The new feminism and the old bollocks

Paul Sheehan’s opinion piece in the SMH yesterday about Afghan politician and author Malalai Joya is a bit off. Called The new feminism: life and death it’s a nice little backhander at Western women, along the lines of ‘stop your whining about paid maternal leave, some women have real problems so think yourself lucky we’re not throwing acid at your face’.

People have tried to kill Joya. She was thrown out of Parliament for calling it a zoo and now moves from safe house to safe house in order to stay alive. So when Sheehan describes her as “young, attractive” it belittles her life. Hey, you may be one of the leading feminists in a country where feminists are killed but that doesn’t matter because, shit, you’re hot.

It makes his later comment about asking her if she wants to have kids seem dismissive and a little bit sleazy. Joya has been called the “bravest woman in Afghanistan” but let’s instead ask her about being a good little wife and mother.

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