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The unhappy pull quote from the article – “PWR BTTM’s response crystallizes a problem at the heart of modern gender politics, wherein language and personal experience are given precedence over material and systemic reality. ”

 

 

Exhibit #1

Exhibit #2

I’m not sure where the idea started that being a movement that deals with a particular political struggle should be about other topics not related to said struggle. Feminism – the struggle to liberate females from the patriarchal structures and norms of society is about female emancipation. If you happen to be a woman (and by woman I mean adult human female) then yes, this is your movement and it should centre around you and the problems that you face.

If you are not female, then don’t expect (demand, whine, threaten, etc.) for the feminism movement to be all about you. If there is a specific set of problems and challenges specific to your situation, then the solution is make your own goddamn movement and not co-opt the one that has been built by and expressly for females.

Exclusionary? Every effective class struggle is exclusionary – or do you remember all those successful strikes overseen by the business class?

Me neither.

So ‘Amen’ to exclusion and ‘Ramen’ to effective class politics and actions.

Why, oh why, don’t we see more white leaders in the #BLM? Or why aren’t there more white leaders/representation in the Canadian indigenous Idle No More movement? Could it possibly be because you don’t let the class that is oppressing you (even if they strongly feel they belong in your class) run your movement?

So, Men, in your various forms, please understand that feminism isn’t about you.  Will men benefit from feminist reforms?  Absolutely, and do what you can to further feminist action, as long as you know that your role is secondary (in the most optimistic case) in the movement.  Understand that there is no shame in being an ally, but for heaven’s sake realize that when you make feminism about *you* it isn’t feminism anymore.

Found a much better response that mine, the Bewilderness is on fire today:

Just incase you thought this might be a few ‘bad apples’, wrong again.

It is nice to see another progressive move in the developing world.
clipped from www.cbc.ca

Gay sex decriminalized in India’s capital

Gay rights activists participate in a rally in Calcutta on Thursday after the Delhi High Court ruled that treating consensual gay sex as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights protected by India's constitution.
Gay rights activists participate in a rally in Calcutta on Thursday after the Delhi High Court ruled that treating consensual gay sex as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights protected by India’s constitution.
A court ruled Thursday to decriminalize homosexuality in the Indian capital, a groundbreaking decision that could bring more freedom to gays in this deeply conservative country.
The Delhi High Court ruled that treating consensual gay sex as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights protected by India’s constitution. The ruling, the first of its kind in India, applies only in New Delhi.
“I’m so excited, and I haven’t been able to process the news yet,” Anjali Gopalan, the executive director of the Naz Foundation India Trust, a sexual health organization that had filed the petition, told reporters. “We’ve finally entered the 21st century.”

See the rest of the story at the CBC.

Joyce Arthur on her post from the Pro Choice Action Network made quite few relevant observations about the abortion debate.  Here she frames the issue in terms of a woman’s rights and the prevalence of abortion.

“Anti-choicers insist that the key question in the abortion debate is whether a fetus is a person or not. If so, abortion is murder, they say, and therefore obviously immoral and illegal. That is not the key question at all, of course – anti-choicers are committing the “fetus focus fallacy.” The practice of abortion is unrelated to the status of the fetus – it hinges totally on the aspirations and needs of women. Women have abortions regardless of the law, regardless of the risk to their lives or health, regardless of the morality of abortion, and regardless of what the fetus may or may not be. On average, abortion rates do not differ substantially between countries where it’s legal and countries where it’s illegal.[2] Which reveals a more pertinent question: Do we provide women with safe legal abortions, or do we let them suffer and die from dangerous illegal abortions?

Some anti-choicers argue that even though women will have abortions regardless, that doesn’t mean we should make abortion legal, since we don’t legalize murder just because some people will commit murder anyway. This analogy fails because everyone in society agrees that murder is wrong and must be punished, but there is no such consensus on abortion. Second, very few people commit murder, but a majority of women will either have an abortion, or would have one if they experienced an unwanted pregnancy. As we learned from Prohibition (of alcohol), criminalizing behavior that large numbers of people engage in has disastrous consequences for public health and law and order.”

The argument from self ownership thread brought to my attention some of the ways the issue of abortion is dealt with.  Semantic difficulties seems to be an area where a more thorough investigation is warranted.  The language problem is described quite accurately by Joyce Arthur on her post from the Pro Choice Action Network.

[a]… major fallacy perpetrated by the anti-choice is their interchangeable use of the word “person” with the terms “human”, “humanity” or “human being”. These terms are not synonymous. For example, anti-choicers often confuse the adjective “human” and the noun “human being,” giving them the same meaning. I’m struck by the question they often pose to pro-choicers: “But isn’t it human?” – as if we think a fetus is really a creature from outer space.

If you point out that a fetus consists of human tissue and DNA, anti-choicers triumphantly claim you just conceded it’s a human being. Now, a flake of dandruff from my head is human, but it is not a human being, and in this sense, neither is a fertilized egg. Anti-choicers will respond that a fertilized egg is not like dandruff, because the egg consists of a unique set of chromosomes that makes it a distinct human being. But with cloning, a cell from my dandruff is enough to create a new human being. Although it would have my identical genetic make-up, it would still be a unique individual, because human beings are much more than our genes. Also, both a fertilized egg and a cloned cell represent a potential, not an actual human being.

It’s a worn cliché, but it bears repeating – an acorn isn’t an oak tree and the egg you had for breakfast isn’t a chicken.  So the only objective scientific fact we have is that fertilized eggs are human (the adjective) – not that they are human beings (the noun).

Pro-Choice argumentation seems to be a little underrepresented on the web.  I found an insightful article from the Pro-Choice Action Network that provides some useful argumentation against the anti-choice arguments.  I will include the main section of the Fetus Focus Fallacy in this post.

“Anti-choicers insist that the key question in the abortion debate is whether a fetus is a person or not. If so, abortion is murder, they say, and therefore obviously immoral and illegal. That is not the key question at all, of course – anti-choicers are committing the “fetus focus fallacy.” The practice of abortion is unrelated to the status of the fetus – it hinges totally on the aspirations and needs of women. Women have abortions regardless of the law, regardless of the risk to their lives or health, regardless of the morality of abortion, and regardless of what the fetus may or may not be. On average, abortion rates do not differ substantially between countries where it’s legal and countries where it’s illegal.[2] Which reveals a more pertinent question: Do we provide women with safe legal abortions, or do we let them suffer and die from dangerous illegal abortions? Read the rest of this entry »

prochoiceThe debate on the initial thread has been… interesting.  The capacity for people to talk past each other is quite distressing.  I am really starting to appreciate the work George Lakoff has done on the issue Cognitive Framing in his book Moral Politics. How we think about and respond to issues is based on this cognitive framework which can affect how we view opposing points of view and how credible we judge them to be.

That being said, it is important to review the arguments in favour of  ownership of one’s body.

1) A person owns themselves.
2) Self ownership implies the right to free will
3) In having free will, you cannot have a duty to perform any affirmative actions.
Conclusion– You have no duty to provide another with the means to live.
Therefore it is permissible to remove anything classified as a separate entity from your body.

The objections raised to this have been middling at best and include the assertion that the sylogism ‘begs the question’ by not addressing the issue of fetal rights or the status of the fetus.  The actual explanation of the begging the question was left at that, but I will extrapolate and make the objection that the term person should also be applied to the fetus/zygote/blastocyst etc.  (Note: Allowing this extrapolation does not invalidate this particular argument and it is still a strong argument for the right of a woman to control her body)

If we are to allow the idea of personhood to a fetus then it is important to allow the distinction between the biological definition of human and the moral definition of human.  Biologically, the mass of cells in question can be defined as a ‘human being’ (and is often shrilly bleated repeatedly by the opponents of choice) but certainly not a fully functional independently biological entity.  Is it fair to describe the zygote/embryo/blastocyst as equivalent to that of an adult human being?

This would entail this view:

1.  Embryos are human beings.
2.  All human beings have equal moral status.
3.  Therefore, embryos have full moral status.

The implications of this argument have been discussed in part 2 of this series, which makes the claim that to be consistent those who endorse this claim must also accept the fact that spontaneous abortion is a much larger and more pressing issue that should be dealt with first, if we are to define the embryo as having full and equivalent moral status as an adult human being.

Going back to the conclusion of the first sylogism, we read that “In having free will, you cannot have a duty to perform any affirmative actions” the anti-choice side would put forward that the woman does have the duty to perform an affirmative action, that is to let the fetus grow in her womb (at direct risk to her health) as we have defined the embryo in question as having full moral rights equivalent to that of an adult human being, and therefore positive affirmative actions must be taken.

Therefore, if we are to follow the argumentation, we all have the absolute duty to save human beings and if given the opportunity to take affirmative action that will save a life we must do so.  The implications of this are far reaching as consider the following case:

A house is on fire and someone is trapped behind a deadly wall of flame.  That person will perish if we do not act to save his life.  We are obligated then, to run into the fire and attempt to save his life, if we subscribe to the notion that it is a duty to take positive affirmative action.

So,the rights view of the anti-choice stance, to be consistent, should state that whenever there is an opportunity to take affirmative action to save a human life, it must be undertaken.  This would lead to people being obligated to be the ‘hyper-good samaritain’.  That is risking their life and abandoning their rights in order to save the life of another.  This situation, clearly, is absurd.

This situation calls into question then the idea that a fetus/zygote/blastocyst should have the moral equivalence of an adult human being.

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