I write this on the day that I go to see Caitlan Moran. I’m as excited as an excited thing on excited Thursday, eating all the fruit from the overexcited tree, whilst living merrily in the land of anticipation. Why? Why? I hear you ask.. figuratively that is, literally hearing your voice through my laptop probably means I should pop in to see a pyschiatrist on the way to the gig. But excited I am nonethleless… possibly more than a thirty nine year old woman should be, but I am, and possibly as much as I would be if my husband told me he’d bought me James McAvoy for Christmas.
For me, Caitlan Moran is at the forefront of women in my generation who is making feminism cool again, and I mean really cool. There’s lots of others – too many to mention – but for me CM is the one who stands out for me. One of the reasons is her frankness in talking about what it’s like to become a woman, of going from that awkward stage of only having to wonder if you should go for the Doc Marten mary janes or boots (yes showing my age), to having to determine what you believe in, who you are and what should you do for the rest of your life.
Apart from being spun out on hash, crying in a kitchen, clutching a kettle, I see many similarities in our experiences growing up (I’d like to point out that I also have monkeys chattering in my head occassionally but for very different reasons). This isn’t just a Moran is brilliant rant, I’m sure she could get on my tits like a lot of people, but my point is that she is a voice of many women of my generation – girls who grew up in the 80s with the remnants of seventies mass social policical movement whispering in the background – girls who were told that they had to go out and do something – but girls with little more to shape them than a well loved collection of Aztec Camera albums, a second hand copy of The Female Eunuch and a vague idea that they should got to university. We didn’t have social media to rightly or wrongly inform our views or mould us. In many ways that’s wonderful, but a lack of direct access to role models also left many of us isolated and floundering around like a whale on a beach of expectation.
Hoorah for Moran and all the other wonderful women speaking out for us and the generations to come. Feminism hasn’t been redefined, it’s been clarified. In the words of Moran’s tour merchandise – The Rules of Feminism are 1. Men and Women are equal, 2. Don’t be a dick, 3. That’s it. Isn’t that whats its about?
So why are many young women rejecting feminism? I often hear, even among women my age, a fervant declaration that they are not a feminist. Yes, I think you are, you have a vagina. Who in their right mind would say that they think they are less worthy than the person sat next to them?
It reminds me of a recent trade union poster I saw on an employers wall. It asked, “What have trade unions done for me?”. Its a question that I hear amongst those who are unsupportive of trade unions. The poster simply listed all the benefits that trade unions have enabled workers to secure – sick pay, maternity leave, minimum wage – the list goes on. I very much feel it’s the same with feminism. Not a feminist? What part of your rights would you like taken away – the right not to be raped in marriage? The right to demand equal pay for equal work? The right to vote? To own property? Perhaps it’s just that women today see feminism as a solution to problems which no longer exist – an issue for the older generation. Well thank f*ck for people like Moran who are keeping it on the agenda for this one.