Lou talks feminism
Now there is a title for an article! A piece in The Guardian, which purported to be about the potential re-launch of Spare Rib – a feminist publication that ran from the 1970’s to the early 1990’s (although it may now be released under a different name ), largely focused on why Gold sees feminism as ubiquitous and irrelevant. It was published in The Guardian a while ago (April) but it’s been on my mind since and I just had to write.
So let’s take a look at that statement shall we? After a quick search of the word ‘ubiquitous’ I now know it means ‘to be found everywhere’. Feminism is to be found everywhere? I’m failing to see a problem with this! Well, I actually think feminism has been rather ubiquitous for a very long time just perhaps not as many people were describing themselves as feminists. I see the growing prevalence of the ‘F’ word throughout popular culture and everyday conversation as only a good thing, especially if it means more and more people are embracing the term.
The F word
For example, myself and my sisters were raised by our mother to be feminists, only we had never used the word in our house. My mom was pretty horrified when a few years ago I first came home saying I’m a feminist. She associated the word ‘feminism’ with being a bra-burning man-hating lesbian, and seeing as I already had the lesbian thing going on it was only a matter of time before the bras were burnt ceremoniously around men tied to stakes in our back garden. Then one day she went to the hairdressers and read an article about feminism in Cosmopolitan magazine, came home with her bouncy highlights and announced ‘turns out I am a feminist after all’.
Instead of being a bit annoyed that a magazine I previously had no respect for could somehow get through to my mom where I had not, I was delighted. I believe the word ‘feminism’ was trapped in academia for so long with many people having such negative connotations with the word, that if it being discussed in mainstream magazines and articles can help people feel more comfortable using the word, that’s great. ‘Women’ have never been a homogenous group, so therefore the same things will never appeal to everyone; for me calling myself a feminist started with a dusty book in the library, for my mom it was a glossy magazine in the hairdressers. Variety is essential. Yet that does seem to be a source of annoyance for Gold in the article, when giving out about feminism being ubiquitous she states ‘feminist websites and blogs proliferate’, so it’s not just the odd article in a popular publication she has issue with, but actual platforms dedicated to feminism. Once again, I see that as only a good thing. Sure just look at Gaelick. Need I say more?
Gold also talks about feminism being ‘reborn as a marketing tool, is almost fashionable a terrible fate because fashion is tidal and what comes, goes’. What exactly is feminism selling? Equality? Choice? In that case I am all for it! As for being a fashion, that’s just a negative way of looking at the fact there’s been a resurgence of interest and motivation to collaborate and make feminism back into a strong movement. Besides, even if it is fashionable, plenty of fashions stay around for a long time.. Converse for example.
Now to tackle the argument of feminisms irrelevancy. Equality, is it everywhere? No! Ok, enough said.
This article rounds up fabulously with a challenge for Spare Rib, ‘how will it mobilise women in their own interests’? If feminism is ubiquitous does that not imply that women are pretty mobilised? I believe so. The last few years I have witnessed the women’s movement in Ireland and in other countries go from strength to strength. There is a lot to do and a long way to go but women, and not only women, are mobilised and taking action to bring about change and equality, on every level.
There are many more points throughout the article that one can take umbrage to but then I would be digressing from the point, and I too would just be giving out. I always feel like if you have a platform for your voice then it is better used to put forward something positive. Critiquing an argument is important and constructive, but plain ol negativity often only leads to more of the same.
Maybe this sounds like I have simplified the argument, maybe it just is that simple. If you don’t agree with me that’s ok, this is just my opinion, the same way as Tanya Gold has hers and I don’t agree with that. That’s the beauty of feminism; there is space for everybody’s opinions and views. I look forward to the day that feminism is truly ubiquitous; where it becomes so normal to be a feminist that articles like this and Gold’s are what are irrelevant.