Image by Ivy Sanders Schneider

“Steered by the Reactionary” | What To Do About Feminism

Alexandra Brodsky, Andrea Long Chu, Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Becca Rothfeld, Elisa Gonzalez, Jamie Hood, Jess Bergman, Rosemarie Ho

For a long time now, we’ve had the sense that feminism is in trouble. In the years before the pandemic, its most prominent battles — the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Women’s March, #MeToo, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, “Nevertheless, she persisted” — were about figureheads. These days, symbols no longer seem adequate, or even all that meaningful. The professions (teaching, nursing, eldercare) that have been most overtaxed and underprotected during the Covid-19 era are all female-dominated, and women’s overall participation in the workforce is at its lowest point in our lifetimes. As of last summer, a third of American mothers had cut their hours or stopped working altogether. Roe is not long for this world.

Feminism tends to come in spurts: moments of fervor followed by years or decades of regression. The feeling that we’re on the precipice of a backlash (if not already amid one, among young people across the political spectrum) is cause for concern. It shouldn’t need to be said: in 2022, women are still getting the short end of the stick, not just in the boardroom or bedroom but everywhere else too. The mainstream coverage and the most hyped books on the subject don’t seem to grasp the profound malaise we’re witnessing — and what has felt like a course-reversal over the past two years. To try and sort through what’s going on, we asked some of our favorite thinkers to pick apart various aspects of a movement in crisis.  

Elisa Gonzalez | A Defensive Posture

Becca Rothfeld | Feminism and Kitsch

Andrea Long Chu | Hot or Not

Alexandra Brodsky | The Law on Trial

Rosemarie Ho | Pessimistic

Jess Bergman | Not Feminisms

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian | Maternal Bliss

Jamie Hood | The Girlboss and the Anti-Woke Cool Girl