EDIT: I was alerted on Twitter that the spoiler boxes did not correctly appear in the article. The boxes have now been removed, and the text they contained edited into the article itself. I’ve also moved some parts of the present article to its follow-up where it’s more fitting.
Feminism is generally considered to be an offshoot of Marxism. While it is undeniable that feminism borrows heavily from the ideas radicalized by Karl Marx and Fredric Engels, Marxism is not the “origin” of feminism as an ideology.
Feminism is actually cobbled together from not just Marxism, but other pre-existing social ideology from their common ‘ancestor,’ one that even the most hardcore critics of feminism may not easily guess: Christian mythology.
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The Promise of Utopia
All extreme ideologies begin with an ill-conceived notion of transcendence, typically ‘borrowed’ from some pre-existing dominant ideology with its own ill-conceived notion of transcendence. The bizarre ideological path to feminism begins with exactly such an idea: Utopia.
“Utopia” comes from the Greek ou (“not”) and topos (“place”) meaning “nowhere.” It refers to a society that may be ideal in theory, but impractical in reality. Plato’s Republic, for example, is Utopian in that sense. By far the most famous and influential example of Utopia is the Promised Land of Christian mythology.
Philosophers of the time saw the Promised Land as more than mere mythology. For centuries, they had been wrestling with the notion of planned social reformation, and here was a new inspiration in this very ancient dialogue. They attempted to create a ‘creationist’ Utopian model from prominent scripture. For example, Genesis 1:27 (“… in his own image…”) along with Galatians 3:28 were interpreted in the sense that all people were created identical to one another, and from Genesis 3:19 (“… dust thou art…”) with Isaiah 64:8 (“… we are the clay, and you are our potter…”) people were thought to have minds that could be molded like clay. Such clever interpretations were brought to bear in a ‘Garden of Eden’ model of Utopia. This was likely the first attempt at a rationalized model towards what we now call ‘social engineering.’
For millenia, the idea of a social engineered Utopia were taken up by different people from different walks of life. Most were loyal to the cause of creating a better society for all, but there were some who considered ‘social engineering’ as a potential tool for control and manipulation.
Meanwhile, the creationist Utopian model was buried under—because it was way ahead of its time—and its significance was lost. Until, of course, the world finally caught up to it.
The Marxist Utopia
A long series of class struggles—centuries in the making—had finally hit the boiling point in the 18th century, giving way to major socio-political upheaval beginning with the French Revolution. The chain of events that followed—one of the most important in human history—along with the technological and scientific innovations of the Industrial Revolution, ushered in the new wave of liberalism and socialism, with ever greater and grander promises of socially engineered Utopia.
By the mid-19th century, Utopian socialism reached its summit in the form of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Fredric Engels. They prescribed that the ‘worker’ under-class, after being subject to repeated exploitation and oppression by the capitalist upper-class, would initiate a revolutionary overthrow. However, Marx had grossly miscalculated, his predictions did not follow through. Instead, it let loose a horrible sequence of death and destruction, becoming the very thing it despised, before finally being driven into the ground.
It is ironic that Marx and Engels, who had criticized other socialists for being overly moralistic, were the most Utopian of them all. Their model was simply a retake on the ‘original’ experiment in Utopian–Communism: the Garden of Eden. Just as one had failed in mythology, the other did in reality. Of course, powerful ideas can’t be contained; in this case, one of the greatest Utopian political philosophies of all time is unlikely to simply “phase out.”
All it takes is one ‘believer.’
[White] Women’s Movement
The events leading the 18th century created another abomination: feminism.
Western society has always been notorious for its absurd chivalric norms. While chivalric systems were originally intended as a safety net for women, it had become inhumanly ridiculous, elevating women above even the system of law while degrading men to beasts of burden. Being firmly embedded within the family system, the class system and sacralized by Christian culture, women in Western society had been placed on a high pedestal for so long that they saw chivalric privileges as their rightful claim, to be abused as they wished.
Then came the wave of liberalization, knocking at ultra-conservatism. Suddenly, white women—the most privileged group in human history—found themselves being subject to the very same laws and responsibilities as those “lowly” men who were quickly becoming aware of their chivalric bindings.
The reaction was the “Women’s Movement.” It was the revolt of the primitive sex—cavewoman tantrums in the form of an elitist drama—who set out to prevent the chivalric status quo from being liberated. What was already radical to begin with, became even worse as more unruly women joined the fold. The women’s fora were the main propaganda centers, and “women’s issues” were the political currency. They simply needed to extend the various provisions already existing in the chivalric system. Some of the propaganda called sympathy for women by overblown exaggeration of issues of female-interest, while others set out to “shame” men for attempting to escape their chivalric duties. It also didn’t help that most feminists were extremely racist, some of them known to be dominant figures in the Ku Klux Klan.
The ultra-conservative, discriminatory and elitist nature of feminism put it at odds with the emerging politics of that era. Several socialists of the time—Ernest Belfort Bax being an obvious example—openly exposed feminism as the prejudiced elitist farce that it was.
[The nature of feminism is beautifully captured by the Women’s Suffrage tantrum. The suffragists were a band of racist upper-class women—the primary beneficiaries of the status quo—who vandalized and terrorized both the locals and authorities in the name of their sex. Their only interest in voting powers was to extend chivalric privileges to the larger political sphere.]
In the subsequent waves of liberalization and democratization of Western society following Universal Suffrage, both the discriminatory and elitist goals of feminism were temporarily defused.
The latter half of the 20th century revived a zombified Marxism—what is now called Cultural Marxism—promptly institutionalized in western academia and politics.
On one side of this neo-Marxist coin, is what is now called ‘social constructivism.’ It is the assumption that individuals are born as blank slates, with all their individual differences written in by their social environment (“social conditioning”). Christened the ‘Standard Model of Social Science,’ it has since become central to all social science. On the other side, there is the senseless abstraction of Marxist theory in which all differences between individuals and groups are viewed as class struggles—i.e. caused by the differential treatment of those individuals and groups (“power relations”).
All inequalities could be eliminated [said the social constructionist] by engineering the perfect social settings. ‘Equality’ was thus redefined as equality of outcome, rather than opportunity—sameness, rather than fairness—setting the stage for all Identity Politics and the culture of ‘Political Correctness.’
Surely, all of this is still the same old “dirt man,” but in a pretentious packaging of egalitarianism. Recycling a failed ideology does not free it from its own contradictions.
If all individuals are identical, then where do these supposed differential treatment come from? Why should there be any “power relation” at all? First, there is the assertion that everything is socially constructed and that there are no fixed definitions, and then immediately, it is contradicted by assigning essential identities, labels and fixed definitions to everything.
Feminism, which had already reached its extreme a century ago, became the obvious vehicle for identity politics. The result is a bizarre combination of Marxism and creationism, peppered with other inspirations from Christianity.
Central to Marxist-Feminism is the anti-family rhetoric advanced by Marx and Engels. The family is equated to capitalism in which the male head (“patriarch”) of the family is the capitalist ‘oppressor,’ with the women in the family as the ‘oppressed’ underclass, thus describing the relation between man and woman as a class struggle mediated by masculine–feminine “power relations.” And so by toppling the “patriarchal” family, capitalism is defeated somehow. The notion of “patriarchal” “power relations” was further extended—with the malevolent and all-powerful patriarch of the Old Testament as the template—becoming the universally oppressive “patriarchy” described by Feminist Theory.
On top of this nonsense is the Blank Slate, which magically morphs genetically-imprinted ‘sex’ into socially-constructed ‘gender,’ where anything and everything about men and women could be changed through social intervention. This is the basis for what is now called Gender Theory.
Under the umbrella of neo-Marxism, the equality-of-outcome notion of ‘Gender Equality’ became “an ideal to strive for,” and ‘feminism’ re-imagined as a force for social and sexual liberation. As the primary vehicle of identity politics, feminism became the ad hominem champion. The ‘oppressor’ was extended from ‘male,’ to ‘white,’ and ‘heterosexual’; the ‘oppressed’ underclass extended from ‘women,’ to ‘non-white,’ and later down the line, ‘homosexual,’ with each new addition being actively exploited as cannon fodder and political currency for feminism. Suddenly, everyone’s a victim of the “patriarchy.”
Marxism, however, is not responsible for the vindictive nature of what is stupidly called “third-wave feminism.”
Being an ultra-conservative reactionary, feminism has always cast female self-interest as a higher form of morality throughout its history. Feminism in the present day is vindictive because it seeks to revive those chivalric privileges that it had failed to defend a century ago.
In 1922, feminist Marie Petti vowed to “restore womankind to its rightful place.” She then went on to spew such nonsense as, “At the beginning of organic life, woman created man, and ruled him. He was a parasite, and a slave.”, “Life begins as female, life is feminine.” and also, “There is no need for any sex other than the feminine.” Such things are now widespread in academic feminism. [Ever heard of “testosterone poisoning?”] The Christian notion of the Fall of Man becomes the fall of men, spinning misandry (hatred of males) out of misanthropy (hatred of humankind) and forming the basis for the Great Goddess pseudoscience advanced by feminist anthropologists.
[There are also nonsensical documentary films which portray human ancestors as having lived in “an egalitarian paradise under the benevolent Great Goddess.” And then came the evil men, who rebelled and invaded, replacing the goddess with gods and establishing patriarchies to oppress women. In the end, however, women will restore the Great Goddess and paradise returns. Unsurprisingly, this has caught the fancy of religious studies scholars.]
All of the aforementioned are clearly based upon the belief in ‘female sanctity,’ which is a chivalric notion deeply entrenched in Christian mythology, and more broadly in Abrahamic religion. Also from the same source is the feminist notion of “sexual objectification,” that sexual imagery somehow “degrades women” and promotes “sexual violence.”
The cycle of contradiction becomes even worse in feminism because its own interests are frequently at odds with the expanding labels of neo-Marxism. It has become so diffused that even women themselves are confused at the end of it. [Hence why feminism is splintered from the outside, and cannibalistic from the inside.] Men and women are supposedly identical most of time, but not at other times. The à la carte equality depends on whatever suits the narrative. If men and women are identical, or “equal,” then why is there supposedly a “power relation” between them? And why is it always in one direction? The entire academic feminist enterprise has been built around a farce of inescapable contradictions.
The entire lineage of Utopian-isms have failed time and again for one reason: the denial of human nature. At the end of the day, neither the ‘dirt man’ nor the ‘evil white man’ of identity politics is sustainable, and is doomed to cannibalize itself.
Cultural Marxism is simply one more in that failed line-up—and feminism is sitting right in the middle of it.
* * * * *
Feminism is radical by design.
It is a regressive, perverted ultra-conservative reactionary, repackaged with Dark Age mythology. There is no first-wave/second-wave/third-wave feminism, just as there is no such thing as “good,” “moderate” or “classical” feminism.
The claim that there is/was some ‘noble’ form of feminism is a recent invention by those who want to:
- cover up the actual origins/nature of feminism,
- distance themselves from the evils of feminism but still reap benefits from it, and
- believe there’s something more to feminism than there actually is.
Most critics of feminism are quick to go after the fringe types because they fail to realize that it is these so-called moderate feminists who have done the most damage.
[The follow-up article will be published soon.]
For further insight into pretentious “modern” ideologies, see philosopher John Gray’s Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. Evolutionary psychologist Steve Moxon has detailed Marxist-feminism in his excellent paper exposing the politics and realities of domestic/intimate partner violence.
I have no doubt that the distortions of the truth by the radical feminists of our time will, someday, be seen as having been the greatest intellectual crime of the second half of the 20th century. Meanwhile, we still live under the aegis of that crime and to call attention to it is an act of great moral courage.
— Prof. Howard S. Schwartz, author of The Revolt of the Primitive: An Inquiry into the Roots of Political Correctness
Gray J. (2007) Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. London: Allen Lane. ↲
Marx K & Engels F. (1848) Manifesto of the Communist Party. ↲
Schwartz HS. (2003) The Revolt of the Primitive: An Inquiry into the Roots of Political Correctness. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. ↲
Goldberg S. (2003) Fads and Fallacies in the Social Sciences. Humanity Books. ↲
Gross PR & Levitt N. (1998) Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science. Johns Hopkins University Press. ↲
Sokal AD & Bricmont J. (1998) Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science. New York: Picardor. ↲
Weikart R. (1994) Marx, Engels, and the Abolition of the Family. History of European Ideas, 18(5):657–672. ↲
Engels F. (1884) The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. ↲
Young KK & Nathanson P. (2011) Sanctifying Misandry: Goddess Ideology and the Fall of Man. McGill-Queen’s University Press. ↲
Moxon SP. (2014) Partner Violence as Female-Specific in Aetiology. New Male Studies, 3(3):69–92. ↲