Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Julie Bindel - a follow up

In yesterday's post I described the views of an English feminist, Julie Bindel. She takes the radical and generally unpopular view that women should choose to be lesbians. However, as I pointed out, she is at least being logically consistent. If a feminist believes that men, as a class, act to oppress women, then why would women love men? That would be akin to sleeping with the enemy.

Anyway, a reader (Elizabeth Smith) made the following perceptive comment:
Lesbianism is just the logical conclusion of the complete autonomous project for a lot of feminists (particularly the sex-negative types).

In what sense is that true? Well, if you believe that autonomy is the highest good, and therefore the aim is to be self-determining, then you will want to choose your sexuality rather than have your sexuality be an unchosen biological destiny.

And that's the position taken by Julie Bindel. She writes:
To me, political lesbianism continues to make intrinsic sense because it reinforces the idea that sexuality is a choice, and we are not destined to a particular fate because of our chromosomes. I also suspect that it is very difficult to spend your daily life fighting against male violence, only to share a bed with a man come the evening...

I think it's time for feminists to re-open the debate about heterosexuality, and to embrace the idea of political lesbianism...Women are told we must love our oppressors, while, as feminists, we fight to end the power afforded them as a birthright. Come on sisters, you know it makes sense...

Most feminists don't quite take that leap. But they draw near to it. Like Julie Bindel they see the feminine as inferior to the masculine, and yet to be heterosexual they need to be feminine beings attracted to masculine ones. I don't suppose it's always easy being such a heterosexual feminist - you would always feel somewhat conflicted, as you would want to connect with a man on a masculine/feminine basis and yet at the same time you would see the feminine as inferior.


  1. On the face of it, 'autonomy' seems an intrinsic good. (What rational man or feminist theorist would not want to govern themselves?) However, if you analyse the concept a bit, you'll find it ain't necessarily so.

    Everyone is born into a social matrix of civil institutions, traditions, customs, habits, law, and so on. Radical autonomy - which seems to a premise of militant lesbianism - is for many reasons a destructive agent in the social matrix. Understanding this, we need to deal with the practical fallout from the theory.

    An incorrigible embezzler could claim that he is merely exercising his autonomy by pocketing other people's money.

  2. Then she says homosexuality is a choice, which blows up the gay rights movement.

    good job lady

    Ancient Text Reveals False Gospel (not about Jesus' wife)

  3. Feminists normally claim to hate "patriarchy," not men. They may of course hate men who are zealous defenders of patriarchy, but their ostensible object is destruction of social institutions and attitudes that, they believe, place females at a disadvantage. Such women need have no political objection to intimacy with a man, provided he's an anti-patriarchal feminist. (Of course they may find that they have libidinal objections to experiencing his embrace, but that is a different question.) In theory, they need not object to a biological male, provided he's a political feminist.

    Bindel obviously goes beyond this and rejects males in their essence. There is not a contingent social system known as patriarchy, but a female-dominating male essence that is bred in the bone, incorrigible, and unchosen . What this means is that when Bindel looks at males, her mind is as unliberal as it is possible to be, but when she looks at females, her head fills with liberal nonsense. Men are unfree creatures of nature; women are free creatures of choice.

    This is interesting because it mirrors a judgment normal feminists have often accused men of making, and to which they strongly object. This is that females are more deeply immersed in nature than men; that they are subject, for instance, to uncontrollable moods; that they are, in short, less rational than men.

  4. Big fan of your blog, Mark. I'm a young person who considered myself a lefty/Greens supporter at the beginning of the year, even though I had problems here and there with the Left. At first your arguments seemed strange, I had never seen my liberal worldview identified and deconstructed in such a way. Thanks to the arguments in your blog, as well as Lawrence Auster, Laura Wood and Brett Stevens, I now consider myself a traditionalist. I now need to watch my tongue, as I am a beginning secondary English/History teacher.

    Re liberalism and homosexuality, this is a bit like the soft feminist 'choice' argument about being a mother and a wife or having a career - ostensibly both are valid but one is treated as more valid than the other.

    Look at the shaming language liberals use on people who are obviously struggling with homosexual desires while living traditional married lifestyles - these people are 'in the closet', trapped in internalised homophobia and basically on a road to unhappiness that won't end until they 'embrace their true selves'.

    If a married person leaves for someone of the same sex, it's understood to be part of self-discovery, a new beginning, etc, regardless of whether that person at one point enjoyed heterosexual relations.

    I used to laugh at conservatives who argued that the gay lobby was trying to 'spread' homosexuality, but that is exactly what they are doing. Their double standards encourage those wavering between traditional and homosexual lifestyles to choose the latter.

  5. brb checking white straight male privelageThursday, 27 September 2012 at 01:49:00 GMT+10

    This feminist basically admitted that being homosexual is a choice. The most delicious of irony is that in all homosexual relationships I've seen there is ALWAYS the "feminine" and "masculine" one, so even in a "chosen" sexuality there are always differences.

    Why can't liberals understand that there are things that we have no power over? How can they doublespeak about how pedophiles and murderers and rapists are developed by society and say that they're innocent, yet say that being gay is natural just like heterosexuality.

  6. G.P.@ Welcome to the world of traditionalism. Many years ago I, too, thought of myself as a lefty-green; but then I found that, beneath some superficial attractions, lefty-greenism was pretty repulsive. The reason I'd been drawn to it was that it was the only critique of modernism on offer at the university or in the popular media. If one has misgivings about the modern world, there's always a lefty-greenie standing by to offer analysis and suggest a remedy. You have to go looking for traditionalist/conservative/reactionary analysis. And, to be honest, some of what you find can be at first a little off-putting. Stripping away pleasant illusions is never pleasant.

    Your observation on Mark's post is interesting. One is free to choose under liberalism, but one had better choose carefully because some choices are more "valid" than others Your example is especially interesting because in this case the approved choice is to yield to an unchosen biological destiny. For a liberal, biology is never destiny, unless it's the biology of sexual desire.

  7. The homosexual is the most primitive liberal archetype.

    Homosexuality is self-annihilating and so of course it is ultimately a choice that one makes.

  8. Mr. Richardson,

    Ultimately, the radical autonomist seeks total autonomy and so the self-creation aspect of "autonomy theory" is usually very brief. The radical autonomist desires to be nothing in particular (maximum radical autonomy) and so the self-annihilatiing aspect of "radical autonomy theory" is primary.

  9. Excellent comments, thank you.

    G.P, it's great to hear the blog has had such a positive influence. I appreciate you writing in to let me know.

    I really do wish you well as an English/History teacher. As you know I'm a teacher myself and it's been my experience that the English and history courses are the ones most biased toward liberalism. There is an almost obsessive focus, in the schools I've taught at, on white racism.

    My advice to you would be to go in cautiously. Until you've really established yourself at a school, you're probably better off keeping a very low profile politically. You'll have some freedom to do things differently in your own classroom and even that could make a positive difference.

  10. 16 Wow, so I'm not the only lefty greens convert, to family and community traditionalism. It feels great to come out of the political closet doesn't it?

    I'm an early gen Y model to, so it seems the fanatical progressive mind set installed in us at school, TAFE, Uni and media tends to break down. Reality bites the progs fable in the bum I guess. Every one of us ex lefty Greens probably has a story how reality and searching for truth sets us free.

  11. fortisp[Lines of reasoning similar to Julie Bindle's argument for political lesbianism support feminist condemnations of female BDSM, even by lesbians. Sexual practice must conform to political dogma at every level.

    And in this, there is no room for autonomy - for what seems right and feels good for oneself and one's partner. The personal is political, comrades! Floggers out, pastels in! Slaves must be free against their wills (but in accordance with the wills of those who get their lesbianism from a theory rather than from passion) and Mistresses must be humiliated and forced to toe the party line. Women must be pressured to be autonomous, according to someone else's ideas on what constitutes their real autonomy.