I have noticed that when the F word gets mentioned, nuance often goes out the window, and people unfamiliar with feminism treat it as though it is a monolith, when it is nothing of the sort, and so, this thread is a celebration of a person who calls himself a feminist, Steven Pinker, giving Gender Feminism what some might call a scathing criticism.
Steven Pinker, who calls himself a feminist, writes of Gender Feminism:
"In embracing these doctrines, the gender [feminists] are handcuffing feminism to railroad tracks on which a train is bearing down.
Of course, Pinker first wants us to know exactly what his critisism of feminism isn't, and wants us to know he isn't throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
"FEMINISM IS OFTEN derided because of the arguments of its lunatic fringe—for example, that all intercourse is rape, that all women should be lesbians, or that only 10 percent of the population should be allowed to be male.
Feminists reply that proponents of women's rights do not speak with one voice, and that feminist thought comprises many positions, which have to
be evaluated independently. That is completely legitimate, but it cuts both ways. To criticize a particular feminist proposal is not to attack feminism in general."
"There is, in fact, no incompatibility between the principles of feminism and the possibility that men and women are not psychologically identical. To repeat: equality is not the empirical claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.
In the case of gender, the barely defeated Equal Rights Amendment put it succinctly: "Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex." If we recognize this principle, no one has to spin myths about the indistinguishability of the sexes to justify equality. Nor should anyone invoke sex differences to justify discriminatory policies or to hector women into doing what they don't want to do.
In any case, what we do know about the sexes does not call for any action that would penalize or constrain one sex or the other. Many psychological traits relevant to the public sphere, such as general intelligence, are the same on average for men and women, and virtually all psychological traits may be found in varying degrees among the members of each sex. No sex difference yet discovered applies to every last man compared with every last woman, so generalizations about a sex will always be untrue of many individuals. And notions like "proper role" and "natural place" are scientifically meaningless and give no grounds for restricting freedom.
After Pinker makes a defense of Equity Feminism, he goes on to make a thorough criticism of Gender Feminism.
"Despite these principles, many feminists vehemently attack research on sexuality and sex differences. The politics of gender is a major reason that the application of evolution, genetics, and neuroscience to the human mind is bitterly resisted in modern intellectual life."
"The difference between gender feminism and equity feminism accounts for the oft reported paradox that most women do not consider themselves feminists (about 70 percent in 1997, up from about 60 percent a decade before), yet they agree with every major feminist position. The explanation is simple: the word "feminist" is often associated with gender feminism, but the positions in the polls are those of equity feminism."
Steven Pinker's entire criticism of Gender Feminism can be found here: http://www.pasadena.edu/files/syllabi/txcave_18360.pdf
This is a chapter in his book called "The Blank Slate" : [ame="http://www.amazon.com/The-Blank-Slate-Modern-Denial/dp/1501264338"]The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature: Steven Pinker, Victor Bevine: 9781501264337: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51tKVmBy0TL.@@AMEPARAM@@51tKVmBy0TL[/ame]
Here is a video of Steven Pinker, feminist, debating and criticizing Gender Feminism for 2 hours.
Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind.
I hope at least one person will have come away from this discussion with an appreciation of the nuance within Feminism.