Sunday, July 1, 2007

Separatist Feminism

1) Separatist feminism is defined as feminism with absolutely no heterosexual relationships. Separatist feminists believe that men cannot make any positive contribution to the feminist movement as the sexual disparities between men and women are unsolvable. They believe that even the most well intentioned men replicate the dynamics of a patriarchal society. They often refuse to hire or work for men, and their living and family arrangements tend to be female only. Because of this, Separatist feminism is often confused with lesbian feminism. Many separatist feminists choose either celibacy or lesbiansim, but this by no means makes all separatists lesbians. Marilyn Frye, a philosophy professor and feminist theorist, defined separatist feminism as a "seperation of various sorts or modes from men and from institutions, relationships, roles, and activities that are male-defined, male-dominated, and operating for the benefit of males and the maintainance for male priviledge -- this seperation being initiated or maintained, at will, by women."
There is a lot of controversy surrounding separatist feminism. bell hooks feels that the beliefs of separatist feminists counter the original goals of feminism, the main one being equality between men and women. Instead of promoting equality, separatists wish to establish female-centric and female-dominated societies. Extremist seperatists predict the attrition of men by process of evolution, murder, and abortion.

2) I certainly don't agree with the main tenets of separatist feminism. First of all, I'm married, and those two certainly don't mesh at all. Separatist feminism pressures women to be lesbians, whether they are actually attracted to women or not. I don't feel that creating a female-dominated society (or eliminating the male of the species entirely) would make the world any better of a place than it is now. It's simply trading one extreme for another.

3) Resources:

~Samantha Powers~

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