Gender Workshop

New populisms in contemporary politics: misogyny, racism and homophobia

Marisa Matias (Eurodeputada)

July 7, 2017, 14h30

Room 2, CES | Alta


In this session we want to dedicate our reflection to misogyny in politics and to the forms and quality that it has assumed in different contexts and places of the world. From Donald Trump to the President of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, statements about women and their intellectual capacities are far from episodic. These are just two more mediatic examples of the kind of misogynist hatred that has populated the political discourse of the world in recent times. It is also one of the faces of the dominating financial and colonial neo-liberalism. To this end, we wish to mobilize various perspectives, with different enunciation places that can problematize the different realities with complexity, but also provide us with emancipatory energies capable of mobilizing us around the causes and progressive transformations that we strive for.

It is a fact that, from the institutional and normative point of view, the gains in terms of equality between women and men have become a new quality of contemporary politics in Europe and around the world. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that the most substantive changes in a society occur when, at the discursive, symbolic and behavioural levels, they become new senses of the common that concretely transform the quality of life and the imaginaries of emancipation of women and men.
We know that the mismatch between practices, laws and proclamations of principles is significant and often frightening. The numbers regarding directed and inflicted violence on sexual identities that do not conform to heteropatrial virility do not seem to be yielding to existing policies of prevention, protection, guarantees and security. It would suffice to reflect on the enormous interstitial sexist resistances that show us how much we have to achieve to achieve equality in respect and dignity that is far beyond that consecrated by liberal rights and inclusion.

Although we can affirm that the sexist and patriarchal violence registered in our societies is nothing new - unfortunately - it can take forms and discourses that, due to their quantity or quality, are new problems that must instigate us to reflect and participate. We have witnessed in a number of countries in Europe and in the world a new conservative wave that reinforces the idea of the need for guardianship over certain sexual identities by describing them or referring them to accessory or irrational spheres. Several examples, with different contours and scales, can be contemplated, such as guidelines on the obligation of using maxi-skirts at primary and secondary schools in Mozambique to prevent teenage harassment and teenage pregnancies; the acclamation of the 'modest and home-loving’ in Brazil as the model of what and where women should be, or the recurrent attempts to recede legislation on the right to their own body, sexuality and reproduction in Angola, Poland, Spain or Brazil.