It was a happy ending, as you can deduce from my membership. It turned out we were all pro and anti the same, or at least similar things ('kyriarchy? Well I'm against it') and I didn't take an instant, unreasonable, dislike to them. So we combined forces and enjoyed discussions about how we came to feminism, what instances the patriarchy had screwed us over and what we can do about it. Most importantly what we wanted to do was make our feminist group welcoming and open to all who identified (among other things) as feminist.
In that quoted paragraph Moran touches on a massive problem in feminism. It is not nearly as inclusive as it thinks it is. Think of a feminist. A prominent feminist. Who came to mind? Was it Greer? Wolf? Dowd? Maybe Tina Fey? I would lay money on the feminist that first came to mind was white. Which is OK. These women can hardly help their heritage. But it also means feminism can be mistaken as something that's only for white, middle class women and that's not an accessible movement. I think feminism is becoming increasingly diverse but we have to keep on promoting and encouraging this diversity. We have to keep questioning ourselves and we have to make this a priority. If feminism wins out I want all women to be involved. Not simply all white middle class women who drive pink Mini Metros.
This is why what Moran has now tweeted as just a 'storm in a teacup' is so important. Over the weekend Moran's interview with Girls and Tiny Furniture writer/director/actor/producer/overachiever/etc Lena Dunham was published in The Times. In response to a tweet by Lizzie Coan that said “What a surprise that @caitlinmoran loves Lena Dunham. White feminists who ignore the experiences of WOCs have got to stick together guys!!!” Moran tweeted “THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT”. Capital letters can indicate excitement, shouting, anger or annoyance. Let's interpret this as annoyance.
Realising Moran's attention had been caught Coan tweeted: “did you address the complete and utter lack of people of colour in your girls interview? I sure hope so!” Well, did she? I'd be interested to know how it was handled. I would like to hear what Dunham has to say about it. It's certainly an interesting and important subject for feminists who have the public's attention to address. Answer: “nope”. Why? “I literally couldn't give a shit about it.”
I want to be clear. Loving Lena Dunham is most definitely not the crime here. Lena Dunham has been praised for exposing her (perfectly good, but apparently on the wrong side of blancmangey) body on screen in a funny sitcom and film she wrote, produced and directed at 24. If we take Moran's advice that when we suspect sexism we think to ourselves 'are the men doing it?' and imagine Dunham as a slightly podgy man doing nude scenes in a show he'd written, directed and performed in himself before he was 25 the discussion might have been about... y'know, the fact he'd written, produced and directed a funny show and film before he was 25. Not that he is shamelessly displaying a distinctly average body and making some other men feel better about the odd flesh roll.
We all have our stories. Our anecdotes in which we can't help but be suspicious that our womanhood had a lot to do with how a situation went down. While studying for my Masters I did a stint as the Invisible Woman at my seminars. It's nice to be quoted, verbatim, moments after you made the remark. It's not nice to have the original utterance ignored because you didn't say it in a gravelly enough voice and the male delivery of your point praised very highly. Every. Gosh. Darn. Seminar.
Dunham has been given a mixed reception in the realms of online feminism due to her show failing to feature any characters of colour. It's not necessary to dismiss Dunham's talent. It's not necessary to dismiss Dunham's achievement. So what, she's been fortunate enough to shill a good product probably due to connections and upbringing. The Old Boys network has been doing that for years without being pulled up much on it. A young woman does it and it's somehow more noticeable. It is also noticeable that nobody, not one executive or casting director offered guidance to Dunham along the lines of: 'this show is awfully homogeneous'.
In Dunham's Independent interview on Sunday she told Sarah Hughes that: "When I wrote Girls, I drew very heavily on my experiences - all the characters are a piece of me or based on people I know." When Hughes brought up the issues some people had concerning the Girls Dunham replied that she felt: "heartbreak at the idea that [Girls] would make anyone feel isolated… all I want to do is make women feel excited and included."
Moran, however, as the blurb on the back of How to be a Woman suggests, would like to be the next Greer. In fact it's implied (I think jokingly?) no book on feminism has been written in the lull between The Female Eunuch and HTBAW. Moran's certainly an important part of the amplified interest in feminism. Moran is part of a large group who are able to demonstrate feminism does not mean a lack of humour. I don't agree with some of Moran's language or politics but it's obvious she's an important cog in the feminist movement.
It's just that one look at Moran's Twitter-feed shows endless, and sincere this time, thank-yous to those defending her lack of shit to give about diversity in feminism. That's sad. If you want to be at the very forefront of feminism, then you've got to listen to what they are saying. This is not a case of silly feminists in-fighting. It's a case of white, privileged feminists (this includes me) having to address some uncomfortable truths about feminist victories being able to sit with feminist critique.
Do, however, correct me if I am wrong – natch.