Friday, January 15, 2016

Feminism is not a Membership List

We have all heard the feminist expression "not all feminists are like that", typically abbreviated as "NAFALT". When somebody is speaking harshly about the behavior of many feminists, this piece of wisdom is likely to issue from a feminist sympathizer in the room.

There is a problem with this: it pulls the conversation away from the topic of feminism as a whole, by reducing "feminism" to the sum of its participants. In this way, we are led to overlook feminism as a holistic thing, a thing with direction and purpose, a thing embedded in a web of relations.

The question we must entertain is not "what are feminists like?", but "what is feminism like?".

We are apt to wonder why it is even significant, that not all feminists are a certain way. What does it matter? Some feminists are a certain way, other feminists are another way, but they are all feminists, and we must assume that they all contribute, for better or worse, to feminism's aggregate effect upon the world.

It is this aggregate effect which ought to hold our interest. Feminism as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. There is more to feminism than feminists, and when a feminist sympathizer says "not all feminists are like that", that person is passing the buck.

As NON-feminists we enjoy a very special advantage, because "non" feminism signifies nothing more than lack of feminism - just as atheism signifies lack of theism. Hence, non-feminism is not a position or "stance" that requires justification. It is simply the default state of the world: unlike feminism, it adds nothing new to the world. It does not innovate.

So, as non-feminists, we are quite entitled to say "not all non-feminists are like that" with no imputation of passing the buck, because in our case, there is simply no buck to be passed.

Feminists have good reason to envy us, in this regard.

Feel free to link to this article, in order to make the point in certain conversations you might be having.

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