America’s Next Bill Clinton!


My problem with so-called “Radical” feminism.
December 26, 2007, 7:02 pm
Filed under: 2nd-wave feminism, 3rd wave feminism, Feminism, liberal feminism, social justice

I am taking this off for now, so I can properly write an entry without seeming as though I am attacking the Radicals.

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27 Comments so far
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Wow…so instead of acceptance and unification you long for you are going to add your voice to the Us vs. Them divisiveness you don’t like in feminism?

My personal ideals are probably in line with radical feminism with how you have described it. I’m new to the community of Feminism in general so I will claim no allegience.

I have been reading blogs of “Radical Feminists” occasionally I disagree with a specific point but in general they seem to poing out accurate deconstructions.

I believe in gender decounstruction. The fact that you fall in love with and have sex with women doesn’t mean that these activities should be inherently “Gendered” as you claim they are. I have sex with men because I am partial to beards and penises and women don’t tend to have them. But many people view love and sex as activities with another human. and While the individual mechanics of sex may change depending on the gender and sexual organs of those involved, I would say it shouldn’t be seen as a gendered activity.

Saying such things meantwo women cannot have sex together since they don’t fit the gender constraints.

You say, “I don’t question their hearts and intentions” but then compare them to Fred Phelps and say that they have “given feminism a black eye” That’s a bit rude and just plain mean.

And I would hazard that there are as many 3rd-wave armchair feminists as there are 2nd-wave ones. So calling them all lazy is a bit much as well.

Also, you have never been culturally required to have shaved pits or legs or long beautiful hair or wear a bra, so I’m going to side with the radicals and say you have not business saying “we” don’t fulfill these gross stereotypes of icky feminists. because I’m young and have hair on my legs. by making that statement you shut people like me out of the “we”, out of YOUR view of feminism.

That is not cool…. especially for a MAN to say that WOMEN like me aren’t welcome.

privalege check dude.

Comment by nakedthoughts

Hah! In this case, nakedthoughts, you’re the privileged one – you’re part of the in group, you have power as a member of the dominant and normative class within this general dialogue. I suggest that *you* are the one who needs a “privilege check”.

Comment by Mike

I did not identify myself as a specific type of feminist. So which group gives me privalge? I’m white, so Yes, I do have privilege. But being a hairy legged Female vegan nudist puts me in the minority in a lot of situations.

yes my Comment was a bit pissed off. I felt like I was being thrown into a category of “ew icky hairy legged feminists.” And I think Someone who is the president of a feminist chapter at his school should not be so exclusionary, especially one who has concerns about his privilege getting in the way.

Please read a primer on privilege it is a really good discussion on what privilege is in a very inclusive way.

Comment by nakedthoughts

You’re privileged within the context of the subject of feminism. Privilege is a useful concept, albeit a possibly overused/abused one, but it’s not a universal, either.

I can point in my case to disprivilege where you would probably have privilege in certain situations – but what would be the point? It’s not terribly relevant in the context of feminism, where privilege is given to women. Context is important.

Comment by Mike

You don’t know this guy do you? He’s a pretty reasonable guy mnost of the time, and he’s responded very nicely to my criticism by trying to rephrase his concerns. He’s also a president of a feminist organization, so I’m sure he really doesn’t mean to alienate me as a feminist. but he holds a position of power in a FEMINIST organization. I don’t. So how exactly am I that much more privileged than him in this circle?

Comment by nakedthoughts

Ah, but privilege is general. Specific examples of disprivilege by a member of a privileged group in no way disprove privilege. For example, my being denied certain privileges doesn’t stop my being a member of a group which is historically privileged, does it?

No, I don’t know him personally… But that’s rather not the point; the idea of doing away with all privilege depends upon our speaking out against it if we encounter it.

Comment by Mike

Naked – I am not meaning to divide any one group – as a member of any group I have a responsibility to take criticism to move the movement forward, as well as criticize if I see something as not being in-line with what our ideals are.

No one owns feminism – I have just as much of a right to be in it as you do – but it is important for me to take certain of your experiences into account. I did not do that with the original post, and am working on a new one. I never meant to exclude anyone.

Comment by ProFeministMale

Mike – I think it all depends on where in feminism you look – because there are privileges in said groups for both males and females.

Recognizing those privileges are important – just as I realize that being in said group brings a certain privilege, I also realize that privilege within the group is not divided into the haves and the have-nots.

There are certain times in the movement when I shut up and listen – not because I am not privileged, but because I realized that I am privileged, and to speak would mean to further my privilege …but to be honest, sometimes I am just afraid I’d get my ass beat.

I appreciate you two having a civil dialogue …what happened a few days ago was …yeah, out of control.

Comment by ProFeministMale

Well, as I see it, it comes down to how serious we are about eliminating privilege: if we’re at all committed to the ideal of eliminating it as a defining factor in relationships personal and public, it does need to be recognised and called out, whoever is saying it. Like I said, I think privilege is not a universal, and context is important.

I wouldn’t, for example, let myself be told what my masculinity should mean to me by a woman (or a man, come to that), but I’d definitely listen to her thoughts, give them consideration and act on them if I thought it appropriate. That’s just giving all of us our due as adult human beanz.

Comment by Mike

I appreciate that thought – often times, what it means to be something is defined for us …and thus we make ourselves into such. That was a big struggle for me at the early point of my feminist expedition – I gave a shit what others thought was not feministic. Now, so long as I can properly defend my feminism (and even doing so is not needed), I am happy with myself.

Comment by ProFeministMale

Yeah, stereotype threat and all that jazz (although, tbh, that has always sounded to me like a rather sensationalist mode of describing self-fulfilling prophecy); it does also make me wonder, as well, whether the constant call of “rape culture” and “negative masculinity” sometimes has the opposite effect to that intended. It’s too often couched in hostile tones, which immediately puts people on the defensive and prone to do the opposite of what the person making the claims intends. Plus, I do find the attitude of “contemporary masculinity offends me, therefore you should change it to X” to be presumptuous and hypocritical.

Sorry. Wandered OT a bit there.

Comment by Mike

God forbid people be hostile re: the rape culture.

:eye roll:

Where is this scathing review of radical feminism, anyway, PFM?

Comment by SarahMC

Sarah – still working on it. 🙂 I am going to, rather than discussing the problems with radical feminism, ask what the friction between liberal 3rd-wave feminism and 2nd-wave radical feminism, might be …

Comment by ProFeministMale

PFM: Not to stick my oar in where it’s unwanted, but will you be dealing with the overarching philosophical difference regarding radical feminism’s borrowings of Marxist theoritical structures versus the more centrist/liberal* underpinnings of later feminists?

Sarah: Well, gods forbid someone actually shows the evidence for the supposed overweening rape culture, rather than simply asserting it. If you said “violence culture which has rape as one aspect“, you might have a shot at doing it.

And gods forbid someone actually realising that once de jure legality has been won, the only way to win social equality is by winning hearts and minds, which you can’t do by alienating the class of people whose behaviour you wish to reform.

But that’s just me – I’d rather see evidence for assertions and not see entire groups of people stereotyped based on the actions of a few of them.
</snark&gt

Comment by Mike

Who’s stereotyping? Asserting that there is, indeed, a rape culture at play in almost every society on earth has nothing to *do* with stereotypes.

Now let me see your evidence that there’s a “violence culture.” Come on now!

Comment by SarahMC

Or, just an idea, you could defend your viewpoint, rather than simply dodging the issue. Attempting to shift the burden of proof does you no favours.

Comment by Mike

This is a feminist blog, Mike. If you want to learn about feminism, do your homework yourself. I am not shifting the burden of proof. I am calling you on your claim that talking about rape culture is “stereotyping” when in reality no stereotypes are being made.

Comment by SarahMC

Mike-

You really are comming off as – well see women have places they are privileged so my privilege isn’t a big deal and therefore feminism is meaningless.

Maybe I’m being defensive given the shit I tend to encounter on a regular basis leads me to this conclusion.

Please clarify your position as I recognise that I can be prematurely defensive.

Profeminist- I don’t think you don’t have a place in Feminism, I was just frustrated that as some one so active in feminism and as someone who makes claims of wantin political power you would write something sounding so divisive. I understand you felt cut out of feminism, but that doesn’t mean you should use language that cuts out those people in return.

Comment by nakedthoughts

This is a feminist blog, Mike. If you want to learn about feminism, do your homework yourself. I am not shifting the burden of proof. I am calling you on your claim that talking about rape culture is “stereotyping” when in reality no stereotypes are being made.

Or, again, you could avoid fallacies – you’re trying to knock down a strawman. I didn’t say that talking about a “rape culture” was stereotyping, although I admit that I might have been clearer in expressing my thoughts; rather that the rhetoric of the “rape culture” meme is commonly expressed in stereotypical and hostile terms. I also think, as I said, that it’s an invalid conclusion.

You really are comming off as – well see women have places they are privileged so my privilege isn’t a big deal and therefore feminism is meaningless.

Maybe I’m being defensive given the shit I tend to encounter on a regular basis leads me to this conclusion.

Please clarify your position as I recognise that I can be prematurely defensive.

Well, I may not have been 100% clear, so apologies for that. My point is that privilege is not a universal, and that localised privilege can and does override generic privilege – as in feminist circles the privilege is given to women over men. This is absolutely not to assert that any privilege I have is meaningless or that women’s privilege within feminism makes up for a general climate of male privilege.

Comment by Mike

And further apologies to all for taking so long to reply. I’m very distractible, and… Hey, look! That dog has a puffy tail!

Comment by Mike

This is absolutely not to assert that any privilege I have is meaningless or that women’s privilege within feminism makes up for a general climate of male privilege.

So what exactly are you trying to assert by discussing localized privilege in this thread? The way I see it, and I would venture to say that this is how most other women feminists see it, is that generic privilege overrides what you call “localized” privilege all the damn time. That’s why it’s privilege. Feminist activism is shifting/transforming that privilege hierarchy in localized situations, such as on this blog — nakedthoughts is a woman and thereby of a lower privilege caste in the patriarchy. When she calls out PFM on his privilege in a discussion of feminism, she is not ab/using her privilege, she is employing feminist activist tactics. When you say she’s privileged in this discussion, you’re effectively silencing her and telling her that what she has to say doesn’t matter. There’s a difference between knowing something about the subject matter and being privileged by an institution.

Comment by L

So what exactly are you trying to assert by discussing localized privilege in this thread?

That privilege is not an absolute… Which is what I believe I said.

The way I see it, and I would venture to say that this is how most other women feminists see it, is that generic privilege overrides what you call “localized” privilege all the damn time. That’s why it’s privilege.

Well, it’s your privilege (pun fully intended) to believe so.

Feminist activism is shifting/transforming that privilege hierarchy in localized situations, such as on this blog — nakedthoughts is a woman and thereby of a lower privilege caste in the patriarchy.

It must be nice to see things in so black and white a fashion. And intimating that this blog, of all places, is an outpost of partriarchy is a bit much; if anything, PFM seems inclined to give women’s views too much weight. Not equal weight, which is right and correct, but privilege.

When she calls out PFM on his privilege in a discussion of feminism, she is not ab/using her privilege, she is employing feminist activist tactics. When you say she’s privileged in this discussion, you’re effectively silencing her and telling her that what she has to say doesn’t matter.

You’re a mind-reader? I’m saying that she is privileged within this context, and that a “privilege check” is an abuse of that same. I don’t recall actually discussing what she was saying outside of that tactic.

There’s a difference between knowing something about the subject matter and being privileged by an institution.

There’s also a difference between a monkey and limousine. How is your comment even germane? Women are privileged over men in the feminist context, particularly the radical feminist context – their views are assumed to be normative and given greater weight. That is privilege.

Comment by Mike

Mike, you’re clearly having difficulties both reading my comments and understanding the concept of privilege, especially male privilege as it connects to feminist discourse. PFM and you, being males in a society that privileges males and that heavily informs this particular blog, are experiencing a minor challenge to your male privilege and you both seem to be interpreting that challenge as oppression. You are not being oppressed by a woman talking. You are not being oppressed by a few women talking. You are not even being oppressed by a few women disagreeing with your every word. You have the privilege, Mike, of ignoring what nakedthoughts and I are saying to you on this thread because you are not oppressed by us in every other sphere of your life. You can leave your computer, go out into the world, and generally expect to be supported, rewarded, and lauded by the virtue of your gender identity/expression.

Calling out localized oppression is useless and really stupid when it reinforces the global oppression of the patriarchy.

Comment by L

“PFM seems inclined to give women’s views too much weight. Not equal weight, which is right and correct, but privilege.”

Wow. What PFM does is allow women to speak about their experiences. That’s right – women writing about how sexism affects them. Sexism is something we experience in a number of different ways. Men don’t deserve equal time to talk about how THEY think sexism affects women, or to assert that it doesn’t really exist. That is just DISMISSING women’s feelings and experiences.

Would you visit an anti-racist blog and tell the commenters you thought it privileged minority voices over white voices?

We’ve heard your voice. It’s dominated and drowned our voices out for ages. Black people have heard white people’s voices. We don’t need you to tell us how things work.

Comment by SarahMC

L:

Mike, you’re clearly having difficulties both reading my comments and understanding the concept of privilege, especially male privilege as it connects to feminist discourse.

I disagree with you as to the scope and variance of the concept of privilege; it’s not a difficult concept to get, and nor is it exclusive to feminism. Don’t translate disagreement to ignorance: that’s supremely arrogant.

PFM and you, being males in a society that privileges males and that heavily informs this particular blog, are experiencing a minor challenge to your male privilege and you both seem to be interpreting that challenge as oppression.

You can save the ad hominem armchair psychology for someone who’ll be impressed by it.

You are not being oppressed by a woman talking. You are not being oppressed by a few women talking. You are not even being oppressed by a few women disagreeing with your every word.

I never said I was. Try not attacking a strawman, why don’t you?

You have the privilege, Mike, of ignoring what nakedthoughts and I are saying to you on this thread because you are not oppressed by us in every other sphere of your life. You can leave your computer, go out into the world, and generally expect to be supported, rewarded, and lauded by the virtue of your gender identity/expression.

That’s a gross overstatement of the situation, a simplification to support a rhetorical panic. Disadvantaged? Sure. Severely disadvantaged in many areas? Absolutely. Factually correct and supportable. Oppressed? No. That’s the self-serving oratory of your particular ideology.

Calling out localized oppression is useless and really stupid when it reinforces the global oppression of the patriarchy.

Yeah, it’s easier to make blanket statements in agreement with what you already believe, when individuals’ behaviours are interpreted only in the light of class relationships; no thanks. It didn’t convince me when Marxism did it, and it doesn’t convince me when radfems do it, either.
Great, sweeping statements are useless and even more stupid because they don’t address any problems themselves; action by individuals on an individual level is, short of society as a whole, the only way to address social imbalance in a meaningful way.

Sarah:

Wow. What PFM does is allow women to speak about their experiences. That’s right – women writing about how sexism affects them. Sexism is something we experience in a number of different ways. Men don’t deserve equal time to talk about how THEY think sexism affects women, or to assert that it doesn’t really exist. That is just DISMISSING women’s feelings and experiences.

And where did I say that sexism doesn’t exist? Would you like to actually provide some examples and evidence to back that up, or would you like to just go ahead and apologise to save time? I said PFM gives female voices greater weight, even to the point of seeming submissive and obsequious. That’s not a healthy attitude for any individual to take, no matter who s/he does it with.

Would you visit an anti-racist blog and tell the commenters you thought it privileged minority voices over white voices?

Not the same issue.

We’ve heard your voice. It’s dominated and drowned our voices out for ages. Black people have heard white people’s voices. We don’t need you to tell us how things work.

And back to interpreting people via class instead. When you find me actively joining a class of oppressors and doing people down for being black, or women or whatever, then you can accuse me of being an oppressor. In the meantime, how about you return the courtesy of treating me like a human being? You know nothing about me, but you are applying a stereotype according to your own preconceptions of what I am. Sound at all familiar?

I’m really getting fed up with the hypocrisy I see from people who claim to be dedicated to destroying harmful, unfair stereotyping. I guess the old saw that empty vessels make the loudest noise is appropriate at this point.

I am so done with this conversation.

Comment by Mike

“I am so done with this conversation.”

Of course you are. Your God-given authority on all matters as the white dude isn’t being deferred to by all parties, so by all means you should take your ball and go home. How dare women and minorities claim to have a more personal understanding of patriarchal oppression than you do. Damn harpies!

Comment by snobographer




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