Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/945/25296

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 April 2017

Non-fiction review: Why I am not a feminist

Mass movements, not 'fringe cultures', can win feminist change

Millions of women and men have marched against Trump like Socialist Students members in London, 4.2.17, photo Sarah Wrack

Millions of women and men have marched against Trump like Socialist Students members in London, 4.2.17, photo Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

Helen Pattison, East London Socialist Party

When I picked up a copy of 'Why I am not a feminist: A feminist manifesto' I thought it was just what I needed to read. A book that calls for the "total dismantling of the system of oppression" sounded appealing.

It sounded appealing because - as its literary critic author Jessa Crispin identifies - the establishment portrays feminism as simply being about getting more female executives, or the first female president of the US, at the top of sexist capitalist structures.

This is opposed to socialist feminism, which fights to end inequality and oppression for all women, as well as the system that prolongs sexism.

But unfortunately this book isn't a useful tool for taking up different ideas about what feminism is and should be, partly because it's quite a confusing read.

Crispin uses very few direct quotes when attacking ideas she disagrees with, so it's often unclear which strand of feminism she is arguing against. She prefers to write imaginary dialogues between her ideas and "other feminists."

But I don't want to read her rebuttal of what she imagines other feminists might say. I want to know what other feminists are actually saying, and why she thinks they are wrong.

Crispin's own ideas are also unclear and contradictory.

'Why I am not a feminist' is an attempt to attack what she sees as mainstream feminism taking the focus away from the massive institutions which maintain sexism, and instead blaming the individual. But ultimately her own "radical" feminism isn't very different.

While feminism shouldn't have a "condescending attitude" towards women in less developed countries and the sexism they face, Crispin takes a condescending tone when she asks the reader to "do something difficult... Look at what you are participating in when you are engaged sexually or romantically with a male partner... Think about how you are contributing to these imbalances through your own personal choices."

She is nostalgic for a time when she believes feminism was "a fringe culture." She equates feminism growing beyond a small group of radicals with it 'selling out' and becoming ineffective.

This is where I disagreed with her the most. We have seen and will see mass movements of women and men against capitalism and sexism. But sadly, in this book, Jessa Crispin seems to conclude that we are not up to the task.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 19 April 2017:


What we think

Defeat the millionaires' Tory government


Socialist Party news and analysis

900 carers quit a day - nationalise social care now

Fight the Sun's bigoted lies

Benefits workers oppose 'rape clause' and two-child limit

Joint struggle can stop tuition fee interest hike

Them & Us


Jobstown Not Guilty

Protest is not a crime: back Jobstown Not Guilty


Save our NHS

What kind of movement is needed to save our NHS?


International socialist news and analysis

Trump escalates geopolitical tensions on Korean peninsula

Turkey: constitutional referendum result a pyrrhic victory for Erdogan

French presidential election: Mélenchon campaign gains momentum

Relaunch of socialistworld.net


Workplace news and analysis

CWU conference: fight Royal Mail pension attack

Workers sailing to victory on Woolwich ferry

PCS ballot papers out: vote Democracy Alliance

Weapons workers continue pension strike

Mood for a fightback at education conferences

Picturehouse cinema strike spreads

National Shop Stewards Network conference 2017


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Mass movements, not 'fringe cultures', can win feminist change

Buses and buggies: a driver speaks

The Socialist inbox


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

TUSC backs RMT Save Our Guards campaign, while local Labour Party blocks debate

Energetic start to TUSC local election campaigning

Doncaster mayoral election: Socialist Steve campaign diary

TUSC council candidate vows never to go to the 'dark side'!


 

Home   |   The Socialist 19 April 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Feminism:

triangleThem and us

triangleHugh Hefner's exploitation of women

triangleInternational Women's Day 2016: Should women support Hillary Clinton?

triangleYork Socialist Party: Marxism and feminism

triangleWomen: fight for equality, fight for socialism

Feminist:

triangleFighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

triangle1967 Abortion Act reflected social changes

triangleTheresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

triangleInternational Women's Day: taking action against capitalist oppression

Review:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

triangleTV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

triangleComprehensive account of bloody conflict

Sexism:

triangleSocialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Women - fighting sexism, violence and capitalism

Women:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: 100 years of voting for women of property

Oppression:

triangleArt can help expose sexual harassment

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

17/1/18

Theatre

Theatre: 'Young Marx' shows growth in great platform for his ideas

17/1/18

Isis

Opinion: British imperialism can take no credit in fight against Isis

17/1/18

Carers

Opinion: foster care is work - carers deserve workers' rights

10/1/18

Housing

Debate: should tower blocks form part of socialist housing policy?

10/1/18

Art

Art can help expose sexual harassment

10/1/18

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

3/1/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

3/1/18

Work Capability Assessment

Tory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

13/12/17

The Socialist

The Socialist's 2017 quiz

6/12/17

Fire

The Socialist Inbox

6/12/17

Surrey

Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane

6/12/17

Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

30/11/17

Theatre

Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

22/11/17

Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears

22/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle18 Jan Waltham Forest Socialist Party: How do we get Corbyn's policies into Waltham Forest council?

triangle18 Jan Southampton Socialist Party: Is there a global nuclear threat?

triangle18 Jan Swansea Socialist Party: Is there a threat of nuclear war?

triangle18 Jan Cardiff East Socialist Party: Building Socialism in Cardiff East

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2