Sunday, 11 December 2016

'Feminism has become such a hot potato'.

'There's no better time in history to be a woman'.

Today I watched an interview between Emma Watson and Caitlin Moran. They discussed feminism, culture and ways in which to change the world. Moran opens the interview with a discussion of feminism and refers to it as this 'coat' that now protects women. This idea was comforting to me. That there was safety to be found from the oppression that we still face.

She appreciates those 'twenty women' that went out and changed the world. But why is there no better time in history to be a woman? Apparently because we are not being burnt on the stake anymore. Which is a very valid point. But we are still in a position in which a nation would sooner vote for a misogynistic, racist and sexist male than a woman to be president. Moran and Watson express the opinion that Trump has been voted for on the basis that is he not a politician, and therefore must be talking 'real talk'! Perhaps the less said about that presumption, the better.

Watson points out, that we are in a position to change the world. That like being a women, there is no better time to change the world. However, it is almost the first time that humanity has begun to doubt itself and believe itself incapable of making this change. We simply do not believe in the 'innate goodness' of humanity anymore. Hearing this sentiment actualised broke my heart. It appears to be painfully true. We allow ourselves to be manipulated by the pessimism of social media; media that is very much filtered. I think as a society we have become very ignorant.

“Maybe all you needed in life was the belief you could change things. Somehow. Some way.”
Holly Bourne, What's a Girl Gotta Do?

They continue to comment that our outlook upon the world has changed severely. Watson states that we used to write about utopias and hopes for a better, advanced, society. Now, instead, we are focussed much more upon the apocalypse and dystopias and the end of the world. In fiction alone, I have definetly seen an increase in dystopian and apocalyptic literature. Especially on the young adult front. Moran confirms this. She points out that we now appear to only view the world through the pessimistic lens of social media, that instead change should be fun! It should be exciting and very different from being 'worthy'. She compares the current treatment of change, and revolution and movements such as feminism, and anti-racisim and the trans-movement to the act of eating fibre or taking your vitamins. She suggests that change and revolution has lost its appeal. I agree. Revolution appears to be seen as more of a chore, rather an something that one would look forward to.

Children, she acknowledges, are now more tolerant than adults. Especially those that occupy positions in government! Moran expresses an interest in challenging children to re-invent a religion that is female friendly. Wow. For example, I've seen multiple posts across social media about women allowing their sons to dress up as Disney princesses. Other children have responded by complimenting the young boy. Instead, it has been the adults that have criticised him and his mother. This angers me beyond belief! I cannot believe we have reached a point in a society with so much potential and yet the children of this society are more accepting and tolerant than their parents/grandparents. It seems we haven't moved forward as much as we had thought we had.

Together, Moran and Watson explore, briefly, the history of feminism and the fact that it is possible to overserve when woman's rights were removed and taken away from them. Thus making man superior. This was incredibly interesting. Watson explores themes of hope in Moranifesto, a 'diet of hope' and the need to move away from watching the news every night.

I find Caitlin Moran insightful. How to be A Woman was absolutely brilliant and remains something I reread.  However, young adult literature includes feminist themes and deals with them exceptionally well. For example, the presence of strong heroines from authors such as Sarah J Maas. Holly Bourne's Spinster series features a trio of teenage girls that start a feminist club, called the Spinster Club. They successfully reclaim the negative term in an amusing way.

“When you fight for what you believe in, you come across a lot of obstacles. People who don't agree with you, people who agree with you but only some bits, people who delight in ripping you down, people who are threatened by the strength of your belief".
- Holly Bourne

I've had Moranifesto for a while now, after it was half price in Waterstones upon its release,  and after watching this interview I cannot wait to read it! I'll add it to my to be read list for this month I think.

See you again!


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