Alison PhippsFeb 16, 2021
Me, Not You
The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism
Manchester University Press 2020
We are joined today by Alison Phipps, Professor in Gender Studies and the University of Sussex to talk about her newest book, Me, Not You: The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism (Manchester University Press, 2020).
The Me Too movement, started by Black feminist Tarana Burke in 2006, went viral as a hashtag eleven years later after a tweet by white actor Alyssa Milano. Mainstream movements like #MeToo have often built on and co-opted the work of women of colour, while refusing to learn from them or centre their concerns. Far too often, the message is not ‘Me, Too’ but ‘Me, Not You’. Alison Phipps argues that this is not just a lack of solidarity. Privileged white women also sacrifice more marginalised people to achieve their aims, or even define them as enemies when they get in the way. Me, not you argues that the mainstream movement against sexual violence expresses a political whiteness that both reflects its demographics and limits its revolutionary potential. Privileged white women use their traumatic experiences to create media outrage, while relying on state power and bureaucracy to purge ‘bad men’ from elite institutions with little concern for where they might appear next. In their attacks on sex workers and trans people, the more reactionary branches of this feminist movement play into the hands of the resurgent far-right.
Dr. Phipps is the author of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology: Three Decades of UK Initiatives (Trentham Books, 2008), an examination of the mixed results of the UK’s attempts to address gender disparity STEM fields through policy and The Politics of the Body: Gender in a Neoliberal and Neoconservative Age (Polity Press, 2014) an award-winning look at the way feminists find themselves negotiating a very tight passage between the Scylla and Charybdis of neoconservatives and neoliberals, as well as a bevy or articles on similar issues.
Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.