Tangent 3.1: Feminism

Readers may be confused by my comment on feminism, like it came out of nowhere and then was shanghai’d and made into a strange, over-milked form. That’s ok; I intend to be clear, so I should take a moment to explain terms that perhaps are not widely understood. Also, I should be clear that what I am describing some may consider just one aspect of what feminism is, a narrow aspect, but I believe that no feminist worth his or her weight will discount my presentation here. ( And I do invite critique.)

In the common world of everyday, feminism means about the same as women’s rights, except maybe a little more hardcore. A feminist of this sort maybe has become a sort of stereotype, maybe wears her hair short, but maybe not; maybe she tends toward more traditionally masculine jobs such as tree trimming or the trades, or maybe is driven to achieve in business and become a CEO, maybe she is just one who is sensitive for typical traditional Western manners such as holding a door for a woman or letting her in first. Maybe, even, she is homosexual. But also maybe – and this could be the most modern form of common feminism – she is none of these. Maybe she is a he: men can be feminists too (but not really, because they are men – wink, wink, nudge, nudge). At minimum, though, feminism is usually associated with advocating for women.

Yes; feminism most assuredly arose from the problem of women as second citizens. But feminism is not just about women’s rights. Feminism proper (and I use this ‘proper’ as a designating term of propriety, of what an end-run of analysis would bring) sees itself more as a praxis. As I explained in an earlier post, praxis can be said to be an alignment of knowledge, thought and activity into effective practice; feminists and social activists like the term ’empowerment’. Feminism thus usually concerns social arenas of human interaction, but especially uses of power.

Feminism is rooted primarily in critical thinking, and along with this, discourse. One of the basic ideas that was brought out by feminism was or is, what can be called, ideological encoding. What this means is that power is supported just as much, if not more so, through talking as it is through physical force. Power is encoded into how we speak of reality, and is developed and maintained as a manner of speaking about what is true, and what is ethically correct; this latter part forms what is called ideology. Such encoded structures of power are called discourse. Feminism arises as marginalized, or oppressed people, people who do not or have little say in what they are to do in life, begin to question what it is that keeps them down. Feminists have thereby equipped themselves with the tools to subvert unjust wielding of power. They see that every discourse has an implicit agenda, and their role is to uncover what this agenda is and how it functions in the ideological reality for the maintenance of power. Much of feminist critique concerns how such discourse occludes itself, or hides its mechanisms, from a notion of power as a part if its effect, so the other half of feminist praxis is to awaken subjects of power, to educate them, the oppressed, to their actual situation within ideological power structures.

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I mostly agree with feminist intent, though sometimes I think it is over applied.

My comment on feminism in the previous post concerns the implicit and explicit concerns of feminism and how, though they do often and mainly serve well for what can be known as ‘the good’, they tend to convey a limitation of this good founded in social justice, as if justice and fairness is the end, that one then can go on their marry way content that they have been empowered and achieved freedom in its most ideal and essential sense. My complaint is with the ideological structure in which feminism finds its true reality. For if the end run is indeed freedom and justice, once found through social action, they can not be taken as a Mercedes Benz that one has worked so long and saved up for, the prize having arrived. While they are noble things for which we must establish stalwart boundaries to guard against that which would more crassly and overtly impinge upon such freedom and justice, once established we must be obliged by such earned luxury to renounce it as individuals. We owe it to what is known as history not to become spoiled and lax, but to continue fearlessly into the void that is left inside the barricades, that we love, the void called freedom. We should not waste it on selfishly created despair and harbor together in support against the cold, gathering chemicals to ease us and things to appease us, sick minds to comfort us. We need continue onward. This is what I say.

Thank god for the feminist infantry who man the lines; but what they offer is not the goal, it is just the beginning.

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