Die Skeptikerbewegung und der (Gender-) Feminismus

Was ich nie wirklich verstanden habe ist, wie der Genderfeminimus in der Skeptikerbewegung einen gewissen Rückhalt finden konnte. Vordergründig mag es Zusammenhänge geben, etwa das der Feminismus nach dem eigenen Verständnis ja herrschende Regeln hinterfragt, aber Skeptiker sind aus meiner Sicht aktiv um wissenschaftlich zu denken und aus dieser Sicht zu hinterfragen, was damit einer Zusammenarbeit mit dem Genderfeminismus eigentlich jeder Basis entziehen sollte.

Ersten Ärger gab es schon bei dem Elevatorgate bzw. dessen Fortsetzung mit Dawkins.

Jetzt ist wohl weiterer Ärger entstanden, weil einer der Skeptiker eben genau darauf hingewiesen hat, dass der Genderfeminismus in dieser Hinsicht problematische Theorien hat

Ronald Lindsay hat wohl bei der Veranstaltung „Women in Secularism“ eine Rede gehalten, die nicht gefiel:

This brings me to the concept of privilege, a concept much in use these days. (…)

That said, I am concerned the concept of privilege may be misapplied in some instances. First, some people think it has dispositive explanatory power in all situations, so, if for example, in a particular situation there are fewer women than men in a given managerial position, and intentional discrimination is ruled out, well, then privilege must be at work. But that’s not true; there may be other explanations. The concept of privilege can do some explanatory work at a general level, but in particular, individualized situations, other factors may be more significant. To bring this point home let’s consider an example of another broad generalization which is unquestionably true, namely that people with college degrees earn more over their lifetime than those who have only high school diplomas. As I said, as a general matter, this is unquestionably true as statistics have shown this to be the case. Nonetheless in any particular case, when comparing two individuals, one with a high school degree and one with a college degree, the generalization may not hold

But it’s the second misapplication of the concept of privilege that troubles me most. I’m talking about the situation where the concept of privilege is used to try to silence others, as a justification for saying, “shut up and listen.” Shut up, because you’re a man and you cannot possibly know what it’s like to experience x, y, and z, and anything you say is bound to be mistaken in some way, but, of course, you’re too blinded by your privilege even to realize that.

This approach doesn’t work. It certainly doesn’t work for me. It’s the approach that the dogmatist who wants to silence critics has always taken because it beats having to engage someone in a reasoned argument. It’s the approach that’s been taken by many religions. It’s the approach taken by ideologies such as Marxism. You pull your dogma off the shelf, take out the relevant category or classification, fit it snugly over the person you want to categorize, dismiss, and silence and … poof, you’re done. End of discussion. You’re a heretic spreading the lies of Satan, and anything you say is wrong. You’re a member of the bourgeoisie, defending your ownership of the means of production, and everything you say is just a lie to justify your power. You’re a man; you have nothing to contribute to a discussion of how to achieve equality for women.

Das ist aus meiner Sicht legitime Kritik, denn in der Tat wird die Privilegientheorie genutzt um Meinungen absolut zu setzen und anderen ihre Meinung abzusprechen. Dazu zB:

Bei Skepchick sieht man das ganze ganz anders: Er als weißer, mächtiger Mann solle sich nicht so anstellen, eher würden Feministinnen zum Schweigen gebracht werden, nicht Leute wie er. 

Damit verkennt sie aber, dass das Argument ja in der Tat auf diese Weise genutzt wird.

Die Feministin Ashley Miller sieht es ähnlich:

. People always take things personally. When someone says, “You’ve got privilege,” most of us want to yell, “I worked really hard to get what I’ve got.” And most of us have worked really hard, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t privileged — learning to see the privilege is difficult, and to see it we’ve got to be willing to shut up for a little while and recognize the possibility that there are things that we didn’t know before. In other words, if you’re not prepared to just listen for a little while, you’re going to spend the entire time trying to prove someone wrong instead of considering the possibility that they may have a point.

Ron Lindsay presents this as a war where either you “believe reason and evidence should ultimately guide our discussions, or you think they should be held hostage to identity politics.” This negates the possibility that this is a fight between factions who think that reason and evidence point to the necessity of identity politics and those who refuse to listen.

Damit geht sie allerdings aus meiner Sicht eher in die Richtung, vor der er genau gewarnt hat: Eben eine Identitätspolitik, bei der es nicht mehr auf Vernunft und beleg ankommt, sondern diese durch die Identität ersetzt wird.

Lindsay hatte zuvor treffend geschrieben:

This is exactly what I said:

“By the way, with respect to the ‘Shut up and listen’ meme, I hope it’s clear that it’s the ‘shut up’ part that troubles me, not the ‘listen’ part. Listening is good. People do have different life experiences, and many women have had experiences and perspectives from which men can and should learn. But having had certain experiences does not automatically turn one into an authority to whom others must defer. Listen, listen carefully, but where appropriate, question and engage.”

By contrast, the position against which I was arguing, as articulated by PZ Myers, is as follows:

“When a member of a marginalized group tells a member of a privileged group that their efforts, no matter how well-meaning, are wrong, there is one reasonable response: Shut up and listen. You might learn something.

There is also a terrible response: arguing back. It always makes it worse.

It’s not that they are infallible and we are totally stupid. It’s that THEY are the experts and the subject of the discussion.”

Myers-Watson assume you should never question, you should never argue back, because the person from the marginalized group must have the expertise.

I do not share that assumption, and I doubt its wisdom. Indeed, I think it is a horribly misguided, logically infirm understanding of communication. This model of communication asks us to put our critical thinking on hold merely because the person speaking comes from a marginalized group.

No extended argument or analysis of this issue is needed, and I do not think the choice could be starker. Either you believe reason and evidence should ultimately guide our discussions, or you think they should be held hostage to identity politics.

Wie man es in einer Skeptikerbewegung, die sich Vernunft und Wissenschaft auf die Fahnen geschrieben hat, anders sehen kann, leuchtet mir nicht ein. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass aus dieser Richtung weiterer Kritik kommt.