Sunday, September 9, 2012

Feminist Creationism

Creationism is alive and well in our universities. But don't worry, it isn't the DUP variety that should concern us, rather it is that variety unique to contemporary feminism. Academic feminists effectively deny the role of evolution, genes and DNA in gender differences. Gender is a social construct apparently, and to think otherwise is to do the Patriarchy's evil work.

But those of us living in the reality-based community are beginning to notice the glaring disconnect between feminist ideology and, well, reality. Despite more than half a century of dominating the social, political and economic agendas of the developed world, gender feminists are not happy with the way things are going. So now they want to go further - to rid the world of gender all together. The plan is set out in a fascinating paper by three academic feminists entitled A World Beyond Gender presented at the recent Real Utopias conference. The writers set out an agenda for ridding the world once and for all of gender in order to breakdown the continuing inequalities they attribute to gender's malignant influence. Among some of their (milder) ideas is the following for motherhood:
Cultural beliefs about motherhood itself (Hays 1998, Warner 2006) must also change. We
now have a society where women have fewer children than ever before and believe that each one needs intensive mothering.  As Macdonald (2011) argues, as long as women, even elite employed women, hold the ideological belief that every childhood moment must be intensively cultivated and controlled by mother herself, structural changes to create an earner-caregiver model for society are bound to fail. Visions of utopia must involve a view of nurturing that is collective and involves the whole village, and is not entirely individualist and private.
I recommend reading the whole paper, it's as bracing as a Calvinist sermon on the Last Judgement. Though reading the paper I couldn't help feeling that we are witnessing not the next wave of feminism, but rather are witnessing the age of what some are calling Peak Feminism, which I've noted myself before, and which will lead to a very different future to that envisaged by gender utopians.

Indeed, some academics are beginning to challenge the feminist creationists in their midst by pointing out that evolutionary psychology explains a great deal about the different ambitions, needs and behaviours of men and women. The theory of evolution itself is evolving (witness recent insights in relation to the role of epi-genetics), but it is unlikely that it will make the case for feminist creationism more credible - or for the DUP variety either, come to think of it.

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