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A reflection on feminism


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ABC, ABC Seville, La Voz de Cádiz

Ana Marta Gonzalez

Professor of Philosophy moral and director of the project Emotional culture and identity at Institute for Culture and Society - University of Navarra

Years ago, Norberto Bobbio surprised with the publication of a small book graduate 'In Praise of Temperance'. It was striking that an academic dedicated mainly to questions of law Philosophy , decided to vindicate the public importance of an apparently private virtue such as temperance. However, the importance of this virtue for the credibility of the words and actions of any person is beyond doubt. We can think of the reactive tweets of the previous tenant of the White House, but also of the verbal and gestural incontinence of so many political representatives, which, by itself, leads one to question the prudence of their decisions.

What momentarily attracts media attention does not necessarily consolidate a person's or a cause's credibility, confidence in their ability to overcome their ego, and develop a clear sense of justice. And this leads me to think about the restrictions that the pandemic status has imposed on the commemoration of March 8. It is not bad news that good sense has prevailed, and that, for reasons of force majeure, the commemoration of this date should be channeled in a different way, perhaps giving more space for reflection.

In fact, it may be good news; a sign that, beyond passion, there is room for reason. For the truth is that some demonstrations that, on the occasion of this date, have taken to the streets in the recent past could easily give rise to think the opposite. Certainly, in the transition from attention staff to mass phenomena there is always a qualitative decline. Simmel already noted it: under these conditions, men are equalized at the lowest level. It would be necessary to evaluate, therefore, which class of commemorations contribute to a greater extent to the advancement of equality. For the truth is that, because of their intemperance, some more or less festive public expressions do a disservice to the cause of women, expelling from their orbit many people -men and women- who in other conditions and with other arguments would undoubtedly lend their support. To reject temperance as if it were a bourgeois trait is to have a rather poor idea of temperance, precisely bourgeois.

The question is to go beyond the affirmation of one's own idiosyncrasy and make an effort to think about which manifestations generate consensus and which divide. It is worth remembering that causes presented under the banner of justice lose legitimacy if they fail to convince with arguments, if they fail to show their universal scope. The fact that emotions and images are expressive of reasons does not exempt us from the task of interpreting them, which brings us back to the terrain of reason: if we abandon this terrain, only force remains. And, precisely, if the historical advance of women should mean anything, it is that, in matters of coexistence among humans, force should never have the last word.