One might think that due to the backlash received in recent years, feminists were slowing down or reconsidering what they’d chosen as priorities in their activism. One might also hope they come to terms with the role they have played in harming the causes they are promoting.
Intersectional feminism is an ill-inspired attempt to intermingle a vast array of social issues, some very real and pressing, with the so-called grievances of western women, not only failing to help but dragging these causes down. Activism addressing political asylum, the protection of non-criminal illegal immigrants, poverty and racial discrimination has now, in the minds of many, been conflated with the voices of hysterical bra-burners whose main efforts, centred on trifles, cause general frustration.
Through this they have created a bridge between the increasingly radical Men’s Rights Movement and the far right, the first starting to adopt the positions of the latter in order to counter the pussy hat parades. In spite of their obvious role in “feeding the monster”, they’re taking it as confirmation of the validity of their claims (that all evils of this world can be traced back to “the privileged”, namely cisgender heterosexual white men).
Hence they are persevering.
Everyday Feminism, for instance, maintains its goal of coaching and radicalising those sympathising with its stances, and remains as absurd as ever.
To start with, here is a recent list of ten things every intersectional feminist should ask on a first date.Needless to say, it reads like an interview for joining a socialist organisation.
There is nothing reflecting a human being’s desire to engage in romance with another – but a cold and dry inventory of requirements. In real life, this conversation would raise the cringe level to the ceiling, unless it involved a radical male feminist as the interviewee. And yet, this is meant to be a guide with practical application.
1. Do you believe that Black Lives Matter?
If they are willing to learn and listen and make the space to decenter their whiteness (if they are white), that’s a good place to start.
The use of capitals suggests this is a reference to the BLM movement, though when verbalised it can be taken literally; in other words, she’s asking her date whether he thinks the lives of Black people are as valuable as all others. The question implies her suspicion he might think otherwise. You don’t suddenly ask people if they’re raging racists; it’s not only rude; it’s insulting.
Making space to decenter their whiteness is very vague; some preaching on her part is implied though, as in “I’m going to educate you about this and you’re expected to listen and react in a certain way”. In addition, she presumes that just because he is white, he needs to change his attitude for the conversation to go well. Presumptuous and insulting, again.
2. What are your thoughts on gender and sexual orientation?
One out of many important elements to dismantling patriarchy is to abolish gender roles as well as the limited understanding that we have about sexuality and gender itself.
Now that we’re clear her date is expected to shoulder dismantling the patriarchy, I don’t get what sexual orientation has to do with abolishing gender roles.
Civilised societies are for individualism; there is no mandate to live a certain way, hence there are no imposed gender roles; they are only traditional. With no imposition there is no oppression against anyone who wants to live differently.
The need to change everyone’s mind about gender roles is solipsistic and difficult to understand. It’s not other people taking issue with how feminists want to live, but them taking issue with everyone else, for private choices. It’s nobody’s business how adults voluntarily associate with each other; whether they adopt traditional gender roles or not.
It seems he also has to acquiesce to the list of 300 made-up genders, which, sorry to burst your bubble, is a step too far even for many leftists.
3. How do you work to dismantle sexism and misogyny in your life?
I’ve met cisgender heteronormative (cishet) men who hate women. They say they love women, but that love is conditional on not having their toxic masculinity questioned or threatened in any way. And they love us as a monolith, they love what women have to offer, whether it is sex, food, love, care, emotional labor: they love us for what we can do for them, not because of who we are for ourselves. It is crucial for cishet men to learn how to decenter their male privilege in order for them to understand the multitudes of interpretations of femininity and womanhood.
Again with the insults, assuming his tendency is to be sexist and in order to be a decent person he must “work” against his nature constantly. That he’s got male privilege; that he (by default) doesn’t get what women are about and needs to learn (I can only hope she’s not dating a ten-year-old). Speaking that way to another adult is monumentally cringe-worthy.
And guess what – what you have to offer is part of who you are and someone appreciating certain aspects is not depersonalising or objectifying. Just because you might’ve run into some arsehole who discounted your other qualities does not mean “all cishet men are like that”. This whole BS has generated the famous AWALT in response (“all women are like that”) the Red Pill proudly brainwashes men with.
4. What are your thoughts on sex work?
You may scratch your head at this one, but much like racism and misogynoir, being pro-sex worker is a necessary pillar of dismantling the patriarchy. I don’t mean pro-sex worker in the sense where non-sex workers write op-eds and think pieces about how sex work is amazing and feminist.
I don’t see how that should matter; it’s a controversial subject, not for outdated religious reasons but the circumstances around sex work (poverty, exploitation, sustaining a drug addiction, forced prostitution etc). I doubt anyone grows up with this career choice in mind. It’s common sense that most sex workers would rather be doing something else for a living.
And I certainly don’t blame anyone for disagreeing that it’s “just a job”. There are parents out there who can’t help the visceral reaction at the thought of their daughters ending up in that situation. There is a difference between being pro-sex workers in terms of agreeing they should be protected and helped, and being pro-sex work per se.
I find it more misogynistic to consider women pieces of meat who should be encouraged to rent their bodies, putting their health at risk, for the day’s meal, as if they were incapable of using their brains instead. It’s nobody’s place to judge, but let’s not glorify this; it might just trivialise the very real problems around sex work. It’s a last choice for many.
But that’s feminism for you. It glorifies issues women are often forced into by circumstances (prostitution, abortion, wearing the hijab etc), as if they were freely made choices and proof of women’s liberation.
5. Are you a supporter of the BDS movement?
BDS stands for “Boycott, Divest, Sanctions” — an effort to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. (…) I shouldn’t even have to express that, but being pro-Palestine and BDS is a necessary part of intersectionality.
Of course it’s anyone’s prerogative to be passionate about a political cause and hope they can convince others to join; however, making it a prerequisite for speaking to a person is a far stretch. It’s like saying if someone’s not interested, for whatever reason, they are not worth your time or they couldn’t be decent people in a hundred different ways.
6. What is your understanding of settler colonialism and indigenous rights?
It required a good deal of my own research to really understand how settler colonialism works and how devastating the erasure and violence against Native Americans is and was.
Your date thinks Native Americans are tropes or relics of the past? NO THANKS. A key part of intersectionality is having a complete understanding of how historical and current policies endangered the lives of millions of people, simply because of white supremacy and the colonialist entitlement to finite resources and land.
This seems to be aimed at Americans, yet obviously, it could apply anywhere in broader terms, as colonialism has impacted the entire planet. I agree to a point that a decent person would not discount the trauma it has caused (and continues to cause). Failure to do so might indicate insensitivity or callousness (unless the person simply isn’t knowledgeable or interested, which is also a possibility).
As always, there’s a “but”. Colonialism hasn’t been exclusive to white people throughout history. And since the author demands in-depth historical knowledge from her date (which he is not guaranteed to have), she should demonstrate the same.
7. Do you think capitalism is exploitative?
If your date says they’re anti-fascist and part of the resistance but they’re cool with exploiting labor from communities of color and they support the school to prison pipeline, then there’s a good chance they’ll only value you for your ability to nurture them without any reciprocation.
Again, this references American issues, whilst the guide is meant to be for any intersectional feminist. The exploitative prison system is an exclusively American problem, not to be associated with capitalism as a concept. Of course, it’s common sense that capitalism allows for exploitation – but where exactly does the last assertion fit in? What connection is there between capitalism and romantic relationships? Oh, right. None.
What she’s saying is “always date a socialist, anarchist etc”. Obviously, someone doesn’t necessarily favour capitalism for its exploitative side; they might just think other systems are worse.
8. Can any human be illegal?
White Americans stole this land, colonized this land, created so many borders, pushed out, killed and enslaved people of color and somehow they have the audacity to claim that this land is theirs and that black and brown immigrants are stealing their jobs, land, and homes? Miss me with that bullshit.
No, humans are not illegal. And I agree that scapegoating immigrants is a red flag, a rather ominous one, for a whole array of similar ideas.
The stretch of claiming borders could successfully be abolished makes you seem a bit detached from reality though; there can be a middle ground. People who advocate for this unfeasible utopia pollute the conversation around real ways of improving the situation of undocumented immigrants. Whenever such ideas arise, the right counteracts by quoting the radical left as a scaremongering tactic. They warn that showing clemency to a certain group would be a slippery slope towards having open borders and rally others against any helpful program.
Extremism halts the ability to compromise, which is needed in these situations.
9. Do you support Muslim Americans and non-Muslim people from Islamic countries?
Don’t waste your time and energy on dating someone who thinks that Islam is inherently violent or misogynistic. Instead, read some Huda Sha’arawi or Mona Eltahawy to educate yourself further on Muslim feminism.
Supporting Muslims who are unfairly subjected to prejudices is one thing. They are individuals who might have nothing to do with any stereotype thrown at them.
But supporting the inherently violent and misogynistic religion Islam has always been is another. Many religious people live peacefully by cherry-picking the best parts of their dogmas, whatever their “label” is. But that doesn’t obscure the rest of those dogmas or their broader impact. This also applies to Christianity, of course, and feminists have no problem denouncing its misogyny or violence.
They spend their days “dismantling the patriarchy” and “abolishing gender roles”, and in the next breath defend an ideology which imprisons women in innumerable ways.
Downplaying the cruelty suffered by women because of Islam is the most anti-feminist attitude I can think of; it’s a paradox and proves the cognitive dissonance these activists are afflicted by. It just can’t get any crazier.
10. Does your allyship include disabled folks?
Disabled folks are subject to shaming and violence because humans are awful and lack empathy. Be mindful of others who mock disabled people; that kind of cruelty is inexcusable.
On a date with someone who uses ableist slurs? Walk away.
It’s fair enough to start disliking your date if you hear him needlessly insult others or refer to them in cruel ways. However, the article prompts me to think the interviewer/ feminist would simply ask, out of the blue, whether the guy is in the habit of belittling disabled people. And that is one weird question when not provoked, just like the one about race.
As some of the stuff above, it’s like directly asking “are you by any chance a complete arsehole”? Pardon this guy for being taken aback by her suspicions. And pardon me for thinking the first date will also be the last one.
Then there is a comic posted last year, containing shockingly little logic, not to mention hysteria, titled “5 ways we ignore children’s agency that perpetuate rape culture”.
Since I can’t post the comic due to copyright laws, I’ll merely describe the images and copy the text.
- The affection mindfuck (feminists just don’t understand it).
“Give auntie a kiss! She came all the way to see you.” Versus “Aw, after that nice dinner don’t I get a kiss?”.
Children are told that adults are owed their attention and affection. When that idea is internalised it can be difficult to accept that no one is owed physical contact or emotional energy.
No; they are instead encouraged to show affection in appropriate circumstances (towards family members etc). Not constantly, towards just anybody. Of course no one can force them to at any time. Homes where no displays of affection are present are cold and in my opinion, a thing of the past (when rigidity dictated every step someone took in public or at home). Warmth helps children (and adults alike) to feel comfortable around others.
This is just insane. It infantilises adults, as if they had no capacity of discerning whether they want to become close to someone or not, their interactions being reduced to running an old script.
By the way, asking for a kiss is not part of “rape culture”, just as asking someone out is not “sexual harassment”. That’s why it’s called “asking”. They are free to say no and that’s the end of it.
2. Submitting to just anything, by default (like some kind of vegetable).
“You have to do what I say because I’m in charge. No more arguments.” Versus “Why didn’t you tell him to stop?” “He’s my captain, my boss. I didn’t know how to say no to him.”
Children are told not to argue with authority and to accept commands without question. After growing up being told you must respect authority for authority’s sake it’s difficult to refuse requests from someone in a position of authority for your own sake.
It is known that children with a very strict upbringing, who feel imposed upon and bossed around, are the most likely to rebel when maturing, which makes this hypothesis a very weak one. When someone accumulates frustration for years due to how they’ve been treated, they become anything but a docile rag doll others can do what they please with.
Secondly, the image shows a man in a military uniform, discussing an unwanted sexual interaction (in vague terms) with a male superior, as a result of “not knowing how to say no” to an authority figure. I’m sorry but it makes no sense. You’re talking about a male soldier here – someone who is physically and psychologically tough. But he’s too weak to tell someone not to fuck him up the arse and lets it happen out of politeness? I don’t think so. The author couldn’t have picked a worse hypothetical example.
I needn’t mention that if the guy happens to be straight, someone would have to physically incapacitate him to carry out an act of that nature.
So no, there is no connection. People who were brought up strictly don’t just become Renfield types, especially to the point of allowing their bodies to be violated. Whilst this does happen to impressionable boys (in the catholic church for instance), it wouldn’t happen to a grown man or woman. The “Hollywood casting couch” does not fit in here either, as the women who let it happen, or don’t report it afterwards, do so for a reason.
3. Feminists don’t understand that men are physically stronger than women.
“Even if Bobby did hit you first, fighting isn’t the answer – find an adult to help you.” Versus : “I told her to stop but she wouldn’t”. “Well why didn’t you try to fight her off?”
Children are told that even physical attacks aren’t a good enough reason to resort to violence – as adults we aren’t practiced at defending ourselves but are told we are complicit in our own abuse if we can’t fight off an attacker.
Conflating the two situations is ridiculous. The first shows a girl advised not to continue a physical fight with a boy, whilst the second involves a woman sexually attacked by another woman, grilled by a policeman on not managing to fight back.
As a parent, one is more interested in making sure a child doesn’t end up in the hospital, than the principle of a thing, and 9.9 times out of 10, a girl doesn’t stand a chance of winning that fight. If she hits back, chances are she will be hit again (and again), until she is incapacitated. Getting away asap is the safest solution, really. Unless she’s had proper training and she’s confident she can manage, it’s just not a good idea.The father in question is telling her the truth, though masked by the feminist in a queasy “violence is not the answer”. And by the way, no sane parent would advise their child to “just take it”. It’s a matter of self-preservation in real time.
The second case, of sexual assault, involves two adult women, not comparable by any stretch. Of course a difference in physical strength is still possible; however the victim admits not having tried to fend off the attacker, as a matter of choice. The author claims it was a result of her being brainwashed by parents into putting up with such behaviour.
Every situation and response is different; being hit once (when presumably able to leave) is not comparable to being sexually assaulted, which is sustained aggression and can only be stopped by force, if words don’t work. Legally, self-defence justifies force, to the point of killing an attacker; we do not live in a “shut up and take it” culture.
The other two “slippery slopes” involve letting oneself be inappropriately touched because of the lack of sexual education and lastly, putting up with unwanted sexual acts because of… having to visit your mother on Mother’s Day. In other words, out of duty. These two are more plausible; it depends on the culture someone develops and lives in.
Consent is a skill that must be taught and learned consistently, so it makes no sense to raise children to ignore their own consent and flip it on like a switch as soon as they become adults.
Consent is a matter of real time intuition, not a learned behaviour or skill, unless actual abuse is involved (children being used to real exploitative acts and potentially going on to do so later in life). It varies from one interaction to another; people are not robots. Consent is simply a response to another human being; there’s no rule book to apply here.
Secondly, this comic seeks to deal with assault, which is a physical act. You can’t elaborate on assault without considering the physical characteristics of those involved (sex, age, strength, condition at the time etc). Here, all such differences are disregarded, as if they didn’t matter, when they are in fact essential.
Of course, these are just two examples of the same line of thought, which is creating, at least at a discourse level, a gap between men and women.