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AM I A FEMINIST? ARE YOU?

- ANNE SEXTON

Mary Kenny

New Island Kenny’s latest is a collection of A to Z musings on topics as diverse as agency, manspreadi­ng, rape and the Ursuline Order of nuns. With some, such as the attitudes of Irish feminists to the divorce referendum, she paints an interestin­g picture of an Ireland long gone. With others – like advising trans women to use the men’s toilets to avoid the queue – she is flippant to the point of insensitiv­ity.

Kenny’s attitudes are firmly second-wave. She’s not keen on “actor” for female performers, is fine with catcalling, and hints that drunk rape victims are partly to blame for being irresponsi­ble. This won’t endear her to younger readers. As a founding member of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s, Kenny is in a unique position to tell the history of Irish feminism. I really wish she had done that instead.

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