Feminism Friday: Rewrite the Story

I finally got round to watching Miss Representation a couple of weeks ago and it’s really excellent. I can’t say I enjoyed it, because it’s infuriating, but it’s well worth a watch. (And it’s on Netflix, if you’ve got it.)

I’m very much looking forward to The Mask You Live In, the new film – about masculinity this time – from the same people, and their new promo video is good too.

Feminism Friday: Joss Whedon on the word ‘feminist’

I know, I know, I keep posting videos instead of, you know, writing stuff. But in my defence, a) there are some fantastic videos doing the rounds lately, videos I think everyone should watch, and b) I’m really busy. Sorry.

You should also read the post about the above video on Jezebel. My favourite bits from the Jezebel post:

You can of course say you’re not a feminist! You can say you’re not a feminist because you don’t like the movement and how it’s been isolating to women of color, or because you think women shouldn’t have to be asked if they are feminists. But don’t say you’re not a feminist because of things that are inherently not true about what word means…

Don’t imply that the word itself means women who don’t like men. Don’t say you don’t need it. Don’t say we’re past it. Don’t just say you don’t like labels. It breeds further miseducation about our shared history. And remembering where we came from, the intolerance we live with and that has come before us, is the part that matters. When you say, “I’m not a feminist,” and then rattle off a reasoning that is merely spitting out the groupthink understanding of what the word means, you’re letting yourself down and you’re letting others down.

{via Sarra Manning on Twitter}

Feminism Friday: When stuff you like is sexist

You shouldn't say that, Josh, you've got a great body.
You shouldn’t say that, Josh, you’ve got a great body.

As part of my resolution to call stuff out, I’ve been, you know, calling stuff out and one of the responses that bugs me is this one: “I’m a huge fan of [TV show, toy, company]. I see no problem with this.”

The first time I got a reply like this, I wanted to say well bully for you. Oh, if you don’t have a problem with it, person on the internet, then it must be fine. You’re right and I’m wrong. I’ll shut up now. But I didn’t say that – actually I kind of did, I messaged it to a friend, but I didn’t say it publicly. Publicly I said “I’m also a fan of [this thing] which is why I’m disappointed that they did [this sexist thing] and I want them to do better.”

Questioning or criticising something doesn’t mean you don’t/can’t love it. The West Wing is still one of my favourite TV shows of all time, even though there are quite a few moments in the show that make me wince from a feminist perspective (and one – in my all-time favourite episode, Celestial Navigation, that makes me shout “WTF, Josh?!” every time I watch it).

If you like something does that really mean you have to blindly like every single little thing about it. No matter what? How is that even possible? I mean, I love my husband and kids more than anything, but they do things that annoy me pretty much every day. If I went through life pretending they didn’t, saying “I love them! I have no problem with that! Everything’s fine!” people would worry about me. And rightly so.

Plus if you love something, why wouldn’t you want it to be the best it can be? Why wouldn’t you want the writer/company/whatever to look at what’s upsetting people and address it. Actually, that’s another point – just because you may love something so much that you’ll forgive anything, that doesn’t mean everyone has to. If other people have a problem with something, what use is you denying that? Isn’t it a bit *fingers in ears* “La la! I’m not listening!”

Anyway, I found this brilliant blog post – How to be a fan of problematic things – that explains it much better than me.

Feminism Friday: Miss Representation

I’ve written about Miss Representation before, but the film is now available on iTunes in the UK – and the site is so fantastic – that I thought I’d mention it again.

The pledge:

1. Tell 5 people about the film and share one thing you learned from watching it.

2. Parents – watch TV and films with your children. Raise questions like “What if that character had been a girl instead?”

3. Remember your actions influence others. Mothers, aunts and loved ones – don’t downgrade or judge yourself by your looks. Fathers, uncles and loved ones—treat women around you with respect. Remember children in your life are watching and learning from you.

4. Use your consumer power. Stop buying tabloid magazines and watching shows that degrade women. Go see movies that are written and directed by women (especially on opening weekend to boost the box office ratings). Avoid products that resort to sexism in their advertising.

5. Mentor others! It’s as easy as taking a young woman to lunch. Start by having open and honest conversations with a young person in your life.

Feminism Friday: Violence & Silence

You may have already seen this TED Talk from Jackson Katz, Ph.D – it’s been shared a lot and I’m not surprised – but if you haven’t, please do take the time to watch it. It’s about violence against women, but it’s not just about that, it also encompasses so many of the aspects of feminism I’ve been talking about (or trying to talk about) in these posts.

Wendy James was ahead of her time

My online friend Stuart tweeted a link to this video of Transvision Vamp’s Wendy James on Going Live and indeed pointed out how ahead of her time she was, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it until just now and it’s amazing. She starts off saying she doesn’t usually wear knickers (and Sarah Greene neither gets flustered nor apologises, as would no doubt be the case now) and goes on to talk about feminism and the environment. In 1991.

I worked with* Wendy James around 93/94, I think, and she was absolutely lovely. I was scared of her before I met her (I was pretty much scared of everyone back then, but she had such a tough image), but she surprised me by being a total sweetheart: kind, funny and completely down to earth (she once asked us to book a flight for her, and my boss – who felt very maternal towards her – told her she should know how to do it herself, so made Wendy do it under our supervision. Wendy was – or seemed to be – completely fine with this, grateful, in fact). I wish I hadn’t been such a nervous wreck – maybe I would’ve got to know her better, god knows I could’ve learned a lot from her back then.

Also, I really miss Going Live…

Interview starts at around 6 mins.

* I worked in a music business accountants and she was one of my “client roster”.

Feminism Friday: Feminist YA authors

So one of (many) things I love about Twitter is how many feminists I’ve got to know. And another of the (many) things I love about Twitter is how many YA authors I’ve got to know. And possibly the best thing is how many of the YA authors are also feminists.

I’ve had some really fantastic, inspiring discussions with feminist YA authors on Twitter. And one day, when I was smiling fondly at my computer and muttering to myself about what a relief it is when other people just get it, I decided to ask the YA writing feminists to identify themselves for a blog post. And they did.

(Obviously this isn’t a comprehensive list – it’s literally authors who saw my tweet and replied.) (And if you’re a feminist YA author and would like to be on the list, let me know and I’ll add you.)

Kit Berry @Kit_Berry

Holly Bourne @Holly_BourneYA

Stephanie Burgis @StephanieBurgis

Tanya Byrne @TanyaByrne

Anna Carey @urchinette

Anne Cassidy @annecassidy6

Joyce Chng @jolantru

Cat Clarke @cat_clarke

Alison Croggon @alisoncroggon

Susie Day @mssusieday

CJ Daugherty @CJ_Daugherty

James Dawson @_jamesdawson

Katherine Farmar @sorrowlessfield

Helen Grant @helengrantsays

C J Harper / Candy Harper @cjharperauthor

Claire Hennessy @ClaireHennessy

Imogen Howson @imogenhowson

Victoria Lamb @victorialamb1

RF Long @RFLong

Rose Mannering @Rose_Mannering

Sarra Manning @sarramanning

Zoe Marriott @ZMarriott

Gary Meehan @garypmeehan

Dawn Metcalf @dawnmetcalf

Katy Moran @KatyjaMoran

Sally Nicholls @Sally_Nicholls

Luisa Plaja @LuisaPlaja

Sue Ransom @SCRansom

Mel Rogerson @mcrogerson

Rainbow Rowell @RainbowRowell

Holly Smale @HolSmale

Ruth Warburton @RuthWarburton

Lotte Worth @LotteWorth

As yet unpublished:

Anne Booth @Bridgeanne

Joanna Delooze @josiejo127

Louise Jones @LouiseJones_x

KM Lockwood @lockwoodwrites

Lucy Marcovitch @Lucym808

Lesley Taylor @Pageturners_LT