Wednesday 24 March 2010

Feminism: Has it Gone Wrong?

First of all let me say that this is a non-post post. And no, I'm not playing linguistic, mind tricks on you. I'll explain.

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in The Guardian by the British journalist Charlotte Raven. In it she analysed the role of feminism today, not just in the UK but also worldwide, although her focus remained on British society and women within it. Her essay triggered off a whole set of feelings and emotions inside me which eventually threw up questions for which I, I'm sorry to say, had no answer. And yet I am glad I'm sorry. Is that a contradiction? No, I'm sorry that I did not find the responses to the various issues Charlotte raised in her article, however, that shortcoming has given me the opportunity to open up my blog to discuss her essay. And that's why I'm glad.

Let me tell you now how this will work. First, you need to read Charlotte's piece here. Then, if you want to take part in the debate about it, e-mail me at my address (it's in my profile). I have drafted five questions for the first five female bloggers who contact me after reading the essay. Five female bloggers, please. Why only women? Because I'd like to know your opinion about the piece. Of course, men are welcome to take part in this debate, but since the article concerns women, it's only natural that priority is given to femmes. Once I have received the message from the first five contributors, I will then respond to all of you at the same time. I will be using the Bcc field to avoid disclosing your e-mail addresses. The answers to the five questions will be published on Tuesday 20th April and Tuesday 27th April. Why almost a month after the original post, you're probably wondering? Because I will be leaving on holidays very soon and as a consequence will have very little access to my blog.

All replies will be unabridged. What you write is what I will post. I would really appreciate it if you could forward a very short bio, maybe just a couple of lines. Pics are optional, as I know some bloggers prefer to remain anonymous. If you do send a photo, please, do it in jpeg, tiff, giff or bitmap format, blogger doesn't accept pdfs. Your blogs will be linked at the beginning of each biography. If you want to reproduce the content of my two posts, plus this introductory one, feel free to do so.

Simple, isn't it? Well, get writing. As I mentioned before, I will only pick up the first five correspondents. That's why this post is coming out at 11:59am as opposed to 11:59pm when I usually publish my entries. This will give most readers the opportunity to take part if they so wish (there will sadly be people left out and I'm sorry for that). I'm already looking forward to your contributions.

Image taken from

Next Post: 'Danza Contemporánea de Cuba (Review)', to be published on Thursday 25th March at 11:59pm (GMT)


  1. Welcome to your holiday destination, may you enjoy family, hospitality and warmth of the land and the people.

    Feminism: What is yours is mine, what is mine, is mine.

    I think this is interesting to watch:) Looking forward to it.

  2. I hope you have a great time on holiday. Feminism means so many different things to different people. A controversial subject for sure.

  3. Thanks for your kind comments. It sure is a hot topic and that's why I want to open it up for disussion. Please, bear in mind that if you want to take part in the debate it's first come, first served, regardless of whether you're a regular visitor or a first-time one.

    I look forward to your e-mails.

    Greetings from London.

  4. Oooh hot topic for certain. I just read the article, and I'm going to e-mail you for consideration in the debate in 3-2-...

  5. Interesting use of your blog for discussion.

    I've been thinking of feminism when hearing of several divorces where the women were in bad shape after taking time off to raise kids while the men pursued careers. Not that there is anything wrong with that division, only that the woman's work at home should be valued equally. She should not pay all the cost after divorce.

    I'm happy to say that my marriage feels like an equal partnership full of respect even though my artistic work brings in less income. I feel valued.

    Have a wonderful vacation!

  6. Sorry Cuban - I couldn't get to the end of the Raven article. I don't disagree with her slant or even her horror of the Katie Price World but it's a fairly sensationalist take ("feminists blame the sexists" - as if all feminists are one and the same and "our daughters join in..." - not all of them, not mine for starters). It comes over as the words of someone who only knows people who work in the media (and probably SE England based at that). There are people out living other lives...

    I'll come back for the 5 women long as they're not all high-flying journalists!


  7. Will be very interested to read the discussion. And happy to join in if you don't already have five offers. sorry e-mail account is on the laptop so leaving a comment instead
    am just an ordinary, not high-flying, not journalist.
    thanks for sharing

  8. Interesting. I too will stay tuned for this debate. I will share my thoughts after I have caught up with the reading of the articles. As you may or may not know, the relationship between African women and feminism as a concept is a contentious one. Many view it as an imported concept, one that is disruptive to traditional, cultural practices.

  9. This looks like being a very interesting debate, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.
    Aaargh, meantime, to the Raven article; there are many bigger fish to fry than Jordan and Madonna.

  10. I read this article when it first ran, and I've been reading some of the heated responses to it this week. I think it's great that you are going to wade in . . .

    I'm about to leave for a month, too, but I hope I don't miss this follow-up.

  11. Many thanks to you all for your feedback. Either tonight or tomorrow night I will be sending those five bloggers my questions.

    Rachel, you've pre-empted one of my queries. Thanks for that. :-) And although I ought to remain impartial, I do agree with some of the points you raised.

    T, I look forward to reading your e-mail.

    Martine, welcome to my blog. Since it is a first come, first served set-up, I'm confident I will have representatives from different social strata.

    Mama, one of the books that came to mind when I read Charlotte's article was a collection of essays by Angela Davies. Don't quote me on this, but I think the title is 'Women, Race and Sex' or thereabouts. I read it many years ago but it changed many of the pre-conceived ideas I had about African-American women and their role in US society.

    Charlotte's article has a few flaws in my opinion and I'm planning to raise them when I send my questions through. But for someone like me, who enjoyed her columns in The Guardian all those years ago, it's nice to have her back. I remember at the time that G2 had a very good hard-hitting team of columnists with Charlotte and Catherine Bennet in the driving seats and the ever-controversial David Aaronovitch and Rod Liddle filling up the remaining space.

    Greetings from London.

  12. Looks like I'm a bit late to the party.

    It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.


  13. Very good post, really interesting indeed. It made me thought one thing in which minorities tend to make a mistake: they can became the ones that provoke others to discriminate them by being as square and discriminating towards others and their own selves as the discriminators themselves. People have more similarities than differences, that is true, but trying to distortionate which ones are which by imposing rigid thoughts always leads towards bad things.

  14. I'm looking forward to what your five contributors have to say about this issue, Mr. C.

  15. A topic close to my own heart, and would've loved to be part of the debate... but looks like you may already have your five participants.

    Sarojini Naidu (a prominent poet and one of the stronger women voices during India's freedom struggle), said that (I paraphase her) she wouldn't call herself a feminist, because to do so would be to acknowledge that women are weak, and hence need a movement to uplift themselves.

  16. Many thanks for your feedback.

    Don't assume that just because you are reading the post now you're late. Who knows? If you don't write, you won't find out. Or as we say in Cuba and this is a literal translation from Spanish: 'Baby don't cry, baby don't get no milk'. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  17. I will follow this debate with interest... I have taken a two-year break from my career to look after my health and undergo treatment, help my husband and try to have children (we are in a situation where I would be unable to get pregnant if I kept my high-stress and peripathetic job), and soon I will be looking for a job again. We will see how my decision will affect my ability to secure another job.

  18. I'll certainly be looking forward to reading the responses for this. It sounds like a very interesting topic, and I'm sure it will invite varied responses. Hmmm... it sounds like a hornet's nest in the works. But, maybe not. Either way, it will be fun, and educational as well. I always say... Leave it to you, Cuban! ;-)


  19. I'm really looking forward to this debate!

  20. So am I, green in, so am I. Many thanks to all the blogger who have contacted me so far. There's still one space left to take part in the debate.

    Greetings from London.

  21. It is possible to be a feminist and be interested in fashion, but it is impossible to be a feminist and wear shoes with torturously high heels. They are instruments of torture!

  22. Wonderful idea, CiL! As you can see, I am catching up with my reading of your posts. Each one demanding thought and reply.

    I look forward to your 5 guest blog collaborators in late April. In the meantime I shall have a careful read of the article in The Guardian and think upon what I might have written if I were submitting to your post.

  23. That was a hard article to slog through. I had to look up many of the people referenced. (I live under a rock I guess because I had no idea who Katie Price was.) She is irritating to read You know, "thinking women--the writers and journalists" kind of remark. But she makes many fascinating and interesting observations which I am still trying to sort out.

    Serendipitously, Ty MacDowell here in America is an example of the cluelessness of some "feminists." (Perhaps I am wrong to lump her in with them.) Parading topless down the street and being outraged, outraged I tell you, about men along the route taking pictures.

    As a young woman in the mid 70s, feminists made inroads but it always seemed it came at the cost of the ordinary woman. The injustice of a woman being turned down simply because she was a woman seemed obvious, but raising a family and having children was not simply "putting up" with victimhood.

    I am looking forward to what your five have to say.



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