Intentionality and FCM
Or who intends and how much.
By Michael Price
So GirlWritesWhat made a video** about "On Intentionality. Or, What Is It For = What Does It Do?" by FCM* comparing it to how pyschotics infer intentionality where it doesn't belong. While this is a valid and valuable point regarding how FCM regarded "patriarchy" there are at least three points that are far more important.
Firstly as GWW has pointed out time and time again what feminists call "patriarchy" resulted in men being the one's to do all the most dangerous, dirty, stressful, and in general unpleasant jobs. Even the jobs that feminsits point to as evidence of male power often, frankly, suck. Congratulations on becoming King of Scotland, I hope you'll last until... I mean I hope I see you at your birthday next week. So if we're judging by the results then isn't that an argument that "patriarchy" was created by women to avoid those jobs? After all "patriarchy" is primarily supported by social norms, many of them formed in childhood, and women in "patriarchy" are in charge of childcare. The more "patriarchal" the society the less men have to do with forming the beliefs of the children.
Secondly there is the point that "patriarchy" has a lot of effects. FCM basically assumed that the ones she didn't like were the intended effects, but the effects she does like or doesn't care about she assumes aren't intended. It's classic paranoid narcissism, although expressed in a group rather than an individual context.. It also assumes a level of power amoung men that make anti-semitic tracts about the Rockefellers seem tame. She claims "it cannot be denied that they were intentionally creating brain damaged fembots to clean house and be compliant semen receptacles for men. if they didnt like or want that outcome, they wouldve stopped doing it.". But this only follows if there is another way to achieve the ostensible goals without creating said fembots. If the patient has a habit of waving knives around while screaming about demons you don't have to be a fembot-fan to say reach for the icepick. All that can be said is that they prefered fembots to maniacs, or possibly to not getting paid. If FCM's logic was true then the fact that environmentalists blocking nuclear power resulted in more coal plants would prove that they wanted the resultant mercury-contanimated fish. Also (and this is an example she specifically used) having PIV sex proves you want a baby. About a million abortions a year cast doubt on this.
Thirdly the claim that patriarchy is designed is simply asserted, without any evidence whatsoever. Systems can evolve without intention, as shown by the example of the respiratory system FCM gives. Social system also evolve, often against the interests of the people making the changes. For instance the current system of laying fibre optic cable is very much against the interest of the main data transmission companies. No sooner do they complete a highly expensive cable lay across hundreds or thousands of than some other company starts laying another cable with newer technologies that will transmit more data cheaper per bit. So the first company has to lay another cable that's even more expensive but cheaper per bit.The net result is that massive investments are made that are rapidly made obsolete while prices get lower and lower. The naval arms race prior to World War One was not desired by ANY of the great powers that indulged in it. I don't often say this but FCM should read some Karl Marx regarding how systems can force results on people or institutions that they never wanted. Yes, you heard right, called FCM more ignorant than Karl Marx.
FCM is incredibly hypocritical because she calls women who don't believe it was designed "cult members" whose beliefs "flies in the face of the actual, real evidence", which she does not produce. I suppose that she might consider the fact that women don't like the present "patriarchal" system very much as evidence that they had no power to create the social system. But that assumes that women wanted the same things when the "patriarchy" was created as they do now, despite thousands of years of social, technological, climatic, evolutionary and economic change. Basically she believes because she wouldn't want a system where daddy has all the responsibility no other woman would. Again, classic narcissism.
Of course the question of intentionality leads to the question "Whose intentionality?". There were many people alive at the formation of what she calls "patriarchy" all of whom were unique individuals with their own goals, desires, levels of knowledge, and circumstances. We can't assume that everyone who helped form "patriarchy" had the same set of goals. Milton Friedman's "baptists and bootleggers" theory of how legal restrictions on trade come to be is a classic example of mixed intentions. The "baptists" want the restriction for the "common good" the "bootleggers" so they can make money. People who wanted to free the Iraqi people from Saddam, people who wanted the price of oil to go up, people who wanted to sell more ammo to the Pentagon all supported the Iraq war and others. Whose intentions were responsible then?
She simply assumes there was a coherent, unified agreement amoung all men to insitute those social, economic and political features that she calls "patriarchy". This despite the fact that many men are disadvantages by said features. For instance men who are better a getting women to do what they want by persausion are automatically disadvantaged by compulsion being allowed, even encouraged, in intimate relations. They simply can't use their best asset. Similarly those men who are not particularly strong yet are expected to defend their women get the short end of the stick. On the other hand women who are good at looking pretty got a free ride. She ignores all the for a simple, unnuanced theory that has all the qualifiers a political theory needs, it fits at least two facts. We can't expect more from her, but we should expect more from anyone we actually listen to.