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sisters are doing it for themselves

Recently, and quite by chance, I've been reading a spate of books both fictional and non-fictional that deal with the women's movement in Britain in the '70s and '80s, from Jill Tweedie's collection of Guardian Women's Page columns to the Spare Rib reader. And it's making me kind of jealous. All these smart, funny women going off to their women's groups and consciousness raising sessions every week! Obviously, the reality was probably a lot more boring and annoying (I can just imagine some of the meeting attendees), but still. There was something there that we don't have.

Of course, Ladyfest was a bit like that, but Ladyfest was a year ago (I know! It's so hard to believe). It's also making me feel a bit guilty that most of my own feminist writing and, recently, reading has been purely about cultural issues which, let's face it, aren't exactly burningly important to our actual lives. There's more genuinely significant content in the average episode of Woman's Hour, with its regular pieces on political, domestic and work issues - and fascinating women's history - than in the average issue of Bust or Bitch. Because much as I enjoy those magazines, articles on how American TV programmes treat abortion aren't exactly as important as the fact that I and my compatriots don't actually have any abortion rights ourselves, or that when we do have kids there is virtually no government support especially if you work outside the home. Or that we end up doing all of the housework. There's no equivalent to Spare Rib - the more socio-political feminist mags, such as they are, are incredibly dry. But it doesn't have to be. We all know feminism, and politics in general, doesn't have to be like that.

So I'm thinking of starting up a good old fashioned women's group. A weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, whatever meeting of women who'd like to get together and talk about gender issues in our own lives and feminism in general and support campaigns and actually DO something.

Just think how much Kevin Myers would hate it.


Nov. 29th, 2005 12:23 pm (UTC)
I was also thinking we might see about putting together an Irish version of Woman's Hour. Even if it were just on community radio, it'd be a nice start...

Wow, that's a fantastic idea!

These days the only times women's issues are raised on Irish radio tends to be on stupid talk shows which turn into an opportunity for every mad bigot in the country to ring up. There's so serious reporting on these things. Woman's Hour will have pieces on everything from Buffy to women's health, from suffragettes to fashion. There's no equivalent to that. I read an interview a while with WH presenter Jenni Murray and she said she knew that it was because of advertiser pressure but she wished that mainstream women's magazines could have the mixture of serious and fun stuff that WH achieves.
Nov. 29th, 2005 12:27 pm (UTC)
It'd be GREAT. And yes, the topics covered by radio programmes could be more nuanced, but they aren't. And we could present interesting issues where the 'anti-hate' stance is not considered one side of a biased argument.


fat pony like thunder
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