"Using the word excessive to qualify feminism is to be banned! It makes no sense."

Between debates and major battles, the feminism movement is found, and even more so today, in different spheres of society. But some people use superlatives to talk about it. What is the weight of the words used? What about the use of the term "excessive"? Can we talk about several feminisms? Focus is needed.

Today, hardly a day goes by that feminism is not at the center of the discussion. And some media and figures in public life associate this noble action with the adjective "excessive". What is the will hoped for and what does it reject in the collective mind? To better understand the use of the term "excessive" feminism, we met Salima Amari, PhD in sociology.

First of all, the specialist in the study of social relations, actions and representations by which societies are constituted, assures us that so-called "excessive" feminism does not exist in sociology. For Salima Amari, it is an opinion, frequently used by editorial writers, or an editorial line, who take a look at things without any real knowledge of the subject. And most of the time, they are men.

"The word "excessive" is to be banned, it has no meaning. What is the goal of those who use this term? If you ask men and women, are you in favor of gender equality, there's a good chance they'll say yes, because right now there isn't. Is claiming this vision excessive? NO. There is no such thing as being excessive!", launches the sociologist.

According to Salima Amari, this adjective can be used when women socially dominate men. The day when there will be a societal, anthropological and feminist political revolution. This use of the French language serves to intensify a fear, for some, of losing privileges in a collective imagination. With the help of words, these people want the current situation to continue. "There is no such thing as excessive feminism, but rather excessive machismo through the consequent domination of men over women, excessive patriarchy. Feminism is therefore not yet strong enough in society to be able to achieve real equality.", she testifies.

Can different feminisms serve the cause?

On this question, the sociologist recalls that this is not new. There may be different feminisms, but with a common base: the end of discrimination against women, to speak of inequality, of the rejection of patriarchy, "even if all the activists do not name it like that."There would therefore be two fringes in the feminist galaxy for Salima Amari, those which are based" simply "on equality rights, but without going beyond. And those which go further, that is to say – to call into question the whole patriarchal system. "They argue that the law is also based on social norms. So it's not just legal standards. There are thus social norms to denounce and fight", she explains."The differences in perceptions of feminism can be seen in the struggle strategies put in placeThe expert adds. The latter insists that there is no division within the cause, but several life experiences that show different perspectives of struggles.

Regarding the case of Parisian elected Alice Coffin, and the dissociation of other activists from these comments or his way of acting, Salima Amari evokes elements that may explain these divergent opinions. "IThere are those that are in the system, in political terms. They believe in advancing the cause of women even within institutions. By referring to this ideology, Alice Coffin can be called ‘radical’ because she is proceeding in another way. ”

"In the excerpt from 2018 that came out of Alice Coffin, it is about social relations in general, via a personal but political image of her life as a lesbian. Without any knowledge of the subject, shortcuts can be made and generate confrontations of ideas.", says Salima Amari.

A danger can arise from a misinterpretation of the sentences spoken, according to our doctor in sociology. "You have to understand social relationships, that is, everyday life (a situation between a man and a woman at a given time) and systemic social relationships (a non-equal pay, for example)."

Another problem, the remarks which mix feminist activism and "hysterical" people. One more narrow-mindedness that would like to skim off fights that claim to be more virulent than others. Couldn't a woman have the natural right to fight like a man in an arena? It is, once again, a question of an ignorance of the causes.

Debates of all times

Historically, the sociologist recalls that in the 1970s in France, there were already real divisions within the Women's Liberation Movement (MLF).

Today, according to the sociologist, the public speaking of a new generation of feminists is a game-changer. “For a long time, in the public square, there were those who dared to call themselves feminists. Activists who have been fighting for years, who are part of a well-identified movement. But other women who have also denounced sexist practices or violence, have never defined themselves openly feminist, although they are. It was a dirty word for a long time. Now we can see young women who fight against certain practices like street harassment and who claim to be feminists. The #metoo movement has a lot to do with it, "explains Salima Amari. At the time, therefore, to call oneself a feminist was for some too radical, to become anti-man. An eternal taboo based on the social gaze, which was afraid of the movement, because the established order was contested, according to the sociologist.

The return to a feminist debate is, in summary, very interesting for Salima Amari: "this proves that women are not a homogeneous group. There is not a war between these women, but a diversity of questions. All these words are used to change society."

From Darmanin to Dupond-Morreti, the Élysée offers a gloomy change for the cause of women

Video by Clara Poudevigne