Introduction: Righting Feminism

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Farris, Sara R. (2017)
  • Publisher: Lawrence and Wishart

This is the introduction to a special issue on Righting Feminism. In recent years, we have witnessed the multifarious ways in which feminism as an emancipatory project dedicated to women's liberation has increasingly “converged” with non-emancipatory/racist, conservative, and neo-liberal economic and political agendas. Today, feminist themes are not only being "mainstreamed" but are also increasingly being mobilized to bolster existing power hierarchies as well as neo-liberal and right-wing xenophobic political agendas. The convergence of feminism with these dominant ideologies and forces has taken many forms in the West. In Europe, right-wing nationalist parties have utilized gender equality to further a racist, anti-immigrant agenda. In the US, not only has gender equality been brandished to justify imperialist interventions in countries with majority Muslim populations, but, more recently, high-powered corporate women have publicly endorsed a form of feminism that is informed through and through by a market rationality.\ud This themed issue intervenes and queries what appears to be the “righting of feminism”. For us, this notion refers not only to feminism’s rightward turn but also to the way in which rights language, namely, women’s rights, have been mobilized to advance non-emancipatory goals. And, yet, righting feminism simultaneously – and crucially – connotes a political desire and aspiration to make feminism “right” again by reclaiming its emancipatory potential.\ud This issue includes an extensive critical introduction which provides an overview of the field and presents the work of the contributors. Each of the six essays in the issue then discuss crucial aspects of the ways in which feminism has been increasingly associated with either neoliberal or right-wing xenophobic ideologies and propose original analyses in order to shed new light on this perplexing phenomenon.
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