Thoughts Of A Feminist Gamer. The Choice Not To Choose Choice Feminism

Feminism as a word and a movement has always had a primary meaning and purpose, to advocate for women’s rights in order to secure equality of the sexes. However not everyone is aware that Feminism has a many subsets, such as Gender Feminism, Radical Feminism, Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism and Choice Feminism. These subsets all have the same goal as Feminism but that goal is filtered through, and skewed in favour of, a particular perspective or philosophy. Choice Feminism is a Feminism that advocates the idea that women are empowered and liberated through their ability to make choices for themselves and that men and women should have equal freedom of choice. I am a Choice Feminist.

womanyouwanttobe

It’s come to my attention that Choice Feminism is an unpopular Feminism among today’s Feminist media, a media which is mainly populated with Gender Feminists. Gender Feminist writers are writing articles that criticise Choice Feminism as damaging to the wider Feminist movement, saying that Choice Feminism does not address what they regard as the inherently unfair conditions and constraints upon women created by the Patriarchy, what they believe are the male created and dominated systems that control every aspect of our society. Recently Choice Feminism has been criticised in this article, written by Meagan Tyler to promote the book she co-edited Freedom Fallacy: The limits of liberal feminism and this article from The Guardian written by Finn Mackay.

feminismchoice“In privileging individual choice above all else, it doesn’t challenge the status quo.

It doesn’t demand significant social change, and it effectively undermines calls for collective action. Basically, it asks nothing of you and delivers nothing in return.
Instead of resistance, we now have activities that were once held up as archetypes of women’s subordinate status being presented as liberating personal choices. Sexual harassment has been reframed as harmless banter that women can enjoy. Marriage is reconstructed as a pro-feminist love-in.
Labiaplasty is seen as helpful cosmetic enhancement. Pornography is rebranded as sexual emancipation. Objectification is the new empowerment.”
This article has been highly lauded by Gender Feminists such as Anita Sarkeesian.
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 ” There is an attempt, unfortunately fairly successful, to reduce feminism to simply being the right for women to make choices. Not choices about whether to stand for parliament, or instigate pay transparency in the office or lead an unemployed worker’s union, or form a women-only consciousness-raising group in their town; far from it. 
Instead, there are choices about what amount of makeup to wear, whether to go “natural” or try mascara that makes your eyelashes look like false eyelashes, or what diet drink to buy, or whether or not to make the first move with a man – or other such modern and edgy decisions of the sort which face the feisty, sassy, pull-no-punches liberated woman of today. Excuse me while I am sick.”
          First things first, they are right, Feminism is not about personal choice. What Feminism is about is equality of the sexes, that is women and men having the same rights and level of opportunity, and liberation.
                       Both of the writers of these articles talk about how Choice Feminism, while encouraging women to make free choices, does not address what they regard as the patriarchal constraints that affect those choices. I have news for them, the view that the world is ruled by systems of patriarchal oppression that keep women at a disadvantage is just that, a view. This is not a fact, not a scientific hypothesis, it is a perspective. As such it is not shared by everyone. Patriarchy has become a kind of archenemy for Gender Feminism, an evil upon which seemingly every single thing they perceive as wrong in society can be blamed. Hence this idea that women can only make choices but only within the constraints of that villainous patriarchal framework.
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                               Rare photo of the evil supervillain known as “Patriarchy”
                      However what this seems to forget is that men also have constraints upon their choices. Most men have no choice but to work for a living rather than chase a dream or pursue a hobby, exactly the same as women. It is a myth that men have all choice in the world while women’s choices are limited, unless a man has the wealth to pursue his every whim the chances are his choices are also constrained Why? Because life is unfair, not just for for women but for EVERYONE. Some will try to tell me that this is because Patriarchy is bad for men too but if this is the case then it is not a system of male dominated systems lording it over women but rather the imbalances in life that we all face, some will always have more than others and they are not always men. Yes, as a caring society I believe it is right that we do all that we can to right wrongs, fix imbalances and remove injustice but to constantly lay blame upon the evil Patriarchy monster diverts attention away from other, more measurable issues, such as education, economics and distribution of wealth/resources. However you spin Patriarchy a wealthy woman will ALWAYS have infinitely more options than a homeless man.
                  Which brings me to my next point, both articles talk about how collective action is necessary in order to bring about the collective liberation of women. However women are not a collective, we are individuals. There is no collective, shared experience of womanhood, every woman’s needs and perspectives are different. This is equally true for men and to complain that men are well represented because “Westminster politics, for example, is nearly 80% male, and overwhelmingly white…” is disingenuous to say the least. What does the privately educated, born wealthy, career politician have in common with the 20 something young male in a hoodie that works on a building site? Not much apart from being male and maybe white.To make an issue as complex as representation as simple as “male” or “female” or “white” is blatant dishonesty. A 50/50 gender equal government would not somehow magically mean that every male or female perspective is represented.  A single man cannot speak for all men and a single woman cannot speak for all women. I find this idea that Choice Feminism is bad because women must always consider the wider implications of their choices for other women to be quite disturbing. Why? Well really it goes back to the definition of liberation from above.
LIBERATION, that is FREEDOM FROM LIMIT ON THOUGHT OR BEHAVIOUR.
                           Men are not expected to curtail their choices any more than the expected social standard of basic courtesy and consideration for others because they are somehow liable for their collective gender. Why should women be? To say to women that they have the responsibility for the advancement of the entirety of their gender while men do not is not equality. Frankly it just seems to be a way of legitimising the bullying of individual women when they are perceived by the Gender Feminist Hive Mind to have made the wrong choice or disobeyed the collective.
collective                                           The Gender Feminist Hive Mind
                                                     “Resistance Is Futile”
                          To devalue individual choice and make every woman responsible for the collective of ‘Womanhood’ beyond the understanding that our actions have consequences for others is in essence Gender Feminists saying
“Stop letting men tell you what to do! That’s Patriarchy! We need to be the ones to tell you what to do for the good of all womankind!”
                                   This is an idea I cannot get behind. I am a woman but I am also many other things, I am a wife, a mother, and I am an individual. Don’t expect me to do what I’m told for the betterment of my gender and then tell me that makes me liberated. Don’t tell me that because I want to make choices for myself without being condemned as a gender traitor heretic that I have ‘internalised misogyny’ and that I should educate i.e indoctrinate myself to your point of view. You can hand me a piece of shit topped with cheese in a sesame seed bun all you like but I still don’t have to taste it to know it’s not a cheeseburger. Many that came before me, not just women but men as well, fought hard and died for the right to make their own choices. The ideals of liberation and freedom are ones that are held to be sacred by all of humanity. We are talking the salvation not just of one gender but of anyone unable to choose how to live their own life. No, Feminism is not about choice, it’s about freedom.
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8 thoughts on “Thoughts Of A Feminist Gamer. The Choice Not To Choose Choice Feminism

  1. I agreed with most of it, but this part struck me as very defeatist
    “It is a myth that men have all choice in the world while women’s choices are limited, unless a man has the wealth to pursue his every whim the chances are his choices are also constrained Why? Because life is unfair, not just for for women but for EVERYONE.”
    Whilst I much prefer that to the loss of individualism based on what key figures deem is for best of the collective, it just seems very resigned, (even if that is admittedly how the world works.)

    As an aside, whilst Westminster is different I’ve never understood wanting characters to represent you in games, it may be because my favourite characters have always been a rabbit, a breegull, and an orangutan, or that when I hear people talk about identifying with a character it just reminds me of this Mitchell and Webb look sketch:

    But I’m probably missing something here, and whilst it’s not important to me, that doesn’t mean it’s not important to others. I’ve just never been able to understand why that is.

    1. We’re all adults here, we’re under no illusions. It isn’t defeatist to say the world is unfair when it is true. It would be defeatist if I’d said it isn’t worth trying to change anything or right any wrongs because it doesn’t make a difference to whether or not the world is unfair and I didn’t say that, I said I believe it’s important to try to make things more fair. However I am a realist and I believe in telling it like it is, the world is not a fair place. One of the most admirable traits of our species is how hard we try to overcome the world’s unfairness and rise above our difficulties. If I may borrow a speech from Rocky Balboa

      “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”

  2. God I really hate radfems, it’s utterly disappointing that they make up about most of the cause now but anyway, the whole “we must do what is good for the group and not the individual” thing is how dictatorships start, the problem with this Tumblr breed of feminism is that they are trying to take away a woman’s right to choose and say no, just look at all the actresses that say no to feminism….they are hounded, called gender traitors all for choosing.

    I am happy someone else sees the creepy 1984 esqe control and the whole hive mind thing, feminism WAS about helping women but this new dictatorship like brand of feminism is trying to control women and conform them, trying to take away what proper feminists gave them and turn them into victims of society when they aren’t.

    It used to be letting women have freedom to do what they want; want to stay home and raise a family….they could do that and not be branded a traitor to the sisterhood, want to make about 5k an hour doing page 3 they could do that but now it’s women and of course the self loathing hipster men telling women how to feel, how to act and more importantly….what to think and that is when you know a noble cause has been reduced to nothing more than a cult that will spit venom at those who don’t tow the party line and be a good little drone :/

  3. I sometimes wonder that a good bit of modern feminism isn’t really about the meta-politics of enforced conformity, i.e. the imposition of a political fashion. “Patriarchy”, “rape culture” (in the developed world), “male privilege”, and a host of other feminist hobgoblins populate the cosmology of modern feminism; all are unempirical, and in the case of “rape culture”, actively anti-empirical.

    A good piece. Should be adding this blog to my sidebar soon.

  4. I’m glad I found that someone thinks like I do. Feminists in general are criticised by the issue of censorship or shaming, but it should be about what you said – freedom after all. Freedom of choose what you want to do, and face your problems in your way.

    No one all over the Internet has written your opinion. Thank you for make me believe in feminism again. As it should be.

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