“Next, we come to the purported hypocrisy of doing what they accuse others of doing. Feminism is not about replacing injustice with injustice. It is not about diminishing the humanity of anyone. It’s about unearthing the ways our traditional understanding of gender has unknowingly shaped beliefs in places we may not have realized and figuring out what more apt understanding of gender ought to replace it. This hardly seems like hypocrisy.
“But it’s the conclusion that warrants the closest discussion. ‘I’ll make a moral assessment of myself and others that is based on my religion, my values, and my experience, not some historical grievance theatre that is, quite often, more about revenge than justice.’ It’s the old, I’ll just treat people like people. Just like the ‘let’s not quibble over how we got into this mess in Iraq, let’s just focus on what to do from here’ canard, the idea is that somehow the history, the context, and the failures and injustices of the past have nothing to tell us about the details of the situation that we need to know to move forward successfully.
“Here is the one major point where Sweating Through Fog does radically disagree with the core of feminist thought and the one place where we really can explicitly set out that characteristic which is essential to feminist thought. Feminism begins with the acceptance of the existence of sociological facts involving sex and gender. They may disagree about what these facts are, how to determine them, where they come from, what they mean, and whether and/or how to change them. But the entire tradition is founded on the central claim that our concept of gender and our beliefs about it play a role in what else we believe, how we behave, and the how we design our social institutions, and what we see from Sweating Through the Fog is a denial of the existence of, or at least a sweeping under the rug of, sociological facts. It’s the conservative/libertarian move I’ve called ‘limiting the scope of discussion.’ Sociological facts are ignored and the scope of discussion is limited strictly to the personal. It’s the gender version of Stephen Colbert’s ‘I don’t see race.’ We deny that broader influences play any role in our understanding of the world by forcing the conversation to focus on ‘personal responsibility.'”
Straw Feminists are scary, real ones…not so much, Philosophers’ Playground, October 26, 2007
Thanks, I needed this.