Why #MTRsues is good for feminism

Here’s the thing about feminism: just because feminists believe, as a starting point, that women are not inferior to men, it doesn’t mean we all have to agree with each other about everything else.

And here’s another thing: the argument in the MSM about Melinda Tankard Reist (and here for #MTRsues) has been a good thing for feminism because it has very publicly told people that there are different feminisms. That we’re not all pro-life and we’re not all anti-porn. (For the record, I am pro-choice and pro-porn. Yes, I know there’s a lot of porn that is degrading towards women, but it’s pretty easy to find porn that isn’t. Banning all pornography doesn’t fix misogyny and it doesn’t fix workplace safety problems. But it would be nice to see youporn and redtube have an “enthusiastic” category.) If you told me over Christmas lunch that 2012 would start with a two-and-a-half week discussion about the different feminisms, I’d have asked if you were on crack.

And then someone had to go and ruin it by pulling the “bitchiness” card – the idea that women can’t disagree with each other without being big meanies. And that someone was Cathy Sherry: Sisterhood beware – silencing ideas stymies progress.

Progress comes from thrashing out ideas. Progress comes from telling people about our ideas. Progress does not come from pretending that when women disagree, we’re being bitches. Yes, there has been a small amount of nastiness on the internet, but it’s been pretty minor compared to the bigger discussions going on. (To be clear, I’m talking about what I’ve seen in the opinion pages, on blogs and on twitter. It is possible that I just move in a world where people are fairly respectful towards each other.)

Oddly, Sherry directs her complaint about “personal vitriol” at Anne Summers, who wrote the personal vitriol-free piece, There is no such thing as a pro-life feminist. Unless you consider this to be personal vitriol:

She can think and believe whatever she likes about her religion or her politics but she has no right to trample on the principles of women’s equality that are still struggling for traction in so many parts of the world. Just because she says she is a feminist does not mean she is.

Gee, what a mean, unreasonable thing to say. Quick, someone call the Personal Attack Police! And while you’ve got them on the phone, tell them about this pot kettle black from Sherry:

I have long considered myself a feminist and been disturbed by the parts of the sisterhood who operate like the nasty in-group in primary school. You can’t be our friend because you don’t wear the right pink dress. You can’t be our friend unless you toe the approved party-line on abortion, childcare or sexual clothing. It is astounding to watch grown women engage in exclusionary behaviour that most of us outgrew by age 10.

There are so many things wrong with Sherry’s piece. She complains about shooting the messenger, playing the woman not the ovary (because I prefer genitals to sports, even if it no longer makes sense), and silencing people who disagree with you, and then does all those things.

Sherry writes:

Finally, silencing ideas stymies progress. The essence of any functioning democracy is the ability to get as many ideas on the table as possible and then thrash them out without fear or favour.

Um, isn’t that what we are doing? Getting many ideas about feminism on the table and thrashing them out? So let’s not pretend that women are being bitches just because you argued with them 15 years ago. If you want to talk about silencing people, saying “It is astounding to watch grown women engage in exclusionary behaviour that most of us outgrew by age 10″ is one hell of a silencing tactic.

The discussion isn’t about disliking Tankard Reist, but about whether or not someone can be feminist if some of their work is pro-women and some of their work is anti-women. It’s an interesting discussion. I do find it problematic that a feminist can be pro-life for everyone (as opposed to pro-life for themselves but acknowledging that other women can make their own decisions), but I think there’s more value in discussing her ideas (as Summers and Kate Gleeson have done), than in whether or not she can use the f-word. Clearly, Tankard Reist’s pro-life feminism is complicated, but that’s her business as long as her feminism is not presented as the only feminism. This isn’t a problem with feminism, it’s a problem with the number of voices the mainstream media lets in. After all, there are different schools of economic thought but no one argues about whether they can all exist in the public sphere. And for two-and-a-half weeks in January, feminists have enjoyed this too.

67 responses to “Why #MTRsues is good for feminism

  1. I have two comments to make about the Sherry article:

    1. I did not like this elitist swipe at bloggers.
    “Now that unaccountable bloggers, sneering and abusing from the safety of their bedrooms, have entered the fray, the pool of contributors to civil public debate is even smaller.”
    I don’t have a university degree, nor do I have a newspaper column. If I wanted to write about feminism, am I not entitled to a voice?

    2. The issue that is at the heart of #MTRsues as far as I’m concerned is the bullying. From where I sit in my bedroom it looks to me as if MTR, someone with an undeniably high profile, has engaged a high-powered defamation lawfirm to bully Jennifer Wilson into being silent. The power dynamic at work here is obvious to me (even without a tertiary education) – money & high profile against a blogger. I find it amazing that Sherry could write a column about voices being silenced and somehow managed to completely overlook this recent & relevant attempt to silence someone.

    • The Sherry piece was terrible. How is a blogger with her real name on her blog somehow “unaccountable”? The letter from the lawyer proves that she is accountable.

      And yes, it does indeed look like MTR is bullying Wilson. Nothin’ like the threat of expensive legal action to make someone shut up.

  2. Anonymous Person

    With all due respect, I completely disagree. Well, sort of. I mean, what you said is completely true, but it misses the point entirely, doesn’t it?

    I mean, isn’t the real story here “once again, wealthy person/organisation uses law to stymie legitimate criticism”? People should be comparing this to the chiropractor’s association that sues doctors for saying that there’s no proof that what they do is effective; and the church of Scientology who sue everybody who calls them a fruity cult that worships flying saucers; and that South African businessman who claimed his vitamins could cure aids and then sued Ben Goldachre for calling him a bullshit artist, costing him something like 300,000 pounds in legal fees despite the fact that he won; and the stupid British reality TV doctor who sued everyone who pointed out she wasn’t really a doctor of medicine.

    Why is everyone trying so hard to make this a debate about feminism?

  3. Thank you. I hope to read other blogs taking your lead.

  4. I’m not going to wade into the ins and outs like I’ve have on other blogs – I’ll just say I’ve learned to ask for definitions of feminism from individuals from now on. I’ve been talking with my feminist friends about the issues raised, which has been clarifying.
    Do you think the MSM will now look for a greater variety of feminist voices to represent the movement? (Lets admit it – they have been lazy.)
    And, do you think the public discussion has been attracting more people to the movement or put has been putting people off?

    • Its not just what the various voices are currently say, often about their own activities and those of their cliques, but what other activities they are currently involved in; and, what activities they have been involved in in the past, and what they might or might not have said about them since.

    • I’d like to think the MSM will look for more voices, but it’s unlikely. They know the ones they currently use generate lots of clicks and arguments. Mind you, all it takes is one journo to call someone different for a change. That might happen.

      As for your last question, I really don’t know. I move in small-l liberal, feminist circles, so we all talk about this stuff anyway.

  5. I thought Cathy Sherry piece was reasonable, apart from describing Jennifer Wilson as an unaccountable blogger. Anne Summers piece appeared unreasonable to me, dismissing MTR’s claims as being a feminist just because she is pro-life. Many sufferagette’s were opposed to abortion, are they not feminists? They certainly advanced Women’s rights.

    Anne Summer’s isn’t interested in discussing feminism, only debasing someone she disagrees with.

  6. My last paragraph was a generalisation, I can see that now with the benefit of hindsight. I still don’t agree with the notion that MTR denies women control of their fertitliy because she is pro-life, unless she appears at abortion clinics demanding women reconsider.

    P.S: I’m not a suppoter of MTR or a crusty conservative. I just don’t comprehend why focus on MTR views now. She has appeared in MSM for quite some time. My only conclusion is it is due to #MTRsues. People who would labels themselves as progressive, liberal or whatever adjective people use to describe themselves; see her legal action as an attack on one of their own, bolstering the types of dichotomies LW vs RW, conservatives vs progressives which do not nothing to further debate.

    • The current focus on her views is because of the Sunday Life profile that glossed over some very important issues. I am surprised that you seem to think that discussing her views is odd when #MTRsues is about publication of what may be behind those views.

      As I said in my post, I have no problem with people who are pro-life for themselves. But I do have a problem with people who are pro-life for everyone. Now, contrary to your suggestion, Tankard Reist has been linked to denying women access to safe abortion. Please read this article by Kate Gleeson.

  7. Read the article. I acknowledege, I was wrong. MTR has been denying women control of their reproductive rights.

  8. Conflict is historically a part and result of achieving any big social goal. Revolutions always involve people of different viewpoints joining together to achieve the goal, and then splintering off to focus on their individual goals. When men do this it’s called political struggle. When women do it, it’s called bitching.
    For the commenters like William, who don’t know what the fuss is about; short answer : when feminist women supported temperance and Prohibition, it didn’t turn out well. Supporting anti-porn along with religious conservatives probably won’t either.
    I am glad to see feminist debate in the media. I am less impressed with all the apologies for doing so . “We live in a post-feminist world, sorry for still talking about it.” Is that like we live in a post-racist world, so we don’t need a tent embassy?
    I think we should all stop saying “pro-life” and start saying “anti-safe and legal abortion.” It would be ever so much more accurate.

  9. Comparing campaigning against women’s bodily autonomy with not wearing “the right pink dress” is either crashingly disingenuous or just plain stupid, and either way is both offensive, and makes it apparent Sherry has no genuine argument.

    I am old enough (ahem) to remember when Helen Garner brought out “The First Stone”. Two things stood out: first, the criticism of the book by feminists (Eva Cox is one I remember) was admirable for sticking to substantiative criticism of the points made in the book, and avoiding any personal, off-topic or attacking language. Secondly, the wider media rushed to portray said criticism as bitchy catfighting (they can never decide whether to go canine or feline, can they?) that proved the end of feminism.

    Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

  10. Regarding your recommendation to read the Kate Gleeson article, I have this to say.

    While MTR’s association with Senator Brian Harradine cannot be refuted, I take exception to Gleeson’s (and many others’) attempts to smear his poltical legacy and thus, to tar MTR with the same brush. In particular, she writes:

    ‘It is widely accepted that after securing Harradine’s support for the partial sale of Telstra in 1996, the Howard government agreed to his demands to restrict the approval of the abortion drug RU486, already in wide use in Europe. /The most significant aspect of the deal was Australia’s adoption of the ”global gag rule”, dictating AusAID’s overseas family planning guidelines.’

    Of course Gleeson carefully uses the words, ‘It is widely accepted’, because both these claims are myths. They belong to that long litany of lazy media untruths that get told so often, they finally pass for equally lazy facts. Certainly, the Howard government reluctantly agreed to many of Senator Harradine’s ‘balance of power’ demands, but neither the RU486 bill nor the AusAid gag rule were among them.

    What goes unmentioned in these attacks on Senator Harradine is that BOTH major parties supported the RU486 importation restriction bill anyway, in both 1996 and 2006, so his vote was unimportant. Also, he was only in parliament for the 1996 vote, but had left parliament by the time of the 2006 vote. As for implementing the AusAid ‘gag rule’, this was not due to pressure from Senator Harradine (even though he probably would have approved of it). On the contrary, this was an initiative of the Reagan administration, which the Howard government fully agreed with and was determined to adopt.

    However, Senator Harradine DID use his balance of power in the Senate to win key concessions from government on a vast variety of important social justice and environmental issues such as the Tasmanian forests, human rights legislation, telecommunications reform and Wik Native Title, limiting the power of media ownership and voting against the GST.

    I’m pro-choice and atheist, so I obviously disagree with Senator Harradine on family planning issues but I greatly respect his contribution to Australian politics. I also believe that MTR’s association with him is something to be admired, not constantly smeared and attacked.

    • Yes, it is true that both major parties supported Harradine’s amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill 1996 (more info: http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rn/2005-06/06rn19.htm). I haven’t seen anyone suggest that MTR was behind those amendments, which is why people are asking her what her involvement was. It’s a simple question.

      I’m not convinced by your assertion that Harradine wasn’t connected to ensuring AusAID adopted the “global gag rule”. (See for example, Australia: The state of democracy, by Marian Sawer, Norman Abjorensen and Philip Larkin.) And it is just an assertion, since I don’t think anyone except the people who were there can be sure about deals done in politics.

      Just because he did good things for the environment doesn’t mean he didn’t do bad things for women’s rights. And I don’t think pointing that out constitutes an attack on Harradine. Nor is pointing out that MTR was employed by Harradine a smear.

      • Fine. But as both sides of poltics supported both the RU486 bill and the AusAID gag rule (especially the Lib/Nats), then why aren’t they being implicated as evil anti-abortionists? Harradine is being used by both sides of politics as the fall guy.

        ‘And I don’t think pointing that out constitutes an attack on Harradine. Nor is pointing out that MTR was employed by Harradine a smear.’

        Not when it’s subtely designed to ensare her in a Gotcha! web, with the underlying intention of compromising her credibility. (C’mon, you know it’s true.)

        ‘Just because [Harradine] did good things for the environment doesn’t mean he didn’t do bad things for women’s rights.’

        And just because MTR is on the wrong side of feminist abortion politics does not mean she has a lot to offer women’s advocacy – albeit on the conservative side.

        • Ooops! Itchy Post Comment finger. Should’ve said …

          ‘And just because MTR is on the wrong side of feminist abortion politics does not mean she HASN’T a lot to offer women’s advocacy – albeit on the conservative side.’

          Those damn double negatives…

          • But therein lies the problem – I’m not saying she hasn’t done good things. However, those things can equally be attributed to a conservative position, as well as a feminist position. And that is what people are trying to work out.

        • But as both sides of politics supported both the RU486 bill and the AusAID gag rule (especially the Lib/Nats), then why aren’t they being implicated as evil anti-abortionists? Harradine is being used by both sides of politics as the fall guy.

          I’m going to have to disagree with you again. No one is using Harradine as a fall guy. This discussion is about what role MTR played in his anti-abortion efforts.

          Not when it’s subtely designed to ensare her in a Gotcha! web, with the underlying intention of compromising her credibility. (C’mon, you know it’s true.)

          Nope. You’re on your own with that one.

          • I definitely AM on my own in not accepting the contradiction you are tripping over. She openly declares her Christianity, her association with Harradine, her pro-life views etc etc … so what is the point of pushing her to answer questions that are already public knowledge – unless it’s to bully and smear? Forcing people to answer questions they have repeatedly answered is a typical smearing tactic used to set someone up to look as if they ‘have something to hide’.

            You say that MTR’s ‘pro-life feminism is complicated’, but you seem to be going out of your way to oversimplify it – by turning HER into the bully, not those who persecute her in the guise of ‘different feminisms’.

            • No kellsy, it’s you who is tripping over the contradiction. If she is open about her beliefs, how can they be used to smear her?

              And no, I am not going out of my way to oversimplify MTR’s feminism. I am not MTR and so I am not the person to explain her feminism.

      • Can I suggest this document might clarify MTR’s views on banning RU486 – in her own words and, as I understand, dated whilst she was Harradine’s Bioethics Advisor.. I think this speaks for itself and anyone pretending she didn’t fully support his views and, I believe, provide the arguements he used should read the Hansard debates surrounding this issue and compare the words.

        http://www.bioethics.org.au/Resources/Online%20Articles/Opinion%20Pieces/0603%20RU486%20trials.pdf

  11. Why is it that so many in this debate, including several commenters above, are all too willing to adopt the prevailing assumption that MTR’s defamation action again Jennifer Wilson is a bullying tactic? How different is this from patriachal assumptions that any disagreement between feminists is a sign of female bitchiness?

    The law of defamation allows citizens the right to sue someone they believe to have made false claims about them in published material – claims that have the potential to damage their reputation and credibility.

    Anyone who has followed Jennifer Wilson’s writing output over the last year or two – on her own blogsite, The Drum Unleashed, Online Opinion and others – must surely have noticed that she has a very unhealthy obssession with MTR. She has written more attacks on MTR than I’ve had the proverbial hot dinners. These attacks go beyond just disagreement with a point of view. They are for the most part unsubstantiated, nasty, vitriolic, deeply personalised and exclusively one-sided. Until this defamation action, MTR has never turned the tables and attacked Ms Wilson.

    No doubt Ms Wilson has played, and will play, the ‘censorship martyr’ card for all it’s worth. However, this is NOT a matter of free speech. If you run a blogsite and/or publish widely, you have a responsibility to use the power of your forum to act responsibly. Whether Ms Wilson has committed defamation towards MTR is up to the lawyers to argue and the judge to decide – if it gets that far. However, it seems that MTR has already been tried and found guilty – not for being a bully, but for being pro-life, anti-pornography and a Christian.

    • I disagree, which will ruin your dramatic ending. Everyone already knew MTR was pro-life, anti-pornography and a Christian. That isn’t the issue. The issue is that when someone published details of her religious beliefs, she threatened to sue. Yes, the law does allow that, but it comes down to whether a reasonable person would think less of MTR as a result of reading that post. It’s unlikely they would, so therefore it looks a lot like MTR doesn’t want people to know about her religious beliefs. So, of course, people now want to know why. They want to know if it’s true.

      I disagree with some of Wilson’s opinions, particularly around personal responsibility, but when you have a public figure threatening to sue someone who isn’t a public figure over a post about religion, then yes, it looks a lot like bullying.

      • There’s a lot more to this defamation action than simply publishing details about MTR’s religious beliefs. If MTR has gone to the point of bringing legal action, then she must have what amounts to a case.

        And I don’t understand what point you are making about everyone knowing that MTR was pro-life, anti-pornography and a Christian. I would have thought that that was my whole point. The fact that this IS well known is the reason it’s being used to smear MTR and attack her credibility, rather than having to take any notice of what she has to say.

        Sadly, patriachal progressives (both male and female) have as much respect for progressive feminists as they do for conservative women’s advocates. They’re having a good laugh at our expense.

        • My point is that since it was already public knowledge that MTR is pro-life, anti-porn and a Christian, and public knowledge because she has said those things herself, then publishing these details IS NOT DEFAMATION.

    • Are you really equating criticising someone on a blog with a defamation suit? There’s a big difference here – one has the potential to financially ruin the target if the target doesn’t shut up, the other one doesn’t.

      I don’t think a defamation suit was an appropriate level response.

      I think the ramifications for other bloggers and for free speech are significant. Other bloggers are now less likely to criticise MTR or the arguments she puts forward, as everyone now knows that instead of responding on a similar level, MTR is more likely to put in a call to her lawyers if she considers a blogger has stepped over the line.

      In this case, I don’t think Dr Wilson did step over the line. If someone is going to advocate a point of view on moral issues, then yes, their religious affiliations and beliefs ARE relevant.

      • Agree. The response by MTR was out of proportion to the action by Wilson. And it’s highly unlikely that the defamation action would be successful because it’s about what a reasonable person would think and a reasonable person, regardless of their religious beliefs, would not think less of MTR by knowing she is a Baptist. If she is, of course.

        You could argue that publishing details of the church she goes to was an invasion of privacy, but since the boss of that church (father? pastor? I know fuck-all about religious titles) said she doesn’t go there, then it falls flat.

    • Kellsy -On the subject of unhealthy obsessions (see the true definition of chauvinism for further understanding) I think YOU have written more words about MTR than Dr Wilson (and many of us combined) but that comment is adecdotal as I really can’t be fagged doing the stats… I like how you claim that MTR has been “Tried and found guilty” (nice histrionics by the way) yet you continue to deny that Dr Wilson is innocent until proven guilty on the defamation charge?? Nice double standards…. one rule for the…ahem dare I suggest a label..or will I too be SLAPPED?

  12. Jennifer Wilson does ‘criticise’ MTR as you so delicately put it. If criticism is all it was, then there’d be no problem (and no legal action). There is a fine line between free speech and hate speech. In regard to MTR, Ms Wilson crossed that line many times over.

  13. Kellsy:
    Gutsy,strongly put,vigorous debate. Where is the hate speech.?

  14. The best thing about all this is I have found some great websites, places where I can read informative, entertaining and enlightening writing. MTR does not make it into these categories. And no, the divine triad and their little frenzies have not responded to my post cited above.
    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/01/25/3415534.htm
    I am a little excited about being cited – I feel all grown up.
    As to it being good for feminism – I believe it will be, debate is always healthy. Unless it is my 8 year old debating on whether he will stop annoying me while I try to write. I keep losing that one :P.

  15. Kellsy:
    There has been the threat of legal action, but, as far as I know, no legal action. Of course, having the threat of legal action hanging above you 24/7 must be terrible. MTR has had plenty of opportunity to debate her beliefs, both on the ABC Drum or on The Sheep Blog.
    You can’t just accept that we (with nipples) accept everything unquestioningly and passively.
    Jennifer’s blog is not called ” No place for Sheep” for nothing!
    Baa,Baa Black sheep, have you any wool? Yes madam, yes madam 3 bags full etc..

    • Yes. The threat of legal action is very different to actual legal action. And since it’s obviously highly unlikely that legal action would go in MTR’s favour, it is just a threat. We can all see that.

    • ‘Of course, having the threat of legal action hanging above you 24/7 must be terrible.’

      My heart bleeds for her … not. I’m more concerned about how terrible it’s been for MTR to be the target of Ms Wilson’s vitriolic, personalised campaign of attack for well over a year. I’m sure you don’t see it as such, because I know you are one of her devoted supporters.

      ‘MTR has had plenty of opportunity to debate her beliefs…’

      She has debated her beliefs many times – just not with Ms Wilson. And get real. When someone is so obssessed with you as to write vitriolic articles about you over and over again, for well over a year, and to constantly imply that you are hiding sordid details about your past, and that you have psychological problems, and yada yada, there is no scope for a reasonable, rationale exchange of ideas.

      • I’ve seen a few articles, but they aren’t as nasty as you suggest. But I haven’t followed Wilson’s writing as closely as you have. Or Tankard Reist’s writing either, because I tend to disagree with them more than I agree with them.

        But kellsy, it is you who needs to “get real”. Wilson’s post aside, Tankard Reist has not answered a single question that people are asking about her beliefs and her background. And people are entitled to ask these questions since she has positioned her professional life as the defender of women, and is very effective at forcing companies to do what she wants. It is disappointing that she has chosen to ignore these questions.

        But this is the end of this line of conversation. I won’t be publishing any more comments on Tankard Reist vs Wilson, because that’s not what this post is about. If you want to debate the legal action, there are other places to do it.

        • And kellsy, you can accuse me of shutting down conversation all you want, but this is not a post about MTR vs Wilson. You clearly have a bit of the anti-Wilsons about you and that’s your business. There are other places you can have that discussion.

  16. Well, I think I will start calling myself a Christian, if thats all right with you Kellsy.
    Lets see, I support gay marriage, I am pro choice, I believe that Unicorns are great dinner guests, I think that John Travolta is the highest form of alien here on earth, and that MTR is really George W Bush in drag.
    Must rush, have to go to church now.
    See, sweeties, being a feminist, while a broad church, is fundamentally pro choice. There are some tenets of feminism, just as there are some tenets of Christianity that are immutable.
    MTR and her supporters are trying to turn lead into gold. It is not the middle ages anymore, but here is what they are trying to do:

  17. Notwithstanding your decision above newswithnipples:
    In the interests of balance / reality.
    (Just to round it out)

    Supporters of MTR /attackers of Wilson hounded Wilson on every ABC Drum blog to the point of the Mods resorted to having to remove some posts.

    Even worse some were left up there.
    Here’s a taste:
    ___________________________________
    Lady Penelope :
    16 Mar 2011 9:54:26pm

    are you also in need of euphemism Ms. Wilson?

    it appears so.

    the fruits of your failed revolution are scattered all around the plastic surgeries, the botox clinics, the bulimia wards, the psychiatric wards, the terminated pregnancies, the shaved prepubescent pubic porn star imitating teenagers that think to be pretty and accepted one need only perform a “random”.

    it is not all the girls, it is perhaps not even half of the teenagers but the fact that they are turning up in the numbers they are puts paid to your request for proportion.

    And you wish to speak of Japanese and Libyan
    victims now?!?!?
    Now?!?!?!

    Grow up.
    __________________________________
    I would not repeat on a Forum what a character called Kym posted on Unleashed.

    {Now if this person Lady P were ‘aligned’ with MTR it would change a few things,would it not?}

    Wilson has been on the receiving end of many relentless personal,vitriolic,attacks, on many occasions Kellsy,so stop crying foul.

  18. “For the record, I am pro-choice and pro-porn. Yes, I know there’s a lot of porn that is degrading towards women, but it’s pretty easy to find porn that isn’t.”
    Just to clarify, radicals do not seek to ban porn; anti-porn feminists are ultimately opposed to sexual violence, sexual slavery, human trafficking, child abuse etc. It’s a bit more complicated than just being “degrading” to women, although most of the porn that men consume absolutely is the degrading kind. Radicals think that in a post-patriarchy with no sexist oppression, then graphic images of that oppression will also cease to exist. To be pro porn is really unnecessary. It’s not going anywhere any time soon.

    “I’m not saying she hasn’t done good things. However, those things can equally be attributed to a conservative position, as well as a feminist position. ” Just to correct a prevailing myth – to take an anti-porn feminist position is not about conservatism. Two American feminists sought to file a civil rights ordinance in about 1985, in order to try to ban porn. Religious conservatives who opposed it for entirely different reasons offered support. So they did a deal with the devil and accepted that support. It went nowhere after that, but ever since then radicals have been constantly referred to by the mainstream as having connections to the religious right as a way of discrediting everything they say. As porn for the most part, supports the current social order, or status quo, to be pro porn is the conservative stance. MTR has done a lot of work around the sexualisation or pornification of girl babies and girl children. Again, this is not a conservative stance. The sexualisation of girl children also mantains the existing social order so to support that would be the conservative position and to challenge it is the progressive position. I’m totally opposed to her pro-life views but ultimately, it’s men who are enforcing those views on us, not individual women. She seems to get more criticism for being pro-compulsory pregnancy than people like Tony Abbott. I think she gets picked on for being anti-porn, personally. It’s really dangerous to criticise porn and safe to support it.

    • Yes, she does get more criticism than others for being pro-compulsory pregnancy (Linda, I love this term). I don’t know why that is, but perhaps it’s because she identifies as a feminist. Or perhaps it’s because Abbott is Teflon Tony.

  19. Linda Radfem

    Thank you. Thank you. Agree with absolutely everything you’ve said. Pro-pornography advocates still get attacked – but in a different way. As the mainstream narrative frames pro-pornography as being normal, healthy and progressive, while framing anti-pornography as reactionary, neurotic and regressive, those who criticise and attack pornography are treated as outsiders and misfits and those being criticised are treated as insiders. From there, it’s easy to frame a campaign against child beauty pageants or overly child-sexualised department store advertising as a one-dimensional threat from ‘outside’ to all our civil liberties, indeed our own private sexual enjoyment.

  20. You’ve censored two of my posts, and now you throw me an empty question designed to provoke more than enlighten. You’re really determined to get me off this thread, aren’t you? All I can say is that if you are ignorant enough to ask a question like that, you obviously haven’t read anywhere near as much of MTR’s work as you claim to – in fact, I suspect may not have read any at all. If you did, you would know that the cultural sexualisation of female children and young women form the backbone much of MTR’s work, a little fact that gets routinely overlooked in all the vitriol thrown at her.

    And, BTW, guilty as charged on an earlier accusation that I am anti-Wilson. Indeed, I am very, very anti-Wilson. But not because of her treatment of MTR. I don’t like her because she is a fake feminist of the Christina Hoff Sommers school. She pretends to be a feminist in order to slag feminism as ‘an insider’. Her sanctimonious garbage about pornography and abortion are just fronts for her to continually attack feminism and suck up to the men’s movement.

    So, you have your wish. I’m outta here. With the exception of LInda Radfem excellent comment above, this has been a very sad and ignorant thread.

    • Kellsy, I was very clear about why I was not publishing any more comments from you about MTR vs Wilson. This post is not about being anti-MTR and pro-Wilson. Like I’ve said before, I disagree with both of them on many things. But pulling you up for derailing the conversation is not censorship, so get your hand off it.

      “All I can say is that if you are ignorant enough to ask a question like that, you obviously haven’t read anywhere near as much of MTR’s work as you claim to – in fact, I suspect may not have read any at all.”

      Riiight. So you’ve decided to call me ignorant, rather than answer my question. And where do I claim to have read loads of MTR? Nowhere, that’s where.

      It’s probably best that you take your bat and ball and go home to sook about how ignorant everyone is.

  21. Kellsy,
    I believe looking around the internet that you are rapidly approaching the status of cyber-stalking, in that you have been shrieking on several forums simultaneously about your pursuit of Wilson at every available opportunity.
    And now you insist on dominating the conversation AND driving the agenda here.
    To do so is creepy,but to invert reality and claim that others are doing this to your heroine is somehow NOT OK is just immature.
    This blog can do what it wants with your posts.
    I’d bin the lot,but that’s not my call.And it’s even less yours.

  22. The article Lola linked to was prefaced with a remark that MTR has been criticised for being a “wowser”. I’m sure that MTR has been denigrated for daring to be a woman and hold public views. However, all of the articles cited here have praised her work raising awareness of the sexualisation of girls and respect her right to hold anti-porn views. The ultimate question being raised is: does her anti-safe and legal abortion stance aim to promote freedom for women or restrict it?

    We know that women find it easier to keep a place in male-dominated organisations and cultures if they espouse anti-women attitudes. MTR wouldn’t have had much of a career in the circles she has moved in if she espoused safe and legal abortion. I blame the patriarchy all over the place: but I find anti-safe and legal abortion views too dangerous to women’s rights to overlook.

  23. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3802750.html
    The two-and-a-half weeks discussion of feminism just turned into three! Whoo!
    I’m getting really bored with the feminism is dead, unneccessary and full of harpies message, though. Kids, that’s what they said about women’s suffrage. Misogynists have no imagination, it seems.

  24. Is this not a simple issue of allowing women to decide what happens to their bodies and also allowing them to control their reproductive systems? THEY can then INDIVIDUALLY decide on what they want. That said, I wonder how different the commentary would be if this issue related to the control of men’s bodies? While somewhat rhetorical, my questions are intended to get the naysayers in this whole debate remember what the central issue is here – a woma’s right to have her personal decisions respected. As some women would choose to have an abortion, others like MTR (or her self-decribed friend Miranda Devine) can say no. Both outcomes are fine, as it is their own decisons regarding their own lives.

    Finally, I decry the not so subtle assault on feminism as a conflicted and out of date philosophy that seems to be the subtext of some of what is being put out there; and, as men, we MUST not only support feminsit ideals and aspirations, but guarantee and respect women’s decisions as a fundemental human right.

  25. Pingback: The Feminist Supremacy? The Feminist Supremacy! | the news with nipples

  26. Pingback: In the future, even the robots will be feminists | the news with nipples

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