Not that kind of feminist #NTKOF

I am still reeling from the fall out from #metoo, and current events in the supreme court. But perhaps not in the way that you might imagine. Sadly, I am pretty much acclimatized to our rape culture. What I am unprepared for are the responses that I have witnessed through the dark lens of social media, in my friends and comrades. I have found the rising prevalence of hatred towards humans socialised as men (from herein ‘men’ *) to be extremely alienating, and have struggled to know what to say to people purporting these views. In reflecting on these thoughts, I find my values sharpened, my position as a feminist in this moment, clarified.

1. I uphold a feminism that does not simply aim for equal treatment for men and women.
2. Being a female doesn’t in and of itself make you a feminist.
3. Rape is the symptom of rape culture, not the cause.
4. I’m shooting for a feminism that focuses on more than sexual assault and call out culture. I am not forth wave. I am #NTKOF. I am a
xenofeminist.

1. I uphold a feminism that does not simply want equal treatment for men and women.

It seeks a way better treatment for all humans, irrespective of biological (face color, body parts), cultural features (gender, socioeconomic class) or geographical class (nationality, location). I uphold a feminism that certainly does not want men to be treated the way women have been treated. [As I have written about before male rape is extremely common and we likely underestimate it’s occurrence due to cultural and language biases present in how we report rape].

I uphold a feminism that aims to free all humans from the suffering they experience under patriarchy and imposed gender. Gender antagonism is not serving the issue of equality, unless the goal is for everyone to be treated like shite.

In my opinion, hatred and blaming of humans socialised as men for sexual violence, constitutes a misidentification of the enemy. Men, indeed individuals, are perhaps an obvious target for our rage, but the system that created our behaviour is what needs to change. We would do better to each reflect on our own contributions to maintaining these systems of patriarchy and rape culture than to point the finger at individuals.

2. Being a female doesn’t in and of itself make you a feminist.

Our ‘self empowered choices’, our rage, are not necessarily emancipatory nor revolutionary. We are all products of patriarchy and rape culture. We have internalised those systems in ways that are going to be hard to identify and are likely all reproducing rape culture ourselves. Let that sink in. It’s on all of us to change it; we all need to be doing the work of disentangling ourselves from these systems, and our attachment to patriarchal capitalist ways of operating, thinking and feeling.

Being a victim of struggle or harms done, must not be used as a shield, to excuse ourselves from examining ourselves. Jessa Crispin critiques current feminist thinking, lamenting that “women don’t have to think about our rage or our capacity for violence”. Oh but we really really do. If we are not reflecting on our violence, physical, social and emotional, we are part of the problem, not the solution. Violence comes in many forms. Coercion and manipulation by females (and non-females) is rife. Do your personal inventory. Change yourself. Change your community. Then change the world that made us this way.

“This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both […] But almost always, during the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors, or “sub-oppressors.” The very structure of their thought has been conditioned by the contradictions of the concrete, existential situation by which they were shaped. Their ideal is to be men; but for them, to be men is to be oppressors. This is their model of humanity. […] True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity.”
— Pedagogy of the Oppressed

3. Rape is the symptom of rape culture, not the cause.

I uphold a feminism that is about more than the prevention of sexual assault than calling out harm once it is done. The idea of Kavanaugh not making it into the Supreme Court, is not some great win here, it is just damage mitigation. My feminism cares about the rapes of elders, disabled people, poor people, non-white people, sex workers and other marginalized groups, as much as those in government, in the media, those with means, and those in power. My feminism cares as much about the rapes of males as the rapes of females. If we are not channeling our rage to shift the culture that produced these issues, our outrage** is simply collective trauma.

4. A feminism that focuses on more than sexual assault and call out culture

There is a certain form of reactionary thinking that masks itself as feminism, but in reality seems to be an (understandable) reaction to patriarchy, but this reactive response seems to actually perpetuate these patriarchal power structures. This thing seems to be loosely referred to as ‘bad feminism’. And so called ‘bad feminism’ seems to be part of fourth wave. Both of which honestly seems to be a shit show. Time to reclaim our radical feminism please. Time for a paradigm shift. The closest thing that I have seen to a feminism of the future, today is #xenofeminism. It calls for a very different future, one that I start to get behind. It is a technomaterialist, anti-naturalist, a gender abolitionist feminism.

I am not forth wave. I am #NTKOF. I am a xenofeminist.

*What I mean here is ‘humans socialised as men’. Please excuse my blatant use of gender and gendered generalisations. I realise that the binary serves none of us and I tend to steer away from such things, but in responding to misandry it’s hard to know how to write this better. Suggestions for improvements are welcome!

** “Outrage society is scandal society. It lack bearing — reserve and posture. The fractiousness, hysteria and intractability that characterize waves of outrage do not admit tactful or matter-of-fact communication; they bar dialogue and discourse. More still, waves of outrage evince little identification with the community as it stands. The outraged do not form a stable ‘we’ who are displaying concern for society as a whole [..] so much as for themselves. For this reason, outrage quickly dissipates.

Digital outrage cannot be sung. It admits neither action nor narration. Instead, it is an affective condition, devoid of the power to act [..], fleeting and scattered. Outrage lacks the mass — the gravitation — that is necessary for action. It generates no future.

The general distraction and dissipation characterizing society today prevents the epic energy of rage arising.

Rage, in the strong sense, is more that an affective state. It means the capacity, or power, to interrupt existing conditions and bring about new ones. In this way, it produces the future.”

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store