Saturday, November 30, 2002


Oh, how sad. Fighting Feminists: Aren't We All Women? - By Wendy McElroy -

I really don't even know how to react to this article. Victims are turned into charlatans, men are rendered powerless in a gender-biased coutroom, and apparently all femininsts everywhere are bitter-hearted, vindictive, and compassionless.

Overgeneralization, oversimiplification. All men are not supposed to be in control of or have power over all women in the definition of patriarchy - there are certainly many women - white or not, with power, influence, and affluence - who have more power over certain men. Socioeconomics are too complex to simplify matters this way. Additionally, I must have missed the parts of the feminist theory, history, and writing that says feminists (apparently of the PC variety, the only strand of feminism that gets specifically mentioned here) speak for all women. Most women I know who call themselves feminists wouldn't ever make this statement. This is the type of ignorance that got white middle- and upper-calss feminists in trouble a few decades ago, and I think that a lot of feminists took somethign from the accusations - namely, a greater degree of reflexivity and a reluctance to claim universality or the ability to represent all womanhood through one single voice.

And to charge that "For some feminists, any sense of decency or concern for women is suspended if the woman thinks for herself and disagrees" is, well, if it's really true, it's unfortunate. I believe that, while there may certainly be feminists out there who are not very nice individuals (there are some in any group), feminists on the whole are very concerned for women, and for children, and for men, as well - and sometimes with animal rights, environmental issues, and a host of other social and cultural concerns.

And this:

"How many other women have been battered into silence by PC feminists? Especially in academia, where political correctness holds many women have feminists intimidated into never speaking out at all?"

Take away PC-ness and the results of feminist activism: I'd be a seceretary getting my ass pinched by a prof, instead of a graduate student working on a PhD. And oh, yeah, the ass-pinching might be my fault, after all, especially if I wasn't dressed like a granny. But on the other hand, if I dressed like a granny, no man would want to marry me, thereby increasing my self-worth, so I have to dress kind of cute and just put up with the pinching. Sounds like a catch-22. Yeah, I can see where feminism has closed a lot of doors and kept me from expressing my views in academia.

Here's the kicker: the closing two paragraphs of the article:

"Real feminism aims at genuine equality and good will between daughters and sons. It eliminates the need for parents to choose which of their children are to be privileged by the courts and other institutions of society, which are to be oppressed.

Perhaps then women who are true victims will be able to claim what they justly deserve: the automatic compassion of decent human beings."

oh, wait! you mean that's NOT what FEMINISM has been trying to accomplish? Gee, my Women's Studies teachers must have been some of those nasty feminists that don't have any sense of decency or compassion for others, because they told me that those were some of the aims of feminism! "Real feminism", I guess, is something completely different from "feminism." Nonplussed. Completely nonplussed by this article.

But I do want to make it clear that, while I disagree with this author, I find it disheartening that anyone could make fun of a person's disabilities, or find any measure of anything other than horror and sympathy because of a person's experience as an abused person. Disagreement with a person's arguments or opinions is no reason at all for ad hominem attacks.

- posted by laurie @ 11/30/2002 11:42:00 PM
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