Feminism, feminist activism and ‘dissident feminists’

 

A chara, – Yes, I’m a feminist but I’m not with Larissa Nolan (“Women can’t be told anything anymore for fear of offence”, Opinion & Analysis, October 12th). Nolan (and Camille Paglia to whom she frequently refers) are classic liberal feminists – they have benefitted from the women’s movements over the decades, which by and large have privileged white-skinned, heterosexual, middle-class western women. Life is good for them, so what are all these other women whining about? Feminism 101 for Nolan’s benefit: the movement is not “anti-male”. It is (to use well-worn tropes) anti-patriarchy and opposed to the systems and institutions that reproduce male privilege. Overly used terms because they clearly state what the issues continue to be.

I am not for emasculating men, nor are any feminists I know, as many of them are men. I adore men. I love my husband, and my son (both feminists by the way). Feminism brings a freedom to men to explore all aspects of their identity, rather than be defined by traditional male characteristics, to redefine “maleness” for their own selves. Win-win!

The emergent intersectional movement highlights how oppression operates across a range of characteristics – gender identity, being of colour, social class, ethnicity, and so on.

For me, being a feminist means those who have benefited from the work of their mothers have a duty to stay with the movement, to work for change with our sisters (and brothers) so all women may one day experience the equality that Nolan speaks of so fondly.

Are you with me, Larissa? – Yours, etc,

SHEILA GARRITY,

Galway.

Sir, – Larissa Nolan in her opinion piece decries current expressions of feminism and feminist activism that have “diverged from equality into identity politics and grievance feminism”.

She then proceeds to air a disparate assortment of her grievances and finishes on the flourish of identifying herself as a “dissident feminist”. – Is mise,

CLÍONA SAIDLÉAR,

Dublin 7.