Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Anglo feminism is in no sense a radical or revolutionary movement: to the contrary, all its principal themes – elitism, Puritanism, Calvinism, repression and pretence – are entirely derived from the existing social order. As ever, Anglo Saxon ‘radicalism’ merely represents an extension of existing iniquities (often in more virulent form), conveniently repackaged.
Contemporary Anglo feminism has, for example, a puritanical hatred of sex, the body and physical pleasure that hearkens back to the Seventeenth Century. The supposedly ‘radical’ themes of Anglo feminism derive directly from Reformation Puritanism. They are not ‘radical’ or ‘revolutionary’ at all.
By extension, Anglo feminism perfectly satisfies all the agendas of Imperium late capitalism. By fooling the masses of disenfranchised women that they have more in common with Hilary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice than men who share their socio-economic exclusion, Anglo feminism ideologically coerces them into abject conformity. It is, in fact, a kind of female-orientated nationalism, racism or anti-Semitism, and serves an identical purpose:
The magazine image of Jacqueline Kennedy/Onassis in American womens’ magazines, is interesting on other counts. The massive empire behind a $30, 000-a-month clothes bill was given no comment. Instead, readers of a dozen women’s magazines were encouraged to identity with Jackie’s emotional and domestic problems. Indeed, the working-class readership magazine hardly even referred to her wealth (Downing, 1980:133).
Above all, Anglo-American feminism remains racist and classist to the core:
Black feminists have been particularly angered by Reclaim the Night marches. Intended to assert women’s right to walk through cities free from the threat of sexual assault, these have frequently taken the form of white women marching through minority and/or working-class neighbourhoods. Critics argue that they reinforce false stereotypes about black and working-class sexuality (Bryson, 1999: 60).
Such marches have little to do with affluent white women’s safety: they descend directly from Victorian crusading Puritanism, rhetorical demonstrations of disgust with the coarse vitality of the urban proletariat. No doubt Proto-feminists like Virginia Woolf would be impressed to witness modern Anglo feminists eagerly maintaining her own sordid intolerance.
Anglo feminism in the present is a marginalized failure. It has little appreciable impact outside the elite and academic feminism. This relates to the fact that Anglo feminism emerged in a class-divided culture, whose elites know little about mass experience. Consequently, Anglo feminism is characterised by idiomatic preoccupations – goddess worship, lesbianism and of course, ‘The Boardroom’.
Surely, the moment is long overdue to 'call time' on this gross cultural aberration.