Circle the Wagons
Sisterhood. Now there’s a blast from the past. There was a time when to a large extent women were on the same page: the aim was to improve conditions for women. This could be in the workplace, in the home, in health-related issues, in government and in society in general.
One of the things that originally interested me about feminism was that it hoped to avoid and find another way beyond stuff-strutting and pure competitiveness, which seemed to be the abiding characteristics of the ruling male.
Now on a scale of ‘rad fem’ if 1 is low and 10 is high, this dame would have to be classed as positively fluffy, scoring between 3 and 4. Not because I do not passionately believe in the total equality of the sexes and am prepared to shout it from the rooftops, but because I favour a co-operative rather than separatist approach. If some women wanted nothing to do with men that was their affair, but it wasn’t mine.
So it made sense that anything along the lines of combative behaviour was to be directed outwardly at the fundamental issues and problems rather than focused on internecine squabbles. Because from my perception it sometimes seems that as soon as one battle on the road to real equality between the sexes is considered to be fought and won, another crops up somewhere else to replace it.
Only today I have learned that an MP from Japan’s governing party has just announced that women should have multiple children, and has helpfully informed childless women that in later life they will become a burden on the state. Perhaps he is planning enforced euthanasia for those unproductive female renegades once they get to a certain age?
Meanwhile, there is a group of female lawyers from Sudan currently challenging a death sentence handed down to a young woman convicted of murdering her husband. The horrific facts behind this are that she was forced into the marriage by her family, then raped by her husband while being held down by some of her relatives because she refused to consummate the marriage. She then stabbed and killed him to avoid being raped again. Her family disowned her and turned her over to the police, who brought her to trial.
With stories such as this coming to light on what seems like a daily basis, might it not make sense to concentrate on the bigger picture? There are numerous internal conflicts between various factions of the ‘feminist’ movement today. The trans debate is one such example; the recent Channel 4 Genderquake: The Debate reportedly degenerated into an abusive shouting match, which did nothing for any of the parties involved.
As with everything else in a highly interlinked world, these issues have become considerably more complicated. But the more that I learn about intersectionality and related issues, the more I feel that overcharged emotions will only serve to slow down the progress towards full women’s rights in every sphere of society.
Time to circle the wagons and face outwards, perhaps?