In another thread, Cecil the "Questioning" posed a topic that certainly relates to women in the martial arts - beginning our study for many reasons - sometimes labels we are attached to us because of our association in what can be perceived as a "masculine" sport.
<blockquote>Question: how do more "moderate" (politically speaking) women feel when they hear radical feminist dogma? ...I'm dying for input from you, Lori-Sensei, Melanie, and other women out there.
(He also has started a thread relating to this topic on his forum - check it out at Creative Brother
Melanie-san and I expressed some of our thoughts on the matter in the "Mindsetting on Fear" thread - but the upshot of what we've said so far is that the extremist groups tend to undermine their own position by their radical stands... Melanie writes:
<blockquote>I personally feel that extremist feminist views stemming from hate serve only to alienate. Also I take excetion to those radical femisists that proport to speak for all women. They certainly don't speak for me. I think where radical feminism errs is in their antiquated notion that attaining equality for women necessitates making women into men. A concept rich in irony, don't you think? </blockquote>
Joan Neide writes of exemplary instructors in the Uechi world who look at students, not gender and are an inspiration to upcoming instructors.
Then our own Doctor X adds his remarks:
<blockquote>One of the dangers of extreme thinking is that it alienates everyone. All feminists become "feminazis" and the entire movement suffers. This carries over to many movements.
Unfortunate. Avoid being an "ist."</blockquote>
So far we seem to have advocates for the middle path. Being martial artists, perhaps this is to be expected. Then why are stereotypes attached to women who study martial arts? I've heard a few of them - and even received email from "the great unwashed" who seem to think that because I participate in a martial arts forum, and am female, then I should fit one of the stereotypes - and want to know if I do. Don't know which ones I'm talking about? Take your pick: feminist, womens' libber, dominatrix and even lesbian. Now, I'm not condoning or condeming any specific group, but I am objecting to the attachment of labels on someone because they choose to study martial arts. Perhaps it is this ready association with labels that keeps more women from participating on this forum!
Are you guilty of perpetuating the labels by either ignorant assumption or your silence in proclaiming otherwise? Are you an "-ist" or an adherant to an "-ism"? Speak up - here's your chance. You don't have to agree with me, or J.D. or Melanie in order to post on this topic. Dissenting, (albeit polite) views are welcome - male and female alike.
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