Apparently Julie Bishop isn’t a “feminist”. Well of course not, Julie Bishop doesn’t really need feminism. It’s a bit like being well off and saying that you don’t believe in income support (hmm, sounds like someone else’s political line).
Julie, you have made your way through law school to become the managing partner of a large national law firm and you are now Minister for Foreign Affairs in the federal government. You also don’t have children and I assume you don’t have a husband or partner beating you. On this basis, your “need” or “use” for feminism is probably reduced to wishing that the media would focus more on your policies and less on whether you are a feminist and who your latest partner is. You certainly don’t need feminism’s help to get you where you want to go. Your call to women to “stop whinging, get on with it and prove them all wrong” is a message to women to stop casting themselves as “victims” and to progress themselves as individuals. The trouble is, that this also implies that women who do complain about significant gender inequalities and barriers, not to mention physical and mental harms experienced by them as a result of their gender, are whingers and CAN do something about these problems individually.
Whatever feminism is, at the very least it is a collective movement that in the past has not only done much to help women move into positions such as the ones you have occupied, but also has assisted women with becoming full and valued members of our society, with amongst many other things, the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to bear a child out of wedlock and the right not to be raped by one’s husband. Many women are not even close to the position that you are in Julie and these women NEED feminism’s help. “Getting on with it” is not going to help these women. Trying to changing the way we look at gender and treat women is and feminism, whether it be right wing feminism, left wing feminism, feminist politics, feminist philosophy, feminist ethics or any other branch of feminism, is the collective action which is focused on doing this.
So Julie, on behalf of the women and men in Australia who believe in feminism, use your position wisely and let us know how you think the world can be changed for the better to help women who have not yet had the benefits of feminism that you have. But just don’t forget what it has done for you!