“Why? Because behind National, hidden by all those glossy placards depicting the handsome John Key, marches a much less appealing army of fanatical right-wing activists, all of whom are impatient to advance the conservative causes that nine years of Labour-led government have held in check.”In the piece, he spoke directly to all the ”young, confident women” who according to him apparently view the slogan - “a women’s right to choose” as “antique as the militant suffragettes” cry of "Votes for Women". He sternly advised these young confident women of the 21st century that we all needed to “urgently needs to pause and reflect upon what is happening”.
Thanks Chris. As a member of your so called group of young, confident women I really enjoy you speaking on my behalf. I like how you assume how we might view the past struggles of women in the pro-choice movement. I also appreciate your advice on the need to reflect. Because, as a young confident woman, I haven’t thought about the issue at all!
Thanks for helping make a generation of young women who care about feminist issues completely invisible. If you had any brains you might have taken to the internet to seek out these young women. You might have found a variety of feminists and blogs written by women who passionately cared about reproductive rights. Had you looked, you might have found many women who were willing to discuss the issue, and take action on it.
Of course, you didn’t. Had you actually looked you might have seen the start of a fledgling reproductive rights movement that has begun on the internet and moved onto the streets.
In many ways these bloggers are doing exactly what you so patronisingly advised us to do: ”urgently reflect upon what’s happening”. Yet, according to you, we’re not doing it right.
Thanks for the mansplanation Chris.
Unfortunately for you, if you’re not prepared to engage in the movement in any meaningful way, we don’t really have to listen to you. You haven’t made any attempt to understand the experiences of young women today living in New Zealand. In fact you’ve told us on occasions that we’re not real feminists.
When Kate Sheppard didn’t succeed the first time, she didn’t apologise to the political establishment and move on. She kept on organising. The right to vote wasn’t “just granted” by the politicians of the day feeling particularly generous. It was won through a hard-fought and long campaign.
And you know what Chris? The struggle for reproductive rights in New Zealand will be the same. It won’t be easy, but it was never going to be easy. It’s going to require an enormous amount of work, not just convincing politicians to take up the issue, but challenging the many myths surrounding abortion and reproductive rights access in New Zealand. We all know this.
But we will never change the law if we listen to old men - men like Chris, who will never get pregnant, who assume they understand our experiences as young women, and -most importantly - we’re not going to listen to someone thinks by some divine right that they can tell us how to run our movement. We won't be waiting to be given power. We're just going take it ourselves.