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‘Feminism is a gift to men’ – KARNATAKA

Robert Jensen, professor, School of Journalism, University of Texas, was recently in Bengaluru for an event. The Hindu caught up with him to hear his views on radical feminism, patriarchy, ecological crisis, and the Trump administration. Excerpts of the interview:

How do you make men understand feminism?

It is not easy to talk to men about feminism, especially radical feminism. There are two arguments.

If a man claims to believe in concepts of equality, fairness, justice, solidarity, he should embrace feminism. The second argument is about self-interest.

Feminism helps you transcend the limits of masculinity.

The conception of masculinity is not only dangerous to women, but is also limiting to men. I was brought up to believe feminism is a threat to men, but I learnt that feminism is a gift to men.

What is radical feminism and how does it differ from liberal feminism?

Liberal feminism tends to take the existing socio-economic system as a given and ask how can women make choices and be equal within them. For example, you have capitalism.

Liberal feminism talks about how women can be equal in capitalism.

Radical feminism recognises that patriarchy is based on men’s assertion of control or ownership over women’s body. So the focus is on reproduction and sexuality. Radical feminism believes that as long as sexual exploitation industries (prostitution and pornography) exist, there can be no gender justice.

Is social media a threat to democracy?

The question is not whether social media is good or bad, but how it is used. If enhances dialogue, it is good.

Any political movement will have to engage on social media. But, this does not mean we spend all of our time on social media.

What has Donald Trump meant for the U.S.?

Donald Trump’s coming to power is a reflection of a lot of very disturbing trends in the U.S. Trump was elected on the basis of white supremacy and patriarchy, racism, and sexism. What is also disturbing is that the Democrats don’t have a good…

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