Next week the Melbourne Feminist Collective is hosting a conference called Feminist Futures that includes in the line up Shelia Jefferys, a radical feminist. There are various debates circulating on blogs and the MFC Facebook page about her inclusion at a ‘feminist futures conference’ with accusations that Jeffreys is trans-phobic and whore-phobic. Here is a list of links that discuss her inclusion. The Melbourne Feminist Collective, the organisers the conference, have given conference participants guidelines on conduct at the conference with specific references to respecting diverse experiences. I don’t want to discuss the various debates on Jeffreys’ work – that would take some time – however I am struck by how the debate is being framed. There have been some strong lines drawn in the sand around Jeffreys inclusion – either one is for her work and ideas or against them. The space for discussion and diverse views on feminism appears to have fallen by the wayside. So how do we talk about forming a feminist future and include all views on what that may entail? How do we balance radical feminism, post-structuralism, second wave feminism and post-feminist viewpoints? How do we create a feminist future that attends to both collective and individual feminism? I am at a loss, my own feminism is created from radical feminism, queer feminism and post-structuralist ideas… these ideas don’t often agree and are rather contradictory- however that is half the fun J So how do we form a feminist future? I wish I was attending the conference to find out!
by C. Connoisseur