About Kiki

This is a new blog and I don’t know what it will look like in the future, but I started it to talk about the recent developments in the world from a woman’s point of view, from the comfort of my internest. I live in Finland, in one of the world’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender equality, so I have grown up taking it for granted that women have the same rights and liberties as men, with only a slight difference in incomes.

Recently I have began to worry that this equality is threatened. Perhaps not yet in Finland or in Europe, but things are starting to look pretty bad on the other side of the Atlantic. In addition to that, I can’t help noticing that feminism is still widely misunderstood and vilified all over the world, even here in Finland. That’s why I decided it was time to speak up for women, in the spirit of common decency.

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13 Responses to About Kiki

  1. Jacob Blake says:

    Hello! You appear to not be updating your blog anymore, but I hope you will receive and answer my question. I recently read an older article on the self proclaimed “feminist” website Jezebel titled “Have You Ever Beat Up Your Boyfriend, Cause, Uh, We Have.” In it a woman bragged about how the writers on the website all hit or injured their boyfriends in some way. At first I thought this was just a joke in poor taste. But when I continued to read to the comments, I saw that on the earlier ones found if you continue scrolling down, it was all women bragging about how they beat their boyfriends, and how their boyfriends “deserved it.” One women while drunk attacked her boyfriend in his sleep, broke his glasses, and threatened him with a knife. I can assure you that if a man had written similar posts, the website would have been brought down and their houses raided. I was quite upset because I had always trusted that feminists legitimately wanted gender equality. And Jezebel was not some fringe site, it is a mainstream “feminist” site. I hope to hear your opinion on this. Thank you.

    http://jezebel.com/294383/have-you-ever-beat-up-a-boyfriend-cause-uh-we-have

    On a side note, I notice you say in your description that:

    “I live in Finland, in one of the world’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender equality, so I have grown up taking it for granted that women have the same rights and liberties as men, with only a slight difference in incomes.”

    You also aren’t forced to serve in the military. I would consider that a major difference for gender equality, especially for such a supposedly “progressive” country. Anyways, just want to hear your opinion on this. And if there was a referendum to include women in conscription, what would be your vote?

    • Yes, I’ve pretty much abandoned the blog because I got so sick of the trolling. But I’ll answer your questions.

      As you say, the Jezebel article and the comments were shocking. If men wrote like that, people would take it very seriously indeed. And people should take similar behaviour from women just as seriously.

      Jezebel is in the business of breaking taboos. The piece was shocking, but maybe it needed to be if we are to get it through to people that women too are perpetrators in domestic violence. It is a shocking thing, and Jezebel threw it in the reader’s face in a way that would surely make most readers uncomfortable. I don’t condone women bragging about beating people up, just as I wouldn’t condone men doing the same, but it seems the point was to raise awareness. (Maybe some of the commenters missed that point, maybe they were just adding water to the mill, who knows.)

      After all, Jezebel doesn’t link to a site encouraging women to beat up their spouses but to an article in Psychiatry News, titled, “Men Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence.”

      I think that reveals the point of the story, if nothing else. Generally, in order to understand the point of Jezebel, a very macabre sense of humour is in order. I wouldn’t write about this topic the way they did because so many people would miss the point because of the shock factor.

      As for the army issue, it pops up in Finland every now and again. Some feminists want to make army mandatory for both sexes for reasons of equality. However, I partially agree with a (male) columnist who pointed out that this would actually set women’s equality back because most women already miss years of work due to childbirth and maternity leaves. They don’t need their careers set further back by six months in the army.

      But the current situation is far from perfect. Serving in the army should be voluntary for both sexes, and men should have a realistic chance to spend as much time on parental leaves as women. I wouldn’t force men to stay at home with the kids (or women for that matter). It’s all about having the choice.

      • Jacob Blake says:

        Thank you for your reply and reassurance. I would like to mention that childbirth is a poor analogy as it is voluntary and military service is not. It would be a good analogy if Finland had an all-voluntary military. But with advancements in artificial uteri I suppose this will soon become a non-issue. I wish you well and thank you again for your time.

        • Artificial uteri? Wow, that’s interesting news. I always thought that was possible only in science fiction. I’m not sure how I feel about such a method of making babies, if it ever becomes a reality. After all, with the old-fashioned way, the fetus develops listening to the heartbeat and the voice of its mother. What would the fetus listen to in an artificial womb? But then, it would be a great help to couples who can’t have a baby otherwise.

          Anyway, childbirth was not meant as an analogy for service in the army. The point of the columnist I mentioned was the statististical observation that while most men spend six months or longer in the army, most women are absent from the work force a year or three raising kids. The columnist wanted to reign in the feminist desire to make army mandatory for women by pointing out that such a measure would hinder women’s careers, and I agree with that view.

          I think I read somewhere that 18-year-old girls already get invitations to the enlisting events. (Or they are in the process of making that change to the system?) It makes sense, really, because the kids these days are out of shape and more and more recruits are getting rejected for that reason. So now, instead of looking down on women, the military has realised that they actually need girls to join to make up for the lost boys. That’s a welcome change in their thinking but like I said, I would rather have the army be entirely voluntary, for men as well as the women.

          Thank you for commenting, and sorry about the delay in publishing them. I check in here every couple of days or so.

          • Jacob Blake says:

            Hmm… kids are getting out of shape? The government or someone may want to do something about that, or you’ll end up looking like us Americans, ha! Anyways, I tend to look to the future more than I probably should, so I would like to ask you this: Where exactly do you see this whole affair going in say ten, twenty or even fifty years? And where do you see Europe and the United States going in terms of gender equality in general? The rest of the World? Do you see religious fundamentalism such as conservative Christians in the United States or radical Muslims in Europe as being a major threat? I’d just like to hear others opinions. Thanks.

            • Haha, you may have a point there! I’ve heard Finland is the most American country in Europe, when it comes to eating habits and other life style choices, like how many hours a day people spend watching TV. So unless there’s a drastic change in people’s habits, it’s not hard to see we’re going to have more health problems in the future. Like, in the 80s and the 90s children didn’t have back pain. Now it’s a common problem for school kids. Doesn’t take a genius to see where this is leading.
              But otherwise I hesitate to make predictions about the future. People of the future would probably laugh at them. But those are interesting questions and if I was to answer based on my personal experience and gut feeling rather than researched facts, I’d say that things are getting both better and worse for humanity in general. On one hand there’s social progress of all sorts going on, but then there’s also the reactionary backlash happening. Like the Muslims, for example. I don’t see Muslims as a threat. Many of them have secular views or even if they are religious, it’s a personal thing for them. The fundamentalists who want to impose their rules on everyone else can be dangerous, but that’s not just the Muslims. Christian fundamentalists are just as bad.

              Finland is a pretty secular country and religion doesn’t have a big role in Finnish politics. But in the past few years there have been some astonishing religious debacles in politics. The fundamentalists over here are starting to be more vocal about opposing gay marriage and abortion. Päivi Räsänen, the minister of internal affairs even said that Christians need to place the Bible above the law. Maybe these fundamentalist outbursts would have happened anyway, but it is tempting to blame America for this as well, haha… It seems fairly obvious that Sarah Palin’s success has been an inspiration to Finnish politicians like Päivi Räsänen and Timo Soini.

              As for gender issues, it’s the same. There’s progress but there’s also the backlash. The men’s right movement is gaining ground in Finland, led by Henry Laasanen. The poor buggers seem to genuinely think they are being oppressed because women are gaining rights men have had all along. Who knows where that’s going but so far it seems most Finns think men and women should have the same rights, and that doesn’t hurt men in any way.

              I have no idea how gender equality is going in rest of Europe but I do know from personal experience that many countries are a bit behind us in this. When I travel to countries like the UK, France or Germany, people treat me differently. The difference is hard to explain but it feels like in Finland, most of the time I get treated like an adult person. In some of the countries I’ve been to, I get treated like I haven’t been treated in Finland since I was about 13. I get patronised a lot more abroad. In addition to that, there’s also more sexist behaviour. Like, when I was in England, the first time a car beeped at me, I jumped about a foot because in Finland car horns are used to warn about danger or to tell people to get out of the way. But I was told that in England it’s normal to beep the horn at women. It was also normal to whistle and shout at women, something that’s much more rare in Finland.

              Wow, this got longwinded and in the end, I have no more clue about which way things are going. Women are fighting against sexism and street harassment, and maybe gaining something by that, but then traditional family values (concerning especially women’s role in the family and the society) are also gaining support. So who knows? What do you think about these things?

  2. Jacob Blake says:

    That’s interesting. How do you personally think these problems could be fixed? Like if you where Supreme Dictator of Europe, what would you do? I also hear Europe is having a major problem with birthrates. What’s your take on that?

    • I don’t think these are the kind of problems any dictator could solve. I can only hope that over time, people’s attitudes to things like religion and gender equality will change.

      What problem is there with birth rates in Europe? I haven’t heard any talk of a problem in that, but I assume you mean the birthrates in European countries are low? But over all, the planet is getting overpopulated, so if the population growth is on the decline in some corner of the world, I consider that a positive thing.

      • Jacob Blake says:

        I suppose your right. I guess in the end our culture is what really determines the way society is. We can’t really ask for a quick fix.

        On the topic of birthrates, they have been relatively low in Europe and East Asia in recent history, but they have become very high in the middle east. This concerns me as Europe especially, but East Asia is not to be left out, has been a relatively progressive region of the world, where as the middle east is probably (no offence to any middle easterners) the most backwards region of the world. People are kind of the bearers of civilization. I would hate to see a repeat of the fall of Rome and the barbarian invasion to lead to a second dark age. But once again, I suppose your right, I am being a bit of an alarmist.

  3. Jacob Blake says:

    Hey, in retrospect of my earlier question, when I asked about male-only conscription in Finland, what do you think of Norway’s recent decision to start conscripting women by 2015? And what are the opinions of your male friends on male-only conscription?

    • I hadn’t heard about Norway’s decision but it’s interesting. Certainly a step forward for equality. But it’s also a step backward from a pacifist’s point of view. First I’d like to see a world where no one gets conscripted, and then a world where armies are no longer needed in any form, voluntary, professional or otherwise.

      My male friends have a variety of opinions on male-only conscription. The ones with a non-academic background tend to think army is a man’s domain. They’ve sort of grudgingly accepted women as volunteers and they even respect the women who volunteer for showing moral backbone/guts/whatever, but for one reason or another, they’d like for things to remain as they are. Maybe it’s a question of male pride, having something they can excel in and believing it to be something that (at least most) women can’t do? These guys like to tell stories about their time in the army, how they survived long marches with heavy backpacks, sleeping in tents in the forest when the temperature was -40°C and the food was crap. They take pride in their experiences and the survival skills they’ve learnt, and they see those things as proof of their masculinity.
      And (and this next bit is something I’ve deduced from the way they talk about their army times and the women in the army, rather than something they’ve explicitly put to words) they are fine with the idea that some exceptional women can do what they’ve done, but they’re reluctant to believe that all women could do the same. So they oppose conscripting women. Or they laugh at the idea.

      Others (and these tend to be the ones I know from university, mostly humanists, some of them have chosen the civil service instead of army) support the current system because they don’t think women’s conscription would add to equality, or they support women’s conscription because they believe it would make the society more equal, especially if everyone could still choose civil service or they share my pacifist views and think we should abandon conscriptions altogether.

  4. Jacob Blake says:

    Uhhh, are you still alive?

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