Category Archives: Activism

What is Solidarity for Women of Color?

On Tuesday I attended an event organized by the National Organization for Women NYC chapter in response to the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen. The hashtag, as I understand it, incorporates a variety of complex, interrelated issues, but perhaps this interview with the hashtag’s originator Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) is a good place to start.

The event itself has already been briefly summarized by panel member Lori Adelman (@Lori_Adelman) on Feministing, so please read it and check all the links to get the relevant information on the speakers. I would just like to mention a few points that I gathered from the debate: Continue reading

Do Social Justice Movements need Mainstream Appeal? – The Problem with “Rebranding”

According to the findings of a new study, activists such as environmentalists and feminists tend to be viewed in such a negative light that they trigger resistance to social change rather than support of it. That, of course, contradicts the goal of many individuals who engage in political activism. But why are many people so offended by activists that they shut down and become defensive? Continue reading

France: Pomophobia in Action

Not too long ago, I wrote about how in France the enemies of equal marriage outed themselves as the truly hypocritical bullies they are, when they reacted to counter-protestors with physical violence. Since then, I am saddened to report,  the situation has worsened.

Protests and counter-protests are staged at least once a month, with impressive turnouts on both sides, while the law guaranteeing same sex couples the right to marriage and adoption is slowly but steadily moving through the bureaucratic system towards ratification. Like German journalist and blogger Antje Schrupp has said about the women’s quota: It’s coming, no matter what; it’s only a matter of time. The same can be said for equal marriage: In societies that are founded on the principles of democracy and equality, denying certain people basic rights cannot be justified and upheld in the long run. Clearly, Western democracies are at that threshold at the moment, some more than others, but all the signs point towards progress. Continue reading

Interview for Internal Voices

Internal Voices, the magazine made by and for UN and EU interns in Brussels, has interviewed me on the occasion of International Women’s Day. You can read my answers here.  Many thanks to @SigurdTvete for making it happen!

Positive and Negative Feminism in Campaign Ads

Recently, I have been thinking about the context in which feminist activism presents itself and the rhetoric used to frame the issues.  I have identified two camps, which I would call positive and negative feminism, that sometimes oppose each other and sometimes overlap. To be clear, I don’t mean to hierarchize the two via this labelling, but I am curious which approach would be better suited to aiding certain causes.

What do I mean by positive and negative feminism? Positive feminism to me is the kind of feminism that emphasizes the positive outcomes and benefits of gender equality, the achievements of feminism, and the particular qualities and contributions of women within society.

Negative feminism, then, would be focussing on the problematic issues of an unjust society, would draw particular attention to the discrimination and suffering faced by women and minorities, and would be more accusatory rather than celebratory. Continue reading

Anti-gay bullies show their true colours – and it’s no rainbow

Trigger Warning for the links!

I was well aware of the demonstration against gay marriage and adoption, organized by the Catholic group Civitas, before it took place last Sunday in Paris and all over France. I knew that the intégristes are quite active in France; I’ve seen them march against abortion just a few weeks ago. Even though there were more of them than I’m comfortable with, the group wasn’t that impressive in size, considering that abortion is still quite a controversial issue, and unfortunately not only among religious fanatics.

Gay marriage, on the other hand, is kind of a no-brainer to me; that means I see absolutely no reason for why this hasn’t been written into law at least a decade ago. I’ve been convinced that society in general is more than ready to embrace the opening of marriage to same-sex couples; most people I know are in favour of it or at least indifferent. To cut to the chase: I decided not to go to the protest, because I was sure that not many people would turn up and the religious fundamentalists would simply make a fool of themselves.

Boy, was I wrong. Continue reading

Thoughts on Work

In order to counter the increasing unemployment rates in Europe, politicians and news media outlets seem to agree that the best solution to this problem is job creation.  Their statements generally imply that there aren’t enough things for people to do, so that they need to be artificially created. What a strange idea.

In early utopian socialist ideology a society was conceived of, in which technological advancements will have made work so much easier and more effective, that people would have to do less and less of it, could enjoy more free time and benefit from an improved lifestyle. Well, that technological progress has happened and continues to accelerate; people are being made redundant in factories, public service jobs and even supermarkets. Yet many people are still pulling 40 hour weeks or more, unless they are unemployed, socially stigmatized and dependent on benefits. How did we end up here? Continue reading