Theresa May elected but there can be no such thing as a feminist Tory

Date:

Theresa May has just become the UK’s latest Prime Minister and the second ever woman Prime Minister. She’s certainly a decent orator paired with a comedian of a speech writer who wrote a statement filled with faux concern about making the “UK a country that works for all and not just the privileged few” – it’s as if she thinks we don’t know she’s a member of the privileged-few-loving Conservative Party, or as she reminded us, Conservative and Unionist Party (I’m not sure that’s supposed to make us feel better about the Tories…).

For a woman who only a few weeks ago voted to repeal the Human Rights Act she had no problem spitting out some crap about how she’s going to protect black men who are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system, not to mention her bringing up other statistics that highlight an intersection of oppression that she has mentioned as if she is appalled by them (despite belonging to a party that perpetrates them). She didn’t seem too concerned about the criminal justice system acting too harshly – or any other mechanism for the Tory reign of terror – when she was giving off about Human Rights Legislation getting in the way and limiting the powers of government.

What else is in her record as an MP that goes against all the talk she talked today about “a union of citizens, whoever we are, wherever we come from”? Oh yeah, those racist billboard vans that we saw a few years back that drove around the UK telling people that wherever they come from to go home (obviously people that don’t belong to the “precious, precious union” for those who are confused by the outrageous contradiction). This does go hand in hand with her in 2013 voting against a law that would have made it illegal for people to discriminate against others on the basis of “caste” (as the legislation put it).

Her speech writer was clearly told to ignore her actions and everything she has done up until now and to tap into the latest trend of feminism – she is a woman after all, it should be easier for her to pretend she’s a feminist than it was for Cameron et al. So, as expected, she mentioned the gender pay gap. How very good of you Theresa, you’re only a member of the party that is responsible for mothers skipping meals to feed their kids. You’re a member of the establishment that has seen women queuing in food banks for sanitary towels – not to mention that the use of food banks is at a record high.

You’ve made cut after cut against the public sector of which women comprise 65%. Your party has seen that women will be hit twice as hard than any other group by your austerity measures – that’s right, they’re your austerity measures; you are currently fighting a war against women. Of £26 billion you have saved in “Welfare Reform” (read: welfare destruction), £22 billion of it has been from women’s pockets, that is a deliberate gendered attack.

You’ve made mothers, the primary carers of children, pay through the nose for the carelessness of your class. You’ve cut tax credits, reduced housing benefit and frozen child benefit and you have wrongly sanctioned thousands of single mothers. Yet you think you can parade about in a “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt. You think you’re off the hook because you took 3 seconds of your speech to highlight the gender pay gap; not on our watch.

This is not feminism.

There can be no such thing as a “feminist Tory” – it’s an oxymoron, one term contradicts the other.

Feminism isn’t just about ending the pay gap; it’s about class war. It’s about dismantling capitalism, racism, homophobia, disablism, and of course sexism. These systems of oppression do not exist on their own, however, each one reinforces the other, and in examining them and seeing where and how they connect we can see how to tear them down.

No Theresa May, and no other Tory is ever going to dismantle the very system that they benefit from. A Tory can’t eradicate sexism, because sexism cannot be eradicated without destroying the environment it lives in.

This doesn’t mean we elect someone as Prime Minister who has feminist principals; the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Women’s participation in the very system that has furthered our own oppression will not be the source of our liberation. We need to build a feminist society from the bottom up, and that doesn’t start in parliament, because feminism is completely at odds with the state. The state: the exploitative, oppressive, patriarchal and male dominated state, whose very foundations are our servitude, will never be used for our emancipation.

So, Prime Minister, you can take your tokenism and shove it. Don’t you dare call yourself a feminist while you wage a war on women and the entire 99%. As we’re as we’re concerned this is Thatcher round 2 and neither of you are what a feminist looks like.

Like what you're reading?
Find out when we publish more via the
WSM Facebook
& WSM Twitter