Interviewer: Emotions often run high on the issue of equality between men and women. Why is that?
Laurie Penny: The gender question has not only a social dimension, it also has a very private quality. Many women - also many feminists - fall in love with men, many men fall in love with women, and so all the political gender questions land in the private sphere. The old saying, that the personal is the political is especially relevant to this issue. We can't talk about equality without talking about family, sexuality, love and romance.
Interviewer: Does feminism ruin love?
Laurie Penny: Feminism does certainly place in question our ideal of romantic love. But this ideal is the most unromantic that there is. There are countless studies that have discovered that sex in equal partnerships can be better. That the women is an autonomous partner who can say yes or no shouldn't be a problem for the sex life. Apart from that it is constantly suggested to us that a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman is the only possibility in order to be happy. I am a hopeless romantic and believe in love. I just don't believe that every love fits into the same box - mine doesn't.
Interviewer: What does your love look like?
Laurie Penny: At the moment I have a male partner, but I am polyamorous. That means I'm not able, and don't want to, tie myself down to just one person and that I distinguish between primary and secondary relationships. But at the moment I have the most intensive relationship anyway with my work.
So her work is the primary relationship in her life. Then she has a main relationship with a man. Then she has secondary relationships with other men. But she is also a hopeless romantic.
I suppose if your aim is to maximise autonomy, then this is what the result might look like. You attempt to fulfil yourself through something that is self-determined (your career) and you don't tie yourself down to just one other person.
Little wonder, though, that she earlier demanded that the state pay for women to be mothers. In her model there are personal relationships, but not much resembling a family life. In a way it's a "women going their own way" model, albeit one that would have to financially underwritten by the taxpayer.