Is Radical Feminism a Philosophically Bankrupt Ideology?

Is Radical Feminism a philosophically or otherwise bankrupt ideology? I’m not referring to “equal rights” or equality at law (a decent and moral society should acknowledge such rights). Rather, I’m referring to typical radical feminist themes and principles.

Just a few examples: loathing of patriarchy (because it’s male centered), angst over classically defined terms of beauty in a woman (which arguably the lack of having may be what prompts a woman toward radical feminism?), gender politics (uplifting relatively incompetent women to positions of power because she/they are female gender and, removing relatively competent men from power because he/they are male gender), a general disdain for the classic family unit of Dad, Mom, with Kids with a stronger emphasis on “alternative” concepts of familydom, etc. So, from a philosophical perspective what do you think? Is the radical feminism ideology fatally flawed and hypocritical? Thank you for your comments. :slight_smile: Passion

Of course it is.

Yes. Most rebellious movements have their share of morons who use ‘opposition to X, Y or Z’ to justify things that they wanted to do anyway. Radical feminism is basically an excuse for a small group of stupid, violent women to try to wreak havoc. It’s little different to, for example, football hooliganism - where supporting a team is used as an excuse for stupid violence.

All thats been tossed up there is a set of straw “woman” cliches and exagerations that i doubt any body believes in - certainly not the whole suite. Any one class themselves as a radical feminist philosopher? Any one on teh list? Lets have a “fair” contest at least.

krossie

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Dworkin

Hence ‘radical’.

It’s pretty hard – like Krossie indicated – to criticize feminist theories ‘generally’, radical or otherwise. All of the theories quickly mentioned could easily be credible assertions depending on which woman is writing.

However, just for the fun of i:

The problem with most of the feminist theories I’ve studied, especially the radical ones, is that they rely on a lack of ‘antithesis’, to put it bluntly. It’s very social, even the Kate Bornstein type sexual stuff. It’s more of an unearthing the hidden definitions philosophy rather than a examination of metaphysical interplay.

I would say it’s bankrupt now, and perhaps many of the proposed ideas/solutions wouldn’t prove to be all that workable, but it’s still has it’s merit. Much of philosophy is about who says it first, so… hats off to them for noticing.

Absolutely bankrupt.

In college, my friends and I - women included, by the way - would always joke about how Women’s Studies majors are fat ugly irrational over-emotional man-hating lesbians. Never really believed it, but it was a funny extreme to joke about. Then I took a women’s studies class. The professor was a fat ugly irrational over-emotional man-hating lesbian, 100%. Every one of those. The class was terrible - it was the worst kind of philosophy, with no pretense of relying on logic (logic is the domain of the aggressive patriarch, after all, and using logic to analyze arguments is just succumbing to the patriarchal web in which we are all woven). At first I thought I would be hard pressed to find worse people than the professor - until I looked around at my classmates, the most irrational and intellectually bankrupt “intellectuals” I could ever imagine. (Mind you, this is a top-5 university, to boot.)

I later talked to a friend from another school who was a Women’s Studies minor who had taken quite reasonable classes. In all likelihood, mine was more of a fluke than the norm - but I really do expect that it’s a fairly regular kind of fluke. And that’s the kind of “fluke” that I think of when I think “radical feminist”. I have no problem saying that radical feminism is intellectually bankrupt (and morally, as well).

:smiley: =D>

Hi Twiffy. Thank you for your comments. :slight_smile: You said, ”…it was the worst kind of philosophy, with no pretense of relying on logic (logic is the domain of the aggressive patriarch, after all, and using logic to analyze arguments is just succumbing to the patriarchal web in which we are all woven).”

I hear you. I think this is an essential aspect of radical feminist philosophy/ideology: to distort and redefine the word “patriarchy,” not because patriarchy is corrupted but because patriarchy is male. There are times when logic can be suspended, but when it is always suspended then it may be better defined as a cult rather than a philosophy.

You said, ”…until I looked around at my classmates, the most irrational and intellectually bankrupt “intellectuals” I could ever imagine. (Mind you, this is a top-5 university, to boot.)”

I have experienced the same thing twiffy. Radical feminism seems to attract a large number of testosterone laden women as well as a large supply of emotionally embittered chicks who for reasons that appear to be extra-philosophical (probably psychological) have intense angst against men. If so, then would it be fair to say that radical feminism is not a philosophical pursuit but just a social club for likeminded women?

An interesting question might be this: when a group harbors anger or hatred for someone or some class, is it bad faith for them to define that hatred in terms of a “philosophy,” and then to use that philosophy as a means to villify that which they hate? If it’s not bad faith then how is Radical feminism different than other hate group? Thank you again for your comments twiffy. :slight_smile: passion

Hi krossie. Thank you for the comments. :slight_smile: You said, ” All thats been tossed up there is a set of straw “woman” cliches and exagerations that i doubt any body believes in - certainly not the whole suite.”

In a sense I hear what you are saying. But, in reality those clichés are precisely how radical feminists define their cause. Certainly, there are other issues in the lexicon of Radical feminist thinking, many of them far more colorful than the examples I indicated. Radical feminists tend to speak of their ideology in terms of “philosophy” – and some of them even speak of it in terms of theology. Thank you again for your thoughts krossie. :slight_smile: Passion.

Hi siatd. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it. :slight_smile: You said, ” Most rebellious movements have their share of morons who use ‘opposition to X, Y or Z’ to justify things that they wanted to do anyway.”

Yes, this is true. I wonder why? I’ve noticed that such people are often individuals who: have weak arguments, cannot intellectually respond to even a simple challenge to their arguments, and who fall apart completely when their ideas are seriously challenged or when they are called upon to support their ideas. At that point, they typically resort to name calling, sloganeering, and soundbiting (and even that is not original but copied and pasted quotes from their leaders). And often all of this is done in the most shrill tone. For me, such responses are almost always textbook evidence of a failed thinker. Sadly, radical feminism seems to have a good number of this type. Thank you again for your thoughts siatd. I appreciate it. :slight_smile: passion

Hi old_gobbo. Thank you for your comments. :slight_smile: You said, ”…would say it’s bankrupt now, and perhaps many of the proposed ideas/solutions wouldn’t prove to be all that workable, but it’s still has it’s merit.”

I hear you. Yet, all of their proposed ideas/solutions seem to be built upon diminishing men and uplifting women, not on the basis of talent or skill but on the basis of gender. Isn’t this “female chauvinism?” If yes, then isn’t it just as insidious as what the radical feminists claim “male chauvinism” is? How can a group rail against something and then propose the very thing they rail against as their solution to the problem? Thank you again for your comments old_gobbo I appreciate it. :slight_smile: Passion.

There was one person called Andrea Dworkin who was very obviously, pretty much clinically insane - if there is a coherent ideology representing itself as radical feminism then it can be debated.
If I or anyone throws up a couple of cliches or, indeed, a summary of one person’s insane beliefs and then calls it a coherent ideology then its pretty much a self serving argument which proves nothing.

krossie

Hi Passion,

Interesting questions! I think it depends on the “direction of derivation,” if you will. It may be that a particular girl starts out in good faith, and decides on a moral system she finds appealing. This may be a perfectly reasonable system that many would accept - but maybe due to her environment or some other reason, she may come to the conclusion that radical feminism is the correct stance. In this case, I would say she had good faith the whole way through, but that she just ended up with an unfortunate / incorrect belief.

But I think that’s the exception, not the rule. I think the vast majority start out hating men, and retroactively establish their “philosophy” to justify this. Bad faith indeed.

I think radical feminists generally ARE a hate group. They’re just not a hate group that perpetrates hate crimes - but the KKK generally isn’t anymore anyway, so I’d put them roughly in the same class. The feminists are more dangerous though, because they have a liberal societal sanction to be biased and angry, whereas the KKK are generally outcasts. I’m liberal myself, but the extreme liberal attitude of “accept everyone’s beliefs as if they were your own” I think is absolutely ridiculous.

Oh well.

Hi twiffy. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it. :slight_smile: You said, ”…and retroactively establish their “philosophy” to justify this. Bad faith indeed.”

I hear you. The existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre had this idea that “existence precedes essence.” Essentially, it means that a person has to exist first before she can become somebody. So, if true, perhaps it suggests that radical feminists become radical feminists along the way during the development of their essence. In other words, they are not “born” that way, they become that way.

When you combine that with Sartre’s other concept of “bad faith,” where there is an inclination or predisposition for a person to deny their own responsibility, you have the makings of potential “bad faith” which I believe is rampant among the radical feminism ideologists. Thank you again for your comments twiffy. I appreciate it. :slight_smile: Passion

Careful now.

Not all of feminist philosophy deals with diminishing men. In fact, many writers, like Bornstein write from a more neural view in which they are simply trying to define what it is to be ‘woman’ ‘man’ or somewhere inbetween. Much feminist writing is about inequality, yes, but an equal amount -if not more- is about placement in society, and trying to define what that place is, and how you can take responsibility for it.

Hi old_gobbo. How are you? And thank you for your comments. I appreciate it. :slight_smile: You said, ” In fact, many writers, like Bornstein write from a more neural view in which they are simply trying to define what it is to be ‘woman’ ‘man’ or somewhere inbetween.”

I hear what you are saying. However, hasn’t radical feminism always insisted that males cannot possibly understand what it means to be female? How then can radical feminists claim to know what it means to be male? (or somewhere in between?). Isn’t this hypocritical of them? Thank you again for your thoughts old_gobbo. I appreciate it. :slight_smile: passion

Hey Passion,

From what I’ve read yes, some do assert the unattainable nature of ‘the other sex’ but like I said, most of it is pointing out the interplay of different societal forces from the female perspective. You have to remember all of the western philosophy up until the feminist revolution was male based, and operating under a male paradigm.

So when juxtaposed against ‘regular’ (male) philosophy feminism can often be construed as exclusive or hypocritical, but it stems from, like you said – the fact that male influenced philosophy is wholly foreign to things like the philosophy of being a mother; a term which some would contend is intrinsically linked with hypocriticism.

What i dont understand is feminism’s supporting of homosexual marrages/relationships?

What is in it for them? I mean, do they only support lesbianism,or do they support the whole shubang?

How did it even start?

It’s to do with left-wing politics and ‘special interests groups’. Feminism is predominantly a left-wing movement, as is the movement for ‘gay rights’ or whatever. As such, the two are allies for political reasons, even though they actually want different things (many feminist want to abolish marriage as ‘patriarchal’, but are in favour of marriage between two women or two men)

Greater political power, more money, higher profile. ‘Women know what it is like to be gay, because they have suffered from the same oppression throughout history.’ Crowd applauds. Everyone goes home feeling like an individual, because they are told that they should. That’s basically what left-wing politics had become in the late 20th century.

Also, the association between feminism and lesbianism is long-standing outside of political movements. Particularly among militant or radical feminists. This is used as a derogatory joke by anti-feminists and other reactionaries, but from my experience it’s not without basis.

Well, feminism was somewhat hijacked by the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s - (though Foucault is deeply sceptical about whether such a revolution took place and whether there was a grand repression that we liberated ourselves from and whether or not that reading of history is part of the liberal/Marxist narrative of emancipation - and so the two became combined as part of a general sense of liberation. Now, with hindsight it all looks a bit cheap and stupid because for all their ‘revolutionary’ zeal, most people spent the sixties getting wasted and contracting STDs. Now, I suppose that is a revolution of sorts, a rebellion of sorts, but I’m sure we can do a lot better. However, I see some of the roots of the collapse of left-wing politics (and I’m not just talking about communism) toward the end of the 20th century in this feckless rebellion that characterises so many 60s cultural movements. Certain branches of feminism, the gay rights movement, the movement for racial equality and a million other ‘minorities’ (as though white people have no race, and all other people are minorities - !?) have been sought by left-wing parties, media and other political forces, and in their desperation to win the support of such people they’ve sold every single principle they have up the river, and become a loathsome bunch of hypocrites.

You are familiar, I assume, with the phrase ‘all things to all men’. That’s basically the teleology of the contemporary Left. In trying to be that, they end up being nothing in particular to anyone, except for the handful of people at the top who are essentially no different to the one who head right-wing political parties and newspapers.

Radical feminism is one in a long line of political philosophies that I’d happily remove from the shelves and burn, in the name of trying to grasp a more productive future. Of course, I’d happily eliminate entire academic disciplines.