Interviews with a feminist

Am I a feminist blogger? I have been interviewed by "e" of A Blog without a Bicycle ("riding the cyberwave of feminism"), for part of  her MA project on feminist self-presentation in blogging.

The first interview can be read here,  and the second one, here.

It was interesting, and somewhat rejuvenating, being asked questions about feminism. It took me back to my late teens and early twenties, when the issue of "women’s rights" did seem very pressing, and was the stimulus for many a late-night heated conversation (usually a group, and quite often degenerating into complaints about how someone’s boyfriend didn’t do the washing up).

In those days, I am shocked to recall, the UK did not have an anti-discrimination act or an equal pay act. I read The Female Eunuch, The Woman’s Room, and many others of that ilk with a passion and a fury. (Of course, it was a lot worse for previous generations of women — but to me as a late teenager, the fact of my being considered "less" by virtue of being female came as a shock, having only sisters and being educated at all-female establishments.) I remember the pages of the newspapers being full of ads for "Girl Fridays". I could not join the "Oxford and Cambridge" club even quite recently — they have been forced to admit women graduates on equal terms now, since EU legislation a mere few years ago, but that is what it took to make this outfit accept that a woman graduate has as much right to the same facilities as it would extend to a male one. (Naturally, I have not the least intention of joining this organisation, as I know what they really think, despite the four-colour flyers they now send proclaiming their new-found "liberalism" and soliciting membership. Just call me Grauchina Marx.)

But I wonder why feminism seemed more important to me all those years ago, compared with now? Is political activism a young person’s thing; or has life really changed for the better? Or is it that "having it all" — earning a living, being a parent, maintaining the home environment, etc — has worn me out after 16 + 11 = 27 person-years of it?

4 thoughts on “Interviews with a feminist

  1. Maxine, I just read this and it seems to apply to this post on feminism (post- and pre-)!
    http://www.powells.com/review/2007_03_27
    Reading it will remind you of our days in college (I entered the U. of Florida in the fall of 1978 and boys were NOT allowed in our rooms, except for certain prescribed hours and with the door left open), but it will probably worry you more about our girls’ college days to come (I know it did me!).
    “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” God, I haven’t thought of that line in ages…..

  2. Those were very good responses, Maxine! I felt that the interviewer revealed some ingrained bias, but your answers were beautifully measured.

  3. Yes, spot on answers. Especially the last one of set one. There are many men who support women’s rights too – but somehow they can’t be called feminists. I’d not really thought of that before.
    Anyone remember Spare Rib? I used to carry that around with me so ostentatiously at one stage of my life.

  4. Oh yes, I used to carry SR around with me when I was an undergraduate and after for a while. I didn’t understand many of the articles but the women who ran the magazine seemed so glamorous, and to be in this gilded club I longed to be in. I knew at least one of them slightly, she was in my year at college, and she always seemed so romantic and dramatic. Yet another society that I felt “on the outside of, looking in.”

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