When Mumsy Cupcake Feminism Attacks!
Guardian feminists fetishise motherhood. Most of the women journalists are mums, and not only that they GO ON about their maternal status. Suzanne Moore, Sarah Ditum (who inspired me to coin the term ‘mumsy cupcake feminist’), Zoe Williams, Deborah Orr, all write from the perspective of ‘mother knows best’. Now Joanna Moorhead is joining the mothers’ union. She uses her BIG MOMMA card to deride artist Tracy Emin.
Apparently Emin has spoken about reaching the menopause and Joanna is not happy with her comments. She scolds:
‘People don’t talk about the menopause, Tracey Emin told the Guardian. Well, she’s right – people don’t. So Emin does. “It is a nightmare, an absolute nightmare,” she says. “It’s horrible… [it] makes you feel slightly dead… it is the beginning of dying.”
Oh dear! Women of our age – and I’m almost the same vintage as Emin – want to be more visible, acknowledged and celebrated. We don’t want to slip quietly from the stage, as we all too often seem to be expected to do – and here’s Emin, with a big new show opening in Margate, where she was raised. She’s a perfect ambassador for us.
And what does she do? Well, she blows it: she gets a chance to be positive, ballsy and feisty about a tricky subject (and goodness knows, she’s been positive, ballsy and feisty about plenty of other tricky subjects in her time) and she shreds it. Totally. Because who is going to believe that mid-life womanhood has got anything to it if Emin, one of the small number of late-fortysomething women in the public eye, reports from the front line that it’s a nightmare?’
I am bemused as to why Tracy Emin is supposed to be an ‘ambassador’ for anyone! She is an artist and generally, artists speak through their work. I haven’t seen David Hockney being asked to be an ambassador for prostate health in older men, or Damien Hirst signing up for his ex-wide boy badge. It is ironic that the Guardian, where women journos moan a lot about women not being taken seriously, or being only talked about as ‘women’ not people, is talking about a major artist, only in terms of her femaleness!
Moorhead goes on in her mumsy tone:
‘For some of us (not Emin, it’s true, since she’s not had children) it’s a time of expanding space, as our offspring grow up and manage to do more for themselves. For others, it’s a time to reassess relationships and – sometimes – to find them wanting, sometimes enough to move on from them. And while it absolutely doesn’t feel to me like the last stop before the graveyard, there’s certainly a sense that there are some opportunities in life that, if not taken now, will quite probably never happen again.’
And there we have it. Emin’s perspective is de-valued by the Guardian feminasties because it does not include the wonderful, beautiful, virtuous experience of having borne children.
As a fellow barren woman, also approaching menopausal age, I sympathise with Emin. The way the female body is ruled in some ways by its reproductive capacity, whether or not you have kids can be tiresome. It’s just that in 2012 we are not such slaves to our biology, and we are able to do other things apart from making babies – like making art, writing, being interesting people in our own right!
Maybe Ms Moorhead is a little bit envious of Emin, as she has enjoyed the ‘freedom’ that Moorhead is looking forward to when her menopause comes, all her life! And personally I think Emin has been a perfectly good ‘ambassador’ for humanity. Fucked up, lonely, scary, passionate, sexy humanity. I am not the biggest fan in the world of her art but I’d have Tracy Emin over the Guardian mumsy moralising any day.