Share this article

I think a lot of us are feeling pretty down right now. Covid, stressful political changes, lockdown, having to wear a mask everywhere we go (and almost never leave the house!) and I could go on. But if there is a glimmer of light in the midst of all this misery it is the notable success of feminism around the world - in particular, of radical feminism -. Don't get me wrong: feminism still has its work cut out for it, both in the ongoing fight for abortion rights in Argentina and in the fight against spycam pornography in South Korea. But in these sad times, some victories for the global women's movement they might cheer you up.


Few places in the world have seen a resurgence of radical feminism like South Korea. Earlier this year, Jen Izaakson and Tae Kyung Kim reported on intense protests against “molka”, a particularly invasive form of spycam pornography. Although South Korea has made this form of voyeurism illegal, enforcement of the law has been virtually non-existent. In 2016, when a woman was killed by an incel in a co-ed bathroom, South Korean women had enough. From 2018 onwards 360,000 women participated in massive protests against “molka”, feminicide and other forms of male violence. In March this year, the first was formed in South Korea women's party. To the surprise of the South Korean establishment, the party won hundreds of thousands of votes, demonstrating the considerable influence of radical feminism in South Korea. Another victory for feminists in South Korea, abortion up to 14 weeks has finally been legalised (for whatever reason) in October this year. Although South Korean women continue to face obstacles in their fight for women's liberation, the future looks bright for feminists fighting boldly and uncompromisingly in the country. “We are ready to work together with other parties as long as we can agree on policies for women,” said Kim Jayeon, a prominent feminist and founder of the Women's Party. “The Women's Party is neither on the right nor on the left."


Earlier this month Reuters reported that the women's movement is sweeping Latin America because feminists have pushed Latin American governments to relax some of the world's toughest anti-abortion laws. In 2018, massive demonstrations for women's reproductive rights shook theArgentina, and this was the year they got results: Argentine President Alberto Fernandez recently introduced a long-requested bill to legalize elective abortions. In Chile, feminist activists are also pushing for a rewrite of the constitution that protects abortion rights in cases of rape, fetal non-viability and risk to the mother's health. The legislators of Chiapas, in Mexico, are adapting legislation to stop prosecutions of women who access abortions. But abortion rights are not the only issue at the forefront of feminist activism in Latin America. Mexican feminism, in particular, has become increasingly radical in response to the growing epidemic of femicide. In February, Mexican feminists took to the streets to denounce the crisis and, frustrated by their left-wing government's ineffective response, took control of a human rights building in Mexico City, turning it into a shelter for women and children. Yesnia Zamudio, a feminist activist whose daughter was killed in a femicide in Mexico City, eloquently expressed the anger and passion that drives Mexican feminist activism there in a video that went viral this year: “I have every right to put all with fire and sword. I won't ask anyone's permission, because I'm protesting for my daughter. Whoever wants to protest, protest. Whoever wants to rise up, rise up. Anyone who doesn't do it is not our ally."


In October this year, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortions in cases of fetal anomalies would no longer be permitted. The conservative Catholic government could not have predicted what would happen next: Polish women have taken to the streets in one of the country's largest protests since the fall of communism. Calls “Strajk kobiet”, or "Women's strike", these protests prompted the Polish government to indefinitely delay the publication of the Court's ruling. Now, reports the “New Yorker”, feminists are calling for more than just a backtrack on abortion restrictions: they want access to first-trimester elective abortion to be fully legalized. The protests faced internal dissent. The efforts have been hampered by a fierce backlash against feminists disagree with some issues championed by the left, particularly transactivism. This month Kaya Szulczewska, a feminist influencer and activist, has been the subject of intense criticism for defending the use of the term “woman” in discussions about abortion. But radical feminism is making progress. At the beginning of December, Polish feminists and activists concerned with transactivism and its impact on women and homosexuals formed the Polish LGB Alliance to reject left-wing misogyny and homophobia within the movement. The scale of the protests sparked international wonder and admiration. It is difficult to disagree with the assessment of “New Yorker”: these protests are starting to feel like a revolution.


2020 has been a year of notable successes for radical feminists in the United States and Canada. In February Laila Mickelwait, head of the anti-trafficking group Exodus Cry, created a Change.org petition calling for the shutdown of Pornhub, which is responsible for the exploitation of women and children. Pornhub knowingly hosted child pornography and videos depicting violent rapes of women, and investigators found dozens of child rape videos upon accessing the site. Within months of starting the petition, over two million people had signed. In early December Nicholas Kristof of the “New York Times” published an article on rape and exploitation of women and girls. It was a turning point for Pornhub: thanks to the increased pressure, the site agreed to remove user-uploaded videos. Even more surprising news: Mastercard and Visa responded by blocking their cards on the Pornhub site. The fight against Pornhub wasn't the only big success for American feminists this year. In the months of January and February, the Women's Liberation Front (WoLF) hosted two conferences in challenges the misogyny of the modern LGBT movement. Their bold criticisms of misogyny and the inconsistency of transgender ideology caused an Internet storm, leading to calls for the Seattle Public Library to violate the First Amendment and cancel one of the meetings. The women of WoLF have not been intimidated and have continued to keep the issue at the forefront of American politics, have commissioned public opinion polls showing majority support for women's spaces, and are working with lawmakers to defend women's rights. At the end of the year WoLF's efforts were rewarded, when Democratic legislator Tulsi Gabbard introduced a bill to keep women-only sports in public schools and colleges. The women of WoLF will have a lot of work to do in the coming years with the election of a Democratic president who has promised to sign the Equality Act that would make “gender identity" a category protected by law, thus ensuring that women-only sports and spaces cannot be maintained. But these women have proven themselves to be formidable feminist warriors, and we have every confidence in their continued success.


In the UK, radical and gender critical feminism has dominated the news this year. In January Women's Place UK hosted the conference Women's liberation 2020 which was attended by thousands of men and women interested in radical feminist and gender critical thought. And in June of this year JK Rowling published a letter outlining his concerns about transactivism. The moving, elegantly written letter unleashed an immediate firestorm of death and rape threats against Rowling along with a torrent of criticism chastising Rowling for daring to express her concerns about the impact of trans activism on women and girls. Nonetheless, Rowling stood up against the tide of abuse and with her example inspired many women to demonstrate their opposition to gender ideology. Many of these concerns were confirmed last month, when the detransitioner case Keira Bell against Britain's NHS has led British courts to say that minors are almost always incapable of giving consent to puberty blockers - a significant victory for radical feminists that will hopefully spread within the medical establishment globally . Even after a difficult year, it's important to remember that we are moving forward and that women's passion, courage and activism truly affect change.

by KS Jolly, Feminist Current, the original article here (translation by Elisa Vilardo)

Share this article
Scroll to Top