I have heard a lot of talk lately from people, really smart people even, who defend feminism as a movement advocating for the equality of women. They all love to go to the dictionary and read the actual definition of feminism. Fem·i·nism noun: feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. To be honest, this is a pretty weak definition because there are more than one type of equality. Depending on the lens in which you look at the world, that definition could mean vastly different things, polar opposite things even. Not to mention that almost mainstream feminists reject this definition, (until they are debating an anti-feminist and it becomes convenient to use it), and hold that there is no set in stone definition of today’s modern 3rd wave feminist movement. For the purposes of this writing, let’s just stick to the dictionary definition. I don’t intend to imply that the definition of feminism is wrong, just the worldview behind the movement itself.
What do I mean when I say “the lens in which you look at the world”, or “worldview”. They mean the same thing. The structure by which our societies are built, shape in a large way how we see the world. Worldview. In modern times, the two most prominent worldviews that shape western society have been socialism and capitalism. In olden times we could throw monarchy and theocracy in there, but those aren’t major players in western society anymore. I may get to them later though. Aren’t these just economic systems though? What does buying and selling stuff have to do with how we view equality? Well, based on which system the society you live in chooses, a government is formed and laws are written. These laws should, if done properly, protect the rights of people.
So what’s the difference on how socialism and capitalism look at equality? In America, our society has been built with the worldview of capitalism. We think of equality in terms of equal opportunity. This means that the government has one set of laws that apply to everyone in the same way. What you make of your life is your choice. Every citizen has the same opportunity to follow their dreams as every other citizen under the law. Yes, some will succeed while others fail. Yes, some have an advantage based on a multitude of factors. No one has access to laws that give them any advantage over another person. Capitalist societies use terms like egalitarian to describe equality.
In the socialist worldview, places like the old Soviet Union or modern Venezuela, the concept of equality is more in the line of equality of outcome. This means that the laws will favor people who have less over people who have more in an effort to make everyone more equal in what they have, compared to what everyone else has. To do this the government must have some way of determining who the laws should favor. The most popular way to determine who is privileged and who is not today is through a philosophy called Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School or sometimes Cultural Marxism. It takes privilege from those who need it less and grants privilege to those who need it more to create a balance of equal outcome in society.
Leaders in the modern feminist movement, as well as the larger social justice movement, have embraced the socialist worldview and developed a system of hierarchy, sometimes called the “progressive stack” to determine who is privileged and who is not. The stack itself goes something like: 1. Race 2. Heteronormativity 3. Gender 4. Sexuality 5. Ability 6. Class 7. Religion. The group with the most privilege using this hierarchy would be white, cis-gendered, male, straight, able bodied, rich, Christian. The devil incarnate. It’s hard to say who would be at the bottom of the list because there is a constant fight for who can claim the status of most oppressed. I’ve written before on Social Justice Warriors, and Why Feminism Fails.
Ultimately, the reason the social justice and 3rd wave feminism movements fail everywhere except college campuses, is because in western countries, women do enjoy political, social and economic equality to men. In fact, women enjoy more protection in many areas of the law. Women are generally given less jail time for the same crimes and child custody and divorce laws favor women, for instance. Feminists cling to myths like the gender wage gap where women supposedly make $.77 for every dollar a man makes for doing the same job. A myth that has been debunked dozens of times. Feminists don’t care that women work less hours, take more time off and generally quit working earlier, they just want them to make the same amount of money no matter what. Equality of outcome. Not equal opportunity. They cling to myths like the 1 in 5 sexual assault on college campus for women, which has also been debunked several times over. This study was debunked by the very person who created the myth in the first place. Doesn’t matter.
There are, in fact, places in this world that could use feminism. These are places that still rely on monarchy and theology as worldviews. These are places that take part in female genital mutilation, openly value women less than men by law and generally treat women as property rather than people. You will rarely see a modern feminist criticize these countries or their culture and practices. Islam is lower than Christianity on the scale, you see, so they are less privileged and more oppressed than all these social justice/feminist keyboard warriors and therefore can’t be criticized. Because of this it doesn’t matter that women who are raped get stoned while the man who raped her gets a slap on the wrist. It doesn’t matter that gays get thrown off buildings for being gay. It doesn’t matter that Christians get beheaded for being Christian.
I’m not a feminist because I don’t believe in their version of equality. I believe what is good for everyone regardless of race, herteronormativity, gender, Sexuality, ability, class or religion is the freedom of equal opportunity. Free markets make for a free people. Socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried. I have hopes that the 4th wave of feminism embraces the free market and they see the fallacy of the segregation and regressive laws they are supporting. High hopes, low expectations.