Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Response to Whining Women

John Schell

I'm tired of being told how men get "threatened and aggressive" (Spahr and Young, 99) when we respond to feminists, as if any counter-discussion is automatically chauvinist and wrong. Maybe we're just filtering information through a non-feminist lens. That doesn't make it anti-feminist. But nooo, I'm the asshole just because I think we should re-institutionalize slavery and take back suffrage.

According to Spahr and Young, "anthologies and publication and prizes do matter. They lead to more jobs and money, and women need these things." But do they? I mean proportionally, and I also mean to question the concept of need. After all, historically a woman's "needs" have been met by men. And the "need" to break free from male domination is only felt by feminists. There are a number of "traditional" women out there, who don't need to burn bras to feel empowered. So do women "need" to work and make money? No, only the women that feel the need to work and make money need to work and make money. And yes I'm focusing on one sentence; this observation really has nothing to do with equal representation of MFAs in tenured positions or equal wages; I get it, women don't get paid fairly. Boo hoo. My point is that it's feminist values that are corrupt, not the practices of the publishers.

The Market has spoken, people. Deal with it.

Here's something that I take issue with: saying that orthodox teaching is fundamentally degrading, or that traditional (Christian in our American context) beliefs lead to suffering or maintain the current suffering level of the world, is pessimistic. Who's to say that conservation doesn't create the best of all possible worlds? Yes, there are problems, and yes conservative mentalities fight against anything that would seek to change our position in the world, but one might understand that dramatic, unchecked changes could be more disastrous than the status quo.

American Women just aren't ready to be treated like those commie broads in the podunk nation of Scandanavia.

An irony with the feminist critique is that 'women being oppressed and underrepresented' is a theme that drives the feminist movement. Should women become equally represented then there's nothing left to argue about. Spahr and Young should be thanking those mean 'ol numbers for giving them a job to do.


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  3. First off, if you believe that "we should re-institutionalize slavery and take back suffrage," then you are an anti-feminist. Feminism, according to, is simply "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men." A feminist, according to the most basic definition, includes anyone who believes in equal rights for both women and men. I don't believe that Spahr and Young are lashing out at men, but at the world of modern literature in general for not representing both genders equally in anthologies and other publications.

    In the article, Spahr and Young are simply noticing that the statistics point to an inequality of women versus men. They argue that the underrepresentation hasn't been corrected as Ashton claimed. Something I found interesting in the article was that female writers are especially underrepresented in anthologies with "experimental/postmodern/avant-garde/innovative" writing. Even outside the mainstream, women are still suffering from inequality.

    At first I, too, was unsure whether prizes and anthologies with women writers were necessary, but it does make sense that they "lead to more jobs and money, and women need these things." If men need these things, then why not women? Both genders need to make a living.

    I'd like to also comment on your statement that "Should women become equally represented then there's nothing left to argue about." I do agree that much of the feminist writing is about arguing for equal rights and complaining about experiences with discrimination. That does not mean, however, that if women finally become equally represented that they Spahr and Young will be out of a job. They will just find something else to write about. A writer can change his or her style and subjects, especially as new social and political issues come about. There is always something for "feminists" to write about, even if representation is finally achieved.