Re: Ethnocentrism?

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Sat, 7 Jan 1995 22:56:10 +1000


I can't really work out what you were trying to do with this post,
but I think I'll violently disagree with you anyway :).

You seem to want to lump all feminism together in one basket and
then damn it by association with a collection of extreme statements.
I can't see many people buying it.

[ Beethoven quote ]

[ heterosexuality quote ]

> A struggle for power? Indeed, you are right. Equality? You have to be
> joking.

You wave "equality" around like it were some sort of ultimate good,
as well as having a universally understood definition. The word has
radically different meanings for (say) libertarians and socialists.

> >I suggest that the victors will determine the language to be used for
> >dialog and that has always been true (shades of Adolph Hitler!).
> >The situation is dynamic - African Americans have altered and continue
> >to alter the way we refer to them (and, one hopes, treat them) and women
> >have altered and continue to alter the way we refer to them (and one
> >hopes, treat them).

> I must remind you that Hitler ultimately lost and his political Truths died,
> for the most part, shortly thereafter.

So what? Perhaps the "patriarchal US military-industrial complex"
will disappear one day too. However much you try to hide it, your
disagreement with Ruby is political and ethical -- you have dadically
different ideas about how the world ought to be. You can't debate
that rationally. You could argue that *given Ruby's goals* her means
are wrong, but to do that you'd have to accept her goals at least
for the purposes of the debate.

> This is the fate of Political Truth without active oppression. This, today,
> is why the thought police, like Ruby Rohrlich and her ilk are "necessary".
> They too will fail. They will fail because equality is not their goal. They
> have identified with the "oppressor" of their minds.

Please explain why programmes that have equality as a goal are destined
to succeed while those that don't are destined to fail. It's a nice
thought, but I can't see it having any kind of basis in reality.

> >Struggles for power are unavoidable when groups interact and the
> >struggles and outcomes are real and meaningful to the people involved ...
> >the disconcerting thing to me has been the attempts at *formalizing*
> >positions ...

> The positions were formalized a long time ago.

The positions of *some* people and *some* groups were formalized long ago.
Some of us are still flexible, and new people are being socialised all the

I have no idea what the purpose of the following quotes is.

> "Sexist oppression is more endemic to our society than racism." Kate
> Millet 1970.

This obviously hinges on the definition of "endemic", and its truth
may be debatable, but it's hardly ridiculous or "close-minded", as
you want it to be.

> "Yet it may well be that regarding women as a minority group may be
> productive of fresh insights and suggest leads for further research."
> Helen Mayer Hacker 1976

Note the "may well be". Does this suggest someone with a formalized,
inflexible position or someone suggesting a (to me) perfectly
reasonable hypothesis?

> "Social interaction is the battlefield where the daily war between the
> sexes is fought. It is here that women are constantly reminded where
> their 'place' is and here that they are put back in their place." Nancy
> Henley and Jo Freeman 1976

So "war" is hyperbole. Still reads ok to me. (I'm in the middle of
James Scott's _Domination and the Arts of Resistance_; has anyone else
read it?)

> "There are many indications from the prehistory studies in the Near East
> that it took perhaps five thousand years or longer for the subjugation of
> women to take place." Mary Jane Sherfey 1976

This I think is wrong; I don't see what that proves, though.

> "I have never been free of the fear of rape. From a very early age I, like
> most women, have thought of rape as part of my natural environment -
> something to be feared and prayed against like fire or lightening." Susan
> Griffin 1976.

Do you think this is false? Do you think Susan Griffin is lying
about her own experience, or just that the "like most women" is wrong?
Please let me know what you base this judgement on.

Danny Yee.