Those of you who have been frequently subjected to my rantings will know that I consider myself a feminist. As a result of this, seemingly innocuous activities can quickly turn into lectures (rants) on the injustices of being a woman in modern society. To paraphrase the great Francis Begbie:
“I’m no’ the kinda girl that goes lookin’ for a fight, but at the end of the day, I’m the one wi’ the liberal feminist agenda and he can get the fat end a’ it in his puss any time he wanted, like.”
Seemingly innocuous activities such as reading the paper.
At first glance, all seemed well with this story. A woman rising to a position of political prominence, a headline focusing on her achievements, a photo byline that doesn’t mention what she’s wearing: tick, tick, tick! And then my eyes wandered up to the top left hand corner of the page, and a dark cloud descended…Life & Style?
I have a number of issues with this, but let’s start with the most obvious one. That being why, in the name of all that is holy, is this categorised as Life & Style? An article about the future of the UN, nestled in there between an article about the perfect fruit crumble and a piece on what the checkout girl is really thinking. As if, when women do it, politics is sort of an adorable hobby. A lifestyle choice, like a juice diet, or taking up crochet. Seriously, Guardian, get it together and stick this article in the Politics section along with all the big men.
Also, can we just talk about the fact that newspapers still have a women’s section? I mean I know I have a degree in politics, but thank you, newspapers, for creating a special section for me where I can read about whether teff is the new hot super grain and how to get a body that won’t send people running for the hills when I put on a bikini, without being bothered by all that horrible, boring news. Sorry for the absurdly long sentence, I just have a lot of feelings.
Now, to give credit where credit is due, the Guardian’s “Women” section does focus on women’s issues that I actually care about, like unequal pay, and the prevalence of rape culture. But, and I cannot ever say this enough times, there isn’t really any such thing as a “women’s issue”. There are issues which women are more qualified to talk about, but when we do talk about them, they shouldn’t be tucked away in a special section of the paper where only other women will see them. Binary gender roles are bad for literally everyone. It is in everyone’s interest to get rid of unfair, outdated, stupid standards of behaviour for both men and women. By qualifying feminism as a women’s issue, we’re giving men permission to ignore it. After all, it has nothing to do with them.
Women in Spain beating the recession by setting up a record number of businesses isn’t just of interest to women. Women in Afghanistan having more freedom in jail than they do outside of it isn’t just of interest to women. And the next leader of the UN certainly isn’t just of interest to women.
Sort it out Guardian, you’re totally harshing my mellow.