For me, the past 2 years my IWD has been a mad, crazy ride staging and performing in The Vagina Monologues as part of the global VDay.org movement for a regional women’s charity The Birdhouse Fund in Manchester. This year I needed a year off this mega 6 month task so what did I do instead? Well, I attended other events, I spoke on the radio, I hosted the Network She Women in Business Awards and generally celebrated our awesomeness and achievements in lots of different ways, but and it’s a BIG BUT, in fact, it’s a huge BUT, well in reality, it’s a humdinger of a BUT…. Our work is most definitely not done ladies (and enlightened men).
Just staying in the UK for a moment – The world of work is NOT working for us, the violence has well and truly NOT stopped, the multi billion dollar sex industry is out of control and over here, our obsession with cosmetic surgery is fuelling the fastest growing industry in the UK; our teenage girls are lost and the male power games are alive and well in our political system.
I cannot tell you how many times in the past week I have had to stand up and defend the premise of feminism – no it is not a dirty word, no it is not the domain of lesbians or men haters, no it is not about banning all things feminine and domestic and no it is definitely not over! How can it be when 1 in 7 women are made redundant after returning to work following maternity leave; when women are under represented in every board room; when only 1 in 5 MPs are female; when young girls define themselves by how ‘hot’ they are and are starving and cutting themselves to death; when the entire media industry write you off at 40; when 2 of us are murdered every week by a partner or ex partner – do I need to go on, no please make me stop, better still please step up and make it ALL stop!
If feminism is defined by one thing it is sisterhood – where did that go? We need to unite in our pioneering and yet we all seem to be arguing over the definition of a bloody word! Even educated women, women who benefitted from all the hard earned wins of the women’s movement – the right to vote, equal pay, contraception, the right to abortion, better childcare, the right to an education, etc appear to have forsaken the mantle in return for some form of acceptance by men. ‘oh no, sir, I am not one of those tub thumping, bra burning, men hating feminists, no I am more than happy with my lot.’ Can this really be true? Are we blind, scared, happy in ignorance or simply deluded?
You know, I never thought of myself as an angry feminist but it is creeping up on me. Our progress to the top is taking too long, the violence is intensifying and the sexual objectification of women is totally unacceptable and getting worse with our permission. It feels like we are going backwards and time is running out if we expect to turn the tide and engage our young girls anytime soon. It’s us or living Barbie dolls – you decide.