Howling sexism and feminist exaggeration

If you haven’t read “Ramphele et al: The world according to angry feminists” in Daily Maverick, do yourself a favour and read it.

Crying wolf would not matter if the wolf did not actually exist. The problem is that it does. That is why, when feminist activists pounce on the most flimsy evidence and strained comparisons to support the claim that criticism of female politicians is driven by sexism, the cause of gender equality is undermined. By exaggerating about Ramphele, they devalue and trivialise allegations of sexism.

Discrimination on various grounds persists and should be challenged. That said, I have this nagging thought that constantly pulling the race and gender cards keeps us anchored because these accusations paralyse the groups accused of discriminating or enrage the groups apparently being discriminated against without creating an opportunity for meaningful progress.

Gender activists, just like activists campaigning against various forms of discrimination, are important voices. They seem extreme at times but perhaps we need extremists to counteract apathy. At the same time –

A hair-trigger on the rhetorical weapon of sexism is as destructive as lightly crediting someone’s success to affirmative action. It is as corrosive as blaming failure on racist discrimination.





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