Blogs Not Banners For Today's Feminist

19 May 2010

Kristen Aune

Kristin Aune co-author of Reclaiming the F-Word

This book reveals the seven vital issues at stake for today's feminists, unveils the beginnings of a fresh and diverse wave of feminism, and calls a new generation back to action

Dr Kristin Aune and Catherine Redfern.

Twice as many modern-day feminists promote their views through blogging and internet activism as take part in protests, according to new research.

That's a key finding from a survey of 1,265 feminists which features in a new academic book entitled: Reclaiming the F-Word: The New Feminist Movement co-authored by University of Derby sociologist Dr Kristin Aune and The F Word website founder Catherine Redfern.

The survey found that one third (464) of the respondents take part in blogging or internet activism, while less than one fifth (223) take part in protests. Challenging anti-feminist views and supporting pro-women and ethical products are other key activities for today's feminist campaigner.

The book, which lifts the lid on what today's feminists think about a variety of issues, also reveals that seven out of ten women who describe themselves as feminists, began to identify with such ideals before they turned 20 years old.

Three quarters of feminists surveyed were aged under 35. The survey identified the three most important issues for today's feminists as: equality at work and home, violence against women, and the body.

The authors write: "Since the beginning of the new millennium, a revitalised feminist movement has emerged to assert a vibrant new agenda.

"This book reveals the seven vital issues at stake for today's feminists, unveils the beginnings of a fresh and diverse wave of feminism, and calls a new generation back to action."

As a result of a changing world, the authors propose that today's feminists want:

  • liberated bodies
  • sexual freedom and choice
  • an end to violence against women
  • equality at work and home
  • politics and religion transformed
  • popular culture free from sexism
  • feminism reclaimed.

Reclaiming the F-Word also charts the history of feminism in the UK, and says that in 1970, 600 women from across the UK converged at Ruskin College, Oxford, under the banner of Women's Liberation. Feminists in the 1970s made seven demands.

On the first International Women's Day in 1971, several thousand women marched to 10 Downing Street to hand over the first four demands identified below in a petition.

  • equal pay
  • equal education and job opportunities
  • free contraception and abortion on demand
  • free 24-hour nurseries
  • financial and legal independence
  • an end to all discrimination against lesbians; assertion of a woman's right to define her own sexuality
  • freedom from intimidation by threat or use of violence or sexual coercion, regardless of marital status; and an end to all laws, assumptions and institutions which perpetuate male dominance and men's aggression against women.

Kristin Aune said: "The form feminism takes has changed to some extent. The problems we have identified cannot all be solved by simple legislative changes or increased funding.

"In many cases we are looking at nothing less than the need for a massive long-term change in society's attitudes.

"But that's what so inspiring about feminists: they're ambitious, think big and take action, both individually and collectively. Feminist activism takes many forms, and popular cultural activism is as common as lobbying or protest marches.

"The internet is a major area for activism today; 70% of feminists we surveyed agreed that the internet has been instrumental for today's feminist movement."

A further intriguing statistic from the book is that 95% of the respondents in the survey, which was administered by University of Derby research assistant Rose Holyoak, feel that men can be feminists too.

The book is launched by publishers Zed Books in London next month.

This news release was written by Deputy Head of Corporate Relations Simon Redfern, on 01332 591942 or 07748 920038 or email s.redfern@derby.ac.uk.

For more information, or to request a review copy of the book, please contact Ruvani de Silva at Zed Books on 020 7837 8466 or email ruvani.de_silva@zedbooks.net.

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