Kay Hymowitz outlines the tensions between institutional / academic feminism, in which the state is pivotal and must always expand, and the “Mama Grizzly” feminism of Sarah Palin and much of the Tea Party, in which budgets and bureaucracy are major issues too:
The Palinites, then, have introduced an unfamiliar thought into American politics: maybe a trillion-dollar deficit is a woman’s issue. But where does that leave expensive, bureaucracy-heavy initiatives like universal pre-K, child care, and parental leave? Consider a recent feminist initiative, the Paycheck Fairness Act, passed in the House but scuttled in November by a few Republican Senate votes. Feminist supporters, saying that it would close loopholes in previous antidiscrimination legislation, didn’t worry about how redundant or bureaucratically tortured it might be or how many lawsuits it might unleash. But chances are that the Grizzlies, in keeping with their frontiersy individualism and their fears about ballooning deficits, would see in the act government run amok. After all, it would come on top of the 1963 Equal Pay Act; Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans employment discrimination; the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; innumerable state and local laws and regulations; and a crowd of watchdogs at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The ideological tension is perhaps best summarised by this contribution from the bewildered novelist Amy Bloom:
There is no such thing as free market/anti-legislation… feminism.
Are people willing to pay to burn other people’s money? The short answer to this question is: yes. Our subjects gave up large amounts of their cash to hurt others in the laboratory. The extent of burning surprised us… Even at a price of 0.25 (meaning that to burn another person’s dollar cost me 25 cents), many people wished to destroy other individuals’ cash.
The modern anti-racist and anti-sexist and anti-homophobic campaigners are totalists, demanding not that misguided ideas and ugly expressions be corrected or criticised but that they be eradicated. They make war not on errors but on error, and like other totalists they act in the name of public safety - the safety, especially, of minorities… For lack of anything else, I will call the new anti-pluralism “purism,” since its major tenet is that society cannot be just until the last traces of invidious prejudice have been scrubbed away.
Feel free to add your own.