Bite The Hand That Feeds You: The 5th and final instalment!

Well that’s it, the last of  the Bite The Hand That Feeds You zine series… and I thought it was fitting to end on a message about how good it feels to communicate openly and honestly!

Find Part 1, and the back-story to Bite The Hand That Feeds You, here.

Part 2 is here, part 3 is here, and part 4 is here… and you can see the whole collection of Bite The Hand That Feeds You in The Women’s Library! Oh yes indeedy!

By: Sarah Barnes, 06.06.2010 | Comments (0)
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‘Reclaiming The F Word’ Book Released

Just a quick post to say HURRAY! for the release of new book Reclaiming The F Word. I went along to the release party last night and had an absolutely fantastic time celebrating the book and celebrating the (very vibrant and very much alive!) UK feminist movement with plenty of other feminists who were in attendance, filling up the rather swanky surroundings of The University Women’s Club.

Co-written by Kristen Aune (who co-founded the London Third Wave group) and Catherine Redfern (founder of the brilliant feminist site The F-Word), Reclaiming The F Word ‘reveals the seven vital issues at stake for today’s feminists, unveils the beginnings of a fresh and diverse wave of feminism, and calls a new generation back to action.’

The release of this book follows on from Natasha Walter’s Living Dolls and Kat Banyard’s The Equality Illusion, released earlier this year – showing that 2010 is a great year for British feminist publications!

I’ve already begun reading the book (I just couldn’t wait to get started!) and I have already found it inspiring (the first chapter on Liberated Bodies has already sparked plenty of ideas for blog posts!), illuminating and positive. Something I have really enjoyed so far is how the book doesn’t ever wallow in all the depressing effects the Patriarchy has on society (which would be pretty damn easy to do). Instead, Reclaiming  The F Word is structured around the raising of feminist concerns, explains them clearly, and then goes on to tell the reader what feminists are already doing to counter these things. It even has a handy little  ’Take Action’ box-out at the end of each chapter so that readers can get involved in activism, if they feel so inclined.

I also love how it is the voices of today’s self-defined feminists that create the back-bone of the book. For Reclaiming The F Word nearly 1,300 British feminists were surveyed, and it is their voices – so vital and so current – that are invoked to back up the points that are made within its pages.  Add to that a sprinkling of quotes from zines, blogs and even pop-songs and this book becomes more of an inclusive portrayal of a whole movement, rather than a stale and sterile observation made from the outside looking in. It’s very much saying to readers; ‘Come on in, the water’s lovely!’

Co-author, Catherine Redfern, has given a really insightful interview about the book to grassrootsfeminism.net which you must read here… and here’s the place to head to straight after to snap up your copy!

By: Sarah Barnes, 04.06.2010 | Comments (0)
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Bite The Hand That Feeds You: Part 4

Find Part 1, and the back-story to Bite The Hand That Feeds You, here.

Part 2 is here and part 3 is here, and you can see the whole collection of Bite The Hand That Feeds You in The Women’s Library! Oh yes indeedy!

By: Sarah Barnes, 29.04.2010 | Comments (0)
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This is what a feminist tweets like…

It’s just over a week since I met some fabulous feminists at a ‘Feminist Tweet Up’, a meet up for feminist minded tweeters, in a pub near London Bridge. And how many tweets have I written since then? Not nearly enough! I’m guiltily feeling I’m not quite living up to the title of a ‘Feminist Tweeter’ right now, but there’s only so much tweeting time in the day when you don’t have a Blackberry at your fingertips!

Still, although my tweets are sometimes more sparse than I’d like, I absolutely love the medium of Twitter. Whilst it’s a weird  joy to master Atting and Arr Teeing, the Twitter aspect I appreciate most is having access to a whole host of feminist voices, all constantly updated in a live feed.

It was even better, then, to put faces to the avatars and take our feminist conversations beyond a 140 character word limit. There are hopes for another tweet-up very soon but, until then, you can follow all the feminists I had the pleasure of meeting here!

(Illustration by Sarah Barnes)

By: Sarah Barnes, 21.04.2010 | Comments (0)
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Can You Feel It?

This little sticker, at a pedestrian crossing near Old Street Station, made me very happy indeed. With activism supporting site UK Feminista launching today, the recently aired Women documentary series still fresh in our minds, and the warm glow still burning after Million Women Rise, this simple sticker-showcased-sentence totally sums up how I am feeling about the UK women’s movement right now. Sisterhood really is blooming! It’s blooming marvellous!

By: Sarah Barnes, 27.03.2010 | Comments (2)
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Demand Change!

Do you think we ought to be criminalising the demand for prostitution? Check out The Demand Change! Campaign,  a joint initiative between women’s charity Eaves and human rights organisation OBJECT, which aims to:

•    Promote an increased understanding of the myths and realities surrounding prostitution;
•    Call for prostitution to be seen and widely understood as a form of violence against women;

and
•    Lobby for adoption of the ‘Nordic model’, which tackles demand for prostitution, decriminalises those selling sexual acts and provides adequate resources to assist people to exit prostitution.

If the campaign is succesful, this will be a crucial step towards ending the exploitation and abuse experienced by many women and girls in prostitution. To offer your support, please sign the Demand Change! petition now, before it closes tomorrow.

By: Yasmin Eshref, 23.03.2010 | Comments (0)
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The International Violence Against Women Act: Sign The Petition

The International Rescue Commitee would like help to pass The International Violence Against Women Act; put forward to Congress, to empower women to claim their most fundamental human rights. The devastation in Haiti seems to have faded from the media as a cause for concern, however as The IRC point out in their short video, help is needed now just as much as it was and is certainly not limited to one geographical area.

In the aftermath of conflict and disaster, women and girls can and do suffer violence, exploitation and abuse. But, with the necessary resources for medical care, counseling, economic opportunities and education, women and girls can win in the fight against violence.

Urge Congressional leaders by signing this petition to pass this legislation to ensure women and girls have the necessary resources to win in the fight against violence.

By: Dearbhaile Kitt, 18.03.2010 | Comments (0)
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Million Women Rise 2010

Thousands of women from across the UK and beyond gathered in London on Saturday the 6th of March for the third annual Million Women Rise march. Travelling from Hyde Park, through Oxford and Regents Street to gather for a rally in Trafalgar Square, women marched, chanted and sang to assert their rights to lives free from violence. (more…)

By: Sarah Barnes, 09.03.2010 | Comments (0)
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Celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is fast approaching (it’s on Monday, the 8th, in case you weren’t aware), which begs the question; What will you be doing to celebrate it? And when I say ‘Celebrate’, I don’t really mean party hats and bubbly booze (although this is also a very valid, and fun, way to mark the occassion!) but choosing a worthy event where you can reflect on the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. Whilst many people will be marking IWD by donning their marching boots for the Million Women Rise March today, here is a little list of events going on on the day itself…

CRAWLEY – ASSERTIVENESS WORKSHOP
From 9.30am to 12.00 mid-day
You’ll learn to express yourself assertively when communicating with others. The skill of expressing opinions confidently and clearly, with respect for the other person, is essential. This event is free, but spaces are limited.
Venue: Kinnarps, Mack House, Gatwick Road, Crawley, RH10 9RJ

SLOUGH – 100TH INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
From 10.30am to 2.00pm
Prominent women from Slough will be on a panel discussing why this year is so important to make sure you exercise your right to vote.
Venue: Thames Valley Community Centre The Green Chalvey , Slough, SL1 2SP

LONDON – ONE LAW FOR ALL PRESENTS: A SEMINAR ON SHARIA LAW
From 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Speakers including Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (British Muslims for Secular Democracy); Yassi Atasheen and Maryam Namazie (One Law for All); Clara Connolly and Yasmin Rahman (Women Against Fundamentalism);  Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters)  and Joan Smith (Writer and Activist) will come together to discuss opposition to Sharia Law within the UK legal system. Tickets cost £10 (or £3 for students/low income) and you will need to register here beforehand.
Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL (Closest Underground: Holborn)

LONDON – FUNNY WOMEN STAND UP
Doors: 7.30 p.m. for show 8.00 p.m.
Some of the best and most innovative female comedy acts (including Jan Ravens, Shazia Mirza and Bridget Christie) take to the stage in support of Funny Women’s annual charity gala, Funny Women Stand Up. There’ll be free cake too! The serious message alongside the laughs is about bringing attention to the issues surrounding violence against women. Tickets cost £25 (buy them here) with proceeds raised on the night donated to V-Day Tender, which is currently focusing on a campaign to stop the physical violence and brutality that women and girls are suffering as a by-product of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Venue: Leicester Square Theatre – main house, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX

The Birds Eye View Film Festival is still in full swing, so why not celebrate with one of their film screenings on the day?

Still not found something to do? Then head to the International Womens Day Website for more ideas!

(Vintage Women’s Liberation March image found here)

By: Sarah Barnes, 06.03.2010 | Comments (0)
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Million Women Rise Tomorrow!

Just a reminder that tomorrow sees thousands of women marching through central London to call for an end to violence against women. Coinciding with International Women’s Day, Million Women Rise (MWR) will be marching for a properly government funded plan, backed by the commitment of all political parties, to enable women to live free from the threat of male violence.  Further, the march will demand International Women’s Day to be declared a national public holiday in recognition of women’s contributions to all areas of UK society.

The women only event will mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and will be the third annual march. Last year, attendees reached over the 5,000 mark and as a result of the success, MWR national co-ordinator Sabrina Qureshi was invited, by the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, to a join a consultation on violence against women and girls. However, with women still experiencing violence at the hands of men there are still plenty of reasons to march. 

Marchers are invited to meet at 12 noon on Park Lane opposite Hyde Park’s Speakers Corner before heading to Trafalger Square, via Oxford Street and Regent’s Street, to gather for the rally at 3pm. Hope to see you there!

By: Dearbhaile Kitt, 05.03.2010 | Comments (0)
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