Friday, September 18, 2015

We're All Anti-feminists Now

Feminists often say that feminism is just a movement for the social, political,  and economic equality for women in relation to men. They go by the 'dictionary definition' of feminism. With a quick Google, we get:
the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Nothing groundbreaking there. The thing is that there are many different brands of feminism: radical, sex-positive, sex-negative, equity, intersectional, and a few others that I'm not familiar enough to talk about. The problem is that some of these brands of feminism are mutually exclusive (sex-positive vs sex-negative, for example). So what does Feminism really mean? Looking at these categories, it depends on who you ask.

Summary of some Feminisms (not an exhaustive list)
Radical Feminism: Gender is purely a social construct that should be abolished, and that men have been ruling over women through the patriarchal cultural norm. They tend to look poorly on trans individuals. They also tend to be somewhat sex-negative.

Sex-Positive: This feminism views sex as a generally good thing, and celebrates women's choices with respect to sex. They look favorably on sexual liberation. They try to reclaim terms like 'slut' to make them positive terms, rather than smears.

Sex-negative: This is mostly a secondary trait of the particular brand of feminism, and is usually paired with a Marxist view of men = oppressor, women = oppressed. They view sexual choices of women as shaped by the patriarchy so that some choices aren't really choices. Prostitution, pornography, and 'sexual liberation' are considered oppressive and damaging to women, even between consenting adults.

Equity: This is just the view that women and men should have equal legal rights. That's it. No other baggage that I'm aware of. If I have to pick a feminism, this is it for me.

Intersectional: This is a relatively new buzzword, but it is basically looking at the Venn Diagram of oppression and marveling at all the different ways that the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy oppresses everyone except straight white males.

White: This is the label applied to upper middle class feminists by intersectional feminists for not looking at the oppression of non upper middle class white women.

So with all these different feminisms, what is anti-feminism? It doesn't have a nice dictionary definition like Feminism does, but the wiki article gives a decent working definition: An ideological opposition to feminism. The problem: which feminism? The thing is, there are a few mutually exclusive 'feminisms,' like the sex-positive vs sex-negative feminisms. To be one, you must be against the other. This is also illustrated later in the wiki, where some feminist writers are labeled as anti-feminist by other feminists. This means that the people labeling other feminists as anti-feminist are in fact opposed to that form of feminism.

What I take from this is that in order to be feminist, one must also be anti-feminist. To be in favor of one form of feminism is to be against other forms of feminism with which you disagree. This means that you are against feminism, and therefore anti-feminist. So even feminists are anti-feminists, and the term anti-feminist has no meaning.

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