Painting a Bright Red Line Through the World
Truly, the Redstockings Manifesto is the best compendium of feminism's core principles you will find anywhere. If you are confused by the welter of conflicting definitions, just spend time studying Redstockings and analyzing historical developments from the last half-century, and you will become aware of the striking patterns and paralells between what is written in this document, and what the various feminisms have hoisted upon the world.
All right. Imagine my surprise and delight today, when I found somebody picking up the ball and running with it. A blogger, Gingko by name, who writes at the Genderratic blog, composed the following under the inspiration of the 2007 Counter-Feminist post where I first laid out my idea:
Yes indeed, my plan is "deliciously Maoist".
But I part company, just a mite, with Gingko. Consider the following paragraph from Gingko's post:
"Here’s a remedy for some of the generalized feminism-bashing and accusations that feminists as a hive-mind are misandrist. Feminists quite correctly insist that there are many feminisms. It’s a request for a little more attention to detail, and it’s more than reasonable. So let’s look at what is misandrist about radical feminism and see if that is foundational to any other kind of feminism, if other feminists use its terminology, formulations and theoretical assumptions."You see, I must confess that I am not quite so "reasonable" as the feminists whom Gingko seems to have in mind. I am not, myself, so impressed by those "many feminisms" which feminists, correctly or otherwise, insist that there are. To me, these different feminisms seem little more than different hamburgers dolled up with different trimmings. Oh certainly, the possibilities are many -- sautéed mushrooms on this one, hold the onions on that one, extra tomatoes on the next one, extra mustard on the other one, and so on.
And yet they're all just ground beef on a bread roll!
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the moral distillate which Ginkgo so skillfully refines from the Redstockings Manifesto is not only the heart of radical feminism. It is the heart of ALL feminism, and for the simple reason that radical feminism itself is the heart of all feminism.
Subtract radical feminism from the feminist "burger", and the question becomes "where's the beef?" Yes, radical feminists always have a beef about something. . . don't they? And they will until hell freezes over. That is what makes them radical feminists.
When you expose radical feminism to the disinfecting sunlight of the world's gaze, then at least in theory you kill it. And you kill the rest of feminism too. For the non-radical feminisms owe their very existence to the existence of the radical kind. Radical feminism is the driving element which keeps ALL of feminism dynamic. Subtract radical feminism and the rest of feminism would grow anemic and devoid of purpose. And then it would fade away.
That throws an instructive light on NAFALT, doesn't it? You see, it is not even necessary for all feminists to be "like that", provided only that some feminists are. That is all it takes. Feminism as a whole plows its destructive furrow through the world by the combined work of all feminists -- even the moderate ones. But the radicals are the real powerhouse, willing to drive the venture toward unthinkable frontiers. The moderates, whether they admit it or not, serve mainly for camouflage, because no matter how far the radicals push the envelope, the moderates will always seem comparatively reasonable -- the "good cops" in that timeless game.
Understand, the moderate feminists are not much about pushing the envelope. That is what the radicals do. But when the envelope indeed gets pushed, the moderates can always be counted on to fill up the new space which the pushy radicals have opened up for them. The mainstream is always migrating in a more radical direction.
Feminism would not remain feminism if it did not remain in motion. It would simply vanish, as a whirlwind or other such weather would vanish if the air stopped moving. And the mainstream feminists would quickly be out of a job.
They could only go back to being liberal humanists.
So, I'm afraid that my "deliciously Maoist" mindgame could have fatal consequences to ALL of feminism -- not just the radical kind.
Here, for the full "Maoist" flavor, is my old video on the Redstockings plan. This one could use a remake for the sake of audio quality, and I'll get around to that whenever. But in the meantime, here it is:
Postscript: TDOM, my fellow blogger and partisan of the activated sector, has left a comment which I find insightful and germane -- and not just because he agrees with me, although that helps:
"I agree, the Redstocking Manifesto is quite an instructive document and a yardstick by which to measure feminism. I've published a copy on my site to use as a reference.
"I have not yet read Genko's article (I'll do that in a bit), but I will agree that there are several flavors of feminism. I do like your characterization of them as a hamburger and agree that radical feminism is the beef. Take that away and there's no meat left. But a few people will eat the veggie sandwich that remains. Those people are mostly innocuous.
"However, those vegetarian feminists benefit from the actions of the radicals and turn a blind eye to the destruction they cause. In this way they are complicit and every bit as guilty of promoting the hatred of the radicals. If there weren't any meat, the sandwich would never have been invented. Feminism thrives on the hatred of men."