Women's Fightback, Feminism

Bread and Roses

by Nicole Ashford Girl Power? Theresa May has become chairman of the Conservative Party. None of this politically-correct "chair" or "chairwoman" business for her. She's going to modernise the party. In particular, she's going to enhance its appeal to women, ethnic minorities, gay people. And so on. (As far as I can tell, the whole thing's much more about Iain Duncan Smith not wanting David Davis using the party machine as the base for his leadership bid in three years. But the spin is that the Tories are now into girl power.) I don't number very many Tories among my acquaintance. A total of...

Bread and Roses: We want it all!

The Guardian's recent series of articles on the legacy of feminism was very Guardian women's page. Sometimes irritating, middle-classey, kind-of-socialisticy, anti-globalisationy kind of fare. Nonetheless I found myself broadly in agreement with the conclusions - even with those of the dreadful (ex-SDPer) Polly Toynbee. What is "feminism"? A short definition is - a belief in equality for women with men. But the feminist goal, as Katherine Viner analysed quite well, has come to be associated with the watered-down reformist/capitalist spin on equality, that is "equality of opportunity". Feminism...

Yorkie (and everything else inlife) is for girls!

Sometimes sexist advertising really cheeses us off. Here is how one young reader, Rebecca Barnett, broached the subject with the manufacturers of Yorkie chocolate bars. DEAR Nestle and whomever else it might concern, I'm writing to tell you how appalled I am with your "new" Yorkie wrapper. It is sexist and encourages a patriarchal view on things. The Yorkie wrapper says, "IT'S NOT FOR GIRLS!" Do you want girls to stop eating Yorkie bars? As for "NOT AVAILABLE IN PINK", most girls don't like pink from about the age of eight! This is encouraging the "girl = pink, boy = blue" taboo. I have to say...

Women fighting fundamentalism

It took an atrocity thousands of miles away to draw the world's attention to the plight of women under the Taliban. The most extreme anti-woman regime in the world was helped to power by US arms and training, and tolerated for 5 years. When it came into conflict with the US, suddenly its treatment of women was condemned. The danger is, with Afghanistan 'sorted', women's rights fall off the agenda, and vicious anti-women regimes, on which the Taliban modelled themselves, flourish. Women of Afghanistan were not 'liberated' by the fall of the Taliban. The interim government contains jihadi...

Sylvia Pankhurst and Democracy

The development of industrial society threw masses of women into the factories. Whole industries, like the cotton industry, had a majority of women and children workers, existing in terrible conditions of super exploitation; as Marx put it in Capital, “Robbed of all that had previously been considered necessary for life".(1) Middle-class women, on the other hand, were thrown into the home. Whereas previously such women, wives of artisans and so on, had taken part together with their husbands and children in production, now they became ladies of leisure, locked into the home. They were deprived...

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