I've just been to a debate on the "Future of Feminism" that makes me truly think that the future of feminism is fucked if it's left in the hands of these "sisters". Not only were the panel patronising, they didn't answer the questions from the audience. They also intimidated other members whilst talking about patriarchy and how we have to bond together in a "sisterhood" and stop judging each other. In the words of my wonderful feminist mother "If you are against the patriarchy then stop patronising my daughter".
When I asked a pretty legitimate question about the fact that the furthering of the feminism is more about empowering women from the ground up rather than having theoretical debates between like minded people about how we can further equality for everyone; I was met with defensiveness and talk of outreach programmes. The panel were very happy to talk about getting involved with the community to further the "feminist movement" but nothing about actual real women and what it can do for them. Nothing about young women which I specifically mentioned. And don't even get me started on Finn Mackay's response.
Other audience members asked questions which were repeatedly not answered or brushed over into areas the panel felt more comfortable talking in. There were interesting points raised about the role of black feminism as a separate entity within feminism as Chitra Nagarajan from Southall Black Sisters was on the panel. There was also a comment from Finn Mackay to the effect of "In the media feminists are painted as hairy, man hating idealists, like that's a bad thing" which was met with laughter. BUT IT IS A BAD THING. That's the reason young women do not want to identify themselves as feminists. That's why the girl in the audience who'd prompted this reply was being taken to an employment tribunal after making a sexual harassment accusation on the basis that she was an outspoken feminist and didn't know whether to identify herself as such in court.
She was also told to walk into court and tell them "to fuck off" by an American woman who had already read a piece from Sian Norris' book that was straight out of the handbook of bad 70s feminism. This is support. This is "sisterhood".
This same woman had grabbed the microphone to tirade a girl on the other side of my mum who had wanted to ask a VERY RELEVENT question about the medias perception of feminists. Offhandedly she had asked why writing about feminism is still seen as something to tiptoe around & apologise for, unlike racism or homophobia. But the high & mighty couldn't let it slide & answer the pressing question about perception of feminists, they decided to barrage her with complaints about how people are still racist & homophobic. Huh! Really? They patronised her to the point my mum was sat between two young girls shaking with anger at being scrutinised for wanting to move the idea of feminism & the moment forward. Into the future. The point of the whole debate.
No wonder young women do not identify with the idea of feminism if it is still purely a debate for academics. When the idea of patriarchy is still introduced. When we are told to "say the word feminism everyday". When those on the "feminist scene" are too closed to talking about feminism with anyone who doesn't identify with "sisterhoods" & "women only spaces". I am one of those young women & I can tell you for sure that I have said the word feminism to more people in my short 20 year lifetime outside of the world of "feminism" than any of them. I have debated what it means to be feminist with teenage boys raised on pornography & Lil Wayne. & I don't fucking care about pornography & I fucking listen to Lil Wayne.
If you preach non judgement on other women then do not belittle me because I oppose your arguments & can back them up. Do not set up a debate of the future of feminism and only talk about ideas of feminism that have been irrelevant for decades. We need it more that ever & they're taking it & turning it into something cliched & undebatable. So fuck it. Maybe I'm not a feminist. Maybe I'm an equalist. Because if the debate of feminism has been hijacked by these people then I do not identify it & I'll move onto a different debate. That of equality for all. Because that was meant to be the message all along.