The issue I presented a few weeks ago was a clash that arose as a result of a culture unwilling to accept the criticism that feminism was levying, partially because societies by their nature are inertial entities, partially because changing attitudes towards women is an incredibly difficult project given their longstanding marginalization, and partially because the feminist critique is so far reaching. I advocated for an uncompromising defense of feminism, its goals and its methods. I maintain that that attitude has the power to effect great change and keep feminists energized and mobilized politically and personally. It is the case, however, that there is more to the story, something along the lines of the piece I wrote about sexism and sexists. As a political movement, it is important to keep troupe morale up (apparently I’ll be using an explorer/adventurer metaphor for the purposes of this piece) as well as venture into higher and as yet unknown ground (e.g. academic work, analysis, feminist theory, etc.), and these purposes are well served by a certain ferocity as well as by the supportive subculture of references, music, movies, ideas, websites, blogs and most of all, jargon. Unfortunately, subcultures are inherently exclusive to those who do not subscribe to the fundamental tenets or are not familiar with the body of work, research or media that form the basis of the shared culture. This prevents feminism from expanding and appealing to larger and larger groups, and so a rational response is to look at the ways in which we communicate and establish if they are fulfilling the goals we see for them.
The Art of Effective Communication: How ‘privilege’ and ‘patriarchy’ might be doing us more harm than good