Like most intellectual movements, feminism is a movement of many strands, some valid, some toxic.
The rebellion against the notion of women as reproductive animals devoid of intellect, incapable of logical thought, destined by their biology passively to serve the needs of men – a notion brilliantly catalogued and analysed by Betty Friedan in her ground-breaking 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique – was long overdue. Unfortunately, it also became misdirected through such vehicles as Wimmin’s Lib and Wimmin's Studies and the idea that all wimmin are 'sisters,' that all men are rapists, and that wooly Feminazis are good looking.
The essential wrong of the barnyard animal view of women was that it was collectivist. It said, in effect, that woman qua woman had an inescapable, predetermined role in life from which no individual deviation was possible, let alone permissible. This is clearly nonsense.
The Feminazis, however, went on to preach their own version of collectivism with a vengeance - instead of equality they simply wished to reverse whatever 'gender thinking' then existed, and to replace the perceived positions on the totem pole. By their view, women were not only not inferior to men, they were superior; they not only had the right to pursue a career, they had a right to take jobs from men through such political means as affirmative action programmes, quota systems and sisterly solidarity; not only were they not sex objects, but all men were rapists; not only were they not breeding machines, but motherhood itself was immoral; not only had there been oppression of women, but all of Western civilisation, particularly capitalism, was an edifice of patriarchal hegemony; not only were men and women not completely different, there were no differences between them at all; etc, etc.
Fortunately, enlightened feminists such as Camille Paglia have emerged to counter such lunacies and encourage women to think of themselves as individuals, first and foremost. Libertarianism intersects with this strand of feminism. Strictly speaking, the term feminism, as a legitimate assertion of individuality and rebellion against collectivism, is a redundancy; individualism is sufficient. See Individualism!
This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here.
LINKS: Cue Card Libertarianism - Individualism - Not PC
TAGS: Cue_Card_Libertarianism, Libertarianism, Politics, Ethics