I’m an old feminist, meaning I discovered my identity, my talents and my own importance in my own life when I was very young. It also dawned on me that therefore I would have to take responsibility for everything I do and say. In fact I wanted to! It was another important step towards victory and true independence. I didn’t want help or sympathy, not approval or admiration from anybody. I wanted to be my own project, hand-crafted by me alone. Quite a lofty concept without a guarantee for success.
Luckily, I was a young woman in the 60s and 70s – so, time was on my side. Liberation and emancipation were in the air – and most women I knew threw themselves into that new battle with passion and a fair amount of fearlessness. Freedom beckoned, we were in love with it. We fought, we won some, we lost some, but we insisted; we grew impatient, yet we kept on questioning patriarchy and power structures, and also took a close look at ourselves! The fire fizzled a bit and we moved on, carrying in our hearts and minds the heady experiences we had picked up along those years. One of the lessons was (at least in Europe) to never again be a helpless, whimpering complainer and blamer anymore. It wasn’t so hard. Some of us had become rather steely. I loved that!
FAST FORWARD to the present and old battles newly discovered by much younger generations. First I said, great,finally they caught on. Sort of. Per hashtags. #MeToo, #TimesUp and so on and on. Then I’ve noticed, we, the older warriors were not just pushed aside, we were actually not even in the picture.
Oh well, youth, I thought, they need to do their own thing – hopefully more forceful and better, having had such great role-models like us.
Then came the shocking discovery – thanks to 100 French women who wrote a critical letter to the American women, lead by the 73-year old movie idol Catherine Deneuve who is known for her sharp tongue and independence.
These women found the #MeToo thing moralistic, man-hating, overdone and nothing more than barely hidden rampant censorship by women for women. American women, so the French women’s arguments, are “puritanical”, not very liberated and infiltrated with the political-correct-virus that forbids their “sisters” to express their own individual views of the battle of the sexes because that would made them “traitors”.
I happen to agree with the French Feminists 95% – especially since a peculiar type of outrage among American women confirmed what the French sisters claimed. Most #MeToo and #TimesUp fans howled in disgust and started to attack especially Catherine Deneuve in the classic way only women can – and do. Personally, emotionally, by blaming and shaming. One arrogant female reporter on NPR ranted about Deneuve’s roles in movies 45 years ago (“Repulsion” and “Belle de Jour”)and blamed her of being the most dependent female sex-slave and underling under the movie sun, and should therefore not be allowed to raise her voice. Besides she still has the same look “at her age”, trying very hard to please men….and so on.
I freaked out listening to that sexist drivel.
But almost worse was the addition of one extra ingredient which many of the attackers used and should be ashamed of: Ageism, usually seen as a nasty, exclusively male prerogative. Deneuve was deemed too old and too rich and too “established” to dare speaking up.
Shut up, all you old women, get out of our way, this is our moment, you had yours, that’s how that sounded to me. Patronizing, arrogant, hostile and dismissive – the new female Millennial Method that sounds frighteningly similar to the old Patriarchal Program we all want to destroy so much.
The double-standards of the derailed #MeToo moment (not movement) are sad but not surprising. This lack of unity where it counts is precisely the reason why men still rule and women let them. If women can’t handle 100 critical French women, how will they ever be able to influence and handle billions of women-hating men?
I’ve had it. And I would like to say wholeheartedly #TimesUp!
As for you, Madame Catherine, you APOLOGIZED publicly – in case you were “misunderstood”. I’m disappointed. You fell back into the female trap, head first. I for one heard you loud and clear – and wished you had shut up before you caved in.
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