Well, I suppose it had to happen one day. And when it happened, it was not quite like you imagined it would be – sound familiar? Well, I am of course talking about meeting Alice Schwarzer, one of Simone de Beauvoir’s “groupies” and the best known German feminist.
I am quite certain that today’s event about the “Islamic headscarf as a system [of oppression]” was as much a marketing event for her feminist magazine, EMMA, as it was aggressive, intellectually, as well as personally disappointing. Details to follow – probably on afoe. Let me just say for the minute that Frau Schwarzer’s rather conciliatory television appearances of late are – and I think I can fairly judge that from having attended said talk – are not what the woman is still about. She’s still entirely immersed in the strange mythology that is radical feminism, and everyting she says has to be interpreted from this very narrow point of view.
Moreover, gentle readers, should ever encounter a feminist claiming that language is subtly biased towards the suppression of women, tell her that Ms Schwarzer’s language, including the assertion that women wearing the tchador “are not really human”, made several of the initially present veiled women leave in anger. Not that some of their statements were much less aggressive, yet it was Ms Schwarzer who pointed out that condescension has no place in this debate. When I called her on it, she simply said it was “self explanatory sarcasm.”
Well, not too self-explanatory, apparently. In general, the debate – organised by a group of Iranian exiles – revealed the political salience of the hijab issue in all possible dimensions. Sadly, for an issue that is so close to female sexuality, all that German feminism appears to have to offer are recylced labels.
Sorry mum, I know you like her, but I’m beginning to think Ms Schwarzer is one of them.