Not so long ago Monica Dux, in promoting the publication of jointly-authored book The Great Feminist Denial, attempted to initiate a conversation about re-branding feminism (in this opinion piece). You might recall that this didn’t end well for Dux. For many of us, excited as we are by the premise of Dux’s book, it remains difficult to see re-branding as anything more than capitulation to anti-feminists. Because while we understand that there is great diversity in our ranks and that diversity is a selling point for the movement, in rushing to distinguish ourselves from the ‘hairy lesbians’ and ease the fears of delicate recruits, we wonder what is so wrong with being a hairy lesbian.
In this opinion piece Rachel Funari also wonders what is so wrong with being a hairy lesbian. And there is much to like about her retort to Dux’s foot-in-mouth piece, particularly its strong defence of “glorious spinsterhood” and its articulation of the necessary challenges one faces in adopting a philosophy for change like feminism. If only Ms Funari hadn’t also peppered her piece with so much hypocritical sniping against mothers. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And mothers really aren’t your enemy.
Suburban mums with badly-behaved children (thanks for your parenting insights) and tedious complaints about husbands not doing enough (inequality is just so boring) aren’t taking over feminism any more than radical feminists have been relegated to a historical curiosity by the movement. Motherhood injustice is getting air time, quite a bit recently, but this has been a long time coming. Don’t forget we’re only now looking seriously at a paid maternity leave scheme in this country, there is much left to achieve. Scream all you like Ms Funari, look away, change channels, whatever you need, because some of us are relieved to be finally seeing issues like work/life balance and domestic labour negotiations getting serious attention. Some of us might even be radicalised as feminists by the process of seeing our stories told and shared with so many other women. And some of us suburban mothers are lesbian mums, and hairy or not have a lot more left to say about ‘mother rights’.
Funari says that the “balance between freeing women from a notion of biological destiny and acknowledging the importance of child-rearing is a tricky one”. Indeed, tricky enough to have stumped Funari.