In the last few weeks I have attended the protest against the opening of the Playboy club and joined the Slut Walk in London. The absence of disabled women at the Playboy protest and the small numbers of disabled women on the Slut Walk made me question whether this new wave of feminism is not being inclusive enough.
At the both protests mentioned feminists were disputing the social construct of women which bears the narrative of being submissive, ‘suitably’ attired so as not to attract the wrong type of male attention and, yet, to keep looking attractive at all times. In a patriarchal system disabled women seem to have to fight a double headed prejudice: (a) They have to fight the outrageous prejudices that non disabled women push back against and; (b) perversely, to be recognised as sexual beings who are capable of having autonomy over their sexuality.
The sexuality of the 21st century is epitomised by celebrity culture which aims for body perfection. This has no bearing on real life for ALL women everywhere. The subtext of the new wave of feminism must be inclusive because the issues that matter to disabled women affect non-disabled women too such as domestic violence, parenting, poverty etc. If schisms of women are marginalised or left behind then feminism fails to deliver the core message of empowering ALL women.