Sunday, 2 November 2014

This Is Not What A Feminist Looks Like

OK, now I'm annoyed.  Instead of writing 'Unspeakable', I feel the urge to do this.

You've probably heard that the Fawcett Society's 'This Is What A Feminist Looks Like' are made in sweatshops.  This has somehow made it onto the news.  Well, they would be because most clothes are and whereas it's clearly not OK, that kind of thing happens all the time.  This is not what really bothers me though.

I'm going to set out two categories and argue using those in order to avoid defining what women and men are, as I mentioned before.  One category consists of people who are socialised as female because they've predominantly been perceived as female.  Most of these people are ciswomen and most women fit into this category.  A few of them will be other than that.  Some will be transmen and some will be chromosomally male but physically female such as TAIS people.  Even so, they do form a category.  The other category consists of people who are socialised as male because they've been predominantly perceived as male and most of those are cismen.  A few of these people will be transwomen.  In both these categories there are a few anomalies, but they do correspond quite closely to women and men respectively, on the whole, although they are not women and men as such but people who are socialised and perceived as such.  There will of course be other oppressive phenomena going on such as cisgender privilege, but besides that there is the much more pervasive phenomenon of sexism.  Sexism is the oppression of the former category by the latter and nothing else, i.e. it does not operate in the other direction and it does not operate between any other categories.  Sexism does not operate against men and it can't, because the former group, which has no name, is the oppressed group and prejudice against men will tend to operate to liberate women and is therefore entirely acceptable and not sexism.

People in the latter category can be sympathetic and allied to feminists of course, in the same way as a white person might oppose racism.  The fact remains that a white majority person is not likely to experience racism to anything like the same degree as someone with a minority ethnicity, so they can never be more than an ally, i.e. they cannot be themselves a victim of racism, at least in Britain.

All of this means that not only can a man not be a feminist, unless he is a transman, but nobody in the latter category can be anything better than opposed to feminism, because they lack the experience of being oppressed in that particular way.  Transwomen cannot be feminists either.  The only way that could have happened would have been if they had been predominantly perceived as female from birth, and we aren't.

It has been noted that David Cameron refused to wear the Fawcett Society's T-shirt.  I rather strangely find myself in agreement with him.  He is not what a feminist looks like because he's a cisman, and like this transwoman typing these words, he cannot be a feminist because he's part of the oppressor class in gender terms.  He could be, but isn't, pro-feminist, at least in anything but a very superficial sense, but he cannot be a feminist, and neither can I.

Therefore I already found the Fawcett Society's campaign offensive and the mere, fairly obvious, fact that the T-shirts were made in a sweatshop is irrelevant.  I mean, what did you expect?