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Not that I expect anything different from Pope Benedict, but c’mon dude. It would be nice if around the Christmas holidays you could show a little more compassion and demonstrate that you’re not completely out of touch with real-world problems. But no.

Gay groups and activists have reacted angrily after Pope Benedict XVI said that mankind* needed to be saved from a destructive blurring of gender. Speaking on Monday, Pope Benedict said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was as important as protecting the environment.

And a note to the TimesOnline: why oh why have you decided that now is the time to re-hash this tired old story about inter-generational feminist conflict?

“One of the most unappealing things about the feminist movement right from its inception was its tendency to judge other women,” says Roiphe. And, given the polarising of opinion between old-school feminists and modern young women engaged with popular culture — which, like it or lump it, is obsessed with celebrity, consumption and youth — there is much room for judgment. (See The Guide Association’s new manifesto on the sexualisation of young girls and Germaine Greer’s recent berating of Cheryl Cole as “too thin to be a feminist” as yet more proof.)

“I do feel it’s time for those feminists to step aside,” says Frangoul. “It’s like, we’re grateful for what you did, but it’s time for you to hand over. We’ve got a different world-view, and we might have something different to say.”

It drives me crazy that news stories like this don’t see the irony in painting young feminist women as paragons of openness and multiplicity when they turn around and cherry-pick quotes from young women willing to dismiss their elders as has-beens. This does not have to be an either/or proposition. The existence of young feminist activists does not mean that it’s time for women older than, say 25, to give up, be silenced, or silence themselves. As Deborah Siegel argues in Sisterhood Interrupted, this persistent narrative of feminist in-fighting does more harm than good, obscuring the many valuable contributions women of all ages have — and will continue to make — in the realm of feminist activism.

At least they linked to the F-word, which is one of my favorite places to get UK-based feminist analysis. In fact, speaking of: here’s the F-word on Pope Benedict’s speech.

*I guess we womenkind get to enjoy the blurring of gender as much as we like. Ecological disaster be damned!

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