Nadine’s not a feminist, but….
Posted on February 26, 2010
I found myself in the unenviable position this week of actually agreeing with Nadine Dorries about something. But don’t worry, it was a short lived affair.
Now despite the fact that I appear to be one of the few lefties she hasn’t yet blocked on Twitter, I’m not renowned for holding Dorries in any high esteem (see here for example), so you can imagine my surprise when she tweeted this:
and I found myself nodding along.
Yes she’s right, the political new media is dominated by men – in fact it’s something I’ve been intending to write about for a while now. Jennie Rigg wrote a great piece about it last year: Where are all the female bloggers, where she explained how part of the reason men dominate, or at least are seen to dominate the blogosphere, is that “men link to men” on their blogs as well as “recommend posts by men to other men.” She also argued, and this is where I think she hits the nail on the head, that part of the problem is a definitional one, that unless you’re writing about party or Westminster politics, if you’re writing about feminism for example, you’re not regarded as a political blogger. Says Jenni:
“Dan Dan the Wikio Man and I had a similar discussion about The F-Word and various other feminist blogs. Wikio had them listed underGeneral, becausefeminism isn’t politics. The narrow definition of politics to include only geekery about party politics and the Westminster Bubble excludes women.”
Exactly. I regard myself as very much a political blogger, and feminism as an integral part of my politics, but I only get linked to from the big boys’ blogs when I write about party political issues. And search for this blog on Wikio and, just like the F-Word and other feminist blogs, you’ll find it categorised under the “General” heading. Liberal Conspiracy on the other hand, which I also write for occasionally, and where posts from this blog sometimes get cross-posted, is firmly listed there under “Politics.” So does that mean that when I write here I’m just a feminist blogger and when I write for LC I’m a political blogger? Even though often-times it’s the same blog post in both places? Hmmm, perhaps someone from Wikio could explain to me how that works…
Laurie Penny has also written about this recently, and I have to say I completely agree with her criticism of the What Difference Does Political Blogging Make? debate, hosted by the Westminster Skeptics, in which the panellists, Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale, Nick Cohen, Sunny Hundal and Mick Fealty, were all men. In fact I had actually planned on going to the debate to make exactly that point, that having an all male panel at an event like that really doesn’t help, especially when we’re all busy bemoaning the invisibility of women in both politics and political blogging. But in the end I had to pass, ‘cos I was off that day doing other, more girly, less political things, like presenting a workshop on trafficking and prostitution at the National Rape Crisis conference. And yes that is a snark, because if anyone really does think there’s nothing political about that, then sorry, but I beg to differ.
But anyway, back to Nadine and me, and our momentary, all too brief, meeting of minds. It wasn’t long after posting her tweet that some Tory came back to her with this:
No, dear me no. I mean Jeez, God forbid no, perish the thought. Nadine’s not a feminist, there’s not an ounce of feminism in her body, no no no. Not even a hint of it. But….
Why do women do this? Why? And, let’s be more specific in this case, why do women in politics do this?
Nadine, just on the off chance you’re reading this. I don’t mean to shout or anything, but
You’re a woman ffs! A woman MP! You wouldn’t even be in Westminster if it wasn’t for feminism and the feminists who fought bloody hard for your fucking right to be there! Now go and learn some sodding history!
Still, I may have retreated back to the other side of the barricades, but at least Marshal still loves her:
oooooh I agree. I’m a digital editor and still receive ‘Dear Mr Editor’ emails/letters. I tend to bin them. Twestival’s overwhelmingly male dominated. I write here http://jowoodblogs.blogspot.com/ about gender issue and frequently get called a lesbian. The web’s a tricky place for women.
“I’m not a feminist, but look at this example of sexism” is as useful as saying “I’m no vegetarian, but I find meat repulsive.” Rejecting the label of a movement you’re invested in for fear of social reprisal is pretty much as spineless as you can get.
Noble – ‘feminist’ tends to be the label of a woman who actively fights against sexism. That doesnt mean anyone who is interested in the issues or aware of the differences is one, or that anyone who isn’t a ‘feminist’ can’t take an interest in these issues.
Women say they’re not feminists because they want a pat on the head from men and sometimes that pat on the head is the only way to get on and up in this world…
They agree with the ideas of Feminism, but shy away from a word that’s acquired negative associations, especially in certain, stupider circles. Just try to read “I’m not a feminist” to mean “I shave my legs”.
Grrr. We’re all feminists aren’t we? Surely we all want equality? It makes me angry and sad that feminism is still considered to be such a dirty word.
It just goes to show how much women still feel they can’t risk being disapproved of by men. If they want a boyfriend or they want to get ahead, best not use the F word eh?
I consider myself to be a political and a feminist blogger, although I know I would definitely be put in the ‘mummy blogger’ category by most people. But I’m a woman struggling to make a decent independent life for myself, whilst also caring solo for three children to the best of my ability. That in itself is a political issue. It is certainly a feminist issue as far as I’m concerned. No woman is ‘just’ a mother.