Feminism is in tension. In many Western countries, women are challenging feminist narratives and struggles. Some of them explicitly challenge feminist’s organization legitimacy to represent women’s claim. Other claim specific feminist identity such as “true feminism”, “identitarian feminism” or even White feminism. The emergence of “New Right Wing Women” as champions of women’s advocacy received media coverage but little attention in academic scholarship. This book addresses the shift in women’s political participation in favor of radical-right wing movements and anti-gender equality. France is an interesting observatory of the shift: since 2012, women aligned their vote for Marine Le Pen and the Rassemblement national was first among the 25-34 women voters in 2017. The radical-right gender gap seems to no longer exist. At the same time, right-wing and extreme-right wing parties have merged to oppose gender equality policies launched under the socialist governments (2012-2017). In reaction to the laws passed by the French socialist majority between 2021 and 2017, conservative and religious networks in abeyance have been reactivated within a conservative social movement called “La Manif pour tous” (Demo for All). The conservative coalition led to a desectorisation within different political spaces and among the various currents within the Catholic Church. This conjunctural effect is articulated to a more structural effect of opportunity : the ecological crisis, because it raises the question of nature, gives new legitimacy to naturalist or essentialist arguments disqualified by most feminist currents. New women leaders emerged to challenge gender equality and to reclaim femininity.
This book based on empirical research – in depth-interviews, observation and on-line data – provides a an insight right-wing women activism, ranging from the traditional antifeminist activism to current conservative eco-feminism. 1)
Female nationalism is represented by the women’s section of the “ Caryatides” of the French nationalist Party (2013). Explicitly anti-feminists, these women assume a gendered hierarchy and a strong nationalist project, reffering to French authoritarian Régime de Vichy. 2) More central on the political spectrum, the Cercle Fraternité, a think tank founded by the Front National (2016), provides a pro-women and pro-family frame for the presidential election of 2017. It is still active and illustrates modern femonationalism, using pro-women rethoric to promote anti-immigration and islam politics. They explicitly refer to Christian identity and oppose reproductive rights. 3) Identitarian women and Occidentalist feminism : The radical-right wing party the “Identitarian” are not to be outdone. It assumes to be “women friendly” but remains shaped by gender, which determines differentiated symbolic retribution. The Identitarian women claim to be “feminine but not feminist”. They joined together in the “Belle et Rebelle” group within the organisation. In 2014, the group ceased to be active. Today, the Collectif Nemesis founded n 2019 is their heir. They use feminist frames such as gender equality, violence against women to claim the superiority of Europeans civilization against Islam and immigration. This supremacist use of gender equality is also to be found in Solveig Mineo’s . Her organisation is mostly virtual and has closed ties to the “Occidentalist Party”. It distinguishes itself from the first four groups by its attachment to secularism and even its anticlericalism and by its explicit feminism. But it clings to nationalist or identity-based currents by its defence of Western civilisation because of the place of women. Occidentalist Feminism
Less concerned by femonationalist rethoric, two other groups identify themselves as “
alterfeminists” and seems specific to France. The “, this group of women born in 2013 and which acts as a crucible for alterfeminism. This only-women group oppose current feminism as FEMEN, the Femocrats and more broadly feminists groups that do not refer to women identity but rather to gender or queer politics. Their political project is based on sexual essentialism, men and women complementarity, their crucial role as primary cel of society within the family and ecology. As a consequence they oppose reproductive technology as techno-medical power over women’s body. They cautiously avoid to be associated to political parties or religion, though considering Christianity and Pre-Christian philosophies as central for Western civilization and women empowerment. By puting “Nature” at the forefront, their opposition to chemical contraception, abortion or reproductive technology is no longer perceive as conservative but rather eco-feminist. Antigones” Christian alterfeminism and integral feminism emerged at the crossroads of Pope Francis’ human ecology, conservative feminism and ecology. It is directly derived from the Demo for All protests since allthe founder of this philosophical current. Based on essentialism and differentialism – i.e. Men and Women are different and have different functions assigned by God, although they have equal dignity, it drews from Catholic theology and moral on sexuality.
All of these groups oppose liberal and radical feminism, as well as gender politics. Some of them explicitly refer to nationalism and western culture supremacy while other tend to refer to Nature as the core of their political project. By so doing, they provide new frames for essentialism and differentialism.