Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fifty shades of the F-word

My seventeen-year-old daughter surprised me this Mothers' Day with Fifty Shades of Feminism a 2013 publication by fifty (female) feminists from all walks and worlds. Plus quotes from another fifty, including my good feminist friend (though she doesn't yet know it), Caitlin Moran, who gets the punch line...

I've only read the first dozen or so entries but already feel the feminist in me rise up from her somewhat slumped, battle-fatigued position after so many years researching and writing on domestic violence and homicide. Feels good.

My daughter, a big Taylor Swift fan, like so many females of her generation, we'd recently had the conversation about TS telling reporters she's not a feminist because she doesn't believe in all that "guys versus girls" stuff. Yesterday I found Swift's dismissal of feminism as a battle of the sexes in one of the entries in Fifty Shades. The one about "Owning the F-word", by Sharon Haywood. It felt good to have support for my concerns about the modern - and eternal - dissing and misrepresentation of the F-word, particularly that perpetrated by young women.

This came up in my research into violence against women as an often calculating obstruction in the fight for justice for women. It also continues to come up in my life with a number of women, from my students at uni, to strident 'post-feminist' bloggers, to members of my left-leaning political party, to friends and family, who find the F-word doesn't fit their hip, and go to some trouble to make you feel redundant/ridiculous/rude for campaigning in its name.
Comedians telling it like it is, because, unlike us, they're not afraid of change.

Anyhoo. This is not the place for politics proper, at least that's what I've decided. I want to lighten up, not because I've moved on from my strident feminist views on gender justice, but because, in a way, I feel like I've done my bit. And because, as this book shows, others do it better. Hopefully my daughter will find time to read it one day soon...


  1. and when Taylor Swift finds the time, she could have a read...

  2. Yes, indeed, and when she's done, write a song about it (called Flying Pigs)

  3. Actually, think The Flying Pigs might be a better name for the band than Fluffy Dice. Something to jam on next time...