Tag Archives: campaigning

It all counts

The Sun has put bikinis on Page 3 rather than bare breasts, and in the process provoked a flurry of feminist articles. For every article celebrating the victory, there’s another saying it’s not that big a deal, and there some pieces by women saying it’s anti-feminist to deny them the choice of posing in the Sun because it’s not objectification…and there are others saying those women aren’t quite aware of their subjugation.

My take is that it matters. It’s a modest victory and that’s ok.

Representation matters. To say that this does have significance, albeit largely symbolic, is not to say that it’s the most important campaign or that those who support it only care about this one thing. And even if they do, there are so many other important campaigns on issues like FGM, for example, for people to get stuck into. Equal pay. Violence against women. Refugee women in detention. So many other things, and they all matter, like lots of cracks in a wall.

Sometimes we’ll take out some huge bricks and other times we’ll put cracks in it. There is merit in the point that some of the less well-known and more difficult campaigns are often the most grave.  We’ll keep working.

But it does all matter. So well done, No More Page 3. Next!


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The Good Wife

Perfection Eltahawy tumblrNo, not the TV show (arguably one of the best on TV at the moment and one of my favourites of all time, especially for the female characters) – the political theatre.

So, Ed Miliband is a geek. I think that’s always been fairly well-known, but the media is convinced that being “weird” in his particular way means that he unelectable (Come on, you must be a *bit* weird to be a politician, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, so they all are IMO). The evidence is meant to be unassailable: he can’t eat a bacon sandwich, unfortunately he looks a bit like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit, he has a nasal tone of voice etc etc.

I find the narrative irritating, but the solution to his perceived personality problem even more so: his wife, Justine. The last few days have seen a flurry of articles about Ed playing the “wife card” , columns on how Leader’s Wives is no longer a derogatory term, and a long profile of Justine Thornton in the Times.

Despite the earnest attempts to dress up this accessorizing role, it remains exactly that. It’s ridiculous that Ed should seek or expect a boost because he had the good sense to marry what appears to be an accomplished, smart and beautiful woman. He is the elected official, not her. And while the role of a leader’s wife is high profile, this is not the USA. You wouldn’t know it, but we vote for parties, not presidents. It’s ridiculous to expect Justine to assume the role as a foil to Ed’s career – and I salute women like Miriam Clegg who seem to have mostly eschewed the role.

I don’t know if it reflects badly on the media for appearing to require this farce, or for the politicians for trying to use it, or we the public for buying into it (they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work, right?)

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