This is a response a post on Everyday Feminism, which discusses the impact “class systems” (under capitalism) have with modern feminism (the 3rd Wave, of course).
We’re not trying to pick on everyday feminism… it’s just… they’re the Fox News of social theory. So it’s kind of hard to resist.
A while back, I finished a work comparing classical and modern socialism with a description of other socio-economic and political systems with related talking points in an easy-to-understand and fun-to-read way, posted here (it’s a bit thorough, so you might want to just skim over it).
In summary, capitalism is nothing more than reinvestment of capital back into the means of production. Free Market capitalism refers to the business activities often associated with this process, and does usually give rise to a class system of some kind. However, you can also have class systems without social immobility, but we’ll get into that in a sec.
From the article:
>> As I previously mentioned, living in a capitalism society means that we all need to have some sort of access to money in order to meet our basic needs. Even though food, water, and shelter might seem like human rights, in reality, they aren’t a guarantee.
*** I totally agree here. In the above link, scroll down to the point titled “Modern Socialist Ideals”. Our modern system of free market capitalism is no longer arranged in such a way that allows an individual working full time to afford these basic necessities, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be considered human rights.
>> The class you’re born into is usually the class you will remain in for life, especially if you’re poor or working class.
*** But this is where we start to differ.
The author is incorrect in suggesting that the class system works by keeping a person where they are forever. This is called “social mobility” (you can find a quick reference here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility).
As I alluded to in the link above, in decades passed, America pretty much ranked number 1 in nearly every category, and by a considerable margin at that. In fact, a wall was built between the communist countries and capitalist countries, and people constantly risked their lives to get from one side to the other side, and nobody ever climbed the wall back in the other direction. Ever. I somehow doubt people clawed their way through barbed wire and risked getting shot all so they could remain in the poor working class forever.
The things we’re experiencing now are very recent developments which were given a great deal of momentum from the collapse of the housing bubble of 2008, combined with replacing traditional job market processes with an online format.
You can’t tell me your average middle class boy scout would grow up and open a convenience store in the early 1960’s which would later become, on its own, the world’s 25th most powerful economy, because he was forever destined to stay in the class he was born in.
No matter which way you cut it, class is not the cause.
>> Women are disproportionately poorer and are found to be in poverty more often than men. This is true across racial and ethnic lines, but women of color face higher rates of poverty than white women and are twice as likely to be in poverty.
*** As usual, 3rd Wavers consistently insist that women are helpless victims. The only time we ever hear “what was she wearing” in the media, is from 3rd Wavers. The only time we ever hear “She was asking for it” – is from 3rd Wavers.
But let’s take a closer look at this “Women in Poverty” claim. It took me less than 5 minutes of research to find the cause, but if 3rd Wavers actually did any research or cared about the truth, then they wouldn’t be 3rd Wavers anymore.
According to http://www.irp.wisc.edu/faqs/faq2.htm ,
“The U.S. Census Bureau determines poverty status by comparing pre-tax cash income against a threshold that is set at three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963, updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted for family size, composition, and age of householder.”
– also –
” It does not reflect modern expenses and resources, excluding significant draws on income such as taxes, work expenses, and out-of-pocket medical expenses, and excluding resources such as in-kind benefits (e.g., food assistance);”
– AND –
“Its strict definition of measurement units—”family”—as persons related by blood or marriage does not reflect the nature of many households, including those made up of cohabitors, unmarried partners with children from previous relationships, and foster children.”
So there you have it. Women may be counted as “in poverty” simply because they fall below the official “income” amount required from a place of employment. Following these definition, it’s very possible (and likely) for a woman to get numerous benefits from multiple sources that men will never see, and still be counted as poverty stricken.
Of course, there are women in serious need, and who definitely need help, but they get left out because we’re trying to make ALL WOMEN look like victims.
>> Women also make less money than men for doing the same work (yes, even when factors such as hours worked are controlled).
*** No, they aren’t.
Keep saying it though. Tell a lie loud enough, for long enough, and people will start to believe it. Women have to be victims in every possible situation. It’s that perception which grants them additional privilege. The more the victim-hood, the more privilege that is granted.
I’m particularly fond of how Christina Hoff Sommers handles this. She’s of course caste as an
heretic “anti-feminist”, because if you don’t agree with the Third Wave’s sacred doctrine, that’s what you get labeled.
>> When women have lower economic standing, they have less power and autonomy across all areas of their lives. Money, after all, is power.
*** Women have less power.
A woman walks down the street doing whatever she wants, saying whatever she wants, wearing whatever she wants, because she’s an empowered woman.
But a man can’t even speak in public. Why? Because women have said so. He can’t go “PSST” – because that’s street harassment. He can’t look at a woman either – his eyes must stay affixed to the ground before him, otherwise it’s “male gaze”! He’s not even allowed to have a swimsuit calendar in his home, because that’s sexual objectification. His behavior constantly monitored and scrutinized by women, because…
Women have less power???
A man has to be a doctor. If he’s a nurse, he gets laughed at. If he’s a nurse’s aid, he gets laughed at even harder. If he’s an orderly, he’s a loser.
A woman can be a doctor, a nurse, a nurse’s aid, an orderly – or hell she can just stay home and watch reruns of General Hospital – and it’s GIRL POWER spot along the spectrum! (Then of course, blame men when too many of them achieve too much due to these societal pressures).
… but women have less power.
You know why this bothers me, by the way?
I was homeless for years. I’ve slept in parking lots and under bridges while holding down 2 jobs. I never smoked, never drank, stayed out of trouble, and kept myself in shape by doing pushups with my packs on, and doing pull ups off street signs. I shopped smart – a bag of spinach has all the potassium and magnesium a person needs, and costs only a few dollars. A can of tuna has all the protein I need, plus lots of B vitamins to keep me going.
I kept at it like this for years. I complained, but I didn’t whine. Complaining is what you do when you bitch about how heavy all your packs are when you’re walking 3 miles to your next appointment because you don’t have 2 dollars for a bus ticket. Whining is when you give up cuz you just plain don’t want to try anymore. Complaining is understandable, especially when you got something to gripe about. Confiding how much your situation hurts to a close friend isn’t just smart, it’s emotionally healthy. But whining? You can save it.
It was after I began my transition, and started becoming a woman, that things miraculously started changing. Suddenly, I was off the streets. I got housing just 2 weeks later. I got my own place, with my own bathroom. All mine. I was on a housing program for years prior to that, and within WEEKS of transitioning, that suddenly happened.
Men started offering to do favors for me – favors that never would have been offered to me before. I would drop something and three different guys would reach to pick it up. If something was too heavy, I didn’t have to carry it. I could ask a guy politely and he’d do it for me. I even had people buying groceries for me when I didn’t have any food. Doesn’t this all just sound completely THE OPPOSITE of everything you’ve heard from feminism so far?
I also got a job in a career that I love just a few weeks after I got housed. I now earn my own money. And if I wanted, I could find a boyfriend who’d have to pay half my bills while I keep all that money. It’s just incredible how this works! And I’ve only been living as a woman for less than 2 years now.
So after all that, it *does* rub me the wrong way when I see little princesses, with alllllllllll these advantages their whole damn lives, who were handed comfortable air-conditioned office jobs everywhere they went, sit and whine about how unfair things are. Or in this case, about how much power they don’t have because things are “classist”. As far as I’m concerned, the female class is the ruling class right now. I have the power to ruin a man’s life. All I have to do is point the finger, claim harassment, and he could lose his job.
And just as an aside, in the link provided that cites their sources for the supposed wage gap, found here: http://www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discrimination , we also see research provided for “sex and race discrimination”, found here: http://www.iwpr.org/publications/resources/consent-decree/consent-decrees .
Race discrimination is outside the scope of this article, so I’m not responding to that.
But lets look at sex discrimination in the workplace. How is being measured? According to the website:
“IWPR, in collaboration with The WAGE Project, Inc., examined consent decree remedies for sex and race discrimination in the workplace.”
“Consent decrees are court approved settlements of law suits where the defendant does not admit guilt but agrees to the implementation of a set of measures to remedy and prevent future occurrence of potentially unlawful practices.”
How bout that. Taking the time to actually read the sources you cite.
Now remember, if you’re a woman, and someone goes “PSST” – that’s harassment. If someone looks at you, talks to you, or happens to be a man on a sunny day, then that’s probably also harassment.
So when you’re dealing with a group like 3rd Wavers, and they start threatening lawsuits (because they don’t have any power), chances are, you’re going to make concessions quick, fast, and in a hurry. If a 3rd Waver doesn’t like what’s on your coffee mug – OK! THATS IT! Everyone, stop bringing coffee mugs with anything printed on them! If a 3rd Waver doesn’t like the bathing suit calendar – OK! That’s it! Take it down! Hurry up before she sues us!
And now, according to “Consent Decree” you’re counting each one of those as an instance of sex discrimination. Which is utterly. Friggen. Mind blowing. So even if the man throws his hands up, drops what he’s doing, and immediately surrenders and complies with all your demands, he is still counted as being oppressive and you’re still counted as being powerless.
Meanwhile, if it happens to be a man who doesn’t like something, does he has a snowball’s chance in hell at having his claim taken seriously? Would something like that ever show up on a consent decree? I mean men are told not to complain anyway. If something’s bothering you, tough it out. Be a man.
Anyway, back to the article.
>>“Classism works hand in hand with racism”
^^^ Again, although “white privilege” does exist, and is a real thing, race is outside the scope of this response.
But I want to hammer the point of “class” home just a bit harder.
Lets say you put yourself through college, study real hard, work part time to make ends meet that whole while, pass all your exams, and earn a 4 year degree in radiology.
Having done all that work, and earned a special set of skills, do you not agree that you should have the potential to earn more?
I 100% agree that we should not decide absolutely everything according to the price system. Food, water, and shelter should be considered human rights. For every homeless person in the US right now, there are 6 empty houses. That’s ridiculous. But just a few years ago, a person with a bachelors degree could have put in over a hundred applications for work and not hear anything back for months. Such a person clearly wants to work, and is doing everything right. They shouldn’t have food withheld from them simply because there’s no work available, and they ought to have a place to stay during that time.
But a place to stay does not mean their own private condominium with a personal helicopter, and food does not mean imported gourmet Nasi Lemak served with caviar and red wine.
It’s okay to want those things! And if the opportunity arises, then a person should have the freedom to work towards them if they want.
And the very act of having those things? Simply having them changes how people perceive you and relate to you. That, in a word, is “class”.
There’s nothing at all wrong with class. The problem is having wealth forever and ever because you were born with it, creating a system where no one else except you has a chance to earn it. That, we can agree on, but that’s not necessarily a fundamental quality of class.
>> Being able to be a “professional” feminist is a privilege — class privilege, to be specific.
*** That’s not true sweety. As a 3rd Waver, you can help spread misinformation like the wage gap, make uninformed posts about classism, and conflate unrelated topics like racism to give your topic more credibility, no matter what class you belong to! Why, you’re doing it right now!
You’re helping women to look like victims in a system where they have so much power, that even the very rules that govern men’s lives must now bend and kneel before women. If I’m homeless, I get housed. If I’m hungry, I get fed. In both of these I skip ahead of men who have been waiting much longer me. I have special clinics and shelters set up for me too! And thanks to the wage gap myth, I will soon have the option to not work nearly as hard as men, or as much as men, and at less dangerous jobs than men, and yet still get paid just as much thanks to people like you demanding that it wouldn’t be fair otherwise.
And even after all that, if I don’t like something, I can complain, have my complaint answered immediately, and it still counts as wrong under a “consent decree”.
You’re doing great things here.