dogma

MarryWollstonecraft       “Wollstonecraft concentrated on describing the state of ignorance and servility to which women were condemned by social custom and training.  The passionate feeling with which her book is imbued give it wide social appeal and persuasive power.  […]  Wollstonecraft’s acute question – “how many generations may be necessary to give vigour to the virtue and talents of the freed posterity of abject slaves?’ – still has pertinence. “

Excerpts from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman –

“And if it be granted that women was not created merely to gratify the appetite of man, or to be the upper servant, who provides his meals and takes care of his linen, it must follow, that the first care of those mothers or fathers, who really attend to the education of females, should be, if not to strengthen the body, at least, not to destroy the constitution by mistaken notions of beauty and female excellence…

To preserve personal beauty, woman’s glory!  the limbs and faculties are cramped with worse than Chinese bands, and the sedentary life which they are condemned to live, whilst boys frolic in the open air, weakens the muscles and relaxes the nerves.  As for Rousseau’s remarks… that they have naturally, that is from their birth, independent of education, a fondness for dolls, dressing, and talking – they are so puerile as not to merit a serious refutation…

I have, probably, had an opportunity of observing more girls in their infancy that J.J. Rousseau – I can recollect my only feelings, and I have looked steadily around me; yet, so far with coinciding with him in opinion respecting the first dawn of the female character, I will venture to affirm, that a girl, whose spirits have not been damped by inactivity, or innocence tainted by false shame, will always be a romp, and the doll will never excite attention unless confinement allows her no alternative.  Girls and boys, in short, would play harmlessly together, if the distinction of sex was not inculcated long before nature makes any difference.  I will go further, and affirm, as an indisputable fact, that most of the women, in the circle of my observation, who have acted like rational creatures, or shown any vigour of intellection, have accidentally allowed to run wild…  ”

-Ed. Miriam Schneir. Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings. pp 13 – 14.

     Let it be known that in the 18th century the processes of female socialization were known to women.  Fast forward to the present and we are still presented with arguments about how biology plays an overarching role in determining female social status in society.  Of course, admitting that society and the socialization that goes along with it is inherently unjust to women, as opposed to calcified biological fact, would lead us to conclusion that society has been set up for the benefit of one sex, at the expense of the other.   Social norms are malleable, biology not so much.  I know which case I would rally around if I was trying to justify the inherent injustice that exists.

Bach, Chaconne from Partita for Violin No. 2, BWV 1004, arranged by Brahms for left hand piano:  The Chaconne is the fifth movement of Bach’s Partita in D Minor for Unaccompanied Violin, written between 1717-1723 (ages 32-38), while Bach was in the service of Prince Leopold in Cöthen.  Joshua Bell has said that the Chaconne is “not just one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but one of the greatest achievements of any man in history.  It’s a spiritually powerful piece, emotionally powerful, structurally perfect.”  Brahms knew and loved the music of Bach at a time that it was mainly of historical interest.  His respect for Bach’s Chaconne was reverential: “The Chaconne is in my opinion one of the most wonderful and incomprehensible pieces of music.  Using the technique adapted to a small instrument, [Bach] writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings.”  In 1877 (age 44), when his close friend Clara Schumann injured her right hand, Brahms arranged Bach’s Chaconne for left-hand piano.  Brahms told Clara Schumann that, only by arranging the work this way could he understand the technical difficulties faced by a violin soloist.

 

 

 

  “In 1776, when the letters reprinted below were exchanged, John Adams was in Philadelphia attending the Continental Congress.  Within months of receiving his wife’s request that the “new code of laws” give some consideration “to the ladies,” he was hard at work, with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and others drafting one of the world’s great statements of human liberty – the Declaration of Independence.  Yet, for the rights of women, he could summon only a smile. “

 

(to John Adams)

AbigailAdams31 March, 1776.  … in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.  Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands.  Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could.  If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

That your sex are naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute; but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of master for the more tender and endearing one of friend.  Why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity and impunity.  Men of sense in all ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex.

***

(to Abigail Adams)

14 April, 1776.  As to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh.  We have been told that our struggle has loosened the bonds of government everywhere; that children and apprentices were disobedient; that schools and colleges were grown turbulent; that Indians slighted their guardians, and Negroes grew insolent to their masters.  But your letter was the first intimation that another tribe, more numerous and powerful than all the rest, were grown discontented.

***

(to John Adams)

7 May, 1776.  I cannot say that I think that you are very generous to the ladies; for, whilst you are proclaiming peace and good-will to men, emancipating all nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over wives.  But you must remember that arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken; and, notwithstanding all your wise laws and maxims, we have it in our power, not only to free ourselves, but subdue our masters, and, without violence, throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet; – “Charm by accepting, by submitting away, Yet have our humour most when we obey.”

Ed. Miriam Schneir. Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings. pp 3 – 4.

     Well thanks for that John Adams.  One might question your dedication to freedom, equality, and other shiny words that were bandied about at the time, considering the hearty F-you delivered to womenfolk.   :/

Often when arguing about feminism on the internet, I hear from my opponents – well there are just sooo many types of feminism – how can my brain handle all this variation.  Let’s just simplify the notion a touch.  There is the feminism that pleases men and there is the feminism that doesn’t.  The feminism that does not please men has held on to its political character and theoretical basis.

bell hooks describes these two flavours of feminism:

“Lifestyle feminism ushered in the notion that there could be as many versions of feminism as there were women. Suddenly the politics was being slowly removed from feminism. And the assumption prevailed that no matter what a woman’s politics, be she conservative or liberal, she too could fit feminism into her existing lifestyle. Obviously this way of thinking has made feminism more acceptable because its underlying assumption is that women can be feminists without fundamentally challenging and changing themselves or the culture.”

-bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody.

Rentvsown

The neat things you find on tumblr.

Ways men opt out of housework and childcare by “helping out”

  • take on weekly or monthly tasks, and think it’s equal to their wives daily tasks (even when wives also have weekly and monthly tasks)
  • take on tasks that require very little time or hard labor, like mowing the lawn.
  • take on a “project” that could be fixed by a professional, and work on it little by little but never really finish
  • create chores for their children, i.e. delegate rather than doing
  • do housework only in tandem, i.e. never on their own or without help.
  • volunteer on their own for some disliked task. For example, cleaning the toilets without asking. unfortunately, this tends to be seen as very loving and exceptional. Often it will be used as an excuse not to do anything else
  • enthusiastically volunteer to do things often, then conveniently “forget”, “make plans”, or have some sort of weird parameter to get started. When wife or child does it instead, claim they were going to do it, really!
  • pick a jurisdiction they already enjoy, like “take care of dog” or “the yard”
  • do something really badly, so that someone else has to do it for them anyway afterwards
  • “tidy up” a mess they made
  • pick up or organize clutter, however the often stressful, emotional, and time consuming task of de-cluttering is left undone or for someone else
  • meticulous keep clean a space that is only theirs, i.e. their study, their garage.
  • create tasks that aren’t needed, like “organize the toolbox” or “rearrange the bookshelf”
  • do tasks that require prep work that their wives will do for them (i.e. grilling the food, but not planning, purchasing, seasoning or preparing the sides)
  • take control of “finances” but do very little, perhaps the taxes. this is also used as a way to control their wives often
  • use their time with their children to play or dole out discipline/lessons, but very little time on feeding/bathing/dressing or organizing their lives. this is also away men can create a “fun parent/mean parent” dynamic
  • make lists of what needs to get done, discuss what needs to get done with their wives, act very invested in the housework, take on a “manager” role in the housework, but do very little of it
  • tell wives that what little is done in the house, by either of them, is “enough” and that he “doesn’t care” what the house looks like (this is a l i e). i.e. doing little and then making an emotional appeal that it’s fine, co-opting the emotional labor his wife does for him, but actually it’s very manipulative
  • getting involved with children’s after school activities, i.e. being a coach, organizing a concert, etc. often a thing he already enjoys. often does very little of the organizing/plan making. often makes little effort to create time for his wife’s personal interests

pay attention to your fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, boyfriends, husbands actions. you’ll start to see these constantly 

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