Over at the (very excellent) Radical Transfeminist blog, Lisa Millbank has been thinking through some of the theory behind “sex-negative feminism”. This current has been out of fashion in contemporary feminist thinking since its heyday in the 70s and 80s with the rise of political lesbianism and the use of “sex-strikes” as a protest tactic.”Sex- positive feminism” emerged from women involved in the sex industry who felt marginalised and silenced by some of the discourses emerging from the rad-fem movement and grew to encompass a range of other women, including those involved in BDSM practices and non-traditional relationship structures. It seeks to reclaim female sexuality , asserting it vocally and demanding that it is respected.
16 Apr 2012 5 Comments
Last week I received a message about the below flyer.
I found it utterly appalling for a variety of reasons: the objectification of women; the sex industry imagery used; the fact the top image especially resembles the kind of cards you find in phoneboxes (right down to the mobile phone number after the words ‘Booty call us’); the fact that ‘girls go free’ means that women are essentially the product rather than the customer; the terrible fonts… I could go on.
So we kicked up a huge fuss about it on Facebook, Twitter and through emailing them and the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Advertising Standards Authority. They deleted our posts on Facebook (but were happy to leave awful homophobic posts up, just not criticism) and someone was blocked on Twitter (though we don’t know who did that).
I got a couple of weird emails about it, which to be honest encouraged me because they sounded scared. It was time to up the ante even further.
Under immense pressure, the next day they released a new flyer and a (half-hearted apology).
The new flyer is by no means perfect but it’s a hell of a lot better:
To see their apology and the press release, the email I sent and the full apology from the club, go to my blog.
Thanks to everyone who got involved in any way – thank you. Sometimes we win.
Here’s a feminist review of Booty Call…
I really want to do more campaigns around nightclubs, particularly sexual harassment and assault in nightclubs, which is disgustingly common. Any thoughts?
In sisterhood, Kate
P.S. This is my first post for Village Aunties – excited!
09 Apr 2012 3 Comments
Big thanks to @CSbungo for the idea for this blog post and for alerting me to many unnecessary Union Jacks in Scotland!
Just as a starter for 10: the actual development of this post was sparked by the latest Pepperberry women’s clothing catalogue which arrived on my mat a couple of weeks ago. I’ve started off the collection of #unnecessaryunionjacks images on the Village Aunties Pinterest board with pictures from that catalogue. For example (and yes, every model in the entire catalogue is white and thin, surprise surprise), see the picture below. I’d like your help to gather more examples; read on!
So. The ramping up of British nationalism over the past few years has been palpable across the UK, and a flood of Union Jacks and related imagery has been evident. Clearly it serves a number of conservative, capitalist and reactionary purposes, not just that of trying to convince Scottish people not to vote for independence. However, the ubiquity of Union Jacks in Scotland feels extra intrusive now that we have an independence referendum coming.
06 Apr 2012 1 Comment
This is by Glasgow-based feminist activist Amy Westwell, and was originally published here.
In the coming months feminists across Scotland will be working on this to ensure that Scotland’s future is a feminist one. If you want to get involved please do get in touch with Amy.
A Feminist Call to Arms
Scottish national identity will be shaped, created and clarified in the run up to the referendum. The next two years will be a fundamentally important time for Scottish political and cultural consciousness: the time for radical change is not after the referendum, but here and now. At times, even those who don’t admit to a “tartan messiah” mentality seem to believe that the path is already marked out, and that we must merely win the referendum, then set about changing Scotland. Even if this were to be true for left-wing politics, I cannot conceive that it is true for feminism.
Scotland’s culture is extremely patriarchal. This is true in many countries, and in many different cultures. But what makes this a burning issue is that Scottish culture will have a tendency to be glorified in the next two years. Whether this is Scottish left culture (Red Clydeside, strong Trade Unions), or Scottish social democratic culture (public services and free education), or particularly Scottish patriarchal culture (Football supporters, Masculinity), nationalism is hardly ever genuinely framed in terms of women.
I am committed to Scotland, especially to women in Scotland. I cannot and will not, however, connect with the nationalist myth, that Scotland’s political culture is superior to England’s, because I think that to focus on this obscures the extreme levels of gender, race, LGBT and class oppression in Scottish society. What is special about the independence referendum is not that self-determination will allow us to live the dream, but that the debate around national determination can become a vehicle for the self-determination of oppressed groups. This requires genuine political engagement on the part of the Scottish population.
I think that feminists should question the significance of self-determination for Scotland if the political consciousness created in the next two years has no feminist elements, if there is not some kind of Scottish consciousness of feminism which is expressed politically or culturally, and seems to be creative or developing. We need to be moving towards a referendum with a clear and steady view of Scotland’s problems: Scotland’s existing poverty and inequality, and Scotland’s misogyny.
04 Apr 2012 6 Comments
I fell in love with Scotland all over again, and was proud as punch of this country, which is both an adopted and ancestral homeland for me. My connection to this patch of earth and its people runs deep in my blood and bones, and it teaches me about how to approach other places and peoples with appropriate respect and openness.
So, yeah. Proud as punch. Except for one moment of embarrassment. Deep embarrassment.
03 Apr 2012 1 Comment
It seems like this couple:
managed to get the internet up in arms after over their cultural appropriation of depression era poverty as their wedding theme.
This reminds me of something that happened when I was planning my own wedding.
Hampstead Heath is a beautiful big park in London, which I just adore. At the top of the park is Kenwood House, an old manor house which is now run as museum and restaurant.
Kenwood House is licensed to perform marriages and I loved the idea of having my wedding there. I could picture myself coming out of this big white building, family and friends around me and looking out over rolling parkland at all the families picnicking and the kids running around. I just thought it would be perfect.
Hiring a manor house does not come cheap but I was encouraged to see that they also do a reception package in the kitchen, which is a good sized room, and can be decorated in something called “shabby chic”: which seems to involve a lot of meadowy flowers in mismatched vintage milk jugs and oldie worldie style table cloths and doiles and so on.
Her own mother however (my grandmother), was “in service” from the age of 12 and clearly, the experience has cast a long enough shadow that the idea of celebrating anything “below stairs” still carries with it a sense of horror and shame. Even for the next generation. Even 70 years later. And yet this response had not, for a second occurred to me.
26 Mar 2012 2 Comments
I’ve heard a lot of talk about CCTV recently, and this really worries me. It more than worries me, it disturbs me.
I am genuinely pleased to hear that the experiences of women are seriously being included in mainstream dialogue, and I am pleased to hear that people are looking for tangible solutions to sexual assault, harassment and rape. I fear, however, that positing CCTV as the answer takes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to crime, and ignores the very nature of sexual crimes themselves.
The first, and possibly most important thing to note, is that the effectiveness of CCTV is controversial. The effectiveness of CCTV varies wildly, depending on location, number of cameras in place and the types of crimes being filmed. CCTV tends to be successful, for example, in car parks, and does reduce the rate of vehicle related crimes. Where CCTV is dramatically less effective, and why I take such issue with CCTV, is in relation to sexual assault.
20 Mar 2012 10 Comments
I’m worried. I’m worried about the drift to the right in Govanhill, in Glasgow, in Scotland, in the UK, in the World. I’m worried about encroaching fascism. I think the time for saying “You’ve just Godwin’d yourself on your own blog” is over. It’s not funny any more: ask Trayvon Martin’s family. Ask the ethnic minorities and Jewish families of Toulouse. Ask the families of 77 dead teenagers in Norway. Actually, ask me. I live in Govanhill. They haven’t stared coming for me and mine yet, but my neighbours may be at risk. You think that’s hyperbole? At what point will you start worrying?
I was in a taxi last week, and was treated to a diatribe on how dreadful things are these days in Govanhill, where I live, as the taxi driver knew, because he picked me up there.
Specifically, how awful the Roma in Govanhill are. This speech culminated with a self-satisfied description of how the driver’s sister had thrown a bucket of water out her back window onto an older Roma woman who was using the garden below as an outdoor toilet. ‘What kind of people go to the toilet outside?’, he asked indignantly, without pausing to consider that maybe one answer is ‘The kind of people whose bladders aren’t that reliable after years of childbearing, who live in grossly overcrowded conditions with no working toilet or no running water or too many other people using the toilet’. That’s without even considering, ‘The kind of drunken idiots who pee in public on their way home from the pub’, many of whom I have seen in Glasgow over the years, mostly male and white. More
10 Mar 2012 Leave a Comment
So no one told you life was gonna be this way. Thankfully we have the media to spell out for us the way it is going to be. Whether we like it or not. The images of masculinity in television have changed quite dramatically since the 90′s. In order to demonstrate what I mean I will use the globally wide syndicated show ‘Friends’, in contrast I will also be looking at the more recent show ‘How I Met Your Mother’.