Are “feminist” celebrities really feminist? Jessa Crispin’s take

UPDATE: For a recent critique of intersectional feminism, see this article at the new site Areao by Helen Pluckrose.

__________

As a male, I bridle at having to define the term “feminism”, as my possession of a Y chromosome gives me a perceived lack of credibility. If pressed, I guess I’d say it’s the proposition that men and women should be considered moral and legal equals, with nobody discriminated against on the grounds of sex (or “gender”). I suppose that makes me an “equity feminist”, a species not in good odor.

But that’s not nearly good enough for Jessa Crispin, whose op-ed in today’s New York Times,What to ask a celebrity instead of ‘Are you a feminist?‘”, is a strong indictment of forms of feminism even more radical than my tepid definition above. Crispin certainly does have street cred: she used to work for Planned Parenthood, and was editor of the feminist literary site Bookslut, which apparently folded last May. She also wrote Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto, which came out only five days ago (see the New Yorker‘s summary and review here).

What is Crispin’s beef against feminism? Apparently that the way it’s conceived by most women is it’s not “intersectional” enough, i.e., not tied sufficiently closely to social movements. While most intersectionality for feminists deals with issues of race and ethnicity, Crispin’s view is that feminism is far to cozy with capitalism, neglecting those who are marginalized because they’re poor. As Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker noted:

The most vital strain of thought in “Why I Am Not a Feminist” is Crispin’s unforgiving indictment of individualism and capitalism, value systems that she argues have severely warped feminism, encouraging women to think of the movement only insofar as it leads to individual gains. We have misinterpreted the old adage that the personal is political, she writes—inflecting our personal desires and decisions with political righteousness while neatly avoiding political accountability. We may understand that “the corporations we work for poison the earth, fleece the poor, make the super rich more rich, but hey. Fuck it,” Crispin writes. “We like our apartments, we can subscribe to both Netflix and Hulu, the health insurance covers my SSRI prescription, and the white noise machine I just bought helps me sleep at night.”

That this line of argument seems like a plausible next step for contemporary feminism reflects the recent and rapid leftward turn of liberal politics. Socialism and anti-capitalism, as foils to Donald Trump’s me-first ideology, have taken an accelerated path into the mainstream. “Why I Am Not a Feminist” comes at a time when some portion of liberal women in America might be ready for a major shift—inclined, suddenly, toward a belief system that does not hallow the “markers of success in patriarchal capitalism . . . money and power,” as Crispin puts it.

And Crispin expands this argument in her New York Times piece, which criticizes celebrities who parade their feminism on the red carpet. She takes out, for instance, after someone regarded as a demi-god by places like PuffHo: Beyoncé:

The old feminist archetype — a rejection of all hair products, the swollen bellies and bosoms of the Venus de Willendorf, and oh my god I don’t think they even wear high heels — was at odds with the gazelle-like stature we prefer for female celebrities.That has changed. There has been an aggressive marketing campaign within the feminist community to make it less scary, more sexy. As a result, more women are likely to call themselves feminist, but the word has also lost most of its meaning.

Beyoncé performs in front of a “Feminist” sign. But she is a brazen capitalist who gives private concerts for the executives of corporations like Uber, a company that has a long history of labor and sexual harassment violations. She has been accused of borrowing the work of some female artists, including the choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, or being slow to attribute their work.

What does it mean that she calls herself a feminist? Does it just mean she believes in her ability to make money? Why do we look to famous women to tell us how to feel about feminism?

And that last question is a good one. I wouldn’t, for instance, consider Meryl Streep more of an expert on feminism than someone like Crispin who’s worked in the movement for years.

Although I don’t think Beyoncé performed at Uber before the recent revelations of galloping sexism in the corporation, the excerpt above is a fair indictment. What does Beyoncé mean by “feminism” beyond the fact that she writes about empowering women and becoming successful by taking control of her own life?  I won’t question her self-description, but Crispin does, and then lists eight questions she’d like to pose to celebrities interviewed at events. Here they are:

1. Oh, don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to justify why you’re making a movie with a man who was recently arrested for domestic abuse! [JAC: Being culturally illiterate, I’m not sure to whom she’s referring here.] None of my business. But when was the last time you chose to work with a female director, producer, director of photography, writer or key grip?

2. As your body is setting the standards for beauty among preteen girls who also want to be pretty and loved, how hungry are you right now?

3. I love your new line of girl power T-shirts! So chic. Do you know how much the Bangladeshi women and children who sewed them were paid for their labor?

4. If you say you are a feminist, are you more of a bell hooks feminist? A Shulamith Firestone feminist? No, no, Shulamith Firestone, the writer, not a juice cleanse. O.K., well, are you an Emma Goldman feminist?

5. Let’s do a multiple choice! I want to know if your feminism is intersectional. Here are five possible definitions for the word “intersectional” — give it your best shot.

6. Do you know how much your male co-stars are making? Do you know how much the cleaning women on set are making?

7. What is the carbon footprint on your private jet?

8. Oh, so you’re thinking of moving to Canada now that Donald Trump is president? Do you think your life, insulated from his policies by your fame and money, has been affected by his administration?

In other words, she indicts celebrity feminism—and by extension many liberal feminists—because they’re not doing enough for poor women, or poor people in general.  They’re concerned with their own status/victimhood/position in society. While some of the questions above are a bit jocular, they all have a serious bite.  And I don’t know how to judge them. Is a “real” feminist involved in multiple issues of social justice? If they talk a good game, or write on their websites, but don’t really improve the lot of the poor, can they call themselves feminists?

I have no dog in this fight, as I think the question of “intersectionality” complicates nearly every ideological issue of the Left. Can you be an anti-racist if you’re not at the same time a Crispin-style feminist? Can Christina Hoff Sommers be seen as a feminist if she favors equality of opportunity but not equality of outcome? Does being a feminist mean passing a purity test on every social issue that presses on us now? (I doubt it, if for no other reason than everybody can’t work on everything. People have priorities.) I consider myself a male feminist (but I am loath to say that for fear of opprobrium), but Crispin would vehemently disagree. But does it even make sense to argue about the meaning of the term?

Crispin apparently thinks it does. I’m not so sure. We can argue about the value of combining moral equality of the sexes with other social causes, but that’s a question of philosophy and social activism, not of semantics. After all, Peter Singer would probably espouse the very same goals as Crispin does, at least for wealth, but isn’t ever seen as a feminist, though his recommendations meet Crispin’s test far more than those of many women.

Give your definition below, or state whether you think that definitions of or purity tests for feminism are useful.

crispin

Jessa Crispin

52 Comments

  1. Newish Gnu
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Crispen’s approach reminds me of the Atheism+ folks. That isn’t a compliment.

    Jerry’s definition works for me.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      That was my first thought. Women can and should be equals in whichever movement they want to participate in. Is that “instersectional” or just common sense?

    • eric
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      There is certainly a strong tenor of “you’re not doing it well enough” to her position.

      I particularly disliked the intellectual elitism. Evidently you can’t be a feminist unless you can answer questions about the meaning of intersectionality and bell hooks and know the average wage of laborers in other countries. It almost sounds like a Courtier’s reply: you have no standing to call my opinion about feminism into question unless you’ve read these books.

      Now look, she can certainly questions a person’s dedication to the feminism cause if they appear to know little or nothing about it. But I don’t think you need to know these things to fight for sexual (and other types of) equality. But heck, if she’s bound and determined to reserve the ‘feminist’ label for beliefs approved by her, then I’m happy simply to call myself a civil rights and equal rights advocate.

      • Newish Gnu
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        “I’m happy simply to call myself a civil rights and equal rights advocate.”

        Exactly right!

  2. BobTerrace
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Crispin’s arguments are specious. Human beings are complicated and she is trying to shoehorn people into her specific definitions. For instance, someone can be pro-choice but frowns upon abortion.

    There are a dozen valid definitions of supporting womens’ rights and feminism is a deficient label for most of them.

    • Kevin
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      feminism is a deficient label for most of them

      That sums it up. I would add that without atheism feminism is empty. What part of organized religion has put woman on equal footing?

  3. Rich Sanderson
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Their idea of inter-sectional feminism is bogus – just watch their reaction when you ask them to speak out on behalf of their “Muslim sisters”, and their fight against the oppression, of say, wearing the hijab. They go silent! We even have third-wave inter-sectional feminists CELEBRATING and FETISHIZING the hijab as a symbol of empowerment. That is a big lie.

    Also, the increasing focus on “socialism”, and in some cases, Marxism and Communism, as a rallying cry against capitalism. If you want to criticise capitalism, that’s fine, but when your solution is “socialism”, a system that has a track record of impoverishing and oppressing women, again, we see these people for the frauds they are.

    Further, it is worth keeping an eye on how Islamists and pro-Sharia apologists are using Western feminism for their own agenda.

    Excellent stuff, Jerry. If responses like this keep upsetting regressives like “latsot”, then that is a great thing.

    • Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      From what I recall ‘latsot’ has relatives in the House of Lords.

      It’s important to distinguish between ‘anti-capitalism’ that is based on beliefs in a post-capitalist socialism and a hatred of capitalism based on feudal resentment of nouveau-rich usurpers.

    • eric
      Posted February 27, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      …socialism”, a system that has a track record of impoverishing and oppressing women…

      Hmmm…that’s painting with a broad brush. Most European countries would count as socialist, and I think they frankly do a better job in the equality department than we do.

  4. BJ
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    It’s really just the latest, more restrictive purity test that she’s outlining here.

    Not to mention that celebrities in the past who have answered “no” or “I’m not sure” or anything but “yes, most definitely, I love feminism!” to the question of whether or not they were feminists have been subjected to weeks-long media and social media campaigns against them in an attempt to destroy their career unless they apologize and say they really are feminists and just misunderstood the question.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted February 27, 2017 at 4:56 am | Permalink

      I made a special point of reading about “intersectionality” a while ago. I came to the conclusion that whatever value it has was overshadowed by the ease with which people could hide their own predjudices within it. YMMV.

  5. Jamie
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    A very complicated subject. Since I think sexism is an oppression, I think it’s a little more than simply discrimination. But, depending on how one defines discrimination…

    I take my feminist cues largely from the Redstockings Manifesto. The authors were writing to oppose a common misconception of the time (this was in the ’70s) that women who wear makeup and high heels (to name just two of the symbols) are traitors to the cause. They articulated what they called “the pro-woman line”. Women who dress or act within the victim paradigm to survive, to keep their jobs and their independence can be proper feminists even though it may look like they are merely oppressed victims.

    Redstockings went a little further than that though. They addressed the issue of class with a call to reject elitism as part and parcel of feminism. Their analysis was not complicated. Given that elitism serves the establishment and the establishment is sexist at the core, elitism is a proper target of feminism. So this idea of Crispin’s is not new in any sense.

    Where I think Redstockings and Crispin part ways is that Redstockings was devoted to inclusivity, acceptance and no blame for women for how they handled their oppression. Crispin seems much more “regressive left” in her willingness to blame her sisters for “not doing it right”. So my answer to your final question is, no, I think purity tests are extremely harmful and not in the spirit of feminism as it was originally conceived, though I do think proper definitions are important.

    • Rita
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Very well said!

    • Blue
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      ’bout a month afore I left my NYC brownstone, stuck out my thumb at the top of the Manhattan Isle and eventually walkzed on into Mr Yasgur’s Woodstock (er, Bethel) venue, thus thereby was constructed and formalized: http://www.redstockings.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=76&Itemid=59, Jamie, Ms Rita.

      Of that which you, Jamie, stated, only thing with which I would not agree is your third word: I believe sexism — and, more importantly, its solution there – agsinst, is, indeed, very, very simple.

      Blue

  6. Denise
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Then they wonder why so many young women won’t call themselves feminists.

    My definition matches yours.

  7. Historian
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Once again we are engaged in a war of definitions. A person arbitrarily makes up a definition of something and any other person who has a different definition of the term is characterized as an apostate. In this instance, Crispin has made up her own definition of feminism with the apparent result that few people fit it. She’s a general with a small army at best. She exemplifies the dangers of purism.

    Other examples of the definitions war are:

    1. Who is an atheist?
    2. What is the “real” Islam?
    3. Who is a liberal?
    4. Who is an illiberal leftist?

    These debates go on forever with no resolution in sight. While labels can be useful, it is more productive to simply say that you don’t like the views of a person rather than argue whether the person fits a label.

  8. Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    This is the “No true Scotsman” fallacy from the inside. “You’re not a real feminist because you use Uber!” Is marginally different than “You’re not a real Mormon because you drink Scotch!” Though the attitude that generates these accusations is exactly the same. It’s entirely possible to support the principles of an ideology yet fail, for various reasons, to live those principles to the letter or even realizing that you’re doing it.

    If a person’s actions contravene their stated principles, it is more reasonable to simply point out their failure and remind them of how their actions do not align with their values than to simply revoke their membership card and cast them out of the club as heretics or hypocrites. If they do not agree with your assessment, then you can proceed to have a conversation on the subject that may convince this person, or even change your own mind on the subject.

    This is the problem of taking the label more seriously than the person, and how movements destroy themselves from the inside out.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted February 27, 2017 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      This is the problem of taking the label more seriously than the person, and how movements destroy themselves from the inside out.

      Very true, in my opinion. If you keep throwing the wrong sort of ***ists under the bus, don’t be surprised when the bus grinds to a halt.

  9. Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Can Christina Hoff Summers be seen as a feminist if she favors equality of opportunity but not equality of outcome?

    She’s not against equality of outcome, she just believes there’s a better chance of that actually happening if there’s equality of opportunity.

    As annoying as it is being lectured on ‘male privilege’ by Hollywood gazillionairs the last thing feminism needs right now is yet another axis of privilege/oppression being used as another purity test.

  10. jwthomas
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Forget unhelpful labels
    such as “feminism.”

    Both men and women should be free to do whatever they choose to do so long as it does not harm others and so long as they’re willing to accept the consequences of their actions.

    Would anybody like to critique that view?

  11. Steve Gerrard
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Questions 1, 3, and 6 are about power and money, the so-called “markers of success in patriarchal capitalism.”

    Questions 7 an 8 are about the environment and place of residence, and apply equally to both men and women.

    Questions 4 and 5 are about authors, definitions, and labels.

    Questions 2 is about physical appearance.

    That seems a little thin, if it is meant to point out what “real” feminism is about. If it’s not about money, is it just about looks?

  12. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    As a former anorexic, I think that “hungry” question was mean spirited & I would have told her to fuck off & stop judging me for my appearance. Isn’t that what would help women not feel they had to look like twigs?

    • Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      + 1

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Anorexia isn’t always about women equating thinness with a standard of beauty. It can be due to any number of factors, for instance: not being taken seriously, being ignored, then internalizing that and in a sense reifying that by trying to become invisible. Despite the fact that much of female anorexia is surely due to the idea of thinness being desirable, I think that people should be very careful about just assuming that is THE reason all women who become anorexic or close to it.

      • gijswijs
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        Either way telling her “to fuck off & stop judging me” would be a remarkably good way of answering Crispin’s idiotic set of questions.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 2, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        People should also be very careful when reading my comments and assuming I was speaking for all women. As I said, I was an anorexic and that comment the person made was offensive. I wanted to be thin because thin is beautiful.

  13. Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Feminism, to me, is the position that women are equal to men, in the sense of the Declaration of Independence saying that all men are created equal. We should have equal opportunities and equal rights, compared to men. That’s all it means.

    The other issues Crispin discusses are also important, matters of class, racism, economic inequality, etc. So are issues she doesn’t mention, like protecting our environment.

    Feminist, racist, and environmentalist are different dimensions of a person, like introversion and extroversion. One can be a feminist and a racist (arguing for equal treatment of the genders with races). One can be an environmentalist and a sexist. It would be best if everyone were on the good side (as defined by me) of every issue, but reality is more complicated.

    • Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you. Most of feminism I view as a backlash against centuries of inequitable opportunities for women. This has been a fight, in one degree or another, ever since patriarchy spread to control and limit lives of women. It should be up to the individual woman as to if, or how, she wishes to express her feminism.

      My mother claimed to be a feminist before there was “feminism” because, among other things, she was able to obtain jobs that were traditionally held by males, do the work as well as males and was paid “a man’s wages”.

      I would also like to acknowledge my debt to my female ancestors who did all in their power to provide more education and better opportunities for their progeny. The improvements that have come about were largely made possible by their bravery and actions.

      In regards to property rights, there is still at least one state in which property owned by women become their husband’s upon marriage, and in which inheritance of property by women after the death of a husband is divided so that the woman receives the same portion as each of her children. Property inheritance laws vary from state to state.

      Another issue I’d like to see rectified is credit card, store or utility, investment accounts, etc. When my husband died, credit cards which we both had used, paid and developed good credit ratings on over our years together were closed. They were considered to be my husband’s accounts only. I had to apply for new cards with a lower credit rating and amount. The same kind of thing happens with certain business accounts, such as Verizon. I also had to fill out an enormous amount of paperwork to change over our investment accounts from my husband to me.

      As to what Ms. Crispin expects of feminists, I say fight for a good education for all women
      who want it and they will have more opportunity.

      • somer
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        I never realised some states were so discriminatory re women (and likely also race) Thats appalling

    • somer
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      +1

  14. Gregg Wright
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Can one really only be an equity feminist when libertarian free will does not exist? I know it’s how Steven Pinker talks about it and I find him to be reasonable about virtually everything, but I don’t see how we can draw a line of distinction between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. If outcomes are not equal for individuals, then something about the individual or the situation was simply not calibrated well enough to result in the level of success that we decide people are entitled to. The only limitation on being an equal outcome feminist is that some of those conditions that result in success are more malleable than others. There is still varying ability and varying mental traits that are somewhat fixed from birth, but in principle, aren’t any of these things just another form of unfair hurdles that prevent a person from reaching the same level as others in certain areas? If we are willing to see environmental pressures and biases as being unfair hurdles imposed on a person, then we will ultimately have to see anything else that becomes malleable in the same way. How much one is an equal outcomes feminist seems to be only constrained by current practical limitations like cost/benefit calculations and technological hurdles, but these will increasingly go away. We already think that being born with anatomy that feels incongruous with our gender identity is deeply unfair to that person and must be righted with technology. So this doesn’t mean that I think all goals of improving outcomes are currently feasible. We can’t accommodate everyone’s desires to be what they want to be or need to be for some happiness standard, but it does seem like I am already well beyond the borders of mere equity feminism.

    • Zach
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      If we are willing to see environmental pressures and biases as being unfair hurdles imposed on a person, then we will ultimately have to see anything else that becomes malleable in the same way.

      That’s the crux, isn’t it? Thing is, much about humans is not as malleable as radical leftists might wish. I, for one, couldn’t help noticing how absurd Crispin’s first question was about “work[ing] with a female director, producer, director of photography, writer or key grip.”

      A female key grip? I suppose there’s an argument to be made with unhealthy doses of anabolic steroids but, for the most part, there is a very basic and uncontroversial reason why key grips—as well as MLB pitchers and Navy SEALs—are disproportionately male.

      Which brings up the other crux: our definition of “success.” In a world with inherent personal differences in abilities, temperaments, and desires, such a world must necessarily have unequal (I would just say “different”) outcomes. And that, I would say, is a good thing. Of course, perhaps one day there will be a brave, new alternative to such a world.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 27, 2017 at 2:05 am | Permalink

        What struck me about that question was – how much influence does a female cast member have anyway on the selection of the crew? They’re offered a part. I very much doubt – unless they’re _the_ No 1 hot property of the year – that their views are asked or would be listened to on the subject of the director, dp or crew.

        cr

      • Gregg Wright
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 3:19 am | Permalink

        There’s nothing that goes into a person’s success that couldn’t, at least in theory, be engineered to suit a purpose. We’re already doing that, by being concerned about disadvantages that we can detect and correct for. If you get better at that, you do approach 100℅ parity, though I don’t know if we’ll ever consistently hit total parity between every human on everything. That could always be impractical, if we wish to preserve diversity in likelihood for success. A future where we all possess exactly the same abilities does seem undesirable to me.

    • eric
      Posted February 27, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      If outcomes are not equal for individuals, then something about the individual or the situation was simply not calibrated well enough to result in the level of success that we decide people are entitled to.

      This is not exactly true. One would expect equality of opportunity to result in statistical equality of outcome when we consider a large set of people. But we shouldn’t expect it to result in equality of outcome for specific individual cases, due to happenstance and luck. This is often what makes it difficult to know whether a system is truly biased or not; when you have a small sample population it is difficult to know whether the system is fair and you just randomly got an uneven result, or whether you got the uneven result because of bias. If a company hires 10 people in a year and 6 of them are men, it’s going to be hard to tell whether their hiring system is fair or not. OTOH if a company hires 10,000 people a year and 6,000 of them are men, then it’s pretty certain there is some systemic bias contributing to that.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Or it could be, in the latter case, that they just get far more male applicants than female. Umm, first thing off the top of my head – telephone linemen. No reason I know why a woman wouldn’t/couldn’t do it, but I’d make a small bet (don’t know if anyone has statistics on this) that the majority of applicants are male – in which case, all other things being equal, so will the majority of successful hires.

        cr

      • Gregg Wright
        Posted March 4, 2017 at 3:15 am | Permalink

        I’m only saying that there are factors that weren’t fully taken into account, whenever the outcome isn’t equal, not that it’s at all realistic to expect 100℅ success with our current capabilities.

  15. ladyatheist
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I refuse to join any movement that has a creed, manifesto, or catechism. Being a “feminist” only started meaning signing onto a plethora of causes when its main causes had been achieved. Academics need to keep inventing new things to get published so they expanded on feminism to the point of ridiculousness, took over the review boards of journals, and denigrated old-fashioned feminists. I denigrate them right back.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      I like the way Groucho put it – “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”.
      Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.

      Actually, I agree with your entire comment.

      cr

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      +1.

      I also agree with the “No True Scotsman” thing above, and several other comments.

      I find a lot of what she’s saying to be just intellectual elitism. Most women just getting on with their lives wouldn’t even know what she’s talking about. I don’t get some of what she’s talking about.

      The intersectional thing is irritating because all it really is is a purity test, as others have said. A lot of those issues are about how we all should behave.

      Not working with someone who is a wife beater, for example, isn’t just a feminist issue, it’s an issue of human decency. None of us should do that. However, people who beat or otherwise abuse their partners (and some are women) can be reformed out of that behaviour. And if they’ve acknowledged they were wrong and are being treated and are genuinely working to change, we should give them a chance.

      Some people are assholes, and it has nothing to do with their gender, colour, race, religion etc. And the right thing to do is have nothing to do with them.

      It’s actually all about right and wrong. Treating someone less well because of something like race, religion, age, gender, etc is wrong, no matter what the circumstances.

      We also though need to be informed and make the effort to think deeply on subjects. Too many people just accept what they’re told, and don’t think beyond the surface.

      A good example in the equal pay thing. It’s become common for people to say men and women now have equal opportunities and get the same in the same job, and women have no trouble getting jobs that were previously done by men like doctors, lawyers etc. That’s true.

      However, it’s more complicated than that. If all jobs are analysed objectively and rated as to the skills etc needed to do them, jobs that were traditionally done by women are routinely paid less. For example, anything to do with child care, nursing, cooking, housework etc is usually paid poorly while jobs that require less skill but are traditionally done by men are paid much better.

  16. Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s just so risky taking on Hollywood especially actresses. The right has been doing this for decades. And just so much virtue singeling on top. But, what I really would like to know is when did becoming overweight and obese become a defining part of Feminism?

    It somehow is not body shaming saying how hungry are you? The only reason she didn’t directly say eat a sandwich is because not even the NYT would print that. Actresses look better than most people newsflash. Actors are more toned and better looking than most people too.

    Its also insulting to young girls that they are somehow so weak minded that they will develop a mental disorder because they saw a movie.

    And of course it goes against actual evidence. The number of underweight people are going down in the US. The number of kids with obesity is rising.

  17. Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Because of posturing celebrities and Ctrl-Left bullies like Crispin, I no longer call myself a feminist. The latter are far more repulsive than the former.

  18. Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    There is so much going on with gender inequality. Feminism is not my issue, it is inequality. An individuals environment ‘condemns’ one to both positive and negative behaviours. Which quantities and quality of those two you receive is dependent on that environment.
    Collectively as female gender goes this inequality is as wide as the cultures played out on the planet and exhibited in a myriad of forms and intensities.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m instinctively against ‘purity tests’ and against people trying to steer the bus in their direction. In fact I long ago decided that the only valid answer to people who said “You’re either for us or against us” was an automatic “against you!”

    That said, Crispin has a number of very valid points. Very few of us do as much as we could for the good cause (whichever one that is). Most of us do something. I think it does no harm to remind us that we (most of us) in the Western world are comparatively privileged.

    But I don’t think those things are essential for the definition of ‘feminism’ (or ‘leftist’ or ‘humanist’ or whatever).

    cr

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Very well said mate!

  20. Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Sorry hit the ‘post’ accidentally.. but i just need to say it is inequality that matters to me, feminism as a label has been hijacked and distorted to mean anything you want, hard, soft or otherwise.
    I mush it up and end up in equality for all regardless of gender.

  21. Helen Pluckrose
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh, these purists. Ill defend individuality. Its central to liberalism. Intersectionality is counterproductive. https://areomagazine.com/2017/02/15/the-problem-with-intersectional-feminism/

  22. Siggy in CR
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m all for feminism as long as it’s a synonym for egalitarianism. As for Crispin’s interpretation of it, I think it’s typical of a very vocal group of feminists that are the reason you see such a backlash against feminism these days.

  23. Paul
    Posted February 27, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Once you start down the rabbit hole of having “purity tests” for membership of a group, there’s no going back. As soon as the current goup of heretics have been purged, people start lining up the next group.

  24. Wunold
    Posted February 27, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    What has a person’s carbon footprint to do with feminism?

  25. Posted February 27, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    On the Importance of Intersectional Auditing.

    In the ideal world of ideas, all our Privilege Points would be entirely negated by our Oppression Points creating a level playing field where the truth value, or otherwise, of differing ideas can be weighed and measured. Reality, however, is a land far from ideal.

    In debate, the best we can hope for is a situation where your opponent has a roughly similar Privilege/Oppression Equivalence Ratio (POE Ratio) to yourself allowing the skill of the protagonists to come to the fore.

    Watching the production of a well-timed – and well-placed – ‘I’m an Armed Forces Veteran’ card, or, even better, the ‘My Mom was a Single-Parent on Crack’ card, that has been kept up a sleeve, is a joy to behold and can make the difference between an audience seeing your facts as true, or otherwise.

    Hope this helps.

    Anvil.

  26. Posted March 16, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    It’s annoying sometimes the way people tend to lay ‘unnecessary emphasis on unnecessary things.’ seriously, carbon footprint print is now a criteria for identifying true feminism?, Anyways, I’ll leave it as: feminism is the believe that regardless of gender, ‘ANYONE CAN BE ANYTHING’ _(courtesy- Zootopia)


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