Friday, December 28, 2012

Look, Kitten

     Got this from GB. Don't know where he got it.

     Years ago, I'd call myself a feminist, 'cuz I believed in equal pay for equal work, the ERA, etc., but I kept running into women who objected mightily to any man (or just me?) self-labelling himself thus. I think the idea was that you have to pass some special test (involving humiliation and self-flaggelation) to have permission to call yourself that (but only when accompanied by the appropriate female handler).      
     "OK," I thought. "But you gals sure are prickly."
     I still consider myself a feminist, but I keep it to myself.

     OK, Kitten?
     But, in all seriousness, I can see a point in distinguishing between two divisions in an army such as feminists. There are, first, the malficiaries© (you know, opposite of beneficiaries) of sexism and the like. They do have a special moral authority by virtue of being women—i.e., the damaged party. The corresponding point about moral authority was made, long ago, by black abolitionists. But the latter crowd was generally friendly to and even grateful for non-black supporters. 
     It's certainly true that non-malficiary supporters are vulnerable to unconscious condescension, and it makes sense for the army to maintain mechanisms to identify and correct such attitudes among supporters. 
     But generosity, too, is a virtue; and meanness is a vice.

     Re black abolitionists: Quoting Frederick Douglass:

From Abraham I. Melden's Rights and Persons. Melden was among my mentors.


Shripathi Kamath said...

You got that comic reference from GB?

Why, Prof Bauer, I thought you read what I emitted :-)

I am a feminist too.

Anonymous said...

Right: "not exclusively, but peculiarly...." Great quotation there, Roy. I love telling students, ever so casually, that a good (male) friend of mine is a feminist. Messes with their heads in more than one way--all of them good. To me, a feminist is one who believes authentically in the equality of the sexes, intellectually and morally. That certainly doesn't exclude men, though Douglass' (and your) point about the distinctive moral authority of the "malficiaries" (love that coinage) is well-taken.


In "an FBI zone"

     Got home late last night. There were two messages on my phone answering machine.       One was from the FBI. On the recording, a ...