Racist feminism?

An illuminating example of this present battle is in Sweden, a country eager to boast of gender equality as one of its flagships.

Cartoon (photo credit: REBECCA SHENFELD)
(photo credit: REBECCA SHENFELD)
A middle-aged man is riding his bike down a random street in France. He looks tense; he has spotted a band of cocky young women who are out for him.
Pedal, pedal – no good! The girls are still waltzing behind him, approaching now, whistling and praising “his sexy body” in vulgar, banlieue-style French. Finally, the band of sisters reaches him and start to grab and suck ferociously on his breasts.
The scene, as you might have guessed, is not from real life. Oppressed Majority is an 11-minute, gender-reversing short film that went viral on YouTube, reaching 8 million views last week. Yet while some feminists applauded, others shrugged.
Mohamed Amjahidin, for his part, in an article published a couple of weeks ago in Die Zeit, said: Sure, it’s feminist – but racist.
For example, he criticizes a scene in which a woman patronizes a man, telling him to “liberate himself” from his niqab. The clothed women, he argues, are neither as naïve, dependent or vulnerable as director Eleonore Pourriat would have us believe.
His point is that “white feminism” is unable to think in different categories than “oppressed” or “liberated,” and his comment is a reminder of the still-present mortal combat of prerogatives between modern and post-modern advocates for gender equality.
An illuminating example of this present battle is in Sweden, a country eager to boast of gender equality as one of its flagships.
When Fadime Sahindal, a Kurd born in Turkey, was murdered by her own family in 2002, not many people had a clear formula on how to resolve the problem. Some feminists found it difficult to target gender oppression based on the idea that oppression against women and violence occurs in all countries. Some such thought had similarities with black feminism, a movement that emphasized gender equality as a little sister to white power, criticizing the Western (white) norms, using “intersections” as a metaphor to describe how the problems of feminism and racism were connected.
The difference between black feminism and Amjahidin’s identification of white feminism is that both types treat Western values as either something to be challenged or normative, demanding intersectionality (the study of intersections between different disenfranchised groups or groups of minorities) in the first case, and clear shades of right and wrong in the second. The problem with the post-structural feminist approach is that something that is incompatible with the Hegelian-Marxist power system cannot be true.
What was so interesting about Sahindal in Sweden was the assembly of a new word – which was everything but a simple matter of semantics. In Swedish, hedersvåld, or honor violence, is a distinct legislative word – to some post-structural feminists’ dismay (since male violence happens on all levels of society, not bound to culture). Then, and still today, well-intentioned feminists were anxiously refusing to let this new term drift off as a separate linguistic entity from general violence, fearing it would identify Muslims in particular and contribute to anti-Islamic sentiment.
Some of them said – and still say – that the root cause of women’s issues has nothing to do with culture, since the real reason for the problems is to be found in the mechanisms of post-structural power structures.
Today, long after the bells have tolled for Sahindal, there are still cases of honor-related “oppression” as well as rampant anti-Islamism.
The post-Sahindal Swedish state has support groups for women defining themselves as having suffered from patriarchal family traditions. Likewise, some feminists and schools of thought continue to argue within a system which presupposes that men fight to retain their role as masters, while women are engaged in an epic struggle to unchain themselves.
Even though the term “honor violence” ultimately did make its way to the legislative chambers of Stockholm, still today, libfrom Europe eral Muslim feminists criticizing their own patriarchal traditions encounter fierce critiques by Left-leaning critics, who ironically call these Muslim feminists racist – against Muslims.