„Strategisches bösartiges Münchhausen Syndrom“

„Niemand interessiert sich für feministische Theorie“

James Lindsay legt dar, warum sich niemand für feministische Theorie interessiert:

Let’s be real about something important: nobody actually cares what feminist scholars think or why they think it. Truth be told, this isn’t surprising. Feminist scholarship is a peculiar academic backwater that nobody should pay any attention to—and it’s probable that nobody would if it weren’t becoming so painfully influential.

That outsized influence is also unsurprising. People care very much about gender equality and about women’s rights — in both the US and the UK, gender equality enjoys the support of roughly four out of five people. This sets up a problem. With the exception of other feminists, more or less the entire world completely ignoresfeminist theory, and they have done so for decades, which has let it go quite far down its own self-referential rabbit holes. That this scholarship has gone ignored while developing what looks like a storied academic pedigree is why feminist theory endures and exerts so much control over academia and society, which is to say it’s a rather huge problem.

In der Tat profitieren auch aus meiner Sicht Feministen davon, dass die meisten Leute keine Ahnung haben, wie abwegig und lebensfern die heutigen Theorien im Feminismus sind und das dort Probleme diskutiert werden, die die meisten Leute nicht beschäftigen.

It is true that gender studies, which conceptually encompasses feminist theory, maintains almost no representation within the one thousand most significant academic journals (Gender & Society, the top among them, proudly ranks 824among all academic journals), but it’s difficult to ignore many of the more recent real-world applications of feminist theory. I could point to obvious egregious abuses here, like theshamefulexcesses on college campuses and outsized moral panic about sexual harassment, yet I’m even more compelled by “shrill” feminist popularizer Lindy West’s recent tirade against men in the the New York Times. Even more worrying, this screed echoes feminist scholar Lisa Wade’s weeks-earlier definitely-not-man-hating assertion that “the problem is not toxic masculinity; it’s that masculinity is toxic,” and that “we need to call masculinity out as a hazardous ideology and denounce anyone who chooses to identify with it.” For those who don’t realize, “toxic masculinity” is a technical term originating from within feminist theorizing, not some cute turn of phrase invented by edgy writers with an axe to grind.

Auch wissenschaftlich sind Gender Studies eine Filterblase: Sie werden nicht zitiert und zitieren auch wenig außerhalb ihres eigenen Bereiches.

Sie führen allerdings ein recht reges Leben in Universitäten und auch im Journalismus.

Es werden dann verschiedene Gründe angeführt, die dazu führen, dass die Theorien außerhalb dieser Orte eine geringe Verbreitung haben:

Like the myriad details describing the island universe of a video game you’ve never played, or the theological nitty-gritty of a religion you don’t believe, or the explanation of a really trippy dream someone else had and insists on telling you about (“we were together at our house, but it wasn’t this house, it was some different house, but it was our house in the dream, and you had two forks…”), feminist theory bears almost every hallmark characteristic of the un-care-about-able:

  • It’s properly esoteric like many well-developed academic disciplines.
  • It seems to describe an alternate universe that looks kind of like ours but fantastically distorted in a way that makes it hard to suspend one’s disbelief (and this is consequential).
  • It involves tragically two-dimensional Manichean struggles of good (allegedly emancipatory feminism) against evil (human nature, masculinity, men, “patriarchy,” women being themselves, “oppression,” science, pornography, media portrayals of essentially everything, emojis, and so on).
  • It sounds like conspiracy theories (because it utilizes several, such as “patriarchy,” “hegemonic masculinity,” “rape culture,” and “hegemonic femininity”).
  • It gets presented in obscurantist technical jargon (like that you only disagree because of your “privilege-preserving epistemic pushback”) and its own specialized colloquial language that excludes the uninitiated.
  • It’s filled to the brim with confusing turf wars (materialist/Marxist feminist, radical feminist, intersectional feminist, gender critical feminist; liberal feminist).
  • It goes almost completely unread, not only by everyone outside the field, but also by almost everyone inside the field too (more than 80% of its papers do not receive a single citation).
  • It absolutely refuses to listen to anybody else.

Ein Teil der Theorie muss auch deshalb so kompliziert geschrieben sein, damit man die Schlichtheit der Theorien nicht erkennt. Erkennt man sie, dann scheinen sie häufig in der Tat wie Verschwörungstheorien.

In dem Artikel wird dann dargestellt, dass Sullivan versucht hat, Kritik am Feminismus zu üben, in dem er einen Hoax-Artikel „“The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” veröffentlicht hat. Er sei deswegen kritisiert worden, er solle sich doch ernsthaft und wissenschaftlich mit den dortigen Theorien auseinander setzen:

This is where the high-minded theorizing of the academy runs headlong into the brick wall of reality, however, for three significant reasons.

Firstly, feminist theory is un-care-about-able, so had we engaged with it more seriously, no one would care.

Ich glaube zwar auch, dass die wenigsten sich für feministische Theorie im Detail interessieren, aber wie beispielsweise die Debatte von Jordan Peterson zeigt, wollen die Leute durchaus, dass man sich mit dem Feminismus auseinandersetzt und ich denke sie wollen auch typische Gegenargumente haben, die sie aufgreifen können. Ich hoffe da noch immer auf einen „Der Kaiser ist nackt“ Effekt.

Secondly, high-minded scholarly engagement with feminist theory fares poorly against the reality of the situation: all charlatanry benefits from serious engagement with the peers it hopes to emulate. Creationists want to debate biologists for the simple reason that some of the imprimatur of biology accidentally scrapes off on the creationist from the moment the debate is scheduled. “See, I’m doing science too! This scientist wants to debate me!” Feminist theorizing, not unlike theology, in this way benefits but is not injured by engagement with mature philosophy and science that attempts to treat it on its own terms. “We’re feminist philosophers and sociologists! We inspire and participate in academic debate in those fields!” We need to think very carefully about whether this is something we want to do. The alternative, by the way, is to refuse to engage its premises on its own terms and to reveal it to be an unsophisticated and inadequate model for understanding reality.

Das geht natürlich auch andersrum: Gerade weil man Creationisten lange nichts entgegenhalten konnte, haben sie sich so lange gehalten. Und auch jetzt würden sicherlich mehr Leute von Kreationisten verführt werden können oder für ihre Thesen eingenommen sein können, wenn die vielen Löcher in den Theorien nicht so offensichtlich wären.

Wenn Gender Studies Studenten eine Pflichtveranstaltung „Gegenargumente“ haben müssten, in denen sie entsprechende Klausuren schreiben müssten, ich denke die Gender Studies würden auch innerhalb der Universitäten erhebliche Glaubwürdigkeitsprobleme bekommen.

Thirdly and most importantly, criticism of feminist theory, from within feminism itself, is worse than un-care-about-able. It’s arranged so that substantive criticism makes no impact. How could it? It has set up a self-protective system (as do nearly all conspiracy theories) in which criticism of feminist theory is understood to validate feminist theory. Take, for example, the commonly heard claims that “criticism of feminism is why we need feminism.” Under feminist theory, which is deeply dependent upon postmodern thought, knowledge is believed to be constructed by “dominant discourses,” and feminism, particularly intersectional feminism, is taken to be the true defender of marginalized voices, including those allegedly of women. Worse than this, because of its beliefs about these structures of power, to criticize feminist theory is to violate a moral taboo against gender equality. Critics of feminist theory, even in purely scholarly terms, are easily derided as being complicit in sexism, and the moral architecture of the post-1960s academy left other academics (and administrators) particularly weak against these charges. Thus, feminist theory perpetuated and concentrated, making itself simultaneously less connected to reality and even more un-care-about-able.

Das ist in der Tat richtig. Der Feminismus hat sich ein Gedankengebäude aufgebaut, in der so gut wie jede Kritik abgetan werden kann. Das macht es sehr schwierig dort eine interne Kritik in Gang zu bringen. Denn mit der Kritik wird man zugleich zum Feind, zum Unterstützer der Bösen, zum Verhinderer des Fortschritts und damit zu einem Ausgestoßenen

Criticism of feminist theory therefore cannot work in the normal way. From within, it can only be seen as evidence that the dominant discourses it seeks to overthrow are still dominant, thus need opposing even more strongly. Interpreted from within the scholarly architecture of feminist theory, critics like myself, Peter Boghossian, Paul Gross, Norman Levitt, Alan Sokal, and Steven Pinker are just white males exercising our epistemic pushback, like every other man who disagrees. (Nota bene: Women who disagree suffer from “internalized misogyny” and, in an attempt to maintain favor with “the mens,” engage in the same epistemic pushback, once removed — so there’s no winning here, only agreeing with the feminists, being used as evidence of the rightness of feminism and the need for more feminism and feminist theory, or being ignored.)

In der Tat:

  • Männer die den Feminismus kritisieren sichern nur ihre Privilegien
  • Frauen die den Feminismus kritisieren, sind vom System gehirngewaschen

Es kann also keine legitime Kritik geben

This makes two potent forces that have allowed feminist theory to endure beyond the endurance of responsible scholarship.

First, it deflects all criticism by abusing a loophole in the academic and cultural Left’s moral architecture: an overwhelming need to distance itself from anything anyone could conceivably call bigotry, which is a need outdone only by an even stronger impulse to throw clear virtuous signals proving the uncrossable magnitude of that distance.

Second, it makes itself un-care-about-able by retreating to a fantastic academic island, like theology. The trouble is that the island has made itself well-armed and we’re well within range of its missiles. Given that this is occurring within a wider environment of almost complete indifference to feminist theory for the very good reason that it is producing very little that is comprehensible, coherent or substantive, this is indeed a problem.

The upshot of this grim view is that it gives us an out. It doesn’t leave us in the position of trying to care about feminist theory — that’s almost impossible and then worse. Rather, it should leave us asking some serious questions about what it means that feminist theory is simultaneously un-care-about-able and yet enormously consequential in the hands of the activists it churns out.

I’ll suggest that the answers to those questions render it outside the demarcation of responsible scholarship, however scholarly it appears. Scholarship that refuses to be criticized isn’t scholarship; it’s an age-old mimic known as sophistry — the kind of philosophical-looking poppycock that assumes its conclusions and writes endlessly in circles trying to hide that fact. It doesn’t need to be this way. Feminist theory and gender studies more widely could be both worthwhile and interesting if they valued evidence and rigor and accepted criticism. Currently, they do not. If we can accept this, then the way forward is clear. If feminist theory isn’t scholarship at all, we have no obligation to treat it as such.

Das verkennt meiner Meinung nach, dass man um dies zu erkennen eben bereits bestimmte Grundüberzeugungen des Feminismus ablehnen muss. Wenn man das nicht macht, dann wird man eben dies nicht einsehen.

Deswegen halte ich es nach wie vor für das Beste, wenn man deutlich macht, dass die Theorien wenig Gehalt haben und viel Hass enthalten.