Is Marxism a Male Safe Space?

Susanna Kleeman

June 1, 2022

A nice man on Twitter asked: is the relative lack of women philosophers, political theorists, and philosophy students to do with historic oppression, or is it that women aren’t—in his word—autistic enough to try to create a logical system of everything? We’re talking here about the realm of pure theory—or pure post-Enlightenment Western theory, rather than women-rich fields like cultural studies. Why are there so few women thinkers here—and why do the few that exist work mainly on gender or ‘feminist’ topics, rather than the wide-range general social and existential questions that Western males feel entitled to ponder?

I thought I’d let him know the score.

Haunting these questions is an old ghost, now taboo in public for correct-thinkers: that women’s differently-shaped brains aren’t always quite up to the cold logic, rigor, and depersonalized ambition of cerebrums traditionally housed in dick-sporting bodies. It’s also why we can’t do maths or chess, right? It’s chivalric of my follower to call such male-associated brains ‘autistic’ but we know what is meant really: are women born ditzy or do fuzzy neurons sprout as a result of social and cultural conditioning? To which I add: and is it oppression not to be well-represented in Western theory and philosophy as practiced today?

Here’s an answer: women aren’t always represented or interested because—consciously or unconsciously—they sense Western philosophy and political theory were set up as defense systems against them: a set of distractions and abstract wannabe weapons developed as the vanguard of a larger protection racket devised by men to try to control their often uncontrollable vulnerability to women’s allure in physical and emotional realms. Heterosexual attraction is asymmetric and men have felt the need for protection against it. Capitalism, feudalism, and their cities, technologies, and men’s clubs are other manifestations of this defense mechanism. From a certain angle, feudalism and capitalism are at root sex crimes: coercive swindles enforced by greater physical strength that permit—via faith-sanctioned birth-to-death stratification or, in capitalism’s case, money, the original simulation—unattractive men to have sex with attractive women.

Socialist projects are also products of this mindset, despite their equality rhetoric. When the stakes aren’t biologically equal in the first place, and it is men who drew nature’s short straw rather than women, nice-sounding aims of “improving women’s status” and “making women equal” will always ring topsy-turvey and hollow to women, especially when the thinkers and organizers behind the projects are often so overwhelming male. As Italo Calvino says: “even after the revolution men’s dreams still don’t change.”

In the end, this male defense is not against women but against nature, or at least against the biological drive to reproduce. But women can get conflated with nature, by men, and sometimes all by themselves.

The male defense is done by making the world abstract, translating it into maths. In other words: by making it virtual: theoretical and therefore controllable, a place of solace divorced from biological drives. Everything gets pinned down into one plane of logic and reason that—pure, shining, incorruptible—stands outside human mess. This plane is then applied to human mess: the attempted creation, via a logical system of everything, of rules to govern human existence. And these rules, according to the current mainstream philosophy and theory, have a stated end goal that is not fudge and compromise but actual universally-correct solutions for how we should all organize and live, create heaven on earth.

This plane is claimed as the only world, or at least the underpinning of all other modes that threaten male control. Alternative realms that weak-kneed men are therefore relegated: termed wishy-washy, petty, decadent, privileged, woolly-headed, corrupt, flighty, exploitative, fantastical, mercenary, evil or mystic. Or else it’s pretended that they don’t exist, or at least are underpinned, explained and surmounted by the unifying abstract logic. The only permitted other states are those induced by alcohol and other recreational drugs or psychedelics: marked and contr