Hey kids, remember feminism? Remember when people made YouTube careers out of dumping on psychotic cat-molesting behemoths with green hair? What happened to those times? They were fun.
Intersectionality is bunk. It’s not difficult to see why this bunkum is attractive to certain folk as intersectionality claims to be all things to all people- so long as you manage to obey the rules (made up on the spot by the person with the most oppression in the room in which you are standing) and remember to checketh thy privilege every 5 minutes or so. It should be no surprise then, that the formal arguments against being a feminist have already been won.
“The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.” ~ Kimberlé Crenshaw
As a concept that was brought about to give more of a voice to non-white feminists within feminism itself, intersectionality would normally be beneath my level of interest. After all, why would anyone care about the internal politics of a hate group? It does not matter who is under the hood, the external expression of the ideology is all that we can tackle. We can unmask a thousand Grand Dragons, but the ideas of the KKK would remain.
Yet intersectionality is part of an expansionist and fundamentally neo-Marxist movement that applies itself to the totality of human existence. Whereas feminism for many decades was primarily about women having more rights under a capitalist system (equal pay, equal right to work, the right to vote, and so on) modern intersectional feminism is without doubt utterly Marxist in principle. There is no aspect of our lives that the intersectionalist will not view through a Marxist lens of overlapping oppressions- and I say this not as a particularly anti-Marxist writer. Marx in my view had his critique of class-based capitalism close to the mark; it just so happens that every solution his acolytes posed ends with millions dead.
The intersectionalist expands this concept into viewing an individual as being subject to a multitude of privileges and oppressions, based on arbitrary characteristics about identity, not just social or economic class.
The quest for a society that provides equality of opportunity is one that most people can agree upon to be, if not entirely good, at least not evil incarnate. It is logical to us that talent and hard work is rewarded. It also is clear to most people that being prejudiced against someone because of characteristics that are outside of their control is wrong. You may be an idiot and a man at the same time; you can also be a gay, Black, disabled woman and be a racist- this is self-evidently true. Unless you are intersectionally aware which means that the merest perception of power imbalance results in a world where Black people can’t 'hate' Asians for being Asian, and where homophobia is contingent on the power dynamics of the people involved. It gets frightfully complicated.
This is also why I believe Feminism Inc. could never declare victory. As a unified force it was unattractive, hairy-armed and butch. It attracted minds which were similarly hairy; and most people eschew hairy minds and hairy women. As intersectionalists though, feminists fight themselves. Without an enemy to overthrow, in the same way that Trotsky viewed the future of communism to be a permanent revolution, the shark stops swimming, sinks, and dies. Where equal rights for women, homosexuals, and ethnic minorities have been achieved, the focus must change to social engineering and that had to begin with feminism itself- and feminists, of course. First the budding cultist must accept that they are a sinner, and salvation is through the eye of a needle. Where language becomes policed, the liberal democracies that provide the framework within which intersectionality can take place are themselves eaten away. As intersectionality eats us, it also eats itself and claims to be dining on fine fare. The result will be an ill-defined mockery of feminist thought, just coherent enough to be manipulated by those with the power to shape narratives- it will be a tool of oppression, if you will.
We see here Franchesca Ramsey claiming that intersectionality has in fact expanded free speech by adding words to the dictionary “in an effort to promote more inclusive and respectful speech.” This is of course, utter nonsense. Adding words to a dictionary does not increase freedom of speech. The ability to use speech to put forward ideas no matter how unpalatable others find them does that. Inclusivity and respectfulness may not be mandated in a society that wishes to remain free.
It is this utter failing to understand the concept of free expression that is the cannibal heart of intersectionality. We see examples of intersectional groups consuming themselves in the crucible of their ideology (most recently the furore around Farrakhan and Tamika Mallory, vis a vis anti-semitism), and it is both deliciously ironic and disturbingly self-flagellatory. Though the dramatis personae need only knuckle down and wait for the storm to pass, real-world feminists -if such a thing can be said to still exist- must perform feats of mental gymnastics to maintain an internal logic. The permanent revolution in action, folks. This must surely be maddening for them, but the point is to gestate a new, universalist ideology.
The problem with ideologies is that they are often easy. When we adopt an ideology, we close ourselves to certain ideas that are dubbed heretical by the ideology we have adopted. Surely a superior way to consider information is to allow it to be expressed and judged on the merit of the idea itself; not the identity of the speaker, nor the particular ideological leanings of the speaker. In the same way, the Christian Right once attempted to legislate against social ills that were thought to corrupt the morality of the people (Dungeons and Dragons and Judas Priest, those miscreants). Now the Authoritarian Left wishes to legislate against people who do not wish for the legislation of concepts- and so; hate speech legislation is being road-tested in many Western nations.
If an idea, whether written or spoken, is truly so abhorrent that it is self-evidently terrible, it will be easy for any person with a grasp of reason to see that it is nonsense. Exposure to ‘bad’ ideas is just as important as exposure to ‘good’ ideas; this is how we form our identities, our mental structures of thought. Censorship of an idea merely creates a taboo, which can easily become a sigil. Censorship, no-platforming and the belief that one’s identity is relevant to the quality of your ideas are all tactics of intersectional feminism deployed to silence those who would critique the ideology.
“There is a paradox in the idea of transformation. If a transformation is deep-seated enough, it might also transform the very criteria by which we could identify it, thus making it unintelligible to us. But if it is intelligible, it might be because the transformation was not radical enough. If we can talk about the change then it is not full-blooded enough; but if it is full-blooded enough, it threatens to fall outside our comprehension. Change must presuppose continuity - a subject to whom the alteration occurs - if we are not to be left merely with two incommensurable states; but how can such continuity be compatible with revolutionary upheaval?” -Slavoj Žižek
So it is with intersectionality, and why you may see the phrase Feminism is Cancer still floating around social media. It appears to me that we have progressed beyond the stage of cancer, and into cannibalism. When we saw the frankly baffling development of the American Humanist Society deciding to adopt an intersectional approach including subdivisions for LGBTQ, Black, and Feminist interests, that was cancer, metastasizing, growing uncontrollably. When we see these subdivisions inevitably turn upon themselves in a feeding frenzy of scandal, this is cannibalism. The feeling I have while writing this article that it is a eulogy -rather than a blow in some meta-culture war- tells me that we are rapidly leaving feminism behind. I don't know if that is a good thing, or if it is in fact a signal that Western civilization itself is accelerating towards a precipice of far greater, more existential questions.
Is the quick disappearance of Anita Sarkeesian and her pompadour nightmare-mirror Milo Yiannopoulos into the annals of history such a good thing, I wonder. The quality of dialogue between the feminists and anti-feminists may have been redundant, asinine, and weak; barely rising above playground insults for the majority of the time, but it was a whole lot more advanced than beating the crap out of people in the street for holding the "wrong" opinions. Did ersatz feminism get rolled up into Antifa as a direct response to the election of Donald Trump? What if that golden year of 2016 wasn't such a great win, but rather a catalyst for a new form of evil in which the masks have come off at last?
Diversity Inc. is a racket that failed to elect their chosen President, but that just means a new set of tactics come into play. The age of memetic warfare has only just begun.