Shadow Feminism

Antisocial feminism is that in which enacts itself in resistance, being resistance to ones Mother, resistant to patriarchy and resistance to society itself. Operating in the margins, antisocial feminist reject the idea that they need to conform to societal standards to achieve “happiness”. As most would say that antisocial feminism is a failure, but Halberstam argues that this is so called failure is actually not. Hlaberstam ultimately argues that failing is required for true happiness.

In “Unbeing as Power” Melanie quotes Halberstam saying “antisocial feminism is a framework that acknowledges the power that exists in the margins” laying the framework for what antisocial feminism looks like. Acknowledging that antisocial feminism exists in those who reject the normal existence of patriarchal societies. These people acknowledge that these societies exist, yet they still continue to hold true in rejecting to insert themselves in those societies. Halberstam argues that antisocial feminism is “preoccupied with negativity and negation”. The example of the Chicken Run character helps solidify the idea that antisocial feminism operates “under the understanding that there are ways of thinking about political action that don’t involve doing or dying”. By the Chicken Run character refusing to be exploited she is actively resisting to participate in the larger society, therefore making herself more powerful. Antisocial feminism shapes itself through those who live without labels, expectations and categories. Refusal plays a major role in antisocial feminism. Action is not required, and simple non-action is powerful in this framework. Antisocial feminism gains its power in those who are existing margins, as action or dying are not required. Antisocial feminism exists outside of the dominant realm, where those who claim antisocial feminism find it preferable. The blog ultimately argues that Halberstam is saying that “failure and unbecoming are essentially required for true happiness, that operates outside of understanding of being”. Reiterating the idea that those who participate in antisocial feminism, or shadow feminism are viewed as failures by the society as a whole, but truly are not.

In Hayley’s blog “Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” and Shadow Feminism” she also discusses antisocial feminism or shadow feminism. Kate Chopin’s novella “The Awakening” is examined as an example of antisocial feminism. The main character struggles to keep herself afloat in the society that she is operating in, as she feels she thrives best in the margins. The main character then goes on to commit suicide as she feels she failed to create the alternative life she dreamed of. Her failed act of shadow feminism ultimately led to her death. The blogger claims that this suicide is an indication of “failure in our society and not selfishly motivated” ringing the point that the first blogger made that failure is a clear sign of shadow feminism. Even though the character did not live through her entire life, she managed to make a statement that she was in control of her life, even though she did not feel it. “Awakening” “breaks the mother connection in two ways connected to her final act, by first having Edna, as a mother herself, permanently annihilate the bond with her children” using the idea that Halberstam brought up in their chapter. Riding oneself of the mother image frees is a main component of shadow feminism. Halberstam states “fantasy of an active, autonomous, self-activating individualism”(130) is what motivates the forms of prescriptive feminism that we are familiar with that, that ultimately play into patriarchy. Chopin’s main character becomes self annihilating and by choosing to participate in patriarchal society by marrying her husband, she submitted to the main society itself, like in Melanie’s blog,  Hayley characterizes antisocial feminism and shadow feminism as the being of existing in margins of the society. Chopin’s main character demonstrates what happens when one who used to exist in the margins suddenly immerse themselves into main society.

The third blog by Alex, “Radical Passivity” also discusses shadow feminism in the same way the other two blogs do. Shadow feminism is exemplified in the Halberstam example of Little Miss Sunshine. Once again shadow feminism, or antisocial feminism is labeled as one actively denying the bond of the mother and daughter, causing the daughter to break away and essentially deny any part of the patriarch standards that are set by the relationship of the mother and daughter. The tag antisocial feminism delves into what it means to live in the margin and how by living in the margins is really powerful. Antisocial feminism relies on the idea that there is an active, autonomous and self-activating individual. Antisocial feminism is one that is rooted in being an individual, and living outside of the normative realm.


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