Friday, October 17, 2014

Is Radical Feminism Totalist?

(Totalist in the sense of ideological totalism.)

No, of course it isn't. Radical feminism is a framework of ideas, and an amazingly incisive and liberatory one at that.

Some radical feminists certainly do practice ideological totalism, however.

When I can spend half my waking hours writing and posting about the harms of gender, defending women's language and spaces - imperiling my own employment in the process - and still be attacked as a lesbophobic dick-licking enemy of women because I grant a handful of pro-feminist transwomen (all of whom actively fight the dominant narrative of transgender identity politics at personal cost to themselves) the pronoun "she" - that's ideological totalism.

I'm not saying this because oh-my-poor-feelings - although I am a human being and I don't deserve to be constantly trashed by my so-called "sisters" - but because women desperately need radical feminism and totalist behavior alienates them from it.
  • When you shame strangers on the internet for not knowing the feminist academic use of the term "gender," it might make you feel superior, but you're not actually educating anyone.
  • When you shame strangers on the internet for having empathy for transwomen, they aren't going to stick around to hear your analysis of the gendered expectations of empathy
  • When you repeatedly attack women who dare to only agree with 95% of your opinions, you can bet women who are curious about those opinions but already nervous about the current political climate are going to head for the hills.
  • When you repeatedly state that gender is a social construct but go on to behave as if you believe all individual males are innately evil, you both undermine your own argument and alienate the great majority of women who have no choice but to live in a world of men - many of whom they love in one way or another.
  • Furthermore, when you behave as if being born into a dominant class erases one's possibility for personal moral development - and you are white - you really do appear to be ignoring white supremacy in a manner usually reserved for ignorant racists.

Radical feminism is not an i-dentity through which one can establish one's superiority to other women. Radical feminism is an invaluable framework of ideas that is vital for women to access, but which is misrepresented and monstered to such a degree that it takes a lot of patient, honest, painful work to connect women with those ideas. Please consider the effect of your behavior on the women who need the analyses you claim to hold.

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