Some of us on Facebook were trying to decide what the definition of radical feminism is. I provided my recent blog post where I say that Firestone’s definition is excellent. A friend gave this wonderful response to it:
I don’t think the Firestone explanation goes far enough, and I think that’s because she is sticking too close to Marx’s ideas about means of production and so forth. She gets the main point that men as a class control womyn as a class, and that a primary goal of radical feminism is for womyn to take back control over our bodies, our sexuality and reproductive capacity. Having sovereignty over our bodies, our fertility and all of our labors is the first step in our achieving liberation from male control, but it’s not the only issue or step.
Radical feminism starts with the understanding that we live under the worldwide religion of patriarchy, where men have dominance and womyn are subjugated to their rule. However, male control of females is by no means limited to our sexuality and procreative ability. In patriarchy, men have taken violent control of womyn and the rest of material reality, creating a culture where every institution is by, about and for men. They have appropriated not only the means of material production, but also the development of language, of knowledge and even of perception and meaning; of government and law, of education, the sciences, marriage and family, philosophy, spirituality, architecture, agriculture, *all areas of understanding and creativity. Men have appropriated and colonized every single aspect of existence (including non-humyn life and Earth itself). They identify themselves as The Standard of Humyn-mess and view females as an incomplete or flawed– lesser–versions of themselves. Male rule enforces our dependence upon them–not just materially, in terms of our survival as mothers (with our children), but also intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, creatively.
In patriarchy, men have relegated females to the sex class: womyn, solely by virtue of our biological sex, don’t just exist to serve men as fuck toys and breeders, but as servants and nurturers of men’s bodies, their offspring, their ideas and institutions. Womyn’s voices were silenced in the creation of patriarchal culture, our active, creative, fully empowered participation was (and is still) violently suppressed by men. Radical feminism is the liberation of womyn from male rule. This is definitely about gaining body sovereignty and full control of our fertility; it is also about achieving full voice and participation in the creation of a social order and all areas of life. (—Jai Kalidasi)
I completely agree with this summary.
This weekend I was browsing the “radical feminist” tag on WordPress and found a post from someone who seemed to have a sincere interest in feminism and understood the meaning of the different strands, but then added in that radical feminists want to abolish “chivalry” because we hate having doors opened for us.
In my near decade of reading about radical feminism from both published books and personal blogs I have never seen anyone suggest that common courtesy is a problem. I have no issue with someone opening a door for me. In this world full of human rights abuses against women I don’t have the luxury of caring about something so trivial.
People just make up whatever shit they want, ya know?