Sarah Jaffe: Are We Mistaking Feelings for Politics?

Are We Mistaking Feelings for Politics?
Sarah Jaffe, Dame Magazine, March 2, 2015

“The personal is political” was one of the main tenets of second-wave feminism. I’m referring to the feminist demand we understand oppressions that took place in the home and in the workplace, between two people—possibly intimates—as structural. It came from the collective realizations that often arose in “consciousness-raising” groups, realizations that what you thought just happened to you in fact were happening to many different women, in much the same way.

That these realizations happened in a collective, organized space makes it that much more disappointing that it seems, in recent years, as though this sentiment has been turned on its head. Instead of seeing personal oppression as part of a broader political structure, we now only understand it as something that makes us feel bad. We have substituted feelings for politics.

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