A few days ago, xoJane published an Unpopular Opinion saying that "Marriage will never be a feminist choice." I'm pretty sure it illustrates everything that is wrong with feminism, because I'm just about ready to give up on the whole damn thing.
Various things that are wrong with this piece:
- The part where the author conflates her personal experiences with patriarchy, with every woman's experience with patriarchy, and accuses anyone who says differently of just lying to themselves. I'm pretty sure that woman in the comments who said that her father sexually molested her as a child, so taking the name of the man who raped her is quite a bit more patriarchal than choosing to take the name of a man who treats her with love and respect. This thing that a lot of feminists do, where they universalize their experiences and then accuse anyone who say that's not their experience of just lying to themselves, instead of considering that they fucked up and erased tons of women's experiences? It's gross, and intellectually lazy. Why is this still a thing that's ok to do?
- The part where, apparently, lesbians are anti-feminist in their quest for marriage equality. God, lesbians, don't you realize that you fighting to be able to visit your ailing partner in the hospital stems only from your desire to suck the metaphorical cock?! This is what an intersectionality fail looks like. Super gross - and all the more so because the author has a masters in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. What the fuck kind of graduate-level GSWS program is letting people get degrees without ensuring that they grasp the most basic, rudimentary parts of intersectionality? I try to be patient with those who aren't as well-read on feminism, because I get that if you've read Full Frontal Feminism and How To Be A Woman and that's about it, you might not realize that there's a lot more complexity to how different women experience patriarchy. But that a woman with a MASTERS in this shit thought this article was ok makes me want to cry, puke, and burn feminism down to the mother-fucking ground, because there is no hope for feminism to get better if I can't count on the people with advanced degrees to practice the most basic intersectionality out there.
- Black women, and other groups of women who have been prevented through various means of getting married, are also soooo anti-feminist in their quest for marriage. This is technically, though sadly, some slightly higher-level intersectionality. The fight for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights is an up-and-coming civil rights movement, but the movement for black civil rights tends to be seen (incorrectly) as something that's in the past, that was several decades ago. So you couldn't necessarily pick the way black people have been prevented from marrying and protecting their families from heading over to Buzzfeed the same way, because Buzzfeed doesn't have a special Black section dedicated almost entirely to showing white people how adorable black people's weddings are; Buzzfeed does have a section dedicated just to showing straight people that same-sex weddings are every bit, if not more, adorable and normal as straight people's. But again, Meghan Murphy has a masters in this shit. Did they let her graduate without making her read Black Feminist Thought? Again, super gross.
There's just so much wrong here. From the universalization of her own personal experiences, to the complete erasure of anyone who's not a straight, white, middle-class woman, to the accusation that anyone who has a different relationship to marriage is just lying to themselves and is actually brainwashed by the patriarchy Meghan Murphy has managed to hit my Gross Feminism Bingo, and the prize is feminism being another force of oppression. I get that it's very in vogue right now for feminists to grade various personal choices on a scale of "very feminist" to "totally sucking The Man's cock", but the statements that "x is never a feminist choice" is pretty much always an intersectionality fail. And guess what? There's nothing particularly patriarchy-smashing about straight people telling gay people what their relationships should look like, or about white people telling black people what their relationships should look like. Including people who aren't straight, cis, white, middle-class, abled women in feminism is pretty much always going to be a bigger blow to the patriarchy than telling other women how to live their lives.