Review of: ‘Feminism for women: The Real Route to Liberation’

January 30, 2022

From the January-February 2022 issue of News & Letters

by Adele

In Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation, the author—Julie Bindel, a radical feminist writer and activist fighting violence against women since the 1970s—noticed young feminists becoming disillusioned with more recent movements posing as feminism. Drawing upon her experiences in activism and interviews with numerous feminists and anti-feminists, she exposes these as patriarchal movements designed to oppose feminism, showing they are responsible for the loss of women’s rights and freedoms.

She defines true feminism as it was originally understood in the 1970s as a radical movement formulated by many women from their own experiences. Saying feminism is whatever any one woman says it is can be compared to saying the labor movement is whatever any one worker says it is.

FEMINISM: A QUEST FOR WOMEN’S LIBERATION

Bindel explains feminism is “a quest for women’s liberation from patriarchy” involving changing the power structure. It is more than asking for equality, measured by the progress of successful women in the workplace and politics. “Equality” or “liberal” feminism tells women to just work harder for more income or a higher position, replacing both feminist solidarity and class consciousness with a shortsighted focus on the individual. On the Left, men preach to women how to define feminism, and abusive men have become “feminist” leaders.

Bindel emphasizes men are important as allies but must listen to and take direction from women, and women must lead feminist organizations. Women need our own spaces to discuss feminist theory and our thoughts and feelings about our own experiences and traumas. This concept has become misused at universities to create “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces,” found to be ineffective in “protecting” students from coping with subjects they may find disturbing. Feminist speakers with controversial views are de-platformed while their right-wing opponents are allowed to speak.

THE SHAM OF ‘MEN’S RIGHTS’

In spite of much evidence, so-called “men’s rights activists” claim women are just as violent as men and have “too much equality.” Women in denial about the extreme level of male violence and discrimination against women claim those who fight it are “victim feminists.” Sexual violence and humiliation are normalized by movements claiming BDSM (bondage-discipline, dominance-submission and sadism-masochism), fetish, and kink as part of sexual liberation, but true feminism is against every form of dominance and submission. Women describe attempting to heal sexual trauma with ritualized, sexually violent “play,” only to find it intensifies the trauma.

That women now have some self-determination is supposed to make any choice a feminist one. The “sex workers rights” movement claims prostitution is freely chosen as a career. Bindel and other feminists exposed that this propaganda was created by pimps who groom or force girls and young women into degrading and physically and emotionally damaging service to men.

Bindel is very optimistic because young feminists worldwide are returning to real-life organizing and activism. Even when demonstrations don’t achieve their goals, they spread hope to others, letting them know a movement is active. They are reading older feminist theorists and forming real-life groups for study and discussion.

Bindel states, “feminism, like any vibrant political movement, has always thrived on debate,” and women find the internet can stifle this. She urges them to amplify the voices of working-class women, often dismissed by false feminism, and to “join forces across the generations.” She says to emphasize the common oppressions of women, not our differences, and constantly ask: “Who benefits from this?”

Bindel calls feminism a “utopian” movement, imagining a better world where women are free from oppression and realizing our potential. False versions of feminism are part of the enormous patriarchal backlash. This is “a sign of the potential and success of feminism, because it indicates the anger with which those who are threatened by feminism will seek to defeat it.”

 


Learn about Rosa Luxemburg’s unexplored feminism and Marx’s philosophy of revolution in permanence in
Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution. To order click here.

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