Sunday, May 8, 2016

Single-cause Analysis in the Age of the Three-Headed Monster

King Ghidorah is a kaiju film creature, also known as the Three-Headed Monster.
The image is from here.
I grew up with an understanding that 'radical' meant 'root' and so 'radical feminism' is the feminism that seeks to expose the root cause of women's oppression. And to uproot it, eradicate it. What I grew up learning was that eliminating patriarchy is what it will take to liberate women.

I accept that as true, but only if that root is understood in its complexity. Because in the world the women I know live in, "patriarchy" isn't only "male supremacy" and "men's violence against women". Most women--if not all women--are harmed and subordinated by those forces. But so too are most women harmed and subordinated by white supremacy and capitalism and other economic systems that require poverty and other gross economic injustice.

I also grew up seeing the limits of Marxist analysis--how it traditionally holds no deep understanding of what causes the oppression of women by men. Also, analysis of white supremacy and racism too often ignores how it is entwined with male supremacy or capitalism.

If I consider any centuries-old atrocity that causes mass destruction to girls and women, it is tied directly to patriarchy (male and hetero supremacy), colonialism (white, Anglo, and Western supremacy), and capitalism (and wealth supremacy).

Trafficking disproportionately exploits and kills girls and women of color, globally. The globalised enslavement and rape of female human beings for profit for pimps and slavers, for the pleasure and dominance of men. All three heads of the beast are implicated.

Seeing patriarchy as a force that operates separately from colonialism and capitalism is an abstraction. But it isn't just abstract: it denies what is happening and to whom it is most happening.

When women and girls of color are centered, it is impossible to ignore how colonialism/white supremacy, capitalism/wealth supremacy, and patriarchy/male supremacy are always operating against the efforts of girls and women to be free.

This blog will not ignore those forces or pretend only one form of supremacy is deadly. Radically supporting the liberation of marginalised girls and women around the world necessitates naming each head of the monster.

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