Recently I finished reading Nomad by one of my idols, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. While the book is not focused on feminism, per se, it does go into what I agree is the major problem with modern Western feminism — in a word: egoism. However, I, being a white male, have no right to comment on this, or so the modern Western feminist reasoning goes. So, fine, I won’t comment on this. I will let Mrs. Ali, a non-white female, comment. Below is an excerpt from Nomad which I think demonstrates the wasted energy and selfishness of modern Western feminism:
“Feminists began to define white men as the ultimate and only oppressors. White men had engaged in the slave trade, apartheid, and colonialism as well as in the subjugation of women. Nonwhite men were, almost by definition, seen as members of the oppressed….
My colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, Christina Hoff-Sommers, calls this “the feminism of resentment.” This is the position of “feminists [who] believe that our society [read, Western society] is best described as a ‘male hegemony,’ a ‘sex/gender system’ in which the dominant gender [read, white male] works to keep women cowering and submissive.” These feminists of resentment refuse to appreciate the progress Western women have made, from the right to vote to the punishment of those who try to harass women at work. They see only the iniquity of the white man and reduce such universal concepts as freedom of expression and the right to choose one’s own destiny to mere artifacts of Western culture….
Western women have power. They are now firmly established in the workforce. They have access to contraception, to their own bank accounts, to the vote. They can marry the men they choose, or choose not to marry at all, and if nature allows it, they can have as many or as few children as they want. They can own property, travel wherever they choose, and read any book, newspaper, or magazine they wish. They can have an opinion on the moral choices of others and express that opinion freely, even publish it….
If feminism means anything at all, women with power should be addressing their energies to help the girls and women who suffer the pain of genital mutilation, who are at risk of being murdered because of their Western lifestyle and ideas, who must ask for permission just to leave the house, who are treated no better than serfs, branded and mutilated, traded without regard to their wishes. If you are a true feminist, these women should be your first priority.”
I’ve believed exactly this for many years now, but being a white male, of course whenever I asserted something like this, every feminist would just shout down my argument because I couldn’t understand how tough life is for a woman growing up in a Western country.
When I lived in Canada, to be honest, I just accepted this line of reasoning because, perhaps there are many things that I don’t notice in the lives of women in Canada.
However, I’ve now lived in South Korea now for about 6 years. When I first arrived here, within a couple months I could see the subtle and not so subtle discrimination against women here. Me! A white male! I was able to notice this! How is this possible?? I am supposed to be blind to the suffering of women, right? Wrong. I realize now that the belief that men are oblivious to the suffering of women is simply a kind of prejudice, like all other prejudices. Further, I now believe that many feminists in developed Western countries are using feminism not as a way to elevate women and women’s rights, but as a way to say, “Oh, my life is so hard! Feel pity for me! You should be ashamed white male!” This is, in a word, egoism. These women are empowered in ways their ancestors and sisters in undeveloped countries would have trouble fathoming. It’s time for empowered feminists to work on empowering truly repressed women around the world!
- Dear White Man: You Need to Shut the FUCK UP! (http://feministifythis.wordpress.com/) **I actually had a long irritating discussion with the author “feministifythis” on this topic here**
- [Feminist Friday] Do I call myself a feminist or not? (dumbsainthood.wordpress.com)
- Women who say they’re not feminists (abbyfp.wordpress.com)
- Is “Feminist” A Sexist Word? (insidehighered.com)