Editorial: Women World Democracy
25 June 2023
Collage credit: Philosophy World Democracy
This is the occasion to rethink ourselves as yet another resurgence to understand the present formations of a new logic which can be called patrilogy, that is, a world where ethos and norms are interpreted now purely in terms of the telos defined from moment to moment by the invariant of the male often functioning as a present participle which takes on new ranges of terrains and senses.
We speak and then curtains collapse already before we could truly commence. We speak standing before the curtains of the past anticipating those of the future. Therefore we speak urgently and hesitantly at the same time. The experience of a woman speaking is often called names for this very reason, that we could never take the time, make it the tongue of our own time, to speak in our tongues which must wander sufficiently through the long millennia of histories where we were the captives of a silence mastered by men.
We may still be hauled back behind all the curtains into the dungeons of no words, as can be seen in Afghanistan where it has been 643 days since young girls have been banned from attending schools (1). In Africa six out of ten girls are not in school. In India 71% girls come to be aware of menstruation after their first period, and the social stigma and shame associated with it force many out of schools, a situation seriously exacerbated by the lack public toilets for women. The unavailability of public toilet spaces is one the most important conditions that keeps many women, across the world, from pursuing employment, financial autonomy, and public life. The laws and enforced customs which prohibit women from driving and enjoying free public movement confine us into quiet inexistence. The coverings and uniforms which turns us into singular invisible masses in many corners of the world render us indistinct and also invisible. The young women of Iran were only recently failed again by the political machinations of men within and outside of Iran when they sought to let their hair down. We salute you.
We are killed even before we begin to speak, and often before we are born; female infanticide remains high across the world. Whether we speak or not, women are killed routinely in order to ceremonially repeat the many inherited communities of the world—racial, caste, ethnic, religious—for which the theory of patriarchy still remains relevant. In India, in 2021 alone 8405 women were killed, according to official figures, which are often unreliable (2). In many countries of the world women are often killed to protect the honour of inherited communities and the logical primacy of the male. In the Uyghur regions women are either forcibly sterilised or are forced to give up their ways of life and marry the so called ‘Han’ Chinese men (3). Only recently women (especially Yazidi women) were enslaved and traded by ISIS for similar reasons, for retaining their notion of a ceremonial inherited community which conserves the invariance of the male (4).
Laurence Joseph wrote in astonishment, “American law, 50 years after the Roe vs Wade amendment, still considers that a woman's body and her destiny do not belong to her.” (5) An older statistic shows that 232,960 women were raped in the United States of America in 2006 alone where women are fighting again for their right to abortion (6). In America the trafficking of women for sexual enslavement remains high (7). And hence the projects to control women’s bodies and women’s access to public spaces coming from America should raise alarms for women from across the world or they should be seen as occasions from which, as Emily Apter warned, “creepy conclusions” may be drawn eventually (8). In this context of America we must return to the reminder in a text by Stefania Achella, which should be consulted the way one did an oracle, “It was no coincidence, moreover, that the very first law enacted by Hitler was the condemnation of abortion as a crime against the state, and the control of women’s destinies.”(9) It also shows that the women of America had been fighting the most complicated and perilous battle for their freedoms, which leaves them without the support of the patrilogically determined binary opposition of American politics. We salute you.
We can no longer trust the ‘thoughts on women’, take into account the tales of ‘success’ in the lottery of celebrity, and accept the commandments that women are to follow coming from the United States of America. We cannot accept the fact, observed by Zeynep Direk, that “Women are redefined in terms of their gestational capacity, and now they are forced to give birth against their will by the ban” (10) The resurgence, the next uprising of women will have to commence from elsewhere. It must be a new reckoning which is an other thought of women. We will have to, for the sake of the women even (and especially) in America, conceive a democracy of women of the world. It will be, soon enough.
Not all women suffer equally as no one suffering is in a contest for coming first at the finish line of the greatest of all sufferings. The lower caste women in India suffer the maximum force of the racialised system of caste order enforced by the upper caste supremacists (this ‘Aryan’ system is often deviously presented before the world as ‘Hindu nationalism’). Often lower caste women are raped to enforce the caste order or to “put them in their place” in the racialised hierarchy (11). The scale, if one can establish such a thing, may be different in other circumstances, but the logic of oppression of women remains the same everywhere, in each instance—to put women in the place assigned to them according to the patrilogy of a particular system of inherited community. That is, inherited communities are able to repeat themselves through generations through the calypsology which maintains the means of conserving the system as its very end or goal. The women Olympic wrestlers have been fighting for the right to define their place in the summer heat of Delhi for the past few months. We salute you.
Does it not startle us today think that increasing demonisation of women, the silencing of women, the expulsions of women, the invisibilisation of women, and the control women’s bodies in what are often considered the ‘progressive’ regions of the world have come to be in less than a hundred years since women started appearing in public spaces? Yes, we began to appear in the world together only recently, less than a century ago, and for each occasion and for each space we had been fighting bitterly. Politics is the fight for freedoms and we are not yet in charge of the politics of the world: For even now we are mocked for demanding equal pay; we are not represented equally in the parliaments of the world; we are not yet admitted into the halls of the professoriate, of technological and financial power; we are yet to be prime ministers and presidents in most parts of the world. Yet those women who inched into those spaces of power, such as Sanna Mirella Marin and Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern, had been forced to live those few hours in charge of their countries in a state of terror of judgments cast in the patrilogy of our time. We salute you.
This is the occasion to rethink ourselves as yet another resurgence to understand the present formations of a new logic which can be called patrilogy, that is, a world where ethos and norms are interpreted now purely in terms of the telos defined from moment to moment by the invariant of the male often functioning as a present participle which takes on new ranges of terrains and senses. No more need be said. Philosophy World Democracy invites everyone to join these conversations.
We have not arrived, not yet. But sisters, we already lead the democracy of the world and the battle for its sense.
2. Akansha Deshmukh, “Femicide Epidemic In India: A Dire Consequence Of Deep-Seated Misogyny,” Feminism in India, 23 February 2023, https://feminisminindia.com/2023/02/28/femicide-epidemic-in-india-a-dire-consequence-of-deep-seated-misogyny/
5. Laurence Joseph, “Politicised Bodies: We Cannot Always Take Care of the Life We Are Carrying,” Philosophy World Democracy 3. 7 (July 2022), https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/articles-1/politicised-bodies-we-cannot-always-take-care-of-the-life-we-are-carrying
8. Emily Apter, “Corporate Persons and the Leviathan of the Contracepted,” Philosophy World Democracy 3. 7 (July 2022), https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/articles-1/corporate-persons-and-the-leviathan-of-the-contracepted
9. Stefania Achella, “Bodies Beyond Rights: Why Governance of Woman’s Autonomy is Not Solely a Legal Issue,” Philosophy World Democracy 3.11 (November 2022), https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/articles-1/bodies-beyond-rights-why-governance-of-womans-autonomy-is-not-solely-a-legal-issue.
10. Zeynep Direk, “Radical Feminism and the Abortion Ban,” Philosophy World Democracy 3.11 (November 2022), https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/articles-1/radical-feminism-and-the-abortion-ban.
11. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-rape-caste-idUSKBN28509J; see also Aarushi Punia, “Calypsology of Caste through Metaphorization: A Review of Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste,” Philosophy World Democracy 1.1 (November 2020), https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/book-reviews/calypsology-of-caste.