Sunday, September 13, 2009

that problem called Feminism

We had dinner with another couple last night when the topic of my dissertation came up.  My wife has come up with the very clever (very simple if not at all simplistic) 2-word summary of the project: "Aristotle exposed"; but she decided also to drop the f-bomb, that one (complicated) word:  "feminisms."

"Ah," replied the other woman, looking at her husband.  "Feminism sorta resonates with women.  But it's really a problem at the end of the day.  It's making men become feminized in this country."

"Men," added the man, looking at his wife, "are 'blue' in the way they speak and listen.  Women are 'pink.'  But the feminist movement has caused everyone to have to listen and to talk 'pink.'"

As casually and as quickly as and as gently as she was able, my wife tried to shift the conversation.  Now we were talking about the other couples' visit to Pakistan.  They appreciated many things there.  They noted the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We all puzzled over the on-going practices of purdah, vani (young-girl marriages), watta satta, and honor killings.

At the end of the day, I couldn't decide whether our conversation had been "blue" or "pink."  Blame the confusion on that problem called "feminism."


J. L. Watts said...

So it is 'pink' to consider women equal? I wasn't there, of course, and do not know your friends, but I have heard that feminism 'sissifies' men from many others.

Jay Seidler said...

Nice to see you are blogging again. There is a great need for feminist male bloggers. Just because someone is bilingual (can speak both pink and blue interchangeably) does not mean they are confused.

J. K. Gayle said...

>Good question, J.L.! So was Jesus pink (and, therefore, not blue) and sissified (and, thus, not as manly)? I wondered about this in a blog post once upon a time.

>Jay, Thanks for the nice comment. You're in Thailand, aren't you? And see (or at least hear of) the most horrendous sexism and misogyny and male-over-female dominance in some places there, don't you? Great point about bilingualism (w/ respect to so-called "pink" and "blue") - maybe that sort of rhetorical listening (interchangeable languages) yields even less confusion.

Jay Seidler said...

Yes, I am in Thailand. Women’s situation in Thailand may be still better than a number of other countries, but Thailand can be a bit deceiving. On the surface it can look so proper, but if you dig down a bit you can find a lot of ugly stuff. The status of Thai women is improving, but there are still so many traditional values that are so oppressive. Just to give a few examples: a Thai wife is expected to wake up before her husband to start the house work and prepare his food and she is to go to bed after him as she first finishes off her final duties. She is to serve food to her husband first at a meal and she is not suppose to disagree with him. Traditionally, a woman could not be physically located above a man’s head. High rise buildings have change that value, but when crossing the Mekong River by ferry between Thailand and Laos, my wife and daughter were never allowed on the top floor of the ferry above any men on the lower floor. Menstruating women are not allowed in the Buddhist temples. A woman must not have her panties hanging to dry at a place where a man might walk, but the same is not true concerning a man’s underwear.