A Quick Reminder of Something Very Basic
Feminist, don't you ever, ever, ever tell us that we don't understand what feminism is. We have studied feminism for years, in ways that you have never studied it. And we have learned things about feminism that you have never learned, and never will learn, because it would be impossible for you to know these things and still be a feminist.
You, feminist, are morally and intellectually incompetent to understand what feminism is. Everything you presume to tell us about feminism is, quite simply, rubbish. We can see very clearly what feminism is, having lived with it, and with its consequences, for half a century. As it is written somewhere in the Bible, "by their fruits shall ye know them." And the poison fruits of feminism are very, very evident to us indeed.
So, when you hear us non-feminists discussing feminism amongst ourselves, our talk might be difficult for you to comprehend. That is because we use the word "feminism" in a very different way than you do. Since we view feminism from the outside, as a system embedded in the universe at large, we possess an inherently higher level of information. Our knowledge, simply stated, is more complete, more holistic, more cosmopolitan, and more objective than yours. And this, our epistemic standpoint, is naturally reflected in our way of talking.
You are not us. . . and we are not you. And just as a person cannot fully see herself without the help of some external device -- a mirror, for example -- so likewise feminism cannot fully "see" itself. That can only happen by the help of some external device. And we, the rest of the world, ARE that device. We are that mirror.
Everything you know, or think you know, about feminism, is incomplete. And you cannot make good your incomplete knowledge simply by discussing feminist philosophy with other feminists. Such collective navel-gazing can do no better than drill you deeper and deeper into your collective navel. And the more profound becomes your knowledge of what feminists say about feminism, the more entrenched becomes your ignorance of what anybody else says about it. You believe that the world has a duty to understand feminism, but the truth is exactly the reverse.
Please don't bore us with the dictionary cop-out: "Look in the dictionary and see what feminism is"! All right, we looked, and what did we see? Alphanumeric characters stamped in ink upon a sheet of paper. Yes, yes, we know. Some bromide about "equality", right? But that tells us little or nothing of any value. You see, the world does not exist upon a sheet of paper, and unlike simple words such as dog, cat or apple, which map very clearly to tangible objects, "feminism" maps very poorly indeed.
So we have concluded that feminism can only be comprehended existentially, in real world terms -- as a set of practices and a set of consequences flowing from those practices.We have also concluded that to ask a feminist what feminism is, is only slightly more useful than consulting a dictionary. For we know by long experience that when a feminist describes feminism, this person is only describing what he or she personally believes feminism to be, and that such belief entails no epistemic warrant that ought to be considered privileged. In short, that to self-identify as "a feminist" puts you in no better position to know what feminism really is, than to self-identify otherwise.
Feminism impinges on our world as an alien force, gradually reducing the size and scope of our world and seeding it with dysfunction. We experience feminism as a pattern of linked developments trending toward a scripted future, and it does not amuse us to be told that what we are seeing "isn't really feminism", or that if we would read some feminist books we would learn what feminism really is. The irony is that we have indeed read our share of feminist books, and that such reading cements our conviction all the more because we see behind what the authors are saying.
Rather than listen to what feminism is supposed to mean, we elect to study tangible consequences and to draw conclusions from that quarter. Feminism's essence does not reside in some inner wellspring of theory or stated intention. Rather, it lies in what we plainly see happening in the realm of politics, or in the words and actions of undisciplined people. By these signs we know exactly what kind of world feminism would create.
Very well.. Feminism is nothing more and nothing less than what we ourselves define it to be. We look at the world, we outline a pattern of conditions and events, and we stick the word "feminism" to this pattern. We have taken control of the word itself, and by the same stroke, taken control of the discourse which surrounds the word. And in the light of our conclusions, we draw the necessary maps for all of our future campaigns.
Feminists: Are you willing to negotiate peaceful coexistence?