Pop Theory 18: We Still Need Feminist Spaces

  • The service having id "propeller" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
  • The service having id "buzz" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
Pop Theory 18: We Still Need Feminist Spaces


Schwyzer, a straight white guy, gets it—probably because of his training in gender studies. He understands the extent to which white male privilege is inherently assumed and goes unacknowledged—and unchecked.

It is in no way a generalization for me to say that this has been my experience, and the experience of most of my female friends (genderqueer or not), as we have made our way throughout the world. From sitting nearly spread eagle on subway seats to refusing to walk anywhere but the very center of the sidewalk, from unapologetically walking into people to ceaseless catcalls and whistles, men assume that everything is their property. That space itself is their own, which renders them both clueless about and indignant to the needs of anyone other than the (white) male for wanting a space of their own.

I read Schwyzer’s piece less than a week after I returned from my travels in Spain and Turkey. In regard to the latter country, while similar to American society whereby men and women have had for the most part equal status under the law since the 1920s, culturally Turkey has operated under shari’a, Islamic religious law (also known as Sharia Law), which, in the context of this discussion, translates into a substantive and noticeable difference between men and women in terms of space, spatial recognition and spatial respect for the (gendered/sexed) other.

Specifically, whether it be in the bustling cosmopolitan city of Istanbul or the more conservative, spiritual center of Konya, it was rare to see a woman walking about in the city. It was even more rare to see a woman outside on her own, without the accompaniment of a man. Usually, I found the most sizeable collection of women either working back in the kitchens in restaurants or weaving kilim carpets (the latter of which were typically young girls, as they had the “best”—ie, the smallest—hands to work the fabric). Only twice, in the Mediterranean town of Selçuk, did I come across women who ran businesses—one a jewelry and textiles shop, the other a small restaurant that was essentially the kitchen to her house. I patronized both businesses not only out of a feminist consciousness but because these women sold the