Across every form of media.
It’s something I have ALWAYS heard in conversation as far back as I can remember.
I accept that it’s human nature to make observations and form opinions. It’s also normal and right that we will never agree with everyone and their differing opinions. What does disturb me is this: it’s far more widespread than ever before, possibly due to the fact that upon entering the online realm we are faceless and often anonymous, and we seem able to be more vicious and sanctimonious.
In recent months the sunday papers have featured the Australian feminist Melinda Tankard Reist, who is also Christian and anti-abortion. Apparently a lot of people out there (and most of them women) feel that she can’t be a feminist due to her religious beliefs. That she should indeed be instantly disregarded on any feminist debate because of those religious beliefs.
Which brings me to the crux of my problem. Where are these supposed rules of feminism? Where is the list of criteria for eligibility? Who are these people who get to decide which woman can be labelled a feminist and which can’t? I have been delving deep into the feminist world in recent months, reading the second wave bibles, third wave activists, riot grrrl manifesto’s, blogs, and feminism in motherhood. Guess what? There is no one type of woman who ticks all the boxes.
So my next question is: why do women judge each other so intensely? Whether it’s as a feminist, mother, career woman, wife, or friend. Indeed just about any role, relationship or occupation is up for judgement, and is often left wanting.
I follow a blog, The Feminist Breeder, authored by Gina Crosley-Corcoran. Gina is a rock chick turned passionate breastfeeding/natural birth advocate. Gina is very intelligent, witty, honest and brave. She is exactly my type of cool feminist rock-chick baby mama. Yet too often we can read between the lines her weariness at having her OPINIONS savagely and ignorantly attacked by the haters.
So what about in our own little world? We all know too well the conversations, also known as bitching, where another woman is judged and deemed not up to scratch. We have heard them, heard about them, and we have certainly been part of them.
So what if a Christian woman who opposes abortion stands up proudly as a feminist? Anyone who cares about any aspect of women’s health and rights is a feminist to me. Would it make a difference if her detractors knew she focused on mid to late term abortions performed in SUSPECTED cases of NON-LIFE THREATENING abnormalities (i.e. Down’s, etc)?
Would Gina’s critics be more willing to listen if they knew she was juggling three young children/doula responsibilities/a blog while studying?
Does it matter that we are all VERY different? Will the judgements ever end? Will the online feminism police ever step out from behind their computer show us their credentials?
In my uneducated and humble opinion, being a woman is truly an honour and a privilege. We need to be more forgiving and more accepting. Just because it’s the right way for us doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
In a world very much run by men, all women need to stand strong and united.
I am woman.
Hear me roar.