Keep calm and ...
Despite what some might say, 2012 was not the year feminism died. Quite the opposite, in fact, writes Nicky Bryson.
The other day I was at the gym reading a trash/fash mag on the cross-trainer. I know the elements of that sentence seem to cancel each other out but I’m not one of those people who can’t wait to get to the gym and smash out some reps or whatever.
If I place a magazine strategically over the cross-trainer’s digital display and then ‘read’ it cover to cover, it takes exactly one hour. During that time my little legs are pumping and my little brain isn’t screaming, “When can I get off this fucking thing?”
Generally this is a happy time for me when I can style-stalk outfits for my closet, keep up with the Kardashians and follow the Jessica Simpson’s twenty-year gestation. These mags are chosen specifically for their ability to numb me into fairyland, like drink-spiking for exercise.
Recently, however, one of these glossy rohypnols made me think. In the gym! It was most perturbing. I’m not going to reveal the name except that it rhymes with, um, Fartzia, Dartzia – crap – nothing rhymes with Grazia.
Anyway, this magazine that I won’t mention was celebrating the new year by wrapping up the highs and lows of the one just passed. One of the entries proclaimed 2012 to be the year that feminism died.
Excuse me? Died? To begin with, I don’t think you could categorically state that there has ever been a time in history when feminism was not alive. I’m pretty sure that even back in the caves when our Neanderthal brothers were struttin’ about, the women of the clan were actually running the show.
To support their claims of feminist death, this unknown publication held up the example of Germaine Greer calling our prime minister a fat-ass who wears unflattering jackets.
I’m glad that a magazine which devotes many of its pages to dissecting how clothes look on women could find some for outrage for Greer’s ridiculous comments but if that’s all they’ve got, then Fartzia somehow completely missed the feminism tsunami that swept across Australia last year and is still building momentum.
2012 was the year that our whole country denounced Alan Jones’s claims that women are “destroying the joint”. It was also the year that our prime minister brought the word “misogyny” back into regular usage when she delivered that blistering speech to Tony Abbot, practically shaking with white-hot rage. Instead of being dismissed as a ‘silly women having a rant’, she was held up as a feminist example both here and internationally.
Fabulous writers like Clementine Ford, Ben Pobjie and Clem Barstow also rose to prominence last year throwing around the ‘f’ word like a cricket ball at a backyard ‘barbie and lengthy comments threads followed every one of their mainstream media pieces.
The ground-breaking feminist event Women Say Something also stormed through 2012, gathering supporters and high-profile guests and selling out almost as soon as tickets became available.
I think that 2012 was the year Australian women were fearless about grabbing feminism by the reins again. The writers at that magazine may be digging a grave for feminism but to keep things in perspective, these are the same people that call the relationship between Chris Brown and Rihanna ‘turbulent’ instead of ‘criminally violent’.
Hand me some cardboard and poster paint, will you? I plan to spend 2013 destroying the joint as well.
[Image] Year of feminism … Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivering her misogyny speech in Parliament in October last year. Photo: ABC TV