Anonymous asked: What is wrong with Liberal Feminism?
Liberal feminism makes the essential argument that one can achieve women’s liberation within the framework of capitalist society, the bourgeois state, etc.
This is deeply flawed because it doesn’t understand how the oppression of women is tied to social reproduction and private property system, as well as the nuclear family. It sees all these structures (and the structures from which emerge, from advertising to imperialism) as not having a true political content, but rather you can reshape them as you will, to make them more egalitarian.
This is of course impossible, and in the end all liberal feminism ends up doing is empowering a certain layer of women (wealthy white women in the imperialist nations mostly) to take up some level of equality with their counter-parts in the bourgeoisie, without advancing the emancipation of all women everywhere.
Liberal feminists see the opening of institutions like the imperial state up to women’s participation as great victories for all women, when in fact it is only a gain for a small minority at the expense of the rest.
A good example is the hype amongst feminists about the Hillary Clinton campaign. As a political leader, Clinton is an imperialist, a arbiter of capitalist authority and a representative of the ruling class. She maintains this position by systematically disempowering women in the third world, for example.
This is one type of liberal feminism, which has been labelled Power Feminism. But there are other examples of liberalism in the feminist movement.
These include lifestylist or individualist feminisms, where women are encouraged to empower themselves on a wholly individual basis, by dressing in a certain way and trying to climb the corporate ladder. No one ever asks how the corporate ladder itself is a capitalist construction that needs to be torn down.
Another form appears in the sex-positivity movement. I am not wholly against sex-positivity in many aspects, but the liberal feminist argument that ANYTHING can be empowering as long as one consents to it freely goes against many of the most basic things we (as radicals) understand about social relations. That:
- Emancipation is not a personal process. While it may be experienced on a personal level (in fact, it has to be if it is to be manifested), it is still a collective struggle.
- That all interactions between people are social relations and are reflections of social structures in the concrete.
- This means that social relationships are not devoid of content. Regardless of how one feels about them, they can still be characterised by oppression (the wage-labourer is exploited whether they like it or not).
- It also forgets that our wants and desires are shaped, to a very powerful degree, by the social relations within which we find ourselves. Nothing is in the abstract.
This is of course not a call to flip to the other side and take moralistic stands, attacking women for their personal choices. That is also reactionary, and fails to understand the development of political consciousness and the need for self-emancipation.
So these are some of the ways which liberalism has and will continue to manifest itself.
This is an important event in history, especially Canadian and feminist history. So I’m going to tell you more about it.
1) The shooter had been rejected from Ecole Polytechnique prior to the shooting. He blamed this on these female students, claiming that they were feminists who ruined his life.
2) In the first classroom he entered, he demanded the men leave before shooting at the women. No man attempted to stop him as they left. Take that as you will. (Later on, several men did get injured trying to stop him in the hallways.)
3) In his suicide letter, he believed that feminists were attempting to be more powerful than men, and were trying to take men’s rights away.
4) Feminists were actually blamed by some for the massacre. The line of logic was “if feminists didn’t make women’s rights an issue, Levine wouldn’t have wanted to kill feminists!” Victim blaming at its finest.
5) The mainstream news media often did not publicize the outrage from women’s groups, and often preferred those who took a calm approach. Ironic, that.
6) Despite him literally having a hit list of feminist icons in his final letter, several newscasters questioned whether or not the shooting was a sexist act, some even denying the idea outright.
8) Many memorials for the victims have been created, and rightly so; however, some prominent ones were erected in poor neighbourhoods where many Native women were killed every day in the same time period as the shooting (see: Marker of Change, Vancouver) (see: Missing Women, Vancouver). Basically, white feminism happened.
The entire event was nothing short of a tragedy, and I recommend that everyone read up on it and the resulting aftermath. It’s… interesting to see how the media tried to turn it into a random act of psychopathy instead of what it was (we know better now, luckily). The reactions (memorials, etc) to the deaths of these 14 White, middle class women as compared to the deaths of 60+ Native, lower class women are also “interesting” to compare. (By interesting, I mean infuriating.)
there was a professor who claimed that feminists were just like the kkk in painting this shooter as misogynist. RIP to the Polytechnique victims, you will not be forgotten.
Women, too, have been socialized to believe that the ultimate arbiters of their appearance are men, that anything they do with their appearance is or should be “for men.” That’s why women’s magazines trip over themselves to offer up advice on “what he wants to see you wearing” and “what men think of these current fashion trends” and “wow him with these new hairstyles.” While women can and do judge each other’s appearance harshly, many of us grew up being told by mothers, sisters, and female strangers that we’ll never “get a man” or “keep a man” unless we do X or lose some fat from Y, unless we moisturize//trim/shave/push up/hide/show/”flatter”/paint/dye/exfoliate/pierce/surgically alter this or that.
That’s also why when a woman wears revealing clothes, it’s okay, in our society, to assume that she’s “looking for attention” or that she’s a slut and wants to sleep with a bunch of guys. Because why else would a woman wear revealing clothes if not for the benefit of men and to communicate her sexual availability to them, right? It can’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that it’s hot out or it’s more comfortable or she likes how she looks in it or everything else is in the laundry or she wants to get a tan or maybe she likes women and wants attention from them, not from men?
The result of all this is that many men, even kind and well-meaning men, believe, however subconsciously, that women’s bodies are for them. They are for them to look at, for them to pass judgment on, for them to bless with a compliment if they deign to do so. They are not for women to enjoy, take pride in, love, accept, explore, show off, or hide as they please. They are for men and their pleasure."
— (via thecouscousqueen)
The odds of being attacked by a shark in the US are 1 in 11,500,000, but no one gets mad at people who want to avoid the ocean.
The odds of a woman being sexually assaulted in her lifetime are 1 in 6, but if she doesn’t feel safe around strange men she’s a stereotyping bitch.
Strange old world we live in.
I’m really tired of being offended all the time
I’m tired of not being able to enjoy movies because I can see that every character is white
I’m tired of wincing with disdain during every other TV show because of all the misogyny
I’m tired of being the bad guy because I call people out when they say something incredibly racist, sexist, or homophobic
I’m tired of people looking at me like I’ve personally hurt them when I ask them not to use “gay” and “retarded” as pejoratives
I’m tired of hearing that it’s okay for white people to say the N-Word as long as they would “never say it for real,” because the fact is if you’re saying it at all, you’re saying it for real
I’m tired of needing to be ever-vigilant on the radio in case Taylor Swift comes on because the slut-shaming makes me so angry
I’m tired of the fact that advocating for equality makes you the wet blanket, because I can’t “just let people have a good time” if it’s at the expense of the oppressed
I’m tired of being told the things that I find repugnant are not as big a deal as I’m making them, and everyone could just get on with their lives if I just “lightened up”
I’m tired of being told that my serious medical condition is just me being “melodramatic” or “attention-seeking,” and that the cure is “being strong” and “getting over it”
I’m tired of people thinking poetry is a more reliable indicator of the state of my brain than the actual science behind it
I’m tired of people thinking that bigotry is just another alternative opinion, just as valid as any other opinion out there
I’m tired of people misunderstanding “I respect your right to an opinion” as “I respect your opinion,” because a lot of the time I don’t respect your opinion, and I respect you less for having an opinion I find reprehensible
I’m tired of people using religion as a crutch to further their own hatred, because it robs legitimately faithful people of credibility and because I want no part of any religion that actually advocates the things people use it to back up
I’m tired of people without religion trash-talk anyone who does have it, because they’re just adding fuel to the fire that they claim they’d rather not have any part of.
I’m tired of people acting like the most horrible things in the world are inevitabilities, and the best we can do is to treat the symptoms, usually after the damage is done
I’m tired of people enforcing rules on others, then getting upset when someone tries to apply those same rules to them
I’m tired of watching as the human race proves time and time again that we can’t be trusted to provide a world where the majority of our members are not living in subjugation
I wish people would stop doing these things, because I’m really tired of being offended all the time. It’s exhausting.
because pitting yourself against other women and ~~taking their man~~ for funzies
is soooo feminist.
same with the whole trend of I WILL WEAR RED LIPSTICK AND HIGH HEELS AS I LEAVE A TRAIL OF DEAD MEN IN MY PATH-style posts
more than just not getting it at all, the violent imagery in so-called tumblr feminism disturbs me.
"Feminists fuck better." Please stop. Men still hate you. "Watch me smash patriarchy while reverse cow-girlin’ you." He still thinks you’re a bitch. "I only fuck feminists." Thanks for letting me know nothing’s really changed. "Feminists can be sexy and cute!" I don’t care for mollifying feminism; you’re only trying to make it palpable for men. "Some porn stars are empowered by porn!" Individual empowerment doesn’t speak for macro-social repercussions of the very same industry; the majority of actresses in pornography go through shootings with the help of alcohol and drugs in order to numb the physical and mental abuse they suffer. Much of your individualistic understanding of empowerment and agency is very much complicit with patriarchal violence. So.
See, what you need to understand is that “Not all guys like that” is never going to work. Because you’re answering an entirely different conversation than what women are actually saying.
You think women are saying “Every man is a predator and a danger to me.” And you’re replying, “But I’m not like that.”
But women aren’t saying that. They’re saying “There are too many situations where women have to worry about their safety,” and you’re saying “That’s not important.” They’re saying “Women are constantly told it’s their fault if something bad happens,” and you’re saying “Don’t worry about it.” They’re saying “Too often, women find their trust violated by men,” and you’re saying “But you should trust me!”
They’re saying “So many men have decided that what they want is more important than anything about a woman.” And you’re replying “I’m exactly like that.”
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