George Maggs is an Associate Lecturer at the University of the West of England.
Traditional Feminism aimed to create a society within which men and women were treated equally, with equal rights and equal access to the same opportunities. Feminists fought successfully to hand women the right to vote, to permit them entry into previously barred professions, and for equal pay for work of equal value.
Once these objectives were achieved however, feminism morphed into something far more sinister. While traditional feminism espoused equality of opportunity for men and women, modern feminism no longer does. Instead, like Marxism, it aims to impose equality of outcome from the centre by restricting the freedom of both men and women.
Classical Liberals and Conservatives should not be afraid to call it out for what it is: a gendered form of reconstituted Socialism.
Marxists view the capitalist system as one of oppression, with the owners of capital (the bourgeois) deliberately and methodically oppressing workers (the proletariat) in a system of class hierarchy. Socialists hope to overturn this unequal system through state ownership of capital and central wealth redistribution. Modern feminism has simply taken the same tired notion of hierarchical oppression and replaced the bourgeois with ‘men’ and the proletariat with ‘women’. Women are seen as the ‘victims’ of a patriarchal system in which men subjugate women to benefit themselves.
Quite why men should seek to privilege other males in favour of their female friends and relatives is never fully explained. However, in line with Marxism, the only way feminists believe this repressive, male dominated capitalist structure can be overturned is by placing greater power in the hands of the state, by restricting people’s choices and freedoms, and by fundamentally altering society to better align with feminist principles.
Contemporary feminists now campaign for women to be sacked from jobs which require them be physically attractive (as this is a form of male objectification) while also calling for female quotas in boardrooms and parliament. Women cannot be trusted to make decisions feminists agree with, so outcome equality must instead be imposed by an increasingly authoritarian state apparatus.
In recent years, ‘intersectional’ marxists and feminists have sought to divide people not just along class and gender lines, but also into categories of race and sexual orientation. They argue that there isn’t just one tyrannical hierarchy, but several. Men oppress women, but ‘privileged’ white women also discriminate against ethnic minorities. Rich, white, straight men (boo hiss) prejudice everyone, while if you are poor, black or gay you are deemed so oppressed that only government intervention can possibly enable you to “unlock your potential” (Corbyn 2017).
While both socialism and feminism claim to be concerned with helping the least fortunate, this is self-evidently and emphatically not the case. Such leftist views are overwhelmingly extolled by middle-class individuals and are used not to help the working-classes, but to drag down those above them in the social hierarchy.
Individuals who believe that the current system should be torn up and reconstructed tend not to be poor, but rather well-off professionals who have not seen their incomes rise at the same rate as other upper middle-class people. The gap between the top 10-20 per cent and the bottom 80 per cent has remained fairly constant in recent years. What has changed is the gap between the top one per cent and the rest of the top 10-20 per cent. It is middle-class envy of the one percent – rather than any concern for the poor – which is responsible for the rise of socialism in Britain today. This is openly acknowledged by Marxist thinkers like Danny Dorling, and partly explains why metropolitan areas like London overwhelmingly vote Labour, while the countryside and suburbs remain solidly Conservative.
What is true of socialism is also true of feminism. As we saw from the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the great and the good sprouted a #metoo Twitter storm, and there were endless egocentric speeches from wealthy Oscar winners declaring that #timesup on male oppression in Hollywood. The furore over the Presidents Club ‘scandal’ in January was equally palpable. Members of Parliament and the press were falling over themselves to virtue signal their fury at white men surrounding themselves with attractive women while raising money for charity.
Earlier this month however, when it emerged that another rape gang had been operating with impunity, this time in Telford, the silence was deafening. It is estimated that in this latest tragedy to befall young working-class women in areas with large Muslim populations, over 1,000 teenage girls were raped, beaten, drugged and abused at the hands of older men. Their police complaints were ignored, and some girls were even killed by their abusers. It is difficult to imagine anything more awful or heart-breaking.
Yet the BBC could hardly bring itself to cover the story. When it did, BBC Shropshire claimed that events had been ‘sensationalised’ by right-wing media. Because the girls were white and working-class and the perpetrators of an ethnic minority (and therefore inherently oppressed by the racist, Western, capitalist system), it was considered un-newsworthy and was barely mentioned in Parliament. Instead, Caroline Lucas, a Green Party MP, tabled an urgent question on the “toxic political culture in Westminster” which apparently degrades women in some way.
Modern Feminism has one rule for middle-class women who may have been taken advantage of by white men, but quite another for working-class girls abused by men of colour. This is because feminism, like its Marxist counterpart, is far from concerned with the genuinely oppressed. The two ideas are simply tools used to rationalise middle-class envy and to undermine those who happen to earn more money.
They are equally as contemptable as each other. We should not be scared to say so.