One of the things we get accused of a lot – we feminists, we “social justice warriors,” we “#FTBullies” – is puritanism.
A new puritanism is on the march, and just as in the case of the old puritanism, its leaders are unconscionable bullies.
That’s a tweet from one of the regulars. It’s typical of the genre in its scare-mongering – note the sinister overtones of “on the march” coupled with puritanism, which is made explicit at the conclusion.
Does the accusation have much merit? Let’s try to figure it out.
What kind of purity is at issue? Political purity, or doctrinal purity, I take it. Feminism as opposed to anti-feminism, and so on for other identities. We’re accused of being purists or even puritans because we don’t want to collaborate with anti-feminists or racists or homophobes, and the like. It’s true that we don’t want to, those of us who don’t – it’s true that there are people who fit that description. So the question is, is it reasonable to call that puritan or purist?
I don’t see it, myself. I don’t think it’s a matter of taint or pollution, it’s a matter of not wanting to interact with people who have contempt for the brand of person you are.
Looked at that way, it’s even possible that the puritanism is the other way around: that people of the top caste don’t want their groups or movements polluted by underlings like women and other races and incorrect sexual orientations, or by people who agitate for the fuller inclusion of such people.