Feminist Debate Has Not Failed
The Intelligence Squared debate Feminism Has Failed of last week ago is still raging online.
One debater, Virginia Haussegger, has published an edited version of her speech over at ABC’s the Drum. For Haussegger the discourse is international and she argues that if we look beyond our own borders the rights of women are less important than culture. She points to the Pacific where 60% of nations have no laws against domestic violence and “73 per cent of women in the Solomons think it’s OK for a husband to beat his wife”. She argues that “Traditional, cultural practices that assert male authority will always disadvantage women. So why do we kow-tow to them?”
Monica Dux, who argued that feminism has not failed re-published her debate at the Age online. Dux weighs in with “Saying that feminism has failed is short-sighted and simplistic, because it misunderstands and underestimates both feminism and the problems feminism is seeking to solve.” She indicates the advances feminism has made in the workplace and the home, but sees debate among feminists as being crucial to creating change. Dux argues, “Feminism has given us a language to talk about these issues.”
In response to Michaela McGuire’s piece questioning whether she is a feminist, Mel Campbell has followed Dux’s advice and continued debate over at the Dawn Chorus. Campbell says she’s experienced the difficulty of being part of the debate - finding herself flamed with comments on the net - but she “never abandoned my conviction that I am a feminist, or become less willing to point out and condemn gender-based inequity as I see it”.
Campbell goes on to define her own feminism:
It’s the belief that nobody should be denied dignity, respect or opportunities – personal or professional, in public or at home, as a citizen or in relationships – solely because of their gender. If you believe this, and you don’t like seeing people disrespected or disempowered because of their gender, you’re a feminist.