August 14, 2013
Two grown women who refer to themselves as “Chicks on the Right” have written to let you know that “The word ‘feminist’ has been hijacked by liberals.”
So far so good.
“And we’re taking it back. You see, we ARE feminists.”
Oh God, please don’t be dumb.
Spoiler alert. They are.
They make some good points, but in and amongst them are jewels like, “We’re sick of liberal feminists who screech “WAR ON WOMEN!” the second they’re faced with challenges.”
Or how about an exhortation for women to “woman-up and take care of themselves.”
As I read, I began to contrast this column with a piece on gender relations written by someone who sounds much smarter: Theories on Why Women Don’t Enjoy Career Success as Much as Men Do.
Why do women experience less emotional reward from their authority [in their jobs]?
Many of the likely answers are old hat: boys are socialized to be competitive and dominant, while women are punished for not being “nice;” men with high-powered jobs frequently have helpmeet wives, while few powerful women have stay-at-home spouses to help them enjoy their jobs sans domestic stress; men in authority have boys club networks, while women often find themselves lonely at the top.
This is a taste of the real shit real women have to deal with in order to “woman-up and take care of themselves.” And this is just women at the top! There are a million more challenges which are unique to low-income women.
To claim the mantle of feminist and not even mention, much less offer solutions to, the serious challenges facing women is facile and insulting.
People need help in this world, not to hear about how you would be fine if your husband left you.
The best parts of the column were the legitimate critiques of liberal feminism (although they were stated quite trollingly). Yet, while liberal feminism may offer immoral, unworkable and economically ruinous solutions to sexism, at least it acknowledges the problem and offers solutions!
To be a feminist, all that is required is to 1. recognize that sexism is real and has pernicious effects on both sexes and 2. to seek solutions to it. But in the entire column where these “chicks” attempted to “reclaim feminism” sexism did not come up once, except mockingly.
It’s a goal I share with the chicks to separate feminism from state solutions to sexism in people’s minds. But this is not the way to do it.
Individualist feminism doesn’t tell women to pull themselves up by their bootstraps like these educated, middle-class, married white women have so heroically done. It recognizes that barriers to success exist and seeks non-state solutions to them, such as education, cultural change, and a smaller (and thereby less sexist) state.
If the chicks want to be individualist feminists, I’d love to have them. But as much as I hate that the left has hijacked the term feminist, from what I’ve seen it’s not doing anyone any good to have the right hijack it either.