WHY FEMINISM IS WRONG/
why feminisms are wrong


There are many different kinds of feminism. Some feminists prefer to use the word in the plural: feminisms. Nevertheless this site attempts to reject all of them. Some of them, such as libertarian feminism, are even difficult to distinguish as a feminism - it seems to be 100% libertarianism, without any specifically feminist component. But that does not mean that the category 'feminist' can be expanded to include anything and everything. It is more likely to indicate, that libertarianism and feminism share a political-philosophical core.

Feminism argues, from gender, for the existing world

Post-structuralism is a classic syncretist ideology. If the post-structuralist sees a boundary, she demands at once that it should be "overcome" or "crossed" or "transgressed". Post-structuralist feminism, which is often called post-feminism, is full of this syncretist rhetoric.

It has a great emotional appeal, but syncretism is ultimately conservative. The normative statements of syncretists are based on what could be called the "syncretist fallacy". That has several forms: that fused entities are superior to non-fused entities, that any fusion is preferable to any non-fusion, that an ideal universe should contain only fused entities. None of these propositions are inherently true, and no obligation to fuse derives logically from the existence of separate entities.

In social-political terms: a world containing unfused entities does not become good as these entities fuse. Yet this is the core belief of political syncretism: the moral equivalence of "syncretic" with "good", and the political equivalence of "fusion" with "innovation". Most explicit are cultural syncretists, especially the pan-syncretists - who see a global syncretic culture as the ultimate political goal. A global fusion of 1000 ancient cultures would not create an innovative culture: it would create a global museum. But for the syncretist, it is an exciting future. In other words, the syncretist prefers the fusion of existing entities to their destruction and replacement by new (unfused) entities. And once the pan-syncretist nirvana of total fusion is reached, the syncretists would reject any further innovation.

This conservative aspect of political syncretism is also a feature of post-structuralist feminism. All the boundaries which must be 'transgressed' are the boundaries of existing entities. To deliberately create new separate entities, is to create new boundaries, new separations, new dualisms. Innovation itself is the creation of a new border, a new dualism - between old and new. The post-structuralist feminist would logically reject any of these innovations. However, I never saw this issue discussed in this abstract way. The hostility of post-structuralists to non-syncretic innovation must be inferred, from their general hostility to separation and boundary.

Their underlying formal claim, for the preservation of the existing, might look like this.

For an example of how this works, see Are cars cyborgs? Cyborgs, transsexuals, and transgendered people, fascinate syncretist feminists, who have adopted them as a sort of mascot. Syncretist feminists also share the interest of cultural syncretists, in cross-border cultures.

United Genders of Earth

The ideology "genderism" is to gender, as nationalism is to nation. Nationalists have a normative, positive attitude to nations. A "genderist" feminist is one who sees gender differences as positive, and believes they should exist. The genderist rejects the post-structuralist emphasis on the dissolution of difference. Most genderism is in the forms of womens identity feminism, but its mirror image in the men's movement is equally genderist. Hypothetically, it is possible to be a genderist and deny that women constitute a gender. (Nationalists often do this. They may insist that a nation is the only legitimate unit of state formation, but deny that their own secessionist minorities constitute a legitimate nation).

The term genderism is not widely used. Nevertheless, some feminisms have such clear structural parallels with nationalism, that they can be considered a neo-nationalism. (The American author bell hooks is a good example of borrowing from 19th-century European nationalisms). The only thing that is missing is a a specific territory. No evidence exists for a historical women-only territory, a homeland: in fact I never saw any such claim.

The world order of nation states is an "order of coterminous states covering the entire land surface, formed by transgenerational identity communities, claiming a monopoly of state formation, and eternal legitimacy." A world order of genders is not spatially coterminous in this way, but it is inclusive: no person may be 'genderless'. No inhabited part of the world is gender-free.

The main parallel is that both a gender and a nation are transgenerational, identity-based communities. There is no such thing as a 5-minute nation, and no 5-minute gender either. Nationalism theory can indicate collectivities which are clearly not a nation, such as a sports club. So could gender theory, if it was a major issue. (It is an issue in nationalism theory, because it defines who has the right to legitimate secession, to a separate state). So although there are many disagreements on the essence or construction of nations and genders, that does not mean the terms are meaningless. It is possible to be anti-genderist, just as it is possible to be anti-nationalist: to say no to the entire world order.

In the academic world, the parallel with nationalism is evident in the institution of Women's Studies. Women's Studies are to women, what Slovak Studies are to Slovaks. These academic departments are consciously modelled on the departments of national history / national literature, established in 19th-century Europe. More recently, there are departments of Gender Studies, which are modelled on Ethnic Studies departments, but also parallel nationalism research. Just as research into Slovak history implies that the Slovak nation has value, Women's Studies imply that the female gender has value. It is possible to destroy the collective memory of a nation, for instance by burning its archives, and in theory it would be possible to destroy the collective memory of women in this way also. However nationalists rigorously oppose such a break with the past. And logically, gender feminists would oppose it also. The world of nations is oriented to the past because of their transgenerational nature: that applies to the world of genders as well.

The feminist orientation towards the transgenerational community of women was often called "identity feminism". It was often labelled "separatist", and some feminists used that name to describe themselves. But just as with nationalism, separatism does not imply disagreement on gender itself. Some nationalists believe that Slovaks should have a separate nation state from Czechs. Some nationalists believe they should live together in a Czecho-Slovak federal state. Some people once believed in a single Czechoslovak nation. Some nationalists believe that "Czech" is a colonialist construct, concealing historical oppression of Moravia by Bohemia. All of these are still nationalists. It is largely a historical accident, that some are separatists, and others the anti-separatists. In a similar way, some gender feminists want more separation of the genders than others: but that does not invalidate the categorisation as "genderist".

The ethics issue is not whether gender exists, but whether it should exist. What if aliens land on earth, and genetically convert all humans into physically identical clones, speaking the same language, and with identification numbers instead of names. Is that a loss? It is for the nationalist - and it would be, for most gender feminists. The oppression and discrimination would be gone, but also centuries-old cultures. Yet in an ethic of innovation, the aliens would be welcome to do this. By destroying identity and culture, they would innovate, and facilitate further innovation. A feminism that constitutes a movement for the preservation of gender is conservative, and therefore wrong.

Feminism as political connectionism, a contra-separative ideology

Connectionism is originally a philosophical term, but it is also useful to describe a political and moral preference among feminists. Many feminists promote care, interaction, and discourse. For some, separation is a male principle. A few feminists promoted a sex-specific ethic of binding, using the umbilical cord as a metaphor for women-specific connectionism. The most important connectionist feminism is cyberfeminism, which had great hopes about the Internet. The rise of e-commerce has tarnished this ideal, somewhat.

Metaphors of 'web' or 'weaving' were used by feminists, before they were applied to electronic communication. In fact the weaving metaphor (for society) dates back to classical antiquity, but the new interactivist or connectionist ideology is a development of the European liberal tradition. In the free market models of society, the participants are linked by a web of transactions. This aspect of liberalism is ignored by the communitarian critique of "individualised' liberal societies. Like, the market, connectionism is an imposition on its opponents, and often justified by historicist arguments about its inevitability. It is also inherently wrong, in its fundamental rejection of all separative innovation. Cyberfeminism is a small movement, largely of feminist artists and philosophers, but is potentially a legitimising ideology for a global free-market economy with a large ICT sector. The cyberfeminist Sadie Plant once defined cyberfeminism as "an insurrection on the part of the goods and materials of the patriarchal world, a dispersed, distributed emergence composed of links between women, women and computers, computers and communications links, connections and connectionist nets". An explicit connectionist ethic would probably include:

All of these can certainly be found in the early propaganda of cyberspace - "Everyone online!". But apart from this now-outdated cyberfeminism, connectionism is not a core doctrine of feminism.


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