Feminism Must Rename Patriarchy

 



Patriarchy must be challenged, and the world must be renamed.

 

Identifying patriarchy is the first step in combating it. This isn't just a thought experiment; it's part of a larger shift in thinking that helps strip masculine authority of its "naturalness." Such naming has the potential to affect change in the real world. It's crucial to keep the notion alive, even if it makes people uncomfortable; as Enloe points out, "the fact that patriarchy is a phrase that so many people avoid saying is one of the factors that allows it to thrive."

The other terminology presented can also help women recognize things they previously didn't perceive because they didn't know how to articulate them. They can also reshape public views and discussions in this way. 

Despite its flaws, I have argued that the sex/gender distinction remains a useful reminder that socially ascribed gender roles, attributes, and behavior are not the inevitable result of biology, and that the terms "sexual harassment" and "sexism" enable us to identify and combat oppressive and/or discriminatory forms of behavior that were previously experienced as isolated events.


In this context, the term "patriarchy" refers to an umbrella concept that brings together seemingly disparate aspects of life to reveal the cumulative and interconnected nature of seemingly unrelated aspects of life, from the bedroom to the boardroom, the classroom to the government, and the rape crisis center to the internet. 


A few additional words, such as 'mansplaining' and 'manspreading,' have also become popular. Some feminists object to these phrases because they are insignificant and/or unjust to many males.

For example, Rebecca Solnit, who is frequently mistakenly credited with coining the word "mansplaining" after describing how a man insisted on teaching her everything about a book she had written, is concerned that the phrase unfairly criticizes all men for the terrible behavior of a few.

However, many women have expressed interest in the term "mansplaining," suggesting that it represents a broadly shared experience that has previously gone unspoken. This and other new phrases are revolutionary not because they accuse all men of something, but because they look at men through the eyes of women, in the context of a larger social milieu that gives many of them a privileged sense of superiority and entitlement.

I'd want to advocate for more feminist usage of the word "phallic drift," coined by Diane Bell and Renate Klein to describe "the powerful propensity for public debate of gender issues to drift, inexorably, back to the masculine point of view."


Some feminists have also attempted to reclaim phrases that have been used to disparage women in the past.


The ‘slutwalk' movement, for example, began in 2011 after a Canadian police officer said women should stop dressing like ‘sluts' if they wanted to avoid being assaulted; feminists who marched and demonstrated under the ‘slutwalk' banner in many countries were not only protesting against the view that women were to blame if they were assaulted, but they were also redefining a negative term for a woman.

Similarly, the feminist magazine Bitch's webpage justifies its usage of the term: When used as an insult, the term "bitch" is used to women who speak their minds, who have strong ideas and don't hesitate to voice them, and who don't sit by and grin awkwardly when they're annoyed or insulted. We'll take that as a complement if being an outspoken woman means being a bitch. Some women feel empowered by reclaiming labels like "slut" and "bitch." However, some women of color have objected to feminists' usage of the term "slut," claiming that it fails to recognize the strength, depth, and virulence of the scorn it represents when used to black women.

Similarly, while it may appear subversive for feminists to reject conventionally ‘ladylike' language in favor of swearing, if such taboo-breaking involves a viciously negative portrayal of women's genitals, it is hardly empowering: thus, at the end of what she had found to be a very funny and feminist show by a young woman comedian, my friend Penny was moved to queue up at the end to congratulate her but also to express her disappointment. 


More broadly, developing a feminist vocabulary that both articulates and contextualizes women's specific experiences is a crucial aspect of collective political action.


It's a means of combating women's silence while simultaneously protecting us from being drawn into disputes about terminology we'd never use. ‘If the right to speak, having credibility, and being heard is a type of wealth, that wealth is now being redistributed,' as Solnit puts it. 

Such redistribution has just begun, and it is crucial for feminists to continue to refine the terminology they have.

Any redistribution is skewed substantially in favor of the wealthiest women. 

Gender inequality and oppression, as I argue, cannot be understood, or resisted in isolation from their economic, political, and cultural contexts, and they are inextricably linked to other kinds of inequality and oppression.




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Feminism Must Adapt to the Ever-Changing Complexities of Patriarchy

 



 

While I feel the term of 'patriarchy' is a vital feminist tool, I also feel it is frequently misunderstood. This article provides a series of interlinked cautionary statements against na├»ve interpretations that might distort our knowledge and be politically unproductive. 


First, the term "patriarchy" should not be used in isolation. 


It is not the sole type of oppression, and it must be considered as part of a larger investigation of how male dominance intersects with other forms of inequality and exploitation, as well as how they are linked to the logic of the global capitalist system.

I advocate for broadly socialist solutions, expand on the ramifications of such a multidimensional approach.

Second, I disagree with some of the concept's early proponents, such as Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich, and Robin Morgan, as well as Millett. These writers have appeared to suggest that, because all known civilizations are patriarchal, they are all basically ‘the same,' that all women are joined as victims of global patriarchy, that patriarchal power must trump class and race barriers, and that, as a result, ‘sisterhood is global.'

There are similarities to be identified, and women from fundamentally diverse civilizations typically share sexual exploitation, lack of reproductive choice, economic exploitation, and/or exclusion or marginalization from mainstream social, cultural, and political life. 


Some women oppress other women, and over-generalized accusations run the risk of trivializing the depths of anguish and humiliation imposed on some by comparing them with minor annoyances.


The problem with generalizing is not just that women's experiences are vastly different, but that relatively privileged women assume the centrality of their own concerns in much the same way that men have assumed the centrality of theirs, so that "there are disturbing parallels between what feminists find disconcerting in Western political thought and what many black women have found troubling." However, I believe that if the notion is linked with race and class analysis and utilized to investigate the links between various types of discrimination, inequality, and oppression, it may be saved from oversimplification and generalization.

A third cautionary note derives from the erroneous assumption that patriarchy is eternal and unchangeable. A moment's thought reveals this to be nonsense. Although patriarchy remained in force generally, Millett said that by 1970, it had become "significantly transformed and weakened" in the United States and Europe. She credited this to previous women's efforts, and her own effort was driven by the hope that her writing may help bring about more change. At first glance, it appears that the roots of western patriarchy have been rocked, if not yet overturned, in the half-century since Millett established the notion.

Most obviously, the western world described by Millett, in which women were virtually absent from political life or high-status employment, most were economically dependent on a husband, and ‘nice girls' did not have sex before or outside marriage, is not a world familiar to most young women today, despite the fact that the sexual double-standard still exists. 

There has also been a significant shift in official attitudes, with many national and international organizations now declaring gender equality and/or the abolition of violence against women as their declared goals.


In 2017, feminist writer Naomi Wolf said that the #MeToo movement's capacity to hold prominent men accountable had "ripped the fabric of patriarchy," while a headline in the Guardian newspaper posed the question, "Is the patriarchy over?"


As other feminists have pointed out, recent advances do not signal the end of patriarchy, but rather a shift in its character. Patriarchy, for example, is a system — a dynamic web – of specific beliefs and interactions, according to Enloe. That system is neither fragile nor stagnant. Patriarchy may be modernized and modified. It's adaptive. In many parts of the globe, such adaptation has historically entailed a shift away from private patriarchy, which is based on individual authority within the house, and toward public patriarchy, which is based on structures outside the family.

Most western women are no longer financially dependent on their husbands, but many are reliant on the male-run state for employment or benefits; similarly, most are no longer sexually controlled by family members, but the rising use of pornography represents a "more collective, impersonal, male control of women's bodies." Sylvia Walby has succinctly summarized such arguments:

‘Women are no longer restricted to the domestic hearth, but have the entire society in which to roam and be exploited,' 


There is no clear distinction between private and public forms of patriarchy


We must fully examine the complex gains and losses experienced by various groups of women in various aspects of their lives.

One factor for patriarchy's evolution is the evolution of the capitalist economic system with which it is inextricably linked. 

Our era of global capitalism, as Beatrix Campbell has argued, is witnessing a new type of patriarchy, which she dubs "neopatriarchal neoliberalism, an ugly word for an awful bargain."

At first glance, this new system appears to have responded to feminist pressures by allowing girls to become astronauts, bankers, or whatever they want, but in practice, it resists any genuine change in the gender division of labor, it exploits women on a global scale, and, in line with neoliberal economic theory, it dismantles welfare provisions and state benefits.

While this may sound depressing, it serves as a reminder of the complexity, rather than the impossibility, of the task ahead of feminists; here, Enloe, who shares many of Campbell's concerns, also insists that "updated patriarchy is not invincible," that feminist campaigns are having some success around the world, and that what we need now is "organized, cross-race, inter-gene activism." 


Because patriarchy is a dynamic and complicated structure, we should avoid using the term "the patriarchy." This phrase, which has just lately entered feminist lexicon, appears to imply a steady, monolithic domination by a unified group.

I feel it is overly simple, and that talking about ‘the patriarchy' makes no more sense than talking about ‘capitalism' or ‘democracy.' Finally, claiming that patriarchy can aid our understanding of the world does not imply that all women are hapless victims and all males are active oppressors. This is obviously not the case: many courageous women have always fought for their own rights as well as the oppression of others, and many feminist women have received personal and/or political encouragement and support from males.


When we label society patriarchal, we're pinpointing men's collective authority as the root of the problem, and we need to focus on that rather than individual men's poor behavior. 


We can't eliminate misogyny "individually," as Jessa Crispin puts it, while "casual demonization of white straight men follows the same pattern of bias and hatred that fuels misogyny, racism, and homophobia... the same lazy thinking, easy scapegoating, and pleasurable anger that all other forms of hatred have."

At its most fundamental level, the prioritization of men's interests and concerns is systematic, not arbitrary.

Patriarchy, on the other hand, lacks the same essential energy as capitalism, which is founded on the ruthless pursuit of expansion and profit as goals in themselves. Because of this dynamic, it is difficult to be a decent, non-exploitative capitalist in the long run without going out of business.

In a patriarchal culture, however, it is theoretically possible to be a nice guy, even a feminist or pro-feminist man – but this is not easy, and many men are more privileged than they know (not least because of their comfortable, unreflective sense of their own ‘normality'). It is also apparent that living in a patriarchal culture does not benefit all men equally.

Many men, are unable to meet Western society's ideals of masculinity; for those whose lives have been blighted by poverty, racism, and/or homophobia, any suggestion that their interests are systematically favored may feel like a cruel joke.



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Rejecting a Male Centered Worldview

 



The notion of patriarchy has made perhaps the most basic contribution to feminist or human understanding by taking women and their experiences as its starting point. 

This has the direct consequence of degrading males; it so calls into question both the ‘normalcy' of their viewpoints and the underlying premise that they are the measure of what it is to be human, and that society should be organized around their wants. 

It also reveals the peculiarity of men's ostensibly objective manner of seeing the world, in which women are treated as an afterthought or special interest – as in the contrast between "history" and "women's history," or "novels" and "women's novels." 

This means that, despite its universalistic pretensions, the political, social, economic, and cultural "mainstream" is functionally a "male-stream" that marginalizes or rejects half of the population. 


The widely held belief that males are "normal" can be hazardous and/or discriminatory. 


Because safety testing are based on the average male physique, women are at a higher risk of damage or death in automobile accidents; failing to recognize the signs of heart attacks, which are generally different between men and women; and making tools that are too big for the average woman to use. 

In general, if women desire equality, they must submit to masculine standards. 

This implies that any 'different,' such as giving birth or raising children, is seen as a proof of women's inferiority and incapacity to compete with males, while their domestic and caring tasks go unnoticed by economists and political experts. 


Political and economic equality between the sexes entails little more than ‘business as usual with a few more women' from this incomplete and insufficient view. 


Women-centered viewpoints, on the other hand, remind us that the world of paid employment would collapse without women's unpaid labor, and that true equality cannot be achieved on men's terms; rather, it necessitates a dramatic reordering of priorities and assumptions in all spheres of life. 

However, such reordering should not be viewed as a mere reverse of previous values and arrangements. There is no single ‘women's perspective,' but rather a kaleidoscope of shifting, overlapping, fragmented, and at times conflicting opinions that represent the diversity of women's experiences as well as the way they might alter through time. 

As a result, displacing males is simply the first step in breaking free from the constraints of a worldview focused on either ‘side' of a binary dichotomy. 


The tricky issue here is to strike a balance between awareness of gender distinctions and the ambiguity of the label’s "women" and "men" and acknowledgment of the frequently terrible reality of a society that is not just gendered but also patriarchal.




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Feminism Battles Patriarchy: Overcoming the False Social Construct and Institution that is Patriarchy

 


The concept of 'patriarchy' arose in the late 1960s from the same ferment of left-wing ideas and experiences as 'sexism,' as young women in a number of western countries, often white and privileged, discovered that many seemingly egalitarian and progressive men did not extend their political principles to their treatment of women.

These women came to realize that their seemingly particular and personal difficulties were widely shared when they related their terrible experiences in "consciousness-raising groups," and that they had grown up into a broad pattern of male exploitation and abuse of power.

In this environment, they began to claim that women were oppressed as well as black people, and that women should take urgent action to free themselves from what they came to refer to as "patriarchy."


The term "patriarchy" goes beyond "sexism" in identifying men's collective dominance over women.


"Connecting the dots" between many elements of women's experiences in both their political and private lives and tying these individual experiences to larger societal structures and institutions.

If we see the world not only as "gendered," but also as "patriarchal," we can see that the gender disadvantages and inequities listed in the Introduction are cumulative and interrelated, as well as taking less physical or quantifiable forms.

It's not just that women earn less and are more likely to live in poverty than men in the same class or race; it's also that they're under-represented in economic and political decision-making positions; their experiences, needs, and perceptions are frequently marginalized or ignored; and they're all too often subjected to sexual harassment.

Individual and/or seemingly isolated instances of discrimination, exploitation, or injustice, on the other hand, add up to a more general picture of a world marked by a gender hierarchy that is so pervasive and pervasive that it can, paradoxically, appear as unremarkable and invisible as the air we breathe.

Some far earlier feminists were also aware of the multidimensional character of women's injustices and disadvantages, the necessity to advocate on a wide variety of topics, and some of men's more subtle tactics of maintaining power. When John Stuart Mill, a nineteenth-century philosopher, contended that women had the right to education, work, and the vote, he also claimed that they had the right to be protected from violent spouses.


‘Men don't only want women's obedience; they want their feelings, too'.


As a result, they have put everything in place to imprison their brains.' At the same time in the United States, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was campaigning on the same public issues as Mill; she also argued that men used all forms of organized religion to oppress and manipulate women, she refused to listen to male ‘experts' on how to raise her children, she asserted her right to dress for comfort and convenience rather than male approval, and she insisted on equal pay for equal work.

She also stated that “when I think of all the wrongs that have been piled upon womankind, I am ashamed that I am not eternally in a state of chronic rage, stark insane, skin and bones, my eyes a torrent of tears, my mouth overflowing with curses.” Stanton, like Mill and other feminists of the day, lacked a term to express her beliefs or to analyses as well as identify the various wrongs she observed.


Feminists did not have an accessible and systematic means of conceptualizing the links between seemingly unconnected concerns until 1970, when Kate Millett's Sexual Politics was published.


Millett argued in ‘Notes towards a theory of patriarchy' that all known societies have been structured around the power of men over women, that this patriarchal power extends into every aspect of human life, and that it appears natural rather than political precisely because it is so universal and all-pervasive.

She argued that the family is ‘patriarchy's chief institution,' and that it is primarily maintained through a process of socialization, in which women are taught about their own inferiority and insignificance from a young age; this early ‘interior colonization' is then confirmed by education, literature, and religion. Patriarchy is thus based on the agreement of both men and women. 

It is, nevertheless, anchored by governmental authority, the legal system, and women's economic exploitation, and, like other systems of dominance, it ultimately relies on the use or threat of physical force; this danger often extends into private life in the form of sexual assault and rape.


With male dominance, love can only be a confidence trick that hides the power that is inescapably present in all female-male interactions.


Many women at the period discovered that labelling their society as "patriarchal" gave them with a strong new way of viewing the world and making sense of their lives, and many experienced a "click moment" in which disparate parts of knowledge and experience came into place.

Since 1970, a number of feminist writers have developed the term, which has been extensively criticized by others; it was somewhat out of favor at the turn of the twenty-first century, but it is now commonly utilized in popular debate of #MeToo or the gender pay gap. While it can be misused or exploited to make exaggerated assertions, I believe that the notion of patriarchy continues to give vital insights into effective feminist politics. Before looking at its limits, I highlight three major situations where it appears to be very useful.




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Issues with the Term "SEXISM"




While the term "sexism" is sometimes applied to institutional conduct, it is more typically associated with individual acts and intentions, obscuring the underlying processes and effects. 

The term also frequently separates gender-specific forms of ill-treatment and bad behavior from the other structural inequalities with which they intersect, focusing on the insults and discriminatory incidents faced by relatively privileged women rather than the constant abuse and exploitation faced by those who are more vulnerable. Another issue with the term "sexism" is that it is gender-neutral. 


Men, too, are often treated unfairly because of their sex, and they, too, experience sexism. 


However, as she also points out, such sexism differs significantly from that faced by women in terms of "frequency, intensity, and context." It's also different because of the larger gendered power structure in which sexist occurrences or behaviors occur, as explained in the next paragraph. In this larger context, there is a world of difference between jokes mocking rich males and jokes mocking impoverished women, for example. 

This is the difference between 'punching up,' which aims to undermine existing inequities by puncturing wealthy people's unreflective and self-satisfied worldview, and 'punching down,' which humiliates those who are already disadvantaged. 

This context is frequently overlooked, leading feminists to be accused of lacking a sense of humor if they fail to find misogynistic jokes amusing, as well as being accused of sexism if they make a joke at the expense of men; this accusation may tempt them to invoke Margaret Atwood's oft-quoted observation, "Men are afraid that women will laugh a lot." 

Women are frightened of being killed by males.' When sexism is discussed in isolation from larger patterns of male authority, the difficulties of making substantial change might be underestimated

Men dominate positions of power and authority in the judiciary, politics, culture, and the media, she did not really investigate the relationship of institutionalized public power to sexism or other forms of male privilege, such as men's generally higher financial resources. 

Instead of perceiving male vested interests as making eliminating sexism both hard and difficult, Bates was thrilled to learn that many men supported her effort, and she argued that ending sexism is a relatively easy matter of cultural change. 


‘This is not a men against women issue.' It's about individuals versus prejudice, and sexism. 


A more analytical approach, on the other hand, would recognize that the overall preference for males over women is a complex, multidimensional system including a variety of interconnected and mutually reinforcing economic, political, legal, physical, and cultural aspects. Support from well-intentioned men is welcome in this situation, but it must take the shape of action as well as words. 

These critiques do not imply that the label "sexism" be dropped. Indeed, it continues to give an accessible and politically extremely effective starting place for feminist consciousness and political action by highlighting discriminatory practices and attitudes and labelling them as wrong. 

It is, however, descriptive rather than analytical, and it should be utilized as part of a larger analysis of ‘patriarchy,' which is explored in the next section.




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What is Sexism TODAY?

 


 

The term "sexism" was coined in the late 1960s in the context of the civil rights struggle in the United States. Many young women found that supposedly ‘progressive' anti-racist and left-wing groups, as well as anti-war, new left, and student movements in North America, Europe, and Australia, were not immune from the ‘feminine mystique' identified by Betty Friedan, and that they were expected to act as sexually available secretaries and housewives rather than equal partners or decision-makers.


Men's behavior was labelled as 'sexist' to emphasize the political gravity of women's demands and complaints, implying that prejudice, discrimination, and ill treatment based on gender were just as important and unacceptable as those based on race.


In the decades after, the terms 'sexism' and 'sexist' have proven to be extremely helpful shorthand for describing a wide variety of ideas, attitudes, and behavior that reflect, sustain, or produce an environment or results that disadvantage one sex, generally women.

Examples include deliberate acts of discrimination, intimidation, or exclusion, such as refusing to hire or promote women or sexually harassing them on the street, as well as the uncritical acceptance of gender stereotypes, such as boys don't cry and women are naturally suited to housework, and the use of non-inclusive language, such as referring to all potential students at a school open day as "he," Sexism, like racism, isn't only about individual acts of discrimination; it can also take institutional forms:


An organization may be full of well-intentioned individuals who want to treat everyone fairly, but it may also be riddled with beliefs that favor males over women.


For example, when choosing a candidate for a parliamentary election, political activists may search for someone with trade union or commercial expertise, while overlooking the fact that establishing a play program for local children also requires politically relevant abilities.

Computer algorithms learn from people's prior patterns of behavior, thus institutional sexism can now exist without explicit human participation; for example, adverts for particularly well-paid or typically masculine positions have been targeted to males on Facebook and Google.


Although the term sexism is most often used to ‘call out' individual acts of bad or inappropriate behavior, it can also help us understand their larger social context:


To describe our society as sexist is to see the connections between different instances of discrimination, not just to say that some people do or think discriminatory things.

Laura Bates, who created the online ‘Everyday Sexism' initiative in 2012 in reaction to her own low-level, negative experiences, such as being yelled at on the street and grabbed on a bus, obviously saw this link.

The steady drip-drip-drip of sexism, sexualization, and objectification is linked to the assumption of ownership and control over women's bodies, and the background noise of harassment and disrespect is linked to the assertion of power that is violence and racial profiling, according to Bates.

Bates was able to clarify her findings and, by defining the problem, take the initial steps in confronting it by labelling a variety of different situations as "sexism." She believes that grassroots activism is critical in changing the culture of sexism, and she worked with others to encourage companies whose Facebook ads appeared on pages that appeared to condone or encourage sexual violence to leave the platform. After fifteen advertisers, including Nissan, left, Facebook promised several changes, including improved moderator training.


The term 'sexism' is still frequently used today, and it plays an important role in shaping a worldview that represents and expresses many women's experiences, as well as informing practical feminist politics.


It can be difficult for a woman to use the word without being stereotyped as an old-fashioned, pessimistic, humorless whiner who invents issues where none exist and sees the world through a distorted, feminist lens. This implies that, although silence or involvement in sexist society generally goes unnoticed, sexism criticism is frequently penalized, resulting in a situation in which "when we name what we come up against, we come up against what we label."

Sara Ahmed argues that, in this setting, female academics have frequently stopped doing the hard and often fruitless job of detecting sexism wherever they find it, and that as a result, "sexism appears to have "fallen out" of feminist theoretical vocabulary."


In some ways, academic apathy toward the term may appear to be a good thing, because feminist academic theory can appear almost deliberately obscure at times, a way of signaling membership in an elite group whose language is impenetrable to "outsiders," a category that includes most black and/or working-class women.

Feminist theory, on the other hand, may, at its finest, bring seemingly disparate ideas together and infuse greater rigor into public debates.


My impression is that the term "sexism" has become almost too simple to use, and that it is being thrown around to the point that it is losing its potency; it's possible that a lack of academic interest contributes to its seeming lack of analytical or critical edge.



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Goddesses and Eco-warriors Need Eco-Activism and Feminism

 



As previous ideological divides have blurred and the prominence of direct action for protesting environmental issues has grown, the gap between theory and action has deepened. While feminist and ecological studies are increasingly focusing on theory, action is becoming more common.


Has feminism made such inroads into politics that their contributions have been considered in curtailing the need for special feminist theory or politics in connection to our experiences of eco-activism?  


Pam is a feminist scholar and part-time activist, while Sarah is an environmental activist who has studied Women's Studies.

We agree that feminist theory, including ecofeminism, is a poor resource for modern eco-activism, but we equally believe that waiting for theoretical difficulties to be resolved might stifle action. Sarah believes that feminist analyses are significant historically and have contributed to shape eco-activism as it is now, thus they are included into ecological studies, but she avoids utilizing explicit feminist criticisms for fear of being regarded as "oldhat" and alienating co-activists.

Pam admires how activist coalitions may liberate political action from identities or unitary theories, but she is wary of depending on feminist analysis inside a 'grand theory,' even one that revalues the traditionally feminine and undervalued. We couldn't help but distinguish various constituencies of environmental demonstrators as we discussed our opinions of and thoughts on the popularization of feminist concepts.

When the focus is on a specific location, it frequently draws together campaigners who have used formal political tactics, such as public meetings and petitioning the council, with 'eco-warrior' activists who may occupy land or buildings and live in tree-houses or tunnels.

Local residents and activists visited, lived on, and farmed abandoned urban land at PureGenius, whose politics spanned shades and combinations of anarchist, socialism, and deep ecology, or none of these, and whose identities ranged from Pagan to punk to professional and beyond.



Prioritizing action means acting together without the necessity for shared identities or theoretical ideas.


Pam has had a mixed experience with male co-activist’s gender politics. At a Newbury By pass protest-camp, she learned ways of diffusing aggression diffusing aggression from men at house occupations protesting the M motor-way link-road.

Many serious eco-activists with a radical ecological analysis incorporate gender analyses into their criticisms of power and 'progress.'

We can critically explore the traditional gendered identities that eco-activism might mobilize, such as warriors battling for the Earth or the celebration of feminine vitality and creativity, with them.

We take pro-feminist convictions for granted among these activists perhaps because they frequently reflect features of our own political lives, but not among the many others drawn to each one demonstration. 

Is our assumption that eco-activists are feminists accurate, or are we allowing identity politics in via the back door?



The term "patriarchy" is outdated.


Pam relates this to a growing focus on the local, which means she only uses the word infrequently, but when she does, it's to emphasize the breadth of analysis in an almost exasperated gesture to 'capitalist patriarchy' or 'hetero-patriarchal relations,' which she sees as a critical counterpoint to a focus on the local. 

Sarah agrees, but is concerned that putting too much focus on such huge ideas might lead to feelings of impotence in the face of them, and points out that decisions are made by real people, with names and addresses, in the institutions and organizations that support them.

The concentration on action rather than philosophy permits eco-activists to be portrayed as thoughtless in the mainstream media. While certain concerns, such as violence, will be addressed as practical concerns of living and acting together, other events such as Earth First! rallies will focus on more theoretical debate. 

Because we haven't all 'come through feminism on-site, feminist analyses are required to challenge appropriations of feminism on and off-site where images of ‘active' women are used to sell us beauty products and designer combat gear, and when journalists want 'cute' women protesters to be the vulnerable victims of burly bailiffs.


If 'first-wave' Western feminists fought for equality and integration, and 'second-wave' feminists criticized dominant values and sometimes inverted value-hierarchies to revalue qualities associated with the feminine in this century, 'third-wave' feminism goes beyond such reversals, stepping outside the existing terms of debate, such as by deconstructing the presumption of a gender binary or the convexity of a gender binary.


We respect feminist studies for demonstrating who profits the most from corporate 'development' both locally and worldwide and for contesting dominant presumptions about desired 'progress' such as ecofeminist criticisms of integrationist/'catch-up' international development models.

These are the first and second waves of arguments, respectively. On-site, we see second-wave feminist analyses being drawn on implicitly by men and women to challenge daring machismo, which the emphasis on action sometimes elicits from male or female activists; to identify bailiff aggression and intimidation, and to challenge the devaluation of nurturance and passivity.

Pam is more ambivalent than Sarah about some revaluing, particularly where women's connection to the Earth is understood as intrinsically gendered, because she shares especially third-wave feminist theorists' distrust of essentialism and skepticism of the discourse of the natural' for its ability to undermine women's reproductive choices and sell us anything.

Our various reactions to women activists employing and loving the sexualization of their bodies, such as the Sacred Harlots of Gaia, who striptease to distract security guards/police from the acts of other activists, demonstrate the contradictions of striving to reclaim or disrupt traditional meanings.

Such attempts to recover or use sarcastic or strategically gendered meanings can sometimes be indistinguishable from or reinforce pre-second-wave sexist beliefs, necessitating the inclusion of second-wave analysis e.g.to remain critical about women being defined by their bodies or reproductive status. Pam can join Sarah in celebrating women's sexuality in a specific local intervention while questioning if it reflects women’s' true sexuality,' according to third-wave studies. Because eco-activism employs both second and third-wave feminist tactics at the same time, it seems more useful to think of them as distinct tactics rather than stages.


Is feminist philosophy necessary for today's eco-activists?


Feminism, Sarah believes, isn't relevant as a separate analysis and is already a component of the pot. Pam would want to have distinct feminist analyses even when working within larger coalitions, so that she could add to the flavor. Our various replies reflect our various locations, and the challenges we had in writing together were like those confronted by coalitions.

Our theoretical disagreements, however, haven't stopped us from working together or being friends. So, although Pam thinks 'third-wave' analyses are useful for thinking about activism, Sarah wonders if they help her do it.





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COVID-19 Pandemic's impact on Global Politics

 



A slew of international and domestic political issues has arisen because of the worldwide epidemic. The COVID-health crisis is an external shock to the global system, affecting international politics and causing new tensions between foes and friends. It will likely have far-reaching repercussions and long-term consequences for geopolitics.


Political leaders from major countries such as the United States and China may try to use the crisis to gain an advantage in the global political order's continuous battle for hegemony. 

States have been left scrambling to gather enough supplies and resources to properly combat the virus in many cases, prioritizing national interest and the well-being of their own populations.

The US, for example, asked to stop supplying protective masks to Canada and Latin American nations so that they could keep them for domestic usage. In the rush to produce a vaccine for the virus, a type of "vaccine nationalism" emerged, which erected hurdles to collaboration and favored local delivery once mass manufacturing began. The pandemic has the potential to intensify existing inter-state political tensions. COVID, for example, has the potential to exacerbate tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.


We might witness greater entrenchment of the armed status quo, as well as local initiatives to emphasize the weakness of Indian administration in Kashmir, while political leaders in both nations focus on battling the virus. 

Hardline Indian nationalist initiatives might potentially be utilized to shift public attention away from the COVID situation. The magnitude of the pandemic danger, on the other hand, is likely to focus attention in India and Pakistan on the urgent needs for public health services and the need to alleviate domestic economic distress. Politicians in countries with supranational governance institutions, such as the European Union, have had disagreements over new policies.

Despite disagreements during the negotiating process, EU member states finally reached an agreement on an economic recovery plan in July, despite reservations from so-called "frugal" nations about the plan's cost. 

However, debates over seasonal migrant labor have fueled tensions inside the EU, with certain businesses, particularly farmers, seeking access to foreign workers and populist leaders advocating for tougher immigration controls. The epidemic has also exacerbated pre-existing international issues around people migration.


Asylum seekers and refugees have been hit especially hard, especially as the epidemic threatens to exacerbate current humanitarian situations.

Temporary economic migrants have also been affected by the epidemic, particularly because of the economic crisis, which has led many businesses to lay off workers. Even though governments have implemented economic measures to help enterprises, temporary migrants are frequently left out of these programs.

Some governments are also contemplating changing migration restrictions and drastically altering how they handle asylum applications, such as limiting face-to-face interviews, erecting additional physical obstacles, or even encouraging asylum seekers to bring their own black or blue ink pens. 

Internal migration has also been impacted by the epidemic, with several countries imposing travel restrictions. In a variety of ways, the public health issue is impacting internal political conflicts.


Some politicians, for example, used the outbreak for partisan political benefit during post-Brexit discussions between the UK and the EU. 

In certain circumstances, politicians have questioned experts' authority, eroding voters' faith in evidence-based understanding.

To further their beliefs, they have often mischaracterized or usurped scientific expertise on problems such as mask wearing. 


In several nations, political division has fueled and worsened debate about the epidemic, creating tensions between regional/state and national/federal political authorities. Calls for unity and concerted action, on the other hand, have occasionally served to bridge ideological and party divisions.

The pandemic offers distinct threats to state stability, potentially amplifying the dangers of political violence, internal armed conflict, and state failure. 

Rebel organizations and other militant players have taken advantage of chances to expand their power, further political goals, and demonstrate their ability to administer and enforce norms. 

Armed groups operating along Colombia's southwest coast, for example, have publicly said that curfew offenders will be viewed as "military objectives."


In some situations, COVID- has given armed opposition groups the opportunity to ramp up assaults and target government opponents, while in others, the opportunity has been used to enhance claims of legitimacy and demonstrate their ability to deliver public services and rule.

To combat the pandemic, the Islamic State, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda affiliates, for example, have all offered instruction and local support. The pandemic has also had an impact on political engagement. Protest politics, for example, has been a hot topic of discussion.

On the one hand, residents in certain nations have turned to the streets to protest government measures aimed at containing the virus, such as lockdown and stay-at-home orders.


Protests like as those organized by Black Lives Matter activists throughout the world, on the other hand, were a source of debate as people and political leaders debated whether such events led to fresh COVID outbreaks.

Election politics are also affected by the consequences on political engagement. Local and national political leaders in several nations, for example, have opted to postpone elections or rethink voting rules and practices.

Governments have taken efforts to ensure social separation, health, and safety during the voting process, such as expanding the use of postal voting or establishing measures to ensure social distance, health, and safety during the voting process.

Traditional customs and behaviors such as shaking hands have been restricted, which has had an influence on campaign activities.

Furthermore, political gatherings pose a significant health danger for the virus's transmission. This aspect becomes particularly salient after former US President Donald Trump started large-scale political campaign activities immediately after his COVID treatment hospitalization.

Other politicians used virtual rallies and events to commemorate significant campaign milestones, such as the Democratic Party's announcement of a presidential candidate in August. COVID- has also influenced the substance of political campaigns and party politics. Issues like as public health and socioeconomic and racial inequality, for example, have grown increasingly prominent, and historically split parties have converged on more similar viewpoints on fiscal prudence and public expenditures.


When it comes to politicians, law enforcement, and the media, among others, TRUST is a critical component of political life.

High-profile instances of politicians disobeying their own stay-at-home directives, or openly contradicting or undermining health professionals can cause widespread misunderstanding and erode public faith.

The politicization of topics such as obligatory mask wearing demonstrates how a lack of consensus and diverse approaches may thwart public health initiatives and foster suspicion not just of politicians but also of law enforcement authorities entrusted with enforcing compliance.


In some situations, lawbreakers have retaliated violently against cops executing the new legislation. 

Members of an extreme militia were detained in relation to suspected intentions to abduct Michigan's governor and put her on trial for draconian pandemic policies in a particularly spectacular instance.

Furthermore, by adopting framing strategies or prioritizing certain material as they disseminate information to the public, the media can have a compounding influence on public trust (or lack thereof). 

Political trust can be exacerbated using social media by politicians to promote disinformation regarding COVID and associated legislation.




You may also want to read more analysis about the COVID-19 Pandemic here.







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Lack of Civility and the Spread of COVID-19 Pandemic



COVID-19 is examined through the prism of civility. 


For two causes, an emphasis on civility is important. For starters, the idea of civility is often discussed in public forums. 

In a variety of situations in public life, society wants individuals to behave in a certain way. Some people are fast to accuse those who are found to have broken these rules of conduct of being uncivil. 

As American football player Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to demonstrate economic and social inequality, US President Donald Trump deemed the gesture uncivil and insensitive. 

'You have to stand respectfully for the national anthem otherwise you shouldn't be performing, you shouldn't be there, maybe you shouldn't be in the world,' Trump suggested. ‘[t]hat is a complete disrespect to our heritage,' he said. 

That is a complete betrayal of everything we stand for.' Trump was enraged by Kaepernick's words, and he voiced his approval when former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife left the stadium in Indianapolis as part of a counter-protest before an ers-Colts NFL game. 

Accusations of incivility have been levelled at Kaepernick on a regular basis. However, his situation raises a crucial question: can we all be polite to one another? ‘When civility leads to suicide, revolting is the only moral reaction,' Kaepernick recently argued. 

Often it's necessary to be uncivil in order to bring attention to and combat inequality, particularly when other methods aren't (or are no longer) efficient. Another high-profile US event occurred recently when the owner of a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia begged former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to quit. Several LGBTIQ+ waitstaff members objected to her support for President Trump's anti-transgender policy. In an era of outrage and polarized politics, the event posed critical concerns about moral and pragmatic decision-making. 

Those in favor of the move saw it as justified in light of the administration's breach of moral values of fair respect for all citizens—a central level of civility. 

Right-wing commentators, on the other hand, saw the restaurateur's behavior as uncivil, though telling Huckabee Sanders to leave the premises went against generally accepted politeness norms. This breakdown of civil trade has the potential to have far-reaching consequences. 

Both sides identified the other's violations of civility standards, but both centered on a different aspect of civility. This leads to the second explanation for emphasizing civility: the concept's disputed existence in academic literature, especially in political theory and philosophy. 

Second, there is controversy about what civility entails (and therefore incivility). Second, even though people agree on the definition of (in)civility, they can disagree on whether individual incidents of speech or behavior should be classified as civil or uncivil depending on that definition. 


So, what does civility entail? 


Existing scholarly work offers a variety of conceptions of the term, all of which are at odds with one another. However, there are two key points of view. 

On the one hand, civility is often correlated with courtesy and politeness standards: to be respectful in this context means speaking and acting in accordance with these standards. 

In the other hand, it is related to the concept of high-mindedness: to be civil in this second sense implies to demonstrate a devotion to the public benefit, rather than only one's own personal or sectarian interests, and to regard others as free and equal. 

When we defend political laws, we have a "duty of civility" to only refer to public motives (i.e. reasons that our fellow citizens can recognize and find persuasive). 

This second understanding of civility is famously captured by John Rawls' argument that we have a "duty of civility" to only appeal to public reasons (i.e. reasons that our fellow citizens can understand and find persuasive). 

Although, as we'll see, civility as public-mindedness can also be interpreted in a non-justificatory context, implying that we don't treat people in discriminatory or hateful ways. 


We consider politeness and public-mindedness aspects of civility, which will help concentrate on how COVID-19 tests our desire to be respectful while still providing chances for people to discover new ways to be civil to one another in these trying times.


You may also want to read more analysis about the COVID-19 Pandemic here.



COVID-19 Pandemic presents Risks and Threats to Civility and Public-Mindedness



At both the local/national and international levels, various actors and organizations have reacted to the pandemic in ways that have sometimes fallen short of the demands of normative and justifiable civility. 


  1. First, members of oppressed communities have been subjected to different types of bigotry and hate, violating their identity as free and decent people in morally reprehensible ways. 
  2. Second, a variety of political figures have used COVID-19 to further sectarian political interests or to overprioritize some political ideals in comparison to others, in ways that defy justifiable civility criteria. 
  3. Third, certain policymakers have enacted policies that place unfair ‘commitment burdens' on some classes of people, especially those who are already marginalized and disadvantaged structurally. This, we concluded, risks weakening the legitimacy of these measures in the eyes of the public. 
  4. Finally, challenges to justificatory civility have arisen as a result of a lack of scientific knowledge of COVID-19 and its social and cultural aspects, as well as the politicization of research by certain actors for personal or partisan benefit. 

If we wish to avoid an eruption of moral and justifiable incivility, we must act quickly to address these issues. 


We proposed a variety of options for governments and people to pursue this goal. Where it comes to moral civility, policymakers should take action toward more equitable measures that reduce inequality and strengthen the lives of those who are disadvantaged. 

This may include multi-pronged techniques such as clear messaging, localization, collaboration, and policy co-design. Identifying the roots of racism and hate speech, tracking and gathering evidence, working with civil society actors, using media and emerging tools for program implementation, and strengthening legal processes such as hate speech legislation are also ways that lawmakers can better combat the rise of racism and hate speech. 

Responding to COVID-19's obstacles to justificatory civility necessitates a variety of interventions. First, sectarianism can be averted through structural bulwarks against incivility such as judicial processes that can help to deter religious convictions from encroaching on political laws. 


Governments should foster justificatory civility at the same time by promoting the virtues of solidarity, other-regardingness, and reciprocity through educational institutions and the use of consultative and deliberative bodies. 


Furthermore, the implementation of ethics structures may assist governments and people in better articulating the requirements for determining when and how those political values should be prioritized over others in public policy justification. 

Furthermore, policymakers should gain a better understanding of the social and political realities that characterize their society, especially structural inequalities that place additional burdens on marginalized groups; develop more tailored policies that prioritize marginalized groups; and engage in greater activism to reduce the strains of commitment that certain policies may impose on those groups. 

Finally, policymakers must ensure that strategies are not implemented based on faulty or unreliable scientific data. This will necessitate encouraging and financing further scientific studies on COVID-19 (both medical research and research on the virus's social and cultural dimensions), as well as ensuring that governments and the scientific community have open and reliable lines of communication. 

In order to stop using scientific facts in ways that are unsound and unjust, and therefore endanger justificatory civility, policymakers would need to improve their scientific literacy.


You may also want to read more analysis about the COVID-19 Pandemic here.