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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Generalizing About Feminism

"Here’s a little one-act play I’ve written entitled: “You can’t GENERALIZE about feminism!”

Me: “Feminism has done all kinds of wonderful things, such as raising awareness of discrimination against women and opening all kinds of opportunities for women as well.”

Feminist: “All true!”

Me: “And yet, feminism also has a nasty tendency to endorse double-standards, not to mention often engage in behavior that would be considered objectively “sexist” if the word could be used fairly. Then, there are the presumptions of male guilt, the intellectually-dishonest tactics which are used to score rhetorical points, the occasional specious claims of victimhood, the crass gender-partisanship-”

Feminist: “Now hold-on there, bub! You can’t GENERALIZE about feminism! There are so many different kinds of feminism that no criticism can apply to all of them!”

Me: “Yeah, but when I PRAISED feminism a second ago, there was no need for me to single-out a particular subcategory. Why is that suddenly required?”

Feminist: “There are many feminisms! You can’t lump them all together like a monolith!”

Me: “And yet when I PRAISED feminism, I COULD lump them together like a monolith. See? This is what I mean by intellectual dishonesty!”

Feminist: “Look, there’s Liberal Feminism, Eco-Feminism, Radical Feminism-”

Me: “But when I said GOOD things about feminism, none of that mattered. Why do you play these ridiculous semantic games?”

Feminist: “You don’t get it!”

Me: “No, no, no I get it. Feminism is monolithic enough to praise but not monolithic enough to criticize.”

Feminist: “Exactly!”

Me: “And you HONESTLY can’t understand why more women don’t call themselves feminists?”


(via Generalizing About Feminism: Open Thread | Feminist Critics)

On a related note, saying that you are feminist today because of all the wonderful things First and Second Wave Feminism gave women is like saying that you are Republican because they were the party that ended Slavery.

Keywords: too broad to criticise, too broad to critique, not too broad to praise, generalise, generalising
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