Daily Archives: Wednesday 23 January 2008

Random acts of feminism

One of the tags I use is “Everyday feminism”. I use it somewhat randomly, but the idea, for me, is to indicate when I writing about, or reporting on, something that is just part of living as a feminist, through the daily round of family, home, work, play, whatever.

Wendy Roby, writing in the Guardian, advises engaging in random acts of feminism. Nothing dramatic, no carrying of placards or shouting slogans. Just being feminist. An example:

Glance around your local newsagent, and behold: lads’ mags, the 1990s joke that just won’t go away. A whole genre of magazines, all filled with busty lovelies and pernicious rubbish about how readers can persuade young women to give them a blow job.

So what to do about these? My preferred option is to find my nearest newsagent, ferret out some copies of Good Housekeeping and Mary Beth’s Beanie World, and put these nice homely publications neatly at the front of the racks, obscuring the latest lads’ mags.

And:

a women’s page reader (who shall remain nameless) spent a busy afternoon with her best friend and their daughters [in a toyshop]. Seeing a large pink plastic castle, she took pity on the blonde in the highest turret. Taking a card from her handbag and inscribing it neatly in black ink, she slid her small sign next to the princess’s head. “Please let me out,” it read, “I gotta get to work!”

My own random acts of feminism tend to centre around my daughters, doing my best to ensure that they will be well resourced for living is what is still a misogynist world, even in rich, liberal democracies. So I deconstruct fairy tales, emphasise that they can make choices, encourage them to try physical activities even if there’s potential for serious harm (I found my eldest daughter high up a spindly tree yesterday, and congratulated her for it). My husband is an accomplished martial artist, so as they become ready for it, he has been teaching them the basics. Not in defensive mode, but helping them to be confident about themselves.

All just part of good parenting, I think – teaching our children to be independent and resourceful.

Today’s random act of feminism? I don’t have one planned – it wouldn’t be random then, would it?