Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rita MacNeil: Feminist Terrorist?!

When RCMP documents go from being classified to declassified, few people even know let alone get excited about it. From time to time, there’s a big stink made about certain information that becomes public; juicy tidbits of political fodder. But some recent documents that have become declassified are mighty, mighty important to note, folks.

“RCMP spies infiltrated Canada's women's movement in the early 1970s, monitoring meetings and rallies to keep an eye on feminists, including the popular Maritime singer-songwriter Rita MacNeil, new research into declassified documents shows”.

Take a moment. Breathe that in.

And we’re back.

Yes, that Rita MacNeil, the one with the Christmas specials and always doing duets with the Rankin Family? Her and a whole slew of other feminist activists were once viewed as possible terrorist threats.
This information and subsequent news story is definitely hilarious. Rita fucking MacNeil? A terrorist threat? Jeebus people. Really?!

But it’s also really, really interesting. Feminists carry around a lot of baggage in this country and I don’t think it’s simply a coincidence that the CBC chose to reproduce the select quotes that it did. The CBC article quotes the secret documents as having noted that “The memo on the Winnipeg conference describes one session as "consisting of about 100 sweating, uncombed women standing around in the middle of the floor with their arms around each other crying sisterhood and dancing."

Mmmm…. Sweaty feminists.

So what to make of this news? I’m not surprised that the government would have viewed feminists as possible communist terrorists. Let’s face it, as the article itself states, feminist organizations presented a radical new way of mobilizing and rejected notions of hierarchy and dominance. Seems rather communist to the untrained eye.

I never thought I would say this, but I long for the days when feminist groups were viewed as terrorist organizations. It seems much better than the way they are viewed today which is quite frankly, not at all. Feminist groups are seen as a nuisance, an annoying mosquito in the Prime Minister’s ear at best and they are never given a seat at the table. At least when we were deemed as some sort of “threat”, we got their attention.

I’m not advocating that us feminists do anything to merit ourselves the lovely badge of terrorist but some attention to the issues would be nice. Because let’s face it, the word feminist leaves such a nasty taste in people’s mouths that the CBC didn’t even dare include it in the title of it’s article.

Maybe I should change my name from Feminist Catalyst to Feminist Terrorist and I could start a Dream Team with Rita MacNeil at the helm. It could happen.


Anonymous said...

No if you can just get Anne Murray on your team, you've got something.

Yve! said...

I read that this morning in 24 and I laughed and laughed and laughed...and then thought of you...and LO AND BEHOLD!!

You already know.

Ms. you are my hero.