India faces an extreme feminism problem
Farewell to liberal feminism
This is a translation of “Leaving Liberal Feminism” by Kate Leigh, courtesy of the author.
To be honest, I can't tell you anymore when I started to join the liberal (oriented) intersectional feminist mindset. It was simply part of my discussion processes and, as a result, my everyday life - online and offline. I followed all of the blogs and pages. I contributed comments, shared content. I advised people to review their privileges and that men need feminism too. Liberal feminism was the only one I knew. Actually, I never called myself a liberal feminist, even though I took his stance. I called myself a “feminist” without knowing that there are other (feminist) orientations.
With my still fresh memories of what went through my head while advocating these beliefs, in the next section I would like to try to describe my experiences from the time of the liberal-feminist perspective. In the final part, I explain why I changed my posture and how it came about.
The liberal-intersectional feminist mentality
Empowered by choice (options)
All decisions are good and right as long as you choose them. Agency is the most important. We must never question another person's decisions. We will defend to the death the inalienable right of every person to make their / his / her own decisions and condemn anyone who undertakes to analyze these decisions in a larger context. As women, any choice we make is a femininist choice by default, provided we are women and choose. Consequently, wearing stilettos or being a "sex worker" is feminist [Quotation marks from troublemakers] to become. Anyone who undertakes to discuss the bigger picture must be silenced in order to defend individual choices.
Because all decisions are good and feminist, I am infallible in everything, it doesn't matter what I choose. It is my right and no one can take it from me. It is personally empowering and defensible.
Everyone has the right to identify themselves and no one has the right to question another person's identity. Identity is innate and internal; it cannot be changed. Identity is what you really are and always have been; it is immutable. Questioning someone's identity is unacceptable. Identities need to be accepted, believed and affirmed by everyone. Someone who dares to do the opposite is booed unquestionably. I am whatever I claim to be. I am alone the way I feel Everyone has to accept me. I feel empowered.
Privilege and Privilege Check
There is a huge and complex system of privileges. We are all privileged in certain areas and not in others. It is up to each person to recognize their own privileges and to demand that the privileges of others be checked. The privileged must never question the less privileged. For example, a white woman should never question a black woman's experiences and decisions. Privileges include - but are not limited to: male privilege, white privilege, Thin-Privileged (privilege to be thin), Able- Privilege (the privilege not to be affected by a disability / illness), economic privilege and: Cis privilege (the privilege of the agreement of biological and socially constructed sex (Gender).
I am aware of my own privileges and review them regularly. I confront people when they fail to recognize their own privilege. I feel superior and self-righteous standing up for the most vulnerable. I respond to those who have fewer privileges than me and I never allow anyone to question them or their experiences. Because I'm Cis, I am never allowed to question anything that has to do with life as a trans person. I am better than people who do not recognize their privilege.
Feminsism is there for everyone
Feminism is not exclusive. We include everyone and take everyone with us. We are convinced that men need feminism too, even if they neither know nor understand the term. Women are not at the center of feminism, nor should we be. We are all supposed to be the same.
I'm more open-minded than most people and again: I feel superior. I think that I support everyone, even if they (whom I want to support) don't even know that they need my help.
Someone Gender is internal and inviolable. Gender is the core of our almighty identity. Gender is simply the innate realization of who you are. Gender-Identity is understood as immutable. Gender and gender do not necessarily have to be the same. The currently declared gender (in the socially constructed sense) of a trans person is their only gender, even if they have spent their entire life in the opposite sex up to this point in time. Trans women are women. Trans women are the most vulnerable, the most oppressed and the most frequently murdered. As a result, they are the most worth protecting, above all other women. Cis women are not allowed to exclude or question trans women under any circumstances. If they did, it would be the same when white women exclude black women: unthinkable.
I accept all people. I am good and open-minded. I am not as prejudiced as other people.
I supported all of this until last spring. I felt good - and good about it - to be aware of my privileges and to pay attention to those less privileged. I made my own decisions and defended the right of every individual to do the same. But one thing kept bothering me. There was something I didn't understand:
"What is a woman?"
I couldn't stop thinking about this question. I asked friends privately and found that they were just as confused. I kept hearing that “trans women are women” and I wanted to understand what that meant. I thought something was wrong with me because I didn't understand it right away. Maybe I was secretly hypocritical in my heart? I felt like I was doing something wrong just because I thought about it in the first place, but it didn't stop me either. I continued to anxiously ask my question (s) whenever an opportunity arose, but the answers weren't enough for me. People replied, "So how do YOU know you're a woman?" But that didn't make it clear up anything, it made it all confuse me even more. My answer, which I had never been granted, was: “I know that because of my body - vulva, uterus, breasts - I am a woman. I am a woman because I menstruate and I can get pregnant. " I couldn't think of a single other criterion that makes a person a woman, beyond the physical condition.
A woman should be allowed to be what she wants, wear whatever she wants, and love everyone she / she wants to love. She should be able to accept femininity as well as get rid of it. Wearing pink doesn't make a woman any more woman, and wearing comfortable shoes doesn't make her any less woman.
During this period I watched trans women on the news and thought that if being a woman is tied to being a woman, then it is you probably women, but not me. Laverne Cox certainly corresponds more to the feminine stereotype than I do. But I also didn't want to change anything about my body or see it as male. Body acceptance has taken an enormously liberating place in my life and the female components belong to my body. And now I should suddenly be forbidden to speak of myself as a woman out of consideration for trans women. Because I was considered “cis” and consequently the oppressor, I was not allowed to question this.
Nevertheless, I decided to question it. I started by asking intersectional feminist Facebook pages when I found something I didn't understand. "If anyone can be a woman, and a woman can have a penis, isn't the term woman completely meaningless?" What does it mean to “feel like a woman inside?”. "If a woman feels in her heart that she is a man, doesn't that make the thought of pregnancy unimaginable?" I asked all of these questions and more. I did so in good faith and sincerely, with no malice or prudence. I really wanted to understand. I wanted to be able to understand my “cis privilege”.
When I started asking questions, things quickly happened. I was referred to as “TERF” ((trans exclusionary radical feminist). Up to this point I hadn't heard of radical feminism. I was told, “Anyone who calls themselves a woman is a woman!” Which was me I pondered the term “C sharp” and found that it didn't suit me because I didn't understand Gender identified. I was told to educate myself. "It is not up to us to teach you." And my comments were deleted, my profile blocked on many sites, some of which I had followed for years.
So I had kind of tried to find some answers online, but now I had to do a new search. I researched “radical feminism”. I looked for discussion groups. I got the idea of Gender as a social construct and it clicked. Suddenly things made sense. I finally found people who helped me answer my questions recommending books, blogs, and articles to read. I finally understood.
There was nothing wrong with me; I was no longer a liberal feminist.
A puzzle comes together
I am still in a process of this. I'm not here to explain radical feminist philosophy, there are enough more educated women than me who do that. There are books. But I can say that by dealing with liberal feminists, I assumed that radical feminists are hateful, narrow-minded people. They are not. Almost every radical feminist I've met is deep and wants a better world for everyone, but first and foremost for women. They don't silence women when they talk about their experiences.
If I look back now, I see how liberal feminism in all its forms is failing women and failing me. By centering men and men's needs, women are sidelined. It fails to be a movement that improves the situation of women and becomes a movement that is only about the individual.
Liberal feminism seldom gives history a place. I also never knew an answer to the troubled question: “Why is that so?”. The answers were there for me to read. There is so much we can learn from the feminists before us, but instead of including this, their work is tossed aside and ignored. Reading Gerda Lerner's “The Origin of Patriarchy” taught me more than the entire time I was a liberal feminist.
There is never any recognition of systems of oppression or of women as a class. Instead, each person is in their own special individual bubble, never allowed to be mixed up with others, never seen as a community, and never seen the whole thing in the context of history. Differences are the focus, not our shared experiences as women in a society that values women less than men.
Liberal feminism never addresses who benefits from the system. Male privileges are something that men should (only) examine, but it is never stated that male privilege is dependent on the submission of women. It is never taken into account that we cannot be equal to men [Troublemaker's note: Radical feminism is about women's liberation and not about equality approaches in which the man is used as a yardstick]. There cannot be a class like that of men without the work and support of a sub-class such as that currently made up by women.
Liberal feminism fails to recognize that decisions are not made in a vacuum. We have to do the best we can to live in a world like this, but that doesn't mean every decision is a good one. Women usually choose the lesser evil and often we do not want to be sublime to these choices. If there was another option, most of the time we would take it. Failure to put our decisions in a larger context makes liberal feminism great for the individual in the short term, but it doesn't change the whole system at all. He betrays the most vulnerable women in need in favor of more individual Agency.
But above all, he leaves women in the lurch because he silences us. We are told not to speak about our bodies and life experiences. Instead, we have to submit to others, especially: men.
I was at a point where I had almost completely given up feminism. One day I said "never again!" and deleted every page and blog I came across. But it wasn't the end. Now I find myself surrounded by bright women who are sources of knowledge and experience. I often feel small because of her deep understanding. But I also feel inspired. I am no longer a single individual woman in a world whose rules make no sense. I am about to grasp the world in ways that give me explanations on a larger scale.
I was jolted awake and still have a lot to read.
My feminism will never silence women.
My feminism will never silence women.
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