The Poisonous Mushroom – Feminism

March 15, 2023

text: Viorica Ciolan

illustration: Cristina radish

"To be or not to be?"

As metaphorical and well-known as the question is, Hamlet is not the protagonist in this article. Like me, maybe the term feminism has crossed your mind. Whether you saw it in passing while wasting time on social media, or heard it from a friend's mouth in conversation, it still causes a lot of confusion. This "poisonous mushroom" for society as described by many individuals, especially men, is, in fact, an ideology that would considerably improve the standard of living, the political system and society if those around them understood its importance, especially people in power. 

And now you wonder why I pray only those in administrative and political positions, among others, should give it importance, especially women in power? Why should anyone pay so much attention to something that brings them nothing material given the upward trend of moral values in recent years in our country? As much as I would like to philosophize about the reality we are in, I want to keep you engaged in the subject at hand. 

Among the non-feminist leaders in power is Giorgia Meloni. Although she has portrayed herself as a feminist for years, she is far from one. Despite the fact that some members of Italian society rejoiced at her election as Prime Minister of Italy, her election victory is far from a win for feminism. Instead, both in the past and in the present, Meloni has used gender to oppress minorities and women, especially those who are not white, cis, and of low socio-economic status. This could also be observed during the elections. From promoting anti-abortion policies, limiting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, such as same-sex marriage and adoption, to sexualizing and neglecting a rape victim, her speech is completely antithetical to the values that feminism promotes. 

At the other end of the world, in the United States of America, Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the members of the Republican party, is another example of a woman in a position of power who calls herself a feminist, but whose actions betray something else entirely. For years, she positioned herself as a fighter for women's rights, while on the other hand she terrorized minority women, whether we are talking socio-economically or on other criteria, through the acts she undertook. She is constantly against the LGBTQ+ community with her homophobic and transphobic speeches. At the same time. she is against immigrants, especially those from the Middle East, telling fellow Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., that she can return to her country and is unfit to work in government simply because of her religion and background . 

What is most striking about these two women leaders is the way they use their image and even, sometimes, feminism, the white one, of course, in a toxic way to give them the chance to promote their values that are inconsistent with the true meaning of feminism, that is to fight for women's rights regardless of any criteria that could be discriminatory, such as skin color and economic status. Their being in a position that could have given the women of the respective countries a support in having access to the rights they deserve, such as the right to abortion under optimal conditions, only shows the need to continue the fight for them when the chosen ones do not I do it. Whether it's public demonstrations or participation in organizations that support this, it's up to us whether we want to be on the side of those in power but don't care, or on the side of true feminism, the one that fights for women's rights no matter what be their identity. 


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