The Realism Of Right Wing Feminism: Why the Left Should Centre On it

There is a  fundamental split  between the right wing and left wing thinking on feminism. Socialists base their approach on the notion that men and women are alike in every single aspect, and, because not everyone is enlightened enough to agree on this  premise,  that it should be indoctrinated into the public psyche by the State .  The other recognises the differences between the sexes, and believes that over regulation in this area interferes with fundamental freedoms.

However,  the aim of  supporting females as equals are similar to both: Better treatment of girls and women, including education and work opportunities, and a State-led crackdown on abuse, mutilation, forced marriage and violent crime.

Whatever your polar attitude, it is hard to avoid the double standards that recent left-leaning feminist views have exposed.

The Valerie Treirweiler Affair – First Lady of France

VT,  the girlfriend of `rich-hating’ President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande was up until recently personified as the modern woman’s dream uberfeminist: Dismissing predecessor Carla Bruni’s advice of , `I think it’s simpler to be the legitimate wife of the head of state than his partner,’ in favour an opposite stance, her liberal statement, emphasised by joining a South African gay rights campaign against stifling bourgeoisie, was an overt display of independence and defiance against tradition. However, her over-reaction on discovering her partner’s alleged affair with actress and sex symbol Julie Gayet of holing up in a hospital ward to play out her grievances via the world media, unfortunately only served to highlight otherwise (at the same time as exposing the lavish living and therefore hypocrisy of Gallic socialism.)

Beyonce – Superstar Singer

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter last week announced publicly her status as a political feminist with an essay penned for Maria Shriver supporting women’s quest for equal pay. It was a laudable move, because in the States the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. Also, because Beyoncé was not having a personal gripe in doing so (like so many female Hollywood mega-stars complaining about unequal film rates). She comes at this from a position of personal and financial success, admitting she earned about $11 million more than her hip-hop husband Jay-Z. But, in doing so, she presented the case very clearly that the way to make a heap more dollars than men in the big bucks entertainment industry was by using the sex card. Nothing new. Only, sadly, one of the major taboos of left-wing feminist philosophy.

Vicky Pryce – Potential Lib Dem Candidate

Using first-hand experience, Vicky Pryce who served a jail sentence for accepting speeding points from her former husband Chris Huhne, has taken up the plight of female inmates. In her book Prisonomics, she describes life inside,  and her concerns about whether the  many women she met while in there should be incarcerated at all. Undoubtedly, as she suggests, a high proportion of female criminals have ended up that way because of something their men have done, and for no other reason. However, her own example of using marital coercion as an excuse and explanation of criminal activity did probably more to hinder these women than to help. As top-tree economist, with all the trimmings, status and confidence that comes with a high profile independent career, Ms Pryce lacked credibility as a victim. In fact, in doing so, she made a mockery of many wives or girlfriends in genuine need of protection. She certainly did not fit the identikit of the loyal, financially-dependent, marriage-trapped, depressed and confused type of person this defense plea was designed to protect. Now this loophole is to be closed altogether. And, archaic or not, there is a strong case for it to be kept. Rightly or wrongly, it is how many male-female relationships develop. However, to argue the case for this to continue would require an acceptance that in certain circumstances women should still be treated as the weaker sex. And this is an issue left-leaning feminists do not really want to visit.

There are many areas which cannot be covered by regulations alone without upsetting the fragile balance of humanity. For feminism to go forward, therefore, it needs a more realistic and balanced approach to build support.


About Louise Burfitt-Dons

Writer and social critic
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