Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Our topic this evening is post-modernism and the decline of modern feminism.

No, really.

I feel that, as a human, I can comment on both post-modernism and the current state of the feminist movement. Not quite as an 'insider', but that doesn't mean I can't have insights.

The feminist movement is, at its core, a very Christian movement. Its core concept is that women are just as intelligent, worthy, and human as men with the exact same rights. And if you say 'duh', let me remind you that my dear grandmother, who is still alive, can remember clearly the day women gained the right to vote in America. So it wasn't that long ago that the US Senate still had a member that also remembered a time when women weren't considered responsible enough to vote.

That being said, I have a problem with a great deal of current educators that call themselves feminists. They advocate an "anything goes' sort of version of this where if you like it (or it makes you more popular, or gets you a raise) do it. This is an absurd proposition normally, but even more so when it is intended to be a central moral and ethical tenet of 51% of the population. And the other common facet of current 'feminist' thought is that career success=feminism. In other words, if you're rich, you're a good feminist. If you are poor, you are a failed feminist.

Both ideas suck. The 'if you like it, do it' concept is the attempt at wish-fulfillment of immature people who want to relive their teenage years a little better, this time. If I can do whatever I want I'll be happy, right? Hardly. And the idea that feminism is about careers is a buckling of some feminists to the capitalist concepts of the oligarchy (more on the oligarchy in the future). Being a worthy human is about a lot more than how many female vice-presidents a company has and there is far more depth to the souls of women than meetings and memos. And I don't think Betty Friedan would ever 'dress for success'.

And where does post-modernism come in? You probably aren't too surprised to learn that I plan to explain.

The basic idea of post-modernism is that you can never be absolutely certain that you are right: there is always the chance that you are wrong. Therefore, never assume you are right and be open to learning new things and changing your mind. Pretty simple.

Many people (whom I politely refer to as 'intellectually lazy') twist this to the schoolyard argument of "I'm rubber, you're glue" by denying everything (the 'there is no truth' crowd). They use this fuzzy thinking to claim that everything is OK, everything is equally valid, there is no such thing as 'quality' or 'truth' so do whatever you want. Sort of an even-more-pseudo-intellectual veneer to the ramblings of Anton LeVay.

They fail to grasp that post-modern theory doesn't say you can't be right, just that you can't be sure you're right so you need to be growing continually(a pretty good Catholic concept, really; since Man is tinged with sin, Man needs to always be vigilant for errors in thought or application). And post-modernism certainly leaves room for you to be flat wrong.

So that's why you have some "feminists" making money off pornography ('all the girls volunteered to pose to become empowered about their bodies'. Sure they did) or talking about how to perform sex acts that you don't really like.

Don't get me wrong - there are some who are keeping the faith out there, especially women like Becky Whisnant of UNC - Chapel Hill (who has some excellent essays out there that I recommend to anyone). And there are some good resources out there that repeat that empowerment does not mean 'learning how to smile through it' but does 'learning how to not put up with it'.

Don't get me wrong - I don't agree with everything Becky says. But I like that she teaches me things and makes me uncomfortable.

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