Sunday, July 01, 2007

Something else

I ran across this comment by Marcus over at Is there no sin in it? and I think it pinpoints directly the reason for my ever-increasing disgust with much of what is called feminism these days, in that feminism so often seems to be merely capitalism and humanism by any other name. Without further ado:

You would almost think that feminism ended up as just another chapter in the ideological history of the capitalist imperative to squeeze maximal labor power out of each isolated individual. The dimensions of feminism that were communitarian are part of a forgotten radical past, and the dimensions that helped dissolve the bonds tying women to non-market committments are alive and well.

I think the ideas of “failure” and “success” should be understood as fetishized commodities as well. Conceived of as feeding yourself and your kids, keeping a roof over your head, etc. success has rarely been easier than it is here in the richest country in the history of the human race. Conceived of as winning status in a socially determined struggle, it’s tougher than ever.

Also, I think the obsession with “privilege” and “exploitation” is an odd set of lenses through which to view the world. It can itself be seen as part of an assimilation of all human interaction to an individualist contract model. A way of ripping aside the “sentimental veil”. Vigilantly excluding all possibilities of being exploited by others clears the field for us to exploit ourselves, in the name of “success”.

That was a conservative thing to say, but (unlike conservatives) I’m reasonably confident it was worse in 1920. Just not sure how much better it is today than it was in 1920…probably not as much better as it should be given our massive increase in wealth. Not sure how much our increasing number of vigilantly self-protective individuals has improved things.


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