Which political role can feminism play in the contemporary world?
Seen from the vantage of contemporary thought from the West, feminism’s goal can be summarized as follows: the discovery, recognition and preservation of the multiplicity of feminine identities, in all of their socio-political aspects and their variation of identity. Racial, ethical, religious or cultural differences are just as important as individual aspects: differences of the body, of psychology, or of sexuality and so on. However, it is also feminism’s aim to search for common goals for women in struggling with the dominant culture of patriarchy. The results is a continual process of mediation between two tendencies that would seem to contradict one another.
Which strategies of solidarity between women of different social, national, and ethnic backgrounds are possible today?
Or is it better to shift our focus from the differences between men and women in order to address different universal features, such as political power-relations or social class?
Searching for strategies of solidarity is an extensive and continual process. It takes place within the framework of international organizations and through the exchange of information between social and political groups of women all over the world. This exchange uses the resources of big international institutions. An especially striking example of this kind of solidarity can be found in the anti-war organization ” Women in Black “. Aside from regularly www protests, its members support one another in different countries such as Israel and Palestine, or Serbia and Croatia etc.
Do you feel that qualities like “vulnerability” will die out as unnecessary capacities?
The quality of “weakness” is no more than a part of patriarchal ideology as far as women are concerned. Opposed to dominance and aggression, qualities that are self-evident in people of both sexes, weakness is part of a gender-dichotomy that facilitates different paths of forming these qualities in boys and girls. To simplify, the boy’s aggression is condoned and even encouraged as self-realization, while the little girl’s aggression is repressed. I agree that emancipation should concern both sexes; as a process, it is indeed taking place in developed regions or countries like Scandinavia or Germany , where the social-democratic or liberal models of society have been realized. As a result, we know many examples of how men are more actively involved in caring for their loved ones or their children, and of how women are represented in society’s power structures. I am convinced that this is one of the factors that determined the successful socio-economic of these countries to date.
Or is it possible to engage in a certain revolutionary politics of vulnerability?
Rather than talk about “the politics of weakness”, I would prefer to operate with the notions of universal goodness and justice, notions that feminist thinking extends to women as a class. I do not think that it is necessary to reinvent the bicycle: these ideas are essential to Christianity, Buddhism and many other philosophical schools. Thank god we have a choice: some might prefer Confucianism, while I feel better about Buddhism, for an example, about its ideas of non-violence, “edited and enhanced” by feminist theory.
How can feminism convince human beings of both genders of the need for emancipation and of the benefits of real freedom?
Again, feminism has not thought of anything new; it has only spread general liberal ideas in relation to women. On the whole, feminist theorists have made a great effort to deconstruct the mechanisms of patriarchy as a culture that keeps the woman in a subordinate role on all levels of existence. These effort have been undertaken with a great deal of success for the last 50 years, producing a great number of new tendencies and directions in the liberal arts. More importantly, their praxis has shown that the equality of human beings is beneficial to society as a whole. Is it really necessary to give examples of how gender-equality results in a better quality of life? Compare Afghanistan or Tadzhikistan to Sweden or Norway . Or maybe we should look at the reaction of Russian women, when someone wants to introduce polygamy to Russia ? It may be that our women have not yet realized how advantageous independence and autonomy really are, but do they really become the second or the third wife?
Does love have any political potential in your opinion?
Do you think that there is anything specific in the feminine experience of love?
I think that there is a specific kind of heterosexual relationship in which one can probably identify characteristics such “feminine” or “masculine” love, but even in this case, this specificity will change in parallel to the relationship in society as a whole. To simplify, if we separate sexuality, reproduction and love into different “conceptual clusters”, slowly cutting down heterosexism, all of our notions of love will inevitably change. In my bright future, the choice of partner will be free from all sides; virginity will lose its sacrality (or its obligation), reproduction will become considerably more conscious, sexuality will be more free, and love will define itself through the individual qualities of its participant subjects, rather than through romantic or mythologized factors, regulated by society and culture.