As I am writing this women around the world are going on marches. And our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern just announced she is expecting her first child. (Cool!) A trailblazing week for women and women's rights, you'd have thought, no?
Yet, I find myself not exactly loving this important feminist moment. It seems like it has turned into a snarky brawl between different generations of feminists, grumpy old hags on one side and snowflakes on the other.
Some older women, knowing they are on shaky ground if they dared to criticise Ardern for having the audacity to start a family while also having a brilliant career, seem nonetheless to feel a bit miffed that she is not doing it as hard as we did.
Remember that Monty Python routine? "We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at 12 o'clock at night, and lick the road clean with our tongues, have half a handful of freezing cold gravel, work 24 hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years. But you try and tell young people today that…"
And then there is this tweet: "I wonder how many single working mums of my generation think Jacinda has got it pretty sweet." Sisters! Progress is good, isn't it?
I was born in 1967, an awkwardly in-between time for feminism. My mum was a bona-fide second-wave feminist (hairy legs, Andrea Dworkin, throw your own pots) but for our cohort, many believed their work was done. It was before the third wave of slutwalks and Vagina Monologues and raunch culture.
Then there was fourth-wave feminism, which is sometimes called "sexy feminism" and is largely online, focusing on hashtag activism. Older feminists have criticised these younger women for being obsessed with shallow personal issues like sex and dating, rather than virtuous bluestocking pursuits like social inequality and reforming the UN.
And last week's story about 23-year-old "Grace's" dud date with comedian Aziz Ansari offered the perfect opportunity for the older ladies to have another go at what they perceive as young women's feebleness and narcissism.
In the Atlantic Caitlin Flannagan (56) questioned why "Grace" did not just walk away from Ansari's sexual overtures if they were unwelcome and said the older generation of women "were strong in a way that so many modern girls are weak".
And when television host Ashleigh Banfield (50) criticised the Ansari story for threatening to dilute the crucial work of the MeToo movement, the writer of the Ansari piece, Katie Way, 22, lashed out calling Banfield "a second-wave feminist has-been," who "I'm certain no one under 45 has ever heard of," and, with a glaring lack of self-awareness, ridiculed Banfield's hair and lipstick.
Really? So this is where we have got to? Help.
Older women: are we sure we are not putting down younger women because we are secretly jealous, or because we think they should be endlessly grateful for all the progress we made for them?
And young women: Show some respect. Don't be a bitch.
What helps me, is making the effort not to demonise these young women, reminding myself they — even Katie Way — are not stereotyped twerking cut-outs in frayed denim shorts. They are real, vulnerable young people, they are our daughters. My daughter is 13, stronger and more sophisticated than I was at her age in some ways but with less robust defences in others.
Is it my place to tell her what her feminism should be? Or what she should care about? Should senior feminists insist that junior feminists be good daughters, defending the same kind of feminism their mothers advocated? Didn't some of us become feminists specifically because we didn't want to be submissive "good daughters"?
Older feminists criticise younger women for their perceived lack of agency (sense of control over their own actions) such as in the Ansari situation. But I'm not sure my generation were more staunch, if you consider that being stronger means having the confidence to state one's own needs. Maybe we just had better defences and knew how to extricate ourselves from crappy situations whilst shutting up about it and never telling anyone. (All the more reason why the Me Too movement is useful.) We put up with horrible experiences and in retrospect wish we hadn't.
No wonder it hurts to be reminded of it by younger women who will not do the same. One thing I do know. You don't get "agency" by being told to toughen up.
When I was in my 20s, one of my friends was our hero. She went on a date with a young man to his band practice. Afterwards, when the band had left, they made out a bit and when she had had enough she pulled up her knickers, said "Cheers, thanks a lot" and left, with a smile on her face. I'm not sure that young women would even think that incident was terribly noteworthy these days, but "Cheers, thanks a lot" became our mantra.