My current facebook status is, “So the Australian Sex Party is organising a SlutWalk in Brisbane. I am really starting to think that feminism has become one really fucking sick and twisted joke.” Which I think is an apt summary of the situation we are facing, as women and as feminists. I don’t want to go into the whole SlutWalk thing in great detail. It has already been hashed out by many feminists with great skill at exposing the woman-hatred that it embodies… and I don’t want to bore anyone. But I did think it was a good starting point of discussion. If SlutWalk is the face of modern feminism, and SlutWalk is being lapped up by the sex industry, who are busy promoting women’s freedom to spread their legs to as many men as possible… if the new feminist is a slut who is proud of objectifying herself to men and proud of her ability to hand over her sexuality to men, then don’t we really need to ask: Is feminism a sick and twisted joke? Can we reclaim feminism? Should we? Is it even possible?
This is not a facetious question. The takeover of feminism by women who hate themselves and other women is very real and it is scary as all shit. Actual necessary and critical theorising about male dominance and female subordination is NO LONGER central to the feminist discourse. Instead agency, empowerment, choice and all the liberal language of individualism dominates and we are left with a stagnant pool of self-reflecting narcissism, with no analysis of how unequal power, the sexual politics of rape, violence and subordination, colonisation, appropriation etc have upon the oppressed class: women. And the uselessness of concepts like agency, empowerment and choice are, given the cultural climate under which we live.
The twisted part of the joke, the one that really twists the knife in my back, is the silencing that the wonderful, accepting, tolerant ‘feminists’ manage to perpetuate, despite their rhetoric and self-advertising. Recently I had the unfortunate privilege to watch a fairly good Feminist Conference go to shit because of the silencing tactics of these ‘feminists’ who within about a month managed to dominate the whole agenda of the conference by bullying and harassing the organisers until they agreed to platform pro-sex industry speakers and pro-transsexuality speakers and all but kick off the one radical feminist speaker.
Ironically the name of the conference is Feminist Futures. This is what our feminist future looks like. A feminism that accepts that men have the right to buy women and girls as sex. A feminism that loves the slogan “this is what a feminist looks like” (as long as the image used with the slogan is white, long-haired, made-up, shaved, stereotypically pretty women… or a man) but doesn’t seem to know what a *woman* looks like. (Note to reader: a woman does not look like a male-bodied person with breast implants and a bit of make-up.) A feminism that wants to reclaim the word ‘slut’ but keep its distance from words like, ‘dyke’, ‘man-hater’, ‘hairy’, ‘birkenstock’ etc.
This situation is fucked, sisters. And the joke is on us if we don’t fight back.
Can we reclaim feminism? Should we? Is it even possible?