In October 2008, someone died. She was a friend of mine who had danced with me for many years. At the time I wanted to do a blog entry about her, but I wasn't quite sure what to say.
Before she died, I had visited her at the hospital and given her the link to Bloom but she didn't get to see it. We had talked about all the issues I was whinging about as a post-feminist and as I left, she laughed and her last words were 'Go Forth Warrior Woman!'.
I will admit that despite my respect and compassion for this woman in her dying days inside a rebellious part of me thinking 'oh please not that agro thing again, I can't take it' - like others I had come to see the feminist era in a negative way.
She was born the same year as my mother, had grown up in working class London and became the first literate and educated woman in her family. In Australia, she was a feminist leader in Melbourne, writing the women's studies course in a prominent university and fighting for women's right's all of her life. She was a freedom fighter, a humanitarian and she wore her working class roots like a shield upon her chest. Even at her funeral, she was still fighting - she had requested the feminist flag be draped over her coffin, and was carried in by the core women in her life.
The last thing she had to say to me about feminism was that she was disappointed. She had chosen to have the feminist flag at her funeral because she was not ashamed. A few months before she died she had written to the Australian government requesting that all feminists be acknowledged for what they sacrified and fought for. She declared that active feminists of her era needed to be acknowledged for what they achieved for this country, the way that men of war are. That the image of feminism in the media, politics and academics needed to be respected, as a stage of asserting feminine leadership, not seen as angry man-hating women.
Anyway, in 2009 I thank her.
Thank you for helping me to understand post-feminism. I respect you and all the women like you that have created the freedom we have today. I understand that you had to fight, that you had to shout to be heard and rebel against the laws of this country.
And in your honour I shed my anger of post-feminism confusion, and wish to let my feminine be.