163 Search Results for: feminism

University Feminists Are Betraying Their Movement’s Liberal Past

University feminists are tired of tolerance. Universities are banning anyone and anything their feminist professors and students take issue with. Cardiff banned Germaine Greer; apparently, she’s the wrong kind of feminist. Goldsmiths College banned Kate Smurthwaite; she’s the wrong kind of comedian. Oxford silenced a debate on abortion. For the architects of the safe space, nothing is safe from being added to the list of the unsafe. ‘Blurred Lines’ was banned for being the wrong kind of song. The Sun was banned for being the wrong kind of newspaper. What today’s feminists value, above all else, is diversity — except, of course, diversity of ideas. Feminism wasn’t always this censorious. The university feminists of today do not reflect the motives of the classical past of their movement. The Swedish feminist — and personal heroine of mine — Margareta Momma wrote extensively in defence of tolerance during the age of Enlightenment. In her excellent essays she defends freedom of speech, freedom of religion and promotes the view that women are just as capable as men of …

How a Feminist Prophet Became an Apostate—An Interview with Dr Phyllis Chesler

Dr Phyllis Chesler has never been afraid to be unpopular. During 60 years as an academic, feminist campaigner, and psychotherapist, she has frequently courted controversy. Her new memoir, A Politically Incorrect Feminist, details her experiences as a leader of the Second Wave feminist movement in the United States. Readers are introduced to a star cast that includes household names such as Andrea Dworkin and Gloria Steinem, as well as women such as Kate Millett, Robin Morgan, Ti-Grace Atkinson, Mary Daly, and Shulamith Firestone, women who produced influential work that is now often forgotten, or else misremembered by Third Wave feminists keen to distance themselves from their feminist foremothers. But Chesler refuses to be misremembered. She’s here to give her side of the story, and she doesn’t pull her punches. We spoke over Skype from her home in New York. Chesler in conversation is just the same as Chesler in print: warm and razor-sharp. At the age of 78, she is both a prolific writer and an energetic campaigner. Most of her campaigning interests are concerned …

Feminism Must be Reclaimed from Radicals

Few serious thinkers will argue that the women’s movement is no longer necessary. Few would argue that the movement does not have a noble history. Liberal feminists however, need to reclaim it. Although feminism has a noble history, it was hijacked in the 1970s, with motley crews such as the New York Radical Women and the Redstockings stealing the show. After that, “radical” feminism was propelled by the likes of Andrea Dworkin and Catharine Mackinnon. Dworkin, whose contempt for women matched her hatred of men, famously wrote that women who enjoyed heterosexual sex with men were “collaborators, more base than other collaborators have ever been: experiencing pleasure in their own inferiority.”1 These radical feminists incited a backlash against all of feminism, despite only ever representing its lunatic fringe. In contrast to radical feminism–built on the dubious theory of sexual castes– the philosophy of liberal feminism is empirical and straightforward. Under classical liberalism, women have the inalienable right to be educated, employed and self-determining, and within the broader feminist canon, there is a treasure-trove of pragmatic …

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Dismiss Radical Feminism

My advice on feminist issues is seldom – oh, all right – never requested. The recent, shall we say, clusterfuck over at New Matilda has ended my usual reticence. Jack Kilbride, a Melbourne university student, offered a few tame and clumsily expressed opinions on feminism as it is currently practiced. To summarise: he considers himself a feminist; he thinks that the fight for gender equality is one of the defining issues of our time; he prefers the strategy of Emma Watson and the HeForShe campaign to Clementine Ford’s feminism of the gutter; he argues, rather cutely, I think, that people should try to be nicer to each other. Only the last part really ought to be controversial, as it came gift-wrapped in a stupid and risible and perhaps even dangerous package: if feminists would stop being so nasty about online abuse, online abusers would stop being so nasty. Respectability, if it’s still a virtue, is overrated anyway. Kilbride’s argument was rightly called out for being wrong. The commenters and responders went further, though. For them, …

Strange Bedfellows: The Peculiar Alliance Between Centrist Liberals and Radical Feminists

A peculiar new alliance appears to be emerging between trans-critical radical feminists and liberal centrists who are normally critical of radical feminism. Radical feminists’ insistence on the biological definition of “woman” seems to align them with the anxieties of those disturbed by activists’ redefinition of “female” and “male” from objective biological descriptors to self-reported perceptions, as well as with the concerns of non-radical feminists like Helen Joyce who has written cogently on the consequences of denying sex differences. However, radical feminists are beholden to a gender theory of their own, and it ought to be possible to reject the claims of trans extremists without entangling ourselves in another equally dubious ideology. Trans radicalism is not a war against feminism. It is a civil war within feminism, and it is not immediately obvious which side liberals should be rooting for. There is a risk of becoming trapped in radicals’ own mode of discourse. Trans activists advance dubious claims about gender behind a shield of the interests of trans people as a group. There is a temptation …

Why No One Cares About Feminist Theory

Let’s be real about something important: nobody actually cares what feminist scholars think or why they think it. Truth be told, this isn’t surprising. Feminist scholarship is a peculiar academic backwater that nobody should pay any attention to—and it’s probable that nobody would if it weren’t becoming so painfully influential. That outsized influence is also unsurprising. People care very much about gender equality and about women’s rights — in both the US and the UK, gender equality enjoys the support of roughly four out of five people. This sets up a problem. With the exception of other feminists, more or less the entire world completely ignores feminist theory, and they have done so for decades, which has let it go quite far down its own self-referential rabbit holes. That this scholarship has gone ignored while developing what looks like a storied academic pedigree is why feminist theory endures and exerts so much control over academia and society, which is to say it’s a rather huge problem. You may think I’m exaggerating to say that it’s a …

Supporters of Quillette

Here is just a sample of what some readers you may know are saying: “Quillette is an island of sanity in a sea of madness. Care about free thought? Please support Quillette.” — Christina Hoff Sommers, AEI Scholar and author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys “Quillette  is unique and indispensable. It publishes essays of high quality on vital topics that can’t be found anywhere else. And its diversity is unsurpassed — not just in race and gender (where, as it happens, it bests many other webzines) but also in age (where it has discovered several brilliant young writers) and, most important, in ideas.” — Steven Pinker, psychology professor and author of The Blank Slate and Enlightenment Now, The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress. “In just a few years, Quillette has become the must-read champion of Enlightenment values. Its magic is its shameless rationality. Every article deepens your gratitude for our intellectual heritage, and opens your mind in a new way. If you respect human nature and civilization, support Quillette.” — Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist, author of The Mating Mind, Spent, and Mate “Quillette is …

Last Days at Hot Slit—A Review

A review of Last Days at Hot Slit—The Radical Feminism of Andrea Dworkin edited by Johanna Fateman and Amy Scholder. (Semiotext(e), March 2019) 408 pages. In my 2016 book Porn Panic!, I traced today’s anti-free speech, identity-preoccupied Left back to its roots in the pro-censorship, anti-sex feminism of the 1970s/80s and, in particular, to the writing of Dworkin and her sister-in-arms Catharine Mackinnon. Although I dealt in passing with Dworkin’s writing, as well as works from the contemporaneous liberal feminists who opposed her, I opted to focus more on her successors, especially Gail Dines, a Women’s Studies professor who has established herself as one of today’s preeminent campaigners for the censorship of sexual expression. At a time when feminism seems to be moving in an increasingly censorious direction, a new anthology of Dworkin’s writing, Last Days at Hot Slit, published earlier this year, offers a useful insight into the writing and thinking of one of the movement’s most influential, radical, and controversial writers. Last Days at Hot Slit was the early working title for Dworkin’s …

Feminism’s Blind Spot: the Abuse of Women by Non-White Men, Particularly Muslims

Nusrat Jahan Rafi was a young woman who attended a madrassa in the rural town of Feni in Bangladesh. In late March of this year, she attended the local police station to report a crime. Nusrat alleged that the headmaster at her madrassa had called her into his office several days before and sexually assaulted her. After the assault, Nusrat told her family what had happened and decided to make a report to the police, no doubt trusting that they would treat her with some decency. The officer who took her statement did no such thing. He videotaped it on his camera phone and can be heard on the footage telling her that the assault was “not a big deal.” The headmaster was arrested, but someone within the police leaked the fact that Nusrat had made allegations against him and the footage of her statement ended up on social media. She was soon receiving threats from students at the madrassa as well as other people in the community. Influential local politicians expressed their support for …

How Intersectionalism Betrays the World’s Muslim Women

I attended the infamous “#Feminist” speaking event at the Sydney Town Hall. It was a discussion between Roxane Gay, a Haitian-born intersectional feminist, and Christina Hoff Sommers, a self-described “equity feminist.” I went with the intention of confronting my growing disillusionment with the morally proscriptive nature of intersectional feminism and the broader leftist movement. I harboured hopes that the divisive behaviour I was seeing on social media was disproportionately represented by radicals and that the event would bring some sense to the madness. Instead, I left feeling completely alienated from a movement that once brought me so much hope. It was my second crisis of faith in three years, the first being my renunciation of Islam at the age of 21. Free from the shackles of fundamentalism, I embraced the left-wing movement with open arms. Until only recently, I saw it as a celebration of everything I’d been denied as a devout Muslim. As a woman who’d been forced into the hijab at puberty, trapped within the Islamic guardianship system and restricted by groupthink, I …