Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A much needed education in Feminism for Dave Osler

Honestly, I despair sometimes.

Over at Dave's blog he states :

In the interim, it looks to my outside eyes that the organised womens’ movement has all but collapsed. As this blog frequently laments, the British far left is in a bad way. But at least it is still just about visible. Feminism seems to have gone entirely subterranean.

What can have happened to all those deeply earnest young women, clad in black leggings and DMs, who once drunkenly argued that penetrative sex is inherently oppressive and that all men are rapists, sometimes only an hour or prior to an entirely voluntary temporary suspension of their political lesbianism? Or to put it another way, when was the last time any town in Britain staged a ‘reclaim the night’ march?

These days, feminism – if it means anything at all – seems to mean raunch culture on the one hand and the right of women to compete on equal terms on City trading desks. Progress? Maybe, but this is not the way my generation thought it was going to turn out.

Which brings me back to Bea Campbell, or Beatrix Campbell OBE, as she is more properly known. A heroine to some and derided by spikier proto-Riot Grrrl types, especially after denouncing male violence in the miners’ strike, the erstwhile eurocommunist has now been adopted as the Green candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn. She explains her evolution here.

How far this is a good thing, I suppose I am not best qualified to say. But Campbell’s life story nicely encapsulates the trajectory of a whole layer of women, who started out angry and ended up somewhere on the soft left, stopping only to pick up a gong from the Queen on the way.

Oh dear.

My comment over on his site was this:

Well there are still Reclaim the Night Marches, in fact I think there is one in London this weekend.

The F word is a very good starting point and has covered recent marches and a Feminism in London event a few weeks back.

There is also an event each year organised by feminist Fightback, this year around the theme of anti capitalism.
FF tends to be mainly students, so younger women getting involved.

Women are often involved in campaigns, such as ones around reproductive rights and abortion.
Like the left there are differences. Issues of pornography and feminism still divide. There are different groupings , such as rad fems, socialist feminist etc.
There are lots of feminist blogs, many on rad fem lines. I have myself been sent to the 'naughty room ' in one !!

There are more links now with issues such as sexuality, queer politics (as there always was, but a bit more complex than the old 80s political lesbianism).
Some feminists work closely with transgender women, sadly others such as Greer and Bindel attack them.
There are women challenging the role of fundamentalism , such as WAF for example.

A I say there are many blogs, groups , campaigns and websites going.

Its not dead, its just the left seem to have little use of feminists or queer activists these days (did they ever really),

Lots of feminists just get on with their own campaigns around women who are at the rough end of capitalism, such as low paid cleaners, abortion rights for women, sex workers etc .

Oh there was also a London conference on feminism a few weeks ago, Waf has a 20th anniversary event on the 28th.

Lots is happening .

It is not ideal and still too much navel gazing or bickering over sex workers etc, but don't buy the Daily Mail crap that its all binge drinking and flashing off tits raunch culture.

Osler, you should know better !

So it seems Dave needs some ideas for books , blogs and generally what is going on with feminism since his days of coming over all 'new man feminist' to get into 'chick's' knickers .

Suggestions please .

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