… In 2018, the #MeToo hashtag on sexual harassment was one of the top 10 censored topics on China’s popular messaging app, WeChat, according to the University of Hong Kong’s WeChatscope.
Weibo and WeChat also banned China’s most influential feminist social media account, Feminist Voices. Authorities have closed down prominent women’s rights centres. They have also detained students and recent graduates advocating for #MeToo and workers’ rights.
Just as China’s crackdown on women’s rights activism is growing, the global backlash against feminism is likely to intensify, as misogynistic autocrats have been emboldened everywhere, in part by a US president who openly expresses admiration for “strongman” rulers…
Why are authoritarian rulers so threatened by feminism? The subjugation of women is a common feature in virtually all authoritarian regimes.
Putin signed a law in 2017 that partially decriminalised domestic violence in Russia, making it much more difficult for women to report abuse.
In Hungary, the autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orban has banned gender studies programmes at universities. Putin, Orban and Xi, among others, are fixated on pushing women into more traditional roles in the home and having more babies for the state…
Far too often, women in resistance movements are overlooked by journalists and the narrative revolves around male opposition figures.
Yet more young women in authoritarian states have become fed up with the misogyny in their daily lives, demanding equality, dignity and an end to pervasive gender-based violence.
Young women standing up for their rights pose a growing challenge to male autocrats everywhere – not just in China – which is why authoritarian rulers are so threatened by the prospect of any large-scale women’s movement developing.
Male autocrats see patriarchal authoritarianism as crucial for their political survival, but one of the core demands of feminism – that women should be free to control our own bodies and reproductive lives – is in direct conflict with the coercive, often pronatalist policies of authoritarian states, which see declining birth rates as an existential crisis. And that is exactly what is happening in China…