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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feminists: Why I stopped listening.

This is probably going to be controversial somehow. So if you're easily offended, stop reading. Consider yourself warned.
Over at Yahoo there is a report that feminists are up in arms over a new game from Sony. Why are they up in arms? Because the game, called "Fat Princess", is about a, well, fat princess running around collecting cake and getting fatter so that your enemies can't capture you so easily.
Why is this so offensive? I have no idea. Is it because she's fat? If so, are there no fat women in the world who eat cake? Is there a sudden shortage of cake eating plump women? Or is it because the game is about a fat girl chasing cake to get fatter so she can't get captured? Okay, if that's the case, I still don't get it. Before anyone goes off and says "well, you're a man, you don't get it anyway, cause you're sexist by default", I'll have you know that I am far from the sexist male you might think. I support gender equality and I don't believe there are that many differences between males and females beyond physical things. We are the same species and neither is better than the other (well, I'm a little biased in that women are better than men, but that's because I am not really attracted to men). I simply don't get what is sexist about this game. There are games featuring fat guys too, you know, not to mention a plethora of portrayals of fat men who consume cake for pleasure. It's not like this is such an unusual concept.
Having said that, here is my problem with all this. It's just a game. Yes, I said it. It's just a stupid game. Emphasis on stupid. This isn't a game I'd play, unless it had something really weird to it, but I still don't think this is something to get upset about. If something like this upsets you, maybe you need to go on vacation or stop reading the news. Seriously. This is such a minor, pointless thing to get upset over, unless there's something I'm not aware of in the game.
This is only one facet of the angry feminist movement that has completely turned me off from reading anything related to their "members". They have valid points about a lot of things, but they come off so angry and bitter that it's hard for me to listen to their rants for more than ten seconds. It's hard for me to take you seriously if your arguments are tinged with sarcasm, hatred, anger, bitterness, and other such negative inflections. If you want my attention, you have to make your points heard from a logical, rational standpoint. This is the same reason I don't listen to religious arguments that try to claim that the Earth is only 4,000 years old.
And then there is the hypocrisy.
It's all well and good to fight hard for gender equality, but it works both ways. How many commercials have there been featuring stereotypical stupid males doing something stupid and laughable? And do feminists rise up and say "hey, that ain't right"? Of course not. The problem is that many in the feminist movement say "we want equality" without actually understanding what that last word means. Equality doesn't mean we stop making sexist female jokes, but you can make sexist male jokes all you want. You want equality, then all sexist jokes have to stop, or we're allowed to rip on one another equally without people getting in a tiffy over something like a plus size princess with a cake fetish.
Feminists also seem to forget that the climate has changed for gender relations. Fifty years ago it was different, but today there is more gender equality. Of course we have a long way to go, and I'm not saying that sexism doesn't exist. I'm simply saying that things are different now. Of course there are things yet to be achieved in the interests of gender equality. We haven't had a female president yet, or a vice president for that matter (and probably won't this election). But we have had several female CEOs, politicians, judges, etc. Granted, there are more men than women in these positions, but would we have seen such things fifty years ago? Probably not.
The point is, if you're going to have a movement, make it one worth following. If all you do is act the bitter feminist you're essentially isolating yourself from an audience that still has slightly more control that you. Shouldn't you be pushing to include men into the conversation? Or are all men sexist pigs in your eyes? If you think the latter, then that's just another facet of hypocrisy on the feminist side, since there are entire factions of feminists who believe all men are the same--and this is slightly insulting to me, as I am not a sexist pig, thank you very much. Open your mind a little and let men become a part of the equation. That's pushing for true gender equality. Let's face it, if men and women alike are pushing for the same thing, it's more likely to happen for the right reasons rather than the wrong reasons. What are the wrong reasons? Political pressure from a minority. It feels like a victory to get something on the books as a minority group, but it's even more meaningful when something gets on the books that is supported by a larger portion of the masses, something desired by more than just one group. That, and it's more likely to happen if a larger group of people are demanding something rather than just one group.
Setting aside the rambles I'll say that I am well aware that not all feminists are bitter and angry. The problem is, they rarely call themselves feminists, perhaps because the title doesn't really matter. People who seem to demand representation within the feminist movement are the folks I no longer listen to and who push me away from the movement in general. Again, if you want me to take you seriously, present arguments that aren't tinged with bitter hatred. Not all men are evil. Likewise, every time you see a book or a TV show that supposedly seems sexist to you, you should consider that it's probably not being sexist at all, but realistic. The world isn't set against you. This is America, not some fundamentalist religious country that keeps women as slaves. Women can vote and speak their minds, and they will do much more in the future. There will be a female president some day. I have no doubt of that. And I will support a female president. There will be more female politicians, business owners, etc. It's going to happen. So let's try to get there without the bitterness and anger. Rome wasn't built in a day, remember?

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