Monday, 28 June 2010

I'm a Feminist but...

Perhaps you could be forgiven for thinking that Julie Bindel would never need to insert a caveat after declaring her status as a feminist, and yet she's written a really thoughtful (and at times quite funny) piece in the Guardian today. See Julie - I don't always have a go at you ;-)

She talks about visiting Glastonbury and her thoughts on the Snoop Dogg gig. I have to confess that his music does nothing for me (The PSB gig was a more my thing - and bloody brilliant it was too) so I've never really payed attention to the lyrics. I do remember being on my student union's executive some ten years ago and debating whether we should ban Eminem songs from all Union property as he was "homophobic" - I was in a minority opposed to the ban but thankfully the majority came round to my view in the course of the meeting. Many other student unions did introduce a ban. I'm anti-censorship so for me it was a simple principled position. I think there's nothing I would ban.

Yet, as in so many things, in this I am in a minority. Most people end up with some fudged compromise that takes account of their positions on issues and the realities of day to day life. Bindel is on the one hand a feminist and on the other a Snoop Dogg fan. She is far more reflective of 'ordinary' society in this respect. She writes in her piece that:

'But of all the deeply controversial gangsta rappers, he is also probably the most charming and has the best sense of humour. Maybe that's why he gets away with it'.

Let's play around with this position. Hitler - had some dodgy views on Jews and homosexuals but what if you rather liked his painting? (I don't, but stay with me) Is it legitimate to praise his art work but hate other aspects of his life? What are we prepared to fudge and what aren't we? Most of us, if not all, fudge something along the way. As human beings we are a dizzying spectacle of contradictions. Bindel's piece today is simply a statement of the human.

Read the full piece here.

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