White men can become gods

Alice Schwarzer: Old white woman

Dear reader,

We provide this text to you free of charge. In the FURCHE Navigator you will find thousands of articles on several decades of contemporary history. Curious? The quickest way to get your subscription is here - free of charge or paid for.
Thank you very much, your Doris Helmberger-Fleckl (editor-in-chief)

We provide this text to you free of charge. In the FURCHE Navigator you will find thousands of articles on several decades of contemporary history. Curious? The quickest way to get your subscription is here - for free or paid for.
Thank you very much, your Doris Helmberger-Fleckl (Editor-in-Chief)

“Outdated and unacceptable” - isn't that exactly what Alice Schwarzer accused many men of when she was young and an icon of feminism? Has the former champion of feminism become her own enemy from back then?

Alice Schwarzer has achieved what she and with her large parts of the women's movement fought for in the 1970s and 1980s: social prestige, power, money, and all of this regardless of a man. The way there was also the one that men, above all, have taken before her: self-marketing, journalistically skillful arousal of attention, harshness towards oneself and others and, yes, a certain amount of unscrupulousness. Half of the world also means half of the dark side.

Hegemonic femininity

Alice Schwarzer is the personification of what there has so far only been one male technical term in science: hegemonic femininity. When the students' union of the Applied University protests against black people as "old white women", the hostile people should actually be satisfied: The fact that something like this even exists is largely due to them. The vast majority of young and middle-aged women today take for granted the standards of female existence for which Alice Schwarzer once fought: legal and economic independence, physical and sexual self-determination, equal educational opportunities.

Many a young woman can simply no longer hear the "war stories" from the old world of Alice Schwarzer, especially since they are presented with the dogmatic preaching gesture of established revolutionaries. When Ronja von Rönne spoke to the world in 2015 at the tender age of 23 that she was “angry” with feminism, it was adolescent and disrespectful, but understandable: Do not trust any fun-free elderly over 50, especially if they are for You as an ambitious young journalist could be your older alter ego.

The world of the feminist revolutionary no longer exists. It has given way to a brave, new, colorful world.

The protest of the Angewandte Students' Union is not that easy to explain. It is about something else, under the surface of the very simple pros and cons in the echo chambers of the Internet, that is not that easy to grasp. It is helpful to take a look at the respective context: Alice Schwarzer's world was the world of late post-war Germany, the 1968 movement, the Cold War, the still powerful ecclesiastical institutions, in short a world of clear orders with clear enemy images: the Nazi fathers , the Soviets, the conservative politicians, the Pope, that is, the old white men.

The revolution of Alice Schwarzer and her fellow campaigners also had a clear enemy image: the predominance of these men and their rights of access to women (bodies). They had to be brought down. This world of the feminist revolutionary no longer exists. It has given way to a beautiful, new, colorful world. The new colourfulness, however, brings with it a high degree of confusion. There are no longer just men who oppress and women who are oppressed. There are young, old, physically disabled, socially marginalized men / women / diverse, with a migration background and fluid gender identity. The magic word of intersectionality, i.e. the overlapping of various social markers that can lead to discrimination, serves on the one hand as an attempt to explain the complex reality of a globalized world. On the other hand, it can also be used to disguise the contradictions of this complex reality by acting as a common narrative on the mutual recognition of victim status. The question of the (in) compatibility of the ideological positions of the individual sections of the discriminated (here: religious Muslims and persons with an alternative sexual orientation) remains open in silent agreement.

Intersectionally discriminated

Last but not least, it is this refusal to engage in confrontational conversation that scares many commentators of all genders about the latest case. Is the reality outside so bad that the university has become the only safe space for all intersectionally discriminated people? Maybe. Perhaps it is also the thinking from the lost world of Alice Schwarzer and those old professors and rectors who invited her to want to make the world outside better and safer. Perhaps in the long term the young people are right and we will only be able to keep a few islands of security in a sea of ​​barbarism in which the various sub-sections are beating each other's heads in the struggle for real and ideal power. But what the protesters should keep an eye on, at least in the medium term: They too are getting older. Anyone who tends to dogmatic positions and prohibitions as a student has no bad chances of a career as a joke-free Grand Inquisitor.

Anyone who is too worried now should be a little reassured: ideas and ideologies have ever shorter shelf lives. The intersectional "anti-discriminatory discourse" is the "outdated" feminism of tomorrow. Unless the goddesses love the young protesters so much that they no longer have to experience it.

The author teaches religious studies and is dean of studies at the Catholic theological faculty of the University of Graz.

Did you like this article?

With a digital subscription you secure access to over 40,000 articles from 20 years of contemporary history - and at the same time support the FURCHE. Many Thanks!

With a digital subscription you secure access to over 40,000 articles from 20 years of contemporary history - and at the same time support the FURCHE. Many Thanks!