Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Left-wing woman criticises feminism

Chelsea Fagan, a decidedly left-wing woman, makes the following criticism of feminism:
Everywhere from Tumblr to Twitter to Facebook groups, there are women getting together and talking about what it means to be both a woman and a feminist. And in many of these circles, there is a heavy focus on “male privilege,” and what that means in an operational sense. There are near-endless blogs dedicated to pointing out everything from the microaggressions to the sweeping legislation which subjugate women. And as the (righteous) anger against some of the institutional disadvantages women face brews, it manifests in a number of ways. “Misandry” has become a cute term to express one’s disgust for the patriarchy. “Kill all men” is another. They are small slogans and concepts which aim to take back a sense of control, of autonomy. The expression of hatred towards men — one regarded as benign because of the lack of societal power behind it — has become a kind of social currency in many more radical feminist circles. It wouldn’t be shocking to see a 16-year-old white girl’s Tumblr with a picture of her holding a heart-shaped card emblazoned with “I Love Misandry” and surrounded by sparkles. It’s cute, and it’s harmless.

But the idea of leveraging a universal hatred against men, or allowing ourselves to feel as though there is a clear divide in terms of gendered power, and that it falls distinctly on the men vs. women line, fuels a slippery slope of profound privilege denying. Because to pretend as though the 22-year-old white female blogger talking about her hatred of men from the comfort of her prepaid dorm at an Ivy League school does not hold many tangible privileges over, say, the undocumented male worker who is cleaning the bathroom stalls of her building at night, is ludicrous. There are countless privileges she has over him, and countless points of access she has in our society that he will never see.
To sum up: feminists believe that men are privileged at the expense of women and this leads to anger and, amongst radical feminists, to expressions of misandry (hatred of men) as a means of reasserting female autonomy. As it is assumed that women are a victim class, such hatred is thought to be toothless and therefore harmless.

Chelsea Fagan points out, reasonably enough, that this set of feminist beliefs fails at the first step, as the women making claims about male privilege are often a lot more privileged than large numbers of men in society (she could also have pointed out that the average man works hard in life for the benefit of wife and children rather than to subjugate women, so a measure of gratitude or love is a more appropriate response than anger).

It's a good criticism of the simplistic "group rankings" which occur in a liberal society: if you belong to a group which has been tagged as privileged you lose status in society, regardless of your own circumstances.

Even so, it would be better to ditch the leftist moral focus on privilege rather than merely to refine it.

Chelsea Fagan claims that intersections of privilege and oppression define our lives, but she is wrong. I am not defined by the fact that there are people more privileged than I am in society. There will always be distinctions in status, wealth, intelligence and education. That does not detract from my identity as a man, or as a member of a particular family, ethny or nation, or as a member of a church or a community.

Nor should questions of privilege determine moral status in society. If a man has more wealth and status than I do, that does not make him of lesser moral status; I would ask instead about his integrity, his character, his embodiment of culture, his contribution to society, the quality of his role as a father and husband, his loyalty to the larger tradition he belongs to and so on.


  1. Good post.

    I don't think radical leftists can be reasoned with. They tend to be so fixed in their views that they do not want to accept that they could be wrong. It's a kind of arrogance, really.

    Is it possible to view left-wing and right-wing politics as a game of altruism versus egoism?

    For example, the old left was about socialism and worker's rights. A miner or factory worker would traditionally vote for a left-wing party as left-wing parties represented the rights of workers, and gave them some power instead of the rich having all the power. For a white working class male, traditionally a vote for a left-wing party could be based on egoism (self-interest).

    This has all changed now, of course. The New Left is basically focused on the rights of non-whites, women, homosexuals, the disabled and so on. Voting for a left-wing party, as a white male nowadays, is basically altruism (putting the interests of others before yourself).

  2. And of course, now many of the voters for parties on the right of the political spectrum are white working class males. This can be seen with parties like the BNP in the UK, which had a mostly white working class vote, and more of a male vote than a female.

    It's interesting though that in some ways that the BNP incorporated some elements of left-wing socialism in its policies, but strong elements of right-wing ethno-nationalism as well.

    Perhaps 'national socialism' would describe it best? That party is a joke now anyway, it's in severe decline. It's kind of the same story with the National Front - strongly white working class in terms of the votes it does get. Look at this picture:

    Scruffy looking guys, eh?

    Most middle class types wouldn't be caught dead looking like that. So the far-right is (white working class male) egoism, whereas the (new) left is (white middle class) altruism.

  3. Similar sentiments are echoed in some of the comments here:

  4. --

    Check this out:

    Reading List: Pro-Western Christianity

    There's quite an interesting debate in the comments of the above thread.


  5. Most middle class types wouldn't be caught dead looking like that.

    In the US, those guys could be a group of IT guys, or programmers.

  6. Peter,

    What makes you say that? Really, those guys, IT workers or programmers?

    Here, they just look like some scruffy working class guys. The sort of guys you would find in a pub making crude sexual jokes, or trying to sell you some drugs. I think the two guys on the right look more like geeks than the two guys on the left though.


    Oh gee I wonder why.

  8. Scruffy looking guys, eh?

    Most middle class types wouldn't be caught dead looking like that. So the far-right is (white working class male) egoism, whereas the (new) left is (white middle class) altruism.

    Outside of the west that look does not impact your chances of dating.
    If you are implying all "right wingers" are unattractive men and vice versa.
    My self I'm a very athletic and handsome man with very even looks. A lot of my opinions are considered "egoism" So I do not get what point you are trying to make.

  9. Undocumented workers...

    Ok so Mexicans

    Mark you got conned...this woman still hates White Men...

    All she's saying is don't hate Mexican/non-white men

    (This is what she means because I had plenty of white U.S. born male citizens as janitors, but she says 'undocumented')

  10. Anon (the last one),

    It's true that she used undocumented male workers as an example.

    But the point stands, that she recognises that it doesn't work for feminists at university to get angry at male privilege - when they themselves have a more favourable situation than at least some men.

  11. For some radical leftists, white heterosexual males deserve to be attacked, because they are deemed to have power and privilege, and that isn't considered to be equality, which is what they claim to be striving for. It should be obvious that, at its core, radical left wing politics is about the hatred of - basically, utter contempt for - white heterosexual males. It is about the desire to reduce them to a state of complete and total social powerlessness, in order to make them completely unattractive to women, and unable to ever have sex with women, and to make their genes extinct.

    If WHMs are automatically deemed to have power and privilege, then relentlessly attacking them is 'equality'.

  12. Last anon very good point.

    Its reminded me of something i've been thinking about lately.
    Recently I had a heated discussion with some leftists when I discussed Australians as an ethnicity. Something I thought was just a sky is blue fact. Australians have had a collective identity for longer than other ethnic groups have had in the world.

    This was incomprehensible to leftists. They immediately began mocking me and claiming Australians do not exist. There is only a civic Australian nationality open to everyone (including people who have not even set foot here) and the indigenous the "true" Australians.
    I returned that only people derived form the settlers are the true Australians.
    Predicatbly the screamed at me that I was crazy, retarded, a racist Australian. In the ethnic sense confirming that they will identify Australians ethnically when they want to deride us.
    Worryingly many of these "students" were immigrants. They spoke as if this country was already theirs.
    I think many people do believe Australia is already theirs and any WHM institutions or power positions are something that simply needs to be overcome on the long road to making Australia (and the west) "white free"

    Their language disturbs me and scares me to be honest.

    I've seen the pattern before but no so clearly when referencing Australians.
    For instance
    "Country [X] is not legitimate"
    "people of [X] are not real people"
    "therefore anything that happens to them is of no consequence"

    Its used on the Israelis by leftists and seems to be used similarly for every western country on earth.
    "Western people [X] are not legitimate people"
    "There is no issue with them being replaced"
    Its frightening. Is denial of ethnicity a typical socialist ploy?

  13. Why are the indigenous not truly Australian? Why is 40000 years of residence on a landmass of no account?