What Is The State Of Feminism Today?

According to a recent survey, 97% of women feel they should be paid as much as men. Yet only 58% declare themselves feminist. So, where is the problem?


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Stronger than the case of Julie Gayet or the book of Valérie Trierweiler, more salesman than a new album of The Woman, the new hook of a newspaper is … feminism!

The theme evokes all the news of “beautiful people”. A parade ? That of Chanel. A speech? That of Emma Watson at the UN launching the campaign “HeForShe“. A tube machine? That of Beyoncé, which inscribes “feminist” in letters of fire in all her shows. But behind this inlaid revival, we do not know what is going on.

By the way, what is a feminist?

For most of us, the word awakens memories where sleep figures the prow of the movement … We think of Simone de Beauvoir, the manifestations of the Movement for the Liberation of Women (MLF), the march of the “343 sluts“.

From old to tacky, there is only one step. And surprisingly, according to a Harris Interactive poll, only 1 in 2 French women today say they are feminists: 58% of women and only 42% of men.

But behind this figure is a paradox. For by an overwhelming majority, we all agree that there are still too many reasons to fight. Among women, 97 per cent said that equal pay was equal, 87 per cent felt that the fight against violence against women was not effective enough, 90 per cent said that the vast majority of domestic tasks were carried out by women.

The street harassment is a reality, that we do not know enough  to fight effectively against stereotypes. And men very widely share this feminine point of view. Curious contradiction. As if we knew there was a serious problem in our society, but we did not commit ourselves to tackle it.

Yet it is not news that is missing. Sometimes unbearable, as in Spain, where the government tried this year to reverse the right to abortion, and in the United States where websites calling for rape have flourished. Sometimes just as painful, as in France today, when 140 deputies launched a petition because it hindered them to designate a woman by her title of “vice-president” of the National Assembly.

We think we’re dreaming. Or rather nightmares. The maneuver is pitiful. But who rebels? Why so much prudence or casualness, even shame and denial, when it comes to defending our rights?

As for the Femenist president, by far the most publicized movement, it comes a long way behind … And for good reason: 7 out of 10 French believes that antisexist militants do not have the right method, 64% find that they do too much Or 49% that they harm the image of women. Why so many criticisms of those who fight for us?

Beyond the Femen, it seems that the sexist clichés that stick to the skin of the MLF for years have a hard life. Who would like to join a movement of babes, not feminine, anytime …?

“For forty years women have sought to distance themselves from the word” feminism “, demonized by the media and caricatured by intellectuals, a cowardly blade, Christine Delphy,  a historical figure of the movement, Is a big word associated with “I hate men” and “I’ll take my pruning shears and cut their balls.” ” In terms of image, sexists have scored points.


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Change the word to change the world?

Would it be enough, in order to remove the reservations, simply to change the name? “We feel something virulent, inflamed, a real desire to redefine the word, without being able to find
The “good neologism”, decrypts Bénédicte Fabien, prospective director of the firm Martine Leherpeur … We are looking for … “post-feminism”, “feminism 3.0”, “neo-feminism” … Our respondents groped, talk about “egalitarianism“. There is the risk of a catchword, which forgets its history and the fights that forged it. “It’s a little scary, adds the trendy. We would like to dust it off without giving the impression of making fun of all the women who fought for us. ”

Failing to change it, one could improve its image, to load it with a meaning that better corresponds to our expectations. But what do we expect today? Very clearly, we want efficiency. A movement anchored in everyday life, “more concrete” (63%). In times of crisis, one thinks wages, career. We would also like it to be “more funny” (51%). “That’s all we see coming up through the humor that spreads on the Web, whether it’s through associations or individuals, from La Barbe to Paye ta Shnek. We want to continue the fight but we do not want Not to be taxed with old reactions.We also want to assume glamor, lightness, “continues Bénédicte Fabien.

A revolution “between alliance with men”

The new feminist has the right to be feminine, not necessarily theoretical, but it does not make a potiche for it. And above all, Emma Watson just typed: 71% of the French want to make this revolution “in alliance with men”. It would be daring, new, no doubt polemical. But if the guys really put themselves there and are ready to give up their little privileges … Since we all agree, finally, it is time to give feminism a big blow of fresh.


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In WomenJoiningForces, we will not trade our heels for red caps, our passion for frustration, but we will make sure to sound the alarm when, in times of crisis, backtracking seems to seduce. We will be there to ironize when absurd petitions come out of the Assembly or elsewhere. Present also to echo us of those whose actions, phrases, attitudes make things move, animated by the same state of mind: open, free and joyful


Feminism Post Trump

Donald Trump’s victory galvanized American feminists


Two hundred thousand women must march on Saturday against the arrival of the president. Interview with Wendy Brown, specialist in the history of feminism in the United States

With the exception of the International Day of March 8th, it was the first time, on Saturday, January 21, that women will demonstrate so massively on the same day and around the world. The Women’s March is organized to “make it clear to the new US government and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.” It will be held in Washington first, where 200,000 women are expected, but also in more than 400 cities in the United States and 66 other countries, including Canada (where events are planned in 27 cities), Mexico 17 cities), Great Britain (14 cities), or France (9 cities).
Wendy Brown, Professor of Political Philosophy at Berkeley University and a neoliberalist and history scholar of the feminist movement in the United States, discusses the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House.


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Is not the victory of Donald Trump a slap for the feminist movement?


Not at all. The vote for Donald Trump was much more a vote for whiteness than for maleness. Take the results: the majority of Trump voters are whites. But in women, only a very small percentage of black or Latin women voted for him. This is not what may be called a defeat for feminism.
I do not mean that there has not been an enormous amount of sexism in the countryside. I voted for Hillary Clinton; I really wanted her to be elected. But it does not represent the entire feminist movement. It represents a form of centrist, mainstream feminism. She was seen as part of the establishment, as a neoliberal. The sexist factor was not decisive for most voters. Moreover, many of those who voted for Donald Trump completely disapproved of his misogynist remarks. But they considered that he would be a better president: for the whites, for the business world and against undocumented migrants. That was the most important thing for them.

What is the status of the post-Trump feminist movement?


The feminist movement is very strong. We’ll see him on Saturday at the Washington demonstration. In fact, the feminist movement in the United States is stronger than it has been for decades. It is very diverse. There is a feminist current among Blacks, among lesbians, among undocumented migrants. The movement is also very present on campuses, where sexual abuse causes great concern.
We have known several “waves” – or episodes – since the first, that of the beginnings, in the nineteenth century [suffragettes who fought for the right to vote]. The second wave was that of radical feminism of the 1970s. The third wave reconsidered the very idea of ​​woman: we are not simply linked to biological bodies, but to gender identities.
“The great concern today concerns the right to abortion”
For the past five years, we have entered the fourth wave. There is no question of voting or of equal rights: these have been established. Important issues concern reproductive rights, access to the economy, education, equal treatment at work and sexual abuse. These are questions that cross the ranks of society and are important to varying degrees, depending on social class and race. When the Women’s March in Washington was launched, it was an initiative of women of the white middle class. Immediately, other groups came forward to ask to be included.
The current great concern is the right to abortion. The women fear that the allies of Donald Trump will want to suppress it and that the states return on the legalization. I think Mr. Trump does not care, but he wants to please his base. The other matter of concern is the minimum wage: whether it is capped or eliminated. And health insurance. All these issues galvanize women’s activism


Some feminists regret that it is more difficult to denounce sexism than racism …


Treating individuals differently, depending on their gender, is always considered acceptable. Even as we talk about equality, we continue to believe there are differences. The question is whether a woman has the capacity or physical strength to be president, what she is wearing. Racial profiling is considered unacceptable – even if practiced. Gender profiling continues to be tolerated.