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Re: Blatant Sexism! - Eldon (reply to Kym)

Aug 19, 1997 09:18 PM
by Eldon B Tucker


>>You have to be careful when you're being funny on this list.
>>I can tell from reading this that you're writing in jest, but
>>without an explicit "<grin>" at the end there's a change that
>>some readers will misinterpret your posting, start seeing red,
>>and blast you with their righteous wrath.

>Since you're addressing a post on sexism, are you saying those who 
>fight against sexism are the ones who will "blast you with their 
>righteous wrath?"

Tom is, I think, making fun of a particular approach to talking
about and understanding the differences between men and women.
I was picking up on it without getting into the politics
and the pro's and con's of how men and women treat each other.
My point was with regard to how someone can take their 
political beliefs to be Absolute Truth quite as dogmatically
and fanatically as any extreme religious Fundamentalist.

>>You are daring to make light of sacred political dogma and as a
>>sacrilegious heretic exposing yourself to punishment by the 
>>defenders of the faith.

>Sacred political dogma - what is - the fight against sexism?

No, but the belief in the "dogma of sexism" (with dogma used as
a mandatory, required-of-everyone belief), can be talked about.
My interest was to point out the potential of religious-style
dogmatism in any field, including the political. 

I'm not stating that you or anyone particularly is dogmatic
about their personal politics. The problem that I'm concerned
with, and thought would make a light piece, it *how* the
beliefs are held, how rigid they are, how totalitarian (wishing
to impose themselves on others whether they're persuaded or

If the ideas are inflexible, impossible to change, tightly
packaged with value judgements -- saying for instance that
those not professing belief in the completely-packaged
thought are evil, XYZ-ist, etc. -- then there's a definite
barrier to progress in metaphysics, which requires of us
the ability to break free of all habits of thought and

Notice that I'm not saying anything negative about women nor
taking a position either side of the men/woman issue, pro
or con what you've espoused.

>Sacrilegious heretic - who? - Tom? - Tom is being a 
>"sacrilegious heretic?  In what way? 

He is to anyone that considers him a "non-believer" and someone
refusing to join the one and only-true political belief of
the chosen ones. That is to say, he *would seem that way*
to some. I'm not saying that you see him that way. I won't
speak for him nor what he thinks, nor will speak for you or
what you think. 

>Defenders of the faith - again, are you talking about those 
>who are fighting against sexism?

Not exactly. I'm not writing about those who are working to
better the world, including ridding the world of various
caste-type systems, including inequalities based upon gender.
I'm all for that.

But if someone takes the *concept* of sexism and makes it
into a platonic ideal, something true and beyond question,
a dogma describing the way that life works and with 
associated commandments of what to do or not do -- then I
see a problem that eventually needs fixing. The problem is
in the rigid idea and not in the rest of the world.

>>To question holy writ is to face damnation, and
>>to subject yourself to being shunned by the faithful. Some
>>beliefs are so true that you cannot ask what they mean or
>>dare question them, but must profess your unwavering support.

>Holy writ? - again, are you talking about the fight against sexism?
>Damnation? - in what way will one face "damnation?"  Shunned by the
>faithful? - sexists will be shunned by those who fight against it?

I have no problem with working to better the world. Just
with the way that people treat others that don't agree
with them, especially if their targets of anyone's righteous
anger. Helping rid the world of rigid, inflexible political
politics is as important as ridding it of equally rigid
religious groups.

>>Those that dare question the Faith are subject to being
>>condemned as evil, shouted down at lectures, to lose their
>>jobs, and denied future employment in the name of equal
>>employment and fairness to all.

>This last paragraph is the most interesting of all - you sound 
>as if you may resent those who are trying to change things, 
>trying to equal the playing field.

I'm not against change. But I won't limit that change to
someone else's agenda, be it a political or religious group.
My interest is in improving things by getting people to think
for themselves. Perhaps your approach to improve the world
is more focused on social concerns. We each need to discover
what we can best offer the world and just do it.

>I will grant you that some have suffered tragically and 
>needlessly in the fight against sexism, but that doesn't 
>mean the goal is not worthy.

I agree that all caste-based systems need to end, including
unfair disadvantage based upon gender, age, race, religious
preference, etc. I'm not sure I accept the doctrine of
sexism, thoungh, or the way that various political approaches
choose to explain things and tell us how to fix them.

>There are ways to do it better - we just have to learn, and 
>we learn by doing.


>And, contrary to the implication in your post, not all of us who 
>are politically active in such things as sexism march in 
>lock-step.  Some of us question our motives, means, and goals 
>often - and some do care deeply that both men and women find 
>the defeat of sexism advantageous.

Again, I agree that gender-based prejudice and unfair treatment
of people based upon their sex should be left behind as
humanity evolves, moving forward to better things. I just
wouldn't objectify the term "sexism" and make of it any more
that what it is: a mental construct. The Christians do the
same thing with their idea of "God", and won't even consider
something as a religion unless it has people "believe in God".

>Eldon, Tom is not some hero bucking the system here.  He's mocking 
>the pain many women have endured because of sexism.  If Tom was 
>making light of your wife or some other female you loved because 
>she was devastated over the loss of a much-needed job or other 
>opportunity due to someone thinking women don't measure up simply 
>because they are women, I doubt you would continue to think of 
>Tom as being so witty.

It's possible to attribute different motives to Tom. The
simplest thing to do would be to ask him, "what do you mean
by this?" and give him a change to explain if he intended 
something brutal and cruel or was just being humorous. We
certainly need more attempts at humorous writing -- there's
far too much anger going around.

>>obligatory <grin>

>No grin here.  

Kym, I'm not attacking you nor any work to better people. I
*am*, in my previous post, trying to be funny. But the issue
that I have about how belief systems, no matter how well
intentioned, becoming rigid and dogmatic and stopping people
from thinking -- that issue, I think, is important and needs
to be revisited from time to time.

-- Eldon

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