Tag Archives: Week Woman

What Does Being “Cis” Mean For A Woman?

What Does Being “Cis” Mean For A Woman?

You’re gonna see more writing like this in the blogosphere as time goes on. Commentators who don’t necessarily present themselves as ‘radical’ yet who nonetheless find themselves kicking back against mainstream political morés in the face of undeserved, unasked-for hostility.
There are – admittedly imperfect, if not entirely unrelated – parallels here with Western political reactions to ‘Radical’ Islam: criticizing – or living outside the rules of – either religion in particular or patriarchy in general can be fraught with danger: the consequences or exercising freedom of speech and action literally life-threatening for gay men, lesbians, atheists, women in general.
But there’s a distinction to be made between Islam – or indeed Christianity, Judaism – as a monolithic political force and the actions of individuals within the doctrine. Recognizing that the proliferation of Tesco within ‘the market’ is not a healthy thing is not equal to a blanket condemnation of all its employees.

There are two strands to Islamophobia: common-or-garden racism – a mechanism of patriarchy in any case, albeit unacknowleged as such – and the conscious recognition of the (religious) monolith’s power.
Driving a wedge between women, and other potential dissenters has always been foremost amongst the ways that our military-industrial-consumerist-patriarchal rulers have maintained order.
On the basis that ‘the friend of my enemy is my enemy’, the liberal mainstream is very much the enemy of women; hence the enemy of social justice: a fact that might surprise many committed to the movement – or maybe not…
The Guardianistas will move on; memories of Moore, Burchill and Jeffries will fade from the public consciousness but the war against women, against social justice will continue.
Caroline Criado-Perez has put herself in the media firing line over and over. She has earned the right to be listened to. She is emphatically not a ‘hater’ in this overly-polarized, post-Bush ‘with us or against us’ media culture.
Read. You may even weep.

The significance of this current head-to-head, liberal versus radical ‘gender war’ is perhaps lost on many – even many in the thick of it – but make no mistake, it is the debate of our time.

Caroline Criado-Perez

Today I got a bit cross. I do that occasionally. I have been watching the non-binary versus feminism wars getting increasingly heated and thinking, one day, I’ll write a considered post on this. It is an important issue that deserves my time and effort – but it is such an important issue that it deserves time and effort that I simply don’t have today. So days go by and I say nothing. I tweet out articles by women far more cogent and intelligent than I am. I endorse them in the strongest possible terms. But it doesn’t feel enough. I feel like I’m ducking my feminist duty: the duty for women to SPEAK. To not feel scared and cowed. To not suffocate under the weight of not saying anything until that mythical perfect moment when all her ducks are in a row, when the sun is at the right point…

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“Empire Building”: Career Feminism and Me


Stop press – if only, one might sigh – the online abuse campaign against Caroline Criado-Perez goes on unabated, much less reported…

Seems plenty of women out there would rather she shut up too, sadly – wasn’t feminism supposed to bring females together – what went wrong?

And in a culture this toxic – suggesting one banknote of four might perhaps feature a female! the sheer audacity! gotta be raped and killed! – one can’t help by discern disingenuity in the shock! horror! reporting of the Elliot Roger massacre (the Salon piece strays too far in the direction of liberal for my taste, whilst getting the bones in the right place).

Incidents like the above ought to surprise no one.

It’s not ‘news’, and it’s not right; not any of it

Caroline Criado-Perez

I tend not to do much about the daily stream of attacks, insults, wilful misrepresentations and misinterpretations that constitute my daily online life. Not anymore. I just put up and shut up for the most part.

I used to try to defend myself, believing for a long time that explaining what I actually said, meant, intended, would help. But I’ve long since given up expecting the facts to matter when it comes to the determined group of people who have been keeping up a campaign of harassment against me for the past year or so. Indeed, on the few occasions I’ve tried to highlight their bullying, to try to defend myself, to say that I don’t think I deserve to be treated like an inhuman piece of shit, just because I happened to have hit headlines for…being treated an inhuman piece of shit, this group has never been unsuccessful in turning…

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The possibility of Change


Following on, coincidentally, from my last (re)post

Recognize this guy?

Field Marshall Lord Kitchener’s face and pointing finger proclaiming ...

‘Your country needs YOU’

And this woman?

You’ll almost certainly be familiar with the former image and accompanying slogan – or variations on it, depending on your geographical location. Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener – for it is he – was the face of military recruitment during the WW1 campaign of a century ago. You might be forgiven for unfamiliarity with the second image: Edith Cavell was a Norfolk-born nurse who served in Belgium during that conflict; and her most oft-repeated quote ‘I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone’. Kitchener died June 5, 1916, on a boat sunk by a German mine off The Orkney Islands;  Cavell on October12, 1915 by Nazi firing squad. That which connects the pair – their respective rôles in that historic conflict aside and their deaths, both at the hands of the same ‘enemy’- to the aforementioned – in the Week Woman post – Criado-Perez campaign is their competition in a more modern conflict; in recognition for posterity via the medium of legal tender in the UK. started by Sioned-Mair Richards. In short, The UK Treasury wants to put Kitchener on a commemorative £2 coin; Richards nominates Cavell. Criado-Perez‘s successful campaign for women – or at least, a woman – to be represented on British currency was actioned via Change.org.

Petitions launched via that platform have helped to achieve positive action in social justice, education and public awareness, including:

Achieving legal aid for the inquest into the death of Cherry Groce, fatally injured during the ’85 Brixton riots

Keeping Mary Seacole on the National (educational) Curriculum in the UK

Pressing for a public enquiry into the late MP, Cyril Smith’s historical sexual abuse of vulnerable young boys

Richards‘ campaign deserves to succeed too: in a real sense it’s only a coin (or note) but implicit in the public support for the figure that we choose to commemorate the war that, 100 years ago failed to end all war is our hope – or lack of – that one day it might end. That one day, beginning today, we might have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone. If Criado-Perez‘ experience is anything to go by, I fear for Richards‘ treatment via social media. The only consolation is that any vindictiveness is in exponential relation to the importance of the values of their actions. For every 100 detractors, the lives of 1000,000s stand to be improved by the elimination of the brutal, patriarchal conventions that blight so many lives.

Is patriotism enough, or can we do better?

.@Twitter: Optimised For Abuse


The critics Criado-Perez refer to are as opposed to formal, legal relationship commitment as they are in favour of casual, domineering sexuality. Infer from that what you will, dear gender-sceptics…

Caroline Criado-Perez

Last summer I was the target of months of violent, misogynistic abuse. The abuse was widely reported, although the worst tweets (most of the tweets), were never broadcast or printed, because the media deemed them too offensive. This left me in the rather unfortunate position of not only being driven to the edge of a nervous breakdown from the fear and strain of hundreds of tweets  coming in every minute telling me I would be maimed, raped and killed, but also being targeted by people who thought I was being a delicate flower and couldn’t take a bit of off-colour banter, or “dissenting opinion”. Nevertheless, the media pressure was such, that twitter was reluctantly, eventually forced to act. They streamlined their reporting process by including a link on each tweet to report it for abuse, and automatically included the link for that tweet in the report form. For someone who was…

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Women’s Aid Speech on Cyber-Harassment


Sickening, upsetting and shameful. Words fail me really 😦

Caroline Criado-Perez

Before I begin, I just want to warn you all, that I will be quoting some of the messages I have received. They include offensive language and references to sexual violence, which may be triggering for some.

WAstalking conf

So I’d like to start off by giving you a bit of background into what led up to the harassment I received for over two weeks in July and August, because I think it’s important to see how little it takes to provoke this kind of abuse – it’s important to face up to how much of a problem we still have with widespread misogyny against any woman who dares to use her voice in public.

So some of you may have heard of a campaign I ran from April to July this year, asking the Bank of England to review its decision to have an all-male line-up on banknotes. (note to media, I…

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Pithy and pertinent post from Week Woman. I write a lot about current affairs issues around gender and I’m inevitably informed by feminist discourse on the subject. One of the features of feminist thought that is so refreshing is its endless variety, in contrast to the conservative politics I grew up with: there are many feminisms and much lively – and occasionally vicious – debate on a multiplicity of subjects: education and employment opportunities; self-determination; violence; reproduction; homosexuality and lesbianism; gender stereotypes and their portrayal in media; rape culture; marriage; eating disorders … and on and on.
So it’s worthwhile to reflect on core values and what various commentators and activists have in common.
It’s also interesting that one poster – Yvonne Aburrow – brings up intersectionality: it’s increasingly foregrounded in modern political discourse and is certainly a key consideration – read: bone of contention – in the ongoing and recently-newsworthy RadFem/Trans stand-off I’ve been reporting on.
Check it out – do you score 15 out of 15 (or even 19 out of 19)?

Feminist check-list