Tag Archives: Feminism

Girl Power

main-leadsom

I don’t usually like attacking those who are into ‘intersectional’ or ‘identity’ politics.

In much the same way that new atheists are often simply providing a cover for Islamophobia and Western intervention, anti-intersectionalists are frequently looking for a left cover to justify their sexism and reaction.

Thus, the question of women in politics continues to generate some appalling nonsense. Exhibit A: last year’s Labour leadership contest.

The issue of working class women being excluded from politics isn’t what concerns Suzanne Moore here. It’s the exclusion of women. Period. Irrespective of how fundamentally anti-women their politics actually are.

This sort of thinking reaches its nadir with truly reality-shunning rubbish of the type spouted by Daisy Benson here. Where she actually writes “the only truly progressive thing for Labour to do would be to elect a female leader this time around – no matter what her policies are.”

That isn’t feminism. That’s insanity. It means we should’ve voted for Thatcher. Because she had a vagina.

It’s whining, middle-class entitlement which will do nothing for working class women. Except to ensure their continued exclusion because they aren’t the right type of women. Single mums from council estates, women working three minimum-wage jobs, unemployed women; these are not the women with which the Moores and Bensons of this world are concerned.

Labour had two men and two women contesting the leadership. Kendal and Cooper’s politics were  dreadful; austerity-lite policies which would have done zero for emancipating working-class women. It’s a shuddering irony that the candidate best representing women – Jeremy Corbyn – was a white, middle-class man but hey; them’s the breaks.

The answer wasn’t and isn’t to ditch Corbyn and choose Kendal or Cooper; the onus is on Cooper and Kendal to dump their reactionary politics and start really representing women; not just privileged, middle-class, white ones.

Exhibit B, in terms of spectacle, surpasses even the aforementioned. The Tory Party leadership election also features two women. Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom. The nasty party is, obviously, the most fundamentally patriarchal formation in mainstream British politics. ‘Family values’ and ‘traditional’ mores are the Tories’ home turf. Disgusting, however, doesn’t even come close to accurately describing one woman trash-talking her ‘sister’ because one womb is less functional than another.

Austerity impacts harder on women than almost any other group in modern Britain. ‘Feminism’ of the type supported by either May or Leadsom – and even Angela Eagle, too, for that matter – is the feminism that enslaves. It is feminism concerned only with allowing women access to the machinery of exploitation, alongside men. More women CEOs, greater numbers of female directors and women party leaders will benefit working-class women in no way at all.

As always, the choice is about one type of politics or another; theirs or ours. Their feminism – the opportunity to exploit, disadvantage and disenfranchise – or ours; feminism that enables, liberates and emancipates.

Advertisements

Get Your Face Out for The Lads

burqas-or-bikinis-l-fq9zzdJim’s not keen on the burka. He thinks – the verb ‘thinks’ is used very loosely here, you understand –  and I quote: “ I have nothing against Muslim religion but feel wearing burka is very wrong it is demeaning of women.”

His attitude toward the burqa is most instructive. One that seems to be shared by a number of non-Muslim, white anglo-saxon men.

For example, one was most amused to see a number of anti-burka posts on the Facebook page of a rugby club. Again, these paragons of radical feminism, as rugby clubs are wont to be, were greatly offended by the oppression of their sisters in struggle that the burqa, clearly, represented. I’m sure we can all take comfort, not least campaigners against the sexual harassment of women, that in between rousing beer-fuelled choruses of ‘get your tits out for the lads’  that stout fellows in rugby clubs nationwide are doing their bit for female emancipation.

Similarly, the cream of British manhood I observed outside a hostelry in Kingston, recently, would surely have earned tears of gratitude from oppressed women everywhere – Muslim and non-Muslim alike – with their oh-so post-modern take on a traditional expression of female solidarity. Clutching pints and sporting red faces as a burku-adorned woman hurried by, these delightful specimens chanted, ‘get your face out, get your face out, get your face out for the lads.’

Equally, those implacable opponents of Islam, and that faith’s suppression of its female adherents, in the English Defence League (or what’s left of it) see no contradiction in boasting a membership comprising rapists and child abusers.

Britain First, too, while standing valiantly against the misogyny and sexism of the Islamic faith would be offended if the anti-women antics of its leader were pointed out. After all, it would be churlish to mention that the most fundamental aspect of women’s freedom would be the freedom to control their own bodies, sexuality and fertility. So intimidating and harassing women outside abortion clinics is fine as long as it’s BF Fuhrer Paul Golding doing so and not those dodgy brown Muslim types.

Yes, even the most right-wing troglodyte seems compelled to channel their inner Julie Bindel when it comes to the burqa. It’s not Islamophobia, though, is it? No, perish the thought. Nor racism, either. Of course not; they’re not racist but…

Men are men all over the world, though. And one thing a religious lunatic, of whatever faith, has in common with his white, Western, secular counterpart is a desire to control women. The song remains the same; men telling women what they can and can’t wear. Men telling rape victims that they asked for it because of the length of their skirts and then telling Muslim women that their traditional garb is an offensive symbol of reactionary oppression. White western men defending page 3 topless models because it’s ‘their choice, innit?’ but denying even the possibility that Muslim women can decide to make an entirely different choice. Patriarchal white men critiquing their daughters’ outfits for a night on the town, while railing against poor downtrodden Muslim women forced into covering up by controlling fundamentalist nutters.

The emancipation of women is not best achieved by states imposing bans on what women may or may not wear. Still less will it be won by racist, sexist men covering their Islamophobia with a wafer-thin veneer of ‘feminism.’

Don’t you just love the smell of hypocrisy that floats in on the breeze whenever Islam becomes the topic of conversation?

Jeremy Corbyn’s Women Problem

Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn attends the Fabian Women's Society annual summer gathering at the Fabian Societies offices in London Credit: Euan Cherry/Photoshot
Photograph: Euan Cherry/Photoshoot

Attacks on Corbyn were obviously going to redouble the very minute he won the leadership contest on Saturday. And they will come from many different places but, so far, it seems to be the Labour leader’s stance on women that’s coming under sustained attack.

We’ve seen some truly appalling nonsense on the question of women around the Labour leadership election and still more now the new leader has announced his shadow cabinet. And most of it from that doyen of middle-class ‘feminism’ The Guardian.

The issue of working class women being excluded from politics (and let’s be honest; everywhere else) isn’t what concerns Suzanne Moore here, nor her fellow-Guardianistas like Yvonne Roberts here. It’s the exclusion of women. Period. Irrespective of how dreadful and actually anti-women their politics might be.

This sort of thinking reaches reaches its nadir with truly risible nonsense like this from the The Independent’s Daisy Benson where she, in all seriousness, presumably, writes, “that’s why the only truly progressive thing for Labour to do would be to elect a female leader this time around – no matter what her policies are.” Incredible stuff.

This isn’t feminism. This is insanity. It means we should’ve voted for Thatcher. Because she had a vagina. It’s that whining, middle-class sense of entitlement  which will do nothing for working class women except to ensure their continued exclusion. Because they aren’t the right type of women. They are not the women with which the Guardianistas of this world are concerned.

Labour had two men and two women contesting the leadership. The women’s politics were wholly without merit (as were Andy Burnham’s). Indeed, possibly Cooper and certainly Kendal would look perfectly at home on the wetter wing of the Conservative Party. Their respective politics, had either been elected,  would have done nothing for emancipating working-class women. Quite the reverse; their victory would only have ensured more women bearing the brunt of neoliberal austerity.

It’s a shuddering irony that the candidate best representing women from a neoliberal majority was a white, middle-class man but hey; them’s the breaks. The answer wasn’t and isn’t to ditch Corbyn and choose Kendal or Cooper; the onus is on Cooper and Kendal to stop having nasty anti-women politics and start really representing women; not just the privileged, middle-class, white ones.

BBC News, earlier this evening, continued the theme started by The Guardian. An alliance of ‘feminists’ covering MPs, broadcast media and, from that bastion of women’s liberation, The Spectator, attacked Corbyn on the gender balance of his Shadow Cabinet. There still weren’t sufficient women; those who made the final cut were token appointments; no woman had one of the ‘top jobs’ and so on.

Now many of these are the same women who remained silent or supported and/or voted for austerity measures, welfare sanctions and cuts. You know; those things overwhelmingly borne by women. Of course, these are largely working-class, BAME and disabled women so who cares, right? Sisters doing it for themselves? Well, yes; but only themselves. Working class women need not apply.

Brit media – suddenly giving a damn about women since around 11.30am Saturday, September 12th, 2015…