Professional pounder of the patriarchy.

Posts tagged ‘music’

“What does a Feminist Society even do?”

Short answer: a lot. 

I got this question loads when I first told people that I was going to run a feminist society. I still get asked and I’ve already presented a third of my planned sessions (we finish next March). You might be wondering too – or, potentially, you want to run your own feminist group and don’t know what to talk about!

A point in my previous article about running a feminist society was that you should start by deciding what type of group you want to be. This is true of all good collectives – you should have an ultimate goal. Our group’s goal is simply to broaden our horizons as much as possible and to discover, together, what feminism means in today’s global society. Sometimes, that means we have to look back at the work of our foremothers, examining how they shaped the feminist movement we know and love, as well as acknowledging their failings and faults. Other times, it means that we must consider what our personal activism has to look like in order to create the future we want and need. We are a group rooted in the past, the present and the future.

But that might not be what you want. The feminist society you envision might not have many debates or discussions (like mine does – we do talk a lot!). It might be an action group, in which you organise protests, demonstrations, fundraisers and awareness events. That’s important and valid too, and you might like to incorporate those things even if yours will be a discussion group. For example, in honour of International Women’s Day next year, we’re planning to raise money for a women’s shelter and organise a showing of a feminist film in our college’s lecture theatre.

Another concern I’ve seen in forums and message boards is this: how do I come up with ideas for my sessions? A challenge indeed! I got started early, as soon as I was given the go-ahead to run the club. Sessions started in September, but I had planned all my allotted sessions by the end of June. This is definitely advisable; it gives you ample time to research (and design any PowerPoint presentations you might want!).

For our debates, I tried to stick to a “theme” for each half-term. The first half-term has been all about the history of the women’s movement and its foundations, as well as exploring intersectionality and diversity. We discussed the “waves” system, separatist and cultural strains of feminism (i.e. womanism, chicanisma), TERFs and early radical feminism. That made sense to me – it meant that everyone was on the same level and had the same grounding in feminist history. Our second set of sessions will focus more on politics and human rights, and how feminism supports and intersects with these.

Pro-tip: Google a ton of human rights awareness days and create your discussions based on these! There’s International Women’s Day (8th March), International Men’s Day (19th November), International Day For The Elimination of Violence Against Women (25th November), Menstrual Hygiene Day (28th May), Human Rights Day (10th December) and many, many more! If there’s an existing day of recognition, you’ll usually find it easier to discover resources online. IWD has an official website with downloadable information and activities, as do many of the others in the previous list.

You might also want to shake it up and show documentaries in your sessions (if you have access to a computer, screen and projector). Documentaries can be a fantastic way to engage your group in challenging discussions, especially if they are a little bit quiet to start with! It gives them (and you!) something to respond to, rather than forcing you to come up with an amazing point under pressure! If you want to incorporate this, YouTube is your best friend. I already had a few documentaries that I desperately wanted to show, but it’s quick and easy to type “feminist documentary” into YouTube if you need ideas. I’d recommend watching them first though!!! (There will soon be a “resources” page in the top-right corner of my blog, where I’ll link to documentaries we’ve shown/will show in the group.) You could also play music from feminist artists – we’re going to have a session on the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s. Maybe you could try craft activities, like handmade zines or posters.

Really, the best thing you can do is ask. What issues are your members passionate about? What do they want to talk about? What do they want to learn?

That’s all my advice for today, folks! Best of luck if you’re researching for and planning a feminist group. If not, why not? 😉

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Global Goals have produced this AMAZING video, championing activism around the world for the rights of women and girls. Featuring the iconic “girl power” anthem Wannabe by the Spice Girls, it is promoting a campaign to show the United Nations what we really, really want – equality for women. Using the hashtag #whatireallyreallywant, you can help to provide Global Goals with material to present to the UN. You can find out more here.

Broadly meets Azealia Banks

Broadly is a Youtube channel, active since April 2015, which focuses on the experiences of women. In this interview, they chat to rapper Azealia Banks – the undisputed queen of controversy – about her complex relationship with her audience.

I find Azealia really interesting, if problematic. She endorsed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and courts controversy every day on Twitter, but she’s also called out the lack of reparations to the Black community where slavery is concerned, asserting that her ancestors perished “in the name of modern capitalism”. She’s suggested that it ought to be used to improve “educational prospects” for Black Americans. She’s a human contradiction – someone who can combine brilliant ideas about social justice with other outlandish and admittedly offensive opinions.

I particularly appreciated what she said about white gay men, though. She makes a good point, although she didn’t explain it very well on Twitter – they are the untouchable group in the LGBTQ+ community, and they’re also the most widely represented in the media. I also get pretty pissed off by gay men who think they can call women “sluts”/”whores”/”bitches”, etc. I don’t deny that the persecution of gay men, historically speaking, is deeply rooted in ideas about masculinity and femininity, but the reclamation of those words is for women to do.


Quote #11

I understand feminism to be a social saviour because it liberates everyone without exclusion, whereas masculinism damns itself by measuring a man’s health by the amount of sexual gratification he receives.

Morrissey, Autobiography

(Oh, I can’t help quoting you, because everything that you said rings truuue, ooh ooh)


Hello! This is just a quick post to mention I’ve added a new page, in case you haven’t noticed! It’s called “FemiList”, and on it I’ve embedded a YT playlist of awesome songs – perfect tunes to play while you’re smashing the patriarchy!

Let me know if any of the videos become unavailable, so I can replace them. There’s a tracklist under the video, so you can see if your fave feminist anthem is on there! Also, comment (on the page or under this post) if you think of any other songs that should be there!



Quote #8

M: I don’t speak from a very strict heterosexist angle. I cannot segregate the sexes; I cannot see women over there and men over there, and this large chasm between the two.

Interviewer: Where do you place yourself?

M: In the middle somewhere – straddling, I’m afraid, but I feel that in popular music, by now, there should be a voice that speaks for everybody but doesn’t say things in a way that is so neutral that it’s absolutely non-sexual.

Morrissey, “Earsay”(x) (1984) (quote from 8:07 minute mark)

“Charli XCX: The F-Word and Me”

Another recommendation for a fab documentary by the singer Charli XCX, all about what feminism means to her and how it has changed her perspective on women in the music industry. It’s awesome, insightful and hilarious. It’s available on BBC iPlayer, but only for the next month! ☺ Charli is just fantastic; she’s the kind of role-model young women need.