Feminism is not just for women any more

I saw this

so I looked at the source, authors Lyric Thompson and Rachel Clement. There are some odd things.

The degree to which Sweden’s practice lives up to its policy has been critiqued. On rights, it has been criticized for a binary focus on women rather than gender. The policy largely ignores the rights and needs of LGBTQ individuals, with the exception of LGBTQ sexual reproductive health and rights being noted in the health component of the agenda. Positioning LGBTQ people as a key population in health interventions, rather than as part of their broad rights-based agenda is overly limiting and a missed opportunity for a feminist approach.

That looks like the all too familiar move from “intersectional” to “stop talking about women.” It’s not at all clear why a feminist policy should be expected to “center” or otherwise not-ignore “the rights and needs of LGBTQ individuals.” Lesbians are of course women so already not ignored, but why does feminism have to include G? Why can’t feminism be feminism? They don’t really explain.

As an intersectional movement, certainly one of the most readily apparent [areas where improvement is needed] is the tendency of governments to use the word feminist when they mean “women and girls.” This reinforces the binary and undermines work to overcome white, ethnocentric and western-centric, cis feminism’s historical (and current) sins.

Uh. What? Feminism does mean “women and girls” – that’s the whole point. How does it “reinforce the binary” more than the absence of feminism does? Remember the absence of feminism? Look at some old sitcoms if you need help. That was some reinforced binary right there. As for “cis” feminism and its “sins”…I’ll leave my choice of swears to your imagination.

That’s a starting point for debate, but hardly responsive to our interests in anchoring our definition in a focus not just on women, but on power relations and gender equality more broadly, and utilizing an explicitly rightsbased and intersectional understanding of feminism.

They’re trying to come up with a definition of feminist foreign policy by anchoring it “in a focus not just on women” – in other words feminism can’t be “just” about women any more, it has to be more expansive than that. Women are the giving, sharing, self-abnegating sex, therefore they don’t get to have even feminism to themselves.

Finally, we acknowledge that Sweden’s “rights, resources and representation” framework is, both as a first and as the most ambitious example to date, often regarded as definitional. We consider the framework useful, although not necessarily radical—reducing a policy to these three, vague components says nothing that is explicitly feminist and does not assert the commitment to intersectionality that we seek. It is, nonetheless, important to include, and a useful framework to build upon. As such, we offer the following draft definition for discussion: “Feminist Foreign Policy is the policy of a state that defines its interactions with other states and movements in a manner that prioritizes gender equality and enshrines the human rights of women and other traditionally marginalized groups, allocates significant resources to achieve that vision, and seeks through its implementation to disrupt patriarchal and male-dominated power structures across all of its levers of influence (aid, trade, defense and diplomacy), informed by the voices of feminist activists, groups and movements.”

Emphases theirs.

So, Feminist Foreign Policy is the policy of a state…that prioritizes gender equality and enshrines the human rights of women and other traditionally marginalized groups.

Emphasis mine.

The human rights of women and everyone else too, except men who can tick every privilege box there is along with any future privilege boxes. Feminism is, thus, not feminism any more, because in its woken splendor it has moved beyond anything so greedy and selfish as a focus on women’s rights. Good bye feminism! It was nice knowing you.

This means foreign policy that is not only by women or for women, but goes further, taking a nonbinary, gendered lens that recognizes and seeks to correct for historical, patriarchal, and often racist, and/or neocolonialist imbalances of power as they play out on the world stage. Further, our vision of feminist foreign policy is not limited to a single lever of international relations—”feminist diplomacy” or “feminist international assistance” or the like, nor, certainly, is any single assistance program or initiative a feminist foreign policy. Rather, for us feminist foreign policy is a complete, consistent and coherent approach to a body of work encompassing all auspices of foreign policy and international relations. If done right, the approach will include aid, trade and defense, in addition to diplomacy, using all the tools in the foreign policy tool box to advance a more equitable world. And most importantly, it will be informed by and amplifying the voices of the rights-holders it seeks to celebrate and support. This is good news for people of all genders: feminism is an agenda everyone can promote, an agenda that seeks equity for all, not the dominance of one over another.

They might as well be Fox News or the prime minister of Australia.

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