Feminist Initiative (Fi or F!) is a Swedish political party and organization formed in 2005. F! bases its politics on feminism, equality and anti-discrimination. When it comes to the party’s view on women’s rights and sexuality they support pro-choice. Their manifest states, among other things, that:
“Sexual liberation means being free to explore one’s sexuality and desires without feeling constrained by guilt and shame. This means everything from fantasies and masturbation to sexual relations with others. An individual’s sexual freedom, however, should always include limits as no one can require another individual to satisfy one’s desires against their will or through payment. It is important that sexual development occurs without fear of violence and abuse and that women have full control over their own reproductive capacity” (translated to English from feministisktinitiativ.se).
Gudrun Schyman is a spokesperson for Feminist Initiative. She was previously actively involved in the left wing party (Vänsterpartiet), served in congress between 1988 – 2006 and was the party leader for ten years. Nowadays, Gudrun is a “freelance feminist”, popular lecturer and member of council for Feminist Initiative.
Knowing that Schyman is a very busy woman I am very excited that she chose to share her views on feminist politics with Feminists For Choice.
1. What is your definition of feminism?
Knowledge of gender and power structures, awareness about its consequences at all levels, in all relationships (social and private) and a willingness to change. For me, feminism is about activism.
2. What was the initiative behind Feminist Initiative?
The need to present feminism as ideologically independent and as a possible ground for organized activism and work within the parliament. Previous attempts to take a feminist standpoint as a base for politics within other political parties (for my own part within the left wing) have failed.
3. What do you wish to accomplish with Feminist Initiative?
That the most essential and basic crimes against the idea of all individuals equal worth – the patriarchal thinking and patriarchal management (dominance thinking) – is acknowledged and understood as a social conflict which must be handled politically, within the democratic systems.
4. What are the biggest challenges for feminist politics?
The myth that we live in an equal country, that the fight has been won. Also, the contempt and dislike of gender knowledge and gender research. A lack of knowledge makes room for prejudice.
5. What sort of resistance or stereotypes do you encounter as a feminist?
When it comes to the question about resistance, see the above mentioned reasons. Common stereotypes of feminists are the imaginations that all feminists are lesbians, or angry hags who have not gotten laid for a long time, together with the belief that feminists collectively hate men!
Photo of Gudrun Schyman by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin.