Monday, July 06, 2009

Too Good For Feminism Which Fought Legal Injustice Against Women?

From an opinion piece in the Independent UK by Ellie Levenson:

Most women my age don't like the word feminism and don't choose to identify as feminists. I know this because I have spoken to many women born in the Seventies and Eighties over the past couple of years as research for my book, The Noughtie Girl's Guide To Feminism, which is published today. [...]

Because feminism in the past has been characterised by po-faced earnestness, It is a movement where all too often humour has been missing. [...]

A man I know nobbled me at an event this week. He had recently started to work at English PEN, a writers' organisation that campaigns on behalf of persecuted authors around the world. As my own book comes out this week, he suggested that I join, which I will gladly do.

This commentary dismisses all the activism by feminists who helped Ms. Levenson have the many legal choices she so flippantly takes for granted.

She is furthering the stereotype that feminists who worked or are working to prevent injustice against women such as rape are nothing more than humorless women who are against gendered injustice only because they hate men.

Women who worked tirelessly on behalf of other women and girls who were raped or murdered by men are bad feminists -- who must be repudiated -- because when they did this work they didn't have enough humor.

Levenson says in her commentary that women can make any personal choice they'd like but by her repeated slams against older feminists this is clearly a false statement. Any choice which could get a woman labeled as humorless is the wrong choice.

When men organize to end world hunger or when people organize to fight a particular deadly disease I hear no criticism that when these men speak out against those harms that they lack humor.

To end this commentary by elevating men's humorless activism against the persecution of writers shows how little Ms. Levenson understands about the work of the feminists she disdains. In the end she's the one who comes off as humorless.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:47 AM   2 comments links to this post


At July 06, 2009 10:16 AM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

Totally agree Ms. Levenson has clearly shown a complete lack of understanding why feminism is vital if all women are at some stage to achieve their rightful full human rights. This includes of course, the right of personal ownership of their bodies and sexualities as well as the right to not be subjected to male sexual violence.

Perhaps Ms. Levenson deliberately chose to capitalise on the male-centered and male-dominated backlash which feminism and feminists continue to experience. It is far easier to promote the mainstream male-centered agenda rather than challenge male-centered and male-dominated notions that all women supposedly have achieved full human status. Would that were true.

At July 11, 2009 3:37 AM, Blogger Depresso said...

As you're likely aware, Ms. Levenson penned a guest article on The F Word a few days ago, in which she stated that it was "disingenuous" to have a man pay for ones dinner without the expectation of something sexual occuring afterwards.

This greatly distresses me; the last man who bought me dinner was my brother, who also happens to be gay.

However, Ms Levenson has certainly acheived her aim; she has generated herself plenty publicity in the feminist blogosphere, even if we are generally uniting to denounce her rather unfeminist pronouncements. It seems that she's playing the backlash game; conforming to the patriarchal norms of 'feminism' ("I'm, like, so totally empowered by performing for my man's every sexual whim!") and calling it feminism.

I will not be buying her book, though I may flick through it when it turns up for 50p in my local charity shop.


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