While reading my webcomics recently, I found that one of the authors whose work I read had written an article about feminism, inspired by the controversy around the shirt worn by that scientist who landed a probe on a fucking comet, people. (Side note: you should try out his comic, as it is pretty thoroughly awesome.)
That article almost perfectly sums up my feelings with regards to the feminism movement, or at least the radical feminists who say “all penis in vagina is rape” or “all men are rapists” or “women can’t be rapists” or things of that ilk. (There are a surprising number of parallels here between feminism and Christianity, but I’m not going into that now.) In short, radfems are trying to make misogyny a thought crime.
Now, I am a feminist – I am, at this point, willing to use that label. As someone with a mother and a sister and female friends, as someone at least apparently female, I am 100% for equal rights and opportunities and treatment for women! As a feminist, I recognize that misogyny is a bad thing (as is misandry).
HOWEVER, I am also against thought crimes as such. If a shirt with scantily clad women is only wrong because it is a sign of a culture that still contains misogyny, I cannot help but think that attacking the wearer of the shirt specifically is wrong. Instead, we should be trying to create a culture that is, whatever, woman-positive. I’ll quote from the article by the author of Blade Bunny:
Belief in misogyny is belief in thought crimes. The misogyny mean hatred of women. Hatred is a thought not an action. The basic feminist argument about the shirt about is not that the shirt itself is wrong but that the shirt indicates the the person wearing it (and everyone who saw the shirt and said nothing) think wrongly about women. In short Matt didn’t DO anything wrong but his thinking needs to be corrected.
The idea of misogyny gets worse when we come to the concept of casual misogyny. Casual misogyny is hatred of women that you may cause in other or giving the impression that there is hatred. Matt may love women but by wearing the shirt he may cause hatred of women in others or generally created a feeling of being hated in women who saw it.
This whole concept is just icky my sensibilities. But feminists believe that certain thoughts need to be stopped.
Stopping misogyny takes us to the idea of controlling culture. The standard way of trying to control peoples thought is to control the culture that they live in. Limit the exposure to ideas that you believe are wrong and less people will think that idea is the conventional wisdom. In this case limit their exposure to the idea of misogyny.
This is the source of feminist opposition of pornography, video games, and tacky shirt. They are trying to control a culture to change the thoughts of individuals. But because the the idea is to prevent exposure to ideas the control must be reductive. It’s not about producing positive pornography, video games and tacky shirts it must be about banning the items deemed unacceptable.
I think he’s hit the nail quite squarely (aside from a few typos). If feminists wish to continue to make life better for women, I think a good solution is to focus on promoting a positive culture rather than destroying a negative one. Feminism has already won so many fights; women can vote, hold office, and obtain pretty much any job they wish in today’s America. The very fact that feminists in America and other first world countries stoop to whining about tacky shirts and large boobs in video games demonstrates conclusively that most battles are won. Perhaps it is time we focus our attention elsewhere.