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How achievable is your end goal?

(12 Posts)
Greenwayslide Sat 31-May-14 23:02:03

Hi just ask you a question. Many radical feminists believe that sexism is part of the very foundations of our society to the point that in order to create your version of an ideal world you would have to rebuild society from scratch. Just curious as to how you feel this could come about?

I'm asking this as I imagine that no matter the positive changes made there will always be underlying sexism based on the very way societies are structured. I do not see how you can change that without dismantling and starting again, I guess the question is how do realistically go about doing that?

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 00:34:14

I am not a radical feminist ie I believe in change within the current structure. American society was founded on slavery in parts and, although racism hasn't vanished, it has reduced through changes in law and society.

scallopsrgreat Sun 01-Jun-14 10:28:10

Can I ask what you think our end goal is? Or what you think our version of "an ideal world" is? I don't really want to start a conversation around this if you think "we" want one thing which is way off base from reality. Mind you the reality is probably that different feminists have different views of what the future without a patriarchy would look like.

But as I said on the pub thread, many feminists think that sexism is structural not just radical feminists. That is not what defines radical feminists from other types of feminism.

Hazchem Sun 01-Jun-14 11:11:34

I'm not a radical feminist but I'm not a liberal feminist. I'm not a marxist but the more and more I explore I think both patriarchy and capitalism needs to be addressed as they both are problematic for women. I want to change the structures because I think they harm everyone.

Greenwayslide Sun 01-Jun-14 11:43:00

See I thought liberal feminists want to change society from within whereas radical feminists feel it has to be completely remade. I feel that a capitalistic society (although we are not completely capitalistic) doesn't really favour feminism but in a now global economy not sure how this could change.

scallop I imagine that you want less societal pressure pushing women in one direction and men in another, so that women would have true autonomy, as well as reduced violence/abuse towards women.

BertieBotts Sun 01-Jun-14 12:09:29

For me I would like gender to be as inconsequential as hair colour, apart from in situations where it is necessary, which I think is limited only to medical conditions which present differently in different sexes and of course reproduction.

I think this is hard for most people to imagine. It would mean for example that there was no such thing as "women's clothing" and "men's clothing" except for styles where the cut is close-fitting and needs to conform to different body shapes, but that would be labelled just as sizing is now, or V-neck vs round neck or bootcut vs skinny jeans etc.

I would like to do away with the concept of "femininity" and "masculinity" as I think these are unhelpful and don't mean anything on their own. It should be possible for men or women to be strong, brutal, pretty, caring, whoever they are, really, without it being ascribed to gender or seen as a deviation from/subversion of their gender.

I also think that most people would be bisexual although gender (or sex) could be part of your "type" like how some people are attracted to dark haired/fair haired people.

If gender was seen as inconsequential then yes you would still get a few nutters who liked to throw their weight around and thought that it made a difference, but I think that sexism comes from the fact that men and women are perceived as being so different that it's used as justification for a lot of things.

I don't know if it's possible - I would like to think so but I don't know if you can erase the centuries, millennia, of cultural conditioning and ideas that people have now about the differences between men and women. It certainly won't happen in my lifetime.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Sun 01-Jun-14 12:40:55

Sounds great, Bertie, the limited only to reproduction part is the tough nut to crack!

scallopsrgreat Sun 01-Jun-14 13:44:05

I would say that was about right Greenway with regards liberal/radical feminists. But that doesn't mean liberal feminists don't recognise structural oppression just that they believe in a different way to manifest change.

Personally my focus is mainly on removing male violence. It is what maintains all different kinds of oppression. It is the root of women's oppression. And so as that is reduced and attitudes changed i.e. male violence is not considered inevitable then freedom will gradually come. But I also agree with Bertie in that gender stereotypes and men as the default are incredibly harmful. So removing that gender hierarchy is definitely a close second.

I'd like a revolution in terms of the speed of change but as we are talking attitudinal issues they take much longer to sort out so a revolution wouldn't allow those changes to take place and we could find things going back to how they were.

So yes I think dismantling the current systems is the only way to go. Changing people's view on the world. Moving the Overton window gradually and persistently.

BertieBotts Sun 01-Jun-14 14:23:31

For me the violence is rooted in men's need to control women and/or seeing women as lesser, and therefore believing they have fewer rights in general and feeling that women are getting "above their station" when they try to assert the same rights as men.

So, remove the difference, remove this feeling. That removes the violence.

I think that male violence against women is a symptom, not a problem in itself, on a population level. Obviously on an individual level the violence is a problem.

scallopsrgreat Sun 01-Jun-14 20:34:37

Yes Bertie I agree. Violence is the tool used to maintain control. By the same token I would say the establishment of gender hierarchies is also a symptom to maintain women as 'lesser'. So it's the perceptions and attitudes that need to change. Agreed.

Beachcomber Sun 01-Jun-14 21:50:33

I don't think radical feminists think in terms of an "end goal" despite sometimes joking about "come the revolution...." and "post-patriarchal utopia".

Radical feminism is very pragmatic. It is about describing the world as it actually is and is extremely down to earth and realistic. By which I mean there isn't a vision of an "end goal" but identification of obstacles to women's rights and freedoms and proposals as how to counter or dismantle those obstacles through resistance and disobedience.

It's a brick in the wall theory to revolution/structural change/radicalism.

MiniTheMinx Sun 01-Jun-14 22:51:05

I'm going to agree with Beachcomber

Marxists would agree that revolution isn't a one day event of some kind, but a series of changes over time. The end goal is the liberation of women. As someone with a materialist conception of history, this will involve a complete transition from capital to a system that brings the social/productive/reproductive and political spheres together in a truly democratic system, creating equality between all.

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