Das Akkordeon-Prinzip: Zur Ausweitung von Begriffen im Feminismus

In dem immer wieder großartigen Buch „Professing Feminism“ wird nach „IDPOL “ und „TotalRej“ ein weiteres in den Gender Studies und damit auch im Feminismus angewandtes Konzept nämlich das des Akkordeon Worts dargestellt:

Somewhat more formally, we might refer to this game as „The Failure to Draw Distinctions.“ When this game is played, concepts are stretched so widely that crucial distinctions are obliterated. Consider two examples: the feminist catchphrase „any woman can be a lesbian“ and the „art project“ recently exhibited on the University of Maryland campus that listed as „potential rapists“ male names pulled randomly from a student directory. The latter action raises all sorts of problems about the legal and ethical limits of „performance art“ and the political effectiveness of guerilla theater, but our focus is on how feminist claims such as „all men are potential rapists“ or „every woman can be a lesbian“ are intended to be understood.

Ja, klare, gut definierte Konzepte sind aus meiner Sicht in der Tat nicht die Stärke des Feminismus. Bereits Grundbegriffe wie „Patriarchat“ sind extrem unklar, so dass es einmal tatsächlich eine Herrschaft der Männer ist, dann wieder nur ein Bild, welches für bestimmte Verhaltensweisen steht, die mit Männern so gesehen wieder nichts zu tun haben, aber doch irgendwie männlich sind. Auch hier kann das Konzept auf nahezu alles angewendet werden, selbst Frauen können sich die patriarchalen Normen zu eigen machen und nach ihnen handeln, was dann die Schuld der Männer ist, die diese Normen schaffen.

Ich zitiere mal ihr Beispiel zur Verwendung des Begriffs Lesbe:

The game of Accordion Concepts gets under way when academic feminists „theorize“ the slogan. An example is Adrienne Rich’s redefinition, noted in an earlier chapter, of lesbian to include all women who put energy into, or who identify with, the life projects of other women, regardless of whom they happen to sleep with or be in love with.5 On this redefinition, Catharine MacKinnon, the radical feminist legal theorist who has appeared in newspaper photos arm in arm with her fiance, Jeffrey Masson, becomes a prototypical lesbian because of her intense political commitments to the cause of women. To be sure, Rich’s essay is more subtle than this, because she at least introduces a continuum, permitting the drawing of some distinctions. If taken literally, however—which it often is in Women’s Studies courses—her extension-by-definition of lesbian rules out the possibility of conceiving either of a nonfeminist lesbian or of a nonlesbian feminist. Such semantic sorcery benefits neither the lesbian rights movement nor the cause of feminism.

Hier wird also das Wort seiner eigentlichen Bedeutung entkleidet und neu verwendet, gleichzeitig aber irgendwie auch in der alten Bezeichnung.

Und zu Rape:

Using this analysis, to say that „X is a potential rapist“ is to say nothing at all specific about X’s individual potentialities. The statement simply conveys the fact that he grew up in a patriarchal society in which, supposedly, rape is normal. But the „theorizing“ of the concept of rape does not stop there. In a radio interview, Robin Morgan proposed that the legal definition of rape be extended to cases where women, though not subjected to forced sex, are cajoled into unwanted sexual activities—cases where, as she put it (alluding to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale), the woman would rather be playing Scrabble.7 And Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon have long argued that in a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not in a strong enough social position to give meaningful consent—an assault on individual female autonomy uncannily reminiscent of old arguments for why women should not have political rights.8 Obviously, rape is an extremely grave crime, and its definition deserves careful analysis and debate. But serious discussion is not advanced by redefining terms in such a way that every time a feminist woman marries a man she is, strictly speaking, a person on the lesbian continuum marrying a potential rapist. By such definitions we would have to say that every offspring of such a union was conceived in an act of rape.

Perhaps some radical feminists do hold such a belief, which may explain their hostility to childbearing. Most feminists would, of course, neither draw such implications nor endorse them. They want to have it both ways. They would like to retain the charge that rape is a terrible violation of human rights and, at the same time, stretch the legal definition of the crime beyond all reason.

Die Ausweitung des Begriffs Vergewaltigung ist in der Tat beängstigend, ebenso wie der Versuch Handeln, dass eine „Nichtvergewaltigung“ darstellt, immer enger zu fassen, indem man schon fast vertragsrechtliche Gefüge darauf anwendet und schlimmer als dort nicht nur einen „Vertragsschluss“, sondern auch dessen stetige freudige Bestätigung fordert („enthusiastic consent“).

Es ist aus meiner Sicht auch eine direkte Folge von „IDPOL“, weil dort eine Opferolympiade losgetreten wird, in der jede Feministin deutlich machen will, dass sie noch strenger gegen alle Benachteiligungen ist und andere noch nicht hinreichend bedacht haben, dass die Bedrohung noch nicht farbig genug ausgemalt ist und die Gegenmaßnahmen noch nicht kompromisslos genug sind.

Die Autorinnen weisen auch noch einmal auf die Folgen hin:

In this simplistic feminist worldview, conditions such as racism and sexism are original sins of the soul that all individuals must constantly and publicly confess to in themselves and confront in others. This theological postulate is then invoked to prove that every charge of racism or sexism must be true. One may try to dispute details of who did what to whom, but the answer to the question is always given in the premise that underlies it. Such a move, of course, trivializes the very evils feminism claims to oppose. Whatever is meant by calling Women’s Studies programs „racist“ (which is a currently fashionable charge), it is surely something other than what a reference to the Ku Klux Klan as a racist organization would signify.(..)

Feminists should ponder this question. Once so vehemently critical of the attempts of anthropologists and philosophers to generalize about the human condition, they are now themselves engaged in a most dubious form of universalizing.

Warum nur die feministische Wissenschaft zählt („TotalRej“)

Aus dem Buch „Professing Feminism“ hatte ich bereits „IDPOL“ angeführt. Ein weiteres Konzept, dass nach den Autorinnen von vielen Feministinnen vertreten wird (wenn auch nicht so ausdrücklich) ist „TotalRej“ oder Totale Rejektion, also totale Verwerfung. Dabei geht es darum,  dass das gesamte maskuline, patriarchale , eurocentrische Erbe abgelehnt wird und dann versucht wird, einen neuen feministischen Ersatz für das zu finden, was in diesem entsprechend verkörpert ist.

Earlier generations of feminists believed that if principles of basicdecency, justice, and fairness were applied to women, most of women’s grievances would be resolved. There was nothing wrong with the principles themselves, according to the older view—it was simply a matter of extending them fairly to women, children, and the disadvantaged. TOTAL REJ feminists, by contrast, argue that two hundred years of American „enlightenment“ have failed to deliver the goods to women—we cannot even pass the Equal Rights Amendment. There are deep reasons, then, why women are justified in doubting that piecemeal modifications of the present society will ever liberate them. Our culture, including all that we are taught in schools and universities, is so infused with patriarchal thinking that it must be torn up root and branch if genuine change is to occur. Everything must go—even the allegedly universal disciplines of logic, mathematics, and science, and the intellectual values of objectivity, clarity, and precision on which the former depend.

Und etwas näher zu der dahinterstehenden Denkweise:

A much-beloved aphorism taken from an essay by Audre Lorde is often quoted on this point: „the Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s house. (…) One contributor to the Women’s Studies E-mail list took the suggestion to its drastic con- • lusion: “ I think you could burn the house down. Why would one want to use the master’s tools?“

We wish to make it clear that what we are objecting to is the rash nihilism of this game. We have no quarrel with serious debates about feminist challenges to and interventions in traditional disciplines. But in many Women’s Studies settings, arguments about traditional knowledge tend to be reduced to avowals of a kind of feminist knownothingness. This is the posture we characterize as TOTAL REJ

Es wird dann dargestellt, dass aufgrund dieser „Neueinkleidung“ und der Ablehnung der nichtumgeformten Theorien vieles an Einordnung verloren geht und auch Kritik aus anderen Bereichen ausgeblendet wird, zudem wird dadurch ein Denken gefördert, welches eben gerade nur die Ausrichtung auf das Fach und die dort übernommenen Gedanken fördert. Erst nach feminstischer Neuinterpretation und nur in diesem Rahmen wird Wissen einbezogen, ansonsten eben abgelehnt.

Hier ist es noch einmal gut dargstellt, welche Folgen dies haben kann:

Students sometimes act as if the invitation to engage in a wholesale condemnation of nonfeminist writings and ideas were to be taken literally. Why should they have to read Darwin, Marx, or Freud when those authors wrote only sexist nonsense? A historical shift has clearly taken place when a Women’s Studies student feels justified in submitting a paper (as reported by a political science professor we interviewed) consisting of the single line: „Freud was a cancer-ridden, cigar-smoking misogynist.“ And how reassuring the thought that one can ignore all science, all economic theory, and all technology because, after all, these brainchildren of „malefactors“ just oppress women, as some Women’s Studies students now write on their affordable, efficient word processors while listening to a CD as their wrinkle-free jeans are being washed in the laundromat and their Stouffer’s spinach souffle is heating up in the microwave. What young female students in search of meaningful education most need is broad exposure to countervailing ideas. In a normal program of studies they would indeed receive such exposure, at the very least through distribution requirements in a comprehensive arts and sciences curriculum. But TOTAL REJ encourages them to discredit everything that is not feminist, and the highly charged moralistic atmosphere cultivated by Women’s Studies throws up hard-tosurmount barriers around the student who might wish to explore other points of view.

Hier wird eine gefährliche Einengung des Blickes deutlich, die rechtfertigt, warum man sich nicht mit anderen Wissenschaften auseinandersetzen muss, und wenn dann nur in der Interpretation feministischer Wissenschaftler. Es ist der Grund, warum bei biologischen Argumenten nur auf Fausto-Sterling, Voss oder Fine verwiesen wird und alles andere nicht gelesen wird, sondern einfach als sexistische Kackscheiße abgetan wird.

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.

vgl. auch: