And what do you know, it turns out he is a feminist and I’m glad about that. We need more men and more women to identify as feminists and I will keep cheerfully recruiting them despite the backlash I’ve copped from some who are pissed by the idea of throwing open the doors of feminism to welcome the likes of Alan Jones who is right wing and holds a lot of views on other things that many feminists disagree with.
The minute we start making arbitrary decisions about who can and can’t call themselves a feminist based on what they’ve said about any number of issues in the past, well….I’ll leave that impassioned debate to Twitter where running tallies are always kept on who is and isn’t a good enough feminist on any particular day.
Let me back up for a minute and set the scene for Alan’s feminist conversion. It was the eve of International Women’s Day and I was part of a panel on ABC’s Q&A program where the subject of feminism came up, early in the show. My fellow panelists were right wing broadcaster Alan Jones, Minister for Women and Employment, Michaelia Cash, Senator Penny Wong and comedian Josh Szeps.
A year 11 student in the audience, Maddie Mott, had a question for the Minister for Women.
Maddie wanted to know why Michaelia didn’t call herself a feminist. Many others have asked the same question, myself included when I met her backstage before the show.
Watch Michaelia talk about why she doesn’t label herself a feminist here. Post continues below.
Her reply to both Maddie and I was well rehearsed. Clearly, she’s asked about it often.
” I am fundamentally committed to gender equality and I see the responsibility that I have as the Minister for Women as being a great one. Do I think that I can be the Minister for Women, be passionate about my commitment to gender equality, put in place policies that will ensure that as Australians we move towards gender equality and yet not be a feminist or not label myself a feminist? Yes, I do.”
This is a nonsensical answer and I called her on it (although not as eloquently as Penny Wong because she’s Penny Wong, one of the most considered, calm and concise people in Parliament). I agreed with Michaelia that she is indeed a passionate advocate for gender equality and so, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck!” Michaela, you’re a feminist.