Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feminist numbers are increasing

Nick Cohen, October 2009 on Joan Smith:

The last principled feminist in the British media, now has a website here

Nick in January:

Julie Bindel, who can often seem like the last feminist in England...

Nick yesterday:

[Joan Smith] is one of the few true feminists left in Britain

Where once there was but one, now there are a few. Surely this is a good thing.

As for what Ms Smith is on about, I have no clue whatever. The kindest explanation is that true feminists are out 'having it all' and her column is written by the ubiquitous infinite monkeys with typewriters. If they were busy, perhaps Conservative Central HQ (as I believe it's now called) had a hand.

They’ve listened to and funded religious groups which do little to further women’s equality in their communities, while at the same time condemning gay people, holding anti-Semitic views and trying to limit free expression.

I'm all for freedom of speech, but if anyone even thinks of suggesting that she's talking about the WRP I may have to start banning people.


Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I don't think Nick Cohen should pontificate on feminism.

He doesn't seem to realize that men benefit from (mostly female) cleaners too.

2/10/2011 10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

Sorry if this comes through twice.

Just wanted to add that I don't think NC should pontificate about feminism because here

he doesn't seem to acknowledge that men also benefit from (mostly female) cleaners.

2/10/2011 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

I hate to harp on, but I'll remind everyone of that time that Nick and clive James indicted... what was it?

Western Feminists, Australian Local Intelligentsia, Australian Multiculturalist Ideologues, Legions of Australian Female Pundits, Western Female Thinkers, Writers In The Serious Newspapers, The Experts In Our Feminist Movement, The Irresponsible Semi-Intelligentsia, The Pampered Intelligentsia & Anti-Western Feminists...

...By my count, for favouring genital mutilation, repression and so on. when you actually looked for the names of all these legions of awful people in their articles, you got... "Germaine Greer". And that was it.

Let's just say that Nick's expertise may owe more to Google News than atually keeping up with feminist thought. can't say I'm much better myself, mind.

2/10/2011 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

It seems that some people only start to be interested in feminism to support some other political agenda. (I am *not* criticising all those who are broadly supportive of, say, action in Afghanistan and also express a concern about women's rights in the region.) When some complain that 'western feminists' don't say enough about fgm or whatever, one sometimes suspects that the point is at least partly prompted by a dislike of feminists - I dislike *some* myself, but there does, as FR says, seem to be a focus on those with the most extreme and controvesial views.

2/11/2011 07:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And that's a familiar decent trope, isn't it? "I am not going to talk about your reasonable proposals, because EXTREMISTS!" Of course, it isn't just decents who do this: those of us who've 'been on the left' will remember how 'fascist!' got wheeled out rather too often, until Jane Horrocks skewered it in 'life is sweet'.

Chris Williams

2/11/2011 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Cohen's definition of a 'true feminist' is 'a female journalist who I happen to agree with'. Usually this agreement is because they're slating other female journalists for appeasing fascism or some such. Nick doesn't seem to know of any 'true feminists' who aren't journalists - i guess this is in keeping with his 'you have to write exactly like a broadsheet journo in order for me to take you seriously as an intellectual' schtick.

The Smith piece is dreadfully confused. Witness:

Labour’s record doesn’t bear much scrutiny in this respect and shadow ministers would be better occupied acknowledging past incoherence, such as support for publicly-funded ‘faith’ schools, than launching petulant attacks on Cameron. If the Party isn’t careful, the Tories could easily steal Labour’s clothes as the champion of liberal/secular values.

Considering that faith schools are a really important part of Tory education policy (most 'free schools' will end up being faith schools), I can't work her point out at all there. And she's seriousl;y suggesting the best thing for Labour to do is to attack their own record on religion?

On a wider note, I think it's incredibly funny just how easy it is to impress Decents. All Cameron has to do is make a poorly-written speech whose ideas are impossible to implement and which go against his own key policies in a number of ways, and they lap the shit up (witness the HP sauce response, which seemed to think it was likely to lead to Cameron increasing funding for English classes for immigrants - when he's just massively cut that exact same funding). Kind of sad that they don't even notice when they're being used.

There's so much that Cameron's govt are actively doing that they should be opposing; there are so many things that left-wing journos could be doing. And what are Bright and Cohen doing in the midst of all this? enthusiastically praising David Cameron.

2/11/2011 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are Johann Hari and I claim my Five Pounds!


2/11/2011 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

jeez, that's uncanny...

2/11/2011 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Cian said...

Sarah, yeah its a tricky one that. I agree with the point burried in there, but the stench of misogny hangs over the entire piece, as well as the suspicion that he doesn't realise the people he's attacking (essentially very wealthy upper middle class people) are not typical. Or that an au-pair is not the same as either a live in housekeeper (seriously, I don't know anyone who has one of those), an aupair, or a cleaner that somebody pay sfor a couple of hours a week and who does it because its better paid than cleaning offices (and who was almost certainly born here, if that matters).

2/11/2011 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Yeh it's weird that Cohen thinks that having a live-in housekeeper is a typical 'middle-class' arrangement. you don't need a live-in housekeeper to make sure the loos are clean, you could always employ a cleaner once a week. It's serious sleight of hand to suggest that the majority of middle-class families in Britain 'rely' on these kinds of 'live-in' servants.

Also Cohen claims that nobody British will do these jobs any more but it's just not true. an awful lot of students I've taught in the past have worked as domestic help, be it nannying, tutoring or cleaning.

There's a fair few other dodgy parts:

I am adamant, however, that many comfortable British families [...] see nothing wrong with firing a nanny because she is pregnant.

I'm sure Nick's adamant about that, he's adamant about everything. But most of this stuff is either based on isolated cases, or his own imagination. an awful lot of hat he writes is based on blind prejudice about guardianistas.

discussed here:


2/11/2011 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Cian said...

Also Cohen claims that nobody British will do these jobs any more but it's just not true.

No, and where we live its fairly well paid compared to some of the other options. Its a weird liberal guilt, cleaners. I mean sure if you're using workers from a company that exploits them, you should feel guilty. Or indeed if you're exploiting them yourself. But its perfectly possible to hire a cleaner without exploiting him/her. And I don't know what that's worse than hiring a gardener, or a handyman, or whatever.

2/11/2011 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Cian said...

I am adamant, however, that many comfortable British families [...] see nothing wrong with firing a nanny because she is pregnant.

I am pretty dubious about this. For one thing its illegal, and for another I suspect that Nannies (in demand and fairly well paid as a result) probably are aware of their rights as a group.

2/11/2011 01:18:00 PM  

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