Gabriella Ripa di Meana on Post-Feminism

Gabriella Ripa di Meana writes: “[i]n contrast to the pre-feminist period however, in the position of the agent of discourse we no longer find Doctrine *about* Women (S2), but the Word *of* women (S1). You can sense the movement backwards, from the discourse of the university, which places knowledge as agent, to the discourse of mastery where the Standpoint – the mere placed-ness of the speaker – authorizes the discourse.

However, di Meana wrote this in 1998. Today, could we not claim that a further turn has occurred? In the return to feminism today we witness the agent once again as the hysterical barred-subject – a place of renewed oppression, exploitation. Woman is exploited all the more precisely by the knowledge of her exploitation ($ -> S2, the top line of the Capitalist’s Discourse). For example, today everybody claims to be a feminist and to know about feminist issues. This is precisely what conceals or obscures the basic paradox: the situation has not changed, and, I would claim, it is all the more difficult for patriarchy to be smashed because everybody who stands in your way appears to be an ally.

The truth of the new discourse is that any direct attack on the master (S1) is blocked by the amount of enjoyment we all receive precisely by playing the game of pretending to be an ally with mainstream feminists. We enjoy the masquerade of false feminism, of social media feminism, and so on, far too much to return to the hysterical discourses of challenging the master – indeed, we challenge the master only as a strategy of enjoyment itself, and so the master loses his function as the other of the interrogation and falls back into the truth.


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