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Global feminism by Elizabeth Switaj

June 30, 2010

This post is a part of the Global Feminism series, where each GAB editor is sharing her/his own definition of global feminism. What does global feminism mean to you? Discuss this definition and your own definition in the comments below, and join the GAB editorial board and fellow readers for a live chat discussion about global feminism on Monday, July 19 at 8pm CST. More info about the live chat here.

Borders mean nothing and everything. Constructed by human powers across, and often without regard for, natural features, they sometimes divide cultures from each other and other times divide cultures from themselves. “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us,” is a popular slogan in the North American immigrants rights movement for good reason.

Global feminism, at least my global feminism, begins with this understanding of borders and with the recognition that in an age of capitalistic globalisation, local resistance in isolation from other movements is not enough. Everyone’s liberation is caught up in everyone else’s.

It is no longer enough to cross borders or speak (or shout or scream or sing) across borders. We must transgress boundaries, and not just national ones. We need feminism and environmentalism, feminism and disability rights, feminism and trans* rights: we need to recognise that the hybrids thus created will not always look the same and, indeed, should not look the same. Global feminism, I mean my global feminism since there are many, breeds the beauty of deep and respected difference.

  1. July 1, 2010 8:38 am

    This was absolutely beautiful, thank you. Everyone’s liberation really is caught up with everyone else’s. All violence and oppression and degradation is connected and intertwined. You can’t just get rid of a tiny piece, you have to get rid of it ALL.

    None of us are free until we are all free. That concept right there explains why I am a feminist, anti-racist, LGBTQ ally, vegan, anti-capitalist, and so on and so on! Liberation for ALL.

  2. July 2, 2010 7:20 am

    Great post. I really like that you highlight the fact that global feminism needs to breed the beauty of deep and respected differences. Feminism won’t mean the same things and it won’t look exactly the same in every country. Not everyone is wanting the same thing when they want rights, but those rights are what matters. I wish more people recognized that fact!


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