After my post on whether we could successfully rebrand feminism, Susan L.M. Goldberg took issue with my pessimistic answer of “probably not.” Noting, correctly I think, that feminism needs to focus more on female oppression in the world and less on western women’s “penny-ante” problems, she asked for a plan to overcome the problem of women who disavow feminism because of how it is marketed. And we decided to make a back and forth series out of these feminist dilemmas.
So first a clarification from my first post: women don’t disavow feminism because of how it is marketed but because of how it acts. I claim that marketing can’t overcome what feminism actually does these days: focus on sexual hedonism and career success for western women. (It only manages the career success. The sexual hedonism is still elusive.)
A simple marketing trick won’t do, we have to actually capture the term. The plan that I’ve been testing for a few years was to have the new disillusioned feminists join with women of the right, who are experienced at disillusion with feminism. Frankly, we’ve been waiting for domestic and minority feminists to get fed up enough to rebel. I thought that a rebel alliance could change what feminism does and thereby revive the movement.
My pessimism is about that alliance forming. But alliance or no, Goldberg is right, there is much to be done.