The Problem of Tribal Feminism

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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The Problem of Tribal Feminism

This essay will explore the concept of tribal feminism, examining its implications for the broader feminist movement, particularly in terms of inclusivity and intersectionality. PapersOwl offers a variety of free essay examples on the topic of Critical Theory.

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History of humankind has been rough with women. Systematic disenfranchisement and oppression have led to the impregnation of female inferiority in societies. One of the triggers that have led to the progression was the waves of feminism as a social movement. The first two out of three waves known as philosophical feminism have resulted in the improvement of women as autonomous political and professionally recognised people with legally distinguished rights. However, the third wave known as contemporary feminism or tribal feminism has been advocating for the superiority of women above men.

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The main goal of the movement as such has shifted from the first goal of philosophical feminism that aimed for a greater sense of equality and equity for women than claims of women’s “feelings” of oppression and marginalization. This paper will examine why tribal feminism defending women’s feelings is illogical and contradictory to the purposes of philosophical feminism.

Progressive Nordic countries such as Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland over the last decade have been adopting more inclusive policies towards women. The gender and wage gap have been decreasing. That is to say, the issue of political and gender equality is being seriously treated by the governments of those countries. However, despite the attempts of the governments to ensure a lower extent of inequality, statistics of women and men job placement still greatly varies. In fact, the industry of medicine and pharmacology have a greatly outweighing women predominance, though the relevant education is equally accessible to both men and women. Even though there are countries with high levels of women and men equality, job placement statistics in those countries does not necessarily reflect that. This is known as the “Gender equality paradox”.

Why is that important? The problem that tribal Feminism holds in itself is the necessity of absolute equality. Whatever industry that is dominated by men should be reconstructed ensuring that there are equally many men as women. Their rhetoric suggests that there should be as many female CEOs, presidents, clerks and teachers as male. Evidently, tribal feminism stands for the arbitrary reinforcement of equality which has no relation to the agency of women. It presupposes that all men and women are indistinguishable despite their physiological differences and whatever choices they make are considered to be identical. In fact, the problem of gender gap may not necessarily be constituted by the absence of gender equality among the job placements but is inadequate access to the opportunity. And even the Nordic countries that ensure equitable access to the means of education still fail to achieve absolute equality.

In regards to the aspect of societal expectations, contemporary feminists seem to have warped these standards to fit their agenda and preferences. If a man refuses to engage in a relationship with a woman who has undesirable features, he is condemned for being sexist and abiding to the unrealistic and unattainable features the society sets. However, if a woman acts in the same manner and refuses a man with undesirable features, then she is free from condemnation or blame. This practice places contemporary feminist on a podium of hypocrisy as they seek to argue their points in a manner in which suits them and them only, while also contradicts the core concept of philosophical feminism in which contemporary feminism is based on. For instance, many tribal feminists argue that words like “mankind”, “policeman”, “chairman” – genuinely “sexist” words – should be removed from language conventions given that those words resemble a sense of patriarchy and oppression.

Another negative aspect of feminism is in regards to the falsified accusations on sexual harassment cases. There is the coined term most feminists use, that there should never be doubt when a woman comes forth on a sexual harassment case, besides the falsehood in the statement, for if there were any accusation on sexual harassment there would and should be an investigation carried out to test the validity of the claim. But now this conveys the underlying problem with contemporary feminism with its lack of credibility and spiral nature to affirm itself regardless of the context in many situations. Many contemporary feminists jump into conclusions in regards to this sensitive topic without the background information to aiding contextualizing and judgement, simply in the name of preserving their movement.

Feminists also attempt to push forward the claim that the “patriarchal” society that they inhabit prevents them from acquiring high-income positions in occupations further adding that these positions require them to adopt masculine character traits. However, as behavioural psychologists point out this is far from the truth. The character trait of integrity and agreeable are not inherently masculine and can be adopted by anyone. Even in regards to the wage gap which has been debunked as false as feminists who put forth the claim disregard the level of skill in occupation such as the pay for a doctor and nurse being different despite both operating in the medical sector there is a considerate amount of skill involved in being a doctor as compared to a nurse. Another example is within the football industry many female footballers have come forth complaining on the wage gap between female and male footballers. However the wages of male footballers is primarily composed of the fan attendance levels and as seen male football attains a consistent higher fan attendance than female, maybe with further publicity and advertisement this will change but as it stands the wage gap in most contexts is justified or non-existent.

Tribal feminism does not only abuse the system of justice and stems from hypocrisy against men, but for the last two decades, feminism has become over-commercialized in virtue of its profit potentials. In the 1960s and 70s, women actively engaging in feminist social movement became highly popular. This has enabled them to enter the informational markets. Feminists, popular among the supporters of the movement, started writing books, holding conferences, created social and political institutions. Consequently, feminism has been transformed into an occupation rather than a form of social activism. Bank statements of actively publishing feminists have become dependent on the amount of oppression and patriarchy they identify within cultural norms of society.

The stage of commercialization has led to the evolution of philosophical feminism into tribal, with its own sets of beliefs, values and agenda. Today, tribal feminists aim to identify instances of patriarchy through the lens of commercial incentives. Though it is invalid to claim that commercial incentives are the only incentives predominant in feminist activism, they still do sufficiently constitute the progression of tribal feminism.

In conclusion, over the decades of its progression philosophical feminism has become a social movement that tries to find falsehoods and elements of injustice in every aspect of the society. It also attempts to identify the results as of patriarchy, neglecting other major causes of the issues as such. Furthermore, this movement has been being manipulated by some politicians to win over major masses for their campaigns to run for political offices. In some cases, this manipulation is the cause of wrong people ending up running important offices of the government. I believe that extreme feminists have taken the major aim of philosophical feminism too far off and are causing many issues in modern society.

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The Problem of Tribal feminism. (2021, Mar 18). Retrieved from