Feminism: What is the end game? | Michael Hall
Feminism, is it good or bad? Well to be honest, it isn’t that important anymore. The fact is that Feminism is here to stay. So, the question that may be more appropriate is what is its end game? What is the point that many feminists are trying to reach and, more importantly, will they ever get there?
In this article, I do not want to go into the history of feminism, e.g. its socialist beginnings as discussed by Elizabeth Hobson at Cambridge University in 2019. In her presentation, Hobson brings to light the roots of feminist ideology and its deep connections to socialist ideals that are very similar to those expressed by Karl Marx. I do not even want to delve into the fundamental ideology that makes up the most pragmatic parts of the feminist movement. I really do not want to make assumptions about what makes a feminist, or even try to understand where feminism is needed and why. What I do want to explore is the deeper and possibly darker question of what is it that the feminist ideology really wants.
To do this, we might want to simplify the idea itself. Hopefully, from there, we can come to some conclusion as to what awaits society once we reach this utopian point that is the mantra of feminists worldwide. To simply state their point, they want equity; this was once considered fairness in treatment, but todays the emphasis is on outcomes. They want to have exactly the same outcomes that men are assumed to be given, failing to realise that successful outcomes are not due to a system that automatically allocates success based on gender. Success is made possible for men and women alike through the mechanisms of hard work, accountability, sacrifice and commitment; commitment especially to things that are more important to themselves.
This distinction between equality and equity is important. It may be subtle, but its implications have a huge impact on how we interact with each other. It is also easy to demand equity for things that are beneficial, but what about those things that are not so good? Is there a demand for fairness in treatment there? What about outcome?
Now all this may sound misogynistic, especially considering the culture we live in, but it is far from a hatred or even dislike of woman that this idea comes. We should make clear what the ideal of feminism is about so we can hopefully simplify its premise. This ideal is that we are all equal, both men and woman, and that we are all deserving of the same opportunities for success. Seems like a pretty simple premise, with the two parts describing the beginning and the end. We should understand what is equality, the first part of the premise, before we might consider the second part, what is success.
So, let’s define success as broadly as possible. The ideal for each individual is obviously going to vary greatly. But, with the broadest stroke possible, we can say that for any individual success can be defined as having lived a life that has the fullness of experiences individually expressed through their own authentic self. We seek to leave some kind of legacy at the end, whether that be through an ever lasting imprint on society or by having the chance to leave that imprint biologically through offspring or the offspring of our closest relatives (siblings). In short, success is simply to live the best life possible as a productive member of society.
This definition seems simple enough, but it has implications that mean a lot. It implies that you must live, but it does not say how or why. It also implies that you should leave something worthwhile behind. Again, it doesn’t say how, or why. The how can mean a multitude of things, but the why leads us to something that is bigger than ourselves. The why for living our lives is so that we can leave a legacy. I believe this is the purpose of our existence, and whether we want to admit it or not, that is pretty much as simple as it gets. The legacy is our purpose, or as Plato argued it is immortality that we are seeking, through our children or through fame.
So, we now have our starting point and a measure by which we can look at the ideology of feminism, not only in the past, but also in the future. We can also use this simple measure for every person on the planet no matter where they live or what resources they have available to them.
Historically, feminism was considered a necessary idea. It came forth not that long ago in the developing world of a modernising Western culture. From the beginning, it sought to address the needs of women in our society, as they were seen in many instances left carrying a larger burden of the societal stresses because a large part of societies legacy was firmly planted at their feet. They were the most important part of our society because they and they alone could bring into the world the children that would make up the future to come.
Surprisingly, the right to vote is a fairly recent development in western society and in its beginnings had many caveats in place based on land ownership.
You would think that would be the end of the fight for women – women needed a voice and the right to exercise that voice. However, it didn’t stop there. As we now know, we have had many decades of feminism and feminists exercising that first given right to its fullest extent. In protest, in song and at work women have spent all the last number of decades expressing themselves at every possible opportunity.
We have given every woman in Western society not only a platform for her to air her grievances, but have listened and acted on nearly every single one of them without a single thought to that one nagging question. Given how far we have come, when is enough, enough? Or, as I stated earlier, what is the feminists’ movements end game?
Today, we all have the right to vote, to dress as we please, to act willingly and consciously of our own free will. We all have the right to choose where we work, who we marry and the right to choose when to divorce. We have the right to our own success, no matter what that entails, and we have the right to either make that happen or not. So far there is not one single right that is afforded a man in our Western society that is not afforded a woman. If there was, we would have seen or heard from it in a multitude of ways, least of all through the systems we have put in place to stop any if not all forms of sexism. This has left modern woman with one problem: absolute freedom. But with freedom comes great responsibility. With freedom we must be accountable to our choices.
So, if they are equal and have the opportunity to have success, no matter what that is, then why does the feminist movement still exist, and why aren’t woman happy with all these rights that they have and more?
This brings me to ask the question again. What is the end game? What is it that the feminist movement wants? It reminds me of the scene in the movie “The Notebook”. We all know that scene, where the protagonist asks the leading lady, “What do you want” and repeats himself again and again, and her reply, as we know, is no answer.
This seems to be exactly what is happening now and the reason we cannot get an answer is that they either have no idea what they really want, that all this is for some ideal that they are clearly unsure about and haven’t given it any thought. Alternatively, a darker, more sinister reality is at play. They know exactly what they are after and will not stop until they have achieved it. That may be why they use the word equity instead of equality.