Sunday, October 05, 2008

I Blame the Patriarchy

I'm going to start doing a series of blog commentaries, as well has spring cleaning of my blog roll. I think blogs are fairly valuable things for offering insight into the popular versions of left and right ideas out there today; sure, Slavoj Zizek might be the cutting edge; but Amanda Marcotte is closer to the ground.

The commentaries will run in alphabetical order, so the first on the list is I Blame the Patriarchy (IPB). This is one of two feminist blogs on my list; I actually read others, such as Feministe, but Feministe is part of a trio of big feminist blogs along with Pandagon and Feministing. The three of them have many of the same concerns and many of the same perspectives. I'm not looking for a bloated blog roll, so I've simply linked to Pandagon, it being my favourite of the three.

IBP, on the other hand, has a flavour all its own. Inspired by the classic American feminist polemic The Dialectic of Sex (which strangely enough contains no dialectics), writer Twisty Faster persistently makes a case that world culture - not just western culture, or American culture, but world culture, is based on the oppression of women as a group. One of her mottos is "men hate you."

Most feminist blogs are based on the insistence that the task of feminism is incomplete, that all the of the implications have yet to be drawn out. They are concerned with shifting the status quo, or defending the parts of it that have been affected by feminism (ie Roe). IBP, however, goes much farther; Twisty wants to change everything. This, in itself, is fairly interesting. It sets her apart from a huge proportion of the feminist blogosphere, as well. Other feminist blogs spend a lot of time debating whether porn and blow jobs can be feminist activities; Twisty insists they are just variations on sexual oppression.

This post is fairly typical. The argument is that women are set up as non-human, and that femininity is about accepting this inhumanity in order to appease males. It is arguments like this that I tend to think of as "good enough for practice, but not good enough in theory." Specifics aside, this leaves me sympathetic to her project, but in disagreement on issues I consider fundamental.

I certainly don't have a problem with insisting there is an antagonism at the root of human life. Twisty insists that the root antagonism is that of sexual oppression; I'm convinced that it revolves around class. This, along with my admittedly slowly eroding suspicion of gendered concepts, is why I cannot call myself a feminist in any meaningful sense. Though maybe what Zizek has said about Marxism and Christianity is true of myself and radical feminism - we're on the same side of the barricades.

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