Moran, Knight and O’Neill: Old School Misogyny Rears its Ugly Head

Mea Culpa here, I haven’t actually read the article that India Knight is currently being vilified for. It’s behind The Times pay wall and I refuse to financially support them. All I have seen of the article is quoted here on Glosswatch’s blog. The first paragraph is, well, at best, questionable. Without reading the rest of the article, I can’t really comment on how it ends. What I can see is, that like Moran, Knight’s response to criticism on Twitter was really quite dumb. I think they both deserve criticism for their comments. Please note that I say criticism; not full on personal attacks or threats or orchestrated attacks by people who should know better. 

Thing is, I think a lot of the more vitriolic responses that Knight and Moran received are because of misogyny. I’m not trying to excuse them because they both dealt very badly with their respective situations. But, let’s be honest here, part of the reason they are getting such a kicking is because they have vaginas. After all, Brendan O’Neill called all child victims of rape, who did not report until after the death of their rapists, cowards. 

He blamed traumatised children for being too scared to tell the truth.

He blamed children when the adults around them knew they were being raped and did nothing.

Yes, Knight and Moran need to be critiqued. Their privilege-denying tweets were utterly ridiculous. But, we need to be holding male journalists accountable for the same shoddy journalism and total lack of self-awareness.

After all, I don’t see the Guardian running a response to the shit O’Neill wrote in the Huffington Post. 

Or, anyone calling for massive Twitter campaigns of harassment against O’Neill.*

*Not that I want to see someone do so. Massive public humiliation, threats of violence and intimidation and general insults are playground silencing techniques. It is possible to point out just how stupid and lacking in empathy O’Neill’s article was without making snide comments about his appearance.**

** Some might want to take a few minutes to review proper Kindergarten etiquette. 

My Top Ten Feminist Fiction Texts

At the behest of a lovely friend, I have compiled my Top Ten Feminist Fiction Texts. Not all are necessarily Feminist although all are written by women and have beautiful women as characters.

1. Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton: I first read this at Uni. Technically, we were supposed to be reading Gaskell’s North and South but I loved her work so much I started plowing through her other books. Mary Barton remains my favourite.

2. Dorothy L. Sayer’s Gaudy Night: Probably the first Feminist mystery book. Technically the main character is male, but Harriet Vane is brilliant, funny and her own woman.

3. Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: It celebrates female friendships; there is nothing more Feminist than women loving and supporting other women.

4. Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey: I was a historian in a previous life and this is my favourite quote: 

‘I wish I were too. I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all – it is very tiresome: and yet, I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes’ mouths, their thoughts and designs – the chief of all this must be invention, and invention is what delights me in other books.’

So, it’s not the most feminist of texts but Jane Austen is brilliant [more so than V.S Naipaul in fact].

5. Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible: The story of the 4 daughters of an abusive “Christian” man; a story of love, family, racism, and truth. It is a classic.

6. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple: Another story of the power of women’s love. It is beautiful, soul-destroying and incredible.

7. Winifred Holtby’s South Riding: Holtby was a Feminist and she writes about Feminism. What else is there to say.

8. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: No explanation necessary for this one.

9. Andrea Levy’s The Long Song: It is a story of slavery but really the story of an incredible woman.

10. Charlaine Harris’ The Shakespeare Books: Harris is more well-known as the author of the True Blood books but this series is by far the most Feminist. It is, simply, about the systemic level of sexualised violence within our Patriarchal society. Many books deal with rape but very few deal with rape as a crime against all women; the way the threat of rape is used to control and punish women. And, just how common rape really is.

11. Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club: Again, a novel about the power of women’s relationships.

12. Marian Keyes’ This Charming Man: Everything Keyes writes is Feminist. It is an utter travesty that she is frequently dismissed as “chick lit”.

13. Margaret Lawrence’s The Diviners: She only wrote 5 books about the same area of Manitoba. All are brilliant but this is my favourite. 

14. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. She rocked. 

15. Kris Radish’s The Elegant Gathering of White Snows. The power of women’s friendship and the inspiration for this blog:)