When Feminism And Skepticism Got Married
I’m not sure when it happened. It must’ve been a secret ceremony; perhaps an elopement, but before I knew it, a strain of virulent feminist thought largely advocated on sites such as http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/ was deeply intertwined with the skeptic/atheist movement. Since apparently I missed both the wedding invite and the memo, I promptly put my foot in it by saying that adopting a particular branch of feminist theory without questioning it or looking for supporting evidence is not skeptical. After all, 3rd wave feminism is largely about validating the subjective experiences of women in our seemingly male-dominated culture, while skepticism is about evaluating claims based on empirical evidence. See the potential for a ginormous problem here?
Frankly, I have not met a skeptic, atheist, progressive, liberal, or libertarian — in fact, I’ve not met anyone in this community — who disagrees with the basic notion that women are people who deserve equal rights and opportunities. The more difficult questions; however, are how to address the problems of systemic sexism against both men and women, and how to effectuate positive social change without hostility and backlash. Another key question is whether women require special treatment in order to put them on the same footing as men. My opinion on this matter is no. No, they don’t because they’re capable individuals, they’re tough, they’re smart, and they’re resourceful. But guess what? This is only my personal opinion. It’s an opinion based on my politics, and in this case, on my agreement with certain liberal/libertarian equity feminist principles.
Can I use skepticism (meaning critical thought, evidence-based studies, and the like) to prove that I’m right? Absolutely not. Because my politics stem from personal value judgments at least as much as they stem from my knowledge about the world we live in. And that’s why skepticism and feminism don’t make good bedfellows. Because skepticism is always questioning feminist ideology, and in the end, feminism is rarely satisfied.