It did not surprise me, but it deeply saddened me, to read the article written on the 19th May by Helen Razor.

Historically I knew that something like this was probably about due but I was living on, enjoying the Destroy The Joint site in false hope.

Let me make it clear that I do not know personally anyone on the Destroy The Joint crew although I have heard of some of the participants. But I would like to say a big “thank you” to everyone who has been or is currently involved. Destroy The Joint has been a great ride for many of us since its creation.

I been a feminist since well before Helen Razor was born and so well before “The Female Eunuch” was published. My mother was also a feminist. She completed a University Degree in the mid 1930s, marrying in the late 1930s and therefore not able, as a married woman, to continue in the job for which she trained. I also feel quite strongly that the rise of the isolated nuclear family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was in response to patriarchal fears after the early developments of some forms of contraception. This is a view not at all popular, particularly among women who have embraced this pattern of family life (as I happily did too).   I am very willing to hear the arguments against it.

I also am extremely confused about some of the interpretations of “waves” of feminism. Whilst these concepts and ideologies are theoretically being academically and neutrally propounded, it must be questionable that this is often being done by feminists themselves. Involvement and academic neutrality are often not a good fit. The memory of some of those of us on the ground trying to “be” liberated does not always fit with the reality as seen by others and particularly of the academics promulgating their theory of waves.  I can personally say it felt for a long time more like a continuum.  I was unaware of “ebbs”. From this perspective it is a pity that so many of us in the so called “second wave” (which in my memory was active in the 50s and earlier) thought that “doing” was better than being loud mouthed about it all. We thought we should try to lead the way by example and some did.

I have felt since that I should have been louder earlier, for the so called “third wave” really appears to me to have been that moment which rolled back the clock in many, but not all, ways. I am particularly distressed by what is the reality for young girls now, as compared with some of the realities our own daughters and sons experienced after that so called “second wave”. Again I would welcome discussion.

My feelings and experiences above perhaps illustrate how we feminists seem to have had, for generations, a long history of turning on one another and sometimes even on ourselves as individuals rather than actually sharing ideas and experiences. Women are half the world’s population and feminists nowdays include men. We cannot expect to ever speak in unison. But we have a duty to respect one another and one another’s views and possibly learn.

When I attended a Destroy The Joint dinner in Canberra, I was distressed when the woman beside me regarded it necessary to begin by firmly announcing that she was not a feminist. I felt, then, the old sense that seeds of conflict might soon germinate rather than this being a sharing experience.

I have loved the fact that Destroy The Joint gives us all a previously unheard of forum for a frank exchange of views within an elastic framework of unity. I have disagreed with several comments but was thrilled to read them. Personally I did not like some of the viewpoints of a few breast feeding mothers nor a couple of the points made regarding violence between partners. Yet I was delighted people had a forum to express their views on such extremely important matters.

The organizers have done an outstanding job keeping arguments civil.

The biggest problem in the past within feminism has also been its greatest asset, there is so much passion. With passion can come too much certainty.

Let’s all support the wonderful “Destroy The Joint”.

Let’s keep the passion.

Let’s lose our certainty.


About Anne Powles

I am retired from paid employment. During my working life I have been variously and sometimes contemporaneously, wife, mother of four, lawyer, teacher and psychologist. I have also been a serial education junkie. As are we all, I have been an observer of the world around me. Here I have recorded some of my memories, observations and theorisings.
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