Me, not you

The trouble with mainstream feminism

Author: Alison Phipps

What violence can we do, in the name of fighting sexual violence? This book presents a critique of #MeToo and similar Anglo-American campaigns. These campaigns are dominated by self-described ‘nasty women’, who refuse to be silent and compliant and who name and shame perpetrators in the media. These women also tend to be privileged and white. The book argues that mainstream feminism filters righteous anger about gender inequality through race and class supremacy. This turns ‘me, too’ into ‘me, not you’: an exclusive focus on white women’s pain and protection, and a desire for power and control sated through criminal punishment or institutional discipline. Punitive systems tend to disproportionately target marginalised people, who become collateral damage of the white feminist ‘war machine’. It is also a short step from sacrificing marginalised people to seeing them as enemies, which happens in campaigns against the sex industry and transgender inclusion. In this reactionary feminism, ‘me, not you’ refers to hoarding resources, policing borders and shutting doors. The book concludes that to tackle these dynamics white feminists need to reach towards a more intersectional, connected and abolition-focused politics, taking their lead from feminists of colour and other marginalised people.

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