Unravelling Anti-Feminism: On the Domestication of Resistance

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This article provides a critique of neoliberal feminism and argues for nuanced and critical approaches to the question of what constitutes feminist resistance. It focuses on visual artist Billie Zangewa’s creative practice and positions it within the longer history of how women have made use of traditional crafts, such as quilting and embroidery, as a means of expression and as a form of resistance. It positions Zangewa’s work alongside that of some of her feminist contemporaries who have also used thread and cloth in their work to reveal how the political is woven through the fabric of everyday life. I argue that in order to understand why Zangewa’s seemingly mundane, even bourgeois practice, has been framed and taken up as a form of feminist resistance, it is necessary to read her work through a historical lens that takes colonial dispossession and the brutal history of violence in Southern Africa into account. My readings of Zangewa’s work acknowledge the significance of the artist’s affirmation of care and self-love as resistance, as much as they point to the limits of a politics that valorises (unpaid) domestic work and fails to address the structural violence of capitalism.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Social Analysis and Cultural Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2022


  • Feminism
  • Activism
  • Africa
  • Apartheid
  • Resistance
  • Labour
  • Class
  • Race
  • Gender


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