“Blue” feminism: a disaster for social justice

Blue feminism is the latest Big Thing. We see women like Louise Mensch and Nadine Dorries strutting around proudly declaring themselves to be feminists, and discussion as to whether Margaret Thatcher was a feminist icon. Of course, the answer to the later is a resounding, echoing, unequivocal no; and Mensch and Dorries are about as feminist as pink Lego.

The brand of alleged feminism promulgated by these sorts has very little in common with feminism. For a good introduction to blue feminism, I would strongly recommend reading this deconstruction from Boudledidge: ultimately, feminism for the blue team equates to little more than “having a cunt and having a good job”.

This construction of feminism falls flat on the social justice front repeatedly. I was originally going to term it “probably having a cunt and having a good job”, but I realised fairly swiftly that the blue feminists appear silent on whether trans women are included in their construction of women. I suspect none of them have given these women a second thought.

The notion that career success is the ultimate goal of blue feminism is also woefully misguided and denotes a complete lack of consideration of any women but the most privileged. Having a successful career and becoming rich is only an option for those who are already in a position to pursue this course: for those who can afford the university degree, the unpaid labour of internship and the right connections in the first place. One can only pull oneself up by the bootstraps if one is wearing boots in the first place. Practicalities aside, it is also somewhat jarring that career success is seen as the goal rather than the ability for women to lead a fulfilling, happy life. What of the people who are not made happy by making a lot of money?

The focus of blue feminism taken in combination with the notion gaining traction is disastrous for social justice-driven feminism. There is a complete blindness to intersectionality, and to actually making things better for everyone. To the blue feminist, feminism is an individualistic quest towards getting rich and famous while kicking away the opposition. It is hardly feminism, a means of societal change: it is a mode of justification for the selfishness of the lucky few. Blue feminism is a problem, not a solution.

The way blue feminists talk of life is in terms of perpetually scrambling up a greasy pole until finally smashing your way through the glass ceiling with your Louboutin stiletto. All blue feminism will ever achieve will be the occasional leg-up to raise a person inches up the pole. In contrast, those of us who strive for social justice would prefer to see that greasy pole replaced with a nice wide staircase from which we can collectively smash the glass ceiling with hammers.

Blue feminism is system justification. Blue feminism is not a neutral force, but actively harmful for almost all but the already-privileged. Blue feminism is an idea that needs to die.

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5 responses to ““Blue” feminism: a disaster for social justice

  • Alyson (@textuallimits)

    The “new Tory feminism” that Louse Mensch et al subscribe to isn’t new, and it isn’t feminist (it’s definitely Tory though, so the whole concept is only 2/3 of a lie). It’s very like Thatcher’s attitude towards women working, which was that it was okay, as long as you can afford to pay somebody else to make the dinner, clean the house, and look after your kids. I’m sure it’s great if you’re the successful career woman, but it doesn’t help you much if you’re the cleaner or the nanny.

  • colesk

    I agree.
    I have very little else to say, to be honest. I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly what it is about the likes of Dorries and Mensch that makes me want to scratch out eyes, but I think this is it. It’s the emphasis on career=success and if you happen to also be a woman, then bloody hell who cares how you got there, you must be a feminist success.
    Well said. And hi.

  • Jamie

    This is not a criticism but a genuine question:
    Can I ask why you use the word ‘cunt’ over the word ‘vagina’? The reason I ask is that whilst I think ‘cunt’ is a great word and I use it all the time, I appreciate that a lot of people find it intimidating so if I was writing an article that I hoped might make people think differently about something, I’d do as much as possible to avoid alienating any of that audience or appearing to be provocative for its own sake. Do you have a sociopolitical agenda for using ‘cunt’?

    • stavvers

      Vagina, I find, is woefully inadequate, it’s cold, it’s clinical, and most crucially, only refers to the hole. Vulva is awful for similar reasons.

      So I use cunt because it sounds nicer and includes everything!

  • Lego

    I love looking through an article that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

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