Weekly round up and open thread, October 4th

by Josephine Tsui // 4 October 2010, 17:41

Hi everyone!
Happy Monday! These are just some of the news items relevant to the f word this week.

Queer fat researcher and activist Charlotte Cooper interviews Judy Freespirit (Obesity Timebomb)

Gamers battle Racism online (Racialicious)

The Lavender Screen, a Cardiff Lesbian and Bi Film Club. (The Lavender Screen)

Review of Claire Tomalin's book on Mary Wollstonecraft (Nerves Strengthened with Tea)

All Boys School is not the Answer (Guardian)

Destiny Lauren's murderer sentenced to 21 years in prison (Bird of Paradox)

Authors and readers rally to defend rape novel from school ban (Mohadas Ghandi)

DRC Exhiled rape victims seek help (Swissinfo)

Sexual force and reader consent in Romance Fiction (Dear Author)

80 memories and reflections on Ursula K Le Guin (Ambling Along the Aquaduct)

How to Fuck (Shakesville)

Women and the Nation, a short piece on Nigerian Feminism (Nigeria at 50)

Why I WILL have an abortion if I am pregnant with my rapist's baby (Victim Status)

Violence and Blaming and "Look what you made me do!" (Effie)

Sylvia Plath's 'unstageable' play Three Women is staged (Guardian)

If You don't identify as a Feminist you're Bad! (Yet Another Kiri Bloggish Thing)

Amanda Marcotte writes In Defense of the word "Creep" (Pandagon)

Laura Kidd from She Makes War chats with Viv Albertine of the Slits about the stuggles of being a woman musician and also the liberation of punk for women (Audioboo)

Warning! This is a violent article. 15 year old raped while waiting in court. She gets 12 months, he gets probation (The Raw Story)

Comments From You

periwinkle // Posted 04 October 2010 at 20:02

Couldn't agree more with the blogger in the 4th link from the bottom. A perfect riposte to those (well represented in the Tess Daly thread) who seem to think that a refusal to self-identify as a feminist is tantamount to being 'anti-feminist'.

nell // Posted 04 October 2010 at 23:03

i feel exactly the same way periwinkle. when i do tell my many feminist friends or i write on sites like this that i am not a feminist its like it translates to "i hate women."
the feminist movement is not perfect and for me has too many imperfections for me to join it. feminism is not another way of saying people that care about women.
i am going to forward that sit to my friends and maybe they will drop the issue.

Josephine Tsui // Posted 04 October 2010 at 23:10

Thanks Nell and Periwinkle.
I'm sorry that you feel the feminist movement has too many imperfections for you to join. It's really sad for me to hear those words because for me I don't think they're true. I was just having coffee with Holly tonight and we were talking how many people feel they don't want to join the movement based on what a few feminist's opinions are.

But to make a small comparison, Christianity has as many diverse sects as opinions. There are diverse opinions about how one can respect the religion. I'm not saying feminism is a religion, but I would hope that people realise that there are diverse opinions within feminism. Being able to openly discuss and talk about the diverse opinions is what makes feminism strong.

I'm glad you feel you're able to forward this site to your friends. Feel free to ask any further questions about feminism, and maybe one of the fword collective members will do their best to answer it!

nell // Posted 04 October 2010 at 23:13

i get even more annoyed when women that don't know me say stuff like "if you believe women are equal to men then you are a feminist" or, "you enjoy your right to vote don't you (i am not old enough)", the worst i think is when feminist assume i have no idea what i am talking about and want to explain why they once upon a time were in my position.

Shinila // Posted 04 October 2010 at 23:38

Some women are against using the term feminism, well, fair enough, I don't call myself one. I sense because some assume feminism is this traitor and every self- proclaimed feminist is a member of the BNP (or if not, must constantly aim to act ashamed)... but we dare call these women anti-feminist. I'm a woman of colour and always surprised a benign movement like feminism, so belittled and ostracised, is always the first port of call for attacks. One of the reasons I don't label myself a feminist is because I immediately have to feel guily, ashamed, and intimidated when adopting the term. It's easier to just talk about things without all the pressure and bile headed your way when you call yourself a feminist.

I'm genuinely confused and don't want to be attacked here, I think the obvious should be stated. A person argues against feminism, a casual observer assumes the person to be anti-feminist. I don't call myself a feminist but I'm honest for the reasons. Any woman speaking on behalf of women's rights is attacked from all sides for the weirdest, mealy-mouthed of reasons. Why it's easier to just *forget* about a world of women suffering sexism as opposed to fighting it. I'm not anti-feminist even though I don't label myself a feminist, because I don't get angry at feminists or argue against their different causes even if I don't agree with them. I let braver women than I get on with making the world a better place for women. I don't create obstructions under various guises.

I personally feel friends who become angry about feminists or the term feminist have a quite transparent anti-feminist or anti-woman streak. With whichever card they're using, I'm a woman of colour, and personally get tired of the race card used to demean innocent topics about feminism, as well as the other shame-on-youisms banded about.

These same people getting irate by an assumption people are calling them anti-feminists now kinda looks a bit like intimidation.

nell // Posted 05 October 2010 at 09:35

Shinila although i do not identify as a feminist it does not mean that i hate women. josephine i would not want to be in a movement where i feel that i have to constantly prove myslef a feminst. my opinions on the sex industry, prostitution or abortion is different to probably all feminists. i understand that not all feminists agree on everything but i have seen feminists on this site and in real life decide if a particular woman is worthy of being called a feminist.

JenniferRuth // Posted 05 October 2010 at 11:15

Sorry, but I don't buy the whole "I don't like this particular aspect of feminism so therefore I'm not a feminist" argument.

This is what I think people often forget; feminism is an ideology that tries to advocate for around 51% of the population. That's...a lot of people and an awful lot of different political positions, thoughts and opinions have to be contained under the umbrella of feminism. Sometimes it can be a massive struggle! In fact, some things may never be resolved. But deciding that the feminist movement is moribund just because Julie Bindle calls herself one, or some feminists are anti-prostitution and you don't like that, or a particular feminist is also a porn star, or whatever...well, I think that's kinda petty. Of course, all those issues need to be addressed and argued about but honestly, I think that is what makes feminism stronger. A willingness to engage in discussing these difficult issues.

If you don't want to call yourself a feminist, that's totally fine, but don't do it *just because* there are other women out there with contrary ideas to you that also call themselves feminists. There is room in feminism for everyone. If anyone tells you different, they're wrong.

Josephine Tsui // Posted 05 October 2010 at 11:21

Hi All,
I recognise whether someone calls herself a feminist or not is a contention. However I think the debate is detracting away from other commenters wanting to comment about OTHER links I've posted.

As a compromise, I'm suggesting that I'll start a blog post on this tonight and you can feed your comments in that direction.

Thanks!

Lindsay Williams // Posted 05 October 2010 at 15:33

Just thought I would post this story from my local area, about a woman who stood up against sexist, bullying behaviour from drunken football fans and apathy from train staff to get herself heard:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11474308

nell // Posted 05 October 2010 at 18:39

Lindsay i read the article and i just think the woman was so brave. i am sure that the driver would have done something if the idiots were shouting racist things. i am glad there are people like that but i hope that i would be brave enough to stick up for myself and other ia a similar situation.

Jen // Posted 07 October 2010 at 11:39

Oh, sure thing:

(a) it's the staff's fault for not reacting, cause the one ticket inspector and/or trolley lady who occasionally come through the train (which is likely to have been about two carriages long or something) are completely able to handle thirty drunken rugby fans without getting beaten up, which incidentally train staff never do while on their jobs; and
(b) racism is never tolerated in our society, rugby supporters never chant racist stuff on public transport, and white middle-aged mothers of nuclear families are the most oppressed people in our society

Er, wait, no. In fact, trains are massively understaffed due to privatisation and budget cuts and the meagre staff are simply unable to do anything about incidents like this and can't be expected to single-handed; the driver is keeping the train on the tracks, which is a delicate job particularly when his train is full of thirty drunks.

As for the comment about how if it was racism it wouldn't have been tolerated, that really has to be called out. Personally I've had many journeys ruined by a bunch of chanting drunks, although if it's just 'run rabbit run' or 'you are my sunshine', sure it's annoying and obnoxious but it's harmless on the whole. When it's sexist or racist it gets very threatening and horrifying; but let's not pretend people never get called 'fucking paki' in public, or that racism is considered less acceptable than sexism. Seriously, that is an idea that needs to be nipped in the bud. It makes me incredibly mad when I read 'oh well if a black person had been abused it would have been different'. Fuck off. Next you'll be complaining about 'political correctness gone mad'.

It's a very specific narrative, that, white woman protects family. I'm not sure a black woman in the situation would even have been able to even stop the train. I think there's a strong likelihood she would have been arrested (after all it says stopping the train when it's not an emergency is an offense right next to the lever thing) if she'd tried, wouldn't have got as far as standing on the tracks to stop the train, and so it wouldn't have been news, just a madwoman getting arrested on the train, possibly drunk, an anecdote for the other passengers to share afterwards.

And I've seen a disabled black man be taunted on the bus by football supporters before, and no one said anything. The driver will shout to keep the noise down if it's affecting his driving, but that's all he can really do, he's not a security guy after all. The other passengers won't say anything for fear that if they do they'll be the only ones to do so and as long as it remains just taunts, it doesn't seem worth the risk.

So, to be honest, I don't think it's even possible to just replace 'sexism' with 'racism' within the same story and change the outcome, because it would just unfold completely differently.

Rosalind // Posted 08 October 2010 at 11:19

@Jen absolutely. That she is female distracts from the enormous race and class privileges that benefitted her in the situation.

Kristin // Posted 08 October 2010 at 13:40

I would say it's a deeply depressing case of 'political correctness gone mad' when the thing that clearly matters most to Jen (and Rosalind) is that the woman who stood up to the drunks was white and middle-class!

nell // Posted 08 October 2010 at 17:37

sorry about my last comment. i know it is stupid but i always agree with everything Jen says in hers comments. Jen i can always guarantee that you will make more sense in your commnets than anyone else including me.

Jen // Posted 09 October 2010 at 12:23

Nell,

Cheers, that's kind of you and all, but I'm as big an idiot as anyone else you know!

coldharbour // Posted 09 October 2010 at 18:17

I thought the link to the information on Nigerian Feminism was a very important read. Would be good to see a lot more articles on how sexism affects society in developing countries on the F-Word.

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