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Intressant artikeln om feminism vs antifeminism


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#1  Intressant artikeln om feminism vs antifeminism David M
2004-09-12 13:56:54

Läste detta på AFS. Otroligt intressant.

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Feminism and Antifeminism

by Jim Kalb

http://jkalb.org


"Feminism" means so many different things that it appears to mean very little. Its advocates constantly contradict each other and themselves. In casting off feminine reserve and modesty they seem to have learned intellectual shamelessness as well. Rather than damaging feminism, its incoherence offers an easy defense against criticism: whatever the complaint, the response is that it misses the mark because feminism is really something else.

It appears, however, that nothing can be called feminism that is not radically antitraditional and antinatural. What feminists call "gender" the system of attitudes, expectations and customs that distinguishes men from women has always and everywhere been basic to human life. To speak of "deeply rooted social stereotypes" is to speak of the centrality of masculinity and femininity to how we understand the world. Grammatical gender is one sign among many of that centrality. Although the detailed content of sexual distinctions has varied somewhat their general outlines have been stable. The men and women in ancient and non-Western literatures are immediately recognizable to us today as men and women like ourselves. Yang strikes us as masculine, Yin as feminine, just as they did the ancient Chinese.

The practical aspects of gender are no less universal than the symbolic. The ties among a man, a woman, and their children have always been fundamental, and dependent for reliable functioning on a generally settled division of responsibility among the parties and therefore between the sexes. More specifically, all societies have been patriarchal, with men mainly responsible for public concerns and women for domestic matters and the care of small children. Always and everywhere men, while exercising no general right of domination, have predominated in positions of formal authority.

The universality of these differences shows them to be rooted in biology and other permanent conditions of human life. It is hard to think of anything very different that would work, given the need for stable and functional families and therefore generally settled role distinctions able to stand up to the stresses and changes of life. A system as complex and subtle as human life cannot be reconfigured in fundamental ways merely at will. Nonetheless, opposition to gender as a principle of social order to what is called "sexism" is what unifies the things called "feminism." Since the opposition is absolute and categorical, feminism is in no way reformist. It treats a fundamental and evidently necessary principle of all human societies, sex-role differentiation, as an oppressive arrangement that must be abolished at whatever cost.

The aim of feminism, therefore, is to create a new kind of human being in a new form of society in which the ties among men, women and children that have always existed are to be dissolved and new ones constituted in accordance with abstract ideological demands. In place of family ties based on what seems natural and customary, and supported by upbringing and social expectation, feminism would permit only ties based on contract and idiosyncratic sentiment, with government stepping in when those prove too shaky for serious reliance. There is no reason to suppose the substitution can be made to work, let alone work well, and every reason to expect the contrary. Feminism does not care about reason, however, or even about experience of the effects of weakened family life. It is in fact ideological and radical to the core. There can be no commonsense feminism, because doing what comes naturally gets a feminist nowhere.

The harsh things that can be said about anarchism and communism can be said with yet more force about feminism, because what the latter seeks to eliminate touches us far more deeply than private property or the state. Like the other two ideologies, feminism can be presented as a lofty and necessary ideal set up in opposition to a long history of dreadful injustice. After all, things like gender that are implicated in all social life are necessarily implicated in all social injustice. Nonetheless, the practical implementation of feminism, especially by force of law, can only lead to catastrophe. Like anarchism it calls for categorical opposition to distinctions and patterns of authority people find natural, and like communism for ceaseless radical reconstruction of all aspects of life, and consequently for absolute bureaucratic control of everything. Both tendencies are thoroughly destructive, and their apparent mutual opposition does not render them harmless.

The result of the victory of feminism has been a combination of disorder and state tyranny cascading from America throughout the world, from the most immediate personal relationships to high culture and international politics. Feminism has meant suspicion and hostility where mutual reliance is an absolute necessity. It has meant growing deceit, heartlessness and brutality in daily life, resulting in particular suffering for the weak. It has meant confusion and misery for the young, who have been deprived of stable family life and concrete ideals of adulthood. It has meant the destruction of local and popular institutions by ever more powerful and irresponsible state bureaucracies. It must therefore be opposed as a destructive fanaticism based on a gross and wilful misapprehension of human life.

It is not surprising that feminists, who misconstrue so much, misconstrue the nature of the opposition to them. Since their position requires a comprehensive and minute system of ideological regimentation they assume antifeminists must also be aspiring tyrants. They thus recreate their opponents in their own image.

In fact, to be antifeminist is simply to accept that men and women differ and rely on each other to be different, and to view the differences as among the things constituting human life that should be reflected where appropriate in social attitudes and institutions. By feminist standards all societies have been thoroughly sexist. It follows that to be antifeminist is only to abandon the bigotry of a present-day ideology that sees traditional relations between the sexes as simply a matter of domination and submission, and to accept the validity of the ways in which human beings have actually dealt with sex, children, family life and so on. Antifeminism is thus nothing more than the rejection of one of the narrow and destructive fantasies of an age in which such things have been responsible for destruction and murder on an unprecedented scale. It is opening oneself to the reality of things.

Acceptance of the legitimacy and usefulness of sex roles is an exercise of ordinary good sense. Stable and functional families are necessary for a tolerable way of life, and they will not exist unless men and women each have something specific to offer that the other is entitled to rely on. Further, the natural tendencies of the sexes are different, and life is happier when social institutions somehow reflect natural human tendencies. Nonetheless, what is in itself good sense may be quite radical from the point of view that is conventional in public at a particular time and place. Such is the state of antifeminism today. To reject feminist claims is to put oneself outside what is said to be the mainstream.

The success of feminism has owed a great deal to the astonishing absence of open opposition to it. That absence has had a variety of causes, including masculine cowardice and the difficulty of communication between the sexes. Other causes include the extreme centralization of public life today, the absolute triumph of liberal ideology in our public and intellectual life, and the difficulty that ideology has dealing with issues relating to family life because of its tendency to base all human relations on arm's-length bargaining or force.

The power of feminism despite its evident irrationality shows the strength and pervasiveness of the institutions, interests and ways of thinking that support it. Its triumph has been part of the triumph of state and market over all other social powers, the culmination of a trend that has been sweeping all before it for centuries and become horrendously destructive. Government and business are feminist, ultimately because family life hems them in by establishing a principle of social order not reducible to money and state regulation. The media, the educational system, and even organized scholarship take their lead from government and business and are therefore feminist as well. No significant social authority takes an opposing view. Without exception the articulate and powerful benefit from absorption of the functions of the family by formal public institutions.

Circumstances thus favor feminism, and a restored system of sex roles will not be brought back by fiat. A system of sexual cooperation must be generally acceptable to both men and women, and reflect current conditions as well as human nature. What must be done now is to eliminate arbitrary ideological demands and open up discussion so that considerations fundamental to normal human life but at odds with institutional interests can once again find expression and play their necessary role in public and private life. Extensive discussion and experimentation will be necessary to that end, things now impossible because of feminist laws and censorship. Almost alone, the Internet retains its independence and holds out hope that resistance and free discussion may still be possible.

In the end feminism cannot win because it radically undermines any stable and productive ordering of private life. By disordering reproduction and childrearing it puts long-term social survival in question. It has done a great deal of damage, however, and will do much more before it destroys itself. The more explicit, articulate and successful its opponents the more damage can be prevented.

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