2012/07/09 by admin
The list of things I hate is so long that I am currently having it professionally bound together to form an encyclopaedia of irritations, gripes and complaints. One item that is definitely set to make the cut is the “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt and everything that goes along with it.
The trouble with the term “feminist” and pretty much all the tropes of feminism is that most academics and writers focused on the issue are deep in a decades long trench warfare on defining terms and explaining how feminists who are different to them are wrong.
If Jon Bon Jovi gave love a bad name, then Julie Bindel gives feminism a bad name. Julie, who writes extensively in the UK media both for The Guardian and that fetid pit of churnalist guff, The Huffington Post, regularly writes pieces that are hateful towards men and prescriptive towards women.
Here’s two examples: her Guardian piece headlined “Why I Hate Men” and her recent Huffington Post article about the politics of sex which essentially posited that bisexuals are just kidding themselves and that women should become lesbians as a political move.
I would define myself as a feminist. I believe that women are as capable as men. I believe in wage equality, in reproductive rights, in the right of a woman to make her own choices sexually, philosophically, educationally and socially.
I believe I am more feminist than Julie Bindel. I also accept and understand that sexuality is a broad spectrum, that what happens behind each person’s bedroom door is their own business, that dominant women in business can be submissive women in bed and vice versa.
A swift gear change here: my mother is the boss of our family. If we were a crime syndicate she is the godmother. But my dad is the figure we roll out when we want to make complaints, when we need a more aggressive face to present to the world. Conversely, he is also the one who does the lion’s share of the cooking and cleaning while my mum is a senior figure in her industry.
For me, to be truly feminist is to accept that women can and should be allowed to make all the same choices as men but to also realise that partnerships require compromise, that traditional gender stereotypes have some basis in fact though they can always be subverted or adjusted in individual circumstances.
To be dominant as a man in a sexual relationship with a woman is not to condone violence against women or to disrespect your partner. Human relationships are nuanced, complex things. The problem with many prominent feminists such as Julie Bindel is that they speak in the block capitals sloganeering of a dying 1970s argument.