases where employees in the CWS have stated in the case journal that the child’s mother had mental problems. This is frequently done without any health care workers being involved. Isn’t that important enough?

Still many seem to think there is nothing to protest. Incidentally, I have come across the attitude among several feminist bloggers that men are not entitled to an opinion. We can’t have one as we represent the oppressors. I understand that I can’t have the same perspective as a woman, but I believe I can recognize evil, injustice and inequality.

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10 thoughts on “Women’s Day: Liberation and Lies

  1. John,

    I enjoyed your article, and once again some of the issues you chose to address. I, for one, am not a feminist, though when I was much younger, sort of thought I was. After time, more study, and life experiences, I came to understand that feminism is NOT what I thought it was. I think there is a huge difference between supporting equal rights for women and being a feminist.

    I think feminism is actually degrading to women. I realized that their idea of “liberation” wasn’t liberation at all. To tell me that in order to be equal to a man, I must BE LIKE a man, act like man, is to basically devalue all that makes me a woman. Feminism seems to promote the idea that anything feminine, anything traditionally associated with women/femininity is somehow less than, of lesser value.

    If feminists want equal rights, how about equal rights for ALL women (as you referenced in your article concerning race and immigration)? If we want women to receive equal pay for equal work, then how about paying stay-at-home moms? Shouldn’t full-time moms be valued as much as any other full time worker? Yet, I am not aware of any prominent feminists, be it politicians, policy-makes, academics, activists, etc. that make equal pay for moms a prominent issue.

    And the “sexual liberation” of women? I fail to see how women having multiple sexual partners is somehow beneficial to women. So, women are now supposed to pattern their sexuality on what has been the “male model”? (and no, I am not saying that all males are promiscuous or unfaithful, just that historically this has been more of a male habit). This is supposed to liberate us? Satisfy us? Fulfill us? Seems to me that the whole “sexual liberation” thing just made it easier for males to have a lot more opportunities for uncommitted sex without any responsibilities at all.

    And “Fifty Shades of Grey,” almost needs its own separate, article, John. I had heard of the book, but was then was absolutely infuriated when I saw a trailer for it. I had gone to see a PG 13 movie with a teenage boy, a young lady, and an elderly gentleman, when we were assaulted with the trailer for this rated R movie. The trailer was appalling. Though it did not show any sexual scenes at all (though there were subtle references to it), it portrayed the female character as this timid, demure, innocent, naive young lady applying for a secretarial position with this rich, powerful, seductive businessman. It was the blatant imbalance of power from the beginning that disturbed me. He was the employer, she the employee. He was older, she was younger. He was experienced, she was a virgin. He had money, she was a college student. He had power, and she had none. The entire trailer made my skin crawl, and I was furious that it was shown for a PG 13 movie.

    (See: http://www.miriamgrossmanmd.com/an-open-letter-to-young-people-about-fifty-shades-of-grey/

    I knew this book/now movie had a huge female following, which confused me, since as a woman, I found it repugnant. So, I began to investigate. I couldn’t bring myself to actually read it, but I did read summaries, reviews, and online dialogue about the book, and i think I sort of understand the weird appeal of this book.

    1. This book (actually, it is a trilogy) stars a man who is “damaged,” “broken,” and cynical. Along comes this young woman who does everything he wants her to do, and loves him and then ultimately (in the third book) he “heals” through her love and devotion. Ok, I know this will not make the slightest sense to a male, but this is a really weird thing women do. We try to “fix” a man. We think we love a man out of his problems. Now, I know that love actually can heal, but this doesn’t work when you are dealing with the sort of problems as the man in this book does. It is a dangerous female fantasy. So the trilogy follows the development of the relationship and how the male character grows and heals and ultimately becomes this great lover.

    Sadly, this sort of mentality is one of the things that can keep a woman in an abusive relationship, because she thinks if she just “loves” him enough, eventually he will change.

    2. I think the other fascination this book/movie has with women has to do with the diminishing presence of masculine men (at least here in the U.S.). Men don’t seem “manly” anymore. They are not strong. They have become emasculated and effeminate (of course, not all). I think that the whole feminist movement has contributed to this by attacking anything that is traditionally masculine, and labeling it as a negative trait. Of course, I know there are other reasons for this development. That said, there is a dearth of manly men. And this movie portrays the male character as almost “hyper-masculine,” and of course, is an extreme portrayal of masculinity. It sends the message: “Real” men control, dominate, abuse, degrade women.

    Yes, I know the author is a woman, and though I recognize the above appeals to women, at the same time, I am mystified as to why women can’t see the absolutely warped messages the books/movie send to both men and women. And I suspect the worst effect is on younger people who may hold this sick relationship up as a model for a relationship between men and women.

    I could go on and on about feminism and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but I will spare you my endless ramblings! 🙂

    1. Thank you. After taking the time to write a long comment, you deserve a reply. I am sorry, but that will have to be another day. I’m a bit apathetic tonight. I do, however, appreciate, your quality rambling.

  2. You are welcome, John! I understand the apathy. I am feeling the same right now about most everything else…and your blog is a welcome distraction from the things I need to do, but don’t feel like doing.

    P.s. If you will add “fifty shades of grey” to the tag line on this article, you may get more comments. Of course, that could lead to some really heated debate if the fans of “Fifty” read your article and my comments. 🙂

  3. Watched a documentary on the ozzies’ Great Barrier Reef which included large fish that change sex multiple times during their lives. The change is triggered by scarcity of that sex in the local population. Something like sex roles in prisons. Gender politics is fishy at best. The same regime that marches at Selma pushes aborting the unborn (do the math) and slaving the undocumented (more population math). Political power corrupts & subjugates. Enslaving foreign visitors should not be an immigration issue. Gender politics promotes domination by those currently in power — and corrupted. Satan offered Christ all(!) the kingdoms of this world.

    1. I’m not sure what you mean. I guess you mean that our democratic system shows Satan’s influence in the world? What we see as the defenders of our Christian civilization doesn’t always appear to have the right focus.

      You mentioned voting somewhere else. Not sure what you meant. Did you mean that children should be allowed to vote? You have to be 18 in Norway, but they’ve been testing it on 16 year olds. I think it’s problematic myself that we trust politicians to make the right decisions, but these people take advice from and are pressured by lobbyists and experts they consult. They don’t even read the documents and laws they pass. There’s no telling who is really in charge.

    2. Yes John, children, even the youngest should should be treated the same as everyone else. For instance, denying the vote based on education, awareness, experience, and such can be said of adults, the elderly, the infirm, or the differently abled. Similarly, if the complaint is that they will just vote how their parents tell them – we can say the same likely goes for many adults. The point is not the vote, but in treating those with human rights all the same, regardless of sex, age, nationality, etc. Otherwise – so called rights are given based on the rationales of those in power – and can be taken. Including the right to vote. Disabilty in particular should not limit rights – since anyone may be temporarily or permanently disabled, including mental impairment. … So distinctions should not be applied to treating other humans fairly (not male nor female, not old nor young, not jailed nor free, not wealthly nor poor, not one nation or another,

    3. A human right is not a right if it can be granted or taken away by those in power. Your point about super-citizens like law makers voting for laws they’re uninformed about makes the case. Human rights should not be treated more or less differently by government because of distinctions like sex, age, wealth, nationality, bonds (imprisoned or free, in debt or not), etc. If rights can be given they can likewise be taken, by the current regime. … Your point about lawmakers (or super-citizens) is that they’re uniformed about many overly complex laws thus makes the case. They’re like children in ignorance. Such complex laws (that depend on special expertise) cede power to technocrats or cabals. The better way is shown by those “In Christ” who should practice equity and give true witness, without regard to distinctions in public issues. The same rights should also apply to the unborn. I’ll grant they’re not likely to vote – yet. 🐴

  4. I considered joining the feminist movement in my 20s, but ultimately decided not to because I felt they should be fighting for the rights of ALL women. They don’t and never have. Stay at home moms often wind up with little or no retirement income after spending years doing the most important job there is. This is only one example of how the feminists have their priorities completely screwed up. Another is the way so many of them seem to think ALL men are inherently evil and all women good. They go on and on about how much better the world would be if women ran it. I’ve personally encountered too many mean bitches to believe that one. I don’t find it to be true that honor, courage, kindness, compassion, intelligence, and trustworthiness are specifically female traits.

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