When I was growing up in North London - in the rather openly sexist eighties and the more covertly sexist nineties - my misogynistic dad enjoyed nothing more than a good holler at the telly every time an opinionated woman dared to show her face during the primetime hours. Germaine Greer was generally greeted with,
“Not that fucking bitch.”
Janet Street Porter,
“I hate the fucking cow.”
“Why are we watching this fat bitch?”
Thanks to my father I heard the voice of casual sexism on a day to day basis. Our living room served as a microcosm for the patriarchal need to silence women with a platform and something to say.
That’s why if a woman has managed to fight her way to a position where people are actually listening to her I bloody well hope she is saying something worth listening to.
And that’s why I was absolutely sick and devastated when I read Julie Burchill’s Observer column today. A woman who by the sheer loudness of mouth and the ferociousness of her opinions has managed to shoehorn her way into a position where she can bash out her vile hate speak in a left-wing national newspaper and call it feminism.
In ‘defending’ her friend Suzanne Moore she managed to spit out some of nastiest bile my eyes have had the misfortunate to read in a long time and simultaneously managed to undermine any good intentions that Suzanne Moore might have had at the outset of her original article.
For me feminism has always been synonymous with equality. It is impossible to be a bigot and a feminist. It is impossible to be a feminist and view gender as simply biological.
It is impossible to be a feminist and say
“a gaggle of transsexuals telling Suzanne Moore how to write looks a lot like how I’d imagine the Black and White Minstrels telling Usain Bolt how to run would look.”
Somebody better teach Julie Burchill how to run because a lot of people will be after her hide.