samedi 6 juin 2009

Feminism today

No, we're not dead!

Feminism has always been so critizised that it is not good today to call yourself a feminist. Introduced as dangers for the moral order, some think that feminists stir up the war between sexes.
Men say: “Why the hell do they go on fighting because they have all the rights they asked for?” Abortion rights, contraception, parity in politics... A very hypocritical argument, indeed, because these rights benefit also men. Aren’t you happy, gentlemen, not to be fathers at 16 years-old?

In France, the movement for parity in politics and public life began in the 90’s. These inequalities were relieved by newspaper journalists, especially young ones. Feminism has always had a good capacity of mobilization. In November 1995, 100 000 people marched for contraception and abortion, threatened by the government. This new-feminism is not like the 68’s movement. If it is less militant, it continues to be alert. It also includes men now, to the contrary of the MLF, which was essentially non-mixed.

We of course are luckier than our grandmothers, thanks to them. But feminist associations, like “Chiennes de garde”, are still very useful and have some duties:
- A duty of alertness : they have to make sure that our rights are still growing, and not disappearing.
- A duty of education
- A duty of action against the still existing inequalities : and there are many (differences of wages, sexist jokes, lack of representation in politics...).
- A duty of international solidarity : feminists have to fight for women’s rights all over the world (against rape, forced marriage, for civil rights...) and for the end of patriarchy.
- A duty of memory : the fight of our grandmothers must be known by everyone (not only women).

mardi 2 juin 2009

Feminist themes in french fiction : « La fiancée du pirate » by Nelly Kaplan

« La fiancée du pirate » was released in 1969, in the militant background of may 68. It divided the public and the professionals because the subject was scandalous. If some people just saw a spicy tale, some felt and analysed the underlying message, forerunning the feminist struggle of the 70’s.
This movie is first of all the story of a woman fighting against the oppression of her body, which was the main fight of 70’s feminist movement. It is the story of Marie, a young woman who scares the inhabitants of a village called Tellier because she attracts them with an unlimited power of seduction. Publicly, men treat her very badly, laughing at her dead mother and murdering her beloved animal, and when the night begins, they go find comfort in her arms. Performed by Bernadette Lafont, Marie is a character full of duality; by selling her body, she is preparing her revenge. She dares to own and use her own body as she wants: it is used as a weapon. Marie is a modern witch, a myth which will later be used by the MLF as a symbol of the oppression of women’s body.
“La fiancée du pirate” is not a feminist movie, but carries some activist messages. Nelly Kaplan, even if she agreed with feminist movements, was not a feminist filmmaker. She defended the liberation of women, but rejected the militant way.
You can watch a short extract in It is a little bit weird because there are a few cuts in this extract, but it gives the tone of the movie.