Female Fear Factory: Spring 2022

Renowned Feminist Scholar Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola Returns with her Highly Anticipated Book, Female Fear Factory: Unraveling Patriarchy’s Cultures of Violence.

Female Fear Factory travels through respectability and through shame, and is normalised through repetition so that we no longer recognise it for what it is, consequently taking it for granted as ‘life’.”

– Pumla Dineo Gqola

In Female Fear Factory: Unravelling Patriarchy’s Cultures of Violence, Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola illuminates an aspect of patriarchal violence and control which was first introduced in her award-winning bestseller, Rape: A South African Nightmare.

Evoking the language of factory and manufacturing, Pumla shows how the fear induced by patriarchal violence is coterminous to a system of production under capitalist economies. Like the factory system, the female fear factory is ubiquitous, across the globe, it is woven into the very fabric of women’s livesand requires repeated performances. The female fear factory is communicated through visual, sound, and other coded signs that demand conformity and acceptance, which impacts decisions, aspiration, desire, and other aspects of life so that women acquire automatic fluency in it.

She argues that fluency in the female fear factory is so sophisticated and naturalised that it appears not to be connected to violence and control.

Drawing on examples from around the world – from Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa to Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, UK and more, Gqola traces the construction and machinations of the female fear factory by exposing its lies, myths, and seductions. She shows how seemingly disparate acts and sites like higher education, home, driving bans, rape, sexual harassment and femicide are all premised on the construction of people, mostly women, as female, and thereafter the use of fear as a tool of patriarchal subjugation and punishment.

Pumla’s thesis is not just a litany of fearful subjectivities, she also offers accounts of the value of feminist imagination and strategy for dismantling the female fear factory and builds an argument for the renewal of global feminist networks as key to the project of expanding freedom and change. 

Female Fear Factory is a sobering account of patriarchal violence in the world, and a hopeful vision for the work of unapologetic feminist imaginative strategies across the globe and is being published by Cassava Republic Press in Spring 2022.

To anticipate the launch of Female Fear Factory, we will be hosting #FemaleFearFriday where we discuss policies and practices across different nations designed to keep girls, women and anyone that operates outside the patriarchy tied to the fear factory. Join us over on our twitter account every Friday from 4th March 2022 as we expose just how insidious the factory is and converse about what the other side of fear can and does look like for us.

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