Thursday, January 24, 2008

Separatist Feminism

By: Caroline

Separatist feminism is a very controversial issue that is constantly a disputed subject even within the feminist movement. Separatist feminism is a stream of feminism that is against heterosexual relationships of any kind. They believe that the political and sexual inequalities between men and women cannot be resolved. Separatist feminists basically feel that males do not make any positive contributions to the feminist movement and even men that mean well, still replicate the dynamics of patriarchy. These women focus on directing their energies and allegiances towards other women. Such activites include working with other women towards political and social goals, choosing living and family arrangements that are female-only, and avoiding hiring or working for and with men. In order to escape, what they see the world as, a patriarchal society, these women choose to live in celibacy or lesbian relationships. Some women believe in a permament separation from the male species, while others use it as a "first step" personal growth period. They believe separtating from men allows women to see themselves in a different context. Although, not all separatist feminists believe in a complete avoidance of men, they still refuse to be a part of all male-dominated institutions.

Lesbian Separatism is a form separatist feminism that may include queer nationalism and political lesbianism. However there is also Lesbian feminism which simply emphasizes the bonding with other women while separatist feminism works to remove all bonds with men. It is not accurate to consider all lesbians as separatists simply because they do no interact with men on a sexual level. And vice versa, it is not correct to call all separatists, lesbians. Also, separatist feminism is sometimes overlapped with cultural feminism because they see women as superior to men and better than them; however, they still work to improve relationships between men and women.

Only a small number of women inside the movement even defend separatism. Bell Hooks agrues that "the beliefs of separatists run counter to the many of the original goals of feminism, and instead of seeking to create equality, they attempt to establish a female-centric and female-dominated society in which men are subjugated and misandry is brought into the mainstream." Other feminists, along with Hooks, feel that separatist feminism goes against the whole point of the feminist movement which works to create equality and end sexism. On the other end of the spectrum, extremist separatist feminists desire the total destruction of the male species through murder and abortion. Valerie Solanas started the SCUM Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men) in hopes to create a complete all-female society. She was also indicted for attempted murder of three men and spent time in a mental institution. Men's rights activists have compared extreme separatist attitudes and their hate speech towards men to those taken by Nazis towards the Jews.

This type of feminism sort of shocks me and it is hard for me to understand how women, who usually consider themselves kinder and gentler humans, can have such a deep hate for other people. Especially when it is impossible to produce more females without the assistance of a male. I completely disagree with all aspects of separatist feminism. I do not consider myself a feminist but I do agree with some ideas of the feminist movement and separatist feminism goes against many of those. Equality is very important; if women are trying to rid of a male-dominated society, then attempting to create a female-dominated society would be unfair.

http://www.sapphireblue.com/dissidentfeminist/factions.shtml
http://wikipedia.org/wiki/SeparatistFeminism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCUM_Manifesto
Contested Countryside Cultures: Otherness, Marginalisation, and Rurality by: Paul Cloke and Jo Little. Pg 109-112

By: Caroline

4 comments:

Jennifer Kash said...

Thanks for summing it up so nicely. I COMPLETELY agree with you. I see so much hatefulness in these separatist attitudes. This philosophy is rife with arrogance, condescension, hypocrisy, trans-phobia, man-phobia, bigotry, you name it. It sickens me...

Jennifer Kash said...

(and yes, I realize I'm coming to this post several years after the fact - but I'm just now being exposed to these ideas, and I'm so horrified by them that I have become a tad obsessed...)

Leslie Lim said...


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Jorcel
www.imarksweb.org

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