Monday, March 27, 2017

Ivanka Trump, Marisa Kabas, the far-left, and the Real Danger to Feminism

Ever since I've started defending Ivanka Trump's feminist identity, I've received plenty of requests telling me not to, even people demanding that I stop. But I stand firmly here. Why? Because I firmly believe in the diversity of feminist ideas, and I won't let feminism morph into a political party with a party line every member has to toe. While Ivanka is not my feminist idol, she clearly is an inspiration for some women, a form of empowerment for them. How's that not feminist contribution?

As I said last week, if the issue is Donald Trump, then let's stick to that. I'm no fan of Donald Trump either, personally. But if we want to fix things, blaming it on Ivanka doesn't solve anything. We need to study the real reasons for her father's victory, and learn our lessons. Regarding this, I believe the rise of the authoritarian far-left has a lot to answer for. I know that plenty of people around the world supported Trump simply because he is politically incorrect. I believe a substantial proportion of Trump votes was due to a feeling of oppression due to a lack of freedom of speech and conscience, and somehow these people concluded that they could fix it by electing a politically incorrect president. Which is nonsense, because there's no evidence Trump believes in increasing freedom. But when people are desperate, they reach for ridiculous solutions. If not for the authoritarian far-left, I believe Hillary would be in the White House right now.

The authoritarian far-left is not just a figment of anyone's imagination either. Progressive movements used to be so much more, well, 'liberal', just five or ten years ago. Now something's clearly changed, and it's not a good change. Take feminism for example. Pro-life feminists have long felt uneasy with some aspects of the movement, but now they've been made to feel more unwelcome than ever. It's not just those arguing for restrictions on abortion either. Those who dispute the personal or religious morality of abortion are given the cold shoulder, even if they are legally pro-choice. Recently the 'party line' seems to be getting tighter still. In her recent piece in Harpers Bazaar, Marisa Kabas noted that she has been made to feel unwelcome in some parts of the movement due to her stance on Israel-Palestine issues (something I'm personally neutral towards, by the way). This, in turn, has made her reflect on how pro-life feminists also feel unwelcome, and how there could instead be a civil conversation, even though she is very much pro-choice herself. I have no doubt that, as more and more people are made to feel unwelcome, more and more will make similar reflections. Kabas is still very much determined to remain in the feminist movement. I'm not so sure everyone will make similar conclusions however.

If feminism is no longer liberal, it will no longer serve the needs or even sit well with the consciences of some women. The less liberal it becomes, the less women it will serve, until it becomes some meaningless movement opposed to the needs of the majority of women. The majority of women will become opposed to so-called feminism at that point, and will even support the patriachy if there is no other choice. And this is the real danger to feminism. Not Ivanka Trump, or even Donald Trump himself.