When one says, “radical feminism,” what image pops into mind? Is it a studious, ambitious woman pursuing studies to work in a STEM field? The classical piece of art with a woman and the phrase, “We can do it”? Is it a pink-haired, overweight, septum-pierced lesbian who believes that Islam actually values women’s rights? All of these various depictions of feminism prove that there is not a single, unanimously agreed upon definition of feminism and that individuals can have different interpretations of what it means to support equal rights between. To address the large and relatively diverse ideological movement titled radical feminism, we must first approach to subject Socratically.
What is feminism? It depends on who you ask. The majority of radical feminists will likely respond with a rhetoric defining feminism as a belief that men and women should have equal rights. However, with the advent of #WomenAgainstFeminism, it has become clear that this definition no longer accurately defines the contemporary feminist movement, nor does it represent female thought as a whole. When a considerable amount of talented and educated women, including Evangeline Lily, Demi Moore, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Camille Paglia have defined the modern radical feminist movement as no longer representing the aforementioned definition, it is necessary to look at the movement as a whole and what it represents to arrive at a more concise definition.
Feminism promotes mass victimisation.
Almost every argument provided for the defence of radical feminism includes some type of “patriarchy,” a shadowy figure present in society actively oppressing women by enforcing things such as rape culture and the wage gap (both dealt with by Sommers here). Beginning at a young age, women are infantilized by the contemporary world through being treated as if females are weak, irrational, and helpless in any given situation. This is done both by the princess culture present among young girls today that continues to ingrain itself in the minds of women years later. Through the work of Disney’s internationally acclaimed films revolving around the feminine search for romance, young women have been raised in a world where their beauty is their greatest asset, their bride-to-be is their sole source of protection, and promotes a type of submissiveness to society that would have been scolded by complementarians several years ago. The ancient Roman world, among several other patriarchal societies, adhered to a hierarchal understanding of marriage, but at the same time expected women to be capable of leadership and assertiveness, perhaps expressed best in the Byzantine empress Theodora, co-regent with Justinian I. In the complementarian society of the Byzantine Empire, Empress Theodora manifested the powerful, honorable view of women within the traditional marital paradigm, reigning with both modesty and conservatism, but also with sternness and respect. As a champion of equal rights in the 7th century, Theodora successfully instituted laws prohibiting the sex trafficking of women and introduced a pre-alimonial system that fiscally benefited women.
Today, however, one might be hard-pressed to find a successor to the influential Byzantine empress. In the place of modest and intense queens stands the contemporary pink-haired feminist, insisting that a lofty and abstract concept of male presence in the social world prevents the advancement of women in society. By viewing women as oppressed individuals by default instead of acknowledging the female gender as possessing a unique, beautiful identity capable of legitimate progress, radical feminism has continued to infantilize women, preventing them from actually progressing in society and instead promotes the idea that progressing in society is impossible, or at least extremely difficult, due to the existence of “the patriarchy.”
“The patriarchy,” of course, is an evil figure lurking in the shadows, seeking to oppress women through paying them less than men, discouraging them from pursuing careers in STEM fields, and encouraging rape on college campuses. According to the radical feminist theory, the patriarchy is a social structure in which men dominate the fields of societal authority. In academia, the term “patriarchal society” is used to define a civilization where power was shared and passed down primarily by males. In radical feminist theory, however, the patriarchy is an abstract figure used as a scapegoat to explain why every inconvenience that women face is directly caused by men. Not a specific group of men such as those who wield political of social influence, but all men.
This is where radical feminism breaks off from acknowledging a traditional definition of patriarchal culture and advances its agenda to include the marginalization of all males. A radical feminist YouTuber named Jenny McDermott has gone so far to insist that the only way to prevent the subjugation of women is to “kill male babies and just kill any man you see in the street,” and that “[w]e want the species to go on but only with women in it. So that’s what we have to do.” Afterwards, she claimed to simply be a troll and that she “wasn’t serious.” This type of radical feminism ultimately blames the entire male gender for every difficulty that women face around the globe, and in doing so infantilizes women and encourages them to vent their frustration towards the male gender rather than working to overcome whatever obstacles they may face. This has caused feminism to be perceived by many as a culture that hates men.
Feminism actually does hates men.
Although feminists seeking to perform damage control in the face of the above criticism typically revert to a variant of the classical rhetoric of, “Feminism simply means a belief that both sexes should have equal opportunities,” it is apparent that this defence is pure rhetoric and has no basis in reality. Feminism is an ideology of mass discrimination, with the majority of its adherence supporting a quasi-extremist stance on dismantling all male presence in any given sphere of influence. The most basic example that can be given is at the collegiate level, where countless professors—usually in schools of sociology or gender studies—discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, gender, and sexuality. Brianna Wu infamously condemned the male gender for the recent bombing in the Manchester Area, and this past April, a feminist professor claimed that reading a white male student’s paper caused her to be “thrown back into a pit of traumatic, fragmented memories,” and that she “began to have trouble distinguishing him from the man that [raped her].”
Even the Washington Post has recognised that women within the feminist movement desire more than equal rights—they desire the abolition of the male gender. Radical feminism has recently produced material polemizing the way that men talk, date, and even sit. Feminism has evolved into a movement that is not content with women’s suffrage, equal pay, or having a voice in politics. It has now pointed its scopes towards men in general, and more specifically, white, straight, cisgender men. “Male privilege” is now the end-goal for radical feminism. Instead of addressing women’s issues and helping women overcome obstacles on an individual level, radical feminism has become obsessed with what it has labelled “male privilege,” which are positive and likely unearned experiences that men possess by default.
Male privileges include the luxury of having a “short morning routine,” which allows men to sleep and work more, contrasted to the meticulous morning routine undergone by women.
Men also have the privilege of easy bathroom access due to the nature of our genitals, capable of relieving ourselves in the wilderness. Because of this, men’s restrooms usually have open urinals or stalls—a slap in the face to the entire female gender that must undergo the precarious process of yanking their trousers around their ankles and sit down to piss. Obviously, the penis itself is a sign of blatant sexism and male privilege.
According to one article, men “have the privilege to move about without fear of harassment, assault, or rape,” and that “women rarely share this privilege, regardless of the time of day.”
(Apparently, rapists are ignorant of this fact, because recent studies have clearly shown that the rates of nonconsensual sexual contact are basically equalised as of 2010. Among male victims of penetration without permission, 68.8% reported female perpetrators, and 79.2% of those who had been “made to penetrate” without permission also reported female perpetrators. Rape, therefore, is agender. The rapist in the 21st century is not a straight white male who stalks college campuses for young women; rather, they are men and women with a deplorable condition seeking to assault isolated and weak individuals, whether they be male or female.)
These above claims are, according to the radical feminist movement, an example of the patriarchy at work, oppressing women through the natural implications that follow from the inherent differences between men and women. Because radical feminism understands these differences, among others, as oppressing factors to be abolished rather than characteristics to be acknowledged and beautified. A feminist blogger by the name of Molly Manhunter dedicated an entire article to her heartfelt hatred towards the male race, titled, I Fucking Despise Men.
But this form of feminist theory is not relatively new, in fact, its roots can be traced at least to the SCUM Manifesto, a radical feminist manifesto published in 1967/68 by extremist Valeri Solanas that taught that men had ruined society and that it was the female duty to restore it by eradicating the male gender:
To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples… The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathising or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection of tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone… The effect of fathers, in sum, has been to corrode the world with maleness. The male has a negative Midas Touch — everything he touches turns to shit (Solanas).
A staged video of feminist actors shooting a white man with a handgun before dancing around his corpse and licking the bullet wounds has surfaced as a promotion for SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men).
Forewarning: the trailer is disturbingly graphic. Solanas, who attempted to murder Andy Warhol, did so with distinct ties to the Manifesto.
Feminism hates beauty.
Conservatives will often acknowledge the existence of beauty as possessing some sort of grounding in an objective reality. This stems from a deeply-rooted religious conviction that regards beauty as a divine characteristic. More prevalent in Western civilisation is the understanding of beauty as, as Thomas Aquinas states, that which “is something pleasant to apprehend,” (Summa Theologiae I-II, 27. 1). Although this may initially appear to support a subjective definition of beauty, such an assumption revolves around the difficulty of interpreting the ambiguous nature of the word “apprehend.” By this word, Aquinas intended to associate the perception of beauty with the activity of contemplation, because beauty is naturally rooted in the objection intelligible world and descends to our subjective perception.
If beauty is an objective concept as defined by one of the leading Western philosophers, it follows that whatever is unpleasant to apprehend is not beautiful. Radical feminism, however, cannot acknowledge this definition of a form of beauty rooted in actuality and instead insists that beauty is a universalized trait. Simultaneously, radical feminism conflates the concepts of beauty and attractiveness and applies these attributes to every woman.
Now, certainly, it goes without saying that there is some degree of beauty within every human being, and there is something beautiful about life itself. Humanity is pleasant when apprehended, and we naturally love that which we find beautiful. Attractiveness is rooted in beauty and can be subjected to the individual. Feminists can rightly say, “Everyone is beautiful,” because life is beautiful; however, to conflate this axiom with, “Everyone is attractive,” is to disrespect personal experience, identity, and overall personality. Feminists believe that the existence of a culturally projected spectrum of attractiveness (i.e. the ideal female figure) creates an obligation for women to look and/or act a certain way.
If obligation exists to conform one’s self to a particular image paraded by society as the quintessential form solely on the existence of varying levels of attractiveness, then there can be nothing for the human person to strive for in relation to beautifying one’s self. Everybody subconsciously acknowledges the existence of societal beauty norms and strives to beautify themselves accordingly. There is nothing negative about viewing the female form aesthetically any more than there would be in believing the male body to have a peak “ideal” form. The ageless comparison between Barbie and He-man is applicable in this example because whereas feminists may claim that Barbie creates an obligation or pressure for women to look a certain way, it is rare to find any similar argumentation from He-man.
Radical feminism may acknowledge this, or at least some of them do. Where its sobriety ends, however, is its participation in promoting certain body types as “attractive,” when in reality they are unhealthy. The support for the fat acceptance movement by feminists is driven by the disdain for modern beauty trends, which have drastically shifted throughout history and now resembles an image unobtainable naturally by women. This is an understandable concern, as it may be considered unjust by some to compare women to a constantly shifting idea of peak attractiveness whereas the ideal male form has remained relatively the same for the last several thousand years. However, the response of forsaking the entire notion of attractiveness by applying it to every body shape, personality, and attribute possible is a step in the wrong direction, because it loses what it means to be attractive in the first place.
Marie Ospina, a columnist over at Bustle, writes that fatness “says nothing about how attractive an individual is.” Unfortunately, this statement assumes that Ospina can define what every person in the world must find attractive. Nobody has the “right” to be attractive, and it isn’t a feature that everybody is born with. Often, steps must be made towards achieving the socially-cultivated concept of peak physical form in order to attract members of the opposite sex. Attractiveness is an attribute acquired by physically resembling that which is pleasant to perceive, not by simply declaring that one is attractive and forcing everyone to adhere to such a belief. David Hume wrote that “Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them,” (Moral and Political, 1742). Feminists cannot, therefore, “make” something attractive through sheer insistence.
Maleness and femaleness, or masculinity and feminity, are two incredibly different aspects of human persons that denote certain characteristics, capabilities, and roles within the hierarchies of civilisation. Conservatives, and complementarians in general, believe that male and female characteristics are inherently different attributes, but that they are equally important and respectable.
When feminism begins to take a form that approves of Sharia law while condemning “toxic masculinity,” we must examine what has happened to the feminism that promoted the equality of the sexes rather than the ideological movement that promotes the wellbeing of one at the expense of another. Feminity is beautiful. It is what makes women, well, women. Radical feminism has tried to destroy feminity and masculinity by making women more manly and making men more womanly. In doing so, we lose the beauty of gender and adopt the cultural Marxist aim to dismantle individuality, family, culture, and traditions.
Feminism is about conquest.
Because feminism is now understood as a movement of women dedicated towards the infantilization of women, the abolition of the male gender, and the existence of beauty as an objective good, it is no longer accurate to define feminism simply as the belief that men and women should have equal rights. The definition of feminism, according to those on the extreme left, is now a deep and complex thing, concerned with male success and Islamaphobia. It no longer cares about its roots or the classical movement itself. It does not care whether or not women are actually given equal rights, as witnessed in its recent support for Islam. Feminism is now about one thing, and one thing only: conquest. In the place of equal rights, female dominance has taken a prominent position; instead of promoting the freedom of women globally, feminism is concerned exclusively with the freedom of feminists, often speaking out against non-feminist women. Instead of celebrating feminity by encouraging young women to pursue powerful careers, feminism now condemns traditional “gender roles” and promotes what appears to be universal androgyny.
This is why feminism gets along with Islam and Antifa: because, like the rest of the far left, feminism is primarily concerned with political and ideological conquest. Freedom of speech has no place in the feminist utopia, as those who would question the extent of freedom that women face under Sharia law would be swiftly silenced. It is safe to say in the face of the above narrative, feminism can no longer be defined strictly as an ideology that promotes equality between the sexes; rather, feminism is now defined as a political, ideological, and almost religious movement that seeks to conquer every individual in its path.
Therefore, feminism is not about women. In fact, in some scenarios, it has been blatantly anti-women. It is about culture. It is about abolishing the male gender and providing a swift death to whatever might question the alleged infallibility of feminist ideology. Feminists are no longer fighting for the right to vote, the right to an equal wage, or any other social right. Feminists are the culture police, raising red flags when offensive content is visible on the horizon. It seeks to annihilate narratives and studies that do not accurately represent their worldview through doubling back to its rhetorical damage control: “Feminism is the belief that men and women should be equal.”
But men and women are equal. Voting in democratic elections is now a universal right in the United States. The wage gap myth has been dismissed by multiple studies. Rape culture is officially not a thing. So what is feminism concerned about? The existence of men and the biological factors that differentiate men from women. In the face of what is has coined a “patriarchal epidemic,” radical feminism has become one of the most militant ideological groups inside of the United States. On many college campuses, to dissassociate one’s self with the feminist movement means to be labelled as a “sexist,” “misogynistic pig,” or worse.
Feminism is now about conquest. It has picked a side in the modern culture war, and it is not the side of women – it is the side of domination.