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Why We Still Need Feminism


#1

Why We Still Need Feminism

Jill Richardson

From his campaign rhetoric to his transition appointments, our next president has placed himself squarely in a conservative movement calling itself the “alt-right.” That movement, the Los Angeles Times reports, “generally embraces and promotes white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.”


#2

Feminism is a whole lot more than what Jill Richardson writes.

Feminism is a "worldview." It's not just about women's right to equal pay, birth control, right to vote, etc. It's about the rights of all people to live side by side, not be subjected to "power over" tactics by an authoritarian "head."

Rather than hierarchical, it is egalitarian. It allows for men to take childcare leave after the birth of a child. It allows for men to stay home with their children while the wife goes to work--if they so choose--without stigma. It allows for a world where gender, color, ethnicity, religious preference, are considered a desirable diversity, rather than a point of contention.

It means that people and the planet are looked at as equally important members rather than "males" being considered more valuable. Feminism changes the world from a Patriarchal fight to the death, winner take all, to a cooperative, interdependent system.


#3

The statistic showing a pay gap is not based on "same work". It is based merely on full-time employment (more than 35 hours per week). It doesn't take into account that full-time employed men work more hours per week on average. It also doesn't take into account different career paths, or women who sometimes place other priorities higher than career advancement. Some of the difference is also related to hazard. For every one woman killed in a workplace accident, ten men are killed. Are feminists complaining about that particular gender inequality? Do they say anything at all about it?

"And because our bodies still don’t enjoy the full protection of the law."

Hard to argue with that. Not because it's a strong point but because it's so vague it's practically meaningless. What protection of the law, what legal right, do men in the U.S. have which women do not?

"To put a finer point on it, the Stanford rapist served just three months in jail for raping a girl behind a dumpster."

In order for that to be an example of why Feminism is still needed, it first must be shown that the leniency of that sentence was the product of systemic gender inequity, and not an aberration, or being due to some other factor, like Turner being a white, well-connected star athlete at a prestige college. Would a white homeless man have gotten the same sentence? Would a black man? Second, it needs to be explained exactly how Feminism would have prevented such a sentence, particularly in light of the fact that this sentence happened after decades of feminism, and that the sentence was based in part on the recommendation of Turner's probation officer, Monica Lassettre, that he receive a "moderate" county jail sentence with formal probation. And third, if this lenient sentence was truly a reflection of a broader societal attitude, why was there overwhelming outrage and condemnation of it?

And while Feminists are up in arms over this one sentence, we hear nothing but crickets from their quarters when it comes to the whopping prosecutorial and sentencing gap between the genders. That looks like they are being highly selective with their outrage.

"Feminism isn’t about hating men"

Contrast Feminists reaction to Brock Turner's excessively lenient sentence to their reaction when Lorena Bobbitt was only sentenced to a 45 day evaluation. I don't recall any Feminist outrage over that. In fact, I specifically recall Bobbitt being celebrated as a hero in Feminist circles. Feminism may not be solely about man-hating, but it clearly has that component. And I suspect that's a major reason Feminism is dying even while egalitarianism is dramatically on the rise. In recent U.S. polls, the percentage of people who self-identify as Feminists has fallen to less than 20%, while the number of people who endorse equal rights and opportunities has grown to more than 80%. From 1992 to 2013, the number of people who embrace equality in the U.S. gained by around 100 million, while the number who identify as Feminists fell by 27 million, and the divide is even larger in younger populations so that difference will become even more pronounced as the boomers die off. And as Feminists become more irrelevant and their numbers dwindle, I expect they will become increasingly fringe, ideological, radical, and detached from mainstream reality.

A brief vignette of the modern face of Feminism--and the skeptical face many women are having in response:

"It’s about women wanting to be treated like human beings who matter."

That's already covered by egalitarianism. So why is Feminism needed? What does Feminism provide which egalitarianism does not?


#4

Agreed that human rights and civil rights for all should be the focus.

The 1%'s goal is neofeudalism whereby only the 1% have rights while the 99% do not. Their strategy is to whittle away rights from minorities, women in the 99% ranks and once that is accomplished whittle away white male 99%ers' rights.


#5

You're working a little too hard at it. And why is your singular example relevant when Richardson's wasn't?


#6

Which singular example are you talking about?


#7

Get over yourself. I'll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy, which particularly includes mansplainers.


#8

The vignette wasn't intended as proof that Feminism is on the decline. That much is established by the statistics. It was just a succinct example of the optics behind the trend. (And by the way, the person at the podium while Trigglypuff was pitching her fit was Christina Hoff Sommers--a woman who considered herself a Feminist during Second Wave Feminism.) But there are plenty of other examples available. And again, it isn't just the example but the reaction to it. The likes of Trigglypuff and Chanty Binx are embraced by Feminism, where Turner's light sentence was denounced from all quarters, including by non- and anti-Feminists.

"Get over yourself."

And I'm supposed to obey your command why? You're sure it isn't you with the inflated sense of your own importance?

"I'll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy, which particularly includes mansplainers."

"Mansplaining" is the justification Feminists use for dismissing any proposition, argument, evidence, or theory they don't like merely because it comes from a man. (If it comes from a woman, it's called "internalized misogyny".) Not that it's anything new for Feminists to stick their fingers in their ears, but even they realized that looks bad, so they needed a pretext. Personally, I like it. It's good enough to satisfy them that they have dispatched inconvenient positions without actually responding or mounting any counterarguments. I wish them all the success they deserve with that strategy.


#9

Good lord, I just got "mansplaining" mansplained to me. Yeah, I think we still need feminism.


#10

Or to anyone who happened to be reading. And your response was consistent with my account.

"Yeah, I think we still need feminism."

Every true believer takes the existence of people who don't buy into their ideology as confirmation that their ideology is needed.


#11

All writers (professional) have limitations, words per article etc. Also no mention of abortion rights.


#12

And speaking of rape, a bit of a different point of view, not seen elsewhere. Maybe pro-choice can include this viewpoint:

"Abolition of a woman's right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State."
—Edward Abbey


#13

Yes, feminism does matter. While the more general rubric of egalitarianism matters (of which feminism is an aspect), each tacit hierarchical class structure must still be dealt with in its own particular context (which, in the modern-day historical context, manifests as capitalism).

In other words, both the general and the particular have to be dealt with, not one at the expense of the other. To stick to only the general (egalitarianism) almost always ends up in a dismissal of legitimate feminist concerns. On the other hand, to stick to only the particular (feminism) too often results in mere identity politics, which is content to deal with social issues but not the underlying economic situation that reinforces all hierarchies.

There is a mutually supportive relationship between both aspects, just as a tree root and its many branches. We shouldn't lose sight of either. Egalitarianism without acknowledging the legitimate claims of feminism is empty words -- feminism without recognizing the broader egalitarian struggle is impotent. As a leftist, I'd say both aspects are necessary and essential.


#14

Or to sum up more eloquently with the words of MLK, who understood the bigger picture:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."


#15

I am unfamiliar with this phenomenon. Can you think of an example of a legitimate concern which American Feminists have which egalitarians are dismissing?


#16

Look back at your earlier comments. Your whole assumption that a feminist needs your mansplaining is a good example. Why don't you try listening for a change instead of dominating?


#17

I notice you did not answer the question. And a question isn't an explanation.


#18

You are either no egalitarian or an excellent example of how feminism is distinguished from egalitarianism. This is not your discussion to control. I am not here to answer your demands.


#19

In case you didn't notice, in every exchange between us here, it was you who initiated, and I presume nobody was dominating you and forcing you to do that. And if you respond to a question (which was not even addressed to you) with a non-response, it isn't a form of domination to point out that you failed to address the very question you were responding to. Nor is such an observation a demand. (I'm pretty sure I haven't used an imperative sentence yet in this thread--unlike you)

The only part of this discussion I've been controlling is my own contribution, just as the only person responsible for your comments is you. If you don't like how I've been responding to the comments you direct at me, there is a very simple and obvious solution. You don't even have to lift a finger to type a single keystroke. (But if you can't figure out what the solution is, I'll be happy to explain it to you.)


#20

I think it's quite obvious what I'm talking about here, but to spell it out even more plainly:

"I am not a feminist, I am a humanist." Another variant: "I am not a feminist, I am an equalist." This kind of sentiment gets bandied about so often that it's become a tiresome cliche. It is exactly analogous to the myopic reaction to Black Lives Matter, saying "All lives matter."

Broadly saying you're for "equal rights" sounds all very nice, but that means drilling down to the specific details in the myriad ways in which equal rights is undermined, in the context of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Equal rights are undermined in different ways, and hence the need for those social issues to be addressed in those specific contexts -- instead of evading it with the disingenuous rhetorical ploy of "equal rights."