Conservative feminists are often referred to as anti-feminist feminists. To define this more accurately, this is conservative with a small ‘c’. In other words, in my book, you can be a `conservative feminist’ and not belong to any particular political party. On the other hand if you are a Conservative (with a big C) and a self-proclaimed feminist, you are more likely to hold these views. For more on this
Recently Camille Paglia author of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson and university professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia was interviewed by Ella Whelan of Spiked Online about her stance on contemporary female politics. A hard hitting and frank exchange, it was refreshing to hear from someone who is not only in the centre of the US academic world (where usually egalitarian, hardliner theorists hang out) but also was active in the femi-political sense back in the 1960s. She had personal interactions with many of the protagonists of the US women’s movement at that time.
In this piece she describes the feminist crusader Andrea Dworkin, who was the one responsible for the much used quote ‘All men are rapists’ as ‘a rabid fanatic, a self-destructive woman so consumed by her hatred of men that she tottered on the edge of psychosis’.
She is also no less scathing about the highly influential Gloria Steinem, who was unmarried until she was 66, and the fact that, probably as a result, ‘Stay-at-home moms have been arrogantly disdained by orthodox feminism’.
There are several issues with which I agree with Dr Paglia’s point of view in this article, namely that:
- Feminism is undergoing resurgence.
- Today’s feminists have become fixated on political correctness.
- Today’s women seem to have lost the ability to ‘assert control over their own dating lives’ by demanding all manner of bans and regulations on male behaviour.
- The likelihood that egalitarians like Gloria Steinem and Andrea Dworkin sowed the seed of this current trend towards censorship.
- Sex is something that cannot be reduced to verbal formulas only.
- Feminism today has become too obsessed with the minutiae
- That contemporary movements today must embrace the problems faced by women who want both children and a job.