Deacon Duncan over at Free Thought Blogs made an interesting post today about feminism and what he calls, “counterfeminism.” Duncan grappled with the question of why some women are vehemently against feminism when, indeed, it has been the feminists who “are fighting to win them equal rights. It boggles my mind.”
OK, so when approaching questions like this, especially when referencing writers at FtB, it becomes necessary to determine whether said writer is referring to the type of hypersensitive, reactionary and every-male-is-a-potential-misogynist-or-rapist brand of feminism of the Rebecca Watson, Jen McCreight, or the run-of-the-mill hypersensitive feminism that has been with us for decades. Since Duncan has voiced his support for Atheism Plus, I suggest that it’s the former.
Duncan provides his definition of feminism and counterfeminism:
The feminist is working to establish women as autonomous and respected individuals who are equal in status, opportunity, and financial compensation, as compared to their male counterparts. The feminist assumption is that the ideal condition for women is equality. But that’s not necessarily an assumption shared by all, not even by all women.
It’s possible that there’s a counterfeminist assumption that the ideal condition for women is one of dependency and entitlement …
I prefaced this with a brief mention of Atheism Plus because Duncan’s post seems to suggest that in characterizing those who oppose feminism, he seems to be referring to the women who are against the A+ brand of feminism. It’s not believable that he would be referring to any other group since he’s writing at a place called Free Thought Blogs. But at the same time, I have never met, for instance, a female atheist, online or in person, who thinks that the ideal condition for women is dependence and entitlement, other than the aforementioned jaded individuals who think the
male world is out to get them. So, I can only conclude that he is talking about some type of mid-20th century housewife, or perhaps, a 19th century Southern belle, neither of whom could in any sense be described as feminist in the modern sense. Or, as he describes it:
… that in a perfect world, a woman would live by forming an attachment to a man, who would then provide her with food, clothes, a home, and some spending money in return for a bit of light housework and some sexual gratification now and then.
This seems to me to be an outdated characterization that isn’t anything like feminism at all. Thus, I don’t know from where this theory of a type of “counterfeminism” comes.
I have already identified two types:
- Feminism 1: reactionary and every-male-is-a-potential-misogynist-or-rapist brand of feminism
- Feminism 2: run-of-the-mill hypersensitive feminism
and here is a third type:
- Feminism 3: non-reactionary brand that fully supports equality, rights, critical thinking, rationality and female emotional and mental strength that is not necessarily comfortable with the “feminist” label.
I wouldn’t dare speak for them, but I have a small hunch that the women who do not support the Atheism Plus brand of feminism, and further, if the word “feminist” weren’t so damaged by overemotional, reactionary whiners of the current stripe, they may be willing to consider adopting the title if it truly signaled a characteristically strong form of female-ness with all the aforementioned rights in tact. That word, however, may now be damaged beyond repair at this point.