Choosing for themselves
Among some, this makes me The Enemy.
While some like Robert Stacey McCain have been documenting the mad ravings of the RadFem movement, I’m pretty sure that the RadFems aren’t controlling where the “movement” goes. When I can (and when it doesn’t make me look like a creepy middle-aged guy), I talk and correspond with younger folks. Many young ladies just think feminism is another way to insure equal rights.
I’m old enough to know that change seldom comes from the established institutions. It stars at the fringe. Which is why I’m glad to see something like this from Wendy McElroy.
The dominant voice of feminism today is what has been called "gender feminism" -- a controversial term. This is the sort of feminism espoused by NOW, the National Organization for Women. And one of the myths that NOW-style feminists have been able to successfully sell is that anyone who disagrees with their approach on almost any issue, from sexual harassment to child custody, from affirmative action to domestic violence to abortion...anyone who disagrees is anti-feminist and, perhaps, even anti-woman.
That accusation is absolutely false.
The truth is that there are and there always have been many schools of thought within the feminist tradition: from socialist to individualist, liberal to radical, Christian to atheist, prolife to prochoice. And when you think about it, the diversity of opinion makes sense. After all, if feminism is the belief that women should be liberated as individuals and equal to men, then it is only natural for there to be disagreement and discussion as to what complex concepts like "liberation" and "equality" mean. In fact, it would be amazing if all the women who cared about liberation and equality came to exactly the same conclusions as to what those abstract and controversial terms meant in their lives.
Then there are the non-feminist women who are getting fed up, like Meredith L. Patterson here.
Really? Spending more of my formative years interacting with text on a screen than I did with peers my age is “fuck you, got mine”? Being told that my experiences aren’t worthy of consideration because most women don’t relate to them is “fuck you, got mine”? There’s a noticeable empathy vacuum in the room, and for once it’s not coming from the direction of the sperglord. Or sperglady, if you prefer.
What I’ve got, and what I wish the rest of the “women in tech” community who rage against the misogyny they see everywhere they look could also have, is a blazingly single-minded focus on whatever topic I happen to be perseverating on at the moment. It has kept me awake for days puzzling out novel algorithms and it has thwarted a wannabe PUA at a conference completely by accident. It is also apparently the most crashingly successful defense against attempts to make me feel inferior that has ever been devised. When I’m someplace that says on the label that it’s all about the tech, so am I. I may have come by it naturally, but it is a teachable skill. Not only that, it’s a skill that transforms the places where it’s exercised.
This is why I don’t think the world is doomed and the RadFems have won.
People thinking for themselves. People accepting responsibility. People choosing.
There’s hope for a libertarian future.