The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Dangerous Clichés of ‘Empowerment’

Posted on | August 6, 2021 | Comments Off on The Dangerous Clichés of ‘Empowerment’

One of the problems I encountered when writing about feminism — radical feminism, the real thing — is that so many people have been confused by the use of “feminism” as a marketing slogan and a pop-culture theme that has very little to do with what feminism actually is.

One species of pop-culture feminism is the sort of “empowerment” rhetoric that borrows heavily from self-help psychology, with a bit of watered-down Buddhism and “positive thinking” added into the mix. If you think Norman Vincent Peale was a feminist pioneer, or that a combination of (a) things you’d hear in a rehab center and (b) Hallmark greeting-card platitudes constitute an ideology, then you might be fool enough to believe that this ersatz treacle is actually “feminism.”

However, a lot of women consider anything that helps them cope with their personal problems to be “feminist,” because they’re women, see, and dealing with their problems is empowering, right?

This means that if Hillary Clinton drinks chardonnay to cope with her frustration over losing the 2016 election, chardonnay is feminist. If a guy starts drinking at lunch and keeps going until he’s passed out by sundown, he’s an alcoholic. If Hillary does it, she’s “empowered.”

So, let’s look at a few phrases:

“… what made you who you are today.”
“It was a part of my journey.”
“… internalized trauma …”
“Life is too short to live with regrets.”
“You trusted a woman’s intuition …”
“It helped me get in touch with who I am.”
“… exactly what you needed at that moment.”
“I just needed to focus on me.”
“You can’t live your life for the approval of others.”
“In life there are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.”
“I need to trust the process.”

All of these platitudes occur in this video:


(Hat-tip: Ace of Spades.)



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