I received an email from one of the two women journalists who are running a pop-up women’s club in Carnaby Street this month. It asked me to do an interview with Liz Jones, on the back of a piece I wrote recently for the London Review of Books about her. I declined for a couple of reason, one being that I don’t find the interview format, as opposed to open discussion, all that fruitful. But before I replied I clicked on the link they sent me about the club. I liked the idea of a women’s club (though actually they do exist). In the About Us section I noted the use of the phrases ‘promoting the best women in London’ and ‘networking events’, and then I read this:
“We’ve been getting hacked off with feminism telling us what we can’t do, and we wanted to celebrate all the exciting, brilliant things modern women are doing. All ‘women who do’ are welcome at The Other Club, Bunnies to Barristers.
After my practical reasons for declining I wrote this in my reply:
One other thing, having read the links you sent me. “We’ve been getting hacked off with feminism telling us what we can’t do…” This strikes me as divisive and intellectually lazy (at best). Feminism has never told women what they can’t do. Some individuals have. To make feminisim the enemy is to denigrate the movement that has for a very long time done battle against real forces that have always sought to tell women what they can’t do.
The lack of historical, social and political perspective on the feminist movement is not just thoughtless and a calumny. It uses the movement which has achieved so much for women, and recognizes how much is still left to do, as a cartoon prop for preening and self-promotion. Some of the events they are putting on are interesting, and a club for women to eat, drink, talk and enjoy themselves is an excellent idea. But if they really believe that they are producing a feminism-free venue for women, they need to think harder and better. Why, if feminism is irrelevent, should there be a need for a women’s club at all? I am really tired of those younger women who think they are beyond feminism. In truth, they haven’t even begun to approach it.