If we can’t say women we can’t say feminism

Why does it matter, saying “women” instead of “people” when we talk about abortion or contraception or pregnancy?

It matters for the same reason we have the word “feminist” at all – because it picks out the fact that women are treated as an inferior caste, whose bodies don’t fully belong to them.

The logic is identical to the logic of “Black Lives Matter” versus “All Lives Matter.” BLM became a slogan because black people are treated as an inferior caste, subject to arbitrary interference and violence by the state. People on the left are well aware that retorting to  “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” is at best a clueless irrelevance and at worst a racist provocation.

Talking about abortion rights in terms of “people” obscures the fact that many people (sic) think it’s ok or even obligatory to boss and control and limit women because they are women – that women are an inherently subordinate group, designated to be obedient to the dominant group. The fact that women and only women get pregnant is the core reason they are treated as an inherently subordinate group: childbearing must be controlled.

Once you start using language to obscure that fact, you lose the ability to name it and analyze it and rebel against it. Sexism becomes completely weird and unfathomable, it becomes random, and the random is not political; it can’t be resisted.

We understand this with no trouble when it comes to issues around race – so why is it so occluded when it comes to sex?

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