The panel, from left to right: Santilla Chingaipe, Fatima Bhutto, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Jia Tolentino and Aminatou Sow — Photo: Hannah Koelmeyer
What is feminism under capitalism? What is feminism without it?
'Art does become so very important – because it does help a community articulate a way of understanding the world that allows them to reimagine it, rather than reproducing it.'
Tressie McMillan Cottom
Not all of us can afford to lean in, because some of us aren’t even in the room. We’re rightly galvanised by the fact that there are more CEOs at ASX200 companies in Australia named Andrew than there are women – but when did feminism become about earning power? Doesn’t it have to be anti-capitalist? Market ideas about success and failure seem like a shaky foundation for liberation for the 99% of women, so what does an uncommodified resistance look like?
In this conversation from Broadside 2019, hosted by Santilla Chingaipe, our panellists – Aminatou Sow, Fatima Bhutto, Jia Tolentino and Tressie McMillan Cottom – discuss she-EOs, 'ethical consumption', reimagining value and good ancestorship.
Tressie McMillan Cottom, Jia Tolentino and Aminatou Sow on stage at Melbourne Town Hall — Photo: Hannah Koelmeyer
Sisonke Msimang, Fatima Bhutto and Mona Eltahawy on stage at Melbourne Town Hall — Photo: Sophie Quick
'The role of artists is never to celebrate power.'
There's a million reasons why we're told to keep quiet on difficult subjects: propriety and decorum, convention and status, fear of retribution. When women try to introduce nuance into certain public debates, it doesn't usually go well for them. Western media conglomerates are often more interested in protecting power than interrogating it. If a woman offers an unvarnished analysis of power structures, or a contrary view, it's often framed as ugly, inappropriate or ungrateful.
In this episode, recorded at the inaugural Broadside festival of feminist ideas, two of the world’s most fearless, most honest, most forthright voices – Fatima Bhutto and Mona Eltahawy – unpick the challenges and pitfalls of a life of truth. With host Sisonke Msimang, they discuss artistry, the west, power and biography.
The author is the niece of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto and part of the Pakistani political dynasty. In her memoir ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’, she tells the story of a turbulent and tragic family history. Her latest book, ‘The Runaways’, is a story about radicalism, belonging and muslim identity. She talks to Georgina Godwin about growing up in exile, Islamophobia and K-pop.
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