A Sad Evolution of a Former Feminist

It isn’t easy to understand a writer who tells you that “Bachmann can summon the spirit of McCarthy to raise the equally bizarre specter of socialism’s tentacles.” A spirit that raises a specter is too convoluted an image for my liking.

It is equally difficult to decipher the writings of somebody who believes that the Tea Party movement and feminism have a natural affinity because

the core of feminism is individual choice and freedom, and it is these strains that are being sounded now more by the Tea Party movement than by the left. . . Feminism is philosophically as much in harmony with conservative, and especially libertarian, values – and in some ways even more so.

But the most frustrating thing of all is seeing how a formerly brilliant feminist journalist has degenerated into a semi-literate, bumbling defender of the “true feminism” of Palin and Bachmann. This is precisely what happened to Naomi Wolf. You can find her most recent exercise in celebrating the supposedly feminist Thatcher, Palin and Bachmann here.

15 thoughts on “A Sad Evolution of a Former Feminist”

  1. Between stripper poles being hailed as ‘liberating’ and Sarah ‘hey everybody, I’m on TV’ Palin and Michelle ‘X-tra strength Sarah Palin’ Bachmann being hailed as feminist role models, it’s safe to say that feminism is officially dead, and patriarchal capitalism (or capitalist patriarchy) has won. I wish I could be more optimistic.

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  2. Eric is right.

    Who are the feminists who have attacked patriarchal capitalism in the last 20 years? I’m curious to know.

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      1. You know my answer, right?

        Let me rephrase this: who are the feminists who have attacked capitalism in the last 20 years? I’m curious to know.

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        1. But why would feminists attack capitalism if the rise of the feminist movement coincided with the birth of capitalism? Is there feminism without capitalism?

          Honestly, I’m not sure.

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  3. I do not know enough, but if, as you say, the rise of the feminist movement coincided with the birth of capitalism, then the goal of the feminist movement was probably to criticize the inequalities capitalism generated. Otherwise why the feminist movement rose at the same time than capitalism?

    The problem is precisely that – and once again I do not know enough, correct me if I am wrong – feminism is not radical enough when criticizing capitalism. That rhetoric of “choice” and “liberty” as defining the core of the feminist values coincides with the rhetoric of neoliberalism. This is really troubling.

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    1. I wouldn’t say that gender inequalities were generated by capitalism. Women did pretty badly in antiquity and in the Middle Ages. Feudalism was really horrible to women.

      Private property seems to be a sine qua non of women’s liberation.

      “That rhetoric of “choice” and “liberty” as defining the core of the feminist values coincides with the rhetoric of neoliberalism. This is really troubling.”

      -This, of course, is very true.

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      1. “Private property seems to be a sine qua non of women’s liberation.”

        Just goes to show how utterly impossible it is to apply any single ideological principle universally. In the subcontinent, private property is one of the primary reasosn that lead to female disempowerment, upto and including female infanticide and foeticide. It’s not private property (or anything else) therefore. It’s the sociopolitical context within which it is exercised.

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  4. To suggest that Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are ‘feminists,’ sorry Naomi…although feminism is about choice and no….not all feminists think alike. However, I’ve never heard of feminism being equated to patriarchy. There are feminists and then…..there are feminists who say they’re feminists. Perhaps they should define THEIR version of what feminism is. “Left-wing,” so it’s said, is liberal, forward moving and progressive whereas “right-wing,” means preserving the social and moral, status quo. The water in a stagnant pond, has nowhere to go, therefore, it’s stagnant. It stays the same. Ditto to the status quo….keep life as it was….now.

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  5. “Private property seems to be a sine qua non of women’s liberation.”

    Just goes to show how utterly impossible it is to apply any single ideological principle universally. In the subcontinent, private property is one of the primary reasosn that lead to female disempowerment, upto and including female infanticide and foeticide. It’s not private property (or anything else) therefore. It’s the sociopolitical context within which it is exercised.

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  6. Of course gender inequalities were not born with capitalism, nor capitalism is the only economic system that generates gender inequalities, but patriarchalism goes hand in hand with capitalism. It would make sense for a feminist to criticize capitalism from a radical point of view, but I do not hear (or I am not aware of) many voices doing precisely that.

    “Private property seems to be a sine qua non of women’s liberation.”

    I think that would need further explanations.

    @RImi: I would love to hear more about female disempowerement and private property in the subcontinent.

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    1. ‘Of course gender inequalities were not born with capitalism, nor capitalism is the only economic system that generates gender inequalities, but patriarchalism goes hand in hand with capitalism. ”

      -I do not agree. I will write a separate post about why I see capitalism and feminism as indissolubly linked.

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