News roundup for October 2001
A round up of the months news, compiled by Catherine Redfern
London Women in Black response
London members of the group ‘Women in Black’ have presented a petition
to Downing Street stressing the need for justice not violence in
response to the New York tragedy. They say: “We believe that violence
must not be answered with violence. The understandable urge to
vengeance must be resisted. NATO military actions are more likely to
cost the lives of innocent people than to achieve justice. Terror is
no antidote to terror.”
Good news for us, bad news for sperm
Fascinating and promising contraception news this month. Research
published in the journal Nature detailed the discovery of a
new type of protein which controls the movement of a sperm’s tail. If
the protein is removed, the sperm can’t fertilise the egg. This could
lead to a male contraceptive with less side effects as it wouldn’t
need to use hormones. It might even be effective if women take
it, too. Yippee!
Still fun looking for it though
Cosmopolitan readers must have been in shock when
research was published in September claiming that the G-spot
doesn’t exist! American psychology professor Dr Terence Hines said
it’s all in the mind. So, are you a believer?
Magazines attempt to bridge gender divide
We seem to be going through a bit of a phase at the minute.
First Ampersand, a ‘lifestyle’ mag aimed
at both men and women. Now two more “unisex”
fashion magazines have been released: Spruce, from the
creator of the oh so fashionable Wallpaper, and more
recently, the bizarrely named Another Magazine. Newsagents
all over the country must be losing sleep over which section to
shelve them in: women’s interests or men’s lifestyle? But
Spruce is way ahead. It comes in two versions with different
cover images: a man, or a woman. Aha, clever.
Abortion fought in Scotland
An American evangelist announced plans to convert a derelict
Scottish mansion into what some critics have termed a ‘baby-ranch’.
The aim is to fight abortions by persuading young pregnant girls
to stay there instead of having an abortion. The Catholic Church
in Scotland welcomed the project, claiming that it would be a kind
of ‘drop-in’ centre for women and denied claims that it had
connections with the far-right.
Here’s one to warm the cockles of your heart. A study of 3,000 men
by FHM Bionic claims that 9 out of 10 men think love and
affection are more important than sex. More than half wanted more
romance in their lives and 7 out of 10 think the best sex is in a
long-term relationship. You may think its a load of cobblers, but
when you think that these are FHM readers, well! Maybe
there’s hope for us all! (Can I collapse with laughter now at the
name FHM Bionic?)
Parties can use women only shortlists
In early October it was confirmed that political parties will be able
to use positive discrimination to increase the numbers of women MPs.
The legislation will be brought in later this year. Meanwhile, the
issue was discussed at the Liberal Democrat conference, and although
the leadership supported positive action, it was turned down in a
vote. The party are going to use other measures instead.
Model talks back
The fashion model Iman released a book – I Am Iman – in which
she criticised the fashion industry for it’s reliance on blonde,
blue-eyed women and it’s lack of use of black models. The release
of the book revived the debate about the fashion industry’s focus
on caucasion women.
Women drivers are better, admits ASA
We were back in sex war territory earlier this month when the
Advertising Standards Agency ruled that a driving insurance ad was
right to say women are better drivers than men! Complaints were
submitted to the ASA about Diamond Car Insurance which offer
cheaper car insurance for women because they make less isnurance
claims than men – therefore, it is argued, they’re better drivers. The
ASA agreed that this was true after being presented with insurance
statistics and supporting evidence from competitors websites.
Event in London: “Rebranding Feminism”
The Fawcett Society is holding a meeting on Friday 30th November to
discuss the issue of “rebranding feminism.” The meeting is open to
non-members as well and will take place at the ICA, The Mall, SW1 at
7pm. The Fawcett Society says: “We are taking forward the question
of how we can tackle the negative image of feminism among many
women… We will be asking: How can we re-brand feminism to make
it more attractive to a new generation? Does feminism deserve its
media stereotype? Does feminism need to change or just change the
way it communicates itself? Do we need a brand – or can we just
have cutomised versions of feminism, to suit different situation?
Is feminism now so mainstream it’s often invisible? And if young
women are no longer marching, what form does their activism
Tickets cost £7.00 for Fawcett members and £8.00 for non-members.
Contact the ICA box office for more info on 020 7930 3647.