Second wave feminism is finally dead

(Anti) feminism

"Freedom and justice are based on the fact that the other is compensated for what is due to him", writes Olympe de Gouges (1748–1793) in Article IV of the "Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens", which appeared in France in September 1791 and represents one of the most important texts of feminism. [1] De Gouges opposes the declaration of human rights, with which modern democracy began its famous beginning, with a text of the treaty that explicitly states that freedom, equality and fraternity cannot legitimately be proclaimed without the female half of humanity. De Gouges' text not only calls for equal rights before the law, but also formulates the expectation that reason and virtue, courage and pride will be recognized for women, and that they will be accorded the respect and dignity they deserve - "that the other will be rewarded for what he is entitled ". At the same time, de Gouges sharply criticizes one's own gender for delusion, compulsions, secrecy and cunning.

Central double motif

It is this double motive that has pervaded the theoretical history of feminism for almost 230 years: the desire for dignity and recognition for women as well as the criticism of the indignity that a life of oppression and exploitation can produce. Ignorant people raised to be submissive and willing to please cannot treat others as free, dignified, friendly people, even if they wanted to. Oppression corrupts all human virtues. De Gouges ’British contemporary, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), argued very similarly a year later; She, too, insists that women are gifted with freedom, reason and virtue and that only the social situation makes women affected slaves and robs them of their potential. Girls' education is the name of the program that Wollstonecraft opposes to patriarchal despotism. [3] The sharp terms that she and de Gouges choose to describe the situation correspond to the lawless and undignified situation at the end of the 18th century.

The double motive - claim to dignity and criticism of degradation - can be traced through all political fields, times and continents and is intended here to be a brief chronology of demands (knowledge / education, work / wages, political participation, non-violence, sexual (etc.) self-determination ) following, from the 18th to the 21st century. Feminist theories are by no means as simple as antifeminists assume, who often harbor clichéd or completely uninformed ideas about feminism - for example that women are always exclusively described as victims and men only as perpetrators, that happy mothers of unhappy childless women at work and Politics are driven that "real" women have little to do with freedom and liberation and feminists have a glaring problem with biological femininity and that feminism has meanwhile already done away with by realizing all demands. In fact, since the French Revolution, feminists have been interested in the complex, by no means settled, often oppressive interplay between the rulers and the ruled.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986) analyzed the double motif most succinctly over the course of more than 200 years. [4] Based on the philosophical notion of existentialism that every human being wants to experience, feel and think himself as an autonomous, self-determined subject oriented towards the common world, de Beauvoir describes in 1949 the turmoil of women between the autonomous strivings that are common to all human beings and an existence that prevents a life in freedom through social constraints, educational measures and hostile stereotypes. While boys and men shape the world as a common home, girls and women are referred to the should-do and a dull life derived from others. The existential conflict that all human beings feel within themselves, the being torn back and forth between courage and desire for freedom on the one hand, fear and flight from it and its strenuous challenges on the other, should be one side of courage, the other to Dissolve the side of fear. While some indulge in adventures in freedom and shaping the world, others lose themselves in escape and comfort. Women and men resent each other for this. De Beauvoir wrote hard against his own sex: "It is undoubtedly more comfortable to endure blind slavery than to work on its liberation ...". [5] This is how women are "made"; they are by no means fearful, discouraged, slavish people from the very beginning. In their social development, women lag far behind in their possibilities, world-changing goals and their affinity with other women and men. Instead of freedom and dignity, women live in bondage and degradation, as Beauvoir describes with an often unbearable sharpness. De Beauvoir rightly exempts only direct personal violence from (forced) consent.

In the latest history of theory, Iris Marion Young (1949–2006) presents the most convincing "spelling out" of rule as five forms of oppression: exploitation, marginalization (economic, social, cultural), powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence. Not every one of the forms affects every person coherently; oppression and privilege can exist simultaneously, even incompatible, or overlap. All forms work systemically and structurally, not as individual options for action. [6]

What the first thinkers during the French Revolution, de Beauvoir in the historical middle between older and newer feminism and finally Young, outlined for the current theory, outlines the complexity of a form of rule that basically privileges boys and men without the at least passive / unconscious / unwanted participation (beyond personal violence) by girls and women cannot succeed. Despite historical transformations - to put it casually: from the ancient society of slave owners to neoliberal late capitalism - the continued ultra-stability of patriarchal rule could not be plausibly explained without the participation of the ruled. Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) speaks of the often imperceptible, but all the more effective "gentle" symbolic violence that permeates the rule of the sexes across all places and times; male domination works right into the body; it is internalized, incorporated, somatized. [7]

From a feminist perspective, criticism of rule therefore means: The interaction between the rulers and the ruled must be carefully analyzed analytically without blurring the fundamentally different situations of those involved (this applies in particular to direct violence) or denying the very different positions assigned. Feminist theories have always taken into account that patriarchal hierarchies are extremely diverse: since the first US feminists, the majority of whom were abolitionists in the mid-19th century, the struggle for women's rights and against sexism has been linked to the struggle for human rights and criticism other forms of hierarchy and rule. "Patriarchy" simultaneously implies capitalism, racism, ethnocentrism, nationalism, colonialism, domination of nature, heteronormativity.

In this sense, feminists have been working - not always consistently and not always in solidarity and inclusive - at least since the French Revolution on a society that wants to realize the ideals of freedom and equality not only for women worldwide. Modernism began in 1789 with great promises that have not yet been fulfilled. Feminism is thus a democracy project that declares the democratization of all (un) democratic societies to be the (distant) goal, a powerful political theory / practice that defends itself against all forms of degradation, even if the starting point (and partly the model) represents the powerlessness of women.

Theorists such as Audre Lorde (1934–1992) and bell hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins, * 1952) made it clear early on that the analysis of gender rule as a starting point or model of rule can be precarious for the credibility of feminism. They analyze how in this way the specific oppression and degradation caused by racism is all too easily made to "disappear", relations of domination beyond sexism appear subordinate or secondary, and the theoretically and politically challenging possibility is wasted, both structural commonalities (naturalizations of domination ) as well as systemic differences (glaring position differences in the social field) of sexism and racism. Both hooks and Lorde also deal with the analysis of the class situation as the third central relationship of domination; Accordingly, "gender, race, and class" is an important analytical formula.