There is a particular strand of feminism, mostly predominant on college campuses and within the online echo chambers of the social justice warriors, that is philosophically problematic at all levels. Now, feminism as a perspective is not wrong when it is articulated in the epitomized phrase “legal equality and social equity.” In fact, this is something everyone can and should get behind. However, feminism as a framework of analysis has gone beyond that simple idea and taken on problematic layers.
First, these feminists tend to be intellectually shallow. They typically refuse to engage in real intellectual discussion. Instead they simply shout trite and soporific aphorisms and buzzwords like “rape culture”, “mansplaining”, “white privilege”, “check your privilege”, or “patriarchy”. Feelings matter more than thought, and intellectual rigor is rejected outright because they cannot be challenged. Furthermore, they often abuse statistics to fit their agenda, e.g., the wage gap is only $.77 through statistical chicanery and 1/5 women are sexually assaulted on college campuses only if one accepts an unscientific, online survey of two universities.
Second, these feminists attempt to create a cosmology, a universalist philosophy, out of a single analytical tool. Everything, absolutely everything, is perceived through the lens of patriarchy and female oppression. Music, art, movies, literature, politics, even war are all forced and pigeonholded into this single tool of analysis. This is philosophically incoherent as no particularist aspect of our lives can become universalist.
Third, modern American feminism rejects the material world, human nature, and other important assumptions to undertake a realistic analysis of the world. Biology is irrelevant for feminists. The material world can simply be remade into any image they want. Gender norms can easily be undone as biology and the material world are of no importance and have no determination on the self. As such because they believe everything is socially constructed, they think some sort of sexual utopia can exist if “society” is just re-engineered.
Finally, and their most egregious sin, is the feminists’ devotion to a liberal monism, demanding everyone in society acquiesce to their view of the world, and shrilly screaming down anyone who dissents. No one is allowed to disagree, which completely goes against a free society. For example, actress Maisie Williams said, “[W]e should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ – and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.” Even feminists cannot hold a differing opinion on any issue. Just look at how Camille Paglia has been treated by other feminists. Critics are immediately called sexist, told they are mansplaining, or told they are apologists for rape culture. Freedom of thought and speech are pushed aside in the pursuit of their political agenda.
Not all strands of feminism have these problems, of course. French feminism in particular acknowledges the differences between men and women, and because of these differences certain policies need to be implemented to help women (like funded childcare) so social equity can happen.
Although I actually tend to agree with feminists on several policy and social issues like paid maternity leave, government funded childcare, and access to birth control, I think everyone must reject this flawed feminism as an ideological framework and consistently challenge these feminists until they use a stronger philosophical foundation, set aside their poor assumptions, and are willing to allow free thought and dissent.