It is a cliche, but a truism, that we live in troubled times. As a society, we face a host of major problems – inequality and poverty, decaying social fabric, insecure and unfulfilling labour, mental distress, rising nationalism, authoritarianism on the left and right, and extreme environmental degradation. All of these are symptoms of the dis-ease of a culture organised by domination, hierarchy, narcissism, material exploitation, and the value of profit-over-people. All of these are symptoms of the dis-ease of patriarchal power.
At the same time, the form of deep feminist thinking which could help us imagine how to move forward has been all but erased from popular and academic discourse and replaced with a feminism which has abandoned the analysis of patriarchy and offers no real challenge to male dominance. This patriarchy-pleasing backlash is a tragedy for individual women, for the cause of women’s rights, and for the thinking of the social transformations that would accompany the true liberation of women. But this tragedy is also a chance. A chance to put re-energised grass-roots feminism to work. To relearn the history of the women’s movement, and to remake its future.