This week the Guardian reported a rise in grassroots feminism. ‘Yay!’ The feminist Twitterverse collectively said. ‘Woo!’ Said Facebook! ‘Sigh’ said all the minorities once again overlooked.
The Guardian is one of the few national papers who not only take feminism seriously, but also loudly support it. It’s a valuable asset to the feminist sphere. The subject of the article is one to be celebrated and reported.
“These are feminists who do not fit easily into stereotypical moulds: young and old, men and women, urbanites and country dwellers. A new breed of feminists is starting to rise up.” Celebrated the article, and then didn’t allow these stereotypical mould breaking people get a word in. This article, no doubt unintentionally, presented feminism as one of the least diverse grassroots movement yet.
As the writer Lexy Topping would no doubt agree (Topping has written previously about the Southall Black Sisters and other BME women’s issues) feminism is not nearly so one dimensional.
It’s heartening to see young women turn to feminism. It’s disheartening to see in such an article with no acknowledgment of LGBTQ, disabled or sex worker feminists.
The 3 main groups mentioned in the Guardian piece were UKFeminista, Object and the Anti Porn Men Project. Object’s Anna van Heeswijk spoke of her experience speaking to year 10 students about the sexual objectification of women. “The students went to their local supermarket to protest against the sale of lads' mags at eye level…before the end of the day the manager had agreed to order ‘modesty’ covers to obscure the sexualised images of women”
Is this a victory? Moreover is this what feminism does? Seems like it, so why does the idea of a ‘modesty cover’ jar with my feminist values? For me and the feminist group I belong to (A member has also written about their views on the Guardian piece) we’d rather year 10s were encouraged to examine the nuances of the sexual, sexy and their sexuality. It’s a concern the Object message portrays women not as sexual beings but bodies of victimhood.
Whilst our grassroots collective might disagree with Object on this subject, we respect their validity in feminism. Just as we would hope they acknowledge and respect ours. I celebrate the rise in grassroots feminism, I am glad a national newspaper covered it, I fear not all will feel embraced by the feminism presented. This idea goes way back, Biblical times back, in 1 Corinthians 12:26 it says “If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into exuberance.” Let’s remember all our brothers and sisters in feminism.
Or, to make it super simple, when you think of feminism, think of Neil Buchanan’s introduction on each episode of the children’s TV show Art Attack.
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