FRACTURED FEMINIST VISIONS
A recent article in the New Yorker, ‘Who Lost the Sex Wars’, sums up how feminism has often been derailed by disagreements and infighting. As well as the disparate beliefs seen between first, second and third wave feminists (who also often argued amongst themselves), we now have anti-feminists and post-feminism, which both decry the importance and relevance of modern-day feminism. However, I’ve found that it is impossible to spend so much time reading articles about feminism, motherhood and gender and not feel passionately about the ongoing essential struggle for women to live fair and free lives on equal terms with men.
There have been so many gains since the suffragettes fought for the fundamental right of a vote for women, but losses too, as the stories emerging from the contemporary lives of women show, particularly those that centre around all kinds of abuse, as well as online bullying, disenfranchisement at work, the double-shift of housework, and the demands of motherhood. Despite all the discussion and stop-start progression around women’s rights and autonomy, it’s clear women’s rights and women’s voices are always in danger of being decentralised and delegitimised. Some of the obvious contemporary circumstances are the current plight of women and girls in Afghanistan; the new abortion laws in Texas, US; the politically driven undermining of sexual assault victim Brittany Higgins in Australia; and the worldwide effects of Covid on women’s ability to work and take care of their children.
But, the story of fractured feminism and continued female oppression is only part of the picture. For I myself, along with many women I know, will attest to the power of being borne up by the women around them, not pulled down. Women have incredible power, resilience, and adaptability, both individually and collectively, and I wanted to tell the story of one such group of women in The Hush.