156 Search Results for: feminism

Catherine Deneuve, #MeToo, and the Fracturing Within Feminism

The letter signed by Catherine Deneuve and 99 other French women offering their take on the #MeToo movement and feminism has stirred many reactions both in France and internationally. Among the responses, the novelist Leïla Slimani wrote a beautiful and heartfelt piece in Libération affirming her right to freedom from being “importuned”. The use of the expression is deliberate to contrast with the original letter’s title which defended the freedom to importune. Slimani’s article has been shared by many to express their disagreement with the Deneuve Letter. That the two opinions are made to sound opposing is, however, more the result of unclear vocabulary rather than conflicting ideologies. The list of odious behaviours that Slimani pleads that we should be free from—“a boss asking for sexual favours in exchange of a promotion” or “a man ejaculating on a woman’s coat”—shows that she and Deneuve are not talking about the same thing. No sensible person could possibly refrain from condemning these acts. The fault perhaps lies with the writers of the original letter, for not using more …

Rehabilitating Feminism

Several years ago, I came across a video of Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz on Youtube where he explained the difference between Islam and Islamism. Islam, he explained, is a personal faith shared by much of the world’s population, and it enriches a person’s life with meaning, purpose, and community. Islamism is the belief that that personal faith should be implemented as law for the rest of the world to follow. It is, in other words, the belief that government should be an extension of Islam. This is what a nuanced and evolving rhetoric can do for us. In making this distinction, Nawaz was able to give me clarity on a subject that I’d previously found incredibly muddy, all by articulating and naming a difference between two groups of people who claimed the same name for themselves. It allowed me to realize that I wasn’t concerned about the religion itself, but with the ideology that attempted to inflict that religion upon on everyone else. I had been conflating and confusing the two, which, when I wasn’t …

Feminism Needs to Talk About Responsibility — Not Just Rights

At the age of 47 I suffered what I now like to think of as “The Year of Living Stupidly.” Unlike Sigourney Weaver in the film that inspired me, I did not live dangerously, although there was certainly a lot of drama. That was the year I suffered my last serious crush. The man was a volunteer at an organisation I feel passionately about. He was also an artist and writer, a fellow seeker in the creative arts. He was also a schmuck, although it took me almost a year to see that. My knowledge of unruly passions, which I joyously cover in my poetry classes, did give me some insight into my condition. However, managing it outside the classroom was something else entirely. I’m bringing that year out of the darkness and into the light because it’s time for the conversation around women’s rights and responsibilities to change. It’s especially time for those of us who can claim elder feminist statesmanship to ask tough questions of younger women who are dragging bewildered men into court, all in the name of micro-regulating the sex …

After Cologne, Feminism is Dead

If German history in general is short on laughs (even Schopenhauer’s explanation of the psychology of humour in The World As Will and Representation is unrelentingly miserable) the period 1933 to 1945 is emphatically joyless. Though one of the few tragi-comic chapters in the horror story of Nazism concerns a strange little organization called the Association of German National Jews. They were a pro-National Socialist Jewish group whose membership not only welcomed Hitler’s accession but actively promoted the self-eradication of Jewish identity and its absorption into the new, heroic, master-culture represented by the Nazis (it was said of them, tongue only partly in cheek, that their motto was “down with us”). In 1935, predictably and forcibly, the group was disbanded. Whereas Stalin had his useful idiots, for Hitler there could be no useful Jews. With the above in mind, Marx needs revision. History repeats itself: First as farce, then as tragedy. No longer the unofficial motto of a handful of obscure pre-war self-hating Jews, Down With Us has latterly been adopted (or so it seems) as an …

Feminism Blinds Students to the Truth About Men

As a student at Barnard, a women’s college in NYC, feminism pervades all aspects of the curriculum. As students, we’re awash in the pervasive narrative that women are always on the losing side of the gender wars. This is ridiculous. At a school where acknowledging intersectionality is de rigueur, one would expect to encounter dialogue about issues that men face too.  However, after two years here, I have never witnessed students or professors broach the topic in a positive way. What’s more alarming is how often female peers display conspiratorial glee when they make fun of and delegitimize men’s issues. Last week for example, a classmate posted a video featuring the scholar Christina Hoff Sommers to the Barnard 2018 class Facebook page. The video had legitimate talking points about male academic underachievement. However, in a  vicious effort to delegitimize the video’s claim that “male underachievement is everyone’s concern,” a fellow student sanctimoniously wrote that the concern is “not [her’s],” followed with an acronym that denoted laughter. This outright delegitimization of male issues was met with …

Quillette Podcast 21 – Stand-Up Comedian Andrew Doyle Talks About Titania McGrath, His Brilliant Satirical Creation on Twitter

Toby Young talks to Andrew Doyle, stand-up comedian and Spiked-online columnist, about Titania McGrath, his satirical creation on Twitter who describes herself as a “radical intersectionalist poet committed to feminism, social justice and armed peaceful protest.” Titania’s first book—Woke: A Guide to Social Justice—has just been published in the U.K.

In Praise of Ambivalence — “Young” Feminism, Gender Identity and Free Speech

Alice Dreger, the historian of science, sex researcher, activist, and author of a much-discussed book of last year, has recently called attention to the loss of ambivalence as an acceptable attitude in contemporary politics and beyond. “Once upon a time,” she writes, “we were allowed to feel ambivalent about people. We were allowed to say, ‘I like what they did here, but that bit over there doesn’t thrill me so much.’ Those days are gone. Today the rule is that if someone — a scientist, a writer, a broadcaster, a politician — does one thing we don’t like, they’re dead to us.” I’m going to suggest that this development leads to another kind of loss: the loss of our ability to work together, or better, learn from each other, despite intense disagreement over certain issues. Whether it’s because our opponent hails from a different political party, or voted differently on a key referendum, or thinks about economics or gun control or immigration or social values — or whatever — in a way we struggle to …

Feminism’s Dependency Trap

Reading the news stories about #MeToo and sexual harassment, and the barrage of social media posts that accompanied these headlines, I became saddened but also increasingly frustrated. It wasn’t the reports of men behaving badly that angered me, but the despair that seemed to be the expected response to these stories, and the helplessness that my female friends appeared to attach to femininity itself that I found troubling. The unintended and painful irony of recent feminism’s preoccupation with overcoming male oppression has been to place men at the centre of female identity. This makes the feminine experience something like an echo; women’s voices seem to be little more than a response, or a rebuttal, to men’s voices, which are taken to be primarily an instrument of patriarchal oppression. But, in my own experience, men aren’t interested in maintaining power and control over women—they simply don’t see women as a group that they are oppressing, or that they would like to oppress. We hear a lot about “male privilege” but historically it has been the “privilege” of …

University Feminists Are Betraying Their Movement’s Liberal Past

University feminists are tired of tolerance. Universities are banning anyone and anything their feminist professors and students take issue with. Cardiff banned Germaine Greer; apparently, she’s the wrong kind of feminist. Goldsmiths College banned Kate Smurthwaite; she’s the wrong kind of comedian. Oxford silenced a debate on abortion. For the architects of the safe space, nothing is safe from being added to the list of the unsafe. ‘Blurred Lines’ was banned for being the wrong kind of song. The Sun was banned for being the wrong kind of newspaper. What today’s feminists value, above all else, is diversity — except, of course, diversity of ideas. Feminism wasn’t always this censorious. The university feminists of today do not reflect the motives of the classical past of their movement. The Swedish feminist — and personal heroine of mine — Margareta Momma wrote extensively in defence of tolerance during the age of Enlightenment. In her excellent essays she defends freedom of speech, freedom of religion and promotes the view that women are just as capable as men of …