Friday, 6 June 2014

On the mutual compatibility of funbags and feminism.

This lunchtime, someone whose intellect I generally have a lot of respect for expressed the opinion that a woman who "goes out in a low-cut top to get men to buy her drinks" cannot call herself a feminist. This is the response I would have given had I not been busy refraining from shoving a fork up his nose.

Feminism is about the right to equal treatment, bodily autonomy, and questions of safety and consent. Unless the breasts in question have magic, hypnotic powers or emit mind-altering gases, there is no contradiction or hypocrisy here. What you're ranting about is a transaction consented to by equal parties, in a way that infringes on nobody's rights or even personal space. It may offend your sensibilities for whatever reason, but it does not run counter to feminist principles.

In so far as it isn't illegal and doesn't cause harm to others, what someone does on a night out is their own business and in no way affects their right to a progressive political or moral stance. This applies equally to a feminist enjoying her own attractiveness and a frequent drinker arguing in favour of the NHS. To be judged only on what is pertinent, rather than on irrelevant personal matters coloured by people's prejudices, is a right we should all be fighting for - not only when it affects us and the things we care about, but also regarding people who annoy the hell out of us.

By all means find fault with a person's reasoning. But if you dismiss their opinions wholesale or deny them the right to an opinion at all based on what they choose to do with their own body, don't you dare call yourself anything other than a fascist.

Incidentally, are there any clean forks about?