Benoîte Groult, a legacy of deeds and words

It is difficult to pay homage to Benoîte Groult and to give an account of all of his work in a few lines. As a new feminist generation, we want to express our gratitude to this free woman, author, journalist, activist, and our pride in continuing her struggles.

Benoîte Groult fell into the feminist pot in 1968, and like many emblematic activists of the second wave, her priority fight was for access to abortion. The freedom to dispose of one’s body, on the one hand to lead a free sexual life, on the other hand to enjoy the freedom to have a child or not, was the first brick in the liberation of women.

The release of the author’s feminist manifesto, So be it, in 1975, coincides with the legalization of abortion thanks to the Veil law. In this work, Benoîte Groult delivers a sentence which, applied to the right to abortion in Europe, is visionary: “To all those who live in the illusion that equality has been achieved and that history does not go back. , I would like to say that nothing is more precarious than the rights of women “.

Violence against women, instruments of domination

Many people think that the fight for abortion is that of our mothers or our grandmothers. This is probably also what Spanish, Polish and Portuguese women thought when their reactionary governments tried to pass laws aimed at restricting or suppressing the right to abortion. The right to abortion requires contemporary feminists to be vigilant at all times, because even where it seems certain, everything can change with the help of a conservative policy.

Belly control is a way for men to exercise domination over women, and Benoîte Groult analyzed it as part of a system of domination. She encouraged women to realize that their individual destinies, far from being their sole responsibility as one would like them to believe, are in reality corseted by a misogynistic ideology. The patriarchal society in which we live is based on recurrent violence which is exerted at different levels, on all women.

At the end of this continuum of violence, which ranges from sexist advertising to sexual assault, including street harassment, prostitution and genital mutilation, we find feminicide. When she writes, “Feminism has never killed anyone. Male chauvinism kills every day”, Benoîte Groult denounces the fact that women die of male domination and the desire of men to possess those who want to free themselves from it. them. Even today, a woman dies every two and a half days under the blows of her spouse or ex-spouse in France. Dare feminism! campaigns for the recognition of the sexist nature of these murders and their systemic nature.

His fight against the invisibilization of women

Benoîte Groult never let his fights dictate. She revolted against all forms of violence, refusing to prioritize her struggles, since the slightest inequality, that which seems the most tolerable, the least important, contributes to the patriarchal system. The feminist response must be carried out in all spheres and on all subjects, so Benoîte Groult has devoted a great deal of energy to denouncing the invisibilization of women, whether in history, or ” never speak of those women who fought for us “(So be it), or in the language.

Getting women out of the language, by refusing to feminize the names of functions or to practice the epicene writing, erasing them from history, forgetting them from school books, street names and everything that makes up our cultural heritage , it is a form of violence. A violence which is exerted against these women thus invisible, but also a violence against the young women to whom one does not show the models and sources of inspiration which could help them to build their own course.

Benoîte Groult understood that this was not a “false” problem and she contributed her stone to the edifice: as an author, she paid tribute to Olympe de Gouges in So be Olympe de Gouges, and as president of the Terminology Commission for the feminization of professional names, she campaigned for language to finally give a place to women. Dare feminism fights! continues to wear.

Sorority, or benevolence towards one another

In the middle of this somewhat dark patriarchal landscape, Benoîte Groult gives us a key. A key for us, women, feminists, a key to continue the path opened by her and by so many other activists at the end of the 60s. This sesame is sorority. In the Touch Star, she writes: “As time goes by, I wonder if sorority is not the most authentic feeling, the least adulterated, the most resistant to events”. While the patriarchal system has every interest in dividing women among themselves to better establish its domination, sorority, benevolence towards each other, generosity from one woman to another, is a powerful lever to conquer our rights and our freedom.

We want to carry this value loud and clear and proudly claim the term “feminist”, which Benoîte Groult herself has championed with this beautiful definition: “Feminism is also the promise, or at least the hope, of a different world that could be better “.

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Benoîte Groult, a legacy of deeds and words

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Catherine Coaches