Been seeing a video of John Pilger circulating giving a lecture called “The Hijacking of Feminism.” Call me old-fashioned, but why was a man asked to give that lecture? If I had been sitting in that lecture hall, I’d have been bristling with indignation. We can damn well talk for ourselves. And how does he come off making such sweeping & damning generalizations about modern feminism?
There are major disputes within feminism & always have been. Feminism is a cacophony of voices. It’s internationally diverse & not just a western-based movement. But he made pronouncements about its political character as though it were monolithically pro-war, conservative, & dominated by US feminists like Hillary Clinton who never had any actual association with the movement.
He wasn’t entirely wrong in his judgment; the conservative current dominates media representations of feminism. But that ain’t all she wrote. There is no actual social movement. For a very long while, up until the Women’s Marches on January 21st, feminism was more a political current than a movement. That appears to be changing because women’s rights are being assailed. A movement has to be organized with broad forces involved, not just those connected to the Democratic Party who want to contain its momentum. That won’t be easy but meanwhile we sure as hell don’t want to listen to the women-hating gorillas aroused from their primal stupor by women on the march.
This momentous change is bringing misogynists out from under their rocks to denounce the Women’s Marches as a “cutie-pie pink-cap uprising,” or “Big Mommy Parade of White Woman Privilege,” or “hands off my pussy protests.” There are those trying to divide it claiming white women are its proprietors & it is either of no interest to Black & brown women or is a movement hostile to their participation & leadership.
There’s going to be some political scuffles in rebuilding the women’s movement & collaborating with women around the world. That’s the nature of social movements. Women will work those differences out. Or they won’t. Men are certainly allowed opinions & can express them. In the appropriate venue. But don’t try to speak for feminism & don’t lay down ex cathedra assertions based on misrepresentations or on power politics in the US.
PS: Pilger needs to take time out from lecturing on feminism to studying Syria, where his politics have tanked.