Mainstream feminism is particularly known for making the false claim that women who allow themselves to be exploited by pornography not only degrade themselves -- they degrade all women. With this claim, feminism negates the autonomy of the individual, insisting instead that an individual's separate and unique character, accomplishments, and passions are reduced to irrelevancy when perceived in context with the disparate acts of other separate, unique individuals. It is ironic that feminism, which originally set about to abolish female stereotypes, is now so eager to perpetuate them.
Catharine MacKinnon, speaking of pornographic exploitation, argues that, "Reputational harm to those who are allowed to be individuals -- mostly white men -- is legal harm. Those who are defined by, and most often falsely maligned through, their membership in groupsnamely almost everyone else -- have no legal claim." Her implication, of course, is that women aren't allowed to be individuals. Yet, as MacKinnon well knows, feminists have again and again chosen to be defined collectively. What's more, true individuality would imply the ability of one adult woman to choose to participate in pornographic expression without repercussion from others who disapprove. MacKinnon and her sisters aren't denied individual status -- they refuse it.
Degradation by gender association is frighteningly similar to the supposition that because one man rapes a woman, all men are guilty. Not surprisingly, collectivist feminism makes that claim, as well. Marilyn French put it most succinctly when she declared: "All men are rapists, and that's all they are," though she anticlimactically qualified her declaration in The War Against Women: "As long as some men use physical force to subjugate females, all men need not."
In her book Who Stole Feminism?, Christina Hoff Sommers illustrates how feminists arrive at such an overgeneralized and exaggerated "rape culture": "Having demarcated a victimized 'us' with whom I now feel solidarity, I can point to one victim and say... 'Anyone who harms a woman harms us all'... The next step is to regard the individual who wronged 'us' as himself representative of a group, giving our animus a larger target." When this reasoning is applied to an individual's race, it's called racism; when applied to gender, it is apparently elevated to liberation.