Archives for posts with tag: Feminism

I’m sure anyone paying attention to the shrill squawks of horn-rimmed glasses wearing feminazis with unnaturally-coloured Pixie Bob haircuts has heard about the patriarchy, but what is the patriarchy? Why are they so shrill about it? Traditionally a patriarchy is simply a family or society where the eldest male is revered as the head of that group, but as it is understood today, patriarchy (with a more specific ‘the’ attached to it now) is a societal system within which men are in possession of the mechanisms of power (wealth, political and economic clout, access to healthcare, etc.), and women are largely excluded from the process. The feminazis wish to destroy this gendered distribution of power.

What is it specifically that the feminazis want to send to their SJW equivalent of a gas chamber? Is it the maleness of this discrepancy? I’m sure in some instances that is the case, but those people are what is commonly referred to as, ‘stupid.’ A matriarchy (the matriarchy?) would be an equally unjust distribution of power. Fighting against an idea while clamouring for its mirrored counterpart is, as previously mentioned, stupid.

Ultimately, it isn’t the gender of the puppeteers of the system at all, but unchecked, hierarchical power that is exploitative. The current masculine domination is only tangentially related to inequality, since its very nature of being masculine isn’t based on any essentialist differences between genders but on tradition alone. It is only called “the patriarchy” because that is best description of the current state of affairs. The issue is power.

This is another reason that feminism isn’t actually about equality. Equality in oppressive power is not a worthy goal. It’s why radical feminist Jessa Crispin dismisses the term ‘white feminism’ in favour of ‘power feminism.’ The legitimate critiques that exist against “white feminism” are describing nothing more than a group trying to grasp hierarchical power in an oppressive system rather than fight against it, seeking equality in an unequal system. Their whiteness is no more the issue than the maleness of beneficiaries of the patriarchy. ‘Power feminism’ suggests that any feminist, regardless of race, can maintain these views.

Unfortunately, the etymologically feminine background of morally righteous feminism as the solution to the etymologically masculine patriarchy places an unnecessary conflict between men and women with men in the villainous role, but hopefully I’ve argued cogently that gender is the expression of the problem rather than the problem itself. There is a power imbalance, and gender is only the form that that imbalance takes. Universal access to financial stability, political voice, healthcare, etc. would mean that there could be no power differentials at all.

Oh my gosh, you might gasp, are you saying that feminism necessarily requires an anarchistic lens? Um, yes. Yes I am.

Many people perceive the feminist quest as finding its ultimate success in complete equality between men and women, but this is quite easily disproved. Consider the following marital situations as a simple example:

  1. The husband and wife each have the exact same job, and earn the exact same pay. They both do an equal amount of dishes, an equal amount of vacuuming, an equal amount of yard work, etc. Each parent spends identical lengths of time with their children contributing in equal fashion in every aspect of their development. Each duty, household and career-oriented, are identical for each partner to promote total equality.
  2. The husband works as a police officer and the wife works as a nurse. The wife does the dishes, vacuums the carpets, and makes dinner while the husband mows the lawn, takes care of financial obligations, and maintains the family vehicle. The wife is responsible for prepping the children for school in the morning while the husband takes them to their extra-curricular activities. This could be considered the equal-but-different model.
  3. The wife works as the head of a large corporation while the husband stays at home. The husband does most of the childcare, while the wife provides financially for the family. The husband does most of the household chores as well because the wife frequently works long hours, though she does help out around the house on weekends when she has the time. This would be considered a reversal of traditional roles.

Which of these is considered the most feminist? The first is absurd. It’s like calculating the pennies when splitting up the cheque at a restaurant. No one ought to care that much. The second, though equality could be argued, is not feminist because it is representative of conformity to rigid gender roles. The last, though the relationship is unequal in its distribution of wealth dependency and household responsibilities, is the most feminist because it is clear that each partner in that relationship was not pressured to conform by outside social norms. Their roles are a definitive choice.

Feminism, therefore, is clearly not about equality but about the abolition of gender roles. If there were no roles forcing individuals into certain lifestyles, then presumably women and men would naturally navigate freely toward their own preferred choices. The distribution of pay and household responsibilities would become arbitrary since each family would have different motivations and goals.

Feminism is about each gender’s freedom to choose the life they want to live. Some might argue that it is equal opportunity that is necessary for this freedom to exist, but gender roles are the obstacle that must be overcome before equal opportunity can even exist. We must first believe that women and girls are capable of becoming doctors and lawyers or that men are capable of becoming nurses or homemakers before we give them the opportunity to do so.

The term ‘womyn’ is occasionally used to signify a feminist exodus from male-dominated language. Woman has the suffix -man in it, after all, and wome(y)n no longer exist only as a derivative of man! Eve, born of a male rib, is no longer in style.

However, an assumption about the historically patriarchal nature of language would reasonably require looking at the history of language. ‘Woman’ originally comes from the word wifman where wif refers to her status as a female, and man refers to her status as a human being. ‘Man’, as we know him today, was initially called werman, with the wer referring to his male-ness, and the man, again, referring to the fact that he is a homo sapien.

It turns out ‘woman’ isn’t historically oppressive at all, and ‘werewolf’ is in fact the more sexist term, as it would etymologically be transcribed as a male-wolf (Same with ‘android’, which literally is something that is like a male; andro + oid. The neutral version would be ‘anthroid’). Somewhat ironically, altering the –man part of ‘woman’ would seem to lessen her humanity, rather than embolden it.

Similarly, ‘female’ is not derived from male, but from femella, whereas ‘male’ comes from masle derived from masculus. In addition, ‘history’ is derived from a long series of words that all essentially mean a chronicle of the past, ultimately leading back to the ‘account of an inquiry’ definition from the Greek word historia. It is not actually the masculine-possessive’s story. As it turns out, the western languages were not conceived with patriarchal maliciousness in mind.

Does this mean that feminists are crazy for wanting to change ‘mailman’ to ‘mail carrier’ if the –man part refers to the human being-ness of this mail carrier rather than their gender? Of course not. Language evolves over time. No gay man has ever taken comfort in the fact that they were etymologically called a bundle of sticks. The evolution of ‘man’ from its gender-neutral origins has been murky, and ‘human’ is still used quite uncontroversially, but today it generally means male. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that werman is going to be making a comeback any time soon.

Changing ‘woman’ to ‘womyn’ is still stupid, however, and here’s why: it is not oppressive to refer to a woman as a female human being. Having -man as a suffix to a career could serve to identify its inclination, but wo- on its own is meaningless today, so the man does not alter its meaning (its meaning being ‘female’, remember). If anything, the word has already undergone a feminist revolution. Can you imagine if we still used the root of ‘wife’ to define our women?

This etymological history is not entirely benign, however, and the damage that was caused had nothing to do with the term ‘woman’, but with ‘man’. It all happened back in the late 13th century when werman evolved into ‘man’. It made males the default human being. When we discuss gender and focus only on women, perhaps it is because men lost theirs back during the founding of the Ottoman Empire. I doubt the two are related, but who knows.

Post-script: All my etymology info has come from here.