CBC's Doc Zone broadcast The F-Word last night, a doc about feminism. Check the link if you want to watch it on line, but seriously, if you are reading this blog, you are probably way past what this has to offer.
I guess it was fine for those who are just happy to have women and what might be of concern to some of us show up ANYWHERE in the media, and I'll give it credit for explaining anti-feminist feminists, one of my favourite topics. I can see it being used in first year introductory women's studies courses, or probably more likely in high schools. But honestly, I felt tired watching it. And bored. Are we really back to explaining THIS? Are we really STILL trying, a little too desperately, to reassure ourselves that it's okay to call ourselves feminist? Is this REALLY where we still are? I don't blame the interview subjects. They were giving excellent historical context and telling the story of feminism in the west. And they did it pretty well. But hasn't it been done already? Haven't we already interrogated the relationship between second and third wave feminists? Isn't this ground so well trodden that it is bare of vegetation, devoid of all signs of life? Are we STILL reassuring ourselves that if we call ourselves feminist it does not mean we're ugly and can't find a man? REALLY?
It's not my style to simply complain and not offer an alternative. So this is what I want. I want to see a documentary detailing (that's "detailing" not merely mentioning) how the Harper government (and if you want to, insert your favourite woman-hating politician in to the Harper slot as you wish) has waged war on women in this country. The information is easy to find. It can refer to the war on women worldwide while it's doing so. Read Marci McDonald's excellent book "The Armageddon Factor" or look at a paper by Jill Arkles called the War on Women. (I know, I know, very academic and has the required explanation of positionality and methodology at the start which is enough to turn any general reader off). But get past this. I hope Arkles rewrites it for a popular audience, maybe even makes it into a documentary, but of course, there would be NO FUNDING for that because the Harperites would make sure anything that could possibly fund anything about women and anything that dissents with the party line is starved of cash and they are probably at this very moment trying to shut down the university program that generated her paper. But the facts are there. Somehow, a few brave women and journalists and students and dissenters have continued to get these facts out. Look for them. Read. READ and learn and make the connections.
When this level of depth is available, what is anyone doing making a doc called The F-Word? The title itself denigrates its subject. It's not cute. It's annoying.