The first sign of a radical feminist is that he/she labels all (or most) heterosexual sex as rape, because women don't hold the privilege necessary to consent. I mean, if a guy holds a gun to your head and says to have sex with him, that's rape - you don't have the power to make an independent decision. If a professor or psychologist has sex with a student or patient, that's grounds for dismissal. Same story. So a radical viewpoint asks, "Why draw the line where most of society is comfortable? If we recognize that one member of a relationship has more privilege and power than another, than the sex is an invasion. Every time, every relationship." Societal privilege is a gun to a head, and taking the big aspects of our culture and funneling them down to two people in a bedroom doesn't remove that.
There are other aspects to radical feminism, of course, it's not all about sex, but that's usually the one that gets people fired up.
Obviously I disagree with this because, well, I love men, one in particular. My husband and I have a lot of long talks about race and gender, we're both very open to ideas about what our privileges give us. I'm white, he's male, neither of us deny that these things effect who we are, how we look at ourselves, and how we're treated by the world. The open dialog is what's important, though. There are white men I can (and can't) talk to about this. And there are black women who I can't (and can).
The entry we discussed in the forum was one written about the TV show Firefly, where she says it's anti-feminist and anti-woman. My basic response was that if you set the bar high and say "Documentaries about Andrea Dworkin are feminist" then Firefly isn't going to look very good. But the show makes me happy, because it portrays very real male and female characters, something you don't see every day.
But more and more I don't think radical feminism is an awful idea to have around. It's viewpoint diversity, for one thing - new ideas, new perspectives. It makes us all look at ourselves and where we are, and drives the left end of the spectrum further left (so I look REALLY moderate). And as long as we can get to a place where people say, "There isn't ONE type of feminist and I'm okay with that", it's healthy.
I have to admit... last night I watched "Corrina, Corrina" for the first time and I was a little creeped out by the relationship at the end, probably because of the viewpoints I've read this week. The story: white man hires black woman to take care of his daughter, and there's kissing by the end. I mean, the guy's been taking advantage of her the whole movie (she works extra hours for him, he doesn't pay her extra). It's set in the 1950s. I understand that it tries to send positive messages about tolerance and understanding, but it's still about a time when one race and gender DEFINITELY held all the privilege in society... there's no ability to independently say "no" to that. At the end, they have a romantic relationship but he makes all the first moves, that's what got me, what's could she say if she wanted it to stop? He sees her as powerless because that's what she is, he can't pretend he's not influenced by the culture. So the fact that she's happy and the relationship seems consensual doesn't seem to improve things for me... she's still heavily disadvantaged.
get what I mean?