This potentially recurring feature, curated for now by Pilgrim Soul unless other Harpies wish to leap in, directs Harpy readers to important feminist thoughts and concepts as spoken by some of her favourite feminists on and off the web. The appraisal of the value of these snippets is, of course, entirely Pilgrim Soul’s, and does not necessarily reflect the views of other Harpies. Feel free to discuss in the comments here.
Today’s offering comes from one of my favourite all time feminists, Catharine MacKinnon, who is much maligned these days in feminist circles but who has an extraordinary knack for making a whole lot of sense in very few words. To wit, her view on the postmodern, cultural relativist, “but it’s what [insert culture] does!” critique of feminism:
I would also like to know in what culture some men don’t kill their wives for perceived infidelity (or just because . . .), and in what culture men are not supported in culturally-specific ways in believing that force is part of sex. (Let’s move there.) What postmodernism gives us instead is a multicultural defense for male violence—a defense for it wherever it is, which in effect is a pretty universal defense. Pornography also provides an excellent cultural defense to rape in most Western cultures: the more pornography is consumed, the more difficult it is for men to know that they are using force when they force women into sex—so they will culturally believe that women consent to sex no matter how much force is used. Why are we coming up with a multicultural defense for each culture in which men specifically and particularly are permitted to believe rape is sex, instead of looking at the assumption that rape happens in a man’s mind rather than in a woman’s body in all of them? None of this would be possible if the dissenting women of each culture—the women who say, I was raped—were credited with knowing the reality of what was done to them.