I’d never been ashamed for how I look or being proud of who I am – until this month

feministI am a 19-year-old woman from Manchester, I’m a student at Manchester Metropolitan University and I’ve been active in Labour Party politics since I was 18, and I must admit while it’s been a bumpy ride, I’ve always managed to keep my head above the water and stick at it.

Until this month, I could talk to anybody about sexism in politics, and tell them although it is upsetting, it’s never been bad enough to make me want to quit everything for good.

Until this month, I’d never had my appearance picked apart so ruthlessly online by internet trolls, I didn’t want to leave the house.

Until this month, I’d never had to ring my parents in tears, concerned they’d see the article and believe the content.

Until this month I’d never been ashamed for how I look or the fact I’m proud of who I am. Continue reading

Sexism is not merely “foolish” behaviour

Danczuk and the SunThe debate on whether what Danczuk has been accused of (accurately or otherwise) is worthy of suspension (and investigation) is a worrying one for a party that proclaims to be progressive. There appears to be, in some quarters, no real understanding of what the concern is.

Two examples of this can be found firstly in Danczuk’s apology where he states “there is no fool like an old fool”. And later in the John Stapleton LBC interview with Ken Livingstone, where John talks about Danczuk “being a much older man who has just fallen for a ‘nice pair of ankles’” (whatever that means?) he then went on to ask Livingstone “is it really justifiable to suspend him from the Labour party, we’ve all done daft things”. Continue reading

Germaine Greer and the performance of womanhood

Germaine Greer at the 2006 Humber Mouth Literature Festival by Colin Hurst https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Germaine_Greer#/media/File:Greer,_Germaine_-_Humber_Mouth_-_2006_(219901503).jpgAh, Germaine Greer. When we last visited what she had become a couple of years ago, it was on the occasion of some ill-judged remarks about rape. That in mind, what are we to make of attempts to no platform her from giving a talk at Cardiff University because of her transphobic view of trans people, and transwomen in particular? Is it merely another sorry symptom of the censorious spectre stalking the student body up and down the country? Yes, but it’s always more complex than that. Part of the problem is Greer is now hopelessly out of step with where contemporary feminism is at. Continue reading

Why Brand-ing Miliband was the right move

xaz8xuA Frost/Nixon for our age? No, but the media reaction to Russell Brand’s encounter with Ed Miliband is out of all proportion to what was said. The actual content of the interview is pretty innocuous, at least from the standpoint of grizzled lefties and hardened politicos. Yet where Brand’s core audience are concerned, the teens to the mid-30 somethings who tend not to pay politics anywhere near as much mind as the likes of you and I, it’s a different story. That is why Ed was absolutely right to seek him out and take whatever ra-ra-revolutionary verbiage cum cheeky banter on offer, and once again the expectations of the commentariat were confounded. The worst they could fault him for was dropping his tees and gees which, all told, is a bit pathetic. Continue reading

Change will come if we stand together

We have come so fInternational womens dayar since the first International Women’s Day in 1911. At that time the Suffragettes were fighting – at times to the death – to ensure that women across the UK had the same democratic voting rights as men and in many working class communities women were taking on other industrial and class struggles.

We’ve come a long way since women started to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to call for something we shouldn’t have had to ask for – equal treatment – prompting the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. Since the 1970s when a group of factory workers in Dagenham said enough is enough and demanded to be paid the same as their male counterparts. And since so many other women got involved in the women’s liberation movement. Continue reading