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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 445)...

    In the Second Guess dialogue you said that while you consider yourself a feminist, you feel that men and women are both victims of a vicious cultural system, hence, deal with this victimization in different ways. You went on to say that many feminists disagree. I am curious about this and was wondering if you could elaborate a bit. My conclusion would be that since our culture assumes that there is one right way to live, men and women in our culture assume that there is one right place for a person, according to their sex. What's your take on it, and why do many feminists tend to disagree?

    ...and the response:

    Just so we're starting from the same place, my exact words were, "As for feminism in general, I consider myself a feminist. But I have an opinion that many feminists dislike, which is that men and women are both victims of a vicious cultural system, though they suffer their victimization in different ways." Many feminists (but certainly not all) are satisfied to localize our problems in the male gender. They understandably don't like the idea of localizing our problems in the culture that shapes ALL our gender identities, because this robs them of a target they're used to hitting. To address your "conclusion," I think the idea that there is one right way to be a man and one right way to be a woman has largely been exploded in the last thirty years. The way people think about gender roles today is not the way they thought about them in 1950 (and is unlikely ever to go back to that way). Even though still in progress and not yet complete by any means, this is a change that must definitely be credited to the feminist movement.

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