Quantcast
Latest Stories

Young UK feminists armed with tweets and jokes

By

In a picture taken on November 17, 2012, feminist campaigners protest outside the UK offices of News International in east London against the continued use of topless photographs of women on page 3 of “The Sun” newspaper. A new wave of feminism has taken hold in Britain this year: young, irreverent, and fuelled by social media. Three online projects founded in 2012 — a website for submitting experiences of sexism, a campaign against topless women in newspapers and a blog satirising women’s portrayal in the media — have won tens of thousands of supporters. AFP / LEON NEAL

LONDON – A new wave of feminism has taken hold in Britain this year: young, irreverent, and fuelled by social media.

Three online projects founded in 2012 – a website for submitting experiences of sexism, a campaign against topless women in newspapers and a blog satirising women’s portrayal in the media— have won tens of thousands of supporters.

They have earned national press coverage and admiration from veteran feminists who thought their cause had faded into the background.

“Initially we just made it for our friends and we didn’t really think that it would take off,” said Rhiannon Coslett, 25, a co-founder of the Vagenda blog.

She and Holly Baxter, 23, impoverished flatmates who had studied together, started the blog after a wine-soaked evening ridiculing women’s magazines.

It went viral on its first day with a post of “Stock Photos Of Women Looking Remorseful After Sexual Encounters”.

Nine months later, the Vagenda has 30,000 readers each day, while the two have given up their day jobs and have a book deal.

Last week they were among 600 people at a London theatre for an anti-sexism stand-up comedy night on the 42nd anniversary of Page Three, the page dedicated to topless models in Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid newspaper The Sun.

The audience was treated to a “feminist burlesque” and a rap history of feminism, while comedian Viv Groskop pointed out that with 26,241 female nipples having appeared in The Sun to date – the odd number explained by glamour model Melinda Messenger having once posed with her hand covering one breast— “it’s kind of not really news”.

Behind the event was a campaign called No More Page 3, which is pushing The Sun to remove the feature, and Everyday Sexism, which compiles accounts of discrimination and harassment. Both were started this year.

More than 57,000 people have signed the No More Page 3 petition, while 11,000 submissions have been made to the Everyday Sexism website and Twitter feed.

Comedian Lucy Porter told the audience how she was groped by a well-known colleague in the 1990s, “in an era when you were told to laugh things off”.

“If it happened now I could tweet about it,” she added.

Young feminists credit social media with bringing people together and creating space for views that might be mocked elsewhere.

“We get a lot of messages from teenage girls who come from small towns and feel like they’re the only feminist in the village,” said Coslett.

Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates, 26, said: “I think women feel a real sense of relief about being able to talk about these things and be taken seriously.

“A disabled girl wrote that since she was seven she’d had constant jibes about women driving as she moved around in her mobility scooter, and a woman in her 90s wrote to say exactly the same thing.”

Natasha Walter, the 45-year-old author of “Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism”, wrote in the Times this month: “It’s fantastic to see how these online communities have breathed life into struggles we thought were over.”

Despite huge advances in the 20th century, British women are underrepresented in politics and business, while earning about ten percent less than men. Campaigners also speak of a pervasive culture of sexism.

Yet so far this century, feminism has been a minority pursuit.

“We have always felt a bit reluctant to wholeheartedly jump in with the feminist movement that exists on the Internet, because I think a lot of it can be quite alienating to young women— it’s very academic, it’s theoretical, a lot of it’s really angry, it’s extremely po-faced,” said Coslett.

She credits Caitlin Moran, whose book “How to be a Woman” – part comic autobiography, part polemic – became a bestseller this year, with reaching “thousands and thousands of women who wouldn’t call themselves feminists”.

Women’s rights campaigners still face hostility, especially online: when Bates set up Everyday Sexism she received hundreds of abusive messages a day, culminating in specific threats that led her to call police.

But the site has now drawn numerous submissions from men angered by the experiences of women close to them, while others say the site has made them re-examine their own behavior.

Lucy Anne Holmes, 36, founder of No More Page 3, finds women and men keen to join her battle against the topless photo that is “the largest female image in the country’s best-selling newspaper”.

When No More Page 3 held a protest outside News International, the Murdoch subsidiary which publishes The Sun, the company called the police— who arrived and promptly signed the petition.

Neither the Vagenda writers, nor Holmes and Bates, were involved with activism before this year, but all say there is much more to be done.

“A mum wrote in to say her little girl had asked if she could be turned into a boy so that she could go into space,” Bates said.

“As long as even one little girl is growing up thinking she has to change who she is to be what she wants to be, the fight isn’t over.”


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson 2 mins elapsed 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace 8 mins elapsed Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH 17 mins elapsed ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe 41 mins elapsed Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna 58 mins elapsed SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital 1 hour elapsed N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy 1 hour elapsed PSEi slips after 4-day rally 1 hour elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Britain , feminism , Social Media , Women

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EDXEVEFHW2ZT5VWHDWBNM6XGE4 RyanE

    I’m definitely for Women’s rights, but the removal of Page 3.. hehehe



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement
  1. Nokia to be named Microsoft Mobile
  2. Senator wants to probe PH slow Internet connection
  3. PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  4. Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  5. Facebook page launched to help people on Pag-asa Island kill boredom
  6. SC junks motions vs cybercrime law
  7. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  8. Judge in Apple v. Samsung patent trial fed up with smart phones in court
  9. Apple offering free recycling of all used products
  10. CFOs slowly getting tech-savvy
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  3. Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  4. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  5. Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  6. Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  7. Judge in Apple v. Samsung patent trial fed up with smart phones in court
  8. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  9. Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  10. Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  1. #RejectedBbPilipinas2014Questions flood Twitter
  2. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  3. Netizens fall in love with Crimea prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya
  4. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  5. Nude and so dangerous
  6. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  7. Russia tries to curb Crimean prosecutor’s Internet fame
  8. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  9. PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  10. Netizens thank Capa for Lee arrest

News

  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy
  • 16 CADPI sugar refinery workers now out of danger after toxic shower in Batangas
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace