We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?
Then she can print it out and stick it next to her desk – along with a reminder to publish Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure by 15 May 2013.
There have been some great responses to Angie Motshekga’s comments. Two videos in particular have caught my attention.
The first was sent to me a by colleague. It is a music video made about Alice Paul and the suffrage movement in the United States of America. They have used Lady Gaga’s song Bad Romance to chronicle the movement’s activism and Alice Paul’s courageous, life-long struggle for women’s rights and liberation.
It baffles me that Angie Motshekga would want to distance herself and the ANC Women’s League from “feminist organisations”. Why would she distance herself from courageous, selfless and inspirational women who sacrificed their liberty and, in some cases, lives to achieve liberation for all women?
The second video was posted on Twitter and Facebook by the blog Feminists SA. In the video Mandy Nettifee performs For Young Women Who Don’t Consider Themselves Feminists (The Last Nerve). Or, as I would like to rename it, For Angie Motshekga: Minister of Basic Education and President of the ANC Women’s League Who Doesn’t Consider Herself a Feminist (The Nerve!).
For the purpose of relevance I have edited the introduction to Mandy’s performance. I think it is quite apt.
“For [Minister Motshekga] who [doesn't] consider [herself] a feminist. [Mama], please, for the love of all that is holy and right and grandmotherly in this world, stop saying that shit out loud. It makes you sound like an idiot. It’s like giving up the first twenty rungs on the ladder to getting some respect. The ladder is like a thousand rungs tall… When you say [you] just don’t consider [the ANC Women's League] a feminist [organisation] it’s like saying: “I’m not that crazy about [South African women] having the right to vote or get an education or prosecute men who perpetrate violence against [them].”
So, please Minister Motshekga…just stop.