Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Feminists Fighting Feminists

We used to call these catfights, but we're too enlightened to that now. Instead, I guess we'll just call this an argument about what feminism is all about.

I’m not arguing that feminism should be a movement of No Judging, or that we can’t criticize anything women say or do. I’m not arguing that because Jezebel is a feminist site, hands off. But I will argue that how women deal with surviving sexual assault should not be a deciding factor in evaluating whether or not they qualify as feminist. I will argue that a feminism which requires perfection from all women is not something I can be a part of.

Nobody is claiming feminists need to be perfect. Consistency, OTOH, would help immensely.

Jill is complaining about this article regarding the very popular feminist site Jezebel, which basically argues that bad behavior on the part of feminists undercuts their arguments about sexual freedom and egalitarianism.
Women can pretend they’re female chauvinist pigs, but it’s still women who are more sexually vulnerable to stronger men, due to the possibilities of physical abuse and pregnancy. These Jezebel writers are a symptom of the weaknesses in the model of perfect egalitarian sexual freedom; in fact, it’s the supposed concern with feminism that makes the site so problematic. How can Tracie, who posted this picture, criticize the men who go to Hooters? How can writers who justify not reporting rape criticize the military for not controlling…rape? It’s incoherent.

Jill homes in on one writer's story about not reporting a rape, but the column isn't merely about the hot-button topic of rape. It's mainly about the unforeseen consequences of women deciding to behave (sexually) the way men do. The whole concept that, somehow, women should be able to behave irresponsibly regarding sex (and by irresponsibly, I mean having multiple partners, no commitments, and so on) means that they do have the right to behave that way is nonsense. Biology tells us that we can't do this, not just because of the possibility of pregnancy, but because of the way STDs work in women vs. men. Men know fairly quickly when they get STDs because of their plumbing. Women can have STDs for a very long time, sometimes rendering them infertile, before discovering they have one.

It's this dismissal of biology that makes much of feminism's "let's have sex!" component such a sham. Women cannot approach sex with the same attitude men might because the consequences (gasp! Not that word!) are different for us.
Doing what feels good to you is the only standard that is allowed. The problem is that no one really wants to admit that some things feel bad, because that admission would threaten the whole system of unlimited individual action.

I was astonished when I discovered a dirty feminist secret: it doesn't matter whether a man is total scum to women provided he support abortion on demand. If he supports unfettered abortion, he can treat women shabbily, paw his staffers, harass women to have sex and any number of other disgusting behaviors, but feminists will defend him to the hilt. I was, frankly, shocked at this discovery because it's just so, well, hypocritical. How do feminists justify this? The answer is, they ignore what is unpleasant and dismiss the rest. That's also how so many feminists could be angry at the treatment of Hillary Clinton during the campaign, yet cheered the hit job on Sarah Palin.

These feminists, from those at Pandagon to those at Feministe, don't see that attacking Sarah Palin in these violent ways is attacking women in general. They think that, somehow, only certain women are worthy of attack. How is this any different from the "she asked for it" crowd?

UPDATE: More carping at Feministing. One question: what qualifies as "constructive criticism"?