She puts the Sunday Times down on the coffee table and reaches for a biscotti. Her chocolate Labrador lolls around the conservatory, eagerly pursued by her two year old son Oscar, who is clad head-to-toe in Pumpkin Patch. As she pops the latté-dunked biscuit into her mouth she thinks: "I wonder if I'll fit in a trip to the Deli before the SlutWalk on Saturday?"
It may just be me, but this is not how I picture the typical feminist of today. Which is why, all things considered, I was a little surprised to see that the latest hot topic of feminist discussion is whether feminism is a pursuit for the middle classes, rather than everyone on the planet who thinks men and women should be equal.
As much as this debate aggravates my anti-classist ideals, and makes me hate Britain for ALWAYS BRINGING CLASS INTO EVERYTHING, it is an argument that, rather than fading the minute the sun comes out, like my hatred for Britain, could potentially divide an already weak movement. It is definitely worth consideration.
Feminism has - dare I speak too soon? - seen an almost-resurgence in recent months, with women finally reclaiming the F word. However, the middle class has also been having a resurgence-without-the-re in recent years, with The Economist announcing in 2009 that over half the world's population now belonged to the so-called Middle Class.
If we were to look at this as a correlative relationship, this would suggest that Feminism is, indeed, for the middle classes.
However, economic disaster has also seen an impressive surge in recent years. Rather than a Baby Boom, we are experiencing a Bugger I Have Nothing in my Bank Boom, meaning the working class are suffering more than ever. And yet we can see this too as correlative - or, at the very least, simultaneous - with the resurgence of feminism. Which discounts a key problem area.
Because, at the end of the day, one of the key problems of feminism is a sense of luxury. Throughout history, if you belonged to more than one socially marginalised group, the time would come when you would have to pick which fight to fight. And, when it came to gay rights over women's rights, or disability rights over women's rights, or black rights over women's rights, women's rights often dropped off the radar. Annie Lennox recently suggested that the gay community and feminism had yet to unite in full, explicit support of one another. Black women during the USA's Civil Rights movement lay down their pitchforks in the fight for the women's vote and focused instead on getting the vote for their husbands, brothers and sons - the black men. The multi-marginalised of us feel the need to select which marginalisation to fight against.
Therefore, is it possible that the working class have chosen to fight their fights elsewhere?
It is true to say that, what with escalating bills you can't pay, a daunting overhang of mortgage, a poor selection of schools in the area, a desperate need to put food on the table every day and therefore a constant battle against soaring supermarket prices, feminism may just not be a priority for people. Not only is this understandable, it's also pretty damn probable.
However, if the Current Economic Crisis and the resurgence of feminism are happening at the same time, doesn't this mean it hasn't deterred our budding feminists?
The thing is, feminism is still such a taboo word that, if you're going to identify yourself with it, chances are you are passionate enough about it to transcend your class category.
Another point that's been made is that the concerns of feminism are not so much the concerns of the working class. These have been identified as paying for a nanny (so as to manage 'working mum' status), and how to get more sway in high-flying positions, for example.
Not only do I feel that these two examples are rather missing the point (costs of a nanny are not the be-all-and-end-all of working motherhood) and are, in fact, patronising and degrading by suggesting no working class woman should aspire to obtain a high-flying position in which she might need tips on how to get on par with a male colleague, but I would suggest that, of all the fights we feminists fight, these two examples are very far off the most important.
Domestic violence, rape, sex trafficking, refusal to educate young girls, female circumcision (genital mutilation), arranged marriage - these are just a handful of fights from around the world that I would say were much, much more important than the local prices of nannys. Just a personal opinion, though.
What's more, some have argued that some of these important fights are often more relevant to the working classes than the middle classes. It has been suggested, relatively logically, that domestic violence is more likely to occur within a relationship if financial troubles are afoot. Furthermore, on a global level, problems with sex trafficking, education, arranged marriage and genital mutilation are often more likely to be the problems of the poor, rather than the problems of the wealthy.
Self-confessed feminists are still a bit like pandas - there aren't many of us around right now. Not to mention, society's disdain for the F word means you don't self-confess all that lightly. And, while it is very possible that feminism is losing supporters to other fights, this is something that has to happen - like a process of nature, it is inevitable, and perhaps even necessary. Women who need to worry about feeding their children over reclaiming the night should be allowed to do so - once things get a bit more stable financially, those who want to will reassert their support.
All in all, this isn't a question of whether feminism is for the middle classes. It is more a question of whether, right now, the middle classes are more actively feminist. And, I would say, with an Economic Crisis the size of Jupiter on our hands, ANYONE arming themselves to fight the feminist fight as well as the financial fight should be looked upon as brave, regardless of their class.
This is not a movement in which people are excluded. God knows feminists don't have the luxury of exclusion: this is only a tentative resurgence, it isn't 1918, you know.
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