It’s an important book, which is why I decided to recommend it in Tajfuny, although it’s not strictly about Asia. It is a strong critique of mainstream feminism, neoliberal feminism, which has tried to convince us that if you are as successful as the newspapers are tempting you with, then your job is done. That you no longer have anything to fight for if you become rich enough to be invited to the “table” by rich men. And that success depends on yourselves.
In her book, Olufemi shows that feminism cannot only be about a handful of privileged women, and that integrating feminism into politics is crucial. Or in other words – making feminism, feminist actions and feminist discourse political by definition, that is, creating a vision of a certain world and striving for it. And for us to reconsider what it means to us: reading even more theory? A cool slogan on the mug? Or maybe a daily struggle for everyone, regardless of gender, social class, education, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and so on, to be able to live with dignity.
Feminism, interrupted largely focuses on Great Britain and shows how various decisions of the British government affect the fate of people who do not fit into the stereotypical image of “British”, for example, immigrant families of Asian descent. While middle-class white women enjoy increased access to education, money, and power, ongoing budget cuts tend to affect non-whites. Among them, women suffer disproportionately.
Olufemi’s book proposed feminism that must arise on the ruins of this being that has been fed by the mainstream media and a handful of the most privileged people. People who often, for their profit, “throw under the bus” women who do not fit into the norm of a middle-class white woman: people of a different skin color, trans women, sex workers.
Oyeyemi writes about transphobia, Islamophobia, exclusion of sex workers, racism, criticizes the existence of prisons (did you know that many prisons in the US or Great Britain are private?) It shows how mainstream feminism is colonial in nature, how we take away the agency of women from Muslim countries, presenting them as submissive and “manipulated”, turning a blind eye to the fact that there are often feminist movements older than those that in Europe. It’s a common thought that knowledge flows one way, that there is nothing we can and could learn from feminists in, for example, India or Egypt.
And in this respect, it is a book worth reading – to realize that how feminism is commonly perceived strongly Eurocentric. And that maybe the time has come to listen to people who do not fit into the mainstream feminist message, people from discriminated groups, people from other continents, who speak and write in other languages. And then think about how you can show our solidarity in your everyday activities: in your community, with communities from other countries, from other cultures. And then it’s time for action.