and I'm really quite sad that it's opinions like these that are representing our movement.
First, Francione states:
There are some "radical" feminists who claim that men cannot be feminists. I believe that is wrong and that is sexist.
Women--who are an oppressed group living under a patriarchy that privileges men--cannot, by the very nature of their social status, wield sexism against men. Calling a woman sexist (or, worse, a "misandrist") is intended to redirect attention from men--a privileged group that typically goes completely unexamined--to women. It is a tactic intended to divert focus from the oppressor to the oppressed. It is a tactic intended to silence and maintain male entitlement and privilege.
He then goes on to criticize feminism for its supposed transphobia:
There are some "radical" feminists who are critical of my support for transgender/transsexual people and who claim that transpersons should not be included in feminist discourse. I believe that is wrong, mean-spirited, and just plain discriminatory.Fair enough, the vast majority of feminists agree. Painting all radical feminists as bigots, however, is deceitful.
Francione goes on to mansplain feminism to us silly girls in addressing the absence of veganism:
There are some "radical" feminists who get upset with me because I state that if you claim to be a feminist but are not vegan, you are confused because *any* coherent theory of feminism *requires* veganism.Oh, okay, does he also tell African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, gays, lesbians, transpersons, the disabled, etc. etc. etc. that their theories of social justice are also flawed and they aren't included in their own definition of social activism because they are not vegan? Of course not. Let us get past the fact that Francione picks on women because we are an at-risk group that still experiences outrageous levels of discrimination and violence that most people still consider completely normal. It's easy to push us around. I'd like to see him offer that same ridiculous argument to the NAACP and see if it's not met with a response similar to that of his Facebook critics.
Let's also get past the fact that no man has any place defining what feminism is. Again, to put it in perspective I'd like to see this white guy write a letter off to the NAACP and kindly let them know how black nationalism should be defined. Yeesh. Seriously, I cringe at Francione's comments on feminism like I cringed when I first found out about Brad Paisley's "Accidental Racist" song.
|Brad Paisley: Rich white dude suffering from "reverse racism" who graciously explains racism to everyone through terrible songs.|
What I will take issue with here is the fact that feminism is, at it's core, a fight to end discrimination against women based on their gender. The end. It's a completely separate issue from Nonhuman Animal rights. Is there some overlap? Sure. There are overlaps with all forms of oppression. When we're talking about oppression, then yes, it makes no sense to fight for gender equality while ignoring species equality. But if we're talking about straight up "feminism," it doesn't necessarily follow that wanting gender equality entails veganism. Ecofeminism has made a convincingly strong argument for the entanglement of both issues, but I don't think it's exactly fair to insist feminists interested in things like equal pay and freedom from rape must also be animal rights activists (and many of them are anyway). At least not unless we're expecting the same of all social justice advocates--which Francione is not, he specifically targets feminists. Again, it's totally cool to bully women around, but not kosher to do the same of other at-risk groups. Hence, women are targeted. Nonvegan women who are interested primarily in fighting for gender equality are no less guilty than a nonvegan Native American interested primarily in fighting for racial equality. These are unique battles with unique challenges. Yes, there is overlap, but it's not up to men to decide how the feminist battle will be fought and by who.
|Francione, the Great Patriarch, explains the intricacies of feminism from his all-knowing male perspective. Sorry ladies, I know how "confusing" your fight for equality can be!|
The notion that a man can't be a feminist is complete, unadulterated bullshit, and I mean no offense to bulls. The idea that membership in *any*group is determined by biology is, to put it plainly, also bullshit. And again, I mean no offense to bulls.Feminism is based on gender, not biology. Gender is a much different concept than sex--gender implies socially constructed roles, expectations, and treatments. Gender is about experience. And, I'm sorry Gary, you neither have a vagina or the experience of living as a self-identified woman.
But that's okay, because two other men jump in to back him up:
I'm glad all the men have feminism figured out, I was really confused there for a while! Thanks guys!
In a movement that is largely female (to the tune of about 80%), men should take special care to tread lightly, listen more and talk less, and be ever vigilant on checking their privilege. I truly hope that no one is taking this offensive, sexist, paternalistic, patriarchal, controlling, domineering, disgusting and completely out of line drivel seriously...but just in case, please pass this essay along. Also of interest, please check out my piece on how men can be effective vegan feminist allies (or, how not to be absolutely part of the problem like Mr. Francione and his colleagues have demonstrated today).
Fight the patriarchy.