Christine Legarde was appointed as the Head of the IMF. Even though I’m not an economist, I’m delighted. She’s a neo-liberal, powerful, gender-sensitive woman.
However, Zoe Williams at the Guardian isn’t cheering Ms Legarde’s appointment. Why not? Because she’s a neo-liberal, powerful, gender-sensitive woman. Ms Williams doesn’t believe that neo-liberals can be feminists. She doesn’t believe that women who have on occasion described their approach or their philosophy as “feminine”, or who have pointed out that sometimes men and women use different approaches, can be feminists. And she seems to have some concern about women who ascend to positions of power and don’t spend the entire time talking about other women.
I believe that neo-liberals can be feminists. What exactly about free-market economics is anti-women? I don’t believe that economics has a gender, any more than I think logic or love are gendered. I also think that a women can talk about her approach being “feminine” without necessarily buying into a gender binary. (See my last post on being feminine and masculine and everything inbetween.) And finally, I think a female politician should talk about politics, and the head of the IMF should talk money. Yes, she should also talk about women, but she’s just been employed to talk about money.
In the same article, Ms Williams laments the fact that Beyonce’s song “Single Ladies” is about marriage. Well, frankly, I’m non too keen on the song. (But then, I like Metallica. Go figure.) I will, however, say this: marriage is good for some people, and it’s good for me, but it’s a personal choice. I’m very much a relationship type person, to the extent that I’ve only ever had a couple of one-night-kisses and never got close a one-night-stand. Some people aren’t relationship type people, and while I personally think they’re missing out on something wonderful, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with their approach to relationships. However, I do think there’s something wrong with people who take relationship advice from pop stars.
In short, I like Christine Legarde, I’m not that keen on Beyonce, and I think Zoe Williams is wrong on both.