June 07, 2005

Foundations of modern liberalism

Via Pandagon, an excellent post explaining why feminism is NOT just a woman’s issue

One of the most disheartening things for those of us who consider ourselves feminists is the sense that it has become a ghetto term; the Right was successful in labeling us as man-hating FemiNazis (or, as one recent Dkos poster referred to us: “menstruating she-devils”), when the irony is that feminism is the bedrock of progressive politics. Feminism links the private with the political, interrogates how restrictions on personal behaviour echoes out to national policy, and understands gender not as “sex,” but as power—who has it, who wants it, and how those in power get to portray those who do not.[...]

You do not have to be a woman to recognize that gender and feminism are inextricably tied to the progressive agenda. You do not have to be a woman to recognize that when progressive males start shitting on so-called women’s issues, they are missing the point. If you do not understand how power works, how it is rooted in the binary oppositions that we ascribe to the sexes, then you will continue to focus on saving one tree while the entire forest is being razed.

This was one of the great achievements of feminism's so-called Second Wave: feminist theory. Bundled together with the work of intellectuals writing explicitly from queer and 'ethnic' points of view, 'Theory' became the foundation for our contemporary understanding of social science and philosophy. Beyond just marginalizing more than half the electorate, dismissing 'cultural issues' as unimportant shit means discarding the grounds for progressivism as we know it.

No comments: