The “Women” Question as a Weapon of Political and Ideological Struggle
This article originally appeared here.
The International Women’s Day customarily celebrated on March 8 once again sparked discussions about historic feminism and the status of women today. Unfortunately, even in Russia this day is increasingly being perceived not as a benign Soviet holiday—first off, as a family or corporate one. Nevertheless, the date is only an excuse. The “Women” Question—having gone overripe in the West (domestic Russian discussion within the limited scope of the media is only a faint echo thereof)—has acquired a new sound in light of the successes of the right-wing conservative agenda in the U.S. and Europe. Right-wingers focused on the slogan of protecting identity as such and received broad support from the people by responding to their current needs. Their opponents were forced to maximize all their power. And one of the reliable tools for promoting the ideas of globalism and Liberalism is feminism. It emerged from the outset as a positive undertaking but, ultimately, led to the erasure of the boundaries between the sexes and the destruction of traditional foundations of society.
A vivid example of this intensified struggle and, at the same time, an unhealthy response to the changes taking place in politics around the world was the Women’s March in the United States, whose participants wore pink hats and came out to protest President Donald Trump, whom they declared to be “sexist” and the main threat to Liberal values. At the same time, there is reason to say that a new right-wing women’s movement is starting to emerge, rethinking feminist ideas and offering an alternative. It is too early to name this phenomenon, although the media is already in a hurry to do so. At the same time, it is quite real and has decent prospects.
Feminism versus Women
It would, perhaps, be inaccurate to characterize feminism on general terms, since it has passed through very different periods of development and is not a homogeneous movement nowadays. But one thing is obvious: what is meant by “feminism” today, paradoxically, contradicts the very meaning of this word. The concept of “feminism,” formed from the Latin femina (“woman”), in its essence is directed against all that it traditionally means to be a woman. Consequently, it is directed against the family, entire society, and civilization in general.
The women’s-rights movement has existed for more than a century. It has achieved many things. Today, however, feminism is concerned about the following problems:
- sexual harassment (when even a hint of perceiving a woman as a sexual object becomes a crime);
- struggle against banning abortion, the so-called reproductive violence (despite the reduction of birth rates among the populations of Western countries);
- workplace discrimination (understood very selectively);
- a woman’s right not to meet the standards of beauty (even though beauty is the main traditional value);
- misogyny “inspired” by patriarchy.
And all this is declared in the name of total equality of rights through the denial of any differences between the sexes (they are believed to not exist at all)—in other words, of human nature itself.
Of course, this is what multiculturalism is about, the bitter fruits of which Europe is currently consuming. The entire Western society faces the question of identity: national, gender- and sexuality-based, and religious, having become the question of life and death within the framework of the migrant crisis.
Voice of America
A vivid image of feminism today, picked up and promoted by the mainstream media, is the Women’s March held in Washington, DC—and other cities across the U.S. and Europe—the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump. Despite its outward comical and even grotesque nature, this protest with pink feline ears was more than serious. Its organizers managed to achieve universal protest and solidarity from the various strata of society. This protest was not so much in defense of women and against Trump but much broader: for LGBTQ rights, tolerance, diversity of races and cultures, freedom of religion, and “human rights” in general—all this in the most politicized sense. “Women’s rights are human rights,” activists stated. Disseminating the interests of a limited group of protesters (it’s not about women at all but about those who are so zealously trying to protect them) onto the majority is dangerous and destructive for the stability of any society and state. It is not a coincidence that its fierce opponents call feminism “cancer” (#FeminismIsCancer). Whereas the political correctness of using this comparison is certainly doubtful, in some aspects it is very accurate.
Why right-wing politicians irritate feminists is not difficult to guess. This is a question of practically physiological incompatibility: feminism is based on neo-Marxist, Liberal, and globalist ideology and the denial of tradition. And yet it is profoundly inaccurate to consider right-wing conservatives “sexist” and misogynistic. Trump’s statement “Grab them by the pussy”—which caused a barrage of accusations of sexism and hating women—actually means that he is a real man who loves women, and not the other way around. Besides, is his wife Melania Trump not a female ideal for American women and all others? No-less-powerful women always stood by influential politicians and historical figures, and their achievements were shared.
Obviously, any critique of feminism coming out of a man’s mouth, no matter how accurate, is doomed to failure. From this standpoint, the best answer is living examples of female right-wing politicians and activists who do not want to be less active than men by solely taking care of the home sphere, but who are not feminists at the same time.
Hillary Clinton supporters balled their eyes out when their candidate’s loss became clear, and their dream of a woman-president was rudely trampled, in their view. But for some reason they are not happy with the success of Marin Le Pen, the leader of Front National, who has a real chance to lead the French Republic. Note that in her campaign video, which truly went viral, Le Pen emphasizes that she is a woman.
I am a woman, and as such I experience the ever-increasing restrictions on liberty in our country through the development of Islamic fundamentalism like an act of violence. I am a mother, and like millions of parents I worry each day about the state of the country and the world that we will leave as a legacy to our children.
She says this emphasizing the fact that a real threat to women and mothers in European countries is not discrimination by men and the state at all.
Among other female politicians who hold right-wing views and are seriously competing with men are Frauke Petry, the leader of the Alternative for Germany, who won in a difficult inner-party struggle, or, for example, beauties like the Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, from the Five Star Movement, and leader of the Danish Nye Borgerlige (New Right) Party, Pernille Vermund.
Within the framework of the European agenda, right-wing feminism confronts Islam with its ideas about the role of women. These women are not fighting for the right to wear short skirts but against imposing hijabs. But this is not a reason to immediately declare this movement racist and xenophobic. The clash of civilizations with different perceptions of the male and female roles invariably leads to conflict, especially if a civilization weakened by precisely Liberal and feminist ideas is less active and unable to reproduce itself as quickly as its opponent. This is the response of European women to mass rapes by migrants when their own men—whom the dominant ideology forces to be tolerant and prohibits from acting like men—failed to protect them. It is worth recalling that in Amsterdam, it was men who put on mini-skirts to protect the rights of women who suffered during the Night in Cologne—an incredibly absurd but real event.
The Russian Model
As for Russia, in which many rightists in Europe and the U.S. see a bulwark of conservative values, here the situation with the “Women” Question is significantly different. Our country did not remain, to use feminist terminology, the preserve of patriarchy. In 1917, Russian women under the slogan “Free Women in Free Russia” earned the right to vote, and in 1918 adopted a Constitution that ensured the legal equality of women with men, whereas “the cook could run the state,” as Lenin said, which at that time was a very progressive step. At the same time, Russia has maintained the traditional model of relationships between men and women. In this respect, Russia’s experience would be useful to the West. It is also important to note that we do not have an acute conflict with our numerous indigenous Muslim community which has its own notions about women. Of course, any attempts of “human-rights activists” to play the Muslim card in order to destabilize the interethnic situation do not count.
It is also worth adding a personal observation, which may turn out to be more eloquent than a large sociological study: many men from Europe and the United States, and not just those with right-wing views, prefer Russian women as spouses.
Meanwhile, pro-Western lifestyle publications—whose baby-pink pages feature messages about feminist festivals—are exerting gentle but strategic pressure onto the generation of Russian women-millennials. Their pages contain calls to openly talk about sexual harassment that any woman encounters and feature stories about domestic violence, instilling the fear of starting a family, along with frightening forced customs discrediting traditional cultures.
However, the power of traditional culture in Russia and the emergence in the West of right-wing feminism, alt-feminism, or, if you like, a truly feminine movement that defends the right of women to be women, means that in the 21st century humanity has the chance to preserve the foundations that are a guarantee of its future existence.