This post is a response to Catherine Bennet’s Modern Tribes: the lactivist MP in the Guardian this week. You may want to have a look before reading on. The faulty logic in this kind of thinking is exactly what I wanted to point out when I began writing Renegade Feminist so I couldn’t not call her out for being a feminist misogynist.
“No I’m not getting behind your ‘maternal feminism.’ What does that even mean anyway? Isn’t feminism supposed to be women finally getting away from this touchy-feely maternal stuff? I don’t care what you do with your kids, it doesn’t affect me anyway. And as long as you don’t let it affect me we’ll be just fine.
Politics and business are and always have been a ‘no child space.’ Don’t you understand that? Men have been proving for centuries that in order to have anything to do with these arenas we need to leave the nurturing to someone else. I’m pretty sure all those squishy feelings, not to mention squishy bodily functions, get in the way of mental faculties anyway. Don’t you think so? I mean, think about it, and be honest for once.
I’m not saying mums can’t be a part of business or politics, but that they need to draw a line between home and work. Like men do. Again, men have forged this path for us. Who are we to go a different way? How ever could women think they can change the world? Surely the best we can do is join the systems in place as they are. We need to play by men’s rules to get ahead like they do.
What do you mean you want to re-balance the rules so as to achieve equality? I don’t get it. I’m not interested in babies and children; I’m only interested in proving I can possess just as much toxic masculinity as a successful man. Of course I appreciate you have joined me in solidarity on abortion rights, even though you won’t have one. Yes reproductive rights are important in the fight for equality. At least you can see that. Of course I expect you to also join me in solidarity on insisting the wage gap be forcibly closed by legislation. What do you mean your fight will help close the wage gap? You would have everyone openly balancing family and work concurrently? I don’t see things the same at all. Men won’t do it, why should I?
Why don’t you see you could have it all if only you left your kids at home while you’re at work and stay available to work while you’re at home? Then you won’t have to do the third shift at all because you could hire some poor woman to oppress instead of being oppressed yourself. When enough of us are living like we’re men, we’ll know we’ve reached equality. Why can’t you see that???”