Old Feminists have lost sight of the new Feminisms
by, Amish Hassan Askari
Feminists of the 70s and 80s have lost touch with the new wave feminisms. They cannot see that gender activists of today are exposed to some of the radical debates taking place in western academia due partially to their entry into to the latter but mostly to the discourse shaping and agenda setting power of social media.
The global feminist discourse is no more limited to demanding equality in terms of access to job opportunities and wages. It does not rest content with mere political representation either.
Some of the issues concerning new wave feminism are concerned with body and sexuality. Tracing the genealogy of imbalanced gender relations, new wave feminists argue that patriarchy throughout the known history has imposed a certain disciplining power over women as a result of which she has had no over her body and sexuality.
The placard to which, the veteran feminist poet has taken so much exception must be seen in this context. “Lo baith gai sahi se” is a slogan reflective of a woman’s agency over her body.
Before we go on criticizing the young feminists out on the roads we need to bear in mind that these young women literally have no experience of organizing a movement. They have never been part of a wider rights movement where their ability to adopt socially acceptable strategies could be nourished. The issues these women are raising are genuine. Some right activists have objections only to the way these issues are being spoken about. That is a matter of strategy and not of principle.
What these old school feminists need to understand is that pitting one kind of feminism against the other is counterproductive.