The central tenets of feminism are flawed from a political and philosophical standpoint. This statement, while tarring with a very broad, and perhaps aggressive brush, remains true, on my account, however.
As a philosopher, I find the foundational roots of patriarchy theory to be severely lacking and the oppressor-oppressed dialectic to be far too simple a model to apply to such a complex issue, especially in creating essentially a warring chasm between the sexes – psychologically damaging to say the very least! Oppression is a dynamic and scalable reality that is ever-changing and often reflects tensions that are multi-directional – an evolving construct that can only be seen in shades of grey.
There needs to be a transcendency of the Marxist dialectic here and an understanding of a rather different hierarchy – hierarchies that are immediately present as a result of the human condition and the social fabric of existence, if you will. I very much contest the notions of power and liberation in the feminist movement – power is a measure of control over one’s own life, and their ascendency towards self-actualization (and accountability also, I would argue), rather than purely an exertion of will over other people, in for example, the corporate or governmental spheres (with the employer-employee relationship or the Hegelian master-slave dialectic). That is only one power dynamic, but one that ultimately results, in many respects, with slavery.
Wage-slavery (as a result of a mixed economy and material consumerism) at the hands of the State is not freedom or liberation; it is certainly not power in any real tangible sense (although it may provide some financial independence), although I would argue from an epistemic and metaphysical perspective that freedom is an illusion anyway (more on this in another post later) – despite, for example, what Sartre would proclaim – man is condemned to be free; essentially an ode on the responsibility of mankind that results.
I am essentially an individualist, with a great deal of influence from existentialist thought (mostly Heidegger — I wrote an essay last year on the role of Being in metaphysics and discussed it in relation to the Other from ontological and ethical standpoints – I considered Sartre and Levinas also, in my analysis) and from anarcho-capitalism – a political ideology I fully support based on its moral tenets of voluntarism and the non-aggression principle etc.
Current feminist dogma, and I emphasize dogma, is very much a reflection of the postmodernist fabric in today’s cultural milieu; this needs to be integrated in some sense, I believe, with a psycho-spiritual hermeneutic allowing for greater personal development – much of which is limited by the relationship between the people and the State; a fundamentally unjustifiable monopoly of force. When this dynamic is broken down, I believe progress can be achieved, in regard to liberation and power. The dynamic between the ruling and the ruled, in terms of the classes, is crucial here too.
To give a counter-example, we train men in particular to be disposable from birth and reflect that in our glorification of ‘heroic’ acts – dying for the State or for the nation, through for example, bravery in war – we paint this to be traditionally ‘masculine’. This is partially predicated on needs of survival obviously, and goes to the very roots of pre-modern tribalism or any system founded upon collectivist philosophy (as violence is inherent in the human condition; this could not be altered fundamentally without using coercion and exertion of will over others which is incidentally violence itself).
Men’s rights, at present, are currently being trampled on. To give an illustration, consider the anti-male bias in the divorce ‘industry’, the family courts, the domestic violence ‘industry’ (where gender parity in perpetration has been shown, countless times – illustrating the gender bias and dishonesty in feminist statistics), and in suicide and homeless rates (men far outnumbering women). We also see a great degree of suicidal action or ideation in war veterans – particularly older war veterans.
Thankfully, the NSW government is taking action at present in combating domestic violence against men by acknowledging its existence and establishing shelters for men. This is one small step in the current war.
One cannot fight sexism with sexism itself. To do so is fundamentally flawed, and currently, gender feminism in particular (which guides equity feminism to a large extent too) is driven by such sexism – misandry, in this context, largely denied by many feminists. The argument for the denial of misandry can only be founded on a few core beliefs – that, to deny misandry, one is protecting such radicals as Dworkin and Solanas (the author of the SCUM Manifesto and attempted murder of Andy Warhol) from such charges, shifting focus on to misogyny and hence upholding a gynocentric culture, or for the simple reason that one hates men – and is conflating violence and oppression with masculinity itself. To do so, one is conflating mature and immature masculinity – how these are defined, or to be defined, is a question for another post.