May 8, 2010

Beyond Feminism

L. Susan Brown became interested in Anarchist theory when obtaining her B.A. at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She became disillusioned with the broken promises of her liberal upbringing after being exposed to Marxist criticisms in pursuit of making sense of the world. This accounted for the uneasiness she had always felt when considering our society. The Marxism she embraced was a humanistic vision of society that critically revealed inherent contradictions in liberal capitalism and a world where the potential of the human individual could be fully realized. Then, through reading the literary works of Emma Goldman, she recognized the historical and theoretical incompatabilities between Marxism and Anarchism. Her ideas as an individualist anarchist then started to bleed into her critical consideration of the political philosophy of liberal feminism. Her book, The Politics of Individualism, was published in 2003:

“I found myself drawn back to the humanism of anarchism as I recoiled against the often blind anger of feminism.”

Brown uses certain terminology and definitions that I would not have personally chosen to represent my thoughts; such as her referring to the “adherents” of anarchism. However, she articulates her weariness and critiques clearly with an emphasis on liberal feminism lacking a vital opposition to domination as a whole within the many veins of contemporary feminist theories. Coming from different experiences and upbringings, this is a weariness that I share. Without an anti-authoritarian perspective, “liberation” of our own individual identities is not only unachievable, but also provides a wider range of those in positions that are inherently dominant over others. The redistribution of this essay is an expression of my own interest in steering clear from the feminist identity and is an attempt to propose a discussion with those who choose to reside within it.