Women’s Work gig happening this Friday!

From the Facebook event:

“Following the success of the first ‘Women’s Work’ gig, an all-female performance benefit for the Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, we decided to do another one. Come along to the Fountain for outstanding performances from these talented women, for a night you will not forget in a hurry!

Performances from:

Fay Roberts
Catherine Adams
Eleanor Cramer
Leanne Moden
Netta Chachamu
Kate Smurthwaite

£7 on the door (£6 adv)

It’s happening at 8 o’clock, 1st November at The Fountain pub on Regent Street. You can get advance tickets from Eventbrite here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/5212075458

Facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/events/517711121650588


Cambridge Lose the Lads Mags Demo!

Lawyers warn over 'lads' mags' sales


Date & time: Saturday 24 August, 12:00-13:00

Venue: Tesco Express, 35 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge, CB1 7DZ [the mini Tesco store at the leisure centre, by cinneworld/the junction]

Join Cambridge Rape Crisis as we call on Tesco to lose the lads’ mags! Lads’ mags fuel attitudes underpinning violence against women. They have no place in Tesco stores.

Bystander intervention

A cartoon titled 'Bystander intervention is a superpower', with a stick figure who is saying: 'Excuse me, but I heard what you said just now, and that is really not OK. You can't treat people like that.

“Good” corporate beauty messages, and their limitations

A spoof cosmetics add: a tub of skin cream with a label that says "No beauty product, ever." The ad text reads: "You're amazing! Buy our moisturising skin cream. Or don't. Either way, we just think you're so awesome!"

Dove kicked up a flurry of controversy in the feminist blogosphere recently with their advertising campaign, which showed that women tend to judge themselves less attractive, than a stranger would judge them. Some women appreciated this message, while others (myself included) reacted more cynically.

The hidden damage caused by the dominant beauty standard is huge. Many women suffer from eating disorders, and some even die. Even those of us who appear to get off scott-free still have to put energy into overcoming toxic beauty ideals, and this is energy that we don’t get to put into other things.

But as Imran Siddiquee showed in her excellent article Women are not their own worst beauty critics, the toxic and hateful beauty standard was not created by you or me, and it does not arise from ordinary women’s lived day-to-day experiences. The beauty ideals that harm so many of us are manufactured by (male-dominated) corporations and delivered in a non-stop onslaught by the (male-dominated) media – an onslaught that Dove is of course part of.

Read the rest of this entry »

Women’s history: some links and a word of encouragement

I’ve noticed that at a few FAC events we’ve got talking about women’s history. At the Women’s Work fundraising event at least three of the performances drew on feminist history. I’d thought I’d share some relevant interesting things I’ve come across recently.

Firstly, the Bishopgate Institute has recently digitised the ephemera collection of the Feminist Library, which is made up of things like posters and leaflets from the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Secondly, the British Library has recently put online  lots and lots of interviews with second-wave feminists, along with other resources like biographies and an interactive timeline. Set aside lots of time to look through properly. (There are also links to various other oral history projects on activism around the UK and the world.)

I also really love this segment on Women’s Hour about birth control pioneers with Dr Clare Debenham and Rebecca Findlay. This is my particular area of interest, and I’m glad to see Dr Debenham’s research getting a wider audience.

And something local – Shape East has put together a “Walking with Women” tour to celebrate women’s history in Cambridge. It can be done as a self-guided tour, or booked as a guided tour from £10 per person.

There are also plenty of offline resources in Cambridge – the Cambridge Women’s Resources Centre has a collection of the zine Spare Rib, as well as various books on women’s history and feminist politics. The Cambridge Central Library is free to join and has some good books on women’s history, for example Alison Oram’s wonderful “Her husband was a woman!”, and the archives have various materials on women’s organisations.

I know history can sometimes seem like something you have to study in an academic context to understand, but that’s really not the case. History is for everyone.

Talking to teenagers about sex and feminism

Last week I spoke to students at Hills Road Sixth form college about feminism, taking ‘the equal right to sexual pleasure’ as my topic.  Here’s the blog post I’ve written for Gender and Education about it:


Reclaim the Night

Great to see so many people at an energetic Reclaim the Night last night.  There were three fabulous speakers and a performance poet, with several hundred of us hanging on every word in a candlelit Kings College chapel.

I wrote a statement for The Cambridge Student in advance of the demo (to be quoted as ‘a member of FAC’ not on behalf of the group, as discussed in the meeting last week), so I thought I’d share it with you, as it sums up quite nicely what Reclaim the Night is about for me:

I’m thrilled that the CUSU Women’s Campaign are continuing the hugely important tradition of Reclaim the Night marches.  This march is a rare space for the voices of women who have been silenced by sexual violence to be heard.  Marching together in a group of women also means that, for once, we can respond to the street harassment that most women experience frequently.  For once, we can actually respond to harassers without fear of escalation of violence, as we’re surrounded by other women who are in solidarity with us.  And we can shout about our truth – that rape is common, and victims are silenced. Read the rest of this entry »