I have an interesting exchange with someone called Zoe Stavri on Open Democracy. Essentially, she believes that Tories can’t be feminists. I argue that I am one. Some of the comments are enlightening, and by that I don’t mean that a) they like me, or b) they’re right.
I’m not a feminist because I’m a Tory, nor did I vote Conservative because I’m a feminist. But I do see the equality of individuals wrapped up in individual choice. This doesn’t mean that we can’t work collectively, but that we should recognise that not all women are the same and that we may have slightly different needs. I’m not arguing against collective action, but against a) philosophical essentialism, and b) the over-use of frequently clumsy legislation.
Much of the discussion is about deeper philosophical interpretations. I make no secret of my belief that both the natural world and humanity are violent and selfish, and that utopia is impossible. I believe this because I reject the notion of absolutes, moral or otherwise. This isn’t a comfortable philosophical position, but it is a coherent one. And so I am pragmatic rather than idealistic, looking at what might actually help here and now. In a world of predator and prey, I know I’m the prey and I know there will always be predators — and I’m seeking a workable day-to-day solution.