Post-Feminism

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Yesterday, we had a discussion about post-feminism in one of my university seminars. First of all, there is no general definition of the term post-feminism. Nevertheless, most researchers would agree that post-feminism is characterized by a declining interest in feminism. Especially young women do not call themselves feminists because they think they are equal. They think that they have the same rights and can make the same choices as men. For them, feminists are radical women who only complain and want to have a better life than men.

Some female students in my seminar agreed with this notion, and said that they do not see the necessity to be a feminist anymore. For me, such statements are very ignorant. First of all, most female students grew up in a middle class or elite household. They are so detached from the struggles of poor and marginalized women that they do not notice them at all! As long as their personal problems are solved, they have no interest in feminism anymore.

I grew up in a working-class neighbourhood. However, my parents are well-educated. They both had good jobs and we had enough money to be called a typical middle class family. My mum is emancipated, and even earned more money than my dad for some time. They taught my sister and me that we can freely choose our careers and life partners. I am privileged, and I am aware of it.

During my childhood (and every time I visit my parents), I could see women who cannot afford the same lifestyle like me: working-class women, single mothers, pregnant teenage girls, girls who have drug addicted and abusive parents, migrant women who have less rights than German citizens, homosexual women, sex workers …

For me, the fight for equal rights is not over. And there are many more women in the global South who live in horrible conditions because of the West, created by our consumption patterns, pollution, unfair trade agreements, warfare and so on.
In short, there are so many issues that girls and women still face today that it is astonishing for me how ignorant young women –  especially female social science students – can be.

This is not to say that boys and men do not face challenges as well. I am very well aware of the fact that male migrants, poor men, homosexual men … live in unfair conditions as well. But they are free to start their own movements, and should show solidarity with the women’s movement.
At the moment, many men prefer to vote for nationalistic, conservative parties that dismantle the rights of women. They start hate-campaigns against gender studies, reject most claims made by women about unfair working conditions and discriminate migrants and homosexuals.

That’s nonsense because their problems (high unemployment, declining welfare states, increasing prices, less security…) are not created by feminists. Most feminists are against neoliberal capitalism. The problems of poor men arise because heterosexual, rich men and their clans profit from an unfair political and economic system. However, they vote for highly unqualified people who do not only dismantle women’s right, but make their own living situations even worse!

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3 thoughts on “Post-Feminism

  1. “Post-feminism,” like “post-racism,” refers to the belief that the objectives of feminism have been achieved, when in fact we are far from that condition. Speaking as an American, the election of Obama, for some, signaled that racism no longer existed. We were told to believe this even though, in fact, the opposite was true. The racist backlash was fierce and enduring, now (with permission established by Trump) even more openly displayed.

    It is well-established in the “developing” world that when women are empowered, everyone’s life improves. It is only men who are threatened by this empowerment, who believe their power is diminished by empowering women, who see the transition as a zero-sum game, where someone else’s gain is perceived as a personal loss. But they lose nothing except their privilege to dominate and abuse. That is what they fight to keep. And there is still great deal of this remaining.

    It is very surprising that all of this is not obvious to your colleagues.

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