Love and Feminism



The nature of the modern Feminist movement from  early on in its history has been characterized by the alienation of the sexes on the basis of an underlying fear of harm and exploitation by men. In Greek the word “Phobia” as we know, is simultaneously a word for both “fear” and “hatred”. The two concepts are closely related, for it is quite difficult to truly love what one genuinely fears. The ultimate effect then of a movement that evokes within one sex, a general fear of the other sex as a group should be predictable. Within the original reasoning of this philosophy, there was but one route to deliverance from male exploitation and that was  independence from the male sex on every level: materially, emotionally etc. But when we speak of “the male sex’ we do not refer to some abstraction, but rather to billions of individuals.Therefore the only way to interpret this idea concretely is in the form of the proposition:  Every individual woman should have independence from every individual man.

Now another word that is inconsistent with the idea of love of is “independence” . In order for genuine love to be present there must be mutual dependence. Love is giving oneself over to another. This is an ideal embodied traditionally within the classical institution of marriage, the  same institution denounced by many early Feminists as a type of bondage. As a result of this denunciation “Free Love” became the ideal during the 1960’s  ; casual sexual dalliances with random partners, no strings attached (for it was precisely the binding of the strings that they sought to escape). But the term “Free Love” itself involved a certain amount of self deception, for what was ultimately occurring here was not love at all but  (individual) self gratification. In the aftermath of the  1960’s the children of that era began to discern the bankruptcy of this idea, and their inability to replace the ideal of genuine love with cheaper surrogates. But at this point, even when the members of this generation attempted to embrace selfless commitment they could not fully appreciate the concept; they had been conditioned from their youth to think exclusively in terms of self gratification. The result was a social epidemic of failed and broken families.

The interdependency of the sexes is a basic reality of human society (most certainly of a free society) and the only actual choice mankind  has in the matter is between grateful,  loving,  harmonious relationships or dysfunctional ones. Indeed, the truth that the sexes (on the large social scale) cannot be merely disinterested, independent individuals is revealed within Feminist literature itself. We can see it within currently popular concepts such as “Enthusiastic Consent”; an idea that asserts that any woman that has been pressured into sex by a man has in essence been raped. Most advocates of this notion suggest that while it is not something that should actually be put into law, it should come to constitute part of a cultural understanding of rape. Now if we put aside the outrage of diluting the meaning of an extremely serious concept such as rape and ask ourselves what is it that the Feminist is doing here, what we find is that they are involved in something quite incompatible with the idea of disinterested independent individuals.

The premise of the concept is that men have a special obligation to women. This is the opposite of independence. In society, independent individuals use pressure/persuasion to pursue what they want all the time in a countless number of contexts. It is  the responsibility of the opposite party to resist that pressure  (if they are so inclined) by making their will clearly known. The idea of Enthusiastic Consent takes a responsibility which rightfully belongs to the woman (again, in the context of an interaction between wholly independent individuals) and places it upon the man instead. In other words, it creates a situation where the woman has a dependency upon the man (for what is dependence if it is not one individual bearing the responsibility of the other). Why does the woman in this hypothetical situation not  firmly relay her wishes? We know that she would certainly do so if the man in question were a complete stranger, maybe an assailant off the street. The reason that she does not do so here is because despite any objections that she may have, she in the end believes that it is an acceptable trade off for something. She may believe that she must submit in order to maintain a relationship that she deeply desires for example. In such cases both parties (the man and the woman)  are simply strategizing for what they want.

In a context in which we are dealing with disinterested, independent individuals pursuing their own interests the onus is entirely upon the woman. However,  in a context in which there is a loving mutual dependence, both the man and the woman may share the responsibility. The man cares about, and is invested in the woman, his desire is not merely to get something from her but to see to her  well being despite what he may personally desire . But no contortion of logic can turn a caring consideration such as this into a basic obligation of disinterested individuals. So as we see, even Feminists themselves cannot escape the true character and connection of the sexes within their own thinking.

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