Moderating Feminism first off covers the history of the movement from the Contagious Diseases Act to the implications of today’s sharia courts. Have we moved forward? The subject has always been fraught with contradictions. The Great War caused infighting over whether the conflict was good or bad for women’s liberation. Feminist writing in the nineteen sixties helped uncover domestic violence but also began the hideous male blame culture. The birth control pill brought big change. But while women could sleep around in the seventies, it was they couldn’t display themselves as sex objects. Touch but don’t look. The Superwoman era—the 1980s which should have been a triumph began the Backlash period. High heels were back.
What became of stoicism? Are we stronger or are women today helpless, unhappy and in need of special privilege. Modernising Feminism asks if radical feminists (not that they would see themselves as such) want women to worry more about themselves or others? How have we switched over the past fifty years? Trials of enforced unisex job sharing in Scandinavia and Israel found it produced the opposite. A more gendered, male-dominated community. But advances for women have also been significant.
Victorian soul savers viewed women not as men’s equals but as their superiors. In Moderating Feminism I suggest some feminists believe it is women’s duty to control and retrain men, which is similar. Equality should be the aim. Until recently if you were anti-porn you’d be labeled prudish. Campaigners such as Mary Whitehouse weren’t s women’s rights campaigners. So I guess it is ok to bare all, but not for men to look.
Moderating Feminism draws on 1980s research focused on bullying amongst teenage girls by their female peers. Queen Bee Syndrome was at the heart of girl group culture. Sisterhood should be more egalitarian. The Feminist Consumer continues to confound. As women achieve more parity with men they appear to value their physical looks even more than the politics which put them there.
Today there is too much talk about what is wrong rather than what’s right. Little is written on innate female wisdom, common sense and maternal judgement. In Moderating Feminism I give my view. But it is only one. I’m opening up the debate just a tad. I hope I’ve been a good moderator.