In a February essay in The Spectator, British columnist Julie Burchill takes aim at the “rainbow coalition of cranks and charlatans” that made “class guilt, sexual kinks, personal prejudice and repressed lust for power” what “modern, non-working-class left-wing politics is about.”

Burchill’s critique centers on the use of the idea of “intersectionality.” Wikipedia defines intersectionality, she writes, as ” ‘the study of intersections between different disenfranchised groups or groups of minorities; specifically, the study of interactions of multiple systems of oppression or discrimination,’ which seems rather mature and dignified.” But “in reality, it seeks to make a manifesto out of the nastiest bits of Mean Girls, wherein non-white feminists especially are encouraged to bypass the obvious task of tackling the patriarchy’s power in favour of bitching about white women’s perceived privilege in terms of hair texture and body shape.”

“It’s ended up as a screaming, squawking, grievance-hawking shambles,” particularly among feminist groups, Burchill writes.

The supreme irony of intersectionality is that it both barracks ‘traditional’ feminists for ignoring the issues of differently abled and differently ethnic women while at the same time telling them they have no right to discuss them because they don’t understand them — a veritable Pushmi-Pullyu of a political movement. Entering the crazy world of intersectionality is quite like being locked in a hall of mirrors with a borderline personality disorder coach party. ‘Stop looking at me funny! Why are you ignoring me? Go away, I hate you! Come back, how dare you reject me!’

In what may be the most provocative part of her essay, Burchill marks intersectionality, which many academically inclined leftists regard as a necessary tool for making a better world, as the opposite of socialism. It “believes that there is ‘no such thing as society’ — just various special interests.” But Burchill believes “we only become truly brave, truly above self-interest, when fighting for people different from ourselves.”

“[L]ike identity politics before it,” intersectionality “is pure narcissism.”

Read Burchill’s full remarks here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly


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