Tag Archives: women

When Did Women Start Being Funny?!

Words by Honor Tuttiett

We always were is the answer of course, but why has it been such a battle to prove that we are? I grew up watching the likes of Prunella Scales in Fawlty Towers being the quiet but nonetheless hilarious counterpart to John Cleese. The effortless and lasting humour in Absolutely Fabulous with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, and Dawn French in The Vicar of Dibley. All of these women were my focus as a child, it didn’t occur to me that we weren’t considered funny until I grew up and started watching films where the girls were nearly all excluded from witty banter.

Where did this idea come from? I have heard my own boyfriend parroting the line ‘women aren’t funny’ but see him falling about with laughter from my own witty retorts. It is like a mental stigma for some men, but thank god we do seem to be breaking through of late. With the likes of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler having storming success hosting the Golden Globes for the past three years, there is hope that the question of female humour will become erogenous to everyone in the very near future.

After reading Jennifer Saunders’ autobiography, Bonkers, I saw how hard it was for women to push through and be allowed into comedy. Lines like, ‘there can’t be two female acts in a row’ were a staple in comedy clubs in the 70’s and are still said today. Luckily in 2012 What The Frock comedy group was founded to combat this imbalance in the comedy realm and make more unbiased space for women. They regularly host successful female only comedy nights around the UK and began the project in order to prove the point that ‘there were some funny women out there, and that people are willing to pay to see them’. They did so well that it has carried on to this day, but considering that this idea begun in 2012 it shows how long it has been a struggle for females to prove their humour could actually entertain a crowd.   

Female led comedy is actually becoming a very lucrative industry for film and television now that people have realised we can make humour quite well. Bridesmaids (2011) was a breakthrough film grossing just under two hundred million pounds in it’s lifetime. This film was made in the current style of many male humoured films like The Hangover or This Is The End, which are great films don’t get me wrong, but it was amazing to see women do the same style just as well. Orange Is The New Black is also a game changing programme with a nearly all female cast. It shows how we are with each other (when we are at our most humorous), because of it being set in a female prison. It is such a refreshing programme when you think about it, not to mention extremely successful. Female led casts have now broken the film and television mainstream and aren’t going to relinquish their place any time soon.

We are casting off the shackles of being considered unfunny, we always knew it and it seems the world is waking up to the idea now too, although it’s a little late world.

Words of Women – Call for Submissions

Time to see you work in print! Call for submissions!

We are currently accepting literary works for publication for our new section Words of Women for Bristol Woman on the theme of  New Beginnings.

Deadline for submission: 9th October

Email to: submissions@bristolwoman.org.uk

Do you have creative work you would like to share? We are looking for budding poets, prose and monologues! 

No more than 2 poems per person on each theme. In the region of 40 lines
Word document

No more than one entry per person on each theme.1,500 words MAX
Word document

No more than one entry per person on each theme.! In the region of 40 lines
Word document

Link to youtube/ vimeo/ website

Email submissions to: submissions@bistolwoman.org.uk
Indicate clearly in subject heading the category and theme that you are sending your work to be considered for.
Work is published on a quarterly basis.
We only accept work for our quarterly theme.

Content can be submitted by anyone and should strive to adhere to the guidelines outlined below. 

If you have any literary works you would like to submit but would like to discuss it first, please get in touch.

1.     The work must include original and informative content.

  1. All content that is submitted to Bristol Woman for publication must be 100% exclusively owned by you.
  2. Literary content is defined as written material as either poetry, prose or monologues.

2.     The work does not have to be in English.

  1. We want to celebrate Bristol as a diverse city and will consider publishing work in various languages.
  2. All articles must be worded naturally and in a manner that allows for easy understanding.

3.     The article must not contain unattributed content to which the author does not have rights.

  1. Work must be attributed to only ONE author or co-author and NOT belong to multiple parties or the public domain.
  2. Private Label Rights article packs are content available for anyone to purchase and place their name on. These will not be acceptable for publication.

4.     The work must not contain profanity or pornographic material.

  1. Any work that contain sexually explicit material is prohibited.
  2. Profane language and slang terminology consists of expletives, racial slurs, and vulgar euphemisms, and have no place in professional and informative articles or in their titles. If you wouldn’t hear it in a PG movie, keep it out of your articles.

5.     The work must not contain illegal content.

  1. We reserve the right to determine what content is suitable for publication in the magazine. We will not accept content determined to be overly controversial, having a questionable legal status, or anything not consistent with the nature of the magazine.

Atomised Mothers: A film about isolation, ‘austerity’ and the politics of parenthood

Words by Dr. Michal Nahman 

In December 2014 Charlotte Bevan, a new mother in Bristol took her own life and that of her newborn baby. NICE responded by altering its guidelines to the NHS, stating it must do more to support new mums. The work of parenting can be the most challenging and enriching in a person’s life. As an intimate process, it remains largely hidden from the view of society, and can often become an isolating experience. Collective spaces such as baby groups and play centres are a vital resource for parents struggling to maintain a connection with the wider world. However, as ‘austerity’ bites, these points of contact are pressured to adapt to the requirements of neo-liberalism or face closure. Those on the margins of society are increasingly cut off from the public sphere, left to endure the challenge of raising children alone and in isolation.

Through interviews and personal narration, Michal Nahman, an anthropologist and mother of two, foregrounds the crisis being experienced by the Bristol Children’s Playhouse, and looks at the wider effects of cuts on child and family services. Taking the viewpoints of those most susceptible to isolation, namely women, the working class, migrants and the ethnically minoritised, Atomised Mothers asks us to think and feel what isolation is.

Photo: Sarah Smith


Sex education goes beyond contraception

Words by Honor Tuttiett

Fantastic news came this year as the Office of National Statistics released figures showing that teenage pregnancy has fallen consecutively for the past four years. Nationally the figures have dropped by 10% in 2015, but in Bristol the numbers show that under 18- conceptions have fallen from 1 in 20 in the early 2000’s to 1 in 50 now, a 21% reduction. These figures signify the hard work the city has coordinated in the last ten years to help young people become educated in sexual health.

Continue reading Sex education goes beyond contraception


Bristol Woman is delighted to publish the second part of the ‘Young Feminist’ series from young blogger, Mollie Semple. Probably, our youngest guest blog contributor to date. In this blog, Mollie tells us her hopes and fears in terms of the evolution and expansion of today’s Third Wave feminism. Definitely worth a read!


It used to be, in recent years, that there was only a very subtle undertone of feminism in any kind of pop culture most likely due to the fact the ‘Angry Feminist’ was the only stereotype thought of to refer to. And an angry woman just does not sell to the masses.

After the popularity of the full on 90s feminist movement Riot Grrrl, the whereabouts of feminists in the limelight, to me as a young person, appear to have dwindled away.

Only a few years ago I found it hard to find celebrities, songs and films right in the middle of popular culture to resonate with my growing feminist beliefs but now it’s increasingly hard to find an area that isn’t slathered in a new Third Wave feminist tint.

Obviously this feminism has always been around, but there wasn’t the same platform there is now to shout out to the world about one’s beliefs on equality. There wasn’t the same number of actresses questioning the press why it was only them who were asked about their family life or their skincare routine instead of their impressive careers. There was no Emma Watson to appeal to UN delegates on the importance of equality for women. Feminism was a dirty word, but I can see more and more of us embrace it as a powerful one. It is within this explosion onto the Hollywood scene, the music scene, the celebrity scene that one can see, mixed in with the added bonus of the Internet, the power of the media to share a message with the people.

This sudden surge of Third Wave feminism in the Western world, which has been building up, right from the first surge of Riot Grrrl, is completely exhilarating. Twitter is littered with it, Facebook is swimming in it and the celebrities are more and more becoming advocates for it. The Angry Feminist, for most, is now just a ‘Taming of the Shrew’ type exaggeration because a huge number of people are now fitting comfortably into a new “acceptable” egalitarian category. We are of course still angry, because you can’t see the gaps in equality and not become deeply impassioned in a desire for change, but it is now an accepted feature to be commended and not frowned upon.

Staggeringly, huge numbers of female celebrities are no longer afraid to open their mouth and express an important opinion in case of a drop in popularity. There has finally been created a safe space for feminism within pop culture where women and men can properly express their thoughts on it. The obvious inequality in this culture is no longer happily ignored, Third Wave feminism has broken through and started to dominate. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end.

However, I do just have one issue with this mostly brilliant popular movement. I worry that in between Emma Watson’s work for the UN, or frequent call outs on the Hollywood pay gap meant to ripple into the world wide pay gap, or the highlighting of the blatant racism in the film industry, there isn’t just a small element of inactivity with this newfound prestige. I wonder if there is too much focus on Western inequality and a lack of intrigue for the disastrous inequality on the other side of the world. Malala Yousafzai has been voicing her feminist views for her culture all over the world, but I wonder if she reaches the level of pop culture that, say, Ryan Gosling does. Western inequality is not unimportant or negligible in any way, but we mustn’t again fall into the trap of forgetting that the rest of the world exists. I also worry that this popularity might be detrimental to feminism in the way that it could exhaust its meaning without a sufficient achievement.

I am so excited by the fact that celebrities are using their platform to spread the word of feminism, but are they truly aiding us or telling us to actively do something?

Perhaps my criticisms are unfair here, perhaps I should just let feminism with its new fame find its steps and see where it goes. I just don’t want its power to become trivial, and for the feminist stereotype to be cyclical and in a few years time we fall into the unattractive label of the “Angry Feminist” once more. I just don’t want this fantastic opportunity to be squandered and lost in this fast moving pace of the pop culture world.

Mollie is a 17 year old student in the midst of her A Levels. She’s a passionate blogger at The Fully Intended, and all she really wants to do in life is write. She has been raised by her parents to want nothing more for the world than equality, and so intends to spend a lot of her time making sure her generation gets a little bit closer to just that.


By Jane Rogers

sand timer“Mummy I go to the park with you. Just you. I don’t want you to be chatting to other mummies, or having to help my sisters, I just want it to be you and me.”

When my friend Amanda asked her little four-year-old Anna what she wanted to do together, the answer she got was very different to what she was expecting.

Our little bundles of endless energy seem to need entertaining every second of the day, and we duly respond with play dates, clubs, and any other activity of the tearing-around-making-lots-of-noise variety, but what they really want is you. Your undivided time.

My sister had her first baby a few months ago. The moment those immortal “I’m pregnant” words were uttered, the floodgates opened and friends were falling over themselves with well meaning advice, with the enthusiasm of opening day at a flagship Primark store. Amongst the “you’ll be so sleep deprived you’ll wish it was back in” gems of wisdom, one morsel stuck with Anna: “take time to look at your baby. Actually consciously look at their face”. We spend so much time ferrying our children from one playgroup to another, juggling nursery, work, chores, and various “activities” when was the last time we actually just looked into their little eyes and held their gaze? Continue reading Time

Girls and Women of the World competition

This year for International Women’s Day, we need your help to make Bristol Woman magazine amazing! Can you draw a fabulous picture on the theme of ‘Girls and Women of the World’?

We would love to see a celebratory illustration that reflects the lives of girls and women around the world. The picture needs to be bright, bold and eye-catching so it captures people’s attention.

The winner will see their picture published in Bristol Woman – online and in print. Continue reading Girls and Women of the World competition

Where are the women? Founding Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

Words by Sian Norris,

Regular Blogger for Bristol Woman



Four years ago, in 2011, the Bristol Feminist Network and Bristol Fawcett Society collaborated on an event that demanded ‘Where are the Women’. The event was the culmination of research undertaken throughout the previous five years on the representation of women in the media. http://www.rowitm.org/findings.html

Our research had revealed that women’s representation fell into two camps. Either we were highly sexualised, young and smiling with red lips, white teeth and big hair on the covers of magazines, celebrated for our ability to conform to a male-defined idea of beauty. Or we were…not there.

This invisibility of women was noticeable across the media, and backed up by 2010 research conducted by UK Feminista. Music festival line-ups, male dominated. Film directors and writers – male dominated. Plays in theatres written by men, art exhibitions celebrating men, cultural events dominated by men, news pages dominated by men with the exception of a topless woman smiling on page 3. And, of course, literature festival line-ups, literature review magazines and literary prizes – all dominated by men. Women were rarely to be seen. When we did appear, it would be on a panel about women or feminism. Panels with grand titles such as ‘The future of the world’ were a strictly women-free zone.

Continue reading Where are the women? Founding Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

Mind the green gender gap!

In 2015, Bristol is the European Green Capital.

Bristol is the first city in the UK to have this title, taking over from Copenhagen. The launch of European Green Capital 2015 happened on January 24th, and was nothing but spectacular: colourful bright umbrellas, a lot of excited supporters, the Mayor and even a stunt involving a cycle on a wire.

The stunt itself was amazing. Jade Kindar-Martin from Cirque Bijou cycled on the tightrope with trapeze artist Karine Mauffrey hanging below. The title of the performance was ‘Bridging the Gap’, to symbolise the difference between our green intentions and our actions. But perhaps we should also think about bridging the gender gap. Continue reading Mind the green gender gap!