Weekly round-up and open thread

by Lusana Taylor // 4 May 2015, 13:50

Tags: weekly round-up and open thread

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It's strange to think that by the next weekly round-up, the general election will have been and gone. One of the highlights of the week was the news that Sandi Toksvig will be leaving her current job at Radio 4 to start up a new political party campaigning for gender equality (you can find out more in the article from Pink News listed below). While you might not be able to vote for the Women's Equality Party this time around, hopefully you will all still be getting out there and making your voices heard on 7th May.

In the meantime, enjoy your bank holiday Monday and the collection of links we have put together for you this week! As always, feel free to get involved by letting us know your thoughts on any of the issues covered and by adding your own links to the comments section below if you think we have missed something.

Please also remember that linking does not automatically mean endorsement or agreement from the F-Word and that some links may be triggering. It is also worth noting that, while we welcome engagement on the weekly round-up, any comments including racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or disablist language will be deleted.

The Casual Racism I Deal with as an Asian Woman in an Interracial Relationship (Vice)

Let's talk about intimate partner violence in queer communities (Feministing)

Wolf-whistling is not the story here - our reaction to sexual harassment is (The Guardian)

From the article: "A 23-year-old digital marketing coordinator has reported a group of builders to the police for sexual harassment. Every morning on her way to work, Poppy Smart faced gestures, disrespectful comments and wolf-whistles - the builders would even come out of the site to whistle as she passed them, and, on one occasion, one of the men deliberately blocked her path."

'Sexist' peer review causes storm online (The Times Higher Education)

How a new wave of POC artists is challenging Britishness (Dazed Digital)

Sandi Toksvig quits News Quiz to set up new political party (Pink News)

From the article: "Out comedian Sandi Toksvig has announced that she plans to create a new political party for women's equality."

Where are the ethnic minority women in politics? (New Statesman)

What's Wrong With 'All Lives Matter'? (NY Times)

What the Quaker tradition taught me about 'Mr' and 'Ms' (Hello Giggles)

The image is used under creative commons license with thanks to Kayla Sawyer. It shows an arm raised upwards with the hand forming a fist. From the fingers dangles a silver pendant with a Venus symbol charm.

Tara is freelance creative who goes by the name Catstello online. She is an aspiring full-time optimist, feminist warrior and beach ready woman. When she isn't publicly rejecting beauty standards, she is running feminist lifestyle blog, Zusterschap, with her best friend.


You may know me, I recently stripped to make a statement. Although this Protein World's advertisement is merely just a drop in an ocean of body shaming media there was something about this one in particular that ticked me and thousands of other women off. The image features bold writing asking commuters "ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?" when it might as well say "DO YOU FEEL RUBBISH YET?". My new friend Fiona and I made our own body positive statement in retaliation to the advert by standing next to it in our bikinis declaring ourselves already beach body ready.


Since the pair of us posted the image, it has gone viral and garnered some very interesting responses. Whenever somebody rejects an ideal or supports feminism in general, they are often met with backlash. Although most of the responses have been positive and encouraging, I have also received a ton of abuse. The insults most often hurled at me are: fat, ugly, insecure, fake and a chubster feminazi. I have also been accused of fit-shaming (which isn't a thing by the way, nobody thinks you are 'gross' if you are fit). I have also had a super detailed and lengthy hate-filled email sent straight to my inbox. But the thing that baffles me the most is people calling me a terrorist.

The definition of terrorism is "the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims." Re-read that a few times and think about how that can be applied to me, Fiona and the thousands of other women who are sick of being told how they should look every day. I never once condoned violence or intimidation, all Fiona and I did was send a body positive message. We rejected society's ideals, encouraged women to do the same, didn't judge others who weren't against it and have generally handled all this with poise and dignity. Protein World on the other hand have not. They have been publicly shaming feminists, mental health sufferers and generally anybody else who is against their advertisement.

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As you may have seen my friend Juliette Burton tweeted Protein World expressing her thoughts on the advertisements and how they can be triggering for other people struggling with their mental health. The most shocking part in all of this is the fact the CEO has openly admitted to taking over the company's Twitter account and basically shown thousands of people how terrible the company are at public relations.

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The most infuriating part of all is that at no point during the company's television or radio appearances has the CEO shown his face. Nor have they been called out for their absolutely terrible behaviour. In fact a large amount of people had no problem with the advert but objected to their disgusting comments online instead. Not only is this completely unprofessional and uncalled for, it's very dangerous. It's unacceptable and discriminating against what could be a very vulnerable group. It's completely irresponsible as his comments have encouraged thousands of people to tweet myself, Fiona and Juliette abuse. It's not about the adverts anymore. It's about the company's disgusting attitude towards women.

Unfortunately, it's nothing new. Almost every time a woman rejects or challenges an ideal, she is called irrational, crazy, jealous and so on. Why is it that in 2015 being a feminist is still seen as horrifyingly bad - and the ultimate insult? Why are women branded terrorists for wanting equal rights? Why are people so threatened by this?

The uproar, backlash and CEO's comments have just proven our point even more. The fact that I am being called fat and insecure daily is the exact reason I decided to do this. People's minds have been clouded by the media for far too long. Women are pitted against each other daily and people have been conditioned to think that physical beauty only takes one form. Other women aren't my competition, I stand with them not against them.

The longer I am branded a terrorist, the longer I will fight to change these body shaming attitudes.

The first image depicts Tara and Fiona standing in front of a Protein World advert wearing bikinis. It is overlaid with the text 'How to get a beach body: put a bikini on your body'. The Protein World advert shows a woman in a bikini next to text which reads 'Are you beach body ready?' and information on meal supplements. The second image is a tweet from Protein World which reads 'Dealing with irrational or perpetually offended requires a slap in the face sometimes' with an emoji of a hand slapping and the hashtag #sorrynotsorry. The third image shows three tweets. The first is from Arjun Seth, CEO of Protein World which reads 'it sounds like Juliette had a lot of issues before she saw the PW ad'. The second is a tweet from Danielle Newnham which says 'Arjun, that is a totally disgraceful thing to say. You're a CEO'. The third is a tweet from Arjun Seth which says 'you're both crazy, get of Twitter and do some work!'. The fourth image shows two tweets. The first is directed towards Protein World from Nisha and says 'first you body shame them you shame @JulietteBurton for her #mentalhealth condition. SO FOUL.'. The second is a reply from Protein World saying 'so she does have a mental health condition' followed by emojis of a laughing face and an 'OK' hand sign.

BADD.gifThere's a very ancient tradition of blaming disabled people for their impairments. There are still cultures (and elements within our own) where disabled children are seen as a curse. Abuses of the concept of karma cast disabled people as evil-doers in earlier lives. Since the 2000s, The Secret and similar positive-thinking movements have blamed disabled people's bad attitudes for their conditions. Even the most recent Conservative Manifesto, in rhetoric now familiar in British politics, suggests that some disabled people have only themselves to blame:

We will review how best to support those suffering from long-term yet treatable conditions, such as drug or alcohol addiction, or obesity, back into work. People who might benefit from treatment should get the medical help they need so they can return to work. If they refuse a recommended treatment, we will review whether their benefits should be reduced.

It's an extraordinarily vague threat and there are only around 1000 people in the UK who are incapacitated for work where obesity is their main condition - a tiny group to mention in a general election campaign. However, the political capital lies in the perception that some folk are willfully disabled. Since our culture persists with the view of disability as a charitable status, with accommodating disabled people as an act of compassion, sick people who don't look after their health are to be despised.

Our health and personal decisions made around our health should be morally neutral. Of course, if you have a contagious disease, then you must do your best to avoid passing it on. If you are drunk, over-tired or feeling faint, you must not drive or do anything else which may put other people in danger. However, things which effect our own bodies are our own business. It can be immensely complicated and messy, but people do, in general, act in their own best interests. As someone with chronic illness, who has been both poor and alone at times, I'm all too aware that sometimes looking after oneself in one respect, means not looking after oneself in another.

Women bear the brunt of being blamed for their ill health. To the detriment of absolutely everyone, our culture regards health as a women's issue. We regularly lament that men won't talk about their problems, won't go to the doctor and won't look after their health, but having concluded this, we largely give up on them and turn our attention to women who, we imagine, can be reached and helped and saved.

Men who fail to look after their health are often assumed to have their priorities in rational order; they have a serious job to do, maybe a family to support, they have serious demons which can't be exorcised and thus their health falls by the wayside - almost every fictional hero over the age of forty has threatening symptoms he is ignoring or a drink habit that's edging out of control. Women, however, are expected to look after themselves in order to look after everyone else. Overworking is a sign of detachment rather that dedication. We must support our families by being physically and emotionally accessible to them. Our demons are trivial, domestic, and can be dismissed with a slice of chocolate cake.

Women are supposed to be well-behaved, as daughters, partners and mothers. Even in the twenty-first century, there is far greater concern about women who drink heavily or are as sexually promiscuous than their male counterparts - even though men drink more, acquire more alcohol-related diseases, are involved in more alcohol-related violence and contract STIs at similar rates to women. Men are more likely to die of lung cancer, yet novel campaigns target the vanity of women smokers.

There's also the very sinister but still prevalent idea that women need saving from ourselves. It is remarkable to me, in the aftermath of Channel Four's Plus Size Wars and the subsequent #WeAreTheThey hashtag, the number of people who seem to imagine that fat women are blissfully unaware that being obese defies cultural beauty standards and is statistically disadvantageous to health.

These things impact terribly on people who get sick and don't get better. While men often suffer from a sense of moral weakness - as if masculine willpower might allow them to soldier on through everything - women tend to be more analytical. We must have done something wrong; eaten the wrong thing, exercised too much or too little, not prayed or relaxed or had sex in the right way. And there are no shortage of folk around us to make suggestions. Especially if, by coincidence or as an effect of ill health, we happen to be fat.

Ultimately, all this falls away if we regard disability as a social and political experience as opposed to a charitable status. When we feel like we're doing people a favour by treating them as equals, we want our sick people to be virtuous, inspirational and to endure their suffering with grace and dignity. We want our sick people to keep working hard not to be sick, rather than getting on with their lives as they are.

Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day 2015. You can read more posts here.

[Images is the the Blogging Against Disablism Day logo: a colourful square grid of stick men, including a wheelchair user and another holding a cane. Over the top it reads "Blogging Against Disablism Day". This image was created by me and is available for use in relation to the day.]

El_cuentito.jpgThe F-Word is committed to taking an intersectional approach to feminism. We recognise that additional forms of oppression, as well as sexism, must be tackled in order to achieve women's liberation. We therefore aim to not only publish pieces addressing these various oppressions but to also do all we can to avoid perpetuating them in any material we publish. One of these oppressions is disablism: discrimination against disabled people. This is an important issue that urgently needs to be tackled, and especially so in the light of the current demonisation, exploitation and mistreatment of disabled people.

Last year, blogger Philippa Willitts looked at how The F-Word might appear to disabled people who aren't familiar with the site. She focused on instances of disablist language on the site and the visual representation of disabled people in the images we use.

For the first measure, Philippa searched the site for 22 different words associated with disability. Some were related to particular impairments, while others are words that can be used as insults or be reclaimed by disabled people. Unfortunately our search function does not work perfectly, but Philippa found it turned up enough features, reviews and blog posts to paint a reliable picture of the language used on the site. Her search identified:

  • 426 instances of disablist language across the site

  • 93 instances of accurate usage of language associated with disability, or of negative usage that was challenged

  • 33 instances that were unclear or questionable.
This is unacceptable. A lot of these past posts and comments containing disablist language are from many years ago but, unfortunately, we've sometimes got it wrong more recently. We have left these posts as they are for the sake of transparency and historical accuracy but have been working to make sure we don't slip up again.

Philippa also examined the images used in 100 different blog posts to see if any of the people in the images were visibly disabled:
Obviously this is only looking at people with visible impairments, which is only the case for a proportion of disabled people. However, it shows how well we are doing at providing visible representation of disabled people, in a way in which disabled people could find any kind of recognition of themselves or people like them on our pages. Even people whose impairments are hidden or invisible can take visual cues from images of more visibly disabled people to gauge how welcome they are somewhere.
Philippa found 81 people in the images used in the 100 posts she selected. Not a single person was visibly disabled in Pippa's sample while, in contrast, 50% of the images in a selection of 20 posts specifically on the topic of disability featured people with visible impairments. Philippa concludes:
This shows that there are images of disabled women available, because we use them on relevant posts.

What we are not doing is thinking of disabled women when we are talking about black women or abortion or violence against women. It suggests that when we think about abortion rights or domestic violence or racism, we don't think of disabled women. That disabled women are too busy being disabled to also be a woman.

Once again, these findings are unacceptable. The F-Word aims to represent a wide range of feminists and this should be reflected in the images we use.

After Philippa shared her report with the rest of the team, we set up a Disablism Working Group to address her findings and identify ways of improving how we tackle disablism at The F-Word. The group has agreed on the following actions:
  • We will ensure that all our guidelines for contributors and style guides explicitly highlight the need to avoid disablist language, providing examples and explanations for clarity; where guidelines exist already, the standard will be explained and reiterated.

  • Following on from this, we will challenge and edit articles/comments that perpetuate micro-aggressions, such as labelling 'bad people' (from those who we disagree with to violent criminals) as mentally ill or intellectually impaired.

  • We will create a position statement on disablism, similar to our statement on transphobia.

  • We will continue to seek out more disabled contributors.

  • We will actively seek out images of disabled people and build these into any resource we develop for site use, to make sure we use these images across the board and not just to illustrate pieces on disability. In addition, we will be considerate in our use of images to illustrate pieces on non-visible disabilities, avoiding those that stereotype.

  • We will investigate what an accessibility audit would cost and decide whether to undertake one and, if so, how we will raise funds for it.
We would also very much like to hear from readers who have any further suggestions as to how we can tackle disablism and make The F-Word more accessible to and inclusive of disabled people. You can get in touch by emailing [email protected], via Twitter or Facebook, or by commenting below. For reference, actions we have already taken include:
  • Providing image descriptions

  • Providing video transcripts and descriptions (with a commitment to improving on this)

  • Blogging about disablism

  • Explicitly requesting disabled contributors in our guest blogger call-outs

  • Not publishing comments containing disablist language

  • Highlighting the issue of disablist language in our style guide and advising editors to remove it from posts
We would like to thank Philippa for the work she put into producing the report, particularly given that a feminist environment should be supportive of disabled people and not leave all the work of addressing intersecting oppressions to those who face them. We are actively committed to changing that environment for the better.
Here is some recommended reading around this:

Another reason to avoid exclusionary language
Watching your words isn't just about a no-no list. In fact, if that's all you think it is, you are completely missing the point of this discussion. It's about really thinking about the way in which you use language, and what you mean when you say things. And, ultimately? It's going to make you a better debater, and writer, and speaker, and communicator, when you can be more precise about how you use language. When you can force yourself to explore the meanings of things, and to think, clearly, about what it is that you want to express with the words which you are using.

Language Matters: Reclamatory Language and Word Use

Missing the Point on Language

Language Matters: Language Matters, But It's Not the Most Important Thing

The good type of insult

Doing Social Justice: Thoughts on Ableist Language and Why It Matters (This is a US article, so it uses the word 'ableist')

To end with, we'd like to turn to our readers with an idea.

Following on from our commitment to actively seeking out images of disabled people and build these into a resource, one of our writers has pointed out the following:

One of the problems of diverse representation within stock images is that women with marginalised bodies have reasons to fear putting images of themselves up for use in any context. [The F-Word could set up] something like a Flickr group where F-word readers and others could place their photos or art, which would hopefully include images of a broad group of women, with permission for use on the site, with accreditation...
At the moment, this is an idea we are exploring and are interested to hear from people who might like to contribute. If you would like to be involved with this, please email [email protected] or comment on this post (adding a note if it's just intended for us to see and not for publication).

The image shows 'El Cuentito', a painting by Petrona Viera that is in the public domain, sourced via Wikimedia Commons. Petrona Viera was a d/Deaf painter, born in Uruguay and alive 1895-1960. The painting shows two women sitting on a bench facing each other in a park, a tree casting a shadow over them. It is bright and stylised.

Features & reviews round-up

by Lusana Taylor // 1 May 2015, 12:40

Tags: features and reviews round-up

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Features & reviews you might have missed from The F-Word in April

This is a new round-up to ensure those who follow us via RSS are made aware of all of the articles we post on our website - it's also an excuse to re-share the many awesome features and reviews from the past month!

The following links are all to articles published during April.

A Stella performance
Agata Ostrowska watches crime drama The Fall and is impressed by the staunchly feminist approach of the show's protagonist and her portrayal by Gillian Anderson.

Girls and the city
Ania Ostrowska recommends The Group, a cinematic grandmother of Sex and the City and its cousins.

The leader of the pack?
Dawn Kofie reports on the antics in Raised By Wolves so far and finds the show warm-hearted and often funny, although sometimes a little thin on plot

Dear White People or what happens when we pin all our hopes to one film

Grace Barber-Plentie enjoys Dear White People but only up to a point.

Power for good?
Amelia Handy watches the recent BBC documentary about Hillary Clinton and argues that having female leadership means little if that leader's policies work to marginalise women on a national and international level.

Dementia is a feminist issue
Women make up two thirds of the people living with dementia in the UK and a huge proportion of carers looking after those living with dementia, yet policy making doesn't recognise and value them. Nada Savitch speaks to women affected by dementia and calls on young women to change their futures.

Branagh's Cinderella: two steps back in glass slippers
Corrina Antrobus hails fabulous performances in new live-action Cinderella but is not quite convinced by Branagh's 'modernisation' of the fairy tale.

Flying high with Nightingales
Lissy Lovett finds much to admire in Nightingales, a new take on a Greek myth that deals with rape, revenge and sisterhood.

"Protecting the life of my child"
D H Kelly has a look at Louis Theroux's recent documentary, focused on the experiences of transgender children and their parents, and considers whether the programmme does justice to their stories.

Rumpy Pumpy! misses the mark
This confused musical about sex work and the Women's Institute leaves Suzanne Duffy with more questions than it answers.

Earth song(s)
Cazz Blase is convinced by Lila Rose's emotive plea for environmental and animal welfare on her latest album We.Animals.

Feminist film badass: an interview with Elisabeth Subrin
Sophie Mayer talks to Elisabeth Subrin, director of Shulie, a 1997 shot-for-shot remake of 1967 documentary about Shulamith Firestone during her time as an art student.

Image description:

The image is from D H Kelly's review of Louis Theroux's recent documentary on transgender children. It shows Crystal/Cole (left, foreground) and Louis Theroux (right, background) in an outdoor scene, with a white house in the background, at dusk. Crystal Cole wears a loose yellow top, blue jeans and white furry boots and is jumping on a pogo stick, while Louis is wearing a navy jumper, navy trousers and brown lace-up boots and stands with his hands in his pockets, his weight somewhat on his right leg and with his left foot forward. Both are smiling casually. Image Credit: BBC/Freddie Claire. Shared under fair dealing.

Beth, Portishead.jpg

Hello! Please click here for your April playlist. You can also view the track-list here.

A short and sweet one from me this month but, hopefully, the tunes will speak for themselves. As usual, I've got some newer artists with some classics thrown in for good measure. Who can resist the Monie Love, Etta James and The Knife tracks? Not me.


The image is a close-up, uppper-body, black and white shot of Beth Gibbons from the band Portishead singing into a microphone onstage. Her hands grasp the microphone, her eyes are closed and her brow is furrowed with concentration/emotion. Image by Roger Ho, shared under a Creative Commons licence.

Many women yearn to be, and to feel, beautiful. A bombardment of messages from our earliest days teaches us to equate being beautiful with being accepted, with being loved. It's hard to escape that kind of conditioning. Even if we recognise that this is flawed, we may not initially be able to force ourselves to unlearn it emotionally.

Plenty of companies have swooped in on our insecurities and become wealthy as a result. Advertising campaigns promise us that this or that product will make us more beautiful. People dream up diets that will supposedly enable us to drop 10lbs in 10 days, or exercise routines to "flatten that tummy" and "tone up those thighs".

Collectively we spend millions every year on lotions and potions, waxing and lasers, tanning and bleaching and dyeing, nipping and tucking, cleavage-enhancing bras and knickers we can't eat in. There has been a backlash against this more recently; assuring us that we are beautiful, just as we are.

Yes, we are. Or perhaps not. The thing is: it doesn't matter.

We are so much more than beautiful. We are no ornament on somebody's mantelpiece. We do not exist as passive things to be looked at. We can participate. We can pursue our dreams, instigate change, help others, create art, fight good fights and speak to be heard. We can look damn fine doing it or we can look like roadkill - it doesn't matter. We are equally valuable either way, because beauty is not our purpose. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, anyway.

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If we took our attention from fretting about our appearance and used that energy productively, what could we achieve? We need to take our eyes off the mirror and onto the world.

That doesn't mean we must all go bare-faced and hairy. By all means, alter your appearance however you wish - but do it because it's what you want, as opposed to what you think you should look like. We need to move from performing these rituals out of fear of rejection and ridicule to genuine, uninhibited choice, self-expression and celebration of who we are. We should do these things because we want to, mindfully and joyfully. We must realise that whether we are loved, desired, wanted, admired and accepted is not dependent on our beauty. Those who would dismiss us based on our appearance are not worth our time or consideration.

The question is, how do we overcome years of social conditioning to reach this place of strength? How do we free ourselves from self-consciousness, from the fear that we may not be beautiful, when we have learned to equate being beautiful with being acceptable? I fear there is no quick fix. It is a long road of staring down the mirror, and of telling ourselves over and over that beauty is irrelevant and we are so much more. It involves refusing to listen to those critical thoughts and to the whispers that we are not worthy. It involves filling our lives with authenticity and relationship and meaning. It involves using our talents and engaging with the world around us. It involves learning to receive support and affirmation from others.

I am walking this road. Sometimes I'm stumbling, sometimes even running back to the start, but slowly getting there. When I do trip up, I remember this quotation from Laurie Penny - it reminds me why I'm trying to live my life beyond the confines of society's obsession with female beauty:

"Rather than fighting for every woman's right to feel beautiful, I would like to see the return of a kind of feminism that tells women and girls everywhere that maybe it's all right not to be pretty and perfectly well-behaved. That maybe women who are plain, large or differently abled, or who simply don't give a damn what they look like because they're too busy saving the world or rearranging their sock drawer, have as much right to take up space as anyone else"

I know other women who are also on this journey. Will you join the movement?

Image Description:
Image depicts a woman in a red dress walking down a street in the French Concession in Shanghai.
Credit: Jamie Manley. Used under
Creative Commons licence. Image has been resized, but not otherwise altered.

Continue reading "Defining ourselves beyond beauty"

Weekly round-up and open thread

by Lusana Taylor // 27 April 2015, 21:09

Tags: weekly round-up and open thread

This week's weekly round-up is up slightly later due to the Regular Content Editor enjoying a lovely weekend away - followed by a not so lovely day of navigating her way around various public transport related nightmares! Hope you all enjoy these links regardless.

As usual, linking does not automatically mean agreement/endorsement from The F-Word and some links may be triggering. We always love to hear your thoughts on any topics covered and you are very welcome to post your own links to the comments section if you feel we've missed anything.

Suffragettes didn't suffer for Kate Middleton's right to wear a dress twice (The Guardian)

From the article: "Patsy Kensit has this month made feminists engage in a communal eye-roll by suggesting in an interview with Stylist magazine that Kate Middleton is 'the suffragette of our generation'; not for any political reason but because, by wearing the same outfit in public more than once, Kate has liberated the sisterhood from the hideous pressures of feeling they can't wear the same dress twice."

"My Daughter Is Too Fat!": The Dangers Of Unrealistic Childhood Body Image (Ravishly)

From the article: "It was the summer of 2010, and I was pregnant with my third child. While working at a school for special needs children in Westchester, New York, I chatted with a Physical Therapist during our lunch break--and heard a story that has haunted me ever since ..."

Emerging into the Light: A History of Postnatal Mental Health (Keeping it Eclectic)

From the article: "While I do believe that we are making strides in greater public awareness of perinatal mental ill-health, this is a recent development and, unfortunately, as a result, people sometimes assume that postnatal depression (or anxiety or psychosis) is a new phenomenon ..."

Female bestselling authors who nailed their biggest novel under the age of 30 (Stylist)

Katie Hopkins calling migrants vermin recalls the darkest events of history (The Guardian)

Want to Help People Be Healthier? 4 Reasons to Change the Food Industry Instead of Fat-Shaming (Everyday Feminism)

No more "gal pals": why do we assume lesbians are confused, attention-seeking, or man-boycotting straight women? (New Statesman)

From the article: "There's this lingering notion that lesbians are just women going through an experimental phase, in which they finger their closest mates. The same certainly doesn't apply to gay men, around whom there's hardly ever any perceived ambiguity."

Op-ed: Michfest's Founder Chose to Shut Down Rather Than Change With the Times (Advocate)

From the article: "This magical, transformative female utopia has been around 40 years, and this year will be its last. I'm talking, of course, about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, the (mostly lesbian) feminist music festival once called the 'women's Woodstock,' which is built up over a month in the summer by women, who then staff, run, and attend a week of music, crafts, workshops, games, sex, and laughter."

Are We Letting One Big Group of Men Off the Hook for Misogyny (Everyday Feminism)

Mental-health care is failing new mothers and pregnant women, says NSPCC (The National)

"'Are you beach body ready?' backlash: Protein World boss labels feminist campaigners 'terrorists'" (The Independent)

Feminism doesn't need more inspiration - it needs more anger (Quartz)

From the article: "But this won't be the century of women if women don't make it one. If women continue to show up for work, loyal and productive, even if they see their paycheck smaller and their promotions scarcer than men's; if they still run their homes, even when the chores are divided, they're usually the ones running the show; if they keep pushing their god-given gift of multitasking to the very limit and a bit beyond."

#thisdoesntmeanyes: how a new campaign is tackling the myth of consent, once and for all (New Statesman)

The image is used under creative commons license with thanks to Alice Popkorn. The picture shows a landscape scene where a magnificent tree is in silhouette against a massive sun. Two figures stand at either side of the tree looking towards each other. The depiction of light in the image would seem to suggest sunset, approaching dusk.

Your title here?

by Editor // 25 April 2015, 13:01

Tags: blog, contribute, magazine, sections, write for us, writers

paintbrush.jpgAt The F-Word, we want to be a platform for feminist voices. We don't think that there are only a handful of people who should represent feminists, or that the thing that best qualifies you to write about feminist views is your writing rather than your views. To this end, we regularly post content that comes from a wide range of people, not just the people on The F-Word team. We're always looking out for posts from people we haven't published before and are very keen to enable new writers and people who have experiences that are often under-represented (both in the mainstream media and on our site).

So it's not a new thing for us to be looking for new writers. However, we've made a few changes around ways to contact us recently, so this is a post to let you know what you need to do if you want to contribute!

First up, this page is a good starting point if you're interested in contributing - it outlines what posts on the site look like and might be helpful if you are wondering if an idea or article you have already will fit.

Secondly, you'll need to work out who to contact. We have section editors, who edit reviews and features for the magazine, and content editors, who edit blog posts. You can see our emails there, or for some of the sections, there are Facebook groups you can join to hear about review opportunities or suggest things yourself.

For the blog, we are interested in hearing from people who have ideas for posts, but we also have monthly guest bloggers, who write for us over a month (unsurprisingly). That means they post several times, often with a loose theme but sometimes on a whole host of topics. Whether you are interested in just submitting one post or posting more regularly, the guest posts email address is the best place to start.

Finally, you can get in touch via our social media pages - we're here on Facebook and we tweet @thefworduk. Not only are these great places to catch our latest posts and join in with discussions, but you can also message or tweet us with questions or ideas about contributing.

Hopefully I've covered everything, but you can always email [email protected] with any questions about contributing to the site - or you can comment here and we'll respond!

The image by Janet Ramsden is used under a creative commons licence. Black and white, it shows a thin paintbrush and its initial stroke of black paint on an otherwise blank sheet of paper. The brush casts a shadow on the paper. The background is out of focus.

Weekly round-up and open thread

by Lusana Taylor // 20 April 2015, 12:51

Tags: weekly round-up and open thread


Did you ever think you'd witness Anne Robinson (yes, the presenter from The Weakest Link) watching hardcore pornography? Nope, me neither - but that's just one of the many interesting things you'll find in this week's round-up of links from around the web. We'd love to know what you think (about Anne Robinson watching porn or any of the other articles!) so please do leave your comments below or share your own interesting links with us.

As usual, linking does not automatically mean agreement/endorsement from The F-Word and some links may be triggering.

15 Feminist Artists Respond To The Censorship Of Women's Bodies Online (Huffington Post)

Hillary Clinton's Empowerment (Jacobin)

From the article: "Hillary Clinton isn't a champion of women's rights. She's the embodiment of corporate feminism."

You can read Amelia Handy's recent F-Word review of the BBC documentary Hillary Clinton: The Power of Women HERE.

VIDEO: Why I asked Anne Robinson to watch porn with me (The Guardian)

From the article: "Seventy-year-old journalist and TV presenter Anne Robinson has never watched porn before. Young feminist Grace Campbell, 20, grew up online, where hardcore porn is instantly available. Is that why Grace and her peers are dealing with unrealistic sexual expectations? She asked Robinson to have a look at what's out there to see if her problems are unique to the internet age."

For Homeless Women, Periods Really Are That Dreaded Time Of The Month (Huffington Post)

UKIP uses women's rights as a trojan horse to attack minorities (The Conversation)

From the article: "Has UKIP finally received the message that it needs to work harder to win the women's vote? Well, maybe. But women, beware. A closer look at each policy reveals that all is not quite as it might seem."

So you've been publicly scapegoated: why we must speak out on public call-out culture (Feministing)

From the article: "The publication of Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed is the culmination of a recent trend: people of means and privilege engaged in well-remunerated shallow handwringing about "public shaming," particularly through social media."

Little Girl Recreates Iconic Women Of Black History In This Incredible Photo Series (Bust)

The Doomed Visionary Who Made Feminist Games 19 Years Before Gamergate (Gawker)

Why We Need Riot Grrrl (Geek & Sundry)

From the article: "I was first introduced to Kathleen Hanna via Rock Band. Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill was my go-to song long before I knew anything about feminism or the riot grrrl movement. I hate to admit it, but prior to college I assumed feminism was about hating men and I generally avoided it."

How Can You Tell if You're Being Sexually Empowered or Objectified? Ask Yourself This Simple Question (Everyday Feminism)

From the article: "There's a long-standing debate in feminism about sexual empowerment: How do we know when someone is being sexually liberated versus being sexually objectified, since they sometimes can look similar from the outside? Well, the answer is simpler than you think ..."

George Galloway's comments on forced marriage are a dangerous abuse of power (The Guardian CiF)

From the article: "George Galloway has played politics with the experience of survivors of forced marriage. At a public hustings event in his Bradford West constituency, he questioned whether Naz Shah, the Labour candidate, is a survivor of a forced marriage. Shah has spoken openly about her experiences, which included being emotionally blackmailed by her mother and the abusive nature of the marriage."

Faye White: Hall of Famer (The Set Pieces)

From the article: "There are some legendary England captains in the National Football Museum's Hall of Fame: Bobby Moore, Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Tony Adams, Alan Shearer to name but five. This year they're joined by another - Faye White"

The author of this piece, Carrie Dunn, has previously written for The F-Word. You can read more of her work HERE.

'They,' the Singular Pronoun, Gets Popular (The Wall Street Journal)

From the article: "Could English find its own equivalent to Swedish "hen"? Dozens of gender-neutral pronouns have been put forth over the years, including "thon," "xe" and "ze," but all have failed to catch fire."

Ten Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work (Open Society Foundations)

We Need to Talk About Sexual Harassment in Nightclubs (Mixmag)

From the article: "Misogyny, sexism and chauvinism are still entrenched and ignored (often by women, too) in everyday life. But as ravers proud of dance music's decades-old sense of freedom and equality, we should all be embarrassed by the low standards we've come to expect - and ashamed of the disgusting behavior we're turning a blind eye to."

The picture depicts a scene on a vibrant yellow background. In the foreground is a couple (a man and woman) in black and white, clinging to each other. Their expressions convey shock and concern. To their left is a woman in red and black. She is reaching her hands up to the sky and is stood with her legs wide apart, feet almost leaving the ground, in a pose that seems to suggest power and freedom. Behind her is a house coloured in red, with one green stripe across the bottom. She is surrounded by two circles with spokes - one red and one black. They further serve to give the impression of the power and energy emanating from her.

photo credit: Nelly via photopin (license)

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