Thursday, 27 November 2014

What Type of Feminist (or Pro-Feminist) Are You? - Part 2

My blog has been linked to by another blog called "feminist resources", but I cannot access it. If you are the creator of "feminist resources", please give my access to your blog, so I can see how people are responding to my posts. I am glad to see that my blog is getting more attention (even if some of it comes from people who hate it).

This second quiz determines whether somebody is a moderate feminist or a radical feminist. Some of you may be wondering why I did not include “black feminism”, “socialist feminism” and “anarchist feminism” in my feminism sorting system. I will explain why in the conclusion of this post. I assure you that by leaving them out, I am not attempting to suggest that these types of feminism are invalid.

I think most revolutionary leftists and anti-racism activists know what they are without needing to be told by a quiz, but if you really want a quiz to tell you such things, you will find plenty. I know of no quiz that adequately addresses the divisions in which exist within modern feminism. If you think you have encountered such a quiz, let me know. 

Quiz Instructions

Only take this quiz if you have already taken the first quiz and were not deemed to be a liberal feminist. This second quiz works the same way as the first one. Write down whether you agree or disagree with the statements below, then use the answer key to calculate your score. Once again, some of the statements are more extreme than others. Not all statements deemed to be “radical” represent all radical feminists, nor do all of them represent my views. An automated version of this quiz is available here.

Quiz Questions (Statements)

1. Violent masculinity is the problem, not masculinity itself. Thus the solution is to promote a new, healthier kind of masculinity to men. This approach to masculinity enables us to challenge male dominance without threatening men’s sense of identity. 

2. The use of high heels and restrictive clothing may not be as harmful as breast implants and other forms of cosmetic surgery, but they can still cause pain and damage to women’s bodies. Thus such practices are not consistent with feminist ideals and we should aim to abolish them. 

3. When promoting our political viewpoints to the public, it is acceptable to phrase our beliefs using language that our political opponents may be sympathetic to (e.g. by claiming that allowing gay couples to adopt children promotes “family values” or that opposing pornography is a form of “sex positivity”).

4. Not everyone is obligated to get married or be part of nuclear family, but equality between men and women can be achieved without challenging these institutions. 

5. Labelling toys as “boy toys” or “girl toys” promotes discrimination. This needs to end, but re-labelling alone will not stop the promotion of harmful traits such as aggression and violence (which are currently promoted through “boy toys”, such as toy guns) or shallowness and a need to please others (which are promoted through “girl toys”.) We need to create different kinds of toys altogether. 

6. The feminist movement should only change its positions when given good reason to believe that its positions are incorrect or inconsistent with feminist principles. Positions should not be changed in order to make the movement more popular, socially acceptable or appealing to men. 

7. Modern day western society is patriarchal (male dominated), as are most other societies around the world. A truly non-patriarchal society would need to have an economic and political system which is totally different to that which currently exists in the West. It would also need a vastly different culture.

8. Mild beauty practices (e.g. putting on make-up, wearing fancy clothing) are not necessarily oppressive or deserving of political/feminist critique. So long as the women performing them feel good about their natural bodies and do not feel pressured into performing them, such beauty practices are consistent with feminist ideals.

9. Men can support feminism, but since they are the dominant group within patriarchy they cannot be considered part of the feminist movement any more than capitalists can belong to union.

10. Our notions of what a “man” or “woman” is should not be based on genitalia or what society says. People have the power to decide for themselves whether they are men, women or something else.

11. Western medicine is a patriarchal establishment that causes more harm than good and cannot be reformed, but should be abolished in favour of more traditional, female-centred healthcare. 

12. The only problem with society’s current beauty standards is that they are too rigid. A broader definition of beauty (one which includes non-white women and women who are not super thin and busty) is the solution to female body image issues. 

13. Gender identity is an innate aspect of all human beings. Attempts at abolishing categories such as “man”, “woman”, “masculine” and “feminine” will either not work or will cause great harm (e.g. it will create a dull, grey world in which there is no individuality.) 

14. The general public should not be intimidated by feminism, for its ideals match the dominant ideals of western society. Negative feelings towards feminism are a result of misunderstandings and poor communication on the part of the movement (e.g. excessive anger, incorrect use of language, etc).

15. In order for women to be fully liberated they should abandon traditional patriarchal religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam (and adopt either an outlook which is free of superstitious/supernatural beliefs or adhere to spiritual belief systems which are more pro-female.) 

16. Feminists should oppose any practice that promotes the belief that a woman’s physical appearance is more important than her inner qualities, including beauty pageants, fashion shows, the use of make-up and the promotion of dolls that stress the importance of looking pretty (e.g. Barbie dolls and Bratz dolls.) 

17. It is natural for there to be variations in human genitalia, but the sex roles which are imposed onto people, based on the kind of genitalia they have, are not natural. It is possible and desirable to create a world in which such roles, which are sometimes referred to as “gender roles”, do not exist. 

18. The abortion rights movement should acknowledge that most abortions are morally complex or potentially harmful. Failure to make this acknowledgement will result in women becoming alienated from pro-choice activism. 

19. Feminists are under no obligation to be respectful towards dominant institutions and ideas. All beliefs, traditions and art (no matter how revered they may be within a particular culture) should be open to political critique.

20. Criticising extreme beauty practices (such as breast implants and face lifts) is okay, but women who reject beauty practices altogether (e.g. by going out in public without putting on makeup or shaving their legs) and encourage other women to do the same, are going too far. 

Answer Key

1. Agree: -5 ------- Disagree: +5
2. Agree: +5 ------- Disagree: -5
3. Agree: -6 ------- Disagree: +4
4. Agree: -5 ------- Disagree: +5
5. Agree: +7 ------- Disagree: -4
6. Agree: +5 ------- Disagree: -5
7. Agree: +5 ------- Disagree: -5
8. Agree: -5 -------- Disagree: +5
9. Agree: +6 -------- Disagree: -4
10. Agree: -5 ------- Disagree: +5
11. Agree: +5 ------- Disagree: -5
12. Agree: -4 ------- Disagree: +5
13. Agree: -5 ------- Disagree: +5
14. Agree: -6 -------- Disagree: +4
15. Agree: +6 ------- Disagree: -4
16. Agree: +6 ------- Disagree: -4
17. Agree: +4 ------- Disagree: -6
18. Agree: -6 -------- Disagree: +4
19. Agree: +5 ------- Disagree: -5
20. Agree: -6 -------- Disagree: +4

From -100 to -21: Moderate Feminist

Notable Theorists / Representatives: Anita Sarkeesian, Jackson Katz, Ariel Levy
Related Concepts: Social Democracy, Media Criticism, Opposition to Sexual Objectification.

You are a moderate feminist. I came up with the term "moderate feminist" myself, so you probably do not know of anyone who uses the label. I use the term to describe feminists who are neither liberal nor radical. Moderate feminists are not liberal feminists because they oppose pornography, prostitution, extreme beauty practices (such as breast implants and genital surgery) and the spread of soft core pornographic images throughout the culture. They cannot be considered radical feminists, because they promote "healthy" masculinity and femininity, instead of calling for gender to be abolished. While they are usually critical of capitalism, they believe that it should be reformed, rather than abolished and would prefer to avoid angering those with power.

Your moderate feminist ideas do pose a challenge to the status quo. Thus, I consider them to be a genuine form of feminism. In universities, liberal academics sometimes denounce moderate feminists as "sex-negative" and "prudish", but your ideas are not viciously despised in the way that radical feminist ideas are and students are at least allowed to consider them. If students are lucky, a moderate feminist text may even appear on their reading lists.

From -20 to +20: Borderline

This borderline category works the same way as the one in the first quiz. If you get this score, take some time to think about your views, then come back and do the quiz again. After you have done this, it may be clearer whether you are a moderate or a radical feminist or it may not be. It is okay to not be certain.
From +21 to +100: Radical (or Pro-Radical) Feminist

Notable Theorists / Representatives: Lierre Keith, Gail Dines, Robert Jensen
Related Concepts: Gender Abolition, Sex Criticism, Radical Anti-Capitalism, Radical Environmentalism.

You are a radical feminist (or a supporter of radical feminism). Like moderate feminists, radical feminists oppose pornography, prostitution, sadomasochism (often euphemistically referred to as "BDSM"), extreme beauty practices and highly sexualised depictions of women within the culture. Unlike moderate feminists, radical feminists are gender abolitionists. They recognise that the concepts of "masculinity' and "femininity" do not have to exist and that they encourage men to behave in a dominate manner, while encouraging women to submit to such dominance. They often oppose other systems which are considered foundational to modern society, such as capitalism and traditional religion.

Your beliefs pose a serious threat to those with power (especially those who run the sex industry and the beauty industry) and are likely to get you in trouble at university. Radical feminists are rarely mentioned by academics. When they are it is only so that they can be attacked as "sex-negative", man-hating lunatics. The good news is that I am on your side. I got a 70 on this quiz. Feel free to get in touch with me (via comments or messages.)


The reason I did not include “black feminism” or “socialist feminism” in my quizzes is because such labels do not actually reveal whether somebody is a liberal, radical or moderate feminist. For example, one can believe that a socialist revolution should be brought about partially so that women can be liberated through “feminist pornography” which is produced by “empowered sex workers” in a democratically managed sex industry (yeah, right), in which case that person would be a socialist who supports liberal feminism. One may also believe that a socialist revolution should put an end to the sex industry and create a world in which sexual acts are never motivated by a need for money or a sense that one has some of kind of duty to provide others with sexual pleasure. Such a person would be a socialist who promoted moderate or radical feminism. In a previous post, I argued that liberalism is not truly compatible with opposition to racism and capitalism. Nevertheless, I recognise that some non-white women and socialists do in fact embrace liberal feminism.

I am a socialist myself. I also support anti-racism activism, both for its own sake and because I recognise that, in most of the world, the participation of non-whites is needed to carry out a popular socialist revolution. According to this second quiz, I am more radical than moderate. I believe that gender has to be abolished in order for women to be liberated and I think a socialist revolution could enable this. My score was not 100%, so my ideas are not completely in line with radical feminism, but they are more radical than moderate. I guess you could call me a revolutionary socialist who supports radical feminism or you can call a totalitarian, prudish, hateful monster. It is up to you.
I hope you enjoyed my quizzes. Let me know what result you get and whether it was what you expected. Feel free to try and guess which “radical” statements I disagreed with. As always, constructive criticism is welcome.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

What Type of Feminist (or Pro-Feminist) Are You? - Part 1

Most of you have probably seen my comments on Feminist Current and know that I sort self-proclaimed "feminists" into three types, "liberal", "moderate" and "radical". You probably have some idea of how I assign those labels. This post will give you a more detailed understanding of my feminist sorting method and hopefully provide some entertainment.

If one were to ask a typical “sex-positive”, “feminist” academic to explain the difference between liberal feminism and radical feminism, the academic would probably state that radical feminists have a more “systemic analysis” and want to overthrow “the system”, while liberal seek to work within it. This definition amounts to little more than claiming that radical feminists are radical. Such statements are utterly meaningless, unless one explains what “the system” is and how a world without the “system” would be different from the world we currently live in. Simply calling the system “patriarchy” and complaining about men being “judgmental” (i.e. non-liberal) does not cut it.  

As an alternative to such vagueness, I have invented my own method of sorting self-proclaimed feminists into categories. I promised I would create such a quiz in the comment section of this post, it took me a while given all the other things I wanted to complete, but here it is.

Quiz Instructions 

My method for sorting feminists (and supporters of feminism) consists of two quizzes. This post features the first of these two quizzes. This quiz distinguishes liberal feminists from actual feminists (i.e. people who care about something other than orgasms and prettiness.) You can read the questions that the quiz consists of and calculate your score down below or you can click here to take a more automated version of the quiz. The questions in the automated quiz are exactly the same as the ones here, but the automated quiz will not give you a numerical score (only a categorical result.)  

If you prefer to take this quiz the old fashioned way, simply write down your responses to the statements below. Your responses should be either “agree” or “disagree”. I think neutral options promote intellectual cowardice. You can then check the answer key to calculate how many “points” they have (do this after responding to all the statements.) Some of the statements are extreme, others are more moderate and they are weighted accordingly. Be aware that not all statements deemed to be “liberal” represent all liberal feminists.

Quiz Questions (Statements) 

1. The use of prostitutes is morally unacceptable in all or most cases. 

2. When ambitious women are able to achieve economic success through their own efforts, without encountering discrimination, feminism will have done its job. 

3. To question a woman’s decision to have her healthy genitalia surgically altered in ways that make them look more like the genitalia in pornography is to deprive the woman of bodily autonomy. 

4. Most of the problems experienced by women who work in the sex industry would disappear if the stigma imposed upon pornography, prostitution and stripping did not exist and if the women involved were recognised as having agency and empowerment. 

5. Sex can be a pleasurable experience, but it is not a human right. Males can remain physically and psychologically healthy, even if they do not get as much sex as they want.   

6. A key factor that distinguishes a healthy sexual activity from an unhealthy one is the absence of power dynamics (meaning that neither partner can be described as the “dominant” or the “submissive”.) 

7. Young girls (seven years old or younger) who express a desire to become prostitutes or pornography performers should be praised for their sexual empowerment. 

8. Protests, strikes and occupations of corporate spaces are more effective, more democratic forms of activism than actions typically undertaken by individuals, such as writing to politicians or attempting to rise to power within mainstream politics in order to generate change.  

9. Women who are suffering from body image issues should not view sexualised compliments from men (e.g. “you look hot, babe”) as a solution to such problems, for such compliments are not a healthy or lasting source of self worth. 

10. Some white people have a sexual desire to play the role of “master” within the context of sex and sexual relationships and want a black partner to play the role of “slave”. The public expression of these desires (e.g. by advertisements that ask for “black slaves”) promotes racism.  

11. One of the main aims of progressive political activism should be to make people feel empowered in all that they do. Progressives should aim to combat all feelings of shame and hatred, as well as the belief that one is a “victim”. 

12. Female performers who represent their bodies in a way that is aimed at evoking sexual arousal in viewers, such as BeyoncĂ© and Lady Gaga, are empowering themselves. They are good role models for young girls. 

13. Overall, the production and consumption of pornography is harmful to society. 

14. If a woman is being bullied for a particular facial feature, it is empowering for her to modify her appearance through cosmetic surgery in an attempt to stop such bullying from occurring in the future. 

15. Every woman can achieve her own liberation through making empowering personal choices. 

16. Sexual acts should be free from aggressive, pain-causing actions (e.g. hitting people, tying them up, whipping them, etc.) 

17. Leg extension (a process in which a woman’s leg bones are broken and stretched apart so that they will be longer when they regrow*) is a beauty practice which has recently emerged in China. It is clearly harmful and is likely to have come about as a result of sexism and white supremacy. 

18. The supposed “power” that women get from provoking sexual arousal in men, is merely a fleeting self-esteem boost. It does not constitute a genuine form of political empowerment for women. 

19. Sexual activities which put people in danger of dying (such as suffocating people or placing knives near their throats) are morally acceptable if the people in danger consent. 

20. Women can benefit greatly from getting breast implants, making any economic costs and medical risks involved worthwhile. 

* Yes, leg extension is a real thing. See this video for more information. The discussion of leg extension starts at around ten minutes, I recommend watching the full video to learn about the political and cultural context of the practice.

Answer Key

1. Agree: +5 ------- Disagree: -5

2. Agree: -3 -------- Disagree: +6

3. Agree: -5 -------- Disagree: +5

4. Agree: -5 -------- Disagree: +5

5. Agree: +6 ------- Disagree: -4

6. Agree: +6 ------- Disagree: -3

7. Agree: -8 -------- Disagree: +3

8. Agree: +6 -------- Disagree: -4

9. Agree: +5 -------- Disagree: -5

10. Agree: +4 ------ Disagree: -6

11. Agree: -3 ------- Disagree: +6

12. Agree: -4 ------- Disagree: +6

13. Agree: +5 ------- Disagree: -5

14. Agree: -6 -------- Disagree: +4

15. Agree: -3 -------- Disagree: +6

16. Agree: +6 ------- Disagree: -4

17. Agree: +3 ------- Disagree: -7

18. Agree: +5 ------- Disagree: -5

19. Agree: -6 -------- Disagree: +4

20. Agree: -6 -------- Disagree: +4 

From -100 to -21: Liberal Feminist

Notable Theorists / Representatives: Michael Foucault, Laci Green, Naomi Wolf
Related Concepts: Post-Modernism, Moral/Cultural Relativism, Sex-positivity, Agency/Empowerment.

You are a liberal. Liberals believe in the principle that "anything goes" and think that this principle should apply to women as well as men (along with people of all ethnic backgrounds, economic classes, body types, etc.) They call this belief “feminism”. They think all criticisms of behaviours (or “choices” as they call them) are oppressive, but are usually most eager to endorse highly feminine behaviours (e.g. beauty practices) and sexual activities which they deem to be "subversive".

You would fit in very well at a typical, modern day university, since your viewpoint is the dominant one within that context. I, on the other hand, find liberalism intellectually cowardly and very much in line with the status quo. However, these days many great feminist thinkers start out as liberals. If you were previously unaware of the conflicts within feminism and the fact that most universities in the West teach liberal feminism (if they teach feminism at all), while ignoring or attacking other kinds, then I would encourage you to look into alternative forms of feminism. The works of Gail Dines, Robert Jensen, Anita Sarkeesian and Ariel Levy are a good place to start.

From -20 to +20: Borderline 

This category does not appear on the automated quiz. It appears here because I would rather not assign people to categories if their scores are too close to zero. Contrary to what liberals may suggest, I do not insist that all people accept “binary” identities. If you get this score, take some time to think about your views, then come back and do the quiz again. Once you have thought about your beliefs, it may be clearer which category you belong in.

From +21 to +100: Moderate or Radical Feminist
You are not a liberal feminist and neither am I. I cannot tell whether you are a moderate or radical yet, but you are at least willing to criticise some of the dominant ideas within the mainstream feminist movement and probably have a genuine concern for the liberation of women and not just your own sexual arousal or “empowerment” (whatever that means.) You criticise at least some masculine and feminine behaviours. You are probably more critical of capitalism than your liberal counterparts.

Note that a high score (closer to +100) on this first quiz does not necessarily indicate that one is radical rather than moderate. It just indicates that one is very non-liberal. Take my second quiz (once it is available) to find out whether you are a moderate or a radical.


I hope you enjoyed the first step in my “feminist sorting” process. In case you are interested, I scored +100% on this quiz, meaning that I am clearly not liberal (at least by my criteria.)

The second quiz will be featured in my next blog post, along with my results for that quiz. If you have been labelled a “liberal feminist” by this quiz, you do not need to take the second one, but I hope you enjoyed this one. 
My next post should be up a few days after the release of this one. If it is not, feel free to remind me to post it (through comments or messages.) Feedback on this quiz is welcome. If you think any of the statements were phrased in a biased manner or are otherwise incorrect, let me know.