Ashton Deroy writes: It may surprise you to hear but before definitively selecting Socialist Feminism over Liberal Feminism. I saw a key difference in the ideologies. One of them supports a very individualistic approach to feminism. The other (Socialist Feminism) puts family solidarity at the forefront. I am Canadian so in many ways, I grew up with a bias for Liberal Feminism. However, as I got older and tried to define my Liberal Identity. I realized I was identifying in something without principles.
Socialist Feminism understands the reality that many women will have a higher quality of life if they are married, cohabitate & have adequate rights in the workforce. These concepts are part of why France has a 35-hour workweek. I also saw room to understand in Feminism for the 99% by Cinzia Arruzza that many women develop economic dependence that makes them overly rely on a partner. This leaves room to understand the concept of Codependence in Socialist Feminist theory.
What is codependence? To me, Codependence is a behavior that enables poor mental health, addiction & tyranny. Especially in the context of a relationship. However, let us extend the concept. Many respected voices in the Codependence discussion groups also recognize that Codependence may indeed enable & allow workers’ rights abuses. Codependent people are much more likely to be scammed in a rental agreement & be taken advantage of in other aspects of life. Again Codependence is understood & fits into Socialist Feminist theory, which I find quite incredible.
I feel no one who calls themselves a feminist can proceed to fail to understand what codependency is. How can we claim to boost the human rights of the many without understanding this very common problem, that quite frankly sets our cause back? The answer is we can’t. The biggest problem I have with Liberal Feminism is it fails to address how this issue sets progressive feminism. How could feminism move forward under the guidance of a bunch of people pleasers?
The answer is, it can’t! “I’ll have my rights if you let me.” Said the cry of women everywhere who can’t escape an exploitative boss, an abusive housing arrangement & regular exposure to sexual harassment. However, even when women do stand up for themselves. It is not like we as a society have a whole lot of practice listening. I always go back to the colleague I had who was Sexually harrassed at Hinduja Global Solutions but was forced to sit next to her harasser through arranged seating. A concept I advocated that the company should lose the privilege to coordinate.
You may find yourself wondering… How can feminism be set back with all the progress in our legal system? Well in Feminism for the 99% they talk about how Liberal Feminism is very accessible to the wealthy who can hire a lawyer but inaccessible to everyone else. I also argue that advocating femism requires a bit of backbone that Codependent people are not going to necessarily put in. Should that stop women of all backgrounds from receiving their rights though? I’d argue we need to make more pathways to allow people like me to stand up for people of all backgrounds to allow me to take the transferred risk and say “How you are treating this person is wrong & you need to stop!” Maybe I can do that through my writing. Maybe I need to demand to be able to do more.
No one who doesn’t understand Condependence can call themselves a “feminist”. You just don’t understand what is affecting the cause without understanding this enabling tyrannical behavior in spouses, jobs & housing. To make any solid 100% complete feminist theory. We must stop & have a conversation about codependence with its relationship to feminism. We also have to recognize more family focussed & independent views on feminism. There is no reason those concepts can’t be combined for a more unified theory.
Arruzza, Cinzia, et al. Feminism for the 99% . Tantor Media Inc, 2019.