I was told yesterday that the way to get young girls "into" feminism is to stop frightening them by showing you hate men. Or some such rubbish. I was told it by a man (of course) so I had already put my fake ears on. They look like I've got listening equipment on the side of my head whilst in reality I'm just working out ways to push a fake custard pie in his face.
I have no idea how to target young women and make them become feminists. It's not my bloody job. It's not anybody's job. I've kind of assumed that the bright, young hip fems like Caroline Criado Perez and Sarah Ditum etc are doing enough good stuff, loudly enough, to get feminism to look cool and then young women will find their own way in.
I have been of the optimistic view that young women are automatically "into" feminism in (at the very, VERY least), a "lib fem" way by default ....even if they don't know it. They surely know what they've gained from it? I hope that they will tip toe around the edges a while (sometimes in denial) until something happens and they fall into real feminism. I'm too old and too angry to push or drag any woman. I will fight tooth and nail to keep men out though. Men are not feminists. They are men.
I'm wrong about the girls.
The man wearing the custard pie is right.
Something is still keeping young women at a distance. Go and sneak a peak at a gang of them today (just as you walk about I mean....not in a scary behind-a-tree way obviously!). They all look the same. Great gangs of young women have been cloned. Long hair, dark eyeliner, pose and pout lips, handbag over arm. Giggle, twirl, giggle. They don't have time to think about injustice. Even when it is being heaped upon them. Even when they are rope-tied tightly together by body fascists, rape apologists, victim-blamers and misogynists. Or as we know them better... the media. They are at best offered wishy washy feminism by pop stars gyrating along to the tune of "empowerment" packaged by their male management who sit back counting the cash.
Young women who resist this cultish indoctrination. I applaud you. You're playing a tough gig to a rough crowd.
Sadly, the message can't get through to most of them. Patriarchal Fuckability Tests are still imposed at 12 ...and sometimes younger if you show talent (breasts) early. Sit them, pass them ....or you are out of the system. On your own. A "weirdo". Friendless.
The young women I do hear who take that risk and step in are still scared. They've still been "trained". I hear them say "But you can't exclude boys from feminism! Boys are feminists too!" They look like they've been slapped if you point out that they aren't and ask "Where have they been for 2000 years?" Why the rush to "help" now? Why do they want to come in? Because boys and men do - if you say they can't. They demand it. That's the fucking point and that's exactly why we shouldn't let them.
Who gives the young feminists a membership pack that tells them to include men or it isn't "fair"? Who tells them, in advance that radical feminists are "the wrong kind" of feminist? Who tells them that their feminism is and has to be about choice? Choices that include men and their needs? Choices that may affect other women but they don't need to think about that?
Who? Who the fuck gets to them before ordinary feminism can be heard? Because it isn't "radical" it's just "feminism" most of the time.
Men do. Men have stormed into our war and taken away the guns. We didn't even fucking see it. But when you take away the young women that would be our warriors and you give them a mascara wand instead.... and tell them you want to help....you have screwed decades of hard work. You done good dudes. You fought sly.
When young feminists turn their backs on second wavers because they are "old" or "it was different back then... they didn't know better..." or whatever causes them to reject the women and their activism, who fought for all the "choices" they get to make I want to cry. For the young. Because there is a beauty and a richness and a dignity and a fire and a blazing pathway of achievement screaming at them to follow and run with ....and young women are rejecting it in favour of a liberal feminist road being tarmaced smooth for them by men. I owe those second wave women and so do women younger than me. You can't skip off to see "Suffragette" and then skate over the hard work of the 1970's without a glance and suddenly arrive at "Woohoo.... porn! I'm so empowered by my choice to watch it and get fucked up the arse if I choose!". You have to take the full train. You have to see the tracks that were laid for you.
How do we get our future warriors back? I don't know. The men have them held tight either as anti-feminists or as feminists bound to male definitions of what it is and can be.
We can't make radical feminism fancy. We can't give out free fucking cake and badges and iPhone stickers. We are too busy trying to stop those young women being raped and beaten and fucked up the arse by porn magnates as misogynist fuckers on the internet target us with death and rape threats. Soz about that young 'uns. Let yourself in. Do it quickly.
It isn't the fun kind and it never was. It isn't for men and it never was.
Young radical feminists. You are bloody amazing. I know you are out there. Keep fighting.
Happy Saturday women x