Thread: The "F" word
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 09:51 PM   #11
Atman
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 8
I haven't seen "The Apprentice," Cinderellen. What's it about, basically? I hope it's not on network because I don't get network.

And I really like the way you think, amc929!

I'm far from being expert on the topic, but it seems to me that the short history of the F-word runs as follows (And I'd *love* to be corrected by those of you who know more about this than I do!):

Once upon a time, certain dichotomies were set up. The mind was opposed to the body. Knowledge stemming from pure reflection was opposed to knowledge stemming from the senses. And logic was opposed to emotion. As far back as ancient Greece - although not universally - the first element in each of these dichotomies was considered better than the second. The mind was better than the body because it might be immortal. Knowledge stemming from pure reflection (like math) was better than knowledge stemming from the senses because it was more trustworthy. Logic was better than emotion because it was a better guide to truth. And onto these dichotomies was mapped the disjunction of male vs. female. So male stood for goodness, mind, rationality, and logic, whereas female stood for evil, body, sensation, and emotion.

At first, feminism tried to rehabilitate the feminine by demonstrating that, contrary to common prejudice, women could be mental, rational, logical and 'good' too. This was the kind of useful old-fashioned feminism that got us the vote and is still working to end discrimination in the workplace.

But then some feminist began to see that the first kind of feminism might harbor a deep mysogyny in its bossum, because in *accepting* all of the previous dichotomies, wasn't it, in effect, saying that women were just as good as men because they could be, in effect, just *like* men? And if being a good woman was trying to be just like a man, what kind of feminisim was *that?* So these feminists were, and are, working to recapture and redignify the traditionally "feminine" characteristics. As I understand it, some of these feminists are claiming that women are, in effect, naturally more 'emotional' and less 'logical' than men and that this is a fact about us to be celebrated, not denegrated.

Personally, I get very nervous around that idea, not only because I'm a woman who has just always loved logic, but also because in abandoning logic, and the traditional standards of rationality, women loose the very tools they need to argue for more equitable treatment.

It seems to me that the tower of dichotomies needs to be dismantled from the very foundations and everyone - men and women of all races, religions, and sexual orientations - be allowed to define themselves for themselves and to themselves. I'm a woman, and I'm very logical. I'm a woman, and I'm very emotional. But I don't think that I'm either of things because, or despite the fact that, I'm a woman.
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