Feminism and Egalitarianism

You know, despite the best efforts and good intentions of pretty much every feminist out there, we still encounter those disheartening individuals who say they support gender equality and women’s rights… but not feminism. I have made posts before about calling it Humanism, a mistake because Humanism is a philosophical belief system about the destiny of the human race as being “to be good people”. However, perhaps you or someone you know says it’s not feminism they support but egalitarianism? An egalitarian society is one in which race, income, gender and background do not affect what rights you have, everyone gets the same chances and that’s that. Awesome right? Ehh…

Egalitarianism was the philosophy that served as the starting point for fair and equal societies, the argument stood as thus – everyone is fundamentally the same, we are all human, we all therefore deserve the same as one another. In the early days of society, those who spoke of egalitarianism got the ball rolling for the formation of fairer societies in which equal rights were not available. Slavery, colonialism, sexism, many creeds of people were denied the most basic of resources on flawed grounds and egalitarianism is the idea that this can be rectified by giving everyone the exact same entitlements. A great concept, if everyone was given £100, everyone is £100 better off right, especially those who are without any money right? Well the problem with this idea is egalitarianism fails to take into account some factors that might drastically alter how far that £100 goes – maybe you already have £100,000, what’s £100 more? Maybe £100 isn’t enough to pay off £500 of debt? Maybe what you need more than money is a home and food? Maybe your problem, say, a disability, can’t be fixed by throwing some money at it? Egalitarianism doesn’t address this, everyone gets the same resources, everyone has to make do.

Feminism, as a concept, only really existed as a combination of ideas and legal battles and protests, taking its name as a means to represent the under-represented class of citizens at its time, women. Women wanted the same rights as men, rights to an education and to ownership of property, to be allowed to divorce unfaithful men and to be allowed to earn their own keep. However, what is often overlooked is what feminism stood for and still stands for – gender is not a fair basis for discrimination of any kind. Feminism grew to encompass the idea that no discrimination is acceptable and a feminist will not stand for discrimination on the basis of sexuality or socio-economic status just as much as they won’t stand for discrimination based on gender, because every human issue affects every human being, regardless of gender. To the outside world, you are defined by your gender, your race, your religion, your sexuality, and feminism says that whatever the world sees, you are never fair game for being discriminated against. Feminism was the word chosen for the movement that defends the rights of those that were unspoken for, it was the name given to the gauntlet cast against the uncaring majority. If a feminist claim isn’t one that seeks to achieve equality in terms of rights and protections for all, it’s not a feminist claim and feminism is still a valid name, though that’s a blog post in itself.

Egalitarianism opened the door to this discussion for the masses when people proposed the concept of an equal society but feminism is the only mainstream movement actively making strides to achieve just that, in fact one must consider that what we often seek is equity, not equality. Equity Theory, as it is known, is the recognition that our varying backgrounds not only make us who we are but that they must be reflected in what must be done to render us all equals. Confused? Say you have a room full of people to feed and you offer everyone in that room peanut butter sandwiches. Here is the difference between equality and equity:

EQUALITY: “You are all entitled to a plate of peanut butter sandwiches”

EQUITY: “You are all entitled to a plate of peanut butter sandwiches but if you are wheat-intolerant, allergic to peanuts or just don’t like sandwiches, we’ll fill your plate with something more appropriate”

Like the £100 analogy from earlier, just offering everyone £100 is equal means but not a fair playing field, some people only have that  £100 and some have that £100 added onto the £100,000 they have in the bank. A fair society is one that levels the playing field so there is nothing outside of the individual’s control that is affecting their chances at a happy life. Equity, therefore, is the offering that if you need more, you can take more and if you can give more, you should give more so that we all share in the wealth and thus, share in the happiness of a secure life. Where does Feminism fit into this? Feminism, at this buffet, is the person at the buffet table telling people not to push and shove because we should all get what we want, everyone deserves to eat and that even if you are entitled to your sandwich, which you are, you shouldn’t force your way through the crowds because when it comes down to that, it’s the weak that get left the crumbs at the end.

The notion of equality can be exploited but equity is harder to fool if implemented correctly. Feminism seeks equity and for a truly fair society, so should we. To fight for social justice and a fair standard of living for all, where all needs are met and everyone feels safe, valued and able to contribute, is to be a feminist and that names does not need to change. By our very human nature, we are social animals who want to better the world we live in, even those of us who commit crimes think we are doing the right thing in some capacity, so a society of equity would ensure everyone’s basic needs were met whilst everyone’s talents were put to use. That is what feminism fights for, that is what a fair society is and that is why we are not egalitarians, we are feminists! 

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Anti-War Sentiment

Spoilers for Doctor Who first of all, tying in with today being Remembrance Sunday and yesterday’s Doctor Who being all about pacifist messages, I want to talk to you about why THAT scene of last night’s episode was spot on and why the message rings true of pretty much every war in the history of mankind – from the World Wars to the ongoing Syrian Crisis. Without further ado, let’s explore the sentiment and how true it is, no doubt you’re well aware but I feel it merits discussion.

The scene I am referring to of course is the ‘scaled down model of war’ in which humanity and zygonity(?) stand in the same room, opposite ends of a table with boxes they have been promised will either slay all their enemies or slay all their own people and they have no idea which button to press to do which. The Doctor supervises and tells them that this is how war works, you can fire the first shot but you can never guarantee who will die from it, in a war anyone can die, friend or foe, guilty or innocent. Of course, the Doctor knows this all too well, it’s revealed previously he ALMOST destroyed his home planet to save the universe with a similar device but we know how that worked out (Which I have mixed feelings about but let’s discuss that some other time). Both sides think there is no hope of peace and forgiveness and the Doctor tells them to stop being petulant children and just try to forgive one another, which he manages to make happen by erasing the memories of the human representative and telling the Zygon one they now have a chance to make amends, which they do. The Doctor’s speech is very important to this turning point, in how war achieves nothing and those who wage it never see past the ‘kill the bad guys’ stage, so rarely is the peace at the end given much thought and that pain does not justify the infliction of pain, it should instead inspire someone to be better and channel that suffering into making a better world. Very true, lest we forget that this is the sentiment Robin Williams held close to his chest in life, he suffered in silence because rather than unleash his pain in angry outbursts and scorn, he made people laugh constantly so people could see him and feel better, not worse.

I think perhaps Remembrance Sunday is often seen as hero worship, in that we pay our respects to the fallen and the brave deeds they achieved  but we forget that war is not glamorous, it is a terrible folly that claims the lives of soldier and civilian alike. Beyond the war poetry and Hollywood films, this wasn’t all a tale of tragic heroism, this was a tale of a few politicians and greedy people convincing generations of good young men to go kill themselves in order to resolve arguments. Harry Patch, the last Fighting Tommy, said this on the matter:

“I feel then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising legalised mass murder”

Now I think the Doctor would stand in agreement with Harry, except perhaps minus the guns but this is what war should come down to – actual discussion. If you, a politician or monarch or whatever, declare war, you aren’t bravely opposing a fascist, you are telling the world that you are prepared to sacrifice legions of innocent lives to prove a point and get your way. Ultimately, war costs us lives of guilty and innocent men and women and it is sad to think that war and aggression is what drives the advancement of technology, we are getting better and better at killing each other to the point now it can be done with a button. If you want true bravery, true bravery is being the one who lowers their weapon first and extends a hand to say enough is enough. As the Doctor says, cruelty only begets more cruelty, a vicious cycle that will go on and on until we kill everyone, it was true then and it is now – we haven’t plans for Syria once we bomb the everloving hell out of it or else the world would’ve been prepared for the refugees, the Syrian government hasn’t a clue how to restore their nation once the rebels stop, the rebels haven’t thought much further than revolution and ISIS’s train of thought boils down to “Fuck everyone”. We are achieving nothing but destruction and the people in power act like they are so brave for opposing ISIS, hardly realising ISIS was a demon of their own creation and their bravery extends as far as carpet bombing the innocent in hopes of killing the wicked amongst them. 200,000 people have died over the four years of war in Syria, 4,000,000 more have become refugees and I can assure you, those are not all terrorists that died and those are not scrounging thieves that fled.

War is the ultimate in human folly, it is the worst thing we do to ourselves and to one another, to call it brave is to romanticise the mass execution of our fellow men and women. Whilst we have moved beyond wars fought over family feuds and flags being put up where they aren’t welcome, we still wage war over political disputes and religious disagreements, things that we should really resolve through discussion, or perhaps even, leaving each other alone if needs be. I hold no power, I cannot gather the world leaders in a Doctor Who scenario and get them to settle it that way but oh how I wish I could. The greatest warrior of all is the one who chooses to end a war, rather than wage it until death.

The Cosby Case

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to say I am exceptionally proud of my latest work, I hope you are all enjoying it and I can’t wait to see it gain more recognition. I can only ask that you, my readers, like and share anything you find yourself agreeing with on here, at this stage my main means of publicity is word of mouth and shared posts on Facebook so if you could do me that favour, I’d be grateful. Incidentally, if you have not read the Fragile Man, both parts one and two, please do so, it took a lot of effort to write and I’m pleased with the result. You can do it now or read this and check later, either way, I’d appreciate the site traffic. Now then, let’s move on.

So again, the clue here is in the title that this is related to the allegations of sexual assault made against Bill Cosby, I’m not here to argue the case either way, though on a personal level I’d have a hard time believing almost thirty different women (actual figure varies depending where you look, some say a dozen, some say fifty) all had the same get-rich scheme of villainising a beloved TV icon but I am here to discuss why it’s taking so long for progress to be made either way. If the subject matter is likely to offend, I suggest taking your business elsewhere, sadly not everything I cover on here is pretty, I promised you all the gritty reality of the world, here’s a slice. If you’re still reading, you’re doing so because you can face up to it so if you’re honestly ready, I’ll begin.

Friday just gone, ABC aired interviews with the twenty-nine accusers about their histories with the accused Bill Cosby, allowing them to stand in solidarity and fight their case. In the first official deposition since 2005, Bill Cosby himself discussed the allegations made against him of sexual abuse, mainly behind the scenes of shows he worked on but also apparently at the Playboy Mansion, abuse apparently inflicted on women both of the age of consent and below. A deposition is a chance to ask living witnesses for knowledge about a case, Bill has given his, the persecution will give theirs later this month. The information within will be contained in confidence until December at the earliest and it will then fall to the two parties to decide what information is made public, dependent on negotiations and how the actual eventual court cases play out. Bill Cosby made a deposition in 2005, this has been a deal at least a decade in the making, and at that time he admitted to obtaining drugs he intended to give to women he wanted to have sex with. Chances are, he’ll have to do this again, the accusations are being worked through in clusters and judges are slowly approving the move forward for a number of cases at a time, it’d be a nightmare trying to put the same man on trial thirty times in a day after all. Cosby’s lawyers have tried to sweep this under the rug but to little success thus far, each court case they have tried to make go away has come back and claims that Cosby has only made public verbal responses about this whole predicament because he’s entitled to free speech and feels isolated have been dismissed, the whole thing with free speech being that there are still consequences.

So why has this taken so long? Why has the world turned a blind eye to this case for as long as it could? The internet sure does love to spread shit like butter on toast, why has it largely left Bill alone? Is he a god to us? Well, not quite but he does have a lot in his favour. Rape, as a legal issue, is one we have a lot of trouble with, it’s the only crime we really struggle to believe the victim’s words as a collective and the only crime in which we try to pin blame on them as either being crazy, deceptive or a whore. If you don’t believe the world needs feminism then how do you explain this one? A man can shoot himself in the leg and blame it on a black man, for the police to then get involved, investigate his injury, question his neighbours and find the truth (legit case, google it, pretty sure it’s on a Cracked list) but a woman can claim she has been raped and before they even start the search, they’ll try to check if she’s not just a lunatic or having a laugh. Sure, some people lie but then people lie about all crimes, case in point being the gunshot victim I just mentioned but also people who lose things and cry robbery, people who get drunk and cry carjacking and people who bump into shit and cry assault. Rape isn’t the only crime being faked but it’s the only one we try to prove false before we try to prove true, imagine if theft or murder was treated this way?
“Mmm, I see someone left their window open, it’s almost like you invited the burglar in. Plus, y’know, you did own a fifty inch screen. some people can’t resist that temptation…”
Doesn’t happen, shouldn’t happen.

However, beyond the usual reasons rape cases get sidelined or swept away, there’s a lot more to be said about allegations made against a famous comedian than say allegations made against some guy down the road. Bill Cosby has had so many come out as victims that this isn’t even a moment of savage impulse or a lone woman claiming fame through deception, if these are proved true then Cosby comes off as something of a serial rapist, a systematic abuser of women who has been allowed to get away with it for decades. That’s a lot to swallow when you consider the face we’re putting to that reputation is that of a sitcom Dad, he’s a nostalgic favourite of yesteryear we don’t want to see besmirched. Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, also idols of their respective eras but their crimes were hidden in plain sight, they didn’t touch the hearts of generations, there was always something off about them and in Savile’s case, he even openly admitted to an orgy with young girls in his biography. Bill Cosby, well, this is the scatting sitcom silly man who is known for jokes about pudding and being a father figure to a generation of TV watchers. If Jimmy Savile was your weird uncle, Bill Cosby was your dad, he was heart-warming and harmless, a well beloved goofy fool that occasionally spouted sound life advice on his wholesome family unit TV show. Now, you’d have an easier time swallowing the fact a weird old man who smoked all day with chest hair on show had a dark side to him than you would accepting the fact that the sage father in the sweater is actually a sexual deviant and a criminal mastermind. People don’t want to accept that and are trying everything possible to not accept it, if there’s a hole in the prosecution’s argument, it will be blown open so the public can feel reassured they didn’t idolise a rapist.

The issue here for Cosby now is there are too many voices to ignore and over the last ten years, the social movements for the better treatment of these natured cases haven’t gone away, they’ve only gotten more intense and determined. Celebrities who have had their integrity as human beings compromised have tried to buy their way out of it, some have succeeded but some haven’t, getting exposed as shameless cowards. Whilst a single woman or two or even four can be seen as liars, especially under anonymity, when you have nearly thirty gathered in the same room, it’s hard to shut it out as a bad dream. More than anything, people are angry, their childhoods tainted by the idea that maybe this man is not innocent or that the man they love so dearly is being torn down from greatness by legions of harpies, depends where you stand, this is a case that has made everyone involved passionately angry. We ignored it because we either couldn’t face up to it, we couldn’t get the information to make our arguments or the media turned the spotlight elsewhere but with more information and statements flooding in, perhaps we will see the truth either way. I have my own beliefs, I’m not here to condemn or absolve the man, I don’t know all the facts and there are legal teams for that job, I’m just here to say that if you were ever upset that Cosby wasn’t having to face the music, he’s about to.

Anonymous and Azalea

Trigger Warnings – None.

Today in the news, Anonymous have threatened to leak proof of Iggy Azalea’s appearance in a pornographic video if she does not apologise for her twitter comments with regards to misappropriating black culture, insulting Azealia Banks and making light of Eric Garner’s death. The media has been calling this more of a bullying campaign carried out by the faceless organisation and just the mention of the group is enough to make many people panic, perhaps even fear mentioning them in case they become targets but we should discuss this, discuss who is at fault and how this situation seems to be playing out.

Ok, so it began with Banks making comments in a radio interview about how black culture, particularly rap and hip-hop music, has become part of the white mainstream media and how white artists such as Iggy Azalea and Macklemore get more attention for their contributions to the genre than equally talented young black performers. A difficult subject but I understand the rage, to have a part of their culture whitewashed and taken from them to be turned into another cash cow when the history of rap was never about making money, it was about the poetry of the streets, raging against the system with a beat and harsh lyrics and telling a story of real life struggles. In my opinion, rap and hip-hop have caught on, they are catchy genres of music – more so than say Welsh choir music or Maori folk songs, and it’s already caught up in the machine but like I said, I understand where she is coming from, an identity is being exploited by pop idols. Anyway, moving on, Iggy Azalea didn’t much like being called out like this and said that Azelia Banks was just bitter that she isn’t popular and this sparked a back and forth of insults and invalidating comments right up until Anonymous stepped in and then everyone was a little bit awe-struck.

Now, let’s talk about Anonymous, they say anyone can be a member but this isn’t strictly true, anyone can don the mask, wreak havoc and say they represent Anonymous but Anonymous has no representatives and whilst they can seem to have differing opinions within their own ranks, they generally have some rules that they do their best to stick to:

  • Anonymous believe in the right of free speech and expression
  • Anonymous believe in net neutrality and the freedom of information
  • Anonymous do not act for fame or wealth and any individual publicly declaring they are a member is cast out
  • Anonymous do not attack those that they feel do not deserve it

Anonymous gave Iggy Azalea 48 hours to apologise for her comments and for making light of the death of Eric Garner, a black man who resisted arrest and was caught in a chokehold by a police officer and died, his last words reportedly being “I can’t breathe”, which is apparently the joke Iggy made but lacking a Twitter account, I can’t find the tweet myself. Anonymous say they have a risqué tape of Iggy and although they won’t leak the video because they say they’re not in the business of porn, they will leak screenshots of her face to prove it is indeed Iggy Azalea in the video.

Anonymous may seem like rogues but they have ideals, in fact, ideals are the core of the group, it’s what they use to distinguish themselves from the standard hacker and even have it out for other hackers, such as the GOP for threats against Sony, to which Anonymous responded with the promise that one way or another, that film is going public. Anonymous are doing this to make a statement, perhaps to teach the idols of the modern world that you are accountable for what you say and if you want to offend swathes of people by essentially telling them to just suck it up and let the white man win, then your reputation is forfeit in more ways than one. I’m not here to say well done to Anonymous, threats are not exactly diplomatic reasoning and Iggy Azalea is just one idiot, she just happens to be the idiot that will be made example of in the name of social justice by these internet vigilantes. Frankly though, can you put requests in to Anonymous? If so, Katie Hopkins, please, just… after her last comment? That basically every terror plot is a failed attempt to assassinate her? I don’t approve of killing another human being but I’m pretty close to thinking that callous bitch is actually the daughter of Satan himself and needs to be exorcised so I either want help from Anonymous on that one, or Sam and Dean.

Erhem, anyway, I hope this blows over and the two artists reconcile their differences. Azalea would be wise to comply, people in her line of work make such a big deal out of reputations and a good image and whilst Banks perhaps didn’t respond with the right level of tact and her interview was a barrage of needless cussing, she’s angry, she had a podium and she unleashed the rage of people like her, I’d be a hypocrite if I called her an idiot to do that because the moment I got my own podium, I unloaded that anger in a blaze. Racism still exists, bottom line of that discussion, it shouldn’t but it does and the death of people like Eric Garner and the incident in Ferguson remind us it exists. Beyond that, let us see what Anonymous decides to do…

PS – A huge thanks to all my readers, yesterday’s post pulled my stats out of the rubbish and it was the most satisfying post I’ve written in a long time, the feedback was great and I encourage you to keep it coming in! By the way, Old Man Wolfe now has a Facebook page, the link is below so please like and share, feel free to message me of course and I hope to continue to expand this blog and it’s content in the future. Thank you!

http://www.facebook.com/oldmanwolfeofficial

Ignorance and Inspiration

Trigger Warnings – Whilst outdated, this article contains opinions that may be deemed offensive to certain people, though they only serve as examples. Mentions of sexual assault and homophobic attitudes

Hello everyone. So, at the start of the week I did an article for Asexual Awareness week and I did a lot to teach people about the subject but I realise it is one of those topics that if it doesn’t directly affect you, you’re not likely to know about it and probably don’t even consider it, perhaps some of the ignorance in this world is simply a result of such. Ignorance, if not worked upon, is not exactly a brilliant trait for one to possess but you can’t shame someone for ignorance, only if they are not willing to learn more and so to help give you some perspective, I want to give you some insight as to the ignorant views I myself once held in my younger days

I think angsty is probably a great word to describe my younger self, maybe more towards raging asshole actually. A romantic would view me as the lone rogue, dressed all in black and standing apart from the crowd without a peer or indeed a care in my heart and I am not ashamed to admit I was a selfish and melodramatic young teen. However, for my academic smarts and brute strength in a fight, I was ignorant of people, I knew nothing of their struggles and pains, of their ways of life, I knew only the path I stared down and thought nothing of the world around me. I wasn’t always a man who promoted equality and justice, I thought justice meant revenge and here are some of the ignorant things I once thought

1. Being gay is okay (Just don’t be gay with me!)

A common one I hear from a lot of lads, saying “He can bum who he wants but if he tries touching me up, I’ll kick his head in”. This is a presumptuous statement, it assumes that by default you are attractive to gay men. Is every woman in the world attracted to you sir? No, they’re not, same applies to men. I don’t know why I thought this, it was before I had met anyone of the LGBT community (excluding not knowing my brother was in the closet, I suspected but never thought much of it at the time and I barely knew my eldest sister at the time who is a lesbian). I believe this is more a comment of fear and misunderstanding, some men view homosexuality as an infringement on their masculinity, as if they’ll be treated by gay men the same way they treat women. I would urge people of this philosophy to calm down, in all my life I can count the amount of gay men that have hit on me on one hand and it’s not a difficult situation to diffuse and heck, I feel flattered to be truthful, especially as not one of those men has ever presumed me to be gay, at most bisexual. You need only be courteous and decline politely, the way women tend to decline you lads (Well, nice women, let them down how you’d like to be let down)

2. Dressing provocatively is asking to be assaulted

Again, this is a common argument I hear, the line being “Well when you’re dressed like that, what do you expect?”. Newsflash, you don’t dress for other people, you dress for yourself and to be honest, if a man walks down a street with his chest on show then he isn’t checking every corner for an attacker, why should a woman have to? A woman should not have to dress with the views of society in mind, simply her own tastes – wear that skimpy top if you really want, you like it, you wear it and if, heaven forbid, you are a victim of assault then it was not your fault for your dress sense because men as a rule should have self-control to not lose themselves to a lustful frenzy just because they saw a bit too much cleavage for one day. I can manage it and I’m a man with a knack for womanising and a history of self-control issues but not once have I ever even considered attacking a woman for dressing provocatively, heck I’m too modest to even oggle

3. The friend zone

Yes, I believed in the friend zone once upon a time, being the non-threatening guy pal to a lot of attractive women who knew I wouldn’t step over the boundaries when they were laid down. I resented it and I always grappled with this conflict in myself as to why these girls weren’t falling for me when all I ever did was do everything they wanted from a guy. Well, I feel this needs an article in itself and I’ll admit I only got over this view rather recently after some soul-searching but the truth is you shouldn’t validate your efforts as a friend by the end-goal of sex or a romantic relationship, the platonic love is no less significant. I know it sucks that she’ll never see you as her boyfriend and that you might never have what you wanted but if you love this person, love them enough to let them pursue what they truly dream of, don’t try to force your dreams upon them because it will destroy you inside as they resist those dreams until it makes you burn inside just to look at them

Those are just three for now, it was actually rather hard to think these up surprisingly but yeah, I haven’t always been uber-liberal love-and-acceptance, I used to be bitter and self-entitled to my personal dreams in life, as if what I wanted meant more and the issues of others fell upon their own shoulders, nothing more. I thought everyone was responsible for their own bad hands in life and maybe that’s why it cut me up for so long with everything that happened to me in life, I accepted the blame for every bad thing that happened in my life. The point of this article is to encourage people not to just despise those who are misinformed but educate them, nurture them and make them an ally as was done with me. I learnt about these things because they affected friends – I had relatives in the LGBT community and made friends there too, I had friends who dressed in rather alluring attire and felt sick to the gut at the thought of something happening to them, I did not want to ruin my friendships by resenting people for not reciprocating my desires. We all change as we learn about the world, a friend of mine recently admitted to me in confidence that they realised they were a misogynist and weren’t fully comfortable with that so rather than bite their head off, I tried to understand the roots of these views and I hope to help this friend of mine find a new outlook on the female gender over time

My friends upon the left-wing, we face a difficult battle with gender equality, gay marriage, the understanding and acceptance of the full sexual spectrum, better education on mental health and sexual education and even those of non-mainstream religions so let us not see every white hetero male as a villain, let us befriend them and teach them what we know and be taught in return. Ignorance is the enemy of humanity, we must unite as one and slay it