Guest post: One is not, first of all, defined by oneself

Originally a comment by Tim Harris on The patriarchy that oppresses us all.

I refuse to be defined by MY biology. That’s what more than a century of feminism has been fighting for.I will be defined by MY values, MY ambitions, the company I keep, the work I do, the mistakes I make, the entertainment I enjoy and the people who love me.

At least she appears to admit she has a ‘biology’, though she appears to prefer to be without it. One notices that it is first of all by ‘MY values, MY ambitions’ that she would be defined, and then by a few things that ‘I’ do or enjoy, and in last place by ‘the people who love me’, by which, one can only suppose, she means people who agree or, perhaps out of politeness or fear of getting an ear-full and being de-friended on Facebook, do not publicly disagree with her. Much like Donald Trump. What of those people who look on with disenchanted (which is not synonymous with ‘hostile’) eyes? One is not, first of all, defined by oneself. Even Lorna Slater lives in a social world, where, like it or not, you are constantly being judged by others (and judging others). Your ‘self’, your values, your ambitions, etc are not your inalienable property, existing in some vacuum that you can shape merely by assertion. One has the sense that that Lorna and those many others who behave like her are merely clamouring in the echo-chamber that consists in the remarkably solipsistic idea of the self that she entertains, an echo-chamber within which one feels all-powerful.

I hardly think that more than a century of feminism has been fighting for what Lorna Slater asserts it has been fighting for. But of course, stuck in the little echo-chamber of her self, she doesn’t have to take account of history or anything else beyond her own infantile assertions.

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