Feminism in Three Parts: Part 2–The Idealism

*Disclaimer: These are my personal views not a philosophical argument or theory. This part is mostly snark.*

Let’s just get this out the way right now. Am I a feminist? You’re damn fucking right I’m a feminist.

Source: mtv.com

Probably the only thing Beyonce and I have in common. Source: mtv.com

I absolutely without a doubt in my mind believe that within our particular social-historical-political-economic context that persons should not be denied social, legal, political, and economic rights because they happen to have two x chromosomes (or an extra y, or an extra x and a y, etc.) instead of an x and a y (and all the other factors that determine biological sex).

But why?

Sure there are biological differences between male-bodied people and female-bodied people and intersex-bodied people. But this is a spectrum, and none of these differences give one a “natural” advantage over another even in, say, a survival situation. We somehow have been convinced that the narrative “brute strength = better survival = designed to protect = better leader = superior person” (and that pregnancy is somehow a weakness), when survival actually depends entirely on what you are up against.

The advantages men have socially speaking are also just narratives that have been arbitrarily determined. We could live in a world where we value the stereotypical feminine traits more than we value the stereotypical masculine ones. We could revere kind, generous people instead of aggressive, greedy people.[1] But, well, we don’t. And my point in Part 1 is that we can’t flip a switch and make it so.

So why be a feminist?

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Rustin Cohle, Hypocrisy, and the Meaning of Life

The-Meaning-of-Life-monty-pythonIf you are not a philosopher, when you think of philosophy, one of the first questions that pops into your head is, “What is the meaning of life?”

Were you to ask this question to a professional philosopher, they’d probably scoff, because answering such questions isn’t really what professional philosophers do. (Professional philosophers mostly argue among themselves at conferences and across publications about linguistic and conceptual distinctions and interpretations they’ve drawn. Sometimes this can be interesting to people outside the conversation, but usually it isn’t. [Sorry, but, well, it isn’t and that’s okay.])

I don’t know why other philosophers got into the study of philosophy, because for me it was exactly questions of meaning that drew me in. Even though these questions have become philosophical clichés, that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. The question of “What is true?” genuinely haunts me on a daily basis, and as much of a devoted Foucaultian[1] as I am and as swayed by Wittgenstein as I am, I still naively believe there’s a satisfactory answer to this question that has nothing to do with an episteme or a socio-historical cultural context or a game.

Of course, I’m also convinced the answer to this question can never be articulated or argued for — once you reach true understanding, I imagine you don’t feel compelled to write a tell-all.

The meaning of life is a question that still baffles me, too, because, like I want there to be truth, I want there to be answer where I also know there isn’t and can’t be one.

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Past Shadows Dark and Deep

[1] I’m not big on resolutions.

Even though I like the idea of having a clean slate and a fresh start, I never really have one (what with the shackles of language and measurable time), so I’m always defeated before I begin.

I’d love to write more, to get in better shape, to start a new career, to learn to read Russian and get better at German, to move to London, but I’m not going to do any of those things just for the sake of the Gregorian calendar.

I’ve changed a lot in the past two years, and I like to think I’ve learned a few things during that time.

One of the most important things I’ve learned is to never, ever apologize for who I am. I’m still guilty of doing this at times, but I’ve made a conscious decision to never change myself or be someone I’m not for anyone or anything. I genuinely like myself. I’ve already done far too much compromising in my life, and it’s never led me anywhere good.

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We Believe in Nothing, Lebowski!

Note: I have to give credit where credit is due. This is kind of in reaction to Ryan’s blog. His question was why do people bother to call themselves agnostic? It seems like one of those PC labels that people use when they don’t want to say that they are atheists, because it “offends” people if you tell them you don’t believe in god. Oh, and I’ve given up on censoring all my foul language. You can blame John Goodman.

Now, at various points in my life, I have been accused of being (among other things) a nihilist, and it’s highly likely that my beliefs do fit under certain definitions of nihilism.

Nihilism can refer to different things. It can mean that values do not exist but are invented OR specifically that there are no moral values OR that life itself is without meaning or purpose.

And on some days[1] I likely fit under the first, definitely under the second, and probably under the third.

But can you really be a full-blown, believe-in-nothing nihilist?

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