1. What a weekend! It was my birthday on Saturday and I welcomed in my 28th year by going on a feminist Fawcett Society march, as is tradition (in my world). It was great! I paraded my cupcakes around, and Lauren and I made Alicia Keys and Beyonce – themed signs which made national news! This last picture was featured on p.14 of the Observer, and is on the Metro, Sky News, and Huffington Post websites so far! Woo! You can do so much with a piece of cardboard.
2. After that we headed to afternoon tea at the Dean Street Townhouse, which was incredibly yummy and way too cool for us. A perfect combination.
3. And THEN we went out, met friends, had a lovely time and somewhere along the way got mauled by glitter cats at Passing Clouds in Dalston. So all in all, an amazing way to celebrate 28 years on this planet!
5. What else, what else? I went to a brilliant YTFN event last week where I heard about two projects that I’m going to start volunteering for! One is the London Bike Kitchen and one is the People’s Kitchen – check them out, they are making the world better.
6. Been listening to the Tune Yards. Well good, innit. Fun video too.
7. I have new hair! It’s a little more goldeny. Quite super.
Look! I made an edible protest sign for the Fawcett Society Don’t Turn Back Time march and rally on Saturday! It was pretty blimmin’ laborious, but I reckon it’s going to complement my 50s get up for the occasion perfectly! Come if you can, and tell David Cameron that we won’t go backwards on women’s equality!
This looks really good, I hope I get to see the full version at some point. If the issues here interest you, get thee to a bookshop and read Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth!
hiiii, I’ve been iiilll this week. however, super things can still happen when you’re ill apparently, so here we go:
1. My dad came to visit last weekend which was really nice. I can’t believe it was only a week ago that we were napping in the hot sun on Brighton beach! Especially as I’ve felt like my nose is about to fall off the past 4 days.
2. I’ve spent a chunk of this week cuddled up in a blanket watching My So-Called Life (bliss!) and as a result have been wearing a great deal of 90s fashion – plaid, baggy jumpers, and crushed velvet. I’VE LOVED IT. I don’t understand why Claire Danes and Jared Leto felt it necessary to grow up and become THIS:
WHHHYYYY? MY EYES!!
3. Beautifully unexpected dinner with old and good friends who happened to be in Brighton last night and it was so fun! Super.
4. I read a great interview with Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are fame.
5a. Great quote from original riot grrl, Kathleen Hanna. I get you, Kathleen. Illustration by dear diary.
5b. If you’re not familiar with the Ryan Gosling Hey Girl meme then… well done, you don’t spend too much time on the internet. But if you ARE familiar, then feministryangosling will be the best thing you have ever seen!
6. Peppermint tea in the Rough Trade East cafe with the gals was v. nice.
7. I am a sucker for magazines and my new fave is The Gentlewoman. I think it might be the perfect magazine. Fascinating interviews with inspiring women, beautiful photographs and styling, and nice, thick paper. Yep yep.
So it’s Monday. What can I say? Sometimes Sundays just run away from me.
1. I spent much of last week plugged into the Desert Island Discs archive while I worked. LOVE IT. You learn some incredibly random things about people, such as Joe Simpson, mountaineer, being really into trance music.
2. Quick yay for the funding news! Superest thing of the week. image via weheartit
4. Saw lots of friends and family this week. Good food and good chats.
5. I went to the Slutwalk London rally on Saturday and it was AMAZING. I could hear the march coming before I could see them flood into Trafalgar Square, thousands of women singing “There will be a revolution when we fight for women’s rights” to the tune of When the Saints Go Marching In! Earlier today my friend Tamsin Omond put into words exactly how I felt, “i had my reservations about slutwalk. they were blown sky high by the massively inspiring, inclusive and complete day that it was. from women to trans to gay men to immigrants to sex workers to black women – all were invited to stand together fierce against this fear and the victim-blaming that surrounds this threat.” Great blog post here as well that deals with some of Slutwalk’s critics.
6. Living with Chronic Bitchface. Hilarious. I FEEL YOU Kris Atomic.
7. UN climate negotiations are happening right now in Bonn. Follow the super Adopt a Negotiator project to keep up to date on progress (or not, as the case may be).
In celebration, here is a great short film commissioned by We Are Equals. Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, it features Judi Dench and a cross-dressing Daniel Craig. I like.
I heart this.
Three sisters, 10-year-old Nia, 9-year-old Nya, and 5-year-old Kamaria, have made a rap video challenging Lil Wayne for using derogatory terms for women in his music. The girls, who go by the name “Watoto from the Nile,” say in their song, “Letter To Lil Wayne,” “My daddy tell me I’m a queen, but you call women other things….sir don’t call me out my name again.”
The girls explain on YouTube:
“Letter to Lil Wayne” is a direct statement of justice from Watoto From The Nile. Growing tired and fed up with the constant degredation of Black women inside of Hip Hop music, they voice their views and opinions on this melodic track.
I’m a feminist and an environmentalist. I like it that way. I always thought the two ideologies were mutually reinforcing – feminism is a social justice issue, climate change is a social justice issue (since it impacts those who are already vulnerable the most). Climate change disproportionately affects women (links here, here & here), but at the same time there is also evidence to suggest that increasing women’s rights across the globe will do a lot to mitigate against the effects of climate change. So far, so reinforcing.
But then I came across these articles on French feminist academic Elisabeth Badinter. I’m a little behind the times, but last year she published a book, Le Conflit, La Femme et La Mère (The Conflict, The Woman and The Mother), which argues that environmentalists, among others, are pressuring women to be perfect mothers and essentially driving them back into the domestic sphere.
“Between the protection of trees and the liberty of women, my choice is clear,” she says. “It may seem derisory but powdered milk, jars of baby food and disposable nappies were all stages in the liberation of women.”
Reusable nappies, the modern insistence on breast-feeding, the trend for local and organic food and made-from-scratch meals are, to Badinter, a modern form of oppression leading to a limitation on women’s personal freedom and the “tyranny of motherhood”.
Now, Badinter’s views are strongly worded, but it has made me wonder whether she has a point. The washing machine, microwave, supermarket, ready meals and other such time-saving, energy-intensive inventions have historically freed up women’s time and, to some extent, encouraged their entry into the workplace.
Cécile Duflot, leader of France’s Green Party, rejects the Badinter thesis saying, “Greens have always been feminists and always defended equality in the sharing of household tasks. There are indeed men who like to cook for their children, but for Elisabeth Badinter, it is unthinkable to imagine that cooking for a child means anything other than an obligation.”
Of course, I imagine there must be joy to be found in breast-feeding, or cooking for your child. But I think Duflot is slightly missing Badinter’s point here. Duflot asserts that green feminists are for the sharing of household chores between husband and wife, however I think Badinter hits upon the reality – that, surprising as it may seem, household tasks still fall to the woman to complete.
According to the Office for National Statistics, women in the UK spend nearly 3 hours a day on average on housework (excluding shopping and childcare). This compares with the one hour 40 minutes spent by men. Another survey found that 80% of women compared with 17% of men are responsible for looking after the children or arranging childcare facilities. I know that personally, I did a lot more housework when I was living with a boy than I do now, living alone. A problem shared is not necessarily a problem halved.
So I completely get Badinter’s point – the green movement’s push to get us all growing our own vegetables, to shop locally instead of at the supermarket and to take public transport instead of whacking all the kids in the back of the car, can seem like an extended joke designed to take up women’s lives and leave little room for independence.
Even for those of us without kids, Seeds and Stitches (where I first stumbled across Badinter) describes this pressure to be eco-fabulous very well:
“Home made Christmas and Birthday presents, restricting the clothes I buy for 3 months and (admittedly failed, sob) attempts to grow vegetables. I am on a never ending quest for life improvement… We must work, have a fulfilling relationship, be really creative or crafty, cook like Nigella, have photogenic babies, open an etsy shop selling vintage wares, have Apartment Therapy worthy homes and dress stylishly.”
It’s enough to make you want to be a French feminist academic. That’s right, crack open that red, pass me a fag and a great hunk of brie.
But. Although I agree that the current burden-sharing within households leaves MUCH to be desired, I am (of course) not ready to give up on environmentalism. I believe in making things, I believe in public transport, I believe in healthy and nourishing food. I also believe that our real work in solving this dilemma is recognising that equality between men and women, a sharing of the burden, is going to be essential if we are to mitigate against the effects of climate change without making the situation of women around the world worse.
So, if you are a woman, don’t write off environmentalism, instead become an out and proud feminist. If you are a man, same deal, but shout even louder. We need equality, and we need everyone on board if we are to be successful, fair and free in this fight against climate change.