Feminism is described by Merriam-Webster as “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” The first wave of the feminist movement was born in the late 1800s and early 1900s when women began to protest for suffrage, property rights and other basic freedoms. By the 1960s, the focus turned to social issues facing women like access to contraceptive pills and abortion. As the movement progressed, it took on issues such as equal pay, cultural stereotypes, domestic violence, sexual assault, and the specific challenges faced by women of color. As feminism continues to evolve, some argue it has morphed into a gender supremacy movement, one that assumes female superiority and seeks to dominate, control and subjugate men.
The following are some of the arguments for and against the Motion that modern feminism has become a supremacy movement:
For the Motion: Feminism has become a tribal movement that exists to promote the group’s interests against other groups, e.g., men. To this end, tribal feminism has laid out specific beliefs — for instance, that everywhere you look there is constant oppression from the patriarchy and the only differences between men and women are figments of our cultural imagination, not based on biology or science. Questioning these beliefs may very well jeopardize one’s job, career, reputation, and relationships. Modern feminism employs exaggeration and the threat of righteous retribution to advance its agenda, which has become less about equal rights than the urge to power hiding behind a mask of victimhood.
Against the Motion: Modern feminists may occasionally use different tactics than previous generations but the overarching goals of the feminist movement remain the same. Those goals have nothing to do with promoting female superiority or domination. As Emma Watson put it at the UN, “Feminism is a movement to establish equal economical, social, political rights for women. Feminism is for men and women. Feminists fight to close the wage gap. Feminists want women to feel safe against harassment and domestic violence.” It’s that’s simple: not a power grab but a fight for equality.
So what do you think? Has feminism morphed into a superiority movement that uses the threat of public shaming and exclusion to muffle criticism and put men “in their place”? Or is this idea patently absurd, an example of backlash against effective feminist campaigns for equality and against male domination and sexual abuse?
Join us at the next SFDebate to explore and debate these and other questions. Note that $5 will be charged at the door for all attendees (to offset room rental costs).