Introducing Our July Guest Bloggers: Suswati Basu and Becky Bolton

// 1 July 2010

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It’s been an excellent year for guest bloggers here so far and I’d like to take the opportunity to welcome our brilliant new bloggers for July.

Suswati Basu is a writer and an activist. Currently studying a BA in Mandarin and History from SOAS, University of London, she won the Emma Humphries Memorial prize in 2007 for her campaigning in women’s rights in the justice system. She is currently fundraising with Million Women Rise, and has previously helped to organise the annual march, Reclaim the Night. Working closely with the Women and Girls Network, Suswati has been working with local women activists in China and laying the ground work for future research based trips to the East for the Guardian.

Becky Bolton is a young biological female who identifies as gender-free. She is loosely socialist, studying for a degree with the Open University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and finds that balancing this with a full-time job is a pain in the arse. She works in (and ultimately returns most of her wages to) a book shop and fantasizes daily about revolution. She also likes oreos, highlighting the white chocolate-covered ones as the best!

Comments From You

Laura // Posted 1 July 2010 at 6:00 pm

Nice to have you both on board :-)

Helen G // Posted 1 July 2010 at 6:53 pm

Welcome, both. Looking forward to reading your posts.

saranga // Posted 1 July 2010 at 6:57 pm

Welcome!

Anji // Posted 1 July 2010 at 7:41 pm

Welcome to both of you, you’re going to have a great time! I look forward to your posts. :D

Elmo // Posted 1 July 2010 at 7:43 pm

Hello :)

Sheila // Posted 1 July 2010 at 10:46 pm

Welcome, both of you.

Picking up on Anji’s thread in the current blog on HOw to raise a child in a feminist manner, I wondered if Becky would comment on whether someone who identifies themselves as gender free can be a feminist, or whether pro-feminist is more accurate? For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with Anji’s view that a person has to be a woman, identifying as a woman to be a feminist, nor do I agree that women can’t be sexist. But I’m intrigued to hear Becky’s view on what it means to be gender free and whether that means, according to Anji’s criteria, she regards herself as feminist.

Jolene Tan // Posted 2 July 2010 at 11:56 am

@Sheila

I don’t think we should expect anyone to have to square other people’s circles (if that makes sense). If either Becky or Anji is interested in this topic of their own accord, great, but I don’t think they are obliged to explain their own views and identities in terms of those of another person.

Anji // Posted 2 July 2010 at 11:59 am

I didn’t say “only women can be feminists and everyone else has to identify as pro-feminist”, I said “in my opinion men are not feminists but pro-feminists” i.e. anyone not male who wants to claim the term can do so as far as I’m concerned.

Amusingly enough, I’m actually grappling with my own gender identity right now and am leaning towards nonbinary so this is a bit of a silly question.

Sheila // Posted 2 July 2010 at 12:49 pm

So can a non-binary man be a feminist rather than pro-feminist?

Suswati // Posted 2 July 2010 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for having me! I look forward contributing and reading everything!

Anji // Posted 2 July 2010 at 4:20 pm

Sheila, a non-binary person is unlikely to identify as a man, no?

I’m certain that this isn’t the place to be having this argument. You can email me if you’d like to continue it.

Becky Bolton // Posted 2 July 2010 at 6:12 pm

Sheila,

A great question, and one I’ve asked myself before now. I’ll be covering this topic in my post when I make it.

Sheila // Posted 2 July 2010 at 6:19 pm

@Anji

Let’s let Becky talk about this. I don’t feel comfortable giving out my e-mail address.

Jess Five // Posted 25 July 2010 at 1:36 am

Welcome you both! If you feel up to it, Becky, I’m genderqueer too and if you want to chat – my email is jess(at)veganarchist(dot) com. Cheers.

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