This post is a response to The Recipe For The ‘Modern Day Feminist’ by Rebekah Bonaparte
Feminism: a movement that provokes a visceral reaction, be it positive or negative – lately negative, for the most part.
The reason? Feminism is increasingly associated with anger and reactionarism. Many men cringe at the sound of its name while a number of women are wary of it.
Feminism has a problem. Its philosophy, like all social, political, and religious creeds before it, turned indulgent and self-fulfilling over the decades, no longer addressing the issue it was made to represent, no longer promoting a rational debate on gender fairness. It promotes mainly itself, existing in and of itself, serving the movement’s power structure.
Gender equality, fairness, opportunity… Both men and women need to primarily support these principles, ad hoc, and not feminism per se
How about returning to the roots of the issues at hand. Gender equality, fairness, opportunity… Things that reasonable men and women can get behind, ad hoc. One doesn’t have to be a feminist to support these principles. get enough people behind them and equilibrium/justice will follow. Feminism isn’t the end in itself – it’s nothing more than a tool designed to promote these principles, a means to said end. Sometimes it gets things done, other times it doesn’t, always subject to review. We ought to identify its shortcomings at any given point in time, and tackle them in the name of a positive outcome. Remembering to uphold the core principles instead of the -ism itself will help us stay the course and not get sidetracked by politics, fads, and vested interest.
The reason feminism suffers right now, unable to garner more support among both men and women, is that it got sidetracked over the decades by politics. Yes, under its watch we balanced the genders. The 20th century was feminist, at least the latter half. But has the cause lost its direction? It would seem so, and the telltale sign is that whenever one asks the above question, or something similar, he or she is met with indignation and derision. An unwillingness to engage in self-criticism is the first sign of trouble in any cause. Failing to address these shortcomings, these accumulated sticking-points, if you will, regarding feminism as a ‘be all, end all’ solution on gender issues, does damage to the cause. One must be willing to transform the philosophy to fit the times, or drop it altogether for a movement willing and able to operate efficiently in the given zeitgeist.
An unwillingness to engage in self-criticism is the first sign of trouble
What that movement will be or how it will operate, I don’t know. But I do know that feminism, as it stands, doesn’t cut it. It needs to be rebranded, even replaced, if gender-focused common sense is to make headway.
To put things in perspective, let me offer an example.Multiculturalism – another great cause – has performed an important role in the opening up of society over the past couple of decades, promoting democracy and innovation, human rights and diversity. But now it’s falling behind, faltering, its message failing to inspire a critical mass of people.
The reasons are numerous and besides the point, fit for another article. What’s relevant is that rational people have a choice: stick with multiculturalism no matter what, keep pushing it because it sounds good in principle – even if it’s got problems – or embrace fresh movements, like cosmopolitanism – another open-minded creed, one that is fresh and more impactful, as it stands.
Feminism is in the same situation. It’s a fatigued cause that needs to either get back to its roots and serve humanity in practical and lasting ways, winning the hearts of a critical mass of people, or find new ways to engage with the times.
It could also make way for fresh causes.
In other words, it has to adapt – something it has been telling the dinosaurs to do all century: adapt, or face the consequences.