Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thoughts on Who Stole Feminism?

Christina Hoff Sommers is the author of the distinction between gender feminists (radical misandrists, cultural Marxists, etc.) and equity feminists (those who seek equal opportunities for women and men, like Sommers herself).  As far as I know she introduced the concept in her 1995 book Who Stole Feminism?

I won't summarize the book too much here.  Sommers did a lot of serious debunking of leftist horror stories about mistreatment of women, from rapes in college to beatings in the home to unfair wage gaps in the workplace.  Her main thesis is that gender feminism is not based on facts, it does not believe in or seek equity between men and women, and it does not improve the situation for anyone (except tenured gender feminist academics).  In contrast, equity feminism is what is good and and true, is as American as apple pie, and still enjoys healthy support among ordinary women (though it is somewhat underrepresented on certain campuses).

As a doctrine which both infantilizes and deifies women, gender feminism can naturally be criticized from several angles.  Sommers tends to doubt the notion of "women's ways of knowing" which gender feminists  have used to insulate themselves from criticism that their conclusions are asserted rather than proven, and developed using emotional feedback in committee settings rather than using facts.  Sommers is dead on, but I think she pays too little attention to the possibility that women do think differently from men.

I wouldn't go so far as to consider myself an equity feminist.  I'm a heathen formalist of the hard right.  I don't "believe in equality" so much as I advocate single standards.  Still, I see little that distinguishes my political positions from those espoused in the book.  Women may or may not process data differently from men (I think they do), a few may be able to succeed in virtually any occupation (I think they can), or maybe just as many women can succeed in a given high-power job as men can (I doubt it).

The bottom line is: as long as discussion is open and honest, and as long as the system is rich in single standards, any decent civilization can accommodate ambitious women.  The problem with feminism is not biological but ideological, and therefore transient.  Brave men and women can stand up to the genderfem/ cultural Marxist/ PC threat, particularly if they have a position at the American Enterprise Institute.

(Coming up: Strange, out-on-a-limb thoughts connecting feminism and white nationalism.  Be patient; my baby boy takes a lot of time.)


Justin said...

"Equality of Opportunity", not "equality of outcome"

latté island said...

Thanks for the info about the book. I'll take a look at it on Google Books.

I have my own ideas about WN and feminism. Second wave feminism (my generation, that rediscovered feminism in the 60s/70s) is a product of European culture and individualism. When feminists tried to include women of color and third world women, it all stopped making sense, because white women are invidualistic, while non-white women are the product of collectivist peasant culture. (Oversimplifying, there are exceptions.)

So now we have the absurdity of white western feminists opposing the West and making common cause with misogynist cultures and people, because they are non-white.

I've tried to explain to feminists that they shouldn't oppose Dead White Men, because without them, we are all peasants. I often get shouted down as a racist, however, I am getting some support lately, so I have some hope that there will be a pro-white feminism someday.

latté island said...

I'll add that the White Nationalism I've seen on the usual blogs is mostly socially conservative and anti-feminist, and this is one of the things that keeps WN from being more popular.

When I used to comment on Gates of Vienna, every time we discussed social issues, the majority of commenters would blame practically every problem on those evil harpies who were perverse enough to prefer a career to home-making.

There are so many other factors aside from that, but somehow, that's the thing that got the most attention. I and a few other feminists would valiantly defend our views against this huge onslaught of misogyny. New women commenters would appear, tell everyone off, and leave permanently. I finally left only recently.

But it's really important for pro-white people to take stock of the effect that their intransigent social conservatism is having on WN: keeping it marginalized. Only in newspaper comment sections does it appear that most people understand that immigration and Islam can be opposed without bashing women non-stop. I'm still waiting for our neighbors in the blogosphere to catch on.

Olave d'Estienne said...

Many men in or close to the WN movement correctly perceive a great majority of women as being far to their left. They are incorrect in thinking that is permanent, and of course incorrect if they think most men are any closer to WN.

There needs to be a lot of mutual outreach. A lot of it happens in the blogosphere - a lot more than happens in real life, where you can be fired for wanting to stop immigration. A really huge problem with all politics is the "herding" effect that howling radicals have on everyone else. The people with sensible view (equality of opportunity vs. misogyny or misandry) tend to be quiet enough as to be virtually invisible.

I really didn't see much misogyny at Gates of Vienna but I went to that site mainly for the articles rather than the comments.