Feminism in London 2008

// 17 October 2008

Last weekend was the first Feminism in London conference. Charlotte Cooper reflects on the day in this guest post. You can also see Jess’ photos from the day on Flickr

While the word conference would normally rouse feelings of fear and

boredom in me, there’s something about the prefix Feminist that alerts

me to the opposite. As a not-too-internet-based feminist, I miss out

on a lot of the group discussion that takes place in online forums, and

so the occasional trip out to any part of the physical world I inhabit

means I get to catch up on big ideas and debates.

The Feminism in London conference, held on Saturday 11th October, was

run by the ever-swelling London Feminist Network in the iconic Conway

Hall, famous for encouraging free speech and progressive thinking. I

couldn’t really think of a better place to push the feminist psyche.

Though I wasn’t flushed with excitement at the prospect of another

workshop on “what’s wrong with pornography” or 90 minutes on

objectification, there was plenty to be thrilled about. Women and

asylum, masculinities in peace and war and media training workshops

stood out to me – the latter demonstrating the movement’s reaction to

an ever pressing media interest in feminist perspective (perhaps

cemented by the presence of the BBC film crew).

Of the two workshops I attended the women and UK asylum workshop was

interesting and invigorating, and once the group has established the

legal background – the UK screws people seeking refugee status in our

country – we were quickly looking for ways to get active and make a

difference. People were searching for ways to make real positive

changes by buying shares in detention centres to help rock the boat

and volunteering as medical, legal and companion aids.

At the very least, the day offered an opportunity for people to

socialise and build bridges and strengthen the feminist community in

its many guises. But, the best things that occurred was that people

left energised and excited, committed to direct action in its many

forms, and that’s exactly what we need.

Comments From You

Ruth Rasnic // Posted 21 October 2008 at 12:28 pm

Finding your website and blog was truly a joyful event for me today.

Am a veteran Israeli feminist and the founder of Israel’s first organisation to tackle domestic violence. Was involved with the setting up of London’s Jewish Women’s Aid and with British Womens’ Aid for many many years.

Last week Rosie Fadida a 48 year old mother, was murdered brutally by her ex husband (divorced 12 years ago).

She had a protection order and the police claim they were not notified of same.

Like many other people in Israel I was shattered by yet another murder of a woman by a former spouse.

So I wrote a message of condolence to her family and children in the forum I often write to, in my town Herzliya. This is the Herzliya forum on the Y-net.

To my shock and pain, the comments I received from several men who are regulars on this forum proved that chauvenism is rife and current among so called “decent and nice men”.

They do not seem to understand the horror and suffering of women who are victims of terrorism within and outside

their homes by spouses, former spouses, rejected suitors and men who regard women as their property.

So thank you for being there to share

this feeling of dismay and upset.

Ruth Rasnic

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