Tag Archives: #womensrights

FEMINISM IN POP CULTURE – A YOUNG FEMINIST’S VIEW

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!

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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.

BIO
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.

Racism, Sexism and Music Videos

by Pauline Musoke @ThePauzi

We are currently living in an intense environment of popular culture dominated by music videos, which are focused on traditional images of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity. Music videos may have changed over the course of modern history, but have certainly grown to be bigger, bolder, some would say sexier and more controversial. The reason for finding music videos problematic may be because of the unrealistic images of the human body and the messages that are being portrayed and sold by major music industries.

Music is one of the major things that connects the people of Bristol, both within and beyond the city. It allows people to feel a rainbow of emotions and express themselves in countless ways. Music can take us on a trip down memory lane, it can give us a sense of total freedom during the private moments when we dance around in our underwear and for some, music is their lifeline. However, much of the popular music produced today is accompanied with videos that present distorted images of sexuality and objectify women’s bodies. This is particularly the case of Black women’s bodies which are often exotified, have their behinds’ fetishized and are continuously limited of their autonomy because of their race, ethnicity, class and gender. Continue reading Racism, Sexism and Music Videos

Time

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

When Valentine’s Day becomes Fifty Shades of Abuse ….

Part of the Sophie Merlo series 'Lifting the Veil on Domestic Abuse'
Part of the Sophie Merlo series ‘Lifting the Veil on Domestic Violence’

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow …. bring on the flowers, chocolates, bubbly and romantic dates with your partner ….. ! Getting cosy, schmoozy and lovey-dovey with your partner … on the ultimate, most romantic day of the year? Of course! 14th February spells romance with a capital R!

But hold on …….. that’s not strictly the case for the many female victims of domestic violence in the UK for whom Valentine’s Day 2015 spells trouble. These women are deeply worried that Valentine’s Day will bring them a lot more than just roses and chocolates. It’s well known that incidences of domestic abuse rise considerably at this, supposedly romantic, time of the year. Continue reading When Valentine’s Day becomes Fifty Shades of Abuse ….

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

Let’s talk about public health

Meet Becky Pollard, the new Director of Public Health Bristol Becky Pollard3

Becky Pollard has been appointed as Bristol City Council’ s new Director of Public Health and will be starting in her new role on 16 February. Bristol Woman talks to Becky about health inequality and public heath interventions for women.

Becky, in your view, what are the biggest health inequalities Bristol is struggling with? Why do you think that is?

I believe these are the persistent inequalities of life expectancy due to underlying determinants of health. There is a gap in life expectancy between men and women living in Bristol compared to the rest of England. Men in Bristol can expect to live until 78.3 years compared to 82.1 years for rest in England. For women, life expectancy is 83 years in Bristol compared to nearly 86 years for rest in England. Continue reading Let’s talk about public health

Advancing the cause of women at Davos – A quick roundup of WEF 2015

World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland - 23 Jan 2015 So …. There may only have a been a staggeringly under-representative 17% of women present at Davos 2015 last week, but they certainly made their presence felt across the four days of the World Economic Forum. Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of news website the Huffington Post proved a veritable tour de force and a prolific tweeter and Facebook poster direct from the Microsoft-HuffPost Café at Davos. When she wasn’t interviewing the likes of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg at Davos for HuffPost Live, she was hosting and taking part on a variety of panel discussions and attending numerous events and dinners. Many women (and men) were also seen brandishing their newly acquired copy of Huffington’s latest book – Thrive – and espousing the book’s values of sleep and mindfulness.

Continue reading Advancing the cause of women at Davos – A quick roundup of WEF 2015

What lesson can we learn from 2014 to make 2015, the year for equality?

Since the turn of the year, I have kept seeing articles about how 2014 was “the best year for women since the dawn of time”. Certainly, we did have a strong year – Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize, Emma Watson stunned the world with the launch of the HeforShe campaign, reminding us all that women’s equality is not just a women’s issue, William Hague teamed up with Angelina Jolie on making rape a war crime and the #YesAllWomen phenomenon reminded us all that social media can have a powerful effect for women to get their voices heard, share their stories and raise support for challenging misogyny and sexism.

For me, 2014 highlighted the growing power of social media and how small individual campaigns about something you feel passionate about can be both explosive and powerful. Take for example, the ice bucket challenge that took over Facebook for at least several months last summer. Who would have thought that throwing a bucket of ice-cold water over your head would have caught on so quickly? The challenge resulted in over 100 million dollars worth of funding to charities supporting those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Pretty impressive to say the least. Continue reading What lesson can we learn from 2014 to make 2015, the year for equality?

Paulina Gillespie: everybody wants you to succeed!

Bristol Woman team talks to the woman who has been waking up Bristol and the South West every week day morning for the past 14 years.

In my early days, I spent 10 years in America but after that I got really homesick and wanted to see my family. I then joined my husband in Bulgaria. This was 24 years ago, and it felt slightly odd going from the glamour of the US to the realities of post-Socialist life in Bulgaria! I had always loved Bristol and I kept coming back time and again! My family is from Bath, but I prefer Bristol because I feel I can be more anonymous.

IMG_3058edit-2So what is life like for me as a public figure and local celebrity in the South West area? Well, I have 3 daughters – one works with me at Heart, one works for an estate agent, and one has just gone to university this year – so this is going to be a time of transition. It’s going to be just me, the dogs and my husband. It’s great to have the dogs jump with joy and greet me when I come home. My working life can get quite manic! I get up about 3:30am every morning, and I leave the house around 5am. As soon as I get to work, it is full on straight away … what are the latest news items, how’s the traffic, how is weather, who is going to say what on our breakfast programme and so on! If I want to go to the loo, I get a minute to do that. So you can see that by having a chance to walk my dogs in the fields after work, I get that essential quiet time for me, the bit of time that returns me to myself. Being close to nature is amazing. I also have some chickens in the back garden – and I love it! Continue reading Paulina Gillespie: everybody wants you to succeed!

What does Davos hold for women in 2015? Bristol Woman takes a look!

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Bernie Ritchie, Editor in Chief

It’s that time again! The annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos kicks off next week on Wednesday 21st January. The overarching theme for this year’s Forum is ‘The New Global Context’ which takes note of the fact that the world has fundamentally changed. In essence, the WEF attendees will take a collaborative look, in light of this changed global context, at what are the fundamental forces at work – technologically, socially and economically – which require new dimensions for global decision-making and new forms of practical solutions.

Broadly speaking the Forum’s purpose, against a backdrop of a world full of problems and challenges, is to improve the state of the world through the collaborative action of all stakeholders of the world’s civil society. Top of the discussions agenda will be the real risks posed by global conflict (with the world still reeling from the tragic events in Paris last week and the Boko Haram massacre in Nigeria in early January) plus the digital economy, climate change, trusted leadership and also, critically, gender inequality. Continue reading What does Davos hold for women in 2015? Bristol Woman takes a look!