And now for something completely different: tomorrow, the demonstration against Stonewall’s nomination of Julie Bindel for a prestigious journalism award will take place from 6.30-8.30pm outside the Victoria and Albert Museum in central London. I’ll be there.
Julie, for her own part, has now read and expressed distaste at the content of this blog. In fact, I’m quoted twice as an anti-Bindelite (which apparently equates to lesphobia) in this statement that Ms Bindel has put out prior to the demonstration.
So, because someone’s got to be the grown-up here, I’ve just sent her this message:
Dear Julie, I’m (firstname) (surname), the blogger who’s been leading a bit of a charge against you, not without opposition. I stand by my opinions; I’m sure you stand by yours. However, I’d like to meet you, and if you can persuade me that I’m wrong, I’m willing to concede that in as public a forum as I can manage. Would you like to meet up at some point to talk about our differences and see if we can’t resolve some things in sisterhood? I think there are things both of us wish we hadn’t said, and I’d like to be able to articulate in person what I feel about your platform; I’m sure we’d both learn a lot from each other. If you’d like to come and talk to me tomorrow, not that you’ll probably be able to do so, I’ll be at the demo – small, caucasian, hair a bit like yours, wearing big boots, all black and a sparkly scarf. If not, I’d really like to meet with you at some point soon – it can be on or off the record (although obviously I’d prefer to be able to write about it). Please let me know when you’re free – I can come to any London location and am fairly flexible as I work freelance at the moment. My telephone number is (myphonnenumber), and my email address is email@example.com. In a spirit of hatchet-burying, and with respect for a media career that I can only hope to emulate, I hope the demo tomorrow isn’t painful for you and your family. IMHO, if Stonewall are going to stand by their nomination of you, then they should damn well come right out and give you the award . So….good luck, I suppose. With respect, and hoping to hear from you soon, etc.
I hope she replies, really, I do. I hope we get to meet, and I hope she proves me wrong – I hope the feminists of my generation can work with the ‘radical’ label, and with the old guard. I hope we can stop distrusting each other. And I hope she allows me space to explain to her what elements of cissexism, misandry and partisanism we now have to abandon within the movement if we’re going to adapt to the challenges of this generation. Because yes, alright, I watched those speeches too, and it made me realise somewhere amongst the just-hayfever-really sniffles that what we should be working together for goes beyond partisan squabbling. We’re working for women, and men, and everyone else who’s worked over by patriarchy every day. And that needs to be the bottom line.