by Sunetra Senior

Part Three (of Three): An Ideological Ambush and Choosing Utopia. Read Part One here and part Two here.

Here, another sinister aspect of the Trump campaign, now verified by the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, was the invasive, online method through which I proposed that an amoral moneyed elite was not only manipulating, but also forcibly hijacking the public’s trust. I will again emphasise another, so far unacknowledged, caveat: this method of manufacturing investment not only cheats people short-term – including those vacuous nutjobs at the top- but sustains a deceptive, distinctly digital control well into the destructive future. Once removed and shiny, the technological medium of devices and social media is the perfect way to distract from the escalation of political inequality by cunningly feigning advancement.

Indeed, returning to the very illustrative world of Bladerunner 2049, an integral plot point is the shockingly deep veneer of progress that indicatively penetrates the intimate realm of the every day. In a glossy, technologically advanced world, Luv, the virile, apparently most blessed of women is at the beck and call of a man who makes a living out of brutally experimenting on the female reproductive system: computer-generated girlfriends are popular and prostitution is rife. Furthermore, greater than the conflict the main protagonist – who is, of course, male – feels about his attraction to a fictional partner, is the huge existential anxiety he feels around the question of whether he might literally be manufactured himself. As he moves through the hyper capitalist claustrophobic spaces, it is clear that, though efficacious or ‘scaled up’, this society is one of a masculine materialist culture run riot, eviscerated of all inner vitality and warmth. The fact that women are at the core of this disillusioning individualistic order then not only reflects a relapse into its stiff foundation of gender essentialism, but also the complete collapse of human consciousness into physical baseness.

the technological medium of devices and social media is the perfect way to distract from the escalation of political inequality by cunningly feigning advancement.

Conversely to reconstituting a broken psychological landscape, as discussed earlier, the profit-driven model of a swollen but ultimately empty male ego has been overindulged across society until it has exploded into a terrifying nothingness. Feminist journalist, Naomi Klein, shot to fame in the Nineties by documenting the concept of corporate colonisation of the internal landscape. Effectively, people were increasingly basing their identity on what global franchises wanted them to buy. A vague corporate program therefore defined most people and originality was imperilled. Today, particularly with the aforementioned shift in political influence towards big business, a monetary rule has successfully mined out considerable subjectivity and is calcifying this mental takeover. If you’ve been undergoing a numb and heavy, yet automated, pull towards a screen recently: that’ll be it. Continued to be ambushed by an all-consuming visual portal, from laptops and phones to posters in public spaces such as offices and the underground, the uncanny artificial confusion of Bladerunner’s protagonist becomes the apocalyptic present.

Easily but with an alarming loyalty, the majority of society is operating through external stimuli: clickbait, FB posts, and recommended YouTube videos. In effect, we are experiencing our own egos being incestuously “force-fed”, to use a phrase from my Trump piece, back to us. But this is to regress into some bizarre postmodern past. Simplistically living through subjective bilateralisms – employer and employee, buyer and seller – we are not just going backwards, but moreover coming to inhabit a replicative, almost amoebic, existence. It is also then fitting that I referred to Trump’s extra targeted support as “bots” because this aptly resonates with the archaic concept of women being indoctrinated into a mass social servility and the nightmarish prospect of an ultimate entrapment within worldly vessels: everyone just becoming them. Thus, the spread of right-wing avarice from the public stage of national politics to the most private of identity, signals a timeous evolutionary emergency: as women, the first frontier of male megalomania visibly fall to it so symbolically does the central bastion of progressive integrity.

women's march


Far from breaking out of the repressive, inanimate framework that women’s freedom opposes, the world has been subsumed under a mutated human state as part of a renegade corporate ethic that’s officially detached itself from the species that created it. It is a delusional, forcefully imposed AI, propagated by hollow men who have blindly defined themselves by numbers – GDPs; demographic statistics; the 1% – through the generations, and is practically running itself. This is backed by the fact that the frenzied chase for financial returns and ownership is destroying the organic surroundings that we fundamentally require to thrive: on account of the fact that we are not automatons. This illogical yet dominant trajectory thus demonstrates that the complex intelligence which once defined us has disintegrated alongside the denunciation of developed feelings.

I’ve said it before: “we are living in a psychotic age.” Accordingly, there emerges a paradoxical refocussing of Feminist philosophy on qualities that are traditionally female also fulfilling the equally typical gender role of grand creation. In 2019, Feminist autonomy means candid defence of a sensitive brazenness that can at once revive human civilisation. An expressive movement, this naturally extends to men and those of every social and cultural background, requiring the building of personality as well as encouraging dynamic lifestyles that achieves true social equality. Embracing the emotive traits of tenderness, sentimentality, forgiveness and indeed even internal volatility, once signs of meekness, are today a personal tool for survival for all, not just women, to own. Female empowerment means the regeneration of community values via reclamation of an authentic self: an unfettered pride in being a human being.

This is both social and women’s Utopia. Thus, everyone must mindfully stoke a fire from within to evoke a Fierce Femininity that will push back against the default dehumanising tide. Women must be unapologetically animated, men more open, and interlocking progressive causes more collaborative with the Feminist movement. There is a reason the Tories, the most famous boys’ club, are jumping onto the women’s movement: they haven’t suddenly become more open minded. Rather, increasingly business-orientated, it’s those within the demonstration who’re somewhat losing their way.

Women must be unapologetically animated, men more open, and interlocking progressive causes more collaborative with the Feminist movement.

When those whose sexual identities have been repressed, there is a reason it shows itself in vibrance, joy and extroversion. It is the most visceral show of subjectivity, where in turn, such clear honesty dissolves social walls and brings people together. This generates a shared understanding that forms a foundation for a genuine long-term future. Gender equality is at once a smart political stand. Let’s return to achieving holistic lived experiences: backing and talking to one another, practicing teamwork and tactile communication, and making time for those who really need it.  Indeed, it’s no coincidence that the most recent women’s march in Jan 2019, held to demonstrate opposition to the misogynistic US Presidency, received minimum coverage and a much lower turnout compared to the momentous 2017 march with ‘several sponsors’ also withdrawing last minute. Pictures showed grass-roots organisation with a blossoming of bright and defiant banners, which acknowledged the damage done by severe budget cuts, affecting the poorest among us. There was a confident call for solidarity with women of all upbringings, including asylum seekers and refugees being overtly welcomed into the cause.

Those currently trying to hijack our movement often tout pro-life narratives, but are also the ones who tend to affiliate with a self-serving dogma that drains the ultimate life – the joie de vivre – out of our world. Finally, while it can complement and facilitate, business culture has no place in the long game of sophisticated social growth. This is meditated and a matter of the spirit. Those identifying as modern-day Feminists must keep defending theirs. We are not aspiring to be one synchronised Apple Mac. Come the mainstream march this spring 2019, I want to see more of January’s pinkness, profanity and colour. I want glitter bombs as well as individual ambition, men walking side by side with women, and drag kings and queens too. Not Kanye West, the gilded logos of banks, ‘Mrs’ May and the Alt-right.


All images by Sunetra Senior, except featured image © Warner Bros./Sony Pictures


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