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If this is what feminism has become, then I’m out

Just days after the UN confirmed sexual violence toward the hostages, protesters acted as if the report had never been published
Famous feminist rebel characters.
La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain. (via X, formerly Twitter)
Famous feminist rebel characters. La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain. (via X, formerly Twitter)

I believe there are aspects of life that are either black or white. Sometimes you just need to take a position, and those shades of grey are simply not an option. What happened on October 7th falls into this category for me. Sexual violence falls into this category for me. There is no gray area and there is no context. While I don’t perceive this as a biased viewpoint, I’ve seen a global tendency to minimize those events and fight truth with facts taken from a parallel reality. So, I understand that some may not consider my opinion objective, therefore this would be one more biased article they’ll read from me.

Months ago, I found myself wondering when everything became associated with Palestine. Had it always been like that, and due to my biased approach to life, I hadn’t realized it? Did it become more evident when it hit home on Christmas, and Jesus was declared a Palestinian refugee, nonetheless? At that moment, I also began to notice slices of watermelon everywhere, and that was when things truly started to turn ridiculous.

When did watermelon become Palestinian, I wonder? Will I still be able to enjoy watermelon this summer at the beach in Tel Aviv, or must I fear criticism when posting fresh-cut cubes of avatiah against a Mediterranean backdrop, risking being labeled an apartheid sympathizer or a (non-)Jewish white colonizer? What will be next on the propaganda list: pizza being declared Palestinian? I’ve seen a few brave souls attempting to assert that over the months, but I presume the hundreds of Italians commenting in anger discouraged the creators from continuing with that narrative. I must admit, I almost lost my temper on that one as well, but I refrained from commenting. Over time, I’ve learned to pick my battles and, lately, feminism has seemed like the right path to follow.

Now, it’s evident that my primary concern back then was not really the destiny of watermelon or pizza. These are merely two silly examples used to illustrate a more significant and sophisticated propaganda machine. A machine so capable and so deeply rooted within the Western culture that it can commandeer the narrative of systematic sexual violence towards a minority and recast it as an act of resistance. All skillfully garnished with that so-called feminist support, which made me wonder: have we lost feminism for good? Has it become solely a Palestinian right? Because if we need to make a tradeoff, I’m willing to give up the pizza. Just take it. But let feminism live free from propaganda and hypocrisy. Currently this is not the case. Discussing feminism comes with an expectation that if you identify as one, you must support Palestine unequivocally, regardless of the circumstances, and label the opposing side as a genocidal terrorist state.

In today’s context, being a feminist seemingly requires one to exclusively advocate for Palestinian women. And only for them. Any form of support for Palestinian women must come at the exclusion of showing empathy or solidarity towards Jewish or Israeli women. It’s simply not acceptable to support both sides. So, if you dare to label yourself as a feminist, you must shift further away from your ‘moderate’ point of view towards the left, proudly wear a keffiyeh, chant ‘free Gaza’ in the streets, and turn a blind eye to the fate of all the other suffering women. Otherwise, you’re branded a fascist, accused of disregarding women’s rights, and labeled a supporter of patriarchy. Did I get it right? Because it certainly leaves me that feeling and the impression that these feminist movements were compelled to make a choice, and they made a very clear one from the very start—or should I say, before the beginning?

Last November 25, for example, I was in Italy when the feminist and trans-feminist group “Non Una di Meno” (which translates to “not one woman less” meaning there should never be another victim) organized a much-needed national demonstration to raise awareness about violence against women. A few days prior to that event, another Italian girl was violently murdered by her partner, so that day was meant to show our national unity, as women, against violence. But it failed to achieve that goal.

On Nov. 25th, only 50 days had passed from Oct. 7th and not a single speaker from these Italian feminist organizations had the decency to take the stage, hold a microphone, and explicitly condemn the brutal mass murder and mass rape of Israeli women and men. On the contrary, they only supported the majority of those 500 thousand attendees who were holding signs demanding to “Free Palestine,” or chanting anti-Israel slogans. That day, the feminist movement made a conscious decision that not all lives matter. That day cognitive dissonance reached a whole new level showing that if your rapists happen to belong to what is perceived as the “oppressed” group, well then what happened to you is in truth just their way of showcasing their “resistance” to the world.

I must confess, it was hard to witness. It felt wrong and deeply personal – I or any of my friends could have been among the hostages. Facing the harsh reality that those feminists wouldn’t have cared about me, or anyone I know being held hostage and abused daily, felt like a slap in the face. But that slap brought me back to today’s harsh reality, in which “not even one woman less” turns into “not even one Jewish or Israeli woman.”

On March 8th, 2024, just four days after the UN Mission Team stated in its report that there are reasonable grounds to believe sexual violence toward the hostages may still be ongoing, feminists continued marching in the streets of the West as if this report had never been published. In fact, gaining more information doesn’t seem to make a difference, as it’s not so much about how much they truly know about what happened, but rather a matter of whether it aligns with their agenda. Because when it doesn’t, that story simply loses its appeal.

Why is that? Is the rape of Jewish Israeli women and men so different from the Iranians’ or anyone else? I remember thousands of feminists rallied against the atrocities committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, when Mahsa Amini was murdered by the regime’s morality police. I’ve seen hundreds of celebrities and friends cutting their hair and sending it to the nearest Iranian embassy. Back then, no video was necessary for anyone to understand what caused this young woman to die. No one had ever asked for it. No one ever asked her family to prove it. Everyone knew the truth. But now? Now, it’s not the same. Feminists require evidence of what truly happened in the tunnels, in Gaza. They demand videos, testimonies, personal experiences, and official reports to arrive at the same conclusion: if it happened, it’s safe to say that it didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Over the months, Iranian women have unequivocally stood in solidarity with Israeli women, publicly voicing their support. They seem to grasp something that proves challenging for many Western women: the simple truth that Israeli women and men are real human beings genuinely suffering. They acknowledge that the same mastermind responsible for the pain and abuse of women and men in Iran also instigated this war and obstructs its resolution. To me, it appears that Iranian women possess a clear understanding of the true genocidal force in this situation, and they express profound disgust towards it.

Where is the disgust and the outrage of the feminist movement, instead? Where is that loud voice they’ve promised to use for us when we wouldn’t have had one ourselves?

Feminists, on March 8th, while you were chanting “Free Gaza” in the streets of the West, Israeli women and men, whom you conveniently chose to ignore, were held in cages in Gaza. Who should be freed after all?

About the Author
Giada Condello is an Italian professional who decided to move to Israel after falling in love with the city of Tel Aviv and the Israeli chutzpah. Since then, she has been calling Israel her home and she is grateful to be part of a culture that empowers individuals and encourages them to take risks and speak their minds. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Development and Cooperation from the University of Bologna and a Master's Degree in Intercultural Cooperation for Development from the University of Trieste.
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