Politics is more than personal

Mimi Thi Nguyen investigated the pitfalls of the intimacy that shaped the [riot grrrl] movement, pointing out that situating one’s politics within the story of self-transformation leads to neglect of structural critiques of inequality and oppression. “Working on” one’s own racism and privilege via written confessionals became a primary mode of antiracist activism for many riot grrrls, and often configured racism as one big miscommunication rather than institutional violence. As Nguyen points out, this sort of personal revolution comprised of “everyday work on the conscious self, especially through therapeutic techniques of self-examination, confession, and dialogue” is an aesthetic form very much in line with “neoliberalism and its emphases on the entrepreneurial subject.”

Pan in Jacobin

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