Grasping Things at the Root: On Young Women & Radical Feminism, by @ClaireShrugged

Cross-posted from: Sister Outrider
Originally published: 02.05.17

Why does radical feminism get so much bad press?

Radical feminism isn’t popular. That’s not exactly a secret – Pat Robertson’s infamous Holy Cow! Too Funny!!!!!!claim that the feminist agenda “…encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians” has set the tone for mainstream discussions of radical feminism. While Robertson’s perspective on radical feminism verges upon parody, his misogyny served with a side of blatant lesbophobia, it has also served to frame radical feminism as suspect.

If radical feminism can be written off as something sinister or dismissed as the butt of a joke, none of the difficult questions about the patriarchal structuring of society need to be answered – subsequently, power need not be redistributed, and members of the oppressor classes are saved from any challenging self-reflection. Rendering radical feminism monstrous is a highly effective way of shutting down meaningful political change, of maintaining the status quo. It is, therefore, predictable that the socially conservative right are opposed to radical feminism. …

 

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Sister Outrider :  Sister Outrider offers a Black Radical Feminist perspective on feminism, gender, politics, popular culture, and media representation.

BDSM & Feminism – Are They Compatible?

Originally published: 09.12.15

Nobody knows why one thing turns them on over another. Would you ask me why my sexual orientation is the way it is? In the same way, enjoying BDSM does not feel like something I can (or want) to change. A lot of feminists argue that I’ve just internalised the patriarchy, that it’s not my fault but, y’know, I’m not very ‘feminist’ for enjoying it. I find this theory unappealing because I think the false consciousness they are talking about refers to things you can rationally think your way out of:

“Do I belong in the kitchen? No, I can’t cook for shit!”

But I can’t programme myself out of what turns me on. For the sake of argument, let’s say I have internalised oppression via the media – then what else have I internalised? Do I really find Kiera Knightley attractive or have I just internalised a false beauty ideal? This line of argument is vague and attributes right and wrong arbitrarily. For example, I could easily argue that caring about makeup and beauty is internalised patriarchy, but I’m not going to go around telling women they shouldn’t wear or enjoy wearing makeup because it’s wrong. These sorts of things (beauty, fetishes, humour) are non-morals with no right or wrong to them; they’re just preferences.
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Identity, experience, choice and responsibility

Cross-posted from: Gender, Bodies, Politics
Originally published: 27.06.15

This is the transcript of my keynote speech at a conference at Queen Mary University on June 27th 2015, entitled ‘Feminist Futures: critical engagements with the fourth wave‘. The full title of my talk was ‘Identity, experience, choice and responsibility: feminism in a neoliberal and neoconservative age.’ Versions of this speech have also been given at the Universities of Brighton, Leeds and Birmingham. There are various sources linked throughout – if you are not within a university and therefore unable to access the academic journal articles, send me an Email and I can download them for you.

Slide1

Hello. I’m Alison Phipps and I’m Director of Gender Studies at Sussex. It’s great to be here and I’d like to thank Amaleena, Alice and Anna for inviting me to speak today. We can – and I’m sure we will – debate whether we’re currently witnessing a ‘fourth wave’ of feminism and what this is, but for now I’d like to say it’s fantastic to be part of such a dynamic and thoughtful group. Looking at the other abstracts, I’m especially flattered to have been invited to give the keynote and hope I don’t disappoint!

I think one of the reasons I was asked to open the conference was that my work attempts to develop a meta analysis of feminist theory and activism. Some of this was brought together in my book which came out last Spring, called The Politics of the Body: gender in a neoliberal and neoconservative age. In this I developed a political sociology of various different debates, with a focus on interactions between different types of feminism (or ‘waves’ if you want to use that term). If any of you have read it, the talk today will move on from the book – as always when you attempt to develop a ‘history of the present’, I’m standing on uneven and shifting ground.


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