Do feminists make sense in America?

(Anti) feminism

Use Lenz

To person

is Professor of Sociology (retired), especially gender and social structure research, at the Ruhr University Bochum. [email protected]

The feminist debates have flared up again. [1] They criss-cross both among feminists and between them and representatives of various left, liberal and conservative positions. Increasing anti-feminism provides further material for discussion. But what does "feminism" mean today? This includes ways of thinking and practices that criticize the hegemonic notions of gender, social inequality and domination. At the same time, feminism demands individual self-determination, equality, solidarity and democratic participation. He does not limit himself to public space, but includes personal, individual spaces and considers the interactions between them. He not only criticizes violence in public conflicts or in war, but also sexual violence and sexual abuse at home. He advocates changes in gender relations as well as social inequality in general. [2]

However, one should rather speak of feminisms: in the plural, because they differ in their concerns such as self-determination, work and education as well as in their cultural, regional and social contexts. The diversity of feminisms results from three contexts: Historically, they emerged in different contexts of modernity, from early modernity to today's globalization. Spatially, they developed worldwide in different societies in the north, south and east. Thematically, they relate to different gender concepts and social theories as well as to basic social issues such as self-determination about the body, sexuality and childbirth, equality in work and politics or the fight against violence and war. These diverse feminisms were and are in mutual exchange and influence each other on a local, national and global level. A new impressive example is the #MeToo campaign, which originated in the USA and was picked up and continued around the world.

A distinction must be made between feminisms and women's movements as well as gender research. Because Feminisms focus mainly on critical mindsets while Women's movements are characterized by the fact that women (and emancipatory men) act to achieve a fundamental shift towards gender equality. The Gender research In contrast, it is an interdisciplinary field of science that critically researches cultural and social relationships from a gender perspective and is based on scientific theories and methods. However, despite these distinctions, there are also transitions.

The different feminisms today largely agree that gender is not a fate that is determined by biology. Rather, it is shaped by cultural and social processes in certain contexts. This is already shown by the intercultural comparison, which reveals a large variety of gender norms. The basic thesis is briefly: Gender is socially constructed. The English term for this is "gender".

Many feminisms also criticize the idea that people can be classified into two genders. According to this "bisexuality" people are either "women" or "men" - and there is nothing in between. However, recent studies show that gender development results from complex physical-social interactions. [3] The picture of a spectrum or of transitions between the sexes is therefore more appropriate; "Gender" in this sense opens up possibilities and questions, seeks freedom and self-determination in dealing with it.

Feminisms, however, by no means claim that gender can be chosen at will and that people can even jump back and forth between different genders. Because gender is understood as a biologically determined nature and anchored in knowledge, it becomes a challenge as well as a compulsory norm for people who develop and gain their self-images and life plans in dealing with it. No woman, no lesbian (and fewer and fewer men) escape the challenge of dealing with body norms related to appearance and weight and finding their own way. If you think of gender as a question mark, you focus on the associated constraints, ambivalences and opportunities for freedom.

The currents critical of feminism also differ: The Anti-feminists mobilize aggressively against feminism and against gender equality politics, while they represent an exclusive bisexuality of men and women and an unequal division of labor. In terms of social policy, they take various positions from neoliberal to right-wing populist to right-wing extremist. Another current is that Gender conservatism. He advocates a clear bisexuality between man and woman and an unequal division of labor in the family with the man as breadwinner and the woman as housewife and mother. While emphasizing the gender difference, he also shows appreciation and appreciation for women who follow a conservative norm of femininity. The relationship to homosexuality is ambivalent or negative. The Feminism- or Gender criticism is in no way to be equated with anti-feminism or gender conservatism. Because she deals with feminist and gender approaches and criticizes her positions, problems and contradictions. It is represented from different sides both in and between feminisms and in social discourse.