2020-2021 and Feminism: Global Tipping Points
Tipping point: “the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.” Merriam Webster.
An argument could be made that 2020 itself was a tipping point for the world, and it also could be seen to have contained numerous tipping points. This issue considers the former, 2020-2021 as a major global tipping point that thrust populations and subpopulations into unfamiliar behaviors, procedures, and situations and forced immense, sometimes irreversible changes on their lives. In particular, the issue calls for feminist responses and considerations of these tipping points and discussions of how COVID-19 shaped and influenced feminisms and feminist movement.
From the pandemic to global climate crises, massive employment and economic hardship, new definitions of work and health and safety, and, according to McKinsey’s Global Institute 2020, COVID-19’s “regressive effects on gender equality,” the transformations and adjustment to daily life across the globe would have been unimaginable in December 2019. Newspaper and magazine articles suggest critiques of and opportunities for feminism during this year. For example, “Don't Call the Pandemic a Setback for Feminism,” published in Time (December 2020), asserts that Covid-19 has revealed “key fissures in white-feminist ideology” (i.e. “the ways in which mainstream feminism has not evolved beyond an empowering anthem for white women and those aspiring to their privilege”) ways that open the possibility for “mainstream feminism” to evolve and take into consideration the views of those in more marginalized communities. “The Coronavirus is a Disaster for Feminism,” in The Atlantic (March 2020) points out the detrimental impacts on women that the pandemic has had, but also argues that it has provided the opportunity to make visible women’s disproportionate performance of unpaid care work within the household. In a similar fashion, an opinion piece in The New York Times (December 2020), titled “Feminism Has Failed Women” argues that the changes brought to women’s lives by the pandemic “require a new feminism, one that understands that the politics of motherhood are inherently intersectional for the simple reason that while not all women have or want children, those who do come from every race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background.” This new feminism, according to the author, would be “grounded in solidarity as opposed to ‘success.’” And, the African American Policy Forum has featured “Under the Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that COVID Lays Bare,” moderated by Kimberlé Crenshaw, examines the financial, social and political inequities that have impacted lives across the United States (https://www.aapf.org/ep1-utb).
For this special edition, we invite articles that contemplate the idea of “tipping points” and how feminisms, feminist theorizing, and feminist activism has responded – or not -- to this period of time marked by the pandemic. Possible areas of investigation include but are not limited to:
- How have feminisms, feminist theorizing, feminist activists responded to the Covid-19 pandemic?
- What gender-related trends are scholars and practitioners recognizing; with what issues are they grappling?
- How might feminist responses to labor, healthcare, policy, and education in a time of disruption lead to substantive change?
- Recognizing that 2020-2021 is a watershed moment, there are legacies of the past that remain salient and there are those who wish to go back to the way things were. What might feminist movement want to continue and why
- What have been the feminist responses to the impact of the pandemic on employment, motherhood, childcare, gender dynamics, education, housing shortages, increasing violence?
- How might feminism and feminist action address racial, socioeconomic, and geopolitical inequities in health that the pandemic highlighted?
- What are the implications of the pandemic for feminisms globally? and for cross-border feminist solidarities during a time of “vaccine nationalism”?
Submissions are due March 1, 2022 at https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/submit.cgi?context=jfs
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