Shifting the Focus Regarding Women
(Sorry. I just couldn’t resist.)
It’s time to turn the focus to the issue of patriarchy and men. But first I believe there is a definitional problem regarding feminism.
I’m intrigued by a term I keep hearing. Radical feminism. Perceptions that suppression of women needs to end and be replaced by empowerment seems to me to be anything but radical. So, I did some research and came up with the following definitions of radical feminism.
Definitions of Radical Feminism
The definition from Robert Jensen’s book The End of Patriarchy is “Radical feminism is a radical, structural politicized response” to “patriarchy’s rigid, repressive, and reactionary gender norms.”
Wikipedia – “Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts.
Another is – “Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, social dominance of women by men. Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing rights, privileges and power primarily by gender, and as a result oppressing women and privileging men.” (The site from which I drew this definition shall remain nameless because when I type the name my fonts go crazy. Creepy!)
I think I need to turn the whole thing on its head by asking the question, “What is the justification for subjugating women?” The fact that subjugation exists is not justification. A woman’s place is in the home is not justification. Men do all things better (that’s laughable) is hardly appropriate. I won’t bother with more space to note absurd justifications.
I prefer to simply deal with the movement of feminism of which there may be various forms with varying degrees of proposals and demands. To my mind, fulfillment of the potential of women and their participation in world society is anything but radical. As far as I’m concerned we can ditch the term radical.
The Bottom Line
I have to wonder what the perceived benefits for society as a whole are by subjugating half the population of earth. And then I get to the point where I wonder why we are even having a debate. Does it simply come down to a male stating “because I said so” ?
Sometimes I think we get so caught up in debates that we make it one form of an academic discussion in which we pick over words. In this instance I’m fascinated by why we are even having this debate. Once we note that women have been the focus of discrimination and subjugation it seems reasonable to focus and make changes. Granted we haven’t done so well with racism which we have declared to be inappropriate and damaging. Now we know some people declare against racism but behave in a racist fashion anyway. The same thing is happening with women and there is a certain absurdity attached to this debate. With the subjugation of women, though, there seem to be a cadre of insistent defenders of subjugation who must be dealt with.