In addition to running the Jar Belles site, I’m part of Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists, and I would like to invite all of you lovely Jar Belles to our Feminist Solidarity Fest.
Feminist Solidarity Fest is an event to promote solidarity (duh) across all supporters of gender equality. We want to make it as open to people as possible, encouraging not only strident feminists to attend (though we obviously love ‘em) but also people who would agree that men and women should be equal but haven’t given it much more thought than that. This is for two main reasons:
We generally advocate body acceptance and positivity here at the Jar Belles, but if you’re really desperate to improve your body – we’re here to help.
It’s that time of year again. McFlurry sales are on the rise, Poundland hand fans are objects of lust, and city shorts seem like viable office wear. For many of us, summer is a time to panic. We all want to spend our hard-earned dosh on a break in the sunshine, but are our bodies ready for it? Probably not.
On Saturday 20th March, 250,000 people came together for the People’s Assembly End Austerity Now demo. Only 60-70,000 people were estimated to attend, showing that people across the UK are far angrier about the recent cuts than anyone could have predicted.
So far in our quest for a set of feminist terms and definitions, we’ve covered some basics and some not-so-basics. Now we’ll get onto the complicated stuff, e.g. various types of feminism. This gets complicated because different groups have their own interpretations on what each of these things mean, so may not agree exactly with the definitions we have here.
I’d also like to explicitly point out that being a feminist does not mean having to subscribe to any of the below groups, or any other feminist group. Feminism is more of a spectrum than a cluster of rigidly defined groups, and the sooner we reject the idea of clear cut labels, the sooner I believe we can work together towards our goals. With that in mind, it can be confusing not to know the basics of each group – hence why I’m attempting to define each approach. So, without further ado:
So, you’ve decided to flex your right to protest and are going to your very first march, demo, or other direct action. Great! More people should be politically active and in these trying times, every activist counts. Chances are, you’ll have a good time, will meet other politically-engaged people and can feel proud that you took a stand and fought for something you believe in.
It’s good to be prepared. I’m not an experienced activist by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m lucky enough to know some protest veterans and I’ve been cobbling together information so that I can share it with other newbies. In addition to reading this article and other information available on the web, I highly recommend attending a Green and Black Cross workshop. I went to one of their workshops (they’re free, so there’s no excuse not to) at the Protest, Policing and Civil Rights event held at SOAS Student Union a few days ago, and it was well worth it. The workshops go into more detail than I’m sketching out below, and going through the information with real life people will help you to retain the information and give you the opportunity to ask questions. The Green and Black Cross are brilliant at giving protesters information and support – please check out their website.
So May 7th came and went, and we’re all left feeling like the kid who asked for iPhone, received a small, rectangle package, and opened it to find a calculator. Except quite a bit worse. It’s clear I’m in some kind of lefty-feminist bubble because I know only a handful of people who voted Conservative, compared to hundreds who went for Labour or the Greens, but there were 11,334,576 votes for the Tories. I’m not sure whether to be angry at the bubble for misleading me, or to love the bubble. If only we could go independent.
I remember when the heady days of summer meant something different. They meant Soleros and Calypsos from the newsagents, or Jubblies from the freezer at home. They meant factor 30 sun cream, thick and sticky and white, and cycle shorts in lime green and neon pink, and they meant staying out too late on your bike because the daylight made your Mum lose track of what time you had to be in. They meant being woken up at 3am to go on holiday in the Costa del Sol and returning sunburnt on a chilly English morning, shivering in your fringed white t-shirt (emblazoned with a Spanish map on the front). They meant paddling pools, home to dead flies and stray leaves and unbridled levels of joy, and barbecues where you could eat beef burgers without anyone butting in to tell you that they were horse.
As you can see, the heady days of summer for me only retained their true meaning in the early 90s, before I hit puberty. Once my buds became baps, summer gained new meaning. And that meaning was bullshit.
More academic than Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman but by no means dry, Finn Mackay’s Radical Feminism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) offers an alternative to the plethora of humorous and heavily autobiographical texts on liberal feminism published lately. The book gives the uninitiated an overview of radical feminism – its ‘definition’, history, arguments, etc – with heavy focus on its Reclaim the Night movement, recently revived thanks to the hard work of many activists including author Finn Mackay.