I've been wondering how and in what ways I might return more explicitly to feminist theory. It doesn't seem likely that I will be able to write explicitly any time soon. Return, though, is not quite the right word: it's not that I have not been writing as a feminist. It is that it has seemed to me that the only way to be a feminist is to be a communist.
By the mid-nineties, there didn't seem to be anything else to say in feminist theory. For the last couple of decades, I've asked my friends: what's the best book you've recently read in feminist theory. My own last favorites are Lynne Segal's Why Feminism? -- especially as it pulls together different lines of critique --and Silvia Federici's Caliban and the Witch for its alternative to "intersectional" analysis (which strikes me as the name of a theoretical failure more than an insight insofar as it takes as its presumption distinct lines or identities that have to be made to intersect rather than economic systems and ideological formations).
And yet while my back has been turned, real life, popular life, everyday life, has gotten increasingly worse for women and girls in the US with the Republican war on women, intensification of economic inequality, and pornofication of popular culture. Real practical political questions are intensifying, yet they don't seem theoretically all that interesting: is this a failure of theory or a kind of reversion, regression?
Capitalism turns everything against itself. Feminist goals become turned round upon themselves so as to hurt women -- choice becomes market choice in every domain of life such. Increasing competition, increasing individualism, increasing brutality, increasing desperation.
I am skeptical with the US government, armed agent of capitalism, tells us that it is trying to help girls and women. I don't believe there is good evidence for this. When the US government--whether executive, judicial, or legislative--starts expressing concern about rape, something else is at stake. But what?
Colleges and universities are battlegrounds. They are sites where the remnants of the middle class hold on to their position for dear life. Is this holding on becoming manifest in the legal apparatus being built in the name of educational equality for women? And even if this is the case, is skepticism and resistance the only response or might the apparatuses, policies, and procedures being put into place themselves be used or occupied for actually egalitarian ends?