Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Beware the absolutists

My post from earlier this week ("My body, my choice!": the inadvertent anti-feminism of abortion") generated a veritable smidge of debate in the comments section on the Drudge Retort, where I had posted a link in the "User Blogs" section. For the most part I stayed out of the fray, as my main interest was in seeing how the ideas I was expressing were playing out among the people who live outside of my head. (As for the ones inside...oh, nevermind.)

One of the two comments I did address was from a user going by the name "Snoofy", who said: "So, this is just a platform to attack feminism, while also being an ad for your own blog." (What follows is an expanded and revised version of my own response in the comments section.)

On the topic of feminism, Snoofy is inferring that being true to feminism means adhering to a predetermined bundle of opinions and talking points, including a strict "pro-choice" mindset, while disregarding anything that doesn't reduce an unborn child to a mere "choice", thus infantilizing feminists by taking away their right to choose on the "choice" issue. (Can you smell the irony?) In fact, there is a long history of pro-life feminism for those willing to open their minds.

In this light, it is useful to remember that feminism, like many movements, is not (nor has it ever been) a monolithic ideology. As defined by Wikipedia, it is:

"...a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, personal, and social rights for women."

When I think of feminism, I think very admiringly of strong and independent-minded women, ones who are free and courageous enough to define themselves without worrying about whether they're at risk of losing their "feminist" street cred for taking an unpopular stance on a given issue (such as abortion).

In any case, the whole point of my original post wasn't to argue the "pro-life" (by which I mean "anti-abortion") position, but merely to point out that while I consider myself "pro-choice", it is very nominally so, with great trepidation and a general disregard for the "My body, my choice!" meme.

The absolutism of that mantra seems selfish at best, and by its own twisted logic it would permit an expectant father to chant the same slogan, as recalibrated from his own perspective: "Her body, not my responsibility."

As a corollary to the above, and as a general rule in and of itself, beware the absolutists on either side of this or any other issue. By their very definition, they come bearing invitations for you to stop thinking for yourself.

Finally, on the matter of me posting a link to this blog in the "User Blogs" section of the Drudge Retort, Snoofy is absolutely right, as I evidently mistook "User Blogs" to mean "blogs written by users". Golly Gee Wilikers, what was I thinking?!? 

We keep hearing about the Internet being such a thriving marketplace of ideas, and yet apparently nobody is allowed to provide links to their own original content. When I post pieces on this blog (and links to them in specific topic-appropriate fora), it is typically because the subject in question is important to me and I'm striving to draw readers in and let them have at me either in the comments section here or in any other venue. By doing so, particularly under my real name, I am quite willingly opening myself up to criticism or ridicule, whatever the case may be, and for that I do not apologize.

On that topic, I highly recommend Daniel Miessler's thought piece, Digg and Reddit: Please Learn The Difference Between Original Content and Blogspam, which makes the case quite elegantly.