Another week, another Twitter shitstorm involving Caitlin Moran – this time for her use of language in the opening paragraph of one of her recent Times columns. It was parodic, but no matter – it seems the woman can do nothing right for some.
Helen Lewis wrote a great piece about putting Moran's comments into context which sums up why the constant attacks on Moran and outrage at her from within the feminist movement are (for the most part) disproportionate to the things she's actually said.
As Lewis states, Caitlin is clearly not transphobic given some of the things she has written in the past, nor is she racist – saying you don't care about the lack of black characters in a TV show (as Moran did about “Girls”) is not racism; as Georgia Lewis pointed out:
“while it is important for the media, for TV producers, film-makers and book publishers to be mindful of diversity and to try and give voice to as many people as possible, it is ridiculous to try and force every single writer to include every single group in the community in every work of fiction.”
While I agree saying she didn't give a shit about it was bad, it's worth highlighting that she didn't say she didn't give a shit about people of colour in general, which is what many seem to be making out.
Yes, I am a fan of Moran. I liked How To Be A Woman, but I don't worship the ground she walks upon, nor do I agree with everything she says – like Lewis, I found her recent victim-blaming remarks about rape troubling. However, as The Vagenda pointed out, she's done a lot of good in bringing feminism back into focus in the past few years. People mustn't forget that, despite her flaws, plenty of women (and men!) are more willing to call themselves feminists from having read her book.
So, how is that a bad thing? Surely other feminists should be happy she's making feminism less of a scary word and emphasising the problems about the patriarchal society we live in to people who may not have thought about them before picking up her book. And, it's worth noting, that her book is easy to read and also very funny, making it much more appealing than many other, heavier feminist texts.
Some of the things people are saying about Moran are pretty loaded remarks to make about someone for a few misguided comments. The same thing happened with another of my feminist icons, Amanda Palmer, who has been labelled racist for an (ill-advised, yes) joke about the Ku Klux Klan and ableist for her side-project Evelyn Evelyn.
While I can see why people may be offended by these things and they are inappropriate to some, Palmer is neither racist or ableist for them. She, like Moran, has done a lot of good; as well rocking her body hair with pride, she's written some brilliant blog posts about feminism among other things.
Inevitably, there has been a backlash to Lewis' post, with many saying of course her and Moran have the attitudes they have and can't see what the fuss is about because they're white and privileged – not taking into account of course that Moran is from a working class family and had a pretty hard childhood, which she has written extensively about, and is hardly someone I'd call privileged.
Infighting within the feminist movement has occurred since its formation, and it's only natural; discussion and debate is to be encouraged, of course, and within every movement there is going to be disagreement. However, while it's always important to question other people's opinions, in this case I feel Moran can do no right and pretty much everything she says will be scorned by certain individuals – and this frustrates me.
There are feminists that seem to spent most of their time (especially on Twitter) slagging off Moran and other “populist” feminists, and don't actually seem to be speaking up about what, in my opinion, are much more important issues such as rape and reproductive rights. There are people out there saying much worse things than Moran – people that actually ARE racist and transphobic – so why not focus on them instead?
I'm sick of those that view only their kind of feminism as right and look down on and criticise anyone that thinks differently or has the guts to disagree with them. With so many people shying away from the movement, this kind of overly aggressive feminism only perpetuates the stereotypes out there about it – which personally I'd like to move away from.
Image via chrisdonia's Flickr