Proud to be a Feminist Left-splainer

“Women of the right are just as committed to the advancement of women as their sisters on the left.” – claims Paula Matthewson

Tommy rot – I say

You know when we spend all our time discussing who is willing to call themselves a feminist I really think we have lost our way. I am heartily sick of writers like Paula Matthewson who assume that real feminism is about individual advancement for individual women and that the left see it as ‘being a victim”.

Feminism has nothing to do with being a victim.

In fact when the first domestic violence refugees and organisations were being formalised in the 70s the feminists used to get pretty dirty with anyone who referred to women who had been subjected to violence as victims. The insisted they were not victims, but survivors.This is still an important semantic distinction.

It is not about girl power, individual success, or more women in politics and on boards.

These have a place as ways of influencing policies, services and businesses (depending of course on the politics of the individuals involved). They can also be seen as a by-product of the struggle against a patriarchial system.

Frankly I don’t think having Julie Bishop in Cabinet has made one jot of difference for:

  • single parents,
  • Indigenous women,
  • refugee women,
  • women fighting to save the water table and the environment from fracking,
  • women running or using domestic violence services,
  • women in TAFE, or university,
  • women who need quality child care services,
  • women under 30 seeking work,
  • women in countries where our development programs have been slashed.

Having more Julie Bishops in top law jobs, as CEOs on Boar, in Cabinet wont help either. And having Julie Bishop as PM would not be good for women

Paul Mattewson states that:

Women of the right are just as committed to the advancement of women as their sisters on the left. Women of the right are mothers too, and they want to see their daughters have prosperous and fulfilling lives. These women don’t reject the principles of feminism – equality and the advancement of women – but they see them being achieved in different ways. If that view is flawed, yelling at them to take on the feminist mantle will not correct it.

But that is just the problem. Advancing the cause of women is not about making sure your daughters have prosperous and fulfilling lives. That is ridiculous. Most conservative men want that for their daughters too. Was Tony Abbott being a feminist when he arranged for Francis to have a $60,000 under the table scholarship?

For me being a feminist is about looking at policies, programs and issues from the perspective of whose interests are served well and whose less well served. There is overwhelming evidence that women are systemic losers from policies that promote war, attack: working conditions, promote xenophobia, privatize services, ignore climate change issues, defund community legal aid, overseas development, and reduce access t ad the quality of childcare. This list could be extended but I think you get my point.


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