Phuck Pheminism

by Sunni Maravillosa

Okay, that's it. No more Ms. Nice Girl. I'm even beyond Ms. Nice Grrl. Call it PMS, call it a bad hair day, call it whatever you want, the gloves are coming off, baby. This bad idea is going down in one round.

I am not a feminist. Don't call me one, even in jest, don't come to me looking for "the feminist perspective" on any issue, and don't, if you value your life, ask me to tell you about the "softer side" of libertarianism. My soft side is loading up some 00 buckshot in my shotgun -- to give you an idea of my feelings on this subject.

Why am I going postal on feminism? My frustration -- as so many things seem to be -- is borne of good intentions, namely, those who have written to me regarding my taking over the editorial duties for FM News, Free-Market.Net's twice-a-month newsletter on events and items of interest in the pro-freedom world. It started before that, though, when I first began attracting attention in the freedom movement, because of my being a female. It's getting to where I feel like a talking pony -- an oddity that people are interested in primarily because it's different.

When I've been invited to appear on the radio, or asked to participate in events, the hosts have sometimes said things about having women's issues addressed or represented.  Well-meaning individuals congratulated me for my coup-that-wasn't (it's a running joke) at FMN, and some commented that they're looking forward to seeing a feminist or "female" perspective. It ain't gonna happen. Not from me, at least.

No, I've no sordid sex secrets that are about to be revealed -- I am indeed a female, XX, through and through. And while several men of my acquaintance assure me that I do have "nice female attributes" (which I don't think they mean as a euphemism for, er, certain body parts), most would agree that my take on issues is not a typically female one. And, even more heretical to the talking pony crowd, I'm not particularly interested in what are usually thought of as "women's issues".

If you're thinking something like, "Ohhhh -- Sunni is an individualist feminist, not one of the other types," you'd be wrong again. I am not a feminist.

I simply don't think of myself in terms of categories like that -- and haven't for decades. When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to define/describe myself. I ultimately decided that the only group membership I wanted to claim was human. My sex is a predetermined (in the sense that it was fixed before I had self-awareness) aspect of my personhood; my skin color and ethnic heritage, similarly fixed: those things didn't define me. They still don't. Other things, like nationality and religion, matter even less. If I had had a label for what I determined about myself that day, I would have called myself an individualist. It remains one of the few labels I wear comfortably.

I don't consider myself a feminist -- or an individualist-feminist -- because I don't think the designations are helpful in advancing freedom. Call me a purist, but I just don't see how wrapping some ideas in a certain group's cloth -- whether it be by sex, race, culture, or religion -- convinces nonlibertarians that we are really about freedom for all.

Consider child support as one example. While men have been especially brutalized by child support laws that steal both their children and their money, it happens to women as well. It hurts everyone involved -- due in no small part to the inherently adversarial nature of the U.S. justice system through which most divorces and dissolutions are funneled. It's equal-opportunity pain. To cast such issues as feminist or men's rights issues ignores that fact. Doing so can also allow mainstream individuals to think -- rightly or wrongly -- that the freedom movement is full of fighting factions, just as the mainstream is. After all, if you're for true freedom, it wouldn't be just for a select group, right?

That brings me to my other gripe. What, exactly, is the "female" perspective? And how could any one woman possibly speak to all the issues it might encompass? Does any rational being really think that a single, childfree, metropolitan-dwelling career woman and a rural, stay-at-home mother share a large number of important concerns and issues? I'm a woman who has children and stepchildren, works full-time, and is a stay-at-home mother and homeschooler. I frankly don't care about daycare issues, workplace equality, or equal wages issues. Getting more women into elected office is similarly uninspiring to me. I just want to do my job as best I can, and enjoy the rest of my time with my family and in pursuits that interest me. To claim some issues or ideas as women's, or men's, or blacks', or Christians' issues implies that they are necessarily of interest to all members of that group. It just ain't so. Being a female doesn't automatically confer me with insights into what women think about or want.

In fact, being a libfemme, I daresay I'm fairly far out on the statistical curve as far as typical females go. My "female perspective" is strictly my perspective. So don't look to me for leadership, inspiration, or insights on feminism, or the "female" view. With libfemmes as diverse as Claire Wolfe and Debra Ricketts, Karen Kwiatkowski, Cat Farmer, Wendy McElroy, Karen Michalson, Mimi R. Gladstein, Katherine Albrecht, and Mary Ruwart, who could possibly speak to meaningfully represent them all? I'm a female, yes, but with my own view.

And if there happens to be an ancap - lefthanded - gunloving - Scandinavian - atheist - baker - rocker - outdoorsy - workingmom - femme group out there, well, I wouldn't even presume to speak for it. I'm an individualist, after all. I'd be happy to tell you my view, though -- and without the 00 buckshot.

published at Endervidualism on  3/12/04

Sunni Maravillosa has a web site with a great blog and many other features, visit it at - http://www.sunnimaravillosa.com/