Feminism Friday: Why I’m always learning

Steve Carell, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert: How men would look if they had to pose in ads the way women are expected to.
Steve Carell, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert: How men would look if they had to pose in ads the way women are expected to.

I’ve been worrying about about these posts since last week. I don’t want to make it sound like I think I’m the oracle on feminism – because god knows that’s not true – what I’m hoping to do is just share some links and things that have given me a better understanding of various aspects of feminism. But I was worried I was sounding like a pompous arse.

With that in mind, something happened earlier this week that proves the above (the bit about getting a better understanding of feminism, I mean, not the bit about being a pompous arse) (I hope), so I thought I’d write about that and a bit about My Feminist Education in general.

So earlier this week, I saw some tweets about a Russell Brand piece on Thatcher. I love Russell Brand and I was impressed with articles he’d written about Jade Goody and Amy Winehouse, so I hopped over and read it. Some bits leapt out at me as being rather brilliant. His description of her voice as “a bellicose yawn, somehow both boring and boring – I could ignore the content but the intent drilled its way in” is perfect and I also loved this “If love is something you cherish, it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one’s enemies.” I tweeted both of those things, but then my friends Diane and Carrie pointed out that the focus on Thatcher as a mother – both to her children and to the country – is sexist. I hadn’t even noticed. I don’t think it’s possible to ignore gender in any discussion of Thatcher – even if only because she’s the only female Prime Minister this country has ever had – but, as Diane pointed out, male politicians aren’t written about in relation to their parenting skills.

The point I’m making isn’t about Thatcher, it’s about how I managed to completely miss the sexism in in Brand’s article. For me feminism is a constant learning curve. Diane has been a huge part of that and in the past my first response was often to disagree with her – sometimes vehemently – but I always ended up coming around to her way of thinking. Because she’s always right. It’s really annoying. And I really value this discussion. I appreciate that I have friends who will pull me up when I’m being dim and who I can email and ask for clarification and who share my horror at this kind of total bullshit

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From this site via @HeenaMohammed on Twitter

So, no, I’m not an expert. I don’t know everything, obviously. But I’m learning. And I’m glad.

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12 thoughts on “Feminism Friday: Why I’m always learning

  1. Everyone is always learning! Nobody is the oracle of feminism even if they would like to think so. Talking about this stuff is how we learn more.

      1. I am sure Diane would agree with me that repeatedly discussing these things and thinking through our arguments has helped us to learn more and clarify our stance on issues.

        1. Absolutely! I did emphasise to Keris when she told me she was going to write about this that I am SO not an expert, but I’ve definitely learned a LOT from the internet, especially Twitter and Tumblr, and I’ve enjoyed our discussions. I only started learning about intersectionality about 3 years ago, and a lot of that was from people like Kat (http://meow-sense.tumblr.com/) who doesn’t post much on the topic anymore, but hooked me up with a lot of great info and links. It’s really easy to think “Right, I’ve got it now” but there are always more viewpoints to listen to.

      1. Oh, stop! (Don’t stop.) No really, stop. But thank you, I don’t think you’re right but I do think you’re kind. xo

  2. I agree, I think sexism sometimes need pointed out – maybe because we’re so used to it we just accept it as the norm?
    I liked Brand’s article too, though I prefer to hear him speak than read his writing. I thought it was strange how he described Thatcher as watering flowers every week then someone who wouldn’t be able to give much love to her children, the first action seems very caring and kind – it kind of doesn’t support his argument.

    In relation to what you were saying about sexism being pointed out, I felt the same when reading this article, although I know those swear words shouldn’t be used, it really brought to light the reasoning:

    http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/acceptable-alternatives-or-please-stop-insulting-my-genitalia-and-yes-here-be-curse-words/

    1. Thanks – I thought he was suggesting that the caring had come out of her illness or even just age. Thanks for the link – I haven’t had time to read it yet, but I’ve save it. I have been trying not to use gendered swear words, but it’s HARD!

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