Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Silence of the Feminists

Do you remember radical feminists? They marched for the cause, firebombed sex shops, disowned their own sons, formed extreme sects and basically did all but chase men off the planet entirely.

So is this it? A 21st-century world of Blair's babes, metrosexuals and confused men who spent some time being in touch with their feminine side and then reconnected with their masculine side in a hurry – of course picking up some decent pointers on the way ;). Nowadays the closest we get to feminism is to watch the “Vagina Monologues” and shift uncomfortably in our seats. Even that seems like decades ago.

There are a lot of single women out there, mistakenly labelled career women who really are every inch Bridget Jones without the happy ending . And they are as confused as the next man.

I guess, then, that it’s a bit outdated to talk about feminists per se.

Ive certainly benefited from a ‘post feminist’ era. I have choice and political equality. By which I mean those who created choice through extreme sacrifice, gritty determination… who led by example. In the late 1970s, revolutionary feminists marched through the cities, hands held aloft in the international feminist sign of the vagina, demanding to "reclaim the streets". They waved placards and frightened men into terrible bores. Margaret Thatcher didn’t need to do any of that to get into power.

Apparently when Thatcher disbanded the Greater London Council amid the in-fighting and disappointment, the ‘Women's Committee’ aka rad fems, just drifted apart. How lame and typical. So Mags didn’t think much of them either and could see the wood for the trees! All just slogans, manifestos, words, more slogans. But whilst they didn’t really achieve anything, shouting hard enough meant it was a headline issue. And maybe from it and through it, role models, pioneers and exceptionally courageous women of no particular importance set about changing society. Some may argue not always for the better. The femiloons, as with all loons, pushed to it all too far.

Of course Im grateful I have choice in all aspects of my life and that I have political equality. I can choose to stay at home and raise a family - or I can choose not to. Ultimately I think we all end up doing what works best in this modern world, what makes us happiest and life work more smoothly. I tend to view womens ‘rights’ as in everyone’s best interests, common sense in a modern world!

In other countries where ‘rights’ aren’t simply an overused 20C placard slogan, women need our support. In Iran last week some very very brave young women tried to attend a football match when Iran played Costa Rica. They were turned away. When they insisted they were beaten and arrested.

  • Women Arrested Trying to Attend Football Match

  • Why isn’t this headline news?

    Maybe for the same reason Womens Day and its objectives in Saudi aren’t heralded. Maybe for the same reason Ayaan Hirshi is still a relative unknown. She shouldn’t be. Her courage is an incredible example to us all.

    The more militant feminists who used to see everything as mens fault and then camp outside American airbases and bore us all to death with their campfire songs seem to have teamed up with the Socialist Workers party. Either that or they are on maternity leave & *nodding furiously* over Gitmo doing little else. To them, attacking any aspect of Islam is simply and carelessly deemed - racism. The football demonstration of young women in Iran and the courage of those seeking change to womens status via Womens Day in Saudi, seem to have slipped by unnoticed, unsupported, unchampioned. You cant tell me international rights issues aren’t fashionable after Gitmo.

    At its core, feminism was a social movement largely focused on limiting or eradicating gender inequality and promoting women's rights, interests, and issues in society - worldwide. Is it still?

    Forget it. The main beneficiaries of 20th century feminism seem to think the hijab here in the UK is a ‘right’ and a ‘choice’, and NOT an example of subjugation. Go figure.

    Maybe the advent of human rights has muddied the waters. I think Prince Charles is right to suggest they promote the individual over society - to society’s detriment.

    This isn’t an attempt to outline what went wrong, what went right. If its confused - its because I am : I’m truly worried that the actions of some desperate and brave young women are an awkward fat white elephant.
    In the West. In 2006.


    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Oh well done Alison, at last someone is prepared to speak up for the totally subjected Muslim women. Dare I suggest that if those women seeking to enter and refused entry to a football match had been black - the Un the EU and every other ineffectual body in the lands would be outraged. This is a human rights issue the FA should ban football matches being played in these countries until women are allowed in.

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Blogger Jo said...


    I am an individual, as are you. Our rights as women are under constant threat, whether it is sneering contempt in person, to the fact that women, not men, are raped in tens of thousands - in the UK, in 2006.

    Human rights are the future for us and something we need to export to other countries and the women of those countries - but not through the violation of rights that is war.

    In my current job, in 1972, when I (maybe not you) were alive and breathing, women had to leave public service jobs on marriage.

    The marriage bar, it was called.

    Whatever it took to get from then to where we are now took guts - nothing as crazily sexist as that ever was concded willingly, but by fighting women, women with guts. We owe them a lot - even the men who are, of course, too damn dumb to realise that! ;)

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Blogger James said...

    Having supped on Simone De Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, and Germaine Greer in my early 20s and now seeing the radical feminists keeping their mouths shut in the face of Islam, and now knowing the political orientations behind Mesdames De B, Friedan et al., I would wager that any rights gained for women by the radical feminists were secondary to their primary purpose.

    Their primary purpose being a Gramscian undermining of the institutions that made the West strong in the eyes of Stalin and company. If their primary role really was to liberate the women of the world, Germaine Greer, for one, would not have defended hijab a couple of years ago.

    Betty Friedan, I recently discovered to my shock, was not a housewife toiling away in isolated suburban drudgery but an active Stalinist member of the CPUSA, who at one time, vociferously defended the pact between Stalin and Hitler about 20 years prior to publishing the Feminine Mystique.

    And whilst she proceeded to prove that women had no use for men whatsoever in The Second Sex, Simone De Beauvoir certainly found a lot of use for Sartre in her own sick, sad, life.

    I suspect many of the early intellectual leaders of the radical feminist movement didn't really believe what they wrote but saw themselves as propagandists for their Communist masters.

    Not to denigrate the concept of gender equality; I am a firm believer in equality in the workplace and other places. But that equality also should be seen from the perspective that all people, men included, make sacrifices in different parts of their lives to make what they want of their lives. The idea that someone can have the best of a career and a family life is a myth in all but the most exceptional circumstances. In today's world, particularly in the private sector, one has to make compromises on one or the other, whether one is female or male.

    I believe that the myth that one is more fulfilled in a career than raising a family is slowly being debunked. Women are discovering that being a cog in the machine, like 90% of most working men, is a thoroughly unfulfilling role. I think the truth is down to the individual, but pushing paper for 25k a year doesn't strike me as being pleasurable for anybody, be they male or female.

    /lecture mode

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    what are you saying...that the women themselves should take control...yes I agree. Come on you Arab women stand up for yourselves. Mind you have you even seen a 'stoning' video I don't think our women when fighting for the vote had to put up with that. These 'people' are from another planet.

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Blogger James said...

    By the way, I just blogrolled you...No need to reciprocate, though, if you'd care not to.

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Blogger "Alice" said...

    Well, I don't know what the femiloons here in the UK are doing (don't hear too much from them); but in the USA, they are very busy protesting such important and radical points, such as allowing women to play golf in such settings as The Masters, etc.

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    yeah yeah yeah. Alice..but at least they can WATCH The Masters......they can even walk around the course...these women in Iran can stay at home bear children but that's it, no wait something else they can be hanged for having sex at the ripe old age of 16. Let's not trivialise the argument - you know as well as I do that somewhere there will be a man issueing rules to keep women out of something it makes them feel good...**holes. The women in Iran and other muslim countries are made to live life in the stone age. What does blogroll mayonaise or what!

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Blogger "Alice" said...

    I admit I was being sarcastic; okay, extremely sarcastic. The femiloons haven't a clue what it's really like out there in some parts of the world. And they haven't the balls to take on those that are keeping women under their thumbs.

    Alison, as always great writing.

    p.s. I love mayo!

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Blogger Alan_McDonald said...


    I couldn't find any references to this story, but I did find the following, WORLD CUP WATCH: Iran Controversy from Soccer America Magazine on 27 February 2006.


    In the Iranian film ''Offside,'' teenage girls hope to evade the ban on women at Iranian soccer stadiums by dressing up as boys to sneak into Tehran's Azadi Stadium to watch Iran beat Bahrain to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

    The comedy, which includes real footage of the Iran-Bahrain (1-0) game, won the runner-up award for best feature film at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

    ''Soccer is a sport that has such a great appeal that it's able to bring people together from different countries and backgrounds,'' said director Jafar Panahi, who added he was not sure whether the film will ever be screened in Iran.

    Are you familiar with this film? Do you have any leverage to get it shown outside the festival circuit? Here in the USA we only see these movie in "art houses" or on cable (HBO, for example) or Public Broadcasting.

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

    Thanks Alan, great find. & no I wasnt until you mentioned it. The festival was packed and the "Road to Guantanamo" overshadowed everything with enormous press attention. "Offside" (Celluloid Films) won second prize, shared. I didnt pay too much attention to it. But i think it has been rather marginalised by Guan, specially here in the UK as TRtG is Channel 4 Films. Here is the archive press conference, do check it out:

    I havent time to listen to it now but will def do so later. I wonder about the links to the story. When ive a chance to look at this properly ill find out more. Ive a contact name now at Celluloid & can ask about worldwide rights. Not sure i have much leverage. Let me know yr thoughts on the junket.

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

    Programme and story...'knowing comedy'??!. oh jeez

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...


    I appreciate what has been done wholeheartedly. I think courageous women fought hard for equalities and now its up to us to prove merit in the areas we want to succeed in (that were previously not open to us).

    Its also important to recognise resposibilities we have within society and not denigrade the position of women in family raising either. Im pleased that we have choice now.

    I dont see men as the enemy. I believe we have a shared responsibility in life that we need to work at. And im not afraid to say that we seem to have lost some charming aspects of 'manliness' when we beat men over the head about it. (Im tired not sure if that comes across clearly).

    I do see some religions as womens enemy though. For that reason instead of milking victimhood here we should support women in other countries who suffer massive massive injustice. We dont anymore. Lets give Ayaan Hirshi a voice. Lets highlight islamic injuctice instead of allowing people to suggest it is racist to do so?

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...


    Thanks. i think you feel as passionately as i do that issues are being buried that shouldnt be.


    Thanks - i always felt extremely uncomfortable about rad fems and their agendas & now i really know why! What a sham. I agree with you 100% on equalty issues and the workplace.


    I got the sarcasm. I think thats what i mean when i say above we need to focus on some real issues. And thanks.

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Blogger James said...

    Just as an addendum regarding hijab. The religious concept behind it is a parallel to the miniskirt defense in rape cases. It basically states men can't help themselves if women dress a certain way.

    For a feminist to defend hijab is akin to saying that a girl wearing a miniskirt was "asking for it" by the way she dresses.

    At Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

    I completely agree. Im inclined to support Ayaan Hirshi and Julie Birchills opinion on the hijab, they both say the same. Hirshi goes a step further and castigates women in the west who wear the hijab as beyond stupid. And that we should combat such stupidity with ridicule. Id have it banned, weve no time to hang around and wait for the penny to drop, its too important. Of course in places like Iran, its not stupidity, its fear.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Blogger Alan_McDonald said...


    I want to thank you. While searching the Internet for any occurrence of your imaginary feminist defending the hijab, I found this Comment by Hari Kunzru in Asians In Media, 6th February 2006. It's the most balanced comment on the Danish cartoon debacle that I've read.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

    Alan - a quick search on google revealed several pointers that support James argument regards Greer, a radical feminist as opposed to a feminist like Hirshi. Why do you say imaginary? I think Salman Rushdies cartoon article was far more balanced -this veers off when it starts its anti Bush bit. Im only interested in the issue of free speech regards the cartoons which is surely the main issue.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Anonymous Maggie said...

    yes this is just the blog to leave a really talented piece of writing on radical feminism... solves the problem neatly on women in Iran who simply want to watch their national team play football. The choice between career or family must be discussed at this point oh and what about abortion surely should come up

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Anonymous Kevin said...

    If you want balanced views type into Google...get pics of beheadings, a little girl being hung, some little Christian kids being beheaded and then let us have a discussion on rad. femin ism etc.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

    Kevin - i know what you mean. Ive seen some awful images and videos on the net whilst looking itno this. Veiled women being executed by a gunshot to the head -without trial, stonings... There is a young woman waiting trial in Iran for defending herself from rape. She is seventeen and unless anyone intervenes she will be hung like many before her. Had she allowed herself to raped by giving in she would have been declared a slut and stoned. The radical feminists have no agenda as James has pointed out other than marxism. So there wont be any outrage from them. And right now people are more concerned with men in Guantanamo so my feeling is these women will never receive proper support and real feminists like Miriam and Ayaan wont be championed. Its simply not de riguer enough.

    Maggie - we have a choice on career and family which we didnt have previously. We should continue to have a choice on abortion also. I dont think anyone will agree with me on that last point but thats just my pov. I know its a subject mired in controversy and passionate debate between the choice for a woman and the rights of a child. I dont believe women make these decisions & dont suffer for them afterwards.

    Right now id like to see a shift towards addressing basic womens rights abuses - that basic right being equality in places like Iran.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Exactly Alison basic womens rights...that is exactly the issue.. hello anyone out there ... anyone at all to champion these women and I don't mean just for football. How about a few banners on the march planned for 25th March.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Blogger vodkatonic said...

    Alison: not sure if you recall two Iranian girls who once lived in close proximity to us. They were as Western as they come having lived all their lives in a small, sleepy and pleasantly green village where nothing much happened but pubs and useless shopping. But when they returned from a trip to their homeland, they had suddenly become avid supporters of the hijab claiming that it "protected women". What a pity the first world country they had grown up in, enjoying their freedom and basic human rights failed them at the most important level - education.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Anonymous Maggie said...

    Yes maybe failure Vodkatonic, I don't know, once heard a radio programme when it was suggested to a young Muslim that his attitude was going back to mediaeval times - his response was what's wrong with that? As for the young Iranian girls they were probably threatened by their society and so called 'honour' killings take place in the West too.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Blogger associatecontributor1 said...

    Not only am'I a man, but I'm also a mysoginist so I might not be the most qualified to comment. I think feminist's won't confront Islam because they are fat and happy with the progress they made in the West and content to let the poor barbarian hordes fend for themselves.

    At Wednesday, 08 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

    Well i expected that from you AC1 lol! Its not so much that they are FAT but yes they are smug. They tend to think that theyve advanced beyond crucial BASIC issues. Mysoginist men are more than welcome to comment. This is a militant-feminist free zone!

    Vodkatonic - I hadn't realised that no.
    :( Education wont help - Cherie Blair thinks hijab is a great idea too.

    At Thursday, 09 March, 2006, Blogger James said...

    With regard to Germaine Greer defending hijab: I never actually saw it on the web, and I have not googled it.

    I saw her do it on a talking heads programme on the BBC. The reason I was shocked was because, up until that point, I had always admired Germaine Greer. My mouth dropped when I heard her defend it.

    Unlike a lot of people, I cannot countenance when my hero(ine)s let me down in profound ways. That was it for me.

    And to reiterate my point: Hijab is there to "preserve modesty". Which means that men cannot be trusted to control themselves when seeing women without it, as more than a few Mohammedan commentators have asserted. Don't know what bit of that doesn't sound like profound sexism to you.

    At Friday, 10 March, 2006, Blogger Jo said...

    "I do see some religions as womens enemy though"

    Yes, Christianity and the Pauline influence over several centuries for a start!! :)

    Did you see my piece on rape the other day? Those 12,000 rapes take place in a Christian country - not a Muslim one - the UK. In 2006.

    Women are portrayed by Paul and by mainstream Christianity as whores and temptresses fit for one thing only. And thats how we have been treated for centuries. Look how easily certain people felt they could call me "a tramp" on a so-called serious political blog, for example.

    You think contempt for women is restricted to Islam? No way, Alison, its imbedded deep in how men in the West related to women every bit as much as anywhere else further east.

    At Friday, 10 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

    No I dont believe that. BUt we dont hang women for defending themselves or stone them for allowing themselves to be 'defiled'. We dont suggest they will be better protected veiled which isnt the case at all as shown here. We have system of justice which is far from perfect in its treatment of rape but then again it is far from perfect in the way it handles criminals fullstop. We can lobby campaign and insist. We allow women to particpate in society unrestricted by religion. Men are men all over and can be the worse kind of evil in many instances. But when this is done with the full support of society in the name of religion then its something else entirely.

    At Saturday, 11 March, 2006, Blogger Jo said...

    Well, thats a fair enough view if you want to stick to it.

    I do think that if men were raped in the scale women are something more would be done about it.

    It isnt and the reason is the insidious influence that sexism has o all of us. It might not be as blatant as beheading a woman for adultery but its still there!

    And perhaps some of your Bible believing *friends* elsewhere could remind you about what that Book says on the treatment of adultery etc. (one reason why my beliefs dont rely on that text)

    At Monday, 13 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

    I agree with you Jo and i have my own battles with some aspects of christianity vs my sense of feminism. Im disappointed some women have a position in society which they could use to champion womens rights issues such as rape penaltys here or Nazanins situation - but choose to openly champion the right of the individual to wear a burqa instead (shes a christian!) for example. A good deal more needs to be done across the board but it needs to focus on the issues which matter most. And we here are in a position to leverage this story.

    At Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, Blogger Jo said...

    Alison, You agree with me! (Hugs) Who would have thought that a while back... ;)


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