Everybody these days seems to have a blog. One thing my “husband” (i.e. boyfriend of ten years) Brian, asked me what I first announced to him I was creating a blog was “There are millions of blogs and websites. Will you even get read?”
So true. Particularly concerning Feminism. But it is specifically those numerous Liberal Feminist blogs and websites that made me realize I NEED A BLOG. Today, Feminism is online, and a huge mechanism for spreading Feminism is the internet, whether we like it or not. And this can be great! There is a democratization of information offered by the internet that is unprecedented and allows access to information otherwise unattainable.
Unfortunately, it also creates an atmosphere where everyone and anyone can claim COMPLETE expertise and police movements such as Feminism, banning people from discussions based on disagreements and misunderstandings, not actual threats – thus refusing to actually engage in true Feminist discourse.
I thought my frustration with Liberal Feminism, which seems to dominate many mainstream websites and blogs, finally came to a boiling point after the Women’s March, after which accusations of “cissexism” were thrown at a movement with the root word “Female” in its name. Feminism, at least as I have always understood it, is about dismantling the patriarchy – and the patriarchy exists largely as a mechanism used by men to control the reproduction and biology of FEMALE bodies. Without this desire, there is no patriarchy. “Cissexism” within the Feminist movement does not make sense unless you are specifically at a trans rights rally. Planned Parenthood is not under attack because of services it may provide to trans individuals and men. Planned Parenthood is under attack, has been under attack since its inception, because it specifically provides birth control and abortion to women – giving women control over their own reproduction and thus undermining the patriarchy. Because the march was in large part a response to the threat of defunding Planned Parenthood, there was every reason for women to focus on their own bodies and reproductive organs if they so desired. Because rape culture is a creation used to violently control women’s bodies and undermine their autonomy, and our president exemplified rape culture in his statement “grab ’em by the pussies,” there was every reason for women to wear “pussy hats” if they so desired to send the message to men not to grab their genitalia without their consent.
Yet, broaching these realities of being female and focusing on these core tenets of Feminism was seen as “oppressive.” Any discussions of the march as a unifying cry were completely derailed by gender identity politics. Furthermore, Liberal Feminists screamed “white cisfeminism!” at women overly focused on their reproductive rights – seemingly completely unaware that defunding Planned Parenthood will disproportionately impact lower-income women, particularly lower income women of color, and that telling black women to tone down their demand for reproductive freedom so as not to “oppress” trans women ignores the history of black women’s complete lack of control over their own bodies and reproduction within the power structure of patriarchal white supremacy.
I support trans rights and trans individuals’ rights to live out their nonbinary (or in the case of Caitlyn Jenner, VERY binary) identities, as you can see from my Women’s March signs made possible by some dedicated socialist students. But within Feminism and Feminist gatherings I will always prioritize the physical and material realities of being female in a patriarchy. I believe that gender identity discrimination is a symptom, but not the cause, of patriarchy. The cause is men’s desire to obtain and control the reproductive resources of women. This alone leads to strict control of women’s bodies and lives by relegating women to the home, refusing them equal pay, questioning their intelligence, refusing to allow them to engage in sports, enforcing strict gender roles, obsessing over virginity – and the list goes on.
But it is not just the appeasement of the individualism of gender identity politics at the expense of other Feminist issues that was frustrating me. EVERYTHING in Liberal Feminism is individualistic, despite their claim of being intersectional and desiring to overthrow the trappings of neo-colonialism.
Liberal Feminists claim to be intersectional – but in their uncritical support of sex work as “simply labor” and possibly empowering to INDIVIDUALS, they have neglected to hold the industry and the patriarchy accountable in the context of the intersection of globalization and persisting colonial structures. This bizarre lack of critical thinking when discussing sex work, and the exclusive focus on individual narratives of “empowerment,” is what truly caused the schism between Liberal Feminism and myself. The gender identity backlash to the Women’s March was the nail in the coffin.
Intersectionality does not mean you just include and accept at face value people’s personal narratives. To be intersectional means you take those narratives and the lived realities of individuals and focus them within a larger context of systems of patriarchy and power – including globalization, capitalism, racism, sexism (obviously) and environmentalism.
Many, many intersectional issues of Feminism have been neglected – particularly regarding environmental degradation and climate change – as Liberal Feminism has focused more and more on the narratives of individuals as a means to empower women. Liberal Feminism simply does not adequately address women’s rights in a structural manner that will actually be effective in overthrowing the patriarchy.
Thus, my anthro Feminist blog. I don’t know if I can completely claim to be a Radical Feminist, as I believe that there are biological differences between the sexes that are innate and in fact helped men establish the patriarchy in the first place (i.e. the greater POTENTIAL of men to commit extreme acts of violence along with a closer relationship to war and weapons as women focused on childcare, a natural outgrowth of giving birth and nursing). So I came up with the term “anthro Feminism” to establish a Feminism rooted in the intersectional foundations of cultural anthropology.
Will anthro Feminism take off, as a thing or as a blog? I don’t know. I literally just made up the term. But regardless of whether I start some sort of movement, the least I can do is create a space for what I see as neglected Feminist issues and for people fed up with the inadequacies of Liberal Feminism.