The Guilty Feminist

A bit of comedy and unintentional Dhamma :wink: for anyone that’s interested and has the time (which I don’t right now! So maybe one day…) :slight_smile:

I saw Deborah Frances-White interviewed on TV recently; her podcasts on this site will be free.

To paraphrase something she said when I saw her: Feminism is about changing the architecture of the structures of society so that the right thing is done.

Thus for me, Feminism is one, out of many, ethical ideologies that may offer us alternate perspectives on how we can improve our Sila and our Dana within the everyday detail of our lives. Personally, battling delusion and its blind-spot creating abilities as we all do, I find it useful to open myself to listening to ways of viewing that are very different from my own.

I think I used to feel frightened of this level of openness. Like it would take something away from me. But now I believe I feel firm enough within my understanding of the Dhamma to know that it won’t be rocked, just enhanced.

Enjoy. I’m too busy to check in on this thread. It’s just for fun. But if you must argue, would you mind doing it with metta and perhaps with a bit of humour too :slight_smile: (what with this being a Buddhist forum and all…)

With metta


And I forgot to say…it can most definitely help us to soften, to lighten…that is, to help us to cultivate the Brahmaviharas. As with the Dhamma, it depends how you approach it, how you hold it - it can either make you tighter, more fixed, or it can help you to let go and be free. :slight_smile:


Kathaṃ mayaṃ, bhante, mātugāme paṭipajjāmā ti?
Adassanaṃ, ānandā ti.
Dassane, bhagavā, sati kathaṃ paṭipajjitabban ti?
Anālāpo, ānandā ti.
Ālapantena pana, bhante, kathaṃ paṭipajjitabban ti?
Sati, ānanda, upaṭṭhāpetabbā ti. (DN i.141)

Sir, how should we act towards womenkind?
Don’t look at them, Ānanda.
What if we see them, how should we act?
Remain silent, Ānanda.
But, sir, if they talk to us? How should we act.
Mindfully attend to them, Ānanda.

So according to the Buddha, men should keep their eyes averted, remain silent, and mindfully attend (upaṭṭhāpetabba) to what womenkind are saying.

Ancient wisdom of the Buddha :mage:


And so for a bit of tech and unintentional Dhamma! :smiley:

By coincidence, I came across The Guilty Feminist only a couple of weeks or so before you posted here. For me, it actually spoke quite well to at least part of the reason why I’ve never been able to sign-up to feminism (it’s a nuanced, intricate point completely unsuitable for getting into via the typically quite crude medium of a forum so I’m not going to go into that at all, but I will stress how highly I value the desperately important work of so, so many feminists across the generations through to this very day).

All the same, there were a number of things I could enjoy about the podcast and it certainly made be laugh on a few occasions, but one of the things I found really difficult about it was how aggressive it seemed to be. This may just have been particular to the couple of episodes that I listened to, or the way I listened, but also perhaps a deliberate part of their brand. If it is, it’s all fair and good, I can appreciate that approach and why it seems suitable, but it just really doesn’t work for me.

The general point about how I personally feel a softer thoughtfulness, alongside compassion and the capacity to listen is the only real way to move forward positively was brought out for me when in the early hours I found myself listening to a Stack Overflow podcast.

As with the format of this podcast there’s a lot of fooling around at the beginning, but the show proper starts @ 29:30 and explores developer Jon Skeet’s work promoting inclusivity in the tech industry and further afield. I found it such a beautiful and inspiring account of how a person can meaningfully engage with the challenge of considering experiences from other people’s perspectives.

The reason why, for me, this discussion with Skeet is especially important and has something of value to offer any one, no matter which end of the ‘spectra of views and experiences’ they’re coming from is that it offers a eloquent description of the actual, fuzzy site where social change does or does not happen: in individual people who have the capacity to continually re-evaluate their views and actions in light of new, or overlooked data. Skeet’s brilliant example points to how this has to apply to everyone (that is, careful, kind listening is required of advocates, as well as ‘advocatees’ and everyone in between in order for folks to increasingly come into a common space), in so far as he himself both actively promotes inclusivity, but is also willing to take up the challenge to look at shortcomings in his own practice (facilitated by compassionate—seemingly the key ingredient, by his testimony—feedback).

There’s this marvellous bit at the end where Skeet talks about what he terms ‘a spectrum of welcomeness’. He describes how he (as heterosexual man) was made to feel so welcome at a Pride parade that he danced and he “just [doesn’t] dance!” but that’s just how good he felt being so warmly received. He notes that if people feel genuinely embraced with open arms that would quite obviously help in general, but would disproportionately help those who don’t feel welcomed elsewhere.

Sure, here’s a bunch of metta! :slight_smile: