Friday, May 22, 2015

Some feminisms I love, some I pity

A friend emailed me because she thought I was bashing all feminists with Dear feminists upset by last week's Game of Thrones. I was initially annoyed, because I thought the title should make it clear I was addressing a specific subset of feminists. But the friend identifies as feminist and tends to assume all feminists are the same, so I thought I would spell this out:

I identified as a feminist for most of my life, and am still happy to identify as a universalist feminist, a socialist feminist, or an equity feminist, though it's simpler to just be an egalitarian or equalist. My heroes include Sojourner Truth and Eleanor Marx and every woman who has ever worked for full equality for all women.

I pity bourgeois feminists because they channel their outrage against men instead of the system that has historically been primarily exploited by men. I pity academic feminists because they create elaborate theories of gender that have nothing to do with the real world they have never inhabited. I pity identitarian feminists because their obsession keeps them from looking for what lies beneath social identities. I can't hate any of them, because there is something real at the root of their anger, but what's real is misunderstood in a way that does not threaten their privilege or help the exploited. They tend to be more interested in the ability of queens to rule with all the rights of kings than in making a world where we're all free.