Thursday, May 11, 2017

Postmodernism: fear it, fear it.

Following on from my previous post, I was reacquainted with Areo magazine this morning when not just the Rationalist Society of Australia, but also Progressive Atheists Inc., shared an article entitled

It fascinates me how either organisation feels they can live up to their name when this is just one amongst many anti-feminist articles posted by both. I feel I have a partial answer, though, and it is the name of this very post. Postmodernism seems to be the original sin de jour (irony intended) that invalidates anything it touches, and horror at its nefarious infiltration seems to be behind these rejections of worthy and progressive causes. I'm not sure whether it's the exact same thing as "cultural marxism" or simply a similar kind of crucifix to these socially-useless vampires, but they recoil the same regardless.

My response to this post on Facebook was to write a parody article - one that has subsequently disappeared from the comment section. It was entitled "Why I No Longer Identify as an Atheist" and parroted the same shoddy logic used by this piece in its attempt to call feminism unworthy of respect. I'll post that here if I ever get it back. In the meantime, let's just look at the original article.

From the outset, note the picture that accompanies it: women with determined faces, arms raised in solidarity and wielding placards that attack the accusation that they were responsible for their own rapes. Now remember that this is an article criticising the modern feminism that these women represent, and therefore we are supposed to dislike these women - the picture was chosen to evoke contempt in the reader. Mouthy, humourless bitches, all of them; that's the mindset we're supposed to be in before we begin to read the article.

It doesn't get particularly better from there. The author demonstrates her old-school feminist chops with some remarkable examples of activism. She:

  • "won a personal battle to take woodwork at school instead of cookery"
  • "[informed] my boss that he was a “good boy” when he called me a “good girl”"
  • "[refused] to say anything apart from “cheep” to any man who referred to me as a bird." 

Thus, we cannot reproach her authority on the acceptable limits of feminist praxis: she's already done all three of them.

This is contrasted with the nefarious "RadFems", who hold outrageous and definitely-not-demonstrable ideas of "patriarchy" and "gendered violence". If your idea of feminism has any theoretical backing deeper than "sexism is bad" then I'm afraid you too are an overzealous, man-hating RadFem, deserving only of "eye-rolling" and patronising placations. But at least you can take comfort that you are not the true villain of the piece (unless you are that also) because you are not infected by postmodernism (unless you have been also).

Yes, the creeping threat of postmodernism has infiltrated even precious, milquetoast "liberal feminism": it's called "intersectionality". The experiences of individuals are now given consideration, as if (preposterously) the one-size-fits-all version of social change might not fix everything for everyone equally. After all, the author is a well-off, educated woman and (liberal, bird-cheeping) feminism's worked for her, so there's really no reason to think that this wouldn't be a panacea for everyone else.

It is in fact intersectional feminism that is logically inconsistent - why, "a Western liberal feminist can, on the same day, take part in a slut walk to protest Western women being judged by their clothing and accuse anyone criticizing the niqab of Islamophobia"! Objecting to policing women's clothing on the same day they object to policing women's clothing?! Truly, postmodernism has turned the very world upside down.

Yes, intersectionality has now made it so that all feminists do anymore is tolerate and negotiate people's cultures, sexualities, genders, ethnicities and so on, rather than chirruping at cheeky men and other practical, time-honoured steps to advancing gender equality. They take it to such extremes that they call gay pride marches near Muslim neighbourhoods "racist" and other outrageous claims the author is not going to provide any evidence of. From there, blah-blah-blah man-hating, blah-blah-blah culture-of-victimhood. These accusations are true because the author says they are, and boy do they convince.

The article concludes with the author's summary of intersectional feminist beliefs. These include:

  • That the UK and US are patriarchies that perpetuate rape culture 
  • That "emotional labour" and "cultural appropriation" are real issues 
  • That women can't cope with people being mean on the internet 
  • That only racists criticise FGM and honour killings 
  • That video games and scientists' shirts are "vital feminist issues" 

It's a list carefully distilled from the most hysterical of online anti-feminism (Anita Sarkeesian! Ethics in gamer journalism! Regressive left!) and combined with a sneering acknowledgement of actual feminist issues. So basically, a list that misses the point so hard it couldn't even hit its own enormous straw-man.

Overall, then, a fairly useless article. To quote another Facebook commenter: "This article could almost be retitled "Why Millennials Suck Because I Got Old"."

It's occurred to me, and I'll check once I've posted this, that it's probably the same author as the previous shrieking screed about postmodernism. So... fine, she can have a hate-boner (hate-ladyboner #feminism) for it all she wants. But why are these mainstream "progressive" and "rationalist" groups giving her such prominence? The answer, I suspect, is once again the title of this essay.

No comments:

Post a Comment