Wie die Privilegientheorie den Feministinnen schadet

Ich lese gerade „Professing Feminism – Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women’s Studies von Daphne Patai und Noretta Koertge, bin zwar noch nicht ganz durch, kann es aber bisher voll und ganz empfehlen.

Die Autorinnen sind zwei desillusionierte Gender Studies Professorinnen, die ermitteln wollen, was eigentlich gerade schief läuft und dazu jede Menge Interviews durchgeführt haben, um zu erfahren, was andere Leute stört.

Eines der Probleme ist dabei aus ihrer Sicht „IDPOL“, also Identity Politics and ideological Policing, im wesentichen der Aufbau verschiedener Identitäten, also Lesbischer Feminismus, schwarzer Feminismus und so weiter bis jeder seine eigene kleine Nische hat, die er gegen andere Verteidigen muss und für die er den Sonderstatus als unterdrückte Minderheit rechtfertigen muss.

Die Strategie hinter IDPOL ist, dass gefordert wird, dass die Interessen und Meinungen von Mitgliedern einer unterdrückten Gruppe besonders berücksichtigt werden müssen. Zudem muss angenommen werden, dass solche Personen über Spezialwissen verfügen und besonders moralisch sind, zumindest wenn es Bezüge zu ihren Status als Unterdrückte gibt.

Diese Strategie führe dazu, dass es Feindseligkeiten unter diesen Gruppen gibt, weil jede fordert, dass ihre Interessen berücksichtigt werden müssen und wichtiger sind, was dann auch zu weniger Sympathie gegenüber allen, die außerhalb der Gruppe stehen führt.

Why does such harm occur? First, the characteristics forming the basis of membership in oppressed identity groups are, by and large, immutable. One might seek transsexual surgery, dye or straighten one’s hair, or lose one’s accent and assimilate; but, as a rule, one cannot change membership in the groups under discussion. Class, by contrast—especially in America, where one’s social position depends more on income and education than on birth and cultural heritage— is much more labile. (…)

IDPOL, moreover, demands that one actively identify with the worst damage that has been inflicted on one’s group. As a woman, therefore, I must feel solidarity with females in other cultures—as when the feminist philosopher Mary Daly routinely proclaims in her public appearances that she feels the pain of her African sisters who are undergoing clitoridectomies.1 2 But, not surprisingly, Daly’s expressions of solidarity sound hollow to many people, and they are particularly objectionable to black women, who see her as „appropriating“ oppression that „belongs“ to them. Within Women’s Studies, women are pressured not to say things like, “ I know many women are discouraged from going on to graduate school, but I always got a lot of encouragement from my male professors.“ As a result, women learn either to deny, or to feel guilty about, experiences that do not conform to the approved model of oppression. I t is assumed that an inability to testify to personal experiences of gender oppression casts doubt on the authenticity of one’s commitment to feminism. Individuals must not only identify with a particular oppressed group but also, as far as possible, existentially participate in the sufferings and injustices of that group. The result of this pressure is that group members are constantly exposed to vivid accounts of incidents of extreme sexism. Women who have been brutalized undoubtedly find it gratifying to learn that others, too, have suffered— this is the consolation of the postsurgical ward. But women who do not feel crippled by sexism must „learn“ that in fact they were—and are—victims of this cultural offense. Those whose experiences have been less negative are expected to search their memories for suppressed traumas. I f they cannot locate these, they should, at the very least, maintain a sympathetic silence. And until they can come up with the requisite sufferings, they had better mute their claim to status in the identity group.

Das macht aus meiner Sicht viel Sinn. Wenn der Status der Gruppe davon abhängt, dass sie benachteiligt ist, dann muss man den Benachteiligten Status hervorheben und jeder der es nicht macht schadet der Gruppe, wer mehr leidet unterstützt hingegen die Gruppe. Eine Spirale hin zu mehr Leiden und möglichst wenig abstreiten von Leiden ist dann die letztendlich einzige mögliche Entwicklungsrichtung.

Vielleicht kommen deswegen Leute, die bereits krankheitsbedingt viel Leiden, in dieser Art des Feminismus gut an.

Weiter aus dem Buch:

One effect of these practices is to stretch the meaning of words such as harassment and racism, so that everyone in the group is able to qualify as a victim. Another is that it hypersensitizes all those who identify with the oppressed group. IDPOL team players learn to be on the lookout for instances of injustice—especially those directed at them personally—so they will have a show-and-tell for the next sharing session.

Any undertaking involving the wholesale substitution of group norms for individual experiences, feelings, and ideas ought to be suspect. But doctrinaire feminism is particularly worrisome because it blocks the individual’s ability to evaluate fairly and reasonably the causes of and remedies for her own personal unhappiness or lack of fulfillment. There are many barriers to a satisfactory life—some surmountable, others not. But the one thing all of us can aspire to is self-knowledge, along with some understanding of the constraints placed on us by our situation and of reasonable prospects for overcoming them. Feminist indoctrination inhibits women’s ability to reach for this objective.

Feminism begins with the promise of liberating women from the distortions of gender under patriarchy. Unfortunately, however, contemporary feminism also fits women with blinders that keep them from seeing the varied possibilities present in their individual lives. At times this leads to paradoxical situations, as in the incantation that women are silenced and powerless, often voiced and written by highly articulate women in positions of considerable authority.

In dieser Ideologie würde es also nicht darum gehen, möglichst wenig, sondern möglichst viel diskriminiert zu werden, da die Aussage „Die Zustände haben sich verbessert“ ein Out-Grouping begünstigen würde und nur über den Nachweis, dass man ganz besonders unter den Diskriminierungen leidet, und das persönlich, einem einen sicheren Platz in der Gruppe garantiert (ähnliche Mechanismen gibt es natürlich auch im Maskulismus).

Given the crudeness of its categories and the problems it creates, why is IDPOL being played? The answer is that it works in the short term, at least within the progressive and sympathetic setting of the academy. Most of our colleagues—to their credit, it could be argued—do feel some responsibility for the past and are highly susceptible to imputations of collective guilt. But IDPOL, which is inherently unstable and promotes internal conflicts, cannot sustain a coherent political movement. Furthermore, by always giving greater weight to the testimony of members of oppressed groups, it tempts the participants to invent grievances. The greater feminism’s success in raising our feelings of moral outrage at sexual harassment, date rape, or insensitive remarks in the workplace or classroom, the more likely it is that members of a protected group will find it in their interest to make a false or frivolous accusation. In a rape trial, for example, it is now ironic that, as we—properly—destigmatize the woman accuser, we simultaneously undermine the old feminist argument that the process of accusing someone of rape is so self-vilifying that no woman would ever intentionally make a false accusation. Similar conundrums can occur with allegations of racism. In very hostile environments a victim of racism must have great courage to speak up. But in a climate in which it is assumed that every white person is a racist, it would be surprising if individuals did not sometimes allege racism when it is to their advantage to do so. The only remedy for such abuses is to stop using identity as a passkey to all questions of truth or responsibility. Oppression will not cease because special political, epistemic, or moral privileges are awarded to the oppressed. Its elimination must be sought elsewhere

Deutliche Worte. Wer verlangt, dass einer unterdrückten Gruppe unhinterfragt geglaubt wird, der lädt dazu ein, dass dieses Privileg mißbraucht wird.

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