Forum May 2021

Two day forum

Your body is a battleground  –  ultra-conservative strategies to restore a “natural order”

Organizing institutions: Frankfurter Kunstverein + Normative Orders of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Location: Frankfurter Kunstverein, Markt 44, 60311 Frankfurt (additional online access)

Curator: Asia Leofreddi

The Forum takes place under the patronage of the Department of Culture of the City of Frankfurt am Main and the Department for Environment and Women of the City of Frankfurt am Main.

Fifty years after the most important achievements of the feminist movements, women’s freedom of choice continues to be the subject of political and cultural wars. Contemporary to the rise of illiberal parties and leaders, we are witnessing the spread of political agendas focused on the promotion of the “natural” family and the revision of rights such as abortion, protection from domestic and social violence and access to assisted reproduction technologies.

However, what happens in national contexts is only the most visible part of a more complex phenomenon in which the theme of “family” and women serve as symbolic glue for the creation of new transnational political alliances. In recent years, in fact, journalists and researchers from around the world have shed light on the emergence of a new ultra-conservative transnational movement that brings together civil society organisations, academics, activists and religious groups and operates at various levels of global society. Born from civil society to defend a traditional family model against a liberal interpretation of human rights in favour of women, children and homosexuals, this network has today become a political entity capable of giving ideological coherence to the project of the global far-right and contributing to the politicisation of national and international debates on women’s human rights. A prominence made possible above all thanks to a change in the linguistic, iconographic and operational strategy that these movements have implemented, making formally fundamentalist positions mainstream, with important repercussions for democratic pluralism and the civil coexistence of all.