You may have seen the, *ahem* controversial LP ad on Facebook, but here’s the link in case you missed it.
Firstly, I’m really happy that Association of Libertarian Feminists exists for these sorts of reasons. AFL has done an amazing job at exposing libertarians to feminist ideology. If libertarians want libertarianism to be taken seriously, we need to listen to the criticisms of our fellow libertarians first– specifically regarding cultural/social issues. Skimming through the comments in the AFL threads, regarding the sexist LP ads, I was almost reminded of “why I became left-libertarian”, but remembered this is also a problem I keep running into within libertarian circles in general.
The few times the ALL Facebook page has posted about feminism (to my knowledge), it didn’t go quite well. I’ve been attacked for sharing feminist view points in threads where, I found some people (they may or may not have been left-libertarian) denying the existence of rape culture, patriarchy, etc. But libertarian feminism, unlike other feminist schools, is not one-sided. It’s important to understand that. I’m willing to hear any non-feminist perspective so long as my viewpoint is also respected and heard as well. I think most libertarian feminists would agree. I’m concerned that libertarianism cannot grow if it doesn’t acquire more female membership. Before we can do that, however, we need to be respectful of females in the movement by letting their voices be heard. This includes letting libertarian women talk about individualist feminism, without dismissing their opinions.
I think the LP ads (which were equatable to Sports Illustrated magazine covers) are embarrassing. It represents an unspoken culture within the libertarian movement. Yes, people should be free to think and act so long as they are not using force against others. But I’m not apologizing for sexism.
I feel the issue with libertarianism is its failure to emphasize anti-oppression polices, in exchange for some “freedom of speech”/”individual liberty” sort of notion. I’m no longer okay with supporting a notion that has bred a culture of sexism and racism within the history of libertarianism, as it’s something we continue to see today.
Personally I feel radicalism is the future of libertarianism– and if we want a more diverse membership that means adopting anti-oppression polices like that of other radical movements. As a left-libertarian, I refuse to build an alliance with this sort of gross apologist sentiment being ignored. I know my ALLies would agree that something needs to be done in order to keep this away from left-libertarian circles. Emphasizing both individual liberty and anti-oppression is not only doable, it’s necessary.