Join the Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship for an insightful seminar with Professor Alison Phipps on "Me, Not You: the trouble with mainstream feminism".
Alison Phipps is Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Sussex. She is author of The Politics of the Body: gender in a neoliberal and neoconservative age (Polity Press) and has also worked extensively on sexual harassment and violence in universities. Much of her work is available open access via her blog.
Alison Phipps will be speaking about her forthcoming book ‘Me, Not You: the trouble with mainstream feminism’ The book argues that there is a major problem with #MeToo and other mainstream feminist campaigns against sexual violence. They are dominated by privileged white women: our personal pain tends to be the focus, while the victimisation of more marginalised women is sidelined or ignored. These campaigns also tend to rely on the criminal punishment system to redress personal injury: this system is institutionally classist and racist and can only become more so in a right-moving world. The title of the book – ‘Me, Not You’ – is a play on #MeToo, referring to the narcissism of mainstream feminist campaigns and the fact that white feminists tend to demand state protection at the expense of more marginalised people.
Furthermore, more reactionary arms of these movements are gaining increased power and platforms because of the global swing to the right. These reactionary perspectives, which tend to emerge most prominently in debates about the sex industry and transgender rights, take mainstream problems a step further. While mainstream feminists often sacrifice less privileged women incidentally (if not unwittingly), reactionary feminism actively vilifies the trans people and sex workers who are its targets. Its message of ‘Me, Not You’ represents a policing of borders and a shutting of doors. This places it in synergy with the right and far right, where sexual violence is often used as a political football in order to discriminate against marginalised people.
This webinar will consist of an introduction to and short reading from the book, followed by a question and answer session.