One who can define their entire political belief system in a single word is likely a simplistic and ideological minded person, lacking in nuance and intellectual curiosity. This blog has perhaps been somewhat hard on Libertarians; such as when it contended they live in an upside-down nonsense world. Nevertheless, there are still certain issues this author agrees with Libertarians on, such as the decriminalization of drugs and the demilitarization of American police forces. This is the same with those who self-identify as “Feminists”, issues including access to abortion and paid maternity leave are important for women and society as a whole. The term “Feminism” seems to be the it-word of 2014; Celebrities have been quick to either attach or detach themselves from the term as if it was a rite of passage. Words which are overused have their meaning diluted, arguably this has happened to the term “Feminism”.
What is meant by “Feminism” in this article? What does anyone mean by “Feminism”? There seems to be a general agreement that the term means the belief system in which men and women should be treated as social and political equals, a statement which is perfectly agreeable. Can one agree with this sentence, yet choose not to self-identify as a “Feminist”? The term has become so laden with connotations and caveats that it is impossible to adhere to them all. There are many people who admire the actions and teachings of Christ, yet do not self-identify as “Christians”. Many contemporary “Feminists” have taken a decidedly anti-scientific bent, are aggressively capitalistic with their praise of concocted pop stars and female CEOs, have taken to pillorying individuals rather than institutions, and furthermore, are not adverse to using people’s fears and prejudices as motivational tools. In short, “Feminism” has become the gutter politics of the Left. “Feminism” is similar to Far-Right political movements in this capacity. How did the “Feminist” movement become what it is today?
Arguably, the seeds of the issues with modern “Feminism” began with the nativity of the movement. Powerful forces within the Capitalist class quickly realized the utility of the movement from an early stage, most importantly for the Suffragists was the participation of tobacco companies. False parades were organized where young women would smoke in public en masse, the term coined by the PR machine was “Torches of Freedom”. Smoking cigarettes quickly became a symbol of the liberated woman, as hitherto it was considered improper for a well-to-do lady to smoke. As such, the tobacco companies were losing a significant proportion of their potential market. The Suffragists, “suffragette” was in fact a derogatory term used at the time, were a loose collection of different important figures and societies. Two early, and very large, women’s movements are not often mentioned in “Feminist” narratives of history, for obvious reasons.
One important early women’s society that wielded substantial political influence during the first-half of the twentieth century was the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU); which at its height had nearly half a million members. The WCTU was instrumental in the creation of anti-alcohol laws in America during the 1920’s. Alcohol was blamed for spousal abuse, poverty, and all number of social ills, especially those relating to women and children. A contemporary women’s organization was the Women’s Auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan (WKKK), which had nearly 250,000 members, some estimates go as high as three million. A predominant fear among the WKKK was the rape of white women by black men. The viral “cat-calling video” is a modern echo of this sensibility. Whereas these organizations did stress “traditional” roles for women as wives and mothers, nevertheless it was controversial by the standards of the time for women to express political opinions at all, let alone form political societies. Arguably, these organizations were “Feminists” by the moral norms of the 1900’s. “Feminists” have long used people’s fears and prejudices as a motivational tool. Furthermore, “Feminism” has always been a predominantly middle class and white social movement.
A prominent “Second-Wave Feminist” was Gloria Steinem, arguably the unofficial loudspeaker of the movement. It came to the attention of several “Feminist” organizations, as well as The New York Times, that Steinem had been in the employ of the C.I.A. and several of her organizations had received C.I.A. funding. It is this author’s opinion that modern “Feminism” was facilitated by the C.I.A. as an attempt to split the Political Left during Cold War; thus placing the emphasis on gender rather than criticisms of Capital. As, if “Feminism” was truly a radical and revolutionary force, why do major music, clothing, and personal hygiene companies cling to and utilize the idea to their strongest capacity? Remember, Dove and Axe are owned by the same parent company.
Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century women have made great strides throughout the Western World. Nevertheless, the Women’s Movement has been subject to the same biases, prejudices, and fears which permeate the societies they were created in and subject to the same frailties of nature. Like any ideology, “Feminists” ignore facts which contradict their belief-system. Anti-rape rhetoric is problematic as it ignores human nature, which is often violent, brutal, and selfish. Replace “rape” with “murder”, which, too, is often committed by men, and women are more likely to be killed by men than other women, would render a “Feminist” polemic laughably utopian. One never hears “murder culture” despite the shocking violence in television, cinema, and music on a daily basis. No amount of “Sultwalks” will end rape, humanity is comprised of apes in silk. Those who would like to see positive charge for women should seek positive changes for society as a whole, looking to economic factors leading to inequality. Such as issues like paid maternity leave and government-funded abortion. These pivotal steps forward for women were part of a greater call for a social safety network during the first half of the twentieth century. But those things are boring and hard.
And that is why I am not a “Feminist”.