Monday, February 26, 2007

Spare me

Obviously, we're all feminists now. I don't mean that we all adhere to the barkingly deranged wing that believes all men are evil scum who need castrating, but to the belief that the relationship between men and women is not, or should not be, anything but an equal one. I have a slightly chequered history on feminism, dating back to my undergraduate paper in gender history (it's a good story, I'll tell you about it sometime), and have come to believe that, for many feminists, it is not enough to have achieved objective equality - women after all are not as good as men, they are better.
The combination of strongly held political opinions and wearisome laboured prose makes the writing on feminism, both academic and journalistic, some of the most tedious around. Take this, for example, from Joan Smith, on why Mai Ghoussoub did far more for the cause of 'women' than Margaret Thatcher, who in fact actively set back the cause of women. I'm sure many of the people who turned up to pay tribute to Mai the next evening would share my feeling that Lady Thatcher is a monster, a warning about the absolutely worst characteristics of her sex.
If they're moral idiots maybe.
There could hardly have been a greater contrast with the images accompanying Mai's obituaries. One photograph showed her at her mischievous best, as a performance artist exploring the subject of the veil in public space in east London; she is dressed from head to toe in white, wearing huge sunglasses and - a brilliant touch - carrying a tennis racket.
Well hush my mouth. Obviously infinitely more influential for the status of women than being Prime Minister. Don't know what I was thinking.


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