type

We’re aware that it’s been a long time since we last posted. Unfortunately, this ain’t because inequality’s been solved and we’re all living in a feminist utopia.

There have been a lot of changes for various members of the Jar Belles recently. Changes of jobs, houses, cities, relationships, health. It’s all been a wee bit stressful, but we’re more settled now (for the most part) and can no longer ignore the headlines that have been crying out for our attention. Ched Evans, watch yourself.

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Page 3 this week throws the spotlight on two amazing women – Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. While these two could easily be the subject of two articles as individuals, their careers have been so closely entwined that it made sense to celebrate the two as a pair. They also represent female friendship as it actually is – supportive, empowering, loving and FUN. The day gossip magazines start fabricating jealous cat fights between these two is the day I show up at their offices and reign fiery vengeance upon them.

chatter

I was on a train recently and two women were sitting across from me. They didn’t know each other prior to the journey and I had the pleasure of watching them become friends over the hour. At first, they discussed their families (coincidentally, both were going to visit sick partners in hospital). By the end of the conversation, they were discussing the impact that beauty had on the way they perceived the world and were perceived by it. Watching these two intelligent women debate was fascinating, as one favoured the stance that it was harder to go through the world if you were less attractive and the other, if you were more. I tried not to eavesdrop on their private conversation but when issues of race and gender came into it, I was hooked. Then, in the corner of my eye, I noticed a man to my right trying to catch my attention. I looked over. He grinned, gestured to the women, then held up his hands, opening and closing them as if they were crab claws.

He’d called the women chatterboxes.

friends

I’m lucky enough to have a close group of amazing female friends, all of whom have supported me since I was a wee chubster of twelve. I love them all more than anything – we’ve been through family bereavements, break ups, coming outs and some seriously bad dye-jobs over the years and every time I see any of them my heart is immediately lifted. We encourage each other to be ambitious and courageous, and celebrate each other’s achievements with gusto (and alcohol). I’ve laughed with them over the stupidest shit in the whole world until I’ve been literally worried that I would die, like a victim of Joker gas.

CW: Sexual violence

Our Page 3 woman has been on everyone’s lips this week but until recently, I hadn’t heard of her. Luckily, this has been rectified and the more I hear about Roxane, the bigger fan I become.

roxane

Roxane has been on the front page of just about every newspaper of worth recently due to her new book, Bad Feminist. Bad Feminist is a collection of essays which show what it’s like to move through the world as a woman, and the title refers to the contradictions which can present themselves in being a woman and a feminist. Roxane accepts the label ‘bad feminist’ because she is a “flawed human” who loves the colour pink, dances to Blurred Lines and fakes orgasms. She accepts the grey areas of feminism and opens up the idea of feminism as inclusive and messy – it truly is for everyone.

porn

CW: Pornography, sexual violence, sexual exploitation

I have a problem with porn. Not with pornography as a whole – as Caitlin Moran so accurately put it, “pornography is just ‘stuff fucking’, after all. The act of having sex isn’t sexist so there’s no way pornography can be, in itself, inherently misogynist.” My problem is with the porn industry.

When gender’s the topic of debate, I often hear things like, “Which wave are we on again?”, “Is feminism that thing where you burn your bra LOL?” and ““What the fuck is a TERF?”

turf TERF?

To make things simpler (though these things are rarely black and white),  I thought I’d come up with a list of terms and definitions.  These should be useful when discussing and understanding feminism. The terms will be broken up into three posts, as otherwise the post would be huge, but the whole thing will be put up in its complete form on one of the tabs above (see: About Us, Contact Us – yeah up there).

Please let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to add in future instalments – this first one will just include the basics.

Our Page 3 woman this week is Stella Creasy, Labour Co–Operative MP for Walthamstow and Shadow Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs.

Waltham Forest World Mental Health Day event

I’m not a Labour supporter but Stella has certainly made me reconsider at various points with her ability as an honest, compassionate and effective politician (don’t worry Green party, my heart’s still yours!) I grew up in the town next to Walthamstow and it still pisses me off that they got her and we got Iain Duncan Smith. Of all the people.

TheJarBelles

We started the Jar Belles after becoming increasingly frustrated with the day to day bullshit sexism we encountered. We wanted to express ourselves but felt limited to ranting on Facebook or retweeting feminist celebs who had the kind of platform where it might actually make a difference. While social media activism has its place when done right, we wanted somewhere we could physically meet other feminists, to feel that we weren’t crazy or alone and speak and act with them. We wanted to reconnect to that old idea of sisterhood. This idea was prevalent during the 70s and 90s but where is it now? Local feminist groups were few and far between, with obscure or exclusive meeting arrangements, and one by one we ruled them out.