Perpetuating the patriarchy: Misogyny and (post-)feminist backlash

Filipa Melo Lopes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How are patriarchal regimes perpetuated and reproduced? Kate Manne’s recent work on misogyny aims to provide an answer to this central question. According to her, misogyny is a property of social environments where women perceived as violating patriarchal norms are ‘kept down’ through hostile reactions coming from men, other women and social structures. In this paper, I argue that Manne’s approach is problematically incomplete. I do so by examining a recent puzzling social phenomenon which I call (post-)feminist backlash: the rise of women-led movements reinstating patriarchal practices in the name of feminism. I focus on the example of ‘raunch feminist’ CAKE parties and argue that their pro-patriarchal dimension cannot be adequately explained by misogyny. I propose instead a different story that emphasizes the continued centrality of gender distinctions in our social normative life, even as gendered social meanings become increasingly contested. This triggers meaning vertigo, a distinct form of social anxiety and the reactionary impulse at the heart of (post)-feminist backlash. Meaning vertigo both complicates the answer to Manne’s main question—“why is misogyny still a thing?”—and suggests the need and opportunity for a different kind of feminist political intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2517–2538
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Volume176
Issue number9
Early online date9 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • backlash
  • feminism
  • gender
  • Kate Manne
  • misogyny
  • patriarchy
  • raunch

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