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Author Topic: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination  (Read 48972 times)

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #460 on: 09 Mar 2021, 10:06 »
And as for natural changes over time, the idea that people just naturally started accepting LGBT people is laughable. In my homeland, lauded as one of the most progressive countries, homosexuality was forbidden by law until the 1940s,
and legally defined as a disease until the 1970s, and it only became acceptable and legal because people actively fought to make people accept it as something healthy and normal, and constant activism, which was often met by the exact same
arguments you're been making against feminism in this very thread.

Same timeline in Finland. Why do you think those classifications changed over time? That funny 30 year time skip between the shifts in attitude? It's the natural change I'm talking about in action. New generations and new ideas replacing the old.
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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #461 on: 09 Mar 2021, 11:11 »
And as for natural changes over time, the idea that people just naturally started accepting LGBT people is laughable. In my homeland, lauded as one of the most progressive countries, homosexuality was forbidden by law until the 1940s,
and legally defined as a disease until the 1970s, and it only became acceptable and legal because people actively fought to make people accept it as something healthy and normal, and constant activism, which was often met by the exact same
arguments you're been making against feminism in this very thread.

Same timeline in Finland. Why do you think those classifications changed over time? That funny 30 year time skip between the shifts in attitude? It's the natural change I'm talking about in action. New generations and new ideas replacing the old.
And what do you think changed the minds of the new generations? If it was just a natural shift happening every generation, there wouldn't be any oppression lasting for centuries or even millenia. Homosexuality was seen as a sin since
biblical times, for multiple generations with little change, and you think it's a coincidence it was decriminalized first when all men and women had had the right to vote and get a full education, and political movements for the masses had been allowed for a generation?
And there was multiple big activist movements in the sixties that brought about legal change, or did you miss the history on the gay rights movements, civil rights movements, women's movements and anti-Vietnam War movements campaigning at the time, and how they had a massive impact in changing public perception, and eventually the politics, on all those issues?


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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #462 on: 09 Mar 2021, 11:26 »
At no point did I say it was a coincidence. More people getting education and the right to vote is exactly what lead to the aforementioned social advances of the LGBTTQQPPAA+ movement. The difference here is that those were minority groups being actively oppressed, and people lacked the natural freedom to influence our governments and laws. These were issues that could be rectified with clearly defined actions. Meanwhile women are neither a minority group nor actively oppressed (outside of minor religious extremist groups, and certain regions of the world, such as portions of religiously influenced Middle East, Asia and Africa, where feminism still has a clear cause). And as we are now talking about something relatively trivial in the form of the entertainment industry, the movement is naturally slower and more ponderous, because there just isn't the same kind of need or urgency for a change. Women who create entertainment aren't being locked up for daring to act outside of their assigned gender roles (well, except by other women who think they did it wrong. Hi, J.K. Rowling!)

But I do believe that change is happening, and we'll see it steadily unfold over the coming decades. How far it reaches in our lifetimes is the only question left to be answered.
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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #463 on: 09 Mar 2021, 11:27 »
Well, the problem is that people already are favoring men because of their gender, not consciously, but if somebody is setting up a school curriculum meant to represent a wide selection of perspectives, and all of them are male authors,
that is a bias in favour of men. And it's not like I'm suggesting we should replace great male authors with any female hack writing harlequin novels, you'd still have to choose female authors based on their talent in writing, having gender equality
in the school curriculum would merely mean replacing an proabably unintended bias with awareness and actively working to give students a chance to read a fair amount from both halves of the population instead of just one.

This looks like a whole new can of worms I'm not sure I want to get into (mostly because I haven't made up my mind - I can see your perspective but I'm not as convinced of it), but at least it seems we can agree on the core concern. You're not saying books should be picked based on the author's gender (maybe with some exceptions where it's directly relevant to the content), you believe that it's already happening and want to correct that. Do I get it?

Ali

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #464 on: 09 Mar 2021, 11:35 »
This wasn't about anyone suggesting a book, it was about (hypothetically) judging and selecting all books based on the gender of their author, and I tried to explain why I think that's a bad idea. Let's not dwell on the hyperbole - I already conceded nobody is banning books and I'm not "outraged".

The thing is, you're not the only person dealing in hyperbole - Blondbraid has been accused of censorship once already in this thread, and it's a common refrain in this debate. I'm glad you've acknowledged it, of course.

I think gender-based quotas aren't a neat solution - I suspect it would be hard to study classics with a 50/50 gender split. But there are no neat solutions for complex social problems. Either way, calling for better representation of female authors isn't passing a judgment on men's writing. I'm not sure why selecting books based on gender would be more troubling than selecting based on language or nationality. In English Literature class we studied English Literature - is the implication that other nationalities write bad books?

I don't understand the issue, unless we believe that men have written better books than women, and that equal representation would mean replacing good books with worse books. Which, I think, is what people are actually afraid of.

Women who create entertainment aren't being locked up for daring to act outside of their assigned gender roles (well, except by other women who think they did it wrong. Hi, J.K. Rowling!)

Needless to say, the billionaire author JK Rowling has not been "locked up". Can we, for a moment, talk about the real world and not some paranoid conservative fever dream?
« Last Edit: 09 Mar 2021, 11:37 by Ali »

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #465 on: 09 Mar 2021, 11:43 »
Yes, Ali, I was making a hyperbolic joke. Well done for pointing that out. Good job.
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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #466 on: 09 Mar 2021, 11:46 »
Well, the problem is that people already are favoring men because of their gender, not consciously, but if somebody is setting up a school curriculum meant to represent a wide selection of perspectives, and all of them are male authors,
that is a bias in favour of men. And it's not like I'm suggesting we should replace great male authors with any female hack writing harlequin novels, you'd still have to choose female authors based on their talent in writing, having gender equality
in the school curriculum would merely mean replacing an proabably unintended bias with awareness and actively working to give students a chance to read a fair amount from both halves of the population instead of just one.

This looks like a whole new can of worms I'm not sure I want to get into (mostly because I haven't made up my mind - I can see your perspective but I'm not as convinced of it), but at least it seems we can agree on the core concern. You're not saying books should be picked based on the author's gender (maybe with some exceptions where it's directly relevant to the content), you believe that it's already happening and want to correct that. Do I get it?
Pretty much. I think many people have a blind spot on this because society treats men as the default in lots of situations, for example, an all-female cast with only one token guy in a film or book is exceptionally rare,
but stories with an all-male cast and just one woman are a dime a dozen and not treated as weird.

Now, I don't think there should be quotas on jobs requiring specific niche competencies, like say, bridge engineers or brain surgeons, where there are incredibly few qualified people to begin with,
but on school book curriculums, where the entire point is to get students to explore different perspectives and learn to analyze the works of an author, making them read diverse perspectives matter a lot,
and there are so many good authors to choose from so it wouldn't be hard to find a good sample size of female authors just as good as any of the male ones on the curriculum.


Ali

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #467 on: 09 Mar 2021, 12:24 »
Yes, Ali, I was making a hyperbolic joke. Well done for pointing that out. Good job.

I'm not absolutely clear on what makes that a joke, but perhaps you know more about comedy than me.

The point I would make is that critics of feminism (and Blondbraid) in this thread and beyond frequently resort to hyperbole and exaggeration and that makes a reasonable conversation difficult. Especially when those overstatements are partnered enormous understatements like claiming women are not "actively oppressed" outside of religious communities.

It's a lens that turns reality on its head, dismissing real-world inequality and painting progressives as totalitarian tyrants. (As a JOKE, I'm sure.)

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #468 on: 09 Mar 2021, 12:27 »
Clearly I do!  (laugh)

Wait, so you're claiming women are actively oppressed in modern western societies? Now I am curious to see what you're thinking of!
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Ali

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #469 on: 09 Mar 2021, 13:15 »
The fact that women can be equal before the law and still face social and structural barriers to equality is, arguably, what this entire 24 page thread is about.

WHAM

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #470 on: 09 Mar 2021, 14:08 »
Ah, so you seem to advocate for either some expansion of current law so it can control people more strictly, stripping them of freedoms to make personal decisions, or some other kind of extra-legal manner in which equality is enforced.

Since I believe people have various personal preferences, and should be free to apply them as they see fit, up to and including things like private businesses or religious organizations having the freedom to choose who they associate with and why, or for artists to create the kinds of characters they like, I would have to object to those kinds of attempts to trample of people's freedoms. If you take away a persons right to choose things freely based on their preference in one area of life, you might as well do the same in all areas of life, at which point the creatures you have left are no longer human. They are less than human.

I do, however, support full equality in how laws are written and applied, and wish to see that equality improve the lot of both women and men.
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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #471 on: 09 Mar 2021, 14:26 »
Ever heard the saying; Your freedom to swing you fist ends where my nose begins?

And again, none of the attmpts to implement any such laws in Sweden has impacted anyones freedom in any significant way, and freedom to opress and discriminate isn't real freedom for the opressed, is it? Your last reply sounds like poor 1984 fanfiction.

Plus you know men used exactly the same arguments you used now when things like domestic beatings and outright barring female applicants for various jobs was outlawed.


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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #472 on: 09 Mar 2021, 14:37 »
Just because a form of argument is used by bad people in some instances, does not mean the form of argument is flawed. That kind of logic makes as much sense as saying "we need to outlaw veganism because Hitler was a vegan!"

Also: did Sweden ever actually pass that one law where they threatened the government would seize assets of private corporations if they failed to fulfill gender quotas in their board of directors? I recall that being a pretty major news piece over in Finland several years back, as it was painted as "those wacky Swedes being at it again" over here. Since I haven't heard of it since, I'm guessing no.
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Ali

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #473 on: 09 Mar 2021, 15:10 »
Ah, so you seem to advocate for either some expansion of current law so it can control people more strictly, stripping them of freedoms to make personal decisions, or some other kind of extra-legal manner in which equality is enforced.

For the record: No. Thinking the Bechdel test is a useful critical tool != advocating for government mind control. This is the kind of hyperbole I'm talking about.

Also, saying than argument is bad because it can be used to justify terrible thing is not the same as saying that an argument is bad because it's used by bad people. Good people use bad arguments, and vice versa. I believe Blondbraid is saying that argument is bad in itself, because the same chain of reasoning has been used to justify things we all agree are unacceptable.
« Last Edit: 09 Mar 2021, 15:14 by Ali »

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #474 on: 09 Mar 2021, 15:17 »
Also: did Sweden ever actually pass that one law where they threatened the government would seize assets of private corporations if they failed to fulfill gender quotas in their board of directors? I recall that being a pretty major news piece over in Finland several years back, as it was painted as "those wacky Swedes being at it again" over here. Since I haven't heard of it since, I'm guessing no.
As a Swede, I've never heard of such a law, but beware that there's been plenty of right-wing blogs spreading fake news about Sweden.
Ah, so you seem to advocate for either some expansion of current law so it can control people more strictly, stripping them of freedoms to make personal decisions, or some other kind of extra-legal manner in which equality is enforced.

For the record: No. Thinking the Bechdel test is a useful critical tool != advocating for government mind control. This is the kind of hyperbole I'm talking about.

Also, saying than argument is bad because it can be used to justify terrible thing is not the same as saying that an argument is bad because it's used by bad people. Good people use bad arguments, and vice versa. I believe Blondbraid is saying that argument is bad in itself, because the same chain of reasoning has been used to justify things we all agree are unacceptable.
Indeed, some of this debate on feminism  is starting to look a lot like those conservative Americans who'll equate any politics left of Reagan as pure Stalinism.

And yeah, I'm not talking about something bad people brought up once, I'm saying that that kind of reasoning has always been used by people wishing to restrict human rights to groups outside of  themselves.
« Last Edit: 09 Mar 2021, 15:21 by Blondbraid »


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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #475 on: 09 Mar 2021, 15:27 »
Found it. It was dropped in 2017. Don't know if the Guardian is considered a right-wing blog, but I also recall the same story being covered by the Finnish national broadcaster YLE.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/12/sweden-rejects-quotas-women-boardroom-listed-companies

The idea seems to have been to fine companies by up to almost half a million GBP each year if they didn't have at least 40% women on their board of directors.

In searching for this I also found another classic story of how Sweden has been turning the act of snow-ploughing more gender-equal by ensuring that footpaths are cleared of snow before roads for cars, since women don't apparently drive much in Sweden or something.
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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #476 on: 09 Mar 2021, 16:20 »
A footnote on Sweden to keep in mind is that there is a rather disorderly row afoot regarding its portrayal. The kingdom's position on matters political makes it a focal point of a vaster system of debate – and an object of much shouting. There are interests at work, here. So, while reading the newspaper, keep in mind:

Do not immediately assume that a piece on Swedish politics is true. However, do not dismiss it as a falsehood.
The kingdom is neither a failing state on the brink, where crime and violence is all-encompassing and the only thing that now matters is to revoke everything for the sake of a woke revenge upon the present.
Nor is it a shining exemplar of progress where all is well and splendid, smeared and calumniated by servants of dark forces within and beyond.

There are problems in legio, and many different interests lies in enlarging or diminishing these, depending on the reflexion they may cast on the parties involved. The image of the nation, and what must be done to preserve or expose it, will undoubtedly become a rather ugly question in the coming years.

As an example, I believe that a cinema once wished to include things such as the Bechel test in their general rating system, presumably to premier pictures that were better at representing their women characters. That, however, was presented here in the aether as a sort of state mandate, that all pictures were to be officially rated by feminist standards.
Mind you, my battered memory is unreliable, but I recall that misunderstanding to be most vexing. Then again, many who simply read the loud head-lines at the time did not seem to care much for a correction. It complemented their picture of the situation, and the correction was rather less snappy.

It is what happens.

As for the rest, I am still chomping the cud. For now, I shall say that I must agree; it cannot be forbidden to criticise or raise a grievance. It may well include a motion to ban or forbid the object in question, which can be met on its own, but a critique on its own? I disagree.

Of course, that is also a part of the reason why it should not be an immediate call for a ban, because it must also be possible to disagree with a criticism raised. Such as a critique should not be read as a demand for a ban, nor should an objection be read as a demand for silence.

One could say that there is an 'implicit' effort of a ban or redaction within a critique, but the terms are sufficiently vague to not build a premise thereupon, for where shall we go, if we thresh out implied wheat and throw assumed chaff? It is a dreary thing, and we have quite enough of it, I shall say.

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #477 on: 09 Mar 2021, 17:23 »
Well put, Reiter!

As for the "feminist snow-ploughing", small snowploughs made for footpaths are much cheaper to hire than large, broader ones made for traffic, and so the former were procured as a cost-cutting measure,
which some local politicians tried to dress up as "feminist" because fewer women are registered car owners, but it was derided by pretty much everyone in Sweden, including most prominent feminists.
It was a cost-cutting measure they would have done either way, dressed up in some progressive language in a failed bid for popularity points, largely derided and then fading into obscurity.
It's pretty ridiculous that it got traction abroad because politicians painting cost-cutting as a principled stance exists everywhere, they just use different rhetoric to fit different nations.

Basically, it's not a great idea to use third-hand accounts with clickbait headlines when talking about Sweden to native Swedes.


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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #478 on: 09 Mar 2021, 19:07 »
I'll just pitch in that if we wish to gender-balance the literature curriculum, one excellent way to do so would be more Katherine Mansfield.

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Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #479 on: 09 Mar 2021, 20:56 »
It was a cost-cutting measure they would have done either way, dressed up in some progressive language in a failed bid for popularity points, largely derided and then fading into obscurity.
It's pretty ridiculous that it got traction abroad because politicians painting cost-cutting as a principled stance exists everywhere, they just use different rhetoric to fit different nations.

Basically, it's not a great idea to use third-hand accounts with clickbait headlines when talking about Sweden to native Swedes.

That sound precisely like what I figured it was. They could have just done the normal thing and said the changes were made to improve efficiency and better serve the most people with available resources, but as we keep seeing Sweden has some weird fetish about appearing to be the most progressive nation on the Earth, which gives the Finnish media plenty to laugh about! Don't worry, Swedes: we love you for it.
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