Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Feminist Activism and Awareness in the UK: HURRAY!

Above: A group of Radical/Anarcho Feminists from Newcastle upon Tyne gathered at Greys Monument in the city’s centre on Saturday 7th March 2009 to take action on the eve of International Women’s Day.
[this image was found here]

A.R.P.'s UK correspondent, Christina, has provided me with two new articles, highlighting what's going down across the pond. One of the links she sent was in the last post. This other link has to do with the well-needed burst of feminism in the UK, due in part to the failures of a racist, pornographised culture to do anything good for women, and the sleazy tactics of Father's Rights groups to strengthen hetero male supremacy and harm children and women.

Hi Julian,
Here is a bit of good news.  Sadly it is only a STEP in the right direction.  But at least it is something.
Now more then ever we need to be educating our young girls, especially girls of colour about the evils of WHMs.  They need to realise that there is much that still needs to be done and by standing together we could remove all WHMs from power and liberate our nations.
Both the US and UK are crying out to be liberated from these evil oppressive WHMs.

[What follows is from that link above.]

The march of the new feminists

Women's groups are thriving for the first time in a decade as young Britons rediscover gender issues
By Susie Mesure

Sunday, 29 November 2009
    March against male violence: 2,000 women joined the 2008 Reclaim the Night demo in London
    March against male violence: 2,000 women joined the 2008 Reclaim the Night demo in London

    They are the Topshop generation: young girls more used to partying than protesting; keener on women's looks than women's lib. But now they have had enough. A new wave of feminists, some still in their teens, are putting the struggle for women's rights back on the agenda for the first time in a decade. 

    The feminist resurgence has spawned a flurry of new blogs, magazines, books, societies, conferences and protest marches – and this time dungarees are out.

    On university campuses, women's groups are thriving once more, while hundreds of women each month are joining new feminist networks in cities from Birmingham and Manchester to Glasgow and London.
    The old-school Fawcett Society, which dates back to the suffragists, has seen its membership jump by 25 per cent in the past 12 months and the number of its newsletter subscribers double; while earlier this month, more than 2,000 women took to London's streets to "Reclaim the Night" from the men who make them unsafe. Similar marches have been held in cities all over the country. And websites such as The F-Word, started by Catherine Redfern eight years ago as a forum for contemporary feminism, is getting more than 110,000 hits a month.

    Campaigners say the trigger for the new burst of activity is a growing frustration that women still lag men in all walks of life a century after the suffragettes began their fight. In the workplace, the boardroom and the home, not to mention the political system and in popular culture, women are still battling acute gender bias that means globally they earn less, despite working harder than men. According to Professor Richard H Robbins, women do two-thirds of the world's work, yet receive only 10 per cent of the world's income.

    Activists also cite a growing "objectification" of women that has recently seen universities reintroduce beauty pageants and the number of lap-dancing clubs in the UK explode to 300 – not to mention the proliferation of lads' magazines such as Nuts and Zoo, which feminist groups such as Object are fighting to get banished to newsagents' top shelves.

    Finn Mackay, who heads the London Feminist Network, said young women were leading the new movement "because they are the ones bearing the brunt of today's objectifying culture and they have stopped finding that amusing".

    A new poll of feminists revealed that nearly half are under 25, with almost three-quarters of the 1,300 surveyed saying they started to identify with being a feminist while still in their teens.

    Catherine Redfern, who conducted the survey for Reclaiming the F Word: The New Feminist Movement, which she is co-writing with Kristin Aune, said: "We want to tell people that feminism is still here, and is a growing, vibrant movement." Theirs is one of three books on feminism due out in the next few months, including Natasha Walter's Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism.

    Kat Banyard, the Fawcett Society's campaigns director and author of The Equality Illusion, due out in March, said: "The mainstreaming of the sex industry has been the biggest catalyst [for the resurgence]. It's brought sex on to the high street. The bottom line is there is a need for feminist activism, despite the gains that have been made."

    Campaigners such as Object's Anna van Heeswijk are already notching up victories. An amendment to the Police and Crime Bill was passed earlier this month that will help to halt the sex industry's proliferation on to the high street. "Next year could be the year that we reclaim the F-word for what it is, one of the world's most important movements for social justice," Ms van Heeswijk added.

    Ellie Levenson
    The Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism
    Although not to everyone's tastes – ie, the chick-lit approach – the former comedian's take on lipstick feminism ended an 11-year feminist publishing drought this summer.

    Natasha Walter
    Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism
    After arguing feminism shouldn't police women's clothes and sexual behaviour in her last book, she's back, worrying about the hypersexual culture round young girls.

    Kat Banyard
    The Equality Illusion
    The title says it all: the Fawcett Society's campaigns officer rips apart the belief that feminism has achieved its aims – men and women are equal – and calls for more action.


    JENNIFER DREW said...

    Hi, Julian, yes as Christine has written there has been a revival of feminism here in the UK. In fact the 2009 Reclaim The Night March which was held in London on 21st November, 2009 exceeded 2000 women marching, some of them accompanied by their children.

    Did mainstream white male dominated media report on the London RTN? Of course not because despite press releases being sent to national media, the self-same media once again suffered 'temporary amnesia.'

    Million Women Rise march will be held once again in London on 6th March, 2010 and it estimated women will be marching who live outside London and some will come long distances to make their voices heard in protest at the neo-liberal pseudo claims 'feminism is dead - long live individualism.' Million Women Rise march which only started a few years ago is quickly becoming an annual event challenging and demanding an end to male violence against women. Many of the protestors are women of colour.

    Here is link to London Feminist's Reclaim The Night march and I know there was a Reclaim The Night March in Edinburgh, Scotland last month.


    Julian Real said...

    I am so thrilled to know of these Million Women Rise marches!!!

    And of course dominant WHM media is too afraid to even tell the public there was a 2000-plus woman march for Reclaim The Night!! And how frustrating and infuriating. I wish such media could be sued or something, for showing gross discriminatory practices in what news they consider newsworthy.

    That's one thing the internet is good for: documenting news that media corporations don't want to be reported on.

    Thanks so much for the link to the London November 2009 ECD March!!! It was so fun seeing the pics. Too bad the weather wasn't more cooperative. Hopefully conditions will be great for the MWR march in 2010.

    Christina said...

    Marchers are really great but yes sadly the white male dominated media has no interest in reporting on them.
    I believe we should be encouraging our governments to implement women’s studies in schools.
    Girls need to grow-up understanding the reality of white male supremacy and the horrors and destruction it causes.

    Girls need to grow-up with a great passion and desire to stand together and rid our countries of WHM supremacy.

    If our girls learnt the truth at a young age they will grow up with the right mind set.
    Schools should encourage the girls to learn about feminism and get involved in some way or another.
    Schools should also encourage girls to look out for each other. Like what to do if you suspect your class mate is being abused by her father.

    JENNIFER DREW said...

    Thank you Julian and I'm glad you liked the photos. I participated in the march and yes it rained heavily but it didn't prevent the women's voices being heard. Sheboom an all female drumming band headed the march and the drumming was awesome. Seeing women drumming is something I'll never forget - the music was magical and it was just drums.

    I forgot to include link to Million Women Rise march - so here it is - enjoy because there are more photos of women from differing backgrounds and cultures. But we all have one aim in common to end or at the very least curb white men's violence against women and girls.


    Christine - you are so right girls do need to be taught the truth but the UK government is only concerned with appeasing white men because they are the ones still grimly holding on to their power.

    I will be participating in Million Women Rise March next year and I'll be sending a letter to my local newspaper - they printed my letter about this year's Reclaim The Night. So, it isn't national mainstream media but at least my letter will have reached individuals who have this free newspaper placed through their letterboxes.

    Julian Real said...

    Hi Jennifer,

    It's always great to see women in feminist action!

    So thanks so much for the other link.

    And I so look forward to seeing and hearing how the Million Women Rise event goes, and hope the turn-out surpasses all expectations and hopes and demands mass media attention that listens to the women and is sure to let the women speak for themselves about the event.

    Julian Real said...

    Hi Christina, I wonder if this event next year is something that interests you to be part of, but you can either write back to me here or in email.