Feminism for the 1%

by Laura // 25 January 2012, 15:36

Tags: feminism, politics, solidarity, Tories

tory poster satire.jpg

Tory feminism. I've been avoiding blogging about this because the sheer physical pain that swells up in my fingers when I type those two words in succession, not to mention the blood boiling in my veins when I see Louise Mensch's smug little face staring out at me - yet again - from the pages of the Guardian Online (can we stop giving her column inches already?), is almost too much to bear. But in the face of this complete and utter nonsense, something clearly needs to be said.

Because feminism is not about privileged rich women overcoming sexism to make it in a world run by privileged rich men. Feminism is about ripping down the barriers that prevent ALL women from determining the course of their own lives. Sexism is but one of these barriers. So while it's all very nice that a select few female Tories sort of support abortion rights and think Page 3 should be banned, they can only claim to be feminists if they also address the other barriers that women face: ableism, ageism, class privilege, homophobia, racism and transphobia, among others. They need to understand that sexism intersects with all these other oppressions, that they can't just address the bits that affect them as privileged rich women then paint the rest of us as lazy, good-for-nothing scroungers if we don't reach their dizzying heights of success.

I was going to list all the glorious ways in which our Tory MP "sisters" and Mr Cameron, their knight in shining "male feminist" armour, have been kicking the rest of us in the teeth furthering the cause since they came to power, but Nat has already posted an absolutely fabulous take-down of Mensch's piece, complete with links aplenty, so I shall direct you over to Forty Shades Of Grey instead.

Mensch claims that she and her blue feminist pals "sit behind a frontbench that we know to be relentlessly focused on social justice and women's issues". I can't decide whether it's utter contempt for us plebs or privilege-induced delusion that makes her think we'd believe her.

Mock Tory poster by Blue Square Thing, shared under a Creative Commons Licence.

Comments From You

Megan Lloyd // Posted 25 January 2012 at 16:50

That article just reminded me really strongly of the amazing piece here: http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/10/10/my-feminism-will-be-intersectional-or-it-will-be-bullshit/

This Louise Mensch, Tory, privileged, racist, classist, 1% feminism by definition cannot be intersectional. It's made up of rich upper middle class white women crapping on poor women, women with disabilities, women in violent relationships, and too many other women to count. Therefore it's pretty much bullshit. The idea that feminism, instead of being a revolutionary movement, is the right for the women at the top to act just as dickishly as the men is a weirdly Tory one, and should be shot down in flames.

Man, I am so angry right now. I don't feel like I got stuff across great, but I still wanted to post and go 'AHHHHHHH.'

Ania Ostrowska // Posted 25 January 2012 at 19:34

First time I saw Louise Mensch (then Bagshawe) was when she was debating Slutwalks with Zoe Margolis on Newsnight here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LytfEBYjiiQ

One's opinion on Slutwalks aside, I remember staring at her, mesmerised, so scary I found her.
I think what frightened me back then was the zeal with which she coldly delivered her verdicts: "Promiscuity is a self-destructive behaviour"; "We promote loving relationships"; "It's like telling people: 'you have the right to go out and get drunk every night of the week".

Perversely enough, at the same time she looked a bit like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.

gadgetgal // Posted 26 January 2012 at 13:52

@Ania Ostrowska - Scary, scary clip of a scary, scary lady! She should be added to that other post about modern fairytale characters, the new-anti-slut bogeyman you can frighten your kids with before they go to bed at night.

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