Some questions for feminists from a sympathizer

Some questions for feminists from a sympathizer October 21, 2012

Please excuse the inevitable errors here; I’m using an ipad whose virtual keyboard is new to me.

I hope to stimulate some constructive dialogue with these questions. I apologize in advance for any inadvertant offenses I may cause.

I am reading bell hooks’ Feminist Theory (2nd ed.) and I hope to learn from it. (For those who might not know she does not capitalize her names.)

So, with some fear and trepidation, here are my questions:

1) If power corrupts, would women with power be as likely to be corrupted as men? Put another way, is there something about males that makes them more inherently corruptible by power than women?

2) Why use “patriarchy” to name power over, dominating hierarchy, instead of, say, “dominating hierarchy?” Put another way, since “patriarchy” is a term drawn from maleness (fatherhood), doesn’t using it constantly and uniquely to name dominating, oppressive, hierarchical power over tend to imply that such is uniquely tied to maleness? If that is intended, why would it be surprising if men feel excluded  by feminists (from being whole and healthy as male human beings even if they are not oppressing anyone)?

3) Lively debates occur among women about feminism and sex/gender. Can men contribute anything to those discussions?

4) Should women be concerned about areas in society where males are being discriminated against or neglected by social welfare agencies including schools and health organizations? Do feminists care that boys and young men are dropping out of schools at much higher rates than girls and young women, that suicide rates are much higher among males than females, that more males than females die in every age group every year (until the seventies), that male life expectancy is five years less than female, that males get harsher sentences for the same crimes than females, that society views women’s sexual abuse of boys as much less serious than men’s sexual abuse of girls or boys? That these and other issues affecting especially males are rarely thought of or treated as public health and welfare concerns?

These questions are not meant to bait feminists or put down feminism in any way. If that is how they are taken, then I am sorry for those who take them as such. I am a supporter of full equality of women and men in church, home and society. I am opposed to all forms of oppression including dominating hierarchy of any kind. I invite serious answers that avoid rejecting the questions as invalid or as themselves evidence of sexism.

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