August 18, 2013
I’ve been away from twitter for most of the past fortnight. This is not, I hasten to add, because I’ve been off on some non-intersectional white feminist flounce. Chance would be a fine thing. I’ve been camping with two small children in rainy Wales, miles away from wifi, central heating and dry clothing. Would that I had the privilege of indulging in a modern-day cyber-sulk (I’ve had to settle for grumpily hogging most of the double sleeping bag while telling my partner, bitterly, that this was all his stupid idea).
Anyhow, I’m back and I see that people still aren’t playing nicely (to use the most condescending words possible to refer to others being genuinely upset). Don’t worry, though, I’m here to sort it out. Because I’m mega-privileged but I’m also apologetic, and that makes everything alright.
May 30, 2013
Today, in a variation on the ongoing, twisty, facepalm-inducing intersectional feminism “debate”, the Guardian reblogged a piece from Louise Mensch’s blog Unfashionista. In it, Mensch accuses those fiendish intersectionalistas of not being sufficiently “reality based”. Intersectional feminists – who are, believe it or not, all British – are too busy checking each other’s privilege to become famous chick lit writers / US secretary of state / vice-important person of a multinational company (basically, anything mega-successful, as long as there’s at least one man above you). American feminists, on the other hand, are ace at this.
You can see where Mensch is coming from, or rather, you guess see why she takes the position she does. Partly it’s sucking up to the inhabitants of a country she’s just moved to, but there also seems to be something a bit more personal. Basically, if you have a go at feminism for being too focused on the achievements of white, middle-class women, it sounds like you’re having a go at Louise Mensch. And that’s not fair! Cos she’s worked really hard and stuff! (more…)
March 26, 2013
Unless you are an MRA and therefore hate all feminists, you’re probably amendable to the idea that some of them are nice and some of them aren’t. But how can you tell who’s who? In a recent piece for the New Statesman, Sadie Smith offers some tips for amateur feminist spotters: the nice ones – those who represent “good, honest feminism in all its manifestations” – tend to be western women who were especially active in the latter half of the twentieth century, whereas the nasty ones are lurking on twitter right this very minute (shh! They might hear you!).
So, we know who’s who, but what’s the difference? The nice feminists are often of high status (e.g. Camille Paglia, Luce Irigaray) and while they might say some strange things, their familiarity breeds a patronising presumption of niceness (a sort of “oh, that’s just Camille having another of her funny turns…”). The nasty feminists, on the other hand, might not have the same status but they are mean. Mean, mean, mean. So it’s best not to provoke them (otherwise it’s “intersectional this” and “check your privilege that”. Honestly, they never stop!). (more…)
November 8, 2012
A recent survey from the Chartered Management Institute shows that female executives earn an average of £400,o00 less than their male colleagues over their working lifetimes. As a feminist, just how bothered about this should I be? After all, it’s a minority issue, focusing on a privileged group. Aren’t there more important things to deal with? The truth is, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about executive pay, male or female, what with two kids, a non-exec beta-female job and being fairly busy.
In this respect I am a bit – but not a lot – like Angela Ahrendts, the female chief executive of Burberry. Ahrendts doesn’t think about the pay gap much, either:
I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about this, what with three kids, running the company and being flat out busy.
Speaking as a low-level, non-aspirational version of Ahrendts – fewer kids, lower earnings, less go-getting-ness in general – I can see what she means. Giving a shit about stuff isn’t just time-consuming, it’s also seriously uncool. And besides, does it really matter? Once you’ve earned your million, do you really miss that extra £400,000? (Not having earned my million, I wouldn’t know. But I suspect that women who are openly arsed about the extra £400,000 are less likely to earn the million in the first place.) (more…)
October 16, 2012
Posted by glosswitch under Feminism
| Tags: childcare
I’m launching a new campaign to support much-maligned sector of society. Everyone, I give to you: Feminists For Yummy Mummies!
Now it might sound like I’m being sarcastic but actually, I’m not. I’m deadly serious. If there’s one group which suffers due to a very specific form of sexism which is rarely identified, let alone challenged, then it’s … Well, to be honest, there are many such groups. But well-kept upper-middle-class SAHMs definitely form one of them. It’s about time we did something about it. (more…)
October 9, 2012
Here is a true story: In the early 1980s, my dad and his friends were involved in the May Day parade in our town. The theme of their particular charity float was “Around the world in 80 days”. So my dad decided to black up with Kiwi shoe polish and go as Idi Amin. We have, conveniently, now lost the photos, but I’m absolutely sure I didn’t dream this. Indeed, I was in some of the pictures myself, dressed as Mrs Mop (whoever the hell she is - I’m guessing that since my dad had racism covered, I was doing my bit for class prejudice by dressing as a cleaner).
Whenever I tell people about this (and I don’t tell them often), the response is typically one of amazement. Where the fuck did you come from? they ask, terrified and amused in equal measure at the thought of the redneck backwater whence I came. And yes, rural Cumbria in the 1980s was a funny place. It’s a funny place still. But even so, there are times when I could do without the liberal horror of peers whose skin is every bit as white as mine, peers who just happen to hail from more metropolitan quarters and who may even boast about having attended school with real, live black people. Ha ha! they chuckle. What a terrible family! What a thoroughly racist town! But it didn’t feel weird or racist at the time. It felt normal. It felt the way things feel now, the way they’ll always feel to those with advantage. Years later we’ll wonder how we ever thought this was okay, yet at the time it’s an incredible effort to picture the world being any different.
October 7, 2012
Earlier today I wrote a rather furious post about the whole Caitlin Moran twitterstorm. To summarise: asked whether, when interviewing Lena Dunham about the TV series Girls, she’d raised the issue of race representation, Moran responded by claiming not to “give a shit”. When pulled up on this, Moran became increasingly defensive, linking accusations of racisim in Girls to “saying I’m currently being racist by not having someone Chinese in my house” and arguing that “you wouldn’t insist boys had to always have black characters in their projects”. Unsurprisingly, many people were offended by this, so many people blogged about it, myself included.
I am white and I have never watched Girls, hence am not in a position to condemn or defend the show. Nevertheless, what dismayed me about Moran’s tweets were the following things: