The Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky gives an astute analysis of Joss Whedon’s recent speech about the word “feminist”:
I found this quotation particularly interesting:
“This is a speech about the word “feminist,” but there are no feminists in the speech.
Which, given Whedon’s presuppositions, makes sense. If equality is something that is natural, if it’s a thing that everyone understands innately, if it is the default, then it isn’t something you have to learn from anyone. You don’t need Betty Friedan to tell you that an enforced life as a homemaker can be stifling. You don’t need Andrea Dworkin to tell you about systematic cultural violence against women. You don’t need Patricia Hill Collins to explain that race and gender can intersect to create particularly vicious forms of discrimination and oppression. You don’t, for that matter, need to think about, or engage with, the long feminist mistrust of arguments from “nature.” You just know, naturally, what is right.”
I wanted to post this because the discussion around Whedon’s speech, and the speech itself, shows how allies can often get things wrong out of the best of intentions. I think it also sheds some light on Katy Perry and Lady Gaga’s comments on feminism – note especially at the end where Berlatsky mentions Alice Walker’s own dismissal of “feminism” in favor of her own term “womanism” because of the entrenched, racists history of American feminism.