We Are in a Critical Phase

Great gains have been made in women’s liberation, in terms of reproductive and legal rights. However, capitalism cannibalizes every liberation movement and turns it from a struggle for freedom for all and for ending the oppressive society into a petty battle for individual freedom of choice among not very human choices. It’s like how in the supermarket we can choose between different brands of cereal or toothpaste, all within the framework of profit. We Western women are told that we are free. Any struggle we have is seen as a personal issue, flaw, or failure, and success is all up to us* and our personal ambition.

The degrading images of women in the media open the door to the brutal sexism in war. Soldiers have access to lots of pornography and then when stationed abroad have easy access to prostitutes. Systematic mass rape is also part of the terror of war, and the trafficking of women (and some men) is expanding.

Degrading images of women can lead to a general conclusion that women are inferior and to blame for crises. For example, women are often blamed for the current economic crisis because many of them work in the public sector (education, health care) and men have to work in the private sector to generate tax money to finance the women’s salaries. Mothers and female teachers are often blamed for boys’ hardships, revealing the lack of understanding that all human beings, including men, suffer from male dominance.

We are in a critical phase. Ending sexism and male domination is crucial to creating societies based on mutual caring, and fair and just sharing of all resources. As we said in my younger days, “No woman struggle without class struggle, and no class struggle without woman struggle.” I’m happy that I understood long ago that men are not the enemy, that we need each other in this project.

Susanne Langer
Copenhagen, Denmark

Reprinted from the RC e-mail
discussion list for leaders of women

* “Up to us” means our responsibility.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00