Category Archives: Feminism

Obama vs Cameron

Before the last US election, I was out on a night out in Aberystwyth and drunkenly bought a copy of Esquire just because Obama was on the cover. This was how much I hoped he would be elected and I wholly bought in to his mantra of change. I was nevertheless still slightly scared to wake up in the morning with a bad hangover and with Obama staring me in the face as I’d passed out with the magazine next to my head.

It hasn’t ended up as I think most of us had hoped (as this article from Owen Jones captures well). But the scary thing is that under Romney everything would no doubt be worse, particularly in terms of gender equality, as this article by Emma Brockes captures when she looks at the influence that female voters had on the election result. Here’s hoping Obama does something in his second term to revive the hope that so many people had before his first term. Still, even if he does manage that, not sure if I want to wake up so close to his face again anytime soon.

In stark contrast, can’t say I had any hope when the Tories had the largest share of the vote in the last election. Dame Helen Ghosh has said that Cameron is out of touch as only 3 women are permanent secretaries. Can’t say the fact that Cameron is out of touch is a big surprise.

But it seems that it’s not just Cameron that’s out of touch, turns out most of us are to some extent. This article about a week of sexism by Laura Bates shows just how widespread sexism is in our society and how we don’t really question these things. I can’t claim to have any moral high ground here. Until a couple of years ago I’d laugh along to many dubious jokes, it’s only recently I’ve felt confident enough to challenge this and be the uncool guy in the corner being uber-pc. But it’s something I plan to do more of, and not just in terms of gender either as I think we all need to do more to challenge everyday discrimination.

On a slightly nicer note, thousands of people have decided to try to lobby for Malala Yousafzai, the young blogger who wrote about the struggle for young women to get an education in a Taliban dominated area. Which is pretty awesome. I’m off to sign the petition now and I suggest that you do the same as it’s a well good idea!

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What Caitlin Moran done?! And what the hell is intersectionality?!

If you follow any feminists on Twitter, it will have been hard to miss the carnage this week when Caitlin Moran said that she “literally could not give a shit” about the representation of people of colour in Lena Dunham’s show Girls. As with a few topics, this is something I haven’t immediately blogged about because it focusses on intersectionality – something which I’m not well placed to comment on as I am the most privileged of the privileged – a white, middle class, able-bodied, straight man. For those unclear on intersectionality and privilege there’s a couple of posts on the It’s Just a Hobby blog looking at this very issue of privilege and the Moran tweets here and here.

But whilst I’ve felt unable to comment on, there’s been some great and/or interesting posts on other blogs looking at this.When it looked like the Moran tweets couldn’t be inflamed further, the Vagenda blogged in defence of Moran. Personally I don’t think there is much defence of saying you couldn’t give a shit about any group of people. Stavvers written a very good blog on the case against Moran.

But one thing the Vagenda blog has focussed on wasn’t such a bad thing – our use of language. I had no idea what intersectionality was (probably because I’m privileged?), but using verbose terms (like I just have) has meant that I had no initial idea what the hell was going on. Turns out I googled it, but I wonder how many people would have echoed the anger of Stavvers if it was a topic they felt they knew something about? Because intersectionality ultimately affects loads of people, but if you’d have asked me earlier on this week I would have had no idea who.

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Kat Banyard and carnage

Kat Banyard is the same age as me, and undertaking a good deal more work than me as she’s the head of a feminist organisation in the UK. From the tone of this interview by Decca Aitkenhead she sounds quite jaded about doing interviews, or at least terribly guarded.  Aitkenhead’s questioning is often lazy though. When Banyard describes male consumers as victims of porn too Aitkenhead says:

Another way of looking at it would be less charitable. Offered limitless choice, it turns out that what men really want is the most violent, degrading, misogynist porn imaginable. Does that tell us something about men?

A very sweeping generation about all men here. And not very helpful to belittle 50% of the people on this earth when discussing gender equality. I realise Aitkenhead is playing devil’s advocate, but it really spoils the piece.

Here’s an interesting perspective on the piece by Jemima 101 around consent. Lots that I had not previously considered, but a really thought-provoking blog on class issues in feminism. It certainly made this interview in the Observer on whether feminism is a spent-force a livelier read, with Fiona Ranford interestingly raising a similar point to Jemima 101 by saying that:

I think that we need to switch attention away from the individual choices that women are making and turn attention on to the institutions that are restricting those choices

Interestingly Ranford then goes on to completely go against Jemima’s piece saying that:

Men are affected by pornography, for example from, I think, the average age for boys seeing pornography being 11. Pornography is often violent and degrading to women and that’s how a lot of young boys are getting their ideas around who women are and what sex is like

In other news – unsurprisingly 78% of front-page articles are written by men according to research undertaken by Women in Journalism – no surprise there then!

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