Between 1972 and 1993 the feminist magazine ‘Spare Rib’ was an emphatic and uncompromising leader in the campaign for ‘Women’s Lib’. At the outset W H Smith refused to stock it so they must have been doing something right. I reckon it’s high time for feminism to launch a new campaign and I’m seeing signs of its revival in several quarters. The injustices are out there:
– In Sainsbury’s the other day I saw a sign in the magazine section: ‘Women’s Home Interest’ Why not knock off the first word?
– I see very few women these days without make-up and red lipstick.
– I recently heard Germaine Greer of all people describe herself as ‘an old lady’.
– Only 22% of current MP’s are women.
– When he became Tory leader, Cameron called the lack of women in government ‘a scandalous under-representation’. As I write, in the Cameron cabinet there are only 5 women out of 31.
– Analysis by the Guardian of 50 of the UK’s most valuable companies shows that women account for only 14% of staff serving on executive committees – the management level just one rung below the boardroom and a stepping stone to the boardroom.
– There’s a TV ad featuring a family of aliens. The children are frolicking, Dad’s talking to the camera, and Mum’s hanging out the washing. It seems that, even among supposedly more advanced beings, Mum’s still hanging out the washing.
I’ve learned only recently that after 20 years’ absence ‘Spare Rib’ has a website and is to be relaunched very soon. And not before time. (Later … there’s a legal wrangle over ownership of the brand.)
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‘What is your earliest memory?’
‘I was two. I caught a beautiful butterfly in my hands then realised its wings had fallen off, and I was now the owner of an agonised, writhing bug. A powerful metaphor for possessive human relationships.’
Caitlin Moran: Guardian Weekend 4:5:13
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‘The more you listen the more you hear.’ Radio 3’s Andrew McGregor on Szymanowski’s 1st Violin Concerto
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I don’t drive so Anthea has to drive for six hours several times a year to get to our holiday haunt on the south coast. My contribution is In-Car Entertainment … ‘ICE Productions’. This features readings from the day’s newspaper or from our current read-aloud book or poems. I have a list of discussion topics and a book of crosswords on Yorkshire themes. We play ‘The Year Game’ – name a year and come up with the famous people who were around in that year. You need an encyclopaedia to check them. I’m always on the lookout for new things to do and last time I sang to her blues and folk from lyrics I’d taken from the Internet. I’ve recently had my seventieth and Anthea gave me an unusual present: singing lessons. Now some people might take offence at that … maybe feel a little resentful. I’ve tried hard to take it in my stride and soldier on. (The first lesson was a delight!)