Or: mapping some of the big branches of antifeminism, where they come from and where we are today etc. Or: looking at intersectionality, radical lesbianism, contempt for victims and general male activist / reformist practices from a broader perspective.
I’ve been preparing a synthesis between the criticism of radical lesbianism and intersectionality to have a bigger picture of both and where they come from, and as I see things in patterns I thought I’d first draw it out to make it clearer to myself and others. So this is a first introductory part and more will come later.
We do know the vast majority of women from the women’s movement in the 70s either came from the left or civil rights movement, and were subsequently joined by women coming from lesbian and gay activism.
The positive influence from the left was that women carried with them and further developed the structural analyses that led to the radical feminist theories we have today. I assume at the time, many more women had a basic understanding of politics and oppressive structures compared to today where neoliberal patriarchal ideology has completely taken over, and so many women are convinced that everything they think comes from their own mind and their choices are the result of their own self-determined will.
However the lefty escapees who shaped the WLM also brought with them some of the internalised male attitudes and masculinist activist practices they had to cope with in the male-led organisations, which then visibly shaped the way they applied their feminism. It’s true that these women made a great effort to decolonise from the imperialistic practices of the organisations they fled from, such as getting rid of hierarchical structures, vertical decision-making and doing the immense work of cutting through all the misogynist lies and reversals about patriarchy etc, however some of this work remained largely incomplete as is evidenced by the fact we still struggle with it today, even with newer generations of feminists. Not that it’s their fault, I think it’s a normal process and they went as far as they could at the time.
The interesting thing is that the pattern works the same whichever the generation of women it concerns: what men did against women in leftist organisations then, and how it trickled down to feminism once women left those organisations afterwards, is happening today with younger generations in the same way. The tactics of sabotage of feminism haven’t really changed.
Hereunder I’ve summarised the different male left anti-feminist practices I’ve identified, then and today – unwittingly brought in by women escaping the left and forming women-only movements. It’s also a summary of the different anti-feminist politics I’ve observed in radical lesbian or intersectional-lefty influenced feminist groups, from which male groups they come from and what they have in common. For instance, a lot of misogynist radical lesbian ideologies and practices come from gay male groups. But radical lesbians are also heavily influenced by intersectionality since RL is based on liberal identity-politics and more generally influenced by the left, so that’s where it crosses over with lefty /socialist men.
Anyway hope it makes sense (click to see it full size).
I’ve also noticed that whichever lefty liberal strand anti-feminist strategies come from, they present the same characteristics. This is what I’ve tried to summarise here:
I assume this is very obvious to radical feminists but it helps to have it laid out properly. If I’ve missed anything or if you’d add anything to these lists, fire away!