Feminist:in sein, ist das heute noch nötig? Die französische Aktivistin und Feministin Pauline Harmange zeigt mit ihrem Buch „Ich hasse Männer“ ganz deutlich, dass es auch im Jahr 2021 noch wichtig ist, sich für Gleichberechtigung und Frauenrechte einzusetzen. In einem Interview mit dem .divers-Magazin erzählt sie von ihrem Weg in den Feminismus und beantwortet unsere Fragen zum Buch.
Being a feminst – is that still necessary today? In her book „Moi les hommes, je les déteste„, the French activist and feminist Pauline Harmange explains that it is still important to fight for equal rights, even in 2021. In her interview with the .divers-magazine, she told us about her way to become a feminist and answered our questions about her book.
On your blog un invincible étè you say that you have been active for almost 10 years. How did it all start?
I’ve always had a blog, ever since I was old enough to surf the Internet unsupervised. I’ve also always written stories, and pieces of my life. The first time it was serious was indeed in 2011: I was just beginning college, and I felt like writing on the internet would help me ground this weird experience of being a college student at only 16. My readership grew steadily throughout the year and my blog officially became „Un invincible été“ in 2015.
What does being a feminist mean to you personally? What are your tips on how to become a feminist? Do you think that everyone can become a feminist?
Being a feminist for me is fighting against patriarchy and against all forms of oppression, because every discrimination takes root in a system of white capitalist patriarchy. It’s really a matter of listening to women, what they experience on a daily basis. There are countless ways of listening: reading feminist books, following feminists on Twitter or Instagram, going to a feminist protest… Each way is a good way, so long as it leads to questioning our sexist reflexes, and trying to overcome them. In this regard, I think every woman can become a feminist — and every man can be a useful ally to feminism.
You started your book with a quote by Sylvia Plath: “The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving man – In any way.” Why did you choose this quote?
I was reading The Bell Jar while writing my book. I was familiar with Sylvia Plath’s life and work, but it was my first time reading this novel in the text, and I felt instantly a deep connection with the character of Esther, since I struggle myself with depression and was an aspiring writer. This particular sentence seemed to embody all I was thinking about men and patriarchy in general, at exactly the right time.
You say that there are a lot of cis-men enjoying their privilege in society without critically thinking them over. What would you wish for these men to do (differently)?
We live in a day and age where information is readily available, for next to no cost. Men should take it upon themselves to learn about feminism and gender issues, without even us asking them to. Every man living in a Western society knows, by now, that there is a problem with masculinity, with sexism. How come they still don’t educate themselves? How come they don’t want to change society as much as we do? I know why: because of these very privileges. But it’s time being afraid of losing privileges were not an excuse anymore. It is a hindrance, yes, but shouldn’t we all strive to be better people?
I was quite interested in your definition of a “typical French feminist”. Could you tell us a bit more about your experience and understanding of that term?
I feel like we suffer from a strong case of white-saviorism, sprinkled with very French ideas of what freedom, seduction and gender roles are. In a country where in 2021, women can vote, get an abortion and choose not to marry, some feel like there’s no more work to do, because it so much worse „elsewhere“. So there’s this idea that „elsewhere“ women need the help of the oh-so-free French women to be saved, and also that the way things are right now in France is actually very OK. This is beginning to be very much challenged by all the revelations of sexual abuse from every industry, every line of work and every institution in France right now – and the reactions these revelations get. We can no longer think that we’re somehow „free from sexism“.
How can we react to toxic masculinity and try to dismantle this system of oppression in our day-to-day-life?
We should really begin to address the fact that masculinity is, in and of itself, toxic. There’s no such thing as „positive masculinity“, I feel like every man I know who’s not toxic is a man who has agreed to relinquish masculinity. They’re men, yeah, but are they masculine? What is masculinity if not the traits that allow people to overpower others, to dominate others, in order to get „to the top“ and „be the best“? So, are men willing to stop trying to dominate everyone? If not, then I don’t want to have anything to do with them, and that’s the only advice I can give to women.
What is your understanding of the word “hate”?
Because there is, in French law, the crime of „incitation to hatred“, it’s like there’s no way to speak of this boiling anger rising from deep injustice and horrible violence that some people experience. The British poet LionHeart quoted Malcolm X to me during an interview: „That which you don’t hate, you’ll eventually tolerate“. And I feel very much aligned with this particular vision of „hate“.
After your book has been published, you got a lot of criticism from people who said you have gone too far. How do you deal with that criticism?
That’s not much of a criticism, coming from people who feel attacked and betrayed by a mere 6-word title. I don’t care for people voicing opinions on material they have not taken the effort to read.
Das Interview wurde geführt von Lilith Sievers und Lea Terlau
Beitragsbild mit freundlicher Genehmigung des rowohlt Verlags.