Free Radicals, Part 4

Read Parts 1, 2, and 3.

It seems like an obvious point, the idea that legislation alone can’t fix human problems that have roots in complex personal and environmental factors. To wit: if the sentence for a domestic violence perpetrator is determined by a judge who doesn’t believe, deep down, that such “personal” matters belong in court in smash patriarchythe first place, how likely is that judge to recommend a stiff penalty, regardless of how brutal the attack was? Not very, and it isn’t too hard to understand why. [Read more…]

Free Radicals, Part 3

ain't no revolutionIn Parts 1 and 2, I talked about the basic differences between the radical and the liberal strains of feminist thought in this country. Now I’m going to illustrate them with an example from my own life. I’ll start by telling you about the time I got kicked out of feminism. [Read more…]

Free Radicals, Part 2

Radfem(Read Part 1 here.) Last time, I talked about the ongoing argument in American feminism between liberals and radicals, and how our failure to distinguish between the two has left the movement ideologically confused. This confusion causes people to compare fundamentally unlike things (e.g., number of women CEOs vs. unrealistic female beauty standards), and reach conclusions that look oppositional but are really just different perspectives on the same problem. To wit: “We now have women in the Fortune 500, so sexism = OVER!” [Read more…]

Free Radicals, Part 1

femen protest

Who doesn’t love a topless protest?

Feminists fight with each other a lot; we’re a scrappy bunch. Most of the arguments are useful, a healthy airing of the differences you’re bound to find in a social movement as large and long-standing as US feminism. But there’s one particular argument I’d like to see us put to rest forever. [Read more…]

When You Have a Hammer, Everything Looks Like Abortion Rights (Part 2)

When U have a Hammer ArtLast post I was talking about today’s Roe v. Wade anniversary (happy birthday, right to not have babies I don’t want!), and how it started me thinking of all the things that get left out of the feminist conversation because we’re so focused on protecting that law, and on legislation in general. I closed Part 1 by blaming President Kennedy for feminism’s narrow focus on public policy reform; let me explain. Kennedy was the first US President to enter office knowing full well that he owed women big for his victory. [Read more…]