feminism

Fifty Shades of Feminism: Lisa Appignanesi (Editor), Susie Orbach (Editor), Rachel Holmes (Editor)

50 feminism

My son bought this book for me – knowing how annoyed a certain book and film with a similar title have made me recently! It sometimes feels these days that people don’t like to admit to being feminists, that it’s somehow overly political and radical, but I am a feminist and I’m proud to be one and proud that my son has the feminist symbol tattooed on his arm (brought him up right!). And I’m angry, very angry, at the way feminism is currently portrayed and diminished, with terms like feminazis and bleating ‘whatabouttery’ every time someone mentions that domestic violence is wrong and that there is still a pay gap in 2015! 2015!

I read a lot, mostly fiction, and have a TBR list that I doubt will ever be finished, so I haven’t read any political/cultural/social books in a long time. Of course, when I was younger I read lots of feminist works – Naomi Wolf, Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinman, I even struggled through Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’. But the world has changed and feminism has changed too.

‘Fifty Shades of Feminism’, is a timely collection of essays that provides a small window on feminist thoughts and ideas today. The format meant that I could dip in and out of it, reading when I had the time – a real bonus for me. The compilation comprises of essays written by many different women from different cultures, with different experiences and different opinions about feminism and what it means to be a feminist. With contributions from women working  as novelists, barristers, politicians, comedians, and doctors, among others, and featuring such well-known women as  Joan Bakewell, Diana Quick, Meera Syal, Kathy Lette and Sandi Toksvig (her description of the young girl in high heels at the graduation ceremony is brilliant) there are definitely fifty shades of feminism here. Some of it I agreed with whole-heartedly, nodding along as I read, glad to see that other women feel the same way as I do. There were other contributions that made me cross and that I really didn’t enjoy – but I’m glad that the editors gave space to such a diversity of opinion and experience.

I have a sixteen-year-old daughter and the world she’s about to set out into is a scary place. It seems unimaginable to me that women are still treated like second class citizens (and they really are, and too many of us are far too complacent about it) and it frightens me that some young women think that they no longer need feminism. This book shows that they do – and is a fantastic way to introduce young women (and men) to the ideas behind feminism.

Read it, enjoy it and pass it on to your daughters and your sons.

And as for that other book – all I have to say is this:

50 grey

My rating:

gold star

Find a copy here

I am a UK-based writer, editor and independent novelist. I love reading and I love to write. These are the two great passions of my life. Find out more about my editing services here. I am currently offering discounts to new clients – do get in touch to discuss how I can help you to make your book the best it can be.
Find out about my historical novels ‘Blackwater’ and ‘The Black Hours’ here.

Advertisements

Why you should be voting in the UK today

‘It is our duty to make this world a better place for women.’

Christabel Pankhurst

Regular readers of this blog will have probably realised that I have fairly strong political views, particularly on the subject of women’s rights. However, I don’t want to use this blog to ram my political beliefs down people’s throats. However, I do want to make the point that voting today is crucial – particularly if you are a woman. Your hard won vote should not be thrown away. Because it really was hard won.

Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst

Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst

It wasn’t until 1918 that voting rights were granted to some women in this country, and even then it was only women over thirty who met minimum property qualifications. It was 1928 before all women over the age of 21 could vote. 1928! That’s not even a century ago. Some of you reading this will have parents and grandparents that were alive then. It’s not that long ago. Can you imagine how that felt? How women must have truly felt like second class citizens? So worthless and unimportant that they weren’t even allowed to help choose who would have power over them? To choose who would make the decisions that would shape their lives?

I’m not going to go on about the suffragettes, except to remind anyone who is not voting today that these brave, selfless women were imprisoned, force-fed, beaten and sexually abused. And of course, Emily Wilding Davison was killed at the Epsom Derby on 4th June 1913, when she stepped in front of the King’s horse. These women were true heroes, willing to risk their liberty and put themselves in harm’s way in order to secure equality.

Emily Wilding Davison trampled by the King's horse

Emily Wilding Davison trampled by the King’s horse

I know it is easy to become disillusioned with politics and politicians, and you may feel that you genuinely don’t agree with any party or individual who is standing for election. If you think this, I would urge you to think again. Read the manifestos – most of them are online and it really won’t take long. I was surprised to find that I did agree with every single one of the policies in one manifesto I read – and it definitely wasn’t UKIP! It’ll take you about half an hour to make up your mind, and probably about half an hour to pop out to the polling station and vote. An hour of your day at the most. Surely you can spare that? After all, it’s a rather small sacrifice compared to the sacrifices these women made. Sacrifices made on your behalf, for you, so you could exercise your freedom. A freedom they didn’t have.

Suffragette1913