Posted by: captainfalcon | January 3, 2012

Robin, Conservatism and “Individualist Feminism”

One of Corey Robin’s claims, which I reviewed in this post from a long time ago, is that conservatives co-opt the language of the left to pursue their counterrevolutionary program. As Robin puts it: “[T]he reactionary imperative presses conservatism in two rather different directions: first, to a critique and reconfiguration of the old regime; second to an absorption of the ideas and tactics of the very revolution it opposes. [Conservatism aims for] a new old regime…that brings the energy and dynamism of the street to the antique inequalities of the dilapidated estate.”

I’m agnostic about Robin’s account of conservatism (largely because I’ve been chastened by his blogspheric exhortations to read conservatives, deeply, before characterizing their politics), but it does fit some rightwing tactics to a Tea.

Individualist feminism” is an example. It defines itself in opposition to the “socialist” or “radical” feminism (what we know as: feminism) to which it is a reaction (although, as a matter of tactical course, it claims to be the original).

Substantively, it has a dream that one day women will be free to stand on their rights, as the moral equals of men, and demand to be prostitutes and homemakers. (Example: “Ifeminists believe that freedom and diversity benefit women, whether or not the choices that particular women make are politically correct. They respect all sexual choices, from motherhood to porn.”)   Individualist feminism also likes to re-imagine a woman’s getting harassed in the workplace as her enjoying the fruits of sexual liberation. (From the same source: “[What’s our take on] [v]erbal sexual harassment? If women want an equal right to explore their own sexuality, they risk encountering the offensive sexual attitudes of others.”)

Other times, it just deploys the rightwing tactic Robin identifies really, really badly: “If possible, [socialist feminists] use the state—even the patriarchal state, the nemesis of women—to enforce their version of a just society.” What, if not an opportunistic kludge of feminist terminology and a rightwing bugbear, is the “patriarchal state”?



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