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What's the deal with feminism and anarchy (anarcha-feminism)?

–4 votes
What's the correlation between the two? I've heard some a-feminists say all anarchists are (or should be) feminists. Is patriarchy really that prevalent or that big of a problem?
Feminism just seems like a whiny way of saying women need to be treated equally, but yet different and even better than men. Please relieve me of my ignorance.


edited by dot to fix tags
asked Mar 26, 2012 by anonymous
edited Jul 13, 2014 by
I'd like to comment that women are still routinely blamed for being the victims of sexual assault. There's also the concept that abortion is a feminist issue, and government restrictions on abortion is a patriarchal concept. Not to mention that the "women as sex objects" attitude is still shockingly prevalent.

Feminism (as I understand it) could be considered synonymous with "gender equality" or even abolition of the gender binary, since there is a concept that the gender roles instilled by patriarchal society are also detrimental to males in certain ways. Then again, I know there are several different strains of feminism and it's possible you might have had some kind of negative interaction with one tendency in particular.
ლ(ಠ_ಠლ) ....

1 Answer

+8 votes
first - this question seems to be trolling, both in its language and in its content. but since this topic hasn't been fleshed out here much, i will continue on the premise of good faith. for the moment. this answer is not going to be a tome, so it doesn't go into sufficient detail about the complexities around gender vs sex, etc... which if the questioner actually *cares* about this question, would be worthwhile to look into.

a. patriarchy is in fact that big of a problem. women (and women-identified people, which includes tons of people, including entirely straight men in certain contexts) are still attacked as women, paid significantly less then men for same type of work, devalued in many levels of society (politics, etc), ignored, trivialized, etc.
that is just on the bare surface level. if you consider patriarchy to be the thing that keeps us locked in gender binary, which many feminists (and anarchists) do, then the fact that most of us don't get to have the kinds of relationships that we want, or be the people we want to be, regardless of our gender/sex, is based on patriarchy.
b. there are as many kinds of feminists as there are of anarchists (probably more, actually).
c. since on one level feminists are saying that the standard way of doing things is a problem because of inherited and recreated hierarchies that don't allow people our full expression, then yes, feminism and anarchy can be seen as intimately related. on the other hand, some feminists just want there to be more women in government, so those feminists have nothing in common with anarchists.
d. calling feminists whiny makes me want to hit you in the face.
e. while identity politics (the idea that a particular identity is a fundamental issue that is worth organizing around - and *can be* organized around) has a lot of problems and weaknesses, it is one of the easiest ways to (start to) look at many of the inequities of the system we live in. many people get to that stage and make a home there, replicating power trips that mirror (as in reverse-image) the dynamics in the larger society. those people are particularly prone to contradictions in what they are asking for (treat me the same *and* treat me different). however sometimes what appear to be contradictions are taking into account the different contexts of women and men. for example, what self-defense looks like for women vs what it looks like for men can be significantly different, since women and men are mostly socialized with diametrically opposed understandings of physical violence.
answered Mar 28, 2012 by anonymous
edited Mar 28, 2012 by
taigarun, i have to agree with funkyanarchy about your claiming the title of "real feminism" to be what you believe in. feminism is a term that might be so fucked at this point that there is no real use to claiming it, because unlike national anarchism or anarcho-capitalism (nice comparisons btw), there are at least as many radical and/or liberal feminists as of the kind that i (and presumably you?) are interested in.
and that includes people who call themselves anarcha-feminists, but have not changed the rhetoric or the theory *one iota* from that of (especially) the radical feminists. this is my experience over years and in multiple forums, in person and online. and this tendency to be in line with radical feminism has been particularly evident in discussions on things like sex work, in decidedly unimpressive ways.
just 'cause i'm feeling it (10 months later), let me be clear that i downvoted the post by taigarun because it is not an answer (it just makes a bunch of claims -- one of which i strongly disagree with, which is the definition of feminism). also it links to a bunch of texts that have nothing to do with anarchism, much less anarchY.
i'm considering making it a comment, actually. so maybe that'll happen.
and so it did... look at that.
goodonya dot, especially re taigarun's definition of feminism:

"Feminism is defined as a social movement for the end of all forms of oppression"

i don't claim to be particularly well-read on feminism overall (though i have much experience with feminists of various stripes in my life), but i have NEVER seen or heard any definition of it that isn't explicitly related to gender/sex. claiming that its aim is to end of ALL forms of oppression is both disingenuous and manipulative, imo.
It's bell hooks's definition, not mine.  hooks says pretty clearly that you can't end one form of oppression while keeping others intact, as such, defining feminism as ending 'gender oppression' or whatever is just narrow and/or naive.
but surely then, taigarun, working to end any oppression is always working to end all oppression? in which case what is the point of these words we keep coming back to?
if nothing else then working to end all oppression through the lens of gender/sex would be a better way to define feminism, and that's giving hooks the benefit of the doubt.

and why quote non-anarchists without contextualizing what makes them relevant to us? (one wonders if no anarchist women have said anything meaningful to you about sexism/feminism...)
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