This depoliticized personal work has therefore become a main focus of a co-opted feminist movement. While “the personal is political” was one mantra of the many in the women’s movement, the political has in many ways become personal. That is, instead of looking at the personal as the basis to do political organizing work, many groups stayed simply at the level of personal development or support groups.
The fracture between the personal and political, services and organizing, has meant that instead of women and survivors of violence becoming agents for solving problems, they receive apolitical “self-help” and a band-aid of social services.
Currently, many right-wing individuals hold prominent positions within domestic and sexual violence agencies with no commitment to feminist politics whatsoever. In fact, anti-violence activist Beth Richie is completing a book in which she talks about how “we won the mainstream and lost the movement.” In
light of these trends, one could become very depressed about the women’s movement. However, this depression assumes these corporate-model non-profits are the center of the women’s movement.
capitalism were not mutually exclusive. The reasons why patriarchy persists within the context of popular struggles are similar to and reflective of the perpetuation of gender exploitation in the capitalist world. Patriarchy in this sense cannot be viewed as an isolated phenomenon or a question of individual morality, but a systematic dynamic upon which capital accumulation and its social relations are dependent, and which are constantly deepened by state policies. — WOMEN IN UPRISING THE OAXACA COMMUNE, THE STATE, AND REPRODUCTIVE LABOR BARUCHA CALAMITY PELLER
The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.
This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.
Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).— Indigenous Feminism Without Apology - Andrea Smith (via ellesugars)