Friday, October 06, 2006

Pluralism Among The Survival Set

Twisty of the well-known "I Blame The Patriarchy" blog remarks on women who defend their enjoyment of certain patriarchal trappings (think Carleton's "Feminists for the use of mascara" group):
[P]atriarchy, though ubiquitous, is largely invisible. Women are understandably reluctant to concede that their deep attachment to the trappings of patriarchy (marriage, femininity, gender, fashion, porn, religion, beauty, the nuclear family, pink tool kits, et al) is not the manifestation of empowered personal autonomy, but rather a survival skill.

There's something to this, but I'd modify it to say that it is very difficult to disentangle a genuine preference from a "survival skill" in a world as bound up in patriarchy as this one. I'd unwilling to simply assert that these preferences are (period, stop) the result of patriarchy. Counterfactuals are tough, and people are idiosynchratic. I'm skeptical of folks who think they have The Answers when it comes to why people choose the way they do, especially when it comes down to structurally deterministic factors. This isn't to say that Twisty's point is wholly without merit--I have no doubt that women subsume the impact of patriarchal structure on their decisions for precisely the reasons Twisty says they do. I'm just not willing to say that represents the whole story for the whole gender.

Via Feministe

1 comment:

Trickish Knave said...

I have a hard time taking anything for face value on Feministe. They paint such a dreary picture ie. women are 'trapped' into marriage.

I read your entry a few posts down where you quote a blogger who says that the abuse from men is terrorism, that women have no nation, no police force, etc. I think that is a bit melodramatic, not to desesnsitize their feelings, nor mine, on abuse.

The last line of your post rings true for just about everything.