Identity Politics and the Death of Real Feminism

I am in the midst of reading a fascinating book intitled “Female Chauvinist Pigs” on the rise and fall of the modern feminist movement and the disturbing rise of “raunch culture.” The first chapter details a few of the clues regarding the acceptance of raunchiness and smut in the place of love and intimacy (and respect) – things such as “Girls Gone Wild” and Playboy.

The second chapter, provides the strongest grist for the mills in my head to process – it’s a detailed history of the roots and origins of the modern feminist movement from the early 60s onward as seen through the eyes of several of the radicals at the front of the line.I really had to work hard not to throw the book across the room stomp on it repeatedly to destroy the evil vibes emanating from those early activists in print form, but it was well worth that effort. Why? Because it helped me pinpoint the source of the problem with the sexual revolution and today’s party-line feminism. Identity politics – a bane of our existence on so many levels.

You see, in the beginning there were legitimate problems for women in America (though perhaps not the virtual slavery and servitude that the current identity politicians would have us believe) and there were a lot of people who were very angry about it. They formed up consciousness raising groups (taking their lessons, as they THEMSELVES tell it, from Mau’s red Chinese revolution) to express their anger and “make things change.” Already, their own demise was at hand, because they took great pains to make changes under an identity brand name – Sisterhood is Powerful. But they didn’t stop and think about the binding principles that should unite them as a group. They had an identity and a shared anger, but not a set of core beliefs…not a guiding morality.

They all agreed on certain things – abortion should be legal, woman should get paid just as much as men for doing the same work, women should be allowed equal access to all of the traditionally male lines of work, women’s health should be taken more seriously by the medical establishment, and women should enjoy sex just as much as men did. You might disagree with them on abortion, but that is not the point here. Those shared beliefs did not share a common logical foundation. Some women wanted sexual liberation because they were legitimately unhappy in their marriages to men who didn’t care whether they orgasmed, but others wanted sexual liberation because they didn’t want to feel guilty for doing things they knew to be wrong on some level. Some men and women wanted abortion to be legal because they were legitimately concerned about what would happen to a girl who was knocked up by an irresponsible man – would they be forced to marry? have a back alley abortion? etc. Others wanted legal abortion because they believed that this would pave the way for societal engineering (see: Steinem and Sanger). Still others wanted legal abortion because they wanted sex to carry no permanent consequences (a foolish wish, since even if physical threats were eliminated, emotional threats remain, but that’s neither here nor there).

Believe it or not, Hugh Hefner thinks he’s a feminist. The same guy who said that he believed you were dirty and wrong somehow if you, as a woman, wished to be taken seriously when it came to sex – the guy who’s picture of a virtuous woman was (literally!) a soapy-clean, quiet, smooth girl not covered by the impure trappings of sexual clothing, but naked instead. Yep…this feminist thinks women are only virtuous when naked, clean, and virginal. WOW! Yet his money helped power court cases that culminated in Roe vs. Wade and the feminists gladly took that money off his hands because they were fighting for an identity…not a set of core beliefs. You see..if you aren’t guided by a moral code, but instead by an emotional or an icon, or a group identity, you will be more willing to do things that a moral person would find reprehensible.

The thing that keeps the democrats on the verge of domination in American politics is identity – you might not agree with everything the dems do…but you overlook it because, hey…they’re the good guys and the GOP are the bad guys, and you’d rather see your party do reprehensible things than see the republicans in power. The mission is clear on the left. On the right, the people tend to be governed much more strictly by their own personal moral codes…the lefties have morals but aren’t afraid to bend them. The folks on the right want to win…but would rather lose honorably (talking about the rank and file here…not the political leaders). Unfortunately, identity politics destroys you from within without deposing you. Feminists in the 70s who wanted an escape from situations that they saw as unfair now find themselves in those very situations and getting paid for it. They’re told that stripping for money is empowering…and they believe it, because the ones telling it to them are OTHER WOMEN. They’re told that playboy is a nice place to work and they turn a blind eye to the harem-style slavery that goes on in that mansion because Heff and his checks power NOW. They are slaves to their identity icons rather than being true to their personal identity.

And that is a travesty.

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