Women Only Spaces: An Anthology ***Submissions***

Women only spaces are a fundamental part of the feminist movement and represent women’s right to self-determination and liberation. We’re collecting short stories, poetry, essays, plays, flash fiction, and all other forms of the written word that illustrate and explore what we mean as a ‘woman only space’ and the importance of these spaces for the feminist and womanist movements and women in general: as a space which prioritises women’s voices over mens and that refuses to allow men to dictate the terms of the conversation.

We expect that many of the submissions we receive will have fundamental disagreements about this issue. We believe that that this discussion is essential to the health and future of the feminist and womanist movements. We want to hear and support the voices of all feminists and womanists working respectfully to liberate all women.

The proceeds of this book will be used to support this platform covering the costs of hosting and website maintenance and development.

email: louisepennington@hotmail.co.uk

Submission deadline: March 30, 2109

*We had hoped to publish this anthology last  year, but owing to my severe anxiety disorder and depression, it was not possible to publish this book then.

#womenwrites

Silencing Women in the Name of Trans Activism, by Julie Bindel

It all began with a warm and friendly email from an arts producer who runs a regular London-based project called the Truth to Power Café (TTP). Founder Jeremy Goldstein had seen my writing, and figured I might be a worthy performer. …

Then, out of the blue, Goldstein emailed to say how “sorry” he was, but few tickets had been sold, so he needed to “rethink” the program. On my hasty first scan of the ambiguously worded message, I concluded that the event had simply been cancelled.

Imagine my surprise when, the next day, I saw the event advertised on Twitter with my name neatly substituted by another—that of supposed free-speech championand LGBT rights activist, Peter Tatchell, well known for having supported the legal right of a religious baker to refuse to decorate a cake with the slogan “Support gay marriage.” …

The New Patriarchy: How Trans Radicalism Hurts Women, Children—and Trans People Themselves, by Helen Joyce

… under the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) of 2004, after a psychological evaluation and two years presenting themselves in their preferred sex role, they could change the sex on their birth certificates. Melissa, who takes female hormones and has undergone surgery to refashion her genitals into a female form, is now legally a woman. “People take me for what they see,” she says. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

The motive for such laws was largely compassion. Gender dysphoria was viewed as a rare and distressing condition that could be alleviated by accommodating sufferers as legal exceptions to the rules of biology. But a decade and a half later, a more radical notion is sweeping across the Western world, with English-speaking countries in the vanguard. The brainchild of a few sexologists, trans-activists and academics, it has spread via lobby groups and the internet, and on liberal campuses. It is now becoming consolidated in practice and codified into law, with profound consequences—not just for people who wish they had been born the opposite sex, but for everyone….

The Shapes of Stones, By Niya Shahdad  via @Harpers

The morning I left my house in Kashmir for the first time in fifty days came halfway through a cruel summer more than two years ago. It was after dawn, and I was on the road to my uncle’s grave in the hour before curfew would start, yet again, to reclaim the valley. The morning, still cold from the previous night, drooped in the absence of men and their ordinary chaos. As I drove, I passed through the absolute stillness and silence of Srinagar, cutting into it in hopes of eventually crashing into sound and life.

Driving the empty route to the graveyard felt as though I was moving on dead land. It seemed like the suggestion of inhabiting a cold, frozen corpse rather than a valley. My deceased home. And then came a waking dream. In it were the figures of two young men whom I had seen only once before, a few years earlier, at my uncle’s grave. The men were leaning idly against a short green fence when I stepped into that particular house of graves, stood in front of my uncle’s headstone, and looked at them in the brief moment before I looked down and began to cry. I did not look up again to see if they were watching me, but I could feel their detached, harmless gaze as my cries grew louder. And that was all there was to our meeting; I had cried and they had watched. Without words or movement, it was an exchange borne entirely by sight. …

#womenwrites: on domestic violence & need for separate spaces for BME women, as well as independent publishing.

Is the white saviour narrative in film finally dead on arrival? – Diaspora Tales, by Vanessa Walters  via @WritersofColour

When Sarah Hagi conceived her ‘Daily Prayer for the confidence of a mediocre white man’, it might have been referencing Peter Farelly, the filmmaker of Dumb and Dumber who suddenly decided he was ideally qualified to take on racial politics and African American history in the form of Green Book, which opens February 1st in the UK.

Sure, the road to ridicule is paved with good intentions. Just as Tom Cruise’s entirely fictional white man Nathan Algren is inserted into Japanese history to tell the story of the Samurai tradition in The Last Samurai, Viggo Mortensen’s Tony Lip is centred in the true story of Black classical pianist Dr Don Shirley. Shirley is played by Mahershala Ali and the film takes its name from the Negro Motorist Green Book – an essential travel guide for Black people to stay safe while travelling around a deeply racist and segregated America.

BME women fleeing violence need help – not penalties for who they are, by Lola Okolosie

Rotherham is a town now made infamous by grooming gangs and government agencies that assumed children as young as 11 could consent to sex with men old enough to be their fathers. Five minutes from a city centre that has perhaps seen better days, sits the black and minority ethnic (BME) violence against women and girls (VAWG) charity Apna Haq. Nestled behind a large mechanic’s garage, its location provides an apt visual metaphor. Not unlike wild flowers that bloom by busy roadsides, the charity exists and flourishes in spite of it all.  …

The story of Apna Haq’s near demise is depressingly familiar to Imkaan, an organisation that provides strategic oversight and advocacy to BME organisations working to end gender-based violence across the UK. In its latest report, it provides yet more proof of why its members remain “the ‘poor relation’ of the wider ending VAWG movement”. Its findings reveal that the combined income of 15 London-based BME ending VAWG organisations is less than that of the main single provider in the capital. This in a city where 40% of the population is BME and where there is the highest concentration of such services. …

The ‘Father of Modern Gynecology’ Performed Shocking Experiments on Slaves He was a medical trailblazer, but at what cost?, by Brynn Holland 

James Marion Sims developed pioneering tools and surgical techniques related to women’s reproductive health, and is credited as the “father of modern gynecology.” The 19th-century physician has been lionized with statues in New York City, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

But because Sims’ research was conducted on enslaved black women without anesthesia, medical ethicists, historians and others have called for those monuments to be removed—or for them to be reconfigured as tributes to the enslaved women known to have endured his experiments. …

Ideas for how a small black publisher can survive beyond the hype , by Valerie Brandes via @thebookseller

As a privately-held, black, female, owned and operated small independent publishing company, Jacaranda is still something of a unique occurrence. When we founded it in 2012, the publishing landscape looked decidedly whiter and was more disengaged from any kind of understanding of the dynamic world of “blackness”, let alone diversity. And while there have since been a new crop of publishing houses and imprints – think OwnIt, Dialogue Books, Cassava Republic and Hope Road – and multiple book deals involving runaway success titles like Slay in Your Lane, it’s essential that we keep talking (and producing) what’s conceivable and achievable for UK black publishing long after it slides off the trend radar of the mainstream industry. …

#womenwrites: women’s unpaid labour, Femicide, decolonising education & Leila Abouela

Making women’s unpaid work count, by Anne Manne

” … Citing the 2016 census figures, Plibersek said the average woman did 14 hours of housework and family organisation per week and the average man fewer than five, while women did three quarters of the child care, and 70 per cent of caring for elderly or disabled family members or friends. “The Australian economy, Australian society, rests upon women’s unpaid work,” said Plibersek. “As Marilyn Waring – the founder of feminist economics – once said, ‘What we don’t count, counts for nothing.’” …

THE MUSEUM, by Martha Blow

It was in my fourth year of university that I came across Leila Aboulela, shelved under ‘suggested further reading’ for a seminar on a Postcolonialism course. Indeed, before taking this course, my exposure to non-western writers within required reading was limited to the obligatory inclusion of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in my second year. Although Aboulela’s novel The Translator occasionally crops up on postcolonial syllabi, it is her unflinching approach to colonialism in ‘The Museum’ that captured my attention and caused me to question museum ethics and neutrality. The 1997 short story’s value has not gone unrecognised elsewhere: it was the first winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000. The 19-page tale paints the story of Shadia, a Sudanese woman studying at Aberdeen, and her acquaintance with a fellow student – a long-haired Scot named Bryan. The predominant theme of the story is the struggle of communication between colonialism’s ‘predetermined groups’, and while Bryan and Shadia begin to bridge the gap in communication, this is halted when they visit a local museum at the story’s denouement, culminating with Shadia’s announcement, ‘I shouldn’t be here with you. You shouldn’t talk to me…’ (Aboulela 18). …

Six women killed in five days, you need to engage with this crisis, by Jane Gilmour  via @smh

As I write this, six women have been killed in the last five days. By the time you read it, there could well be more dead women making a small blip in the news cycle, but a blip is all they’ll get. No outpouring of national grief and rage. Just a blip. Compassion fatigue, it’s called, apparently.

Our compassion is fatigued by the daily drain of women being beaten, raped, assaulted, ignored, dismissed, blamed, ridiculed, murdered. How exhausted we all are by the violence women live and die with. …

Questions academics can ask to decolonise their classrooms, by  Shannon Morreira & Kathy Luckett

The curriculum is not just the “stuff” that students must learn to be knowledgeable and skilled in a particular discipline. It’s about more than just content.

Sociologists of education argue that “curriculum” is a highly ideological hybrid discourse. This means that it includes implicit ways of knowing, ways of doing and ways of being – as well as content.

In South African universities, curriculum issues came to the fore during a series of nationwide student protests between 2015 and 2017. Students have argued that what’s being taught in university courses is imported from the global North and doesn’t draw enough on African-based research and the work of academics from the global South. Students have also argued that course materials don’t take the backgrounds of most South African learners into account in terms of culture, language or method. …

#womenwrites: on misogyny, hate crimes, emotions and transphobia

When Bindels speak* by Kathleen Stock 

… Somehow, though, in recent years, a respectful concern for the well-being of trans people has supposedly morphed into a literal claim about category membership: trans women really are women. That is: trans women belong unambiguously in the category of women; the concept of woman literally applies to them. For most trans activists, this is supposed to be true whether the trans woman is a post-operative transsexual, or a trans woman on hormones, or whether she belongs to the significant proportion of trans women who are neither. She ‘is’ a woman, whether she transitioned in her teens, or in middle-age; whether thirty years ago, or yesterday. Moreover, for many trans activists, not only are trans women literally women, but if they have children, they can be mothers. If they have female partners, they can be lesbians. They can be victims of misogyny. And so on. One by one, the familiar words women have used to describe themselves tumble like a chain of dominoes. …

I am a female writer and I am tired of being asked to talk about my emotions by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich 

… I was seated in front of a microphone, onstage at a large outdoor literary festival in Adelaide, Australia, when my interviewer asked, “But what exactly did your grandfather do?”

I paused. We had already established that I’d written a memoir; that was, after all, why the festival had flown me there. We’d already established that the memoir partially concerned sexual abuse I’d experienced as a child. We’d even already established that my grandfather had been the one to commit it.

The audience sat on folding chairs on the lawn in front of me: a couple of hundred people, their faces expectant. It was a beautiful day, the height of the Australian summer, and birdsong filled the trees. I looked at the interviewer, a balding British man with a proper manner. Such a gorgeous afternoon, such a nice trip, so far. He hadn’t really asked that, had he? He couldn’t have. Or perhaps, in that last naïve moment, I was hoping he’d be the one to realise what he was asking – take it back, undo it. …

‘TERF’ isn’t just a slur, it’s hate speech, by Meghan Murphy  via @FeministCurrent (pub. 2017)

Last week, a 60-year-old woman was beaten up at Speaker’s Corner by several men. She was there with a group of women, who had chosen the historic corner of Hyde Park as a meeting place, before heading off to a talk called, “What is Gender.” The men who punched and kicked Maria MacLachlan had come to protest the women on account of their interest in feminism and in discussing the way new conversations and legislation around “gender identity” could impact the women’s movement and women’s rights. The protestors did not frame their anger and inflammatory rhetoric in this way, though. Instead, they labelled the women “TERFs” (trans exclusionary radical feminists) — a word that has come to signify a modern witch: to be silenced, threatened, harassed, punched, and — yes — killed.

The idea that feminists who question the notion of “gender identity” should be beaten and murdered has very rapidly become accepted by self-described leftists. We’re not just talking about Twitter eggs, here. Men with large platforms who are publicly associated with Antifa and groups like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have amplified the “punch TERFs” and “TERFs get the guillotine” message proudly, with the support of their comrades. In reference to The Handmaid’s Tale, many have taken to saying “TERFs get the wall.” …

Misogyny is a gateway belief, justifying abuse, by Heather Brooke  (behind a paywall)

The police have a problem with women. They resisted investigating gangs who sexually exploited girls. They failed to take seriously victims who reported the black cab rapist John Worboys. This dismissal gave criminals impunity to commit more crimes. “It is the whole system that has failed,” a victim of Worboys said after she’d had to bring a high court case to challenge his release. …

My body, my rules. My life, not yours’, by Tamsin Selbie 

Eliza Coulson, who is 20 years old, turned her personal experience into award-winning art after she was sexually harassed by a man she had just met.

“He made me feel as if it was normal, although I knew I felt uncomfortable,” she says. “I was scared.”

The events contributed to the creation of a project on “self-love, self-worth, and self-empowerment”.

“I used my art as a means to process what I’d had been through,” she says. Now, she uses her art as a means to empower others.

A year later, she was named Young Photographer of the Year at the Scottish Portrait Awards 2018. Eliza has told the BBC Scotland news website how art helped her channel positivity into her life and the lives of others.

#womenwrites: on women’s history, white supremacy and Gender Equality Act

The Surprising Story of Eartha Kitt in Istanbul, by Hilal Isler

“Beyond Reproach? Labour, the left and white supremacy” by Samantha Asumadu (@honestlyAbroad)

The saga of Girlguiding UK and the Equality Act exemptions, at Legal Feminist

A Big Emotion is Not an Emergency: Helping Teenagers Manage Their Emotions , by Lisa Marachiano via @areomagazine

“Gender Activism: A Feminist Critique” by Tanith Lloyd 

Jackie Kay, Edinburgh Book Festival and that pesky issue of class.

Last week, I attended two events featuring Jackie Kay at the Edinburgh Book Festival. She read from her new poetry collection Bantam, which as brilliant as her previous anthologies. I first heard Kay read from her collection Fiere at the Feminist & Woman’s Studies Association conference’ Rethinking Sisterhood conference in 2014. She quickly became my favourite poet; and, at that point, the only poet I liked since my sole previous introductions to poetry were the stale male crap I had to read in school.  Kay is funny, witty, compassionate and so very, very generous. She is also utterly glorious in joy when reading her own work to audiences.

I could gush for ages about Kay, the beauty of Bantam, as well the discussion with Ruth Wishart at the Book Festival. There were some great questions from audience members, however the audience response to one question surprised me. A woman stood up to ask a question and started with the statement “this is a very middle class room”. I didn’t think this was too odd as a statement, but many people in the audience did not appreciate the generalisation and shut down the questioner completely. Now, Kay did say that we can’t ever generalise about audiences and spoke of all the ways she has developed to ensure that her writing is available to as many people as possible, regardless of issues like class.* Her tenure as Scottish Makar has seen her traipse up and down the country visiting all manner of places and pieces. Kay is absolutely dedicated to building generations of people who understand what Audre Lorde meant when she wrote ‘Poetry is not a luxury.’ However,  the Edinburgh Book Festival is a very middle class event. Tickets cost 12 quid, which  is not an insignificant amount of money for many people, and that is without factoring in transport to and from the venue or the fact that I paid 2 quid for a bottle of water having left my refillable one at home.** Having a spare 15-20 quid lying about to go to a book festival is well outwith the budgeting of many Scottish families.

The term ‘middle class’  is now understood as a pejorative defining someone whose access to wealth and cultural capital makes them blind to the reality of lives of many people. And, many of the audience members making negative noises in response to the term were doing so in order to disassociate themselves with the negative definition rather than addressing the barriers to participation in culture that many people live with every single day. Had the question been: ‘this audience is full of people who aren’t dependent on food banks’, perhaps fewer people would have taken it as an insult rather a description of an event where money is essential for participation. However it was intended to mean, Edinburgh Book Festival is open to people who have the capacity to save money to buy tickets.

In a perfect world, book festivals  would be open to all people, but this isn’t a perfect world and the number of families dependent on food banks is expanding exponentially. But,1 in 3 children in Scotland live in poverty. Many other families live pay check to pay check . They live in areas with no accessible and affordable transport. School budgets have been decimated and trips to a book festival are the things that get cut first, despite being such an incredible enriching experience for children. Far too many adults are dependent on food banks to eat at least once a day. Charities are trying to feed children during school holidays to ensure they get fed at least once a day. Children are raising money to ensure that homeless people have dry socks; that we have people who are homeless or living in insecure accommodations is a disgrace. This is what we need to acknowledge and change.

Granted, language does change and many people who are middle class and wealthy are thoroughly unpleasant – as the support for Brexit makes clear. However, we cannot simply erase the original economic definition of the term middle class, not without erasing the lived experiences of people living in poverty or very close to the poverty line. We need to be clear what the full definition of middle class is and be very careful in how we apply it to specific situations and people. Using ‘middle class’ solely as pejorative is why several hundred people sitting in a marquee in Edinburgh during the various summer festivals (and without considering whether or not they are tourists who can afford to pay for hotels and meals out) immediately hissed at a woman pointing out the very real consequence of class analysis. Middle class is now ‘bad’, so no one is middle class – even those who fit the exact definition of the term in a Marxian sense. Frankly, more people need to get a grip and stop having minor tantrums when the truth of their economic status is pointed it. We need a return to a structural analysis of capitalism and a recognition that we can’t just identify ourselves out, particularly since the ‘no one’s middle class here’ noises were understood, by some, as a personal attack rather than structural analysis.

We cannot talk about the representation of people attending cultural events without starting from the point that it will always be closed to some people because we live in a society that punishes people for being poor. It really is this simple: economic class does exist and understanding it solely as a pejorative replicates the very behaviours and consequences that many activists think they’re challenging.

Poetry should never be a luxury; book festivals should never be a luxury. But, they are. And we need to be honest about why they are a luxury, not hissing at people who point out the truth

* This had come up in answer to a previous question.

** My medication means I don’t produce much saliva and occasionally have difficulty swallowing. No one wants to sit next to a woman who sounds like she’s choking up a lung because she has a cactus growing in her mouth.

Susan Brownmiller, Angela Davis, & the erasure of Black Feminist Activism

Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will is one of the most important texts in the history of women’s liberation. There is no debate on its impact on the so-called second wave* feminist movement and on women being able to speak their truth. All movements for social justice need to understand their history in order to create their future. This does not mean we need to see foundational texts like Against Our Will as perfect. Unfortunately, Rachel Cooke’s interview with Susan Brownmiller, published last month in The Guardian, falls into the trap of refusing to acknowledge that our ‘foundational’ texts are not only not perfect but also not written only by white women:

Against Our Will finally came out in 1975, five long years after the first of the key texts of women’s liberation: Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics and Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex. Though it would later be attacked by, among others, the black activist Angela Davis for its attitudes to race (in his piece, Remnick writes that Brownmiller’s treatment of the Emmett Till case “reads today as morally oblivious”), its reception was mostly positive and it became a bestseller (much later, with pleasing neatness, it would be included in the New York Public Library’s Books of the Century).

Calling Angela Davis a Black activist rather than a Black Feminist Activist is deeply problematic. Davis was/ is a significant theorist and activist in the feminist movement. Her book Women, Race & Classfirst published in 1981, is as radical and essential text as Against Our Will, Sexual Politics, The Dialectic of Sex, and The Feminine Mystique. The erasure of the term ‘feminist’ here implies that Davis’ critique was rude and unnecessary; that the experience of women of colour should only be spoken of in terms of sexism, and not the racism (or classism, disabilism or lesbophobia) that women experience. Failing to include the term feminist here doesn’t just imply that Davis isn’t a ‘real’ feminist, it completely erases her from the feminist movement.

The use of the term  ‘attack’ rather than critical engagement reinforces the idea that Davis’ response was rude and unnecessary.  Considering the fact that Emmett Till’s accuser has admitted to lying about Till wolf whistling at her, the insinuation here that Davis is the problem rather than Brownmiller’ representation of the murder of a teenage boy for the crime of being African-American is very concerning.

Firstly we need to stop using words like ‘attack’ to define discussion within the feminist movement. Critical engagement, debate, and self-reflection are essential to all social justice movements. No one should be above criticism and apologising is not a sign of weakness.

Yet, somehow we’ve arrived at a point where we split women into 2 categories: those we put on a pedestal and are absolutely banned from critiquing because they are ‘important’ and those whose work we must NEVER EVER read for fear of our brains imploding. Or, something equally ridiculous. This dichotomy plays straight into the hands of misogynists: we’re so busy back pedalling and apologising that we no longer recognise feminists as women. Women who make mistakes. Women who say stupid shit. Women who say deeply offensive things (and if they are on the pedestal we are definitely not allowed to mention the offensive language and actions). We don’t allow room for women to grow and change as actual human beings.

I am not arguing here for an erasure of past abusive comments, theories and actions or the dismissal of feminist texts which are deeply problematic. We need to acknowledge our actions and the negative consequences these had for other women. We also need to acknowledge that women can grow and change; that the true liberation of women will not happen if we ignore our history. Erasing Angela Davis from the feminist movement in order to protect Susan Brownmiller’s feelings and legacy are not the actions of women who are committed to feminist theory and activism. Against Our Will can be a seminal feminist text and be representative of the erasure of racism from feminist history. These positions are not a dichotomy. They are the true history of the feminist movement, where challenges from within are essential to the success of the movement.

Angela Davis is a Black feminist activist and academic. She did not ‘attack’ Susan Brownmiller. Davis simply demanded that the experience of Black women be recognised as reality; that sexism does not trump the intersecting oppressions experienced by women.

 

Further Reading:

Patricia Hill Collins & Sirma Bilge, Intersectionality, (Polity Press, 2016).

Angela Davis, Women, Race & Class, (Random House, 1981).

Bell Hooks, Feminism is for Everybody, (Pluto Press, 2000)

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Feminism Without Borders: Decolonising Theory, Practicing Solidarity, (Duke University Press, 2003)

Cherry Moraga & Gloria Anzaldua, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colour, (New York Press, 2015)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, (Haymarket Books, 2017).

 

 

* I prefer Liz Kelly’s theory of feminism as a tapestry which all feminists (and now womanists) create and recreate by adding new threads and undoing that which is now understood to be problematic, rather than feminism as a series of ‘waves’.

#womenwrites: on feminism, the GRA, and sexual exploitation by 3rd sector employees

Whitewashed “feminism” – and the women building Pacific and global solidarity in spite of it , by Renee Gerlich

“… If feminism were alive and well here (in New Zealand), it would mean that our collective analysis was proving effective in pushing back against the systems of oppression keeping women enslaved. …

By divorcing the concept of gender from the reality of female oppression and celebrating it as “culture” and “identity”, mainstream New Zealand “feminism” embeds global misogyny more deeply. …”

Response to Mary Beard (tweets & blog on Oxfam’s failure to protect women and children in Haiti from their own employees), by Priyamvada Gopal

” … Still more troubling is your notion that moral bearings (‘civilised values’!) understandably disappear in spaces where people struggle with the worst things that can happen to human beings. We know that, in fact, some of the most courageous human actions, borne of deep decency, manifest themselves in these situations and not on the part of white saviours but those at the sharp end of misery. We also know that in zones like Hollywood, or indeed, academia, that have very little truck with ‘disaster’, notwithstanding the copious amounts of mediocrity they put out, we have seen depraved behaviour and enormous amounts of misconduct. Best case scenario your tweet connecting depraved behaviour and ‘disaster zones’ was a non sequitur. …”

The silencing of difficult women: What happened at Save the Children UK wasn’t a ‘mistake,’ it was a strategic choice. by anonymous for openDemocracy

It is now an acknowledged fact that women staff at Save the Children UK’s Headquarters in London suffered harassment and that their leadership failed them. In its public statements SCF-UK is now all about the implementation of policy reviews and a new dawn and a readiness for root and branch reform. Justin Forsyth, the former CEO, and Brendan Cox, his former number two, have both admitted that they mistreated women. But this stems from a crisis that culminated in 2015. Why is it only being acknowledged now? Why didn’t anyone speak up? …

Women are a vital part of the socialist movement – they must be consulted over changes to the Gender Recognition Act, by Ruth Serwotka

… Jeremy Corbyn, in promoting liberal good intentions fails on good politics. He recently said of his support for trans rights: “I see the person in front of me.” We all do. Our intention is not to remove the rights of trans people to have happy and secure lives but it is to ensure that women’s rights also remain secure and that sex-based protections are not diluted in law. …

Feminist Superhero Films we actually need.

Since DC’s  painful attempts at live action Superman, Justice League and Suicide Squad films, I’ve been telling everyone, and their cat, that Batman and Superman need to go. They are trite and whiny. And, unbearably smug and pretentious. Joker just needs to die.

Last week, I saw Black Panther with my daughter and two friends. The women in this film were incredible, brilliant, funny, intelligent and strong; characteristics that are missing in far too many superhero films where women are sidekicks and love interests. The difference between Black Panther and other superhero films is immense. We need more films like this rather another ‘woman as sidekick’ film like  Marvel’s Antman & Wasp. I was hoping they would break tradition and have a solo Wasp film where she rescues her mother, since Antman should be the annoying sidekick, not a character worthy of subsequent solo films.

So here is my lists of female superhero films to follow the solo Captain Marvel film , scheduled for 2019, and the rumoured solo Black Widow film in the works too.

The Solo Films: 

1. Storm – This needs to start with an apology from the fools in charge of X-Men Apocalypse who made her evil. Storm is not evil. Storm would never join a man/ God bent on the destruction of humanity. She is a teacher, midwife, and the true heart of the X-Men. Without Storm, the X-Men would have few redeeming characteristics since the men are all whiny and self-absorbed. She is their centre: powerful, strong and compassionate. I’m not going to get into Wolverine’s constant sexual harassment of Jean Grey, but Storm was far too forgiving in not accidentally losing Wolverine in a hurricane. On a different planet.

2. Batgirl: Any of the recent Batgirls would work.  Barbara Gordon is the best name for a solo film, but Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown would be excellent too.

3. Hellcat: After the books. Of course

4. Ms Marvel (Kamila Khan): Follows the comic books. Obviously.

5. America Chavez: the origins film. Possibly where Captain America actually dies (if they let him live in Infinity Wars).

6. Iron Heart: Because any more of Tony Stark whining will make my head explode. He’s a dick. In every film. Literally, his only moment of actual humanity is in his relationship with Spiderman. Which is about 7 films too late.

7. Shuri: Because she is incredible. And totally smarter than Tony Stark.

Team Films

1. Ms Marvel (Kamila Khan), America Chavez and Iron Heart team up with Wakanda’s Nakia, Okoye and Shuri to end the trafficking of women and children throughout the galaxy.

https://generationwhy2016blog.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/ms-marvel/

2. Harley Quinn, Posion Ivy & the Birds of Prey team up to kill Joker – and then Harley marries Poison Ivy. Oracle performs the ceremony and then they work together to end male violence against women and girls across the galaxies, recognising gaslighting and coercive control as criminal acts.

https://generationwhy2016blog.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/poison-ivy-harley-quinn-get-married/

3. A Justice League film without the tedious whinging of Batman & Superman. Preferably they are both dead although I’d tolerate a fallen into a different time stream/ alternate reality plot as long as neither actually appear in the film.

4. A-Force film following the series written and drawn by G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett and Jorge Molina. 

https://generationwhy2016blog.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/a-force/

5. Valkyrie & Sif buddy film: I don’t actually care about the plot of this film as long as no male superheroes show up. Bounty hunters taking down violent men could be fun though.

6. A Spider Gwen film – an origins film that examines how gender impacts Spider Gwen’s ability to help people. This list is all about the women but Miles Morales deserves a film too.

7. The Women of Wakanda which absolutely needs to be based on Roxane Gay’s books. And not just because someone at Marvel/ Disney might remember to invite her to the movie premier. Although that would help.

8. Batgirl: I‘d quite like an a film in which all of the women who become Batgirl work together. I know the animated Mystery of Batwoman film has 3 women working together as one, but these women deserve a proper film which explores their relationships with each other.

9. Gotham Academy: teenage superheroes with raging hormones? What could go wrong?

 

*All the art here is by my daughter. You can find all her artwork on her blog Generation Why?, which is named after the first Ms Marvel book featuring Kamila Khan.

 

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