Sunday, 16 November 2014

Why Feminism Has To Die

Feminism originates in the 19th century. Initially it was about giving women legal 'person' status so that they too could be considered equals in contracts, in politics, marriage, parenting and property rights. This also included the right to vote. Later this movement expanded to include reproductive and economic rights and to this day keeps expanding its coverage, with disagreement among its members on what exactly defines 'feminism', with some arguing that certain extreme types of feminism is actually harmful to both men and women.

In this whole history there's one issue which is rarely touched upon, and that is the highly exclusive nature of feminism. This became painfully clear in the second half of the 20th century already when the struggle to have a non-heterosexual preference recognized as 'normal' started. Instead of feminism evolving to become more inclusive, instead new movements formed to represent the rights of homosexual and bisexual individuals. The same happened for transgenders and other minorities, with their presence in feminism at best considered to be tolerated.

The exclusive nature of feminism is painfully obvious to someone like myself, an intersex person who physically and emotionally identifies and is identified as female. There is virtually no overlap between what is important to intersex individuals and that of feminists, at least where I live in Europe. Income inequality is quite rare here and at least here in Germany the strong maternity laws ensure that women aren't being punished for wanting to start a family.

Now, I and many others like me suffer from many types of medical and psychological abuse, neglect and outright maltreatment, all for the simple crime of having been born with a body which society feels uncomfortable with. Feminism doesn't represent us, ergo intersex organizations had to be established over the past decades, which are struggling to get any recognition, while feminism largely ignores this.

It's bizarre to watch discussions by self-professed feminists, proclaiming the inequality and oppression women suffer in Western countries and you find yourself wishing that you only had to 'suffer' through that, instead of the physical and mental torture which comes standard with being born intersex. Women don't get forced surgery as an infant to 'fix' them (aside from FGM in some places). Women aren't forced to undergo brainwashing to make them think they're something they're not (though some claim the 'patriarchy' does this...). Women don't have organs ripped out of them as an infant and then have their medical file hidden from them when they get older.

Heck, I'd love to be a regular woman, even if I had to suffer sexual harassment, catcalls, lower wage and the like as a result compared to my male colleagues. Those are issues one can easily fix by banding together, as the feminist movement has done in the last two centuries already. The 'not heterosexual' movement is also making rapid progress (even if especially lesbians report feeling quite unsafe in countries like the Netherlands), with seemingly half of the world's CEOs and celebrities having a non-heterosexual preference. Not that anyone really should care, though.

That's the thing in all of this and the point I want to make. Feminism is about equality for women (relative to men), but suffers from the binary sex/gender problem. Fortunately long before feminism existed there was another concept already in the form of humanism, with egalitarianism as an economical form of it. Egalitarianism is the concept of 'equal opportunity', ensuring that in life everyone starts off and grows up with the same opportunities as others to grow and develop. Humanism is the rejecting of any supernatural forces, the focus on the value of human beings and the preference of critical thinking and evidence (rationalism/empiricism) and thus the exclusion of doctrine, which is what underlies so many types of inequality and injustice in society.

This all is why I cannot identify as a feminist, and why I would very much prefer to see the feminist movement vanish. I consider it to be a movement which has run its course and which is no longer relevant in a society where we no longer have just men and women. In a world with so much human diversity, in terms of skin colour, body types, types of sex development, gender identification, sexual preferences and so on, it seems almost inhumane to ignore all of this while only focusing on a narrowly defined sub-section.

I am a humanist. To me diversity is normal and something to be embraced. I believe in allowing humans to be who they want to be and to give them the opportunity to do so. I believe in stopping any kind of discrimination, including inverse discrimination (e.g. forced quotas for coloured/female/etc. members). I want to see humanity embrace science and critical thinking, to further their understanding of themselves and others.

Sadly I also have to recognize that we humanists still have a long way to go with rampant inequality especially among those groups which mainstream feminism has ignored all these decades. Still, maybe one day all humans will be humanists and we can leave all those fragmented faction movements behind us.


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