Feminism is for everybody

Posted: 24/06/2016 in Big Fashion, Struggle
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“Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression” is from the intro to the book “Feminism is for everybody” by Bell Hooks. Ending oppression clearly includes the exploitation of all by the 1%, and as such need not include a gender-specific reference. To end oppression people need to be free, and for genuine freedom there needs to be a maturing process (awakening through to anatta). Even with 1%-oppression there can be freedom for the mature whereas without this maturity people could not experience freedom even in a society that was not oppressed. For me to accept that what Bell Hooks views as feminism is for everybody there has to be this freedom. I make this caveat not simply for feminism but for all political schemas. The socialism I envisage would have to include feminism because it would have to be socialism for all, and for that socialism to work it would have to bring freedom. For this reason I tend towards anarchism. But even then if there is not individual development, no matter how free and responsive the structures of government or representation are that society could not genuinely change. An inclusive system for change, feminism, socialism, anarchism or otherwise has to include an element of individual development, and in truth educating for awakening and anatta would be complex and require a complete overhaul of any education apparatus currently in existence. In looking at this book I want to see how far Bell goes on this issue. For her is feminism restricted to a response to patriarchal conditioning or is it working towards a mature free society for all?

At the end of the introduction she says “Imagine living in a world where we can all be who we are, a world of peace and possibility. Feminist revolution alone will not create such a world; we need to end racism, class elitism, imperialism.” I was being hopeful. All of this is true but such cannot be ended whilst individual development is limited to accepting conditioning whether sexist racist or imperialist. Moving beyond acceptance cannot exist in a conditioned society, perhaps it could exist without the conditioning of sexism racism and imperialism but more likely accepting minds would simply replace it with another “ism”. Even if that “ism” was beneficial such as “feminism for everybody” (or as I have seen socialism), without the developed mind with enquiry such benefits could not be perceived. Maybe she addresses this – doesn’t look likely.

“From its earliest inception feminist movement was polarized. Reformist thinkers chose to emphasize gender equality. Revolutionary thinkers did not want simply to alter the existing system so that women would have more rights. We wanted to transform that system, to bring an end to patriarchy and sexism. Since patriarchal mass media was not interested in the more revolutionary vision, it never received attention in mainstream press” [p15]. Reformism and revolutionaryism, I think this is the nearest I will get. Reformism is a response to the conditioning, it is competitive and seeks parity with men whether the conditioning is right or wrong – whether the system is right or wrong. Creating division and inequality is endemic in the imperialist system. It is part of the system that creates hierarchies to facilitate the accumulation of profit to the few. It is a revolutionary transformation that could enable the potential for maturity in all – freedom.

In the early days of the feminist movement there were two positive approaches that could lead to awakening – CR groups (consciousness raising) and critiquing the “enemy within” (internalised sexism). Such processes have got to lead to awakening. Compare this with the lack of questioning that accompanies competitive gender equality, and it seems evident that such competition would remain in the conditioned patriarchal world; the trap and oppression continues with that approach. If these two feminist approaches are applied genuinely then it has to undermine conditioning, and once conditioning has been undermined there is a state of non-acceptance – the beginning of awakening. That is good – non-acceptance of conditioning, a good starting point for the mature; genuine education could begin there. This would also be true of racism – CR-groups on racism and the “enemy within”. And what is so good about this methodology of non-acceptance is that it applies to all. What about the patriarch – the white male? His CR-group could discuss imperialism and his “enemy within” – the imperialist white male. Unfortunately established system-changing organisations ignore the personal development. At one stage I attended excellent Marxist education within the communist party but there was never the internal upheaval within this – examining the “enemy within”, and so communism lacked awakening for all and also institutionally exhibited sexism and racism. The “enemy within” is excellent methodology for all political movements with consciousness-raising directed inwards and not always outwards. This is going better than I first thought.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

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Comments
  1. zandtao says:

    “By the late ‘70s women’s studies was on its way to becoming an accepted academic discipline. This triumph overshadowed the fact that many of the women who had paved the way for the institutionalization of women’s studies were fired because they had master’s degrees and not doctorates. While some of us returned to graduate school to get PhDs, some of the best and brightest among us did not because they were utterly disillusioned with the university and burnt out from overwork as well as disappointed and enraged that the radical politics undergirding women’s studies was being replaced by liberal reformism. Before too long the women’s studies classroom had replaced the free-for-all consciousness-raising group” [p27]. Ph D as gatekeeper, my experience with Aberdeen.

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