Claiming to speak for

One strange meme that has turned up in the recent wars is the idea that feminists are “claiming to speak for all women” and that that’s why feminism is so bad and awful.

That’s a ridiculous claim. All political and moral views do that; they all say this is better than that, and not just for me but for everyone in whatever the relevant group is, from the neighborhood to the species. Feminism has always made large claims about what women should be and do, and it has never had unanimous agreement from all women. Of course in some sense feminism claims to speak for all women, but it’s not unique or weird in doing that.

Feminism has never meant “whatever all women agree on” or whatever the majority of women agree on. It’s never meant agreeing with all women because they’re women. It’s always been demanding – it’s always urged women to be more than they currently are, which is guaranteed to be annoying and irksome. Reformist movements are like that.

The recent disturbance has triggered an astonishing amount of sneering and jeering at feminism and feminists, so much so that it has created a glaring example of the very problem it’s busy denying and sneering at: the sense that women are alien to “the atheist movement.”

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