Re: (PCT and Feminism)

Robert Parks (
Wed, 15 May 1996 11:52:03 -0400

Wendy and Alessandra,

I find I may not be able to resist the temptation to bare my doubting
soul... and - at a safe distance - ask what sort of polarity the term
"feminism" engages. I'll try to ask the question as a simple one, though it
engages deeply felt intellectual and emotional quandries. I have been told
that "feminism" is the construction of an opposition to "masculinism". Who
is a "masculinist"? I've been told that everything else but feminism is
masculinist, because we live in a patriarchal society. From use of "man" to
cover both genders, to descriminatory work rules, there is evidence of
differences in treatment not justified by differences in biology or gender
based preferences of women themselves. One must be either a masculist
supporter of patriarchy, or a feminist, then, if these terms exhaust the
intellectual options. I am troubled by this. Feminism bases its diagnosis
on gender based power differentials and their rectification. The world will
be transformed as these power differentials are altered.

I've been through similar dialogues on race. I have been told that the
world will be transformed as racially based power differentials are
rectified. But I don't think its true. Racism does indeed play a role in
the preservation of capitalist hegemony. But not a necessary one. It can do
just fine without it.

And capitalism can do just fine without gender bias. There seems to be much
evidence that the theory that women at the top can change things is simply

I'd like to find a more equal and just society, but I wonder if the NAME of
the theory - "feminism" - may get in the way of constructive dialogue.

Thanks for allowing me to speak my questions... don't feel obliged to respond.

Bob Parks