Tag Archives: feminist

Don’t turn back time

18 Nov

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!

hanna ♥

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Feminism vs Environmentalism

12 Feb

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.

Feminist Friday

11 Feb

I love these. I can’t remember where I found them, if it was from you let me know!
hanna ♥

Music Monday

27 Dec

Recently been acquainting myself with 90s indie lady Liz Phair. Acquaint yourselves, if you please.

hanna ♥

Girl Swoon #11

30 Nov

I am very excited to be featuring one of my oldest friends as Girl Swoon #11. She is something of a multi-tasking demon, with an enviable job in publishing and always a million creative projects on the side. She also makes a mean bottle of sloe gin. Take it away Char…

Name: Charlotte Knight

Age: 26

Website: www.sweetview.co.uk and www.coiff-urgh.blogspot.com

1) What do you do and why?

I work for a literary agency, which I really enjoy. We have some great writers and it’s always exciting when one of the authors delivers a big manuscript, or if we discover someone new. I also run a little business called Sweet View which sells printed drawings of London by my dear boyfriend Jack Noel. There is going to be one for each of the 12 inner London boroughs and at the moment we have 6 on sale. We wanted to make something fun and affordable that people could decorate their homes with, and which tap into a love of one’s local area. In essence though, Jack is the creative genius and I’m the admin loser, although I like to call myself sales and marketing executive.

2) Does being a woman affect your work in any way?

Well like everybody I suppose I’m carrying the weight of a lifetime of social conditioning around with me. But other than THAT… no not really.

3) Are you a feminist?

Yes, I am a feminist. Social events where the boys go shooting and the girls meet them for lunch make me feel a bit ill. But I strongly feel that many girls are just as to blame as boys for the sexism that exists in our society. So many girls have the attitude that they can’t do certain things, and that drives me crazy. Then again I feel sorry for boys who are brought up not to express emotion or be creative and I think that can be just as life-ruining as the kind of sexism girls experience.

 

4) What are your future plans?

To build Sweet View and to keep progressing in the publishing industry. I have many second tier plans though: whittling an entire set of chess pieces for example.

5) Tell us one cool thing we don’t know already:

I’ve given up washing my hair and I’m writing a blog about it. It’s not cool, in fact it’s really disgusting but I just want to see if I can give up shampoo and still have nice hair. I’m three weeks in and the back of my head is a dripping mass of vile-ness. I’m getting anxious about resting my head against the sofa when I watch TV for fear of making a mark.

Girl Swoon #8

6 Oct

Dawn is my first blog friend! We haven’t met yet, but we have a mutual appreciation of each other’s blogs. Please go and check out her blog, 101 wankers, which catalogues all the wankers she encounters when riding her bike (and believe me, there are many). It will have you in stitches.

Name: Dawn Foster

Age: 24

Website: I blog about idiot anti-cyclists at http://101wankers.com but I also write political things at http://fforphistine.wordpress.com, collaborate on http://waronthemotorist.wordpress.com and tweet (and swear) a LOT at http://twitter.com/dawnhfoster

1) What do you do and why?

I get revenge on people and motorists who think they’ve got a right to shout or abuse me when I cycle, by documenting and making fun of them on my blog. When I first started cycling I used to get furious whenever it happened, and my philosophy in life is, if something makes you angry, make a cup of tea and turn it into something positive, whether it’s a campaign, a comic strip or a blog post. I’m interested in how we relate to our environments too, so using maps appealed to me, and appeared to capture a lot of people’s imaginations. It’s become hugely popular, I think in part because a lot of cyclists (especially women) can relate to it, and there’s a certain localism to it. Part of the “why” is also because I am bolshy, and if I ever think people have slighted me in part because I am a woman I won’t let it drop until they are either embarrassed or angry at me for exposing them. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, and if a few people might think twice before being uneccessarily rude to women in future.

2) Does being a woman affect your work in any way?

Definitely. My politics are based on a belief that equality and ecology are two of the most important things to be protected and as a woman, this is particularly true. And being a woman is the core of why I started 101 Wankers, to basically say that I wouldn’t just accept the abuse that people shouted at me because I dared to be a woman on the road on a bike. The sense of camaraderie I’ve had from the women who’ve contacted me has been fantastic as well, though I feel terrible that I haven’t physically had time to respond to the hundreds of emails I’ve received since starting the project.

3) Are you a feminist?

Most definitely. I first came across the concept when I went to university, and it was a real “Eureka!” moment for me. I felt a lot less alienated, and it really gave me a lot of confidence, to be able to challenge a lot of the behaviour that was directed at me, and the inequality and unfairness I saw day to day.

4) What are your future plans?

I really want to expand the website to include articles on cycling for women of all abilities, as well as interviews with women cyclists on why they cycle. I worry that the site might put some newbies off, when I want everyone to love being on two wheels as much as I do! I also want to work more on writing more on local and environmental issues: I think community’s hugely important and I’m nostalgic for the days of housing cooperatives and genuine neighbourliness. I’ve been reading recently about the eviction of the residents of the Clays Lane Estate Cooperative to make way for the London Olympics, and it made me furious. As someone who’s recently moved to London, I’d like to start getting involved in my local community, through campaigning and writing.

5) Tell us one cool thing we don’t know already:

I tend to think of myself as a misanthropist but can’t help but lapse into grand philosophical moments of loving the world, my friends, fellow campaigners, this city and thinking that sometimes everything can get a little bit better.

Postcard Art Auction

2 Oct

There is a Postcard Art Auction happening on Monday night at the Aubin Gallery in London. It’s to raise money for the Feminism in London conference, which looks ridiculously inspiring. I wiiiish I could go. Instead I’ll look at these pretty cool postcards. More here too.

hanna ♥