Harrogate Feminists

Snippets from tonight’s meeting
June 13, 2011, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tonight’s meeting was:

funny and serious

reassuring and disquieting

and always interesting.

Some links and quotes:

Beyonce’s “Girls Run the World” video and the response to it from a woman who says Beyonce is lying.

Derailing for Dummies (Thanks Louisa!)

Privilege, Power and Difference by A. Johnson, 2006 – (Thanks Karen!) –  Contains, in chapter 8, a handy guide to tactics commonly used to perpetuate – well, privilege, power and difference! We decided that “It’s Their Choice” would be a particularly superlative tactic as it combines so many of the following categories in one handy riposte; closely followed by “Can’t you take a joke, ha-ha?”

  • Deny and Minimise
  • Blame the Victim
  • Call It Something Else
  • It’s Better This Way
  • It Doesn’t Count If You Don’t Mean It
  • I’m One Of The Good Ones
  • Sick and Tired [of hearing about feminism]
  • Getting Off The Hook By Getting On

It’s enough to fill an anti-feminist bingo card – oh, wait, it’s already full.

The fashion-media-beauty complex – and the motto “Sex Sells”: what does that mean, exactly? Perhaps it means sex is a commodity, and “sexy” now means expensive/powerful/valuable. It means that, while everything has changed, nothing has changed since the bad old days of the Age of Chivalry: the men in charge are busy buying, selling and generally making money out of women’s insecurities. But what horrified us was the story of a mother on Facebook calling her baby daughter “sexy” …

We also discussed Reg Bailey’s review on the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood. Although we generally objected to a man being CEO of the Mother’s Union (as Karen put it, he surely must have been very well-qualified indeed to have outperformed the amazing women who were presumably the other candidates for the job?) we did agree with many of the points he makes in his review. One phrase particularly struck us: “the wallpaper of childhood” – to convey the images and ideas we grow up amongst, which become so normal as to fade into the background. These, of course, also form the backdrop of adult life, so that we ourselves are influenced by these images and ideas without knowing it.

We weren’t sure about whether you could take “protecting children” in isolation, while retaining the mantra that “adults’ activities are a free choice and of no concern to anyone but themselves”: surely the adult world has to take responsibility for its actions, because children are bound to copy what they see around them?

Does “empowerment” mean unthinkingly fulfilling gender stereotypes already laid out for you, or does it mean questioning those stereotypes and deciding for yourself how best to lead your life?

Next meeting: Mon 11th July, 7.30-9.30pm? everyone ok with this?


1 Comment so far
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Sounds like a great meeting, sorry I missed it.

Comment by Laura

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