Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Post-feminism: a cultural debris.

Post-feminism. We really need to study this as we go. The landscape after the initial waves of feminism is full of uneven ground, contradiction. It is not an easy territory to get to know, never mind navigate.

We see women become more powerful, with greater sexual freedoms. However, we see still great discrepancies in pay between men and women. Despite the economic enfranchisement of women, there is still a glass ceiling for women in the workplace. The emotional makeup of the female is still not accepted, because it is still treated with that characteristic Patriarchal suspicion. Women are still seen as the other.

Women themselves are starting to adopt the blinkers of Patriarchy, just in order to succeed. Women must become less feminine, the idea of gender itself must be thrown out of the window, if the modern woman is to carve out a career for herself. If she can't beat them she must join them, and in joining them she loses herself.

Post-feminism is imperialism by another name. It has just become more sophisticated. It gives women the vote, just as the vote itself becomes less and less significant. It gives you the feeling of power, by giving you merely the capacity to spend your way out of your depressions. It gives you the sense of sexual empowerment, when sexuality in this society has become nothing more than another power game, an egoistic exercise.

If the feminist revolution had succeeded, sexuality itself would have transformed. But it hasn't. In fact, what we see are greater and greater levels of objectification - a pornographic culture where sexuality is used as a kind of hypnotic magic. It has, in fact, entrenched the abusive beliefs around femininity that led medieval societies to burn witches.

What characterises our culture is to sell us the promise of our desires, only to deliver more desire. Desire for sexual power, economic enfranchisement, and for freedom. We are offered one thing but given its opposite.

And where does this leave men? In a culture of uncertainty. It leaves men and women in pits of depression and self-loathing, because we are driven to discover ourselves, to find some sense of completeness and cultural identity, only to find the whole project of living and desiring useless and pointless. In our enmeshment, we seek ourselves, while at the same time we lose the very thing we seek.

For women this means betrayal of the feminist ideal. For men, it simply means a deeper and more insidious form of enslavement. We are still objects in the eyes of society, but we can no longer garner any meaning even from our objectification. Whatever power and meaning we had has been stripped of us, and rightly so, but in its place is a void, a barren field of cultural debris.

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