Schrödingers kvindekamp

Der er intet som minoritetsrettigheder til at holde venstrefløjen på dupperne. Nye kommer altid til, nye kan altid defineres og alle er de undertrykte af nogen. Det er krænkelsens paradis. Men når alle er minoriteter støder de deres rettigheder på hinandens manchetter. ”I fredags inviterede Kvinderådet til debat om, hvordan kvindebevægelsen kan blive mere synlig og slagkraftig” skrev Dagbladet Arbejderen. 150 deltog med forskellige bud

Der er ny interesse for ligestillingskampen efter en årrække med stilstand. Nye initiativer dukker op, bevægelsen sprudler, og flere unge kvinder kommer til. Det er i høj grad ligestillingskonferencen Nordisk Forum i Malmø sidste sommer, der har været med til at give nyt liv til kvindebevægelsen.

- I Malmø oplevede vi en ny energi. Det hele boblede derovre, siger Hanne Fokdal fra Kvinderådets styrelse i sin velkomst på mødet.

Hun opfordrer alle til at bruge den lange række af konkrete krav, som blev vedtaget med slutdokumentet på Nordisk Forum, i deres arbejde. Kvinderådet har fået dokumentet optrykt i en lille bog i lommeformat, som bliver delt ud på mødet.

- Dokumentet er blevet overrakt til ligestillingsministrene i Norden. Men de gør ikke noget ved det, før vi skubber til dem. Vi skal blive mere synlige og styrke vores sammenhold, lyder opfordringen fra Hanne Fokdal.

Blandt ligeløn, barsel og kvindevold (det var alle stærkt imod) blev der også talt om “Negativ individualisme”, hvordan man opnår inklusion af flere, nødvendigheden af at få mænd med i ligestillingskampen og så bebrejdelser af ligestillingsministeren (der ellers netop har opnået ligestilling med os islamofober, som fjende af islam).

Modkraft var man ligeledes interesseret i feminismefejringen og Nazila Kivi skriver

Der er mange måder at være feminist på. Man kan danse til Beyoncé, man kan kæmpe for flere poster i bestyrelser og for retten til at gå klædt som man vil – også for minoriteter.

Man kan kæmpe imod prostitution eller for sexarbejderes rettigheder. Man kan fokusere på individer, man kan kæmpe kollektivt, man tage sin krop tilbage eller sætte spørgsmålstegn ved, hvad en kvindekrop egentlig er.

Man kan være separatistisk, man kan være radikal eller man kan lære at stave til intersektionalitet og så tro, at det må være bevis nok på ens engagement.

Selv mener jeg ikke, at man kan have en feminisme, der ser bort fra kampen mod racisme, imperialisme og neoliberalisme.

Den feministiske metode handler netop om at udfordre gængse subjektpositioner, byde på alternative epistemologier og udfordre tvangsnormaliseringen af mennesker i patriarkatets og kapitalismens navn.

Racisme, kapitalisme og kolonialisme hierarkiserer individers og gruppers eksistens og legitimerer udnyttelse og udgrænsning af bestemte kroppe, der ikke indordner sig hierarkiet.

Vi har - med Dan Turells ord - længe været mandschauvinister, hvis vi lægger os en halv time på sofaen når vi kommer hjem fra arbejde.

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Det lykkedes Dagbladet Arbejderens fotograf helt at undgå at fange etniske minoriteter, der går klædt som de vil blandt de 150 fredag der eftermiddag var mødt frem i LiteraturHaus på ellers ganske etnisk spraglede Nørrebro i København.

Hvis man skulle få den tanke at “den feministiske metode” er en grød selvmodsigende kværulanteri er man ikke helt ved siden af. Nick Cohen skriver at den politiske korrektheds metastaserende selvmodsigelser, hvorunder feminisme kun er en del trækker venstrefløjens tænkning ned i en endeløs udskamning af andres og hinandens ytringsfrihed

A generation ago, a faction within Western feminism campaigned to ban pornography. They believed it caused harm by inciting men to rape, but couldn’t prove it. Despite decades of research, no one has been able to show that pornography brutalises otherwise peaceful men. So they added the argument that sexual fantasy should be banned because it spread harmful stereotypes that polluted society. Unfortunately, for them, they could not substantiate that claim beyond reasonable doubt either.

“You have no identity, no personality, you are a collection of appealing body parts,” the American law professor Catharine MacKinnon told her followers in the 1980s. Pornography ensured women were assessed only by their looks. It “strips women of credibility, from our accounts of sexual assault to our everyday reality of sexual subordination. We are reduced and devalidated and silenced.”

For all its faults, America has the First Amendment, which protects free speech and freedom of the press. The US Supreme Court duly struck down an ordinance MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin drafted for Indianapolis City Council in 1984 which would have allowed women who could say they were harmed by pornography to sue. It might have killed the law but it did not kill the movement. The impulse behind the original demands drives campaigns against sexist advertising and naked women in tabloids to this day.

Even if you think, as I do, that a wing of feminism degenerated into a puritanism not too far away from the God-given puritanism of the Christian Right, you should accept that debates about free speech are unavoidably ferocious because the urge to suppress is not some feminist peculiarity but a near universal desire.

(…)

I will go further and say that, regardless of colour or creed, most people who have suffered from insults have wanted their abuser silenced, even if what he said was true—especially if what he said was true.

The American legal philosopher Joel Feinberg attacked Mill by saying that we feel offence like a wound. You only have to think about the hurt from slights that have stayed with you longer than the pain from a broken bone to see the truth in his argument. Societies and individuals feel disgust, revulsion, shock, shame and embarrassment when they hear views that don’t physically harm them, Feinberg said in the 1980s. They can and should replace Mill’s “harm principle” with his “offence principle”—that the law can stop speech that causes serious offence.

Feinberg’s mild authoritarianism buttressed the illiberal version of liberalism that flourishes to this day. It supports the laws against “hate speech” which may not be so hateful it provokes its audience to violence, but is still grossly offensive. It provides the philosophical justification for the incessant Twitter storms and media fits about “gaffes”, “misspeaks”, or to use a modern phrase that reeks of the Victorian drawing-room, “inappropriate language”.

Go into the modern university and you won’t hear much about Mill or Milton or the millions around the world who have had to learn the hard way why freedom of speech matters. Instead, you will be fed philosophers far less rigorous than Feinberg. The New Zealander Jeremy Waldron, an Oxford professor from the American university system, which churns out authoritarian philosophers the way Ford churns out cars, suggests speech that attacks the dignity of others should be banned. Stanley Fish of New York dispenses with any pretence that we should respect universal human rights, and descends into power-worship and thuggery. “The only way to fight hate speech is to recognise it as the speech of your enemy,” he says. “And what you do in response to the speech of your enemy is not prescribe a medication for it but attempt to stamp it out.” Take a breath and think about his assumptions. This is the tyrannical language of an illiberal intelligentsia so lost in complacency it thinks it no longer needs the rights it once championed.We don’t care if we are being consistent, it says. We have the power to censor now and we will use it.

Few contemporary theorists grasp that people oppose censorship not because they respect the words of the speaker but because they fear the power of the censor. It is astonishing that professed liberals, of all people, could have torn up the old limits, when they couldn’t answer the obvious next question: who decides what is offensive?

If it is the representatives of a democracy, you have the tyranny of the majority to discriminate against “offensive” homosexuals, for instance. If it is a dictatorship, you have the whims of the ruling tyrant or party—which will inevitably find challenges to its rule and ideology offensive. If it is public or private institutions, they will decide that whistleblowers must be fired for damaging the bureaucracy, regardless of whether they told the truth in the public interest. If it is the military, they will suppress pictures of torture for fear of providing aid to the enemy. If it is the intelligence services they will say that leaks about illegal surveillance must be stopped because they might harm national security, just as pornography might harm women. Why should they have to prove it, when liberals have assured them that there is no need to demonstrate actual damage?

Den danske konsensus- og hyggekultur sikrer indtil videre at feminister kan kæmpe sammen om diamentralt modsatte målsætninger.

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