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