@TheRealSGM nails it again, as she always does. I am no fan – no fan at all – of Caitlin Moran, and I have always rejected her particular type of feminism, but she has arguably brought the discussion about feminism, and “being a feminist”, into the mainstream. And I suppose I can thank her for that.
Moran has pushed the debate on how we define feminism and who gets to define feminism back into the media. Personally, I don’t like Moran’s brand of feminism. I think it focuses far too much on the individual and fails to acknowledge the oppression of women as a class or the multiple oppressions of non-white, heterosexual women. I’ve not read How To Be A Woman as I’m not really a fan of her work so I can’t comment on the text itself but I have found some of Moran’s columns to be, well, deeply unkind about other women. Her treatment of Samantha Bricks was unnecessarily cruel [and rather lacking in feminist analysis]. Her refusal to engage meaningfully with criticisms of her interview with Lena Durham was, well, silly. Moran’s focus on individualism obfuscates feminist theory and feminist activism within the UK. It elides some of the incredible work that British feminists are doing whilst simultaneously opening a space in which to have a debate about feminism. It’s an odd, problematic situation. So, whilst I am incredibly uncomfortable with the media constructing Moran as the best “British Feminist”, she has mainstreamed feminism within the media itself.
More young women are identifying as “feminists” which is important, but we really do need to start questioning what we mean by “feminist”. Rosie Kelly’s Guardian piece is quite problematic. In many ways, I think Kelly’s understanding of feminism is quite naive. I think this comment is quite telling:
“To me, what feminism boils down to is the realisation that, in some areas, women still have a harder deal than men.”
Women have a much harder deal than men in all areas, not simply reproductive freedom and rape. There are more than a few areas where gender equality is a problem. It is everywhere and this is the problem with Moran. Her, fairly lazy, definition of feminism has garnered mainstream media attention because it doesn’t question the status quo. It allows men like Kelly’s friend Dan to claim that most feminists are sexists and hate men. But, this isn’t the fault of feminists. This is the fault of a male-controlled and male dominated media who actively seek to minimise and ridicule women’s attempts to secure basic human rights. It is men who actively oppress women who spread the lies about feminists being man-hating harpies. I’m never surprised that men buy into these lies. After all, acknowledging their privilege might led to some unfortunate conclusions about their own behaviour.
[More here - therealsgm]
- [link] You don’t need an MA in gender studies to know that race matters to feminism (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- [link] What the Girls spat on Twitter, and Caitlin Moran, tells us about feminism (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- [link] How to be better: on intersectionality, privilege and silencing (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- [link] Dear Vagenda Editors, from blackfeminists.org (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- [link] Man haters? (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- Why is ‘feminism’ such a tough badge to wear? (guardian.co.uk)