I had hoped that one of my sisters in THM had already dealt with this, but alas, they are busy on various causes, Anna caring for her children but still finding the time to write about some of the difficulties that women in China might face and that we might be complicit in, Julie caring for her wee lad and organising a debate she's hoping to run (more on that later, we hope), Anjum caring for her children and getting posts up on THM and at her own place and finding the time to drive for 3 hours to a provincial town to talk to people about how to help migrant women, Steph doing whatever it is she does with the Suit (and Steph, I really don't want to know any more), and so on. I'm not sure what Maia and Ms Enid Tak-Entity are up to today, but no doubt it's interesting, and worthwhile, and feminist. Not necessarily feminist in the sense of burning bras, waving placards, and protesting, but feminist - making choices for ourselves, being busy, independent, active - doing our best to be successful women, in a very well rounded sense of success. Me? I've been caring for my children and my partner, getting up to date on paid work, keeping in touch with a friend who needs a bit of extra support at the moment ( a very small return for the support she has given me over the years), cooking, cleaning, sorting our finances. We're all busy women. But someone's got to take out the rubbish, and I think it's my turn. So sisters, relax! I've got the time to step up today.
The rubbish in question being this nonsense from Noelle McCarthy, who has tossed her pretty head and decided that because she gets to make choices for herself, because she is independent, then clearly, there's no need for feminism anymore. Feminism is past its use-by date, and no woman of any sense calls herself feminist anymore, and certainly there's no sisterhood amongst women anymore.
Well, that's very nice for Ms McCarthy. But I have some news for her. Sisterhood is alive and well. Women do gather and support each other, both on-line, and in person. Witness The Hand Mirror, and the tremendous community of women blogging in New Zealand, on feminism. Witness the women working in Rape Crisis and Women's Refuge. Witness Anjum's tremendous work with migrant women. Witness the women who supported Louise Nicholas.
More than that, we still need feminism. Women are still raped, aren't they. Women still get pressured to conform to just one preferred body type, don't they? Women still work the second shift, don't they? Women still can't guarantee that they can decide what happens to their own bodies - the abortion compromise is after all, threatened yet again in New Zealand. Women still feel that they are not portrayed as equals, and this harms their prospects at work, don't they? Actually, that last one was reported in the newspaper for which Ms McCarthy writes.
I think that Ms McCarthy has fallen into the trap of thinking that because she has no need of feminism, despite the tremendous freedoms that feminism has brought her, then there's no need for feminism at all. That's a special kind of wilful blindness, to take one's own position, and ascribe it to everyone else. Surely, the most basic form of journalism training is to get both, or all, sides of a story, and not to assume that just one person saying that x, y and z have occurred means that x, y and z really have occurred. What can't people trained in journalism apply that basic scepticism to their own opinions?
I get tired of obviously successful women, who have acheived their success because of the freedoms that feminism has given them, opining that feminism is a dirty word that no one uses any more, and I get tired of newspaper editors giving them the space to do so. But I suppose it's an easy-write, and editors know that it will sell, so out it goes. And it's even better if you can get a pretty woman to say it.