Monday, June 26, 2006

Feminism and the art of dialogue

There is a sensible, well argued and interesting post over at Mind the Gap regarding thoughts on blogging, hostility and feminist dialogue.

Winter says: "In personal group situations, I find that feminists of different persuasion are generally well able to communicate ideas and opinions without eye gouging"..

Eye gouging...? I have visions of it kicking off all Grand Guignol.

My experience of being involved in the feminist movement has been uneven. I have had good and bad experiences. Very good ones in relation to defending rights by campaigning for a woman's right to choose, pay, childcare issues and so on. The feeling of solidarity was, for me, more prevalent than what I experienced when I was active in the revolutionary left. But the more negative and explosive situations were over issues such as porn, prostitution and violence against women.

I found to my shock if you didn't hold the correct interpretation of patriarchy then you were selling women out. There was no discussion or open debate. And that, for me, is the problem. Winter is right when she says we need to have communication and dialogue. We have disagreements but we should air them freely without worry that they will chucked in the recycle bin. Supressing debate is bad news. It will stunt the growth and continue the fragmentation of feminism. And as a socialist feminist I don't want to see that.