27 April 2018

In the name of feminism

There is an interesting article* about contemporary feminist movements in the latest Cambridge alumni magazine, provocatively entitled ‘Smash the patriarchy’.

I found myself having some sympathy with the activists interviewed. I am sure being a woman is not always easy, and it is still a man’s world in many ways.

A young Cambridge graduate is quoted as saying:

We need to actively work really hard to make sure we are inclusive as a movement and that we’re not leaving anyone behind.
Reading on, however, it starts to emerge that some of the movements seem to require commitment to things other than gender issues. “Feminism is about more than just the self; feminism includes fighting against austerity ...”.

Aside from austerity, Donald Trump and Brexit are apparently regarded as “challenges”, the latter because of female employment rights created by EU legislation.

The impression given is that “feminism” is in favour of more state intervention. But what of those who want feminism to be a force promoting greater respect for women without more legislation?

I wonder how the individuals running the movements referred to in the article would regard a woman in favour of free markets. Would her views be respected, and her minority position be protected from those who might wish to put pressure on her to conform? Or would she be regarded as a traitor to the cause?

* Anne-Marie Crowhurst, ‘Smash the patriarchy’, Cam, Lent 2018.