Saturday, June 13, 2015

Two things

This article on rape prevention raises some valid points, though will probably be dismissed, demeaned, and likely outright condemned. I do take issue with criminalizing every drunken sexual encounter, but covering your drink? Something my grandma taught me twenty years ago.

I realize I should tread lightly around issues of rape and consent, but teaching girls ways to protect themselves shouldn't be controversial. Yes, ideally, we should teach boys not to rape, but the world isn't a gender studies class.

Then Brendan O'Neill from Spiked published a lengthy essay on the failings of "new feminism":
In part, the new feminism can be seen as mission creep: an old movement looking for a new role now that its original aims have largely been achieved. This would explain why it is so obsessed with culture, with how people think and speak and with what words they use or images they view. Having achieved equality in the legal and work spheres, some feminists are now moving into the realms of culture and even thought, where their politics, or any politics for that matter, has no place. The end result is often intolerance, a demand not only that society remove all the barriers to women’s engagement in public life — which is a good demand — but also that people and art and culture think about and depict women in a particular, ‘correct’ way, which is an illiberal demand.
It's a well-written article, probably from a source that's a bit too "outsider" to be read by many feminists. Anti-intellectualism within any ideological community isn't really new, and feminism in general has a well-documented history of infighting. (Read Daphne Patai's and Phyllis Chessler's books on the subject. They're over twenty-years old but still very relevant.) O'Neill mentions "choice feminism" as an alternative to academic feminism's authoritarian bent, but there is still a lot of overlap. I guess I am a "choice feminist" by default, since I value women's agency, but I'm far too critical of feminism these days to be claiming any label, and calling any choice a "feminist" choice -- because a women choses it is wrong. I chose lots of things daily that aren't feminist, some of them are patently anti-feminist, and I don't beat myself up over it.

Something else that bothers me that I never see mentioned is the inherent privilege in being able to reject, for lack of a better pigeonhole, enlightenment era thinking without being seen as provincial or undereducated. Those things are easy to deconstruct if you've been given the tools -- and the expectation -- to deconstruct them.