Feminism as an ongoing process rather than as an end-state?
Duncan Geoghegan
11

an ongoing process rather than as an end-state?

I’m not sure what you mean by the term “end-state” but I would argue that history has this nagging persistence of continuing itself, past the life spans of both individuals and experiments on governance. Things get tried, and some outlast their architects and early adherents, and some don’t.

If I can take the liberty of extrapolating (of course I can…) the underlying premise behind such a term as “end-state”, it hints to me of a mindset I find all too persistent in these times, one of our being near the end of history itself. This is an idea that has become so naturalized since the dawn of the nuclear age, that it affects the approach a great many individuals might take to examining their place in history to a far greater extent than they may realize. I personally believe it has contributed to a great deal of the nihilism and narcissism of the lives of generations of young people, as if what they do and what they value is of no greater importance than within their own lifetimes, which whether they think so consciously or not, they might calculate as subject to immediate termination at any time.

One might take into consideration the long career of Fidel Castro, just as one example, as both a regime-changer and a regime dictator. That vast epoch of the history of his island nation and its people has thus far taken place entirely within the scope of an era that had begun one morning in New Mexico in the summer of 1945, when a new force was first unleashed that quite terrifyingly suggested that now humanity has the means to render itself extinct. Indeed, the very closest the human species ever came, down to a matter of minutes and seconds and stand-down orders issued even after final deadlines had run out and shots across bows on the high seas had already been fired, was an incident in October 1962 which began on Castro’s watch and in his sphere of influence.

And oddly enough, history went right on past that moment. There may turn out, even in a place like Cuba, or North Korea, or the People’s Republic of China, to be no such thing as any “end-state.” Each of these are far more likely to go the way of all forms of rule and all rulers and their entourages for all of human history: into the past.

The future has a marvelously persistent way of becoming the present, and making nothing in particular the final outcome of anything.

And so with feminism, and its various phases, forward-marches, outcomes, setbacks and temporary ascendancies: it is no more and no less than yet another experiment in single-issue politicking, which has within its own ranks and among its own adherents proven itself again and again to be unstable and highly pliable based on the expediency of short-term circumstances.

Something presented as so utterly simple and self-explanatory as “the equality of women”, turns out to be no more simple nor self-executing than any other simplistic mantra such as “the means of production belong to the masses” or “the wages of sin is death” or “the cause of suffering is desire.” All these things are in themselves no more than wishful thinking, which at times, sometimes for a very long time, become transformed into forcible mandates imposed on whole populations whether they believe them sincerely or not.

But history goes on right past them, just as it has the idea that “rain follow the plough” or that the cause of illness is evil spirits and the cure for them is some form of parasitic and invasive bloodletting.

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