The Personal is Ideological: #MeToo and the End of Political Feminism
Free Public Lecture
Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre
T: 9035 5092
The Wednesday Lectures 2018 hosted by Raimond Gaita
The formal work of Western feminism was first made possible by informal talk. Texts of the second wave owe as much to coffee mornings as they do to library cards; actions were drawn not only from an established repertoire of protest, but from intimate conversation.
Women’s private moments were assessed as matters for public concern. Within small groups, personal stories – of housework, abuse, abortion – could be recast as political. In 1968, this conscious approach fuelled an emerging liberation movement. In 2018, this unexamined approach may see that movement’s end.
Me Too may be a movement built on the true rage of sexual abuse survivors. It is maintained, however, by faith. For Me Too, the personal story must be understood as perennially political – not, as second-wave feminism had it, a provisional political tactic.
It is true that the many personal stories of Me Too offer relief to some survivors of workplace sexual abuse. it is not true that these many personal stories will produce a political shift.
These disclosures occur on a scale and in a context where the personal is profitable, very public and stripped of their political potential. Helen Razer will argue that Me Too has not disturbed but regenerated old forms of power; that no volume of stories describing individual wounds will produce a collective solution.
The Wednesday Lectures is an annual series of talks hosted by Professor Raimond Gaita that invites speakers from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds to offer their perspective on a subject of pressing public, and sometimes intensely personal, concern.
Professor Raimond Gaita, Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Arts
Professor Raimond Gaita
Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Arts
University of Melbourne
Professor Raimond Gaita is Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Law School and The Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne and Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at King's College London. Gaita's books include: 'Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception'; 'Romulus, My Father', which was made into a feature film with the same name starring Eric Bana; 'A Common Humanity: Thinking About Love & Truth & Justice'; 'The Philosopher's Dog'; and 'After Romulus'.
Helen Razer was a broadcaster and is now a writer. Her appointments in radio were at the Triple J national network and ABC Melbourne. Her books include A Short History of Stupid, coauthored with national affairs correspondent Bernard Keane, a 2015 work on the history of bad Western thought shortlisted for the Russell Prize; and Total Propaganda, a popular work on Marxism recently published by Allen & Unwin. Helen has written on social and political matters for *The Age* and *The Australian*. She now contributes news and cultural analysis to outlets including *Crikey, The Saturday Paper, Daily Review, SBS* and Atlantic digital publication *Quartz*.