This comment was from wellokaythen on the post “Five Ways Feminism Helps Men“
It seems like much of the criticism about feminism here suggests an all-or-nothing approach, that you can’t accept any particular aspects of feminist ideas without accepting ALL versions of it. Like, somehow NO part of feminism can be mutually beneficial to men and women because some strands of feminism act at the expense of men. Like all parts of feminism are therefore tainted by the extremists, somehow.
Besides reminding me of a religious point of view (any compromise with Satan is just playing into Satan’s hands), it also reminds me of the anticommunism in the U.S. during the Cold War. There was the duck test – if it looks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. Therefore, anything that looked remotely similar to communism in any way was, to all intents and purposes, the enemy. Along the truly reprehensible things that Stalinist-style communism threatened, there were also such horrible party platforms as racial equality for African Americans, equal hourly wages for women and men, and the right to form unions.
So, anything that had any overlap with any of that was communism. Martin Luther King, Jr., calling for an end to segregation? Obviously a commie, because that’s what commies talk like. Give commies an inch and before you know it they will have corrupted your bodily fluids and you’ll be speaking Russian. The AMA was against the government providing the polio vaccine, because that’s what socialized medicine does, and that’s just the slippery slope to communist domination.
I can’t help but notice something similar sometimes when the word “feminism” comes up. By definition, feminism is just the enemy by its very nature. (There’s something to the “-ism” suffix that makes stuff sound especially sinister.) Somehow it’s a monolith directed by Dworkin just like all communism was directed by the Kremlin. Stalin, Dworkin, whatever, same difference. If it’s something I don’t like, then it’s feminism, and if it does nothing to renounce feminism then it is soft on feminism and therefore suspect as well. Any woman suggesting anything that sounds like feminism is a feminist, and as we all know all feminism is essentially anti-male, so the logic is clear.
It’s airtight, coherent, circular logic that dispenses with all criticism. (Ironically, a bit like many forms of Marxist-Leninism.)
But you know, even hardcore anticommunists like Nixon and Reagan could recognize the possibility of mutual benefit when negotiating with the enemy. Perhaps feminism and anti-feminism could use a little détente?
photo: ladybug / flickr