I’ve spent some time thinking about and reading about feminism. There really is a lot of talk about abandoning the term “feminism”, and I for one think that it’s a good idea. There are some strong emotional ties to that word so many people are very reluctant to stop using it. It is a great word for preaching to the converted and inspires strong reactions. These reactions are a big part of the problem. The reaction is only good when preaching to the converted. The very word feminism has become poisonous. It gets a strong negative reaction when talking to the 80% of people that don’t identify as feminists.
So what is real feminism and why do people react so strongly to it? It’s not what most people think, not even the feminists. Most people think it’s about “gender equality”, it’s not. Feminism is a version of Marxist conflict theory. This theory hold that equality is an impossibility. There are and can only ever be two groups, the oppressors and the oppressed. The very concept of equality does not function in Marxist versions of conflict theory. Based on the same assumptions that feminism is based upon, real feminism is about unseating ‘men’ as the oppressors and replacing them with ‘women’. The very root idea of feminism is female superiority. Female superiority is not gender equality.
So how do these ideas manifest? Basically Presuppositional apologetics. All of feminism is based on supporting the incorrect presuppositions that are necessary for the oppressor/oppressed dynamic to be true. At the core we have “patriarchy” and “privilege”. These two ideas are the fundamental presuppositions that are at the very heart of feminism. These two ideas are feminism. These two ideas are wrong. These two ideas are why people don’t like feminism.
Now, how it works. Feminism is based on a Marxist version of conflict theory, not gender equality. It is based upon the assumption, the presuppositions, that there are two groups oppressors and the oppressed. This means that one group is better off in every way than the other, like the NAZI and Jews. There is no way that being a Jew in Germany was superior to being a NAZI. Any talk about the problems that men face, men’s rights, men’s issues is like talking about how hard it was to be a NAZI in WWII Germany. This implicit comparison is very unflattering and why people don’t like feminism.
People that want gender equality should drop the term feminism and the apologetics that go with it. Humanitarian or egalitarian or gender equality or what ever is much better. We can only achieve gender equality by looking at both the benefits and costs of being a woman and the benefits and costs of being a man. Feminism is only capable of looking at the benefits of being a man, privilege, and the costs of being a woman, oppressed.
Real equality can only be achieved by looking at and supporting both men and women. The glass ceiling, it’s real. Women are excluded from upper level jobs. This isn’t just because women are not allowed to enter, but also because men are not allowed to leave. There just isn’t room above that invisible wall for women to move into. They pay gap, it’s real. Women are excluded from higher paying jobs. This isn’t just because women are not allowed in, but because men are not allowed out. There just isn’t room for women in IT because all of the positions are already taken by men.
These kinds of two way affects are theoretically impossible under Marxist versions of conflict theory. You are either an oppressor or you are oppressed. There can’t be constraints, limitations and exceptions that disadvantage both groups in different ways. Feminism is bad. It is not for gender equality. It is in opposition to gender equality. The word feminism and it’s associated constructs need to be dropped, and real gender equality needs to be addressed.