A short and questioning note this one really. Particularly intended to draw your attention to a question Suzanne Moore has raised in the latest of her ‘Letters from Suzanne.’ It’s here if you want to read it and I’ll say more about it soon.
First though I’d like to explain the title I’ve given this letter of my own. Obviously it’s a popular and very long running television programme and my thinking is that using it here might help to get this note noticed. If you’re reading now maybe it has?
But I do like the programme as well. And through the long lockdown evenings Sarah and I have watched most of the episodes of it. We’re on series 8 out of 9 now and will miss it when we’re done. Full of good stories, well written, well acted and over the 70 or so episodes as good a catalogue of the social issues of an inner city in those days as you’re likely to find in a mass market popular programme. Nearly all of the actors are women, the leading ones all midwives, it’s kind of the point. As is my use of the word ‘women’ here. Because that seems to be a bit of a problem now politicians and other functionaries are having to squirm around saying phrases like ‘people who are pregnant.’ Or saying nothing at all, to avoid the whole issue of biological sexuality and gender. Which is what Suzanne Moore’s letter is all about.
It’s called ‘The Dumbstruck Men of the Left’ and wonders ‘What do men think about the erasure of the word woman?’ Well this one thinks it’s crazy & supports the women who call themselves women. I do get that sex and gender are not the same things and in general have a live and let live attitude to the whole issue. Except for this apparent telling of quite a lot of people that they shouldn’t be using the word ‘woman’ about themselves any more.
It particularly makes me think about the entire 20th century, most things do, and all the progress women made. With having any human rights at all, then the vote and family allowances. And then the whole raft of equalities and rights over their own bodies that are gearing up to happen throughout the late 50s and early 60s of ‘Call the midwife.’ The campaigns were called things like Votes for women, A woman’s right to choose, Women reclaim the streets and Equal rights for women. And the song said ‘I am woman hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore.’
So I’m not surprised so many of the women I know are roaring now. I think they’ve got every right to. I also think calling out the situation so it can at least be discussed intelligently is not just the job of women.
Do read Suzanne Moore’s letter for more then. And if you’ve never watched ‘Call the midwife’ I recommend that too.