Comments from March 2001 – October 2002

Editor’s note (October, 2015): Some of the comments in this post contain disabilist and inappropriate language. These would not be published by The F-Word now, but have been left in for transparency.

From Shreen

Every now and then in feminist zines and sites you will come across an article which makes you feel very at ease [Bad Mothers]. Now I know I’m not some sort of hideous outcast by not wanting children, but women like us often come across disapproval at our choice of lifestyle, so hearing about someone else’s honest take on the subject is always very refreshing.

Some people, men and women, love children (or the thought of them) so much so that the worst parts of childbearing are overlooked. At least until its too late. But each to their own. I firmly believe that you should follow your own ideals rather than what you assume everyone expects of you. Look at us, we come supplied ready-made with a womb so the assumption that we may desire to get pregnant is understandable, but the assumption that its our obligation isn’t.

Personally, childbearing and rearing would make me brain dead. I seek more mental stimulation, babies are boring! The celebs in ‘Hello’ are either (a) already braindead or (b) the ones that go ‘gooey’. And anyway, even if I was adamantly seeking to get myself a child, the mere mention of Darren Day has put me off procreating forever. Sorry Darren.

From Winnie May

Claire Riley deserves an oscar for such a melodramatic article [Bad Mothers]. Talk about self-alluding. Strangely however I agree with most of what she says. I should point out that what she has written about babies and motherhood is largely irrational and completely factually innaccurate. Unless you have had a baby in the last year you can’t know what birth with the nhs is like, in fact unless you have had direct experience the same goes for most of your points.

I know what you’re saying, infact your piece reads like every womans general fears and beliefs about birth and motherhood, marriage and marketing. but that’s as far as it goes. There’s no truth in it.

Strangely by no means am I criticising you but don’t expect to be taken seriously when your opinions comprise of gross generalisations, mere observations, sweeping statements and little base fact or statistic. other than that I think you’re cool.

From Red Chidgey

Re: Third wave quotes: The problems with conceptualising feminist movements in ‘waves’ is that it serves to obscure our histories and political agaendas. The ‘first wave’ is thought synonymous with suffrage, and thus ‘early feminism’ becomes a ‘single issue’- the f/right to vote. But, our feminist heritage is far more complicated than this- to talk of waves, not only ignores the continous stream of women’s activism and antagonism across the ages, it also places a conceptual/discursive gag on inter-generational politics. Are older women, by default, excluded from the workings and actions of the ‘third wave’? Do we, as feminists, have an expiry date? It not only ignores the continuous stream of women’s activism and antagonism across the ages, and indeed across the globe (it’s quite telling that ‘waves’more readily refers to contempoary Western feminisms), it also places a conceptual/discursive gag on inter-generational politics.

From Jamie

Note to Missmogga [see letter below]: I’m white, lower middle class and didn’t get my feminism out of womens magazines, but complete naivety and callousness as a usual trait of the upper/middle class? Who’s being prejudiced now? And isn’t that the complete lack of socio- political analysis relevant to anyone other than me, me, me mentality you so abhor?

From Katherine Kotz

To Missmogga [see letter below] – thanks for existing; its refreshing to hear a different slant as most of the women on this site do sound white and middle class (not that that is their- or Catherine’s- fault) Clearly there are already black feminists criticising white feminists for not addressing the fact that black and asian women are doubly discriminated against, but none (until now) on this website. I’m looking forward to your article. I may be white and middle-class,(in a single-mumish way) but I hope you’ll teach me something rather than hate me for my ignorance. Lots of love,

From Daisy

I can’t tell you how chuffed I am to find the ray of light that is the f-word. I’m a Brit who lives in the Netherlands, and the situation here is as bad if not worse than in Blighty. To give an example, there’s just been another retarded survey (who pays for all this shit??) which comes to the stunning conclusion that Dutch women are more ‘traditional’ than their other European counterparts because more of them ‘choose’ to stay at home to look after their kids. The authors of this report, whose motives are the usually suspect, don’t seem to see (or want to see) any connection between staying at home to look after your kids and prohibitively expensive and scarce childcare provisions! I mean, hello.

Daring to express concern or dissatisfaction with the crap women still have to put up with provokes either amused tolerance, vitriolic attack or being scorned as thick, humourless and totally lacking in that fine Brit quality, the all-important sense of irony.

I love the f-word and laugh out loud with sheer relief at some of the features, which say things I have thought for years but knew I would be dismissed as a whinging feminazi for expressing. One was The Eminem Defence. A lot of people who purport to hate censorship and defend free speech, even if that involves spewing hatred at women, actually do exercise self-censorship, i.e. they would never even dream of making a movie or video which gloatingly depicted violence and hatred against, for instance, black or Jewish people.But when it comes to women, this self-censorship is suspended. Why??

Another thing which disturbs me is woman-bashing by women, i.e the likes of Laura Doyle, Melanie Phillips and others. I’m not saying women should like other women just because they’re women: we’re all human beings and to expect someone to like someone else simply because of their gender is crazy. But I don’t understand how these women can trash other women so much. I mean, can’t they see what goes on, or do they live in their own cosy little world of denial? Or do they think the masculists will love and respect them for this? (They won’t!). You never hear of a man trashing the male sex (or I haven’t anyway). Maybe there could be a feature which attempts to analyse this phenomenon?

Have you checked out some of the Men’s Rights websites? Particularly ones such as UK Men’s rights? I spent some time doing that yesterday, and it was a truly depressing and frightening experience. They make the Taliban look like bleeding heart liberals. Unlike a lot of feminists (or feminazis, as these guys would label them) they are certainly NOT at pains to emphasise how they don’t hate women! One woman they do actually approve of is the esteemed Doris Lessing. I wonder if she’d be happy to know this?

You are brilliant. And brave. What you are doing is SO good and so necessary. Keep up your fantastic work. Civilisation needs you! Good luck and best wishes.

From Anon

I’m not surprised feminism is dying – with elitist fuckers like you! What gives you the authority to say one woman is feminist and another is reductive? It makes me sick!

This person did not leave a name or an email address for me to reply to. Funny, that. Also a shame, because I can’t think of any piece of writing on this site which actually says that. Do you think they actually read any of it? – Catherine

From Lucy Gollogly

Re: Diet Grrrl by Kate Allen: Great piece. Reading magazines such as Cosmo, Marie Clare, Company and so on (and incidently much of the advertising aimed at women for perfume, make-up, hair removal products etc ) you would think that the average female was so dim and self-obsessed that she thought of nothing else but her own reflection. Needless to say this is hardly the case for most women, with the possible exception of “Magazine Girl” whose job it is to look “perfect” all the time. But then people buy them by the cartload, so what’s your solution? Regards,

From Louise Chambers

Just wanted to say that your site – recommended to me by my girlfriend, is absolutely fantastic: intelligent writing; committed, passionate politics; and a sense of humour. I love it and will recommend it to every woman I meet. Warmest congratulations!

From Karen Lewis

ITS ABOUT BLOODY TIME WE HAD A FEMINIST SITE IN THIS BACKWARD COUNTRY OF OURS! I found this site whilst researching Ladyfest – hoorah.

From Anne

The F-Word is brilliant. I am a social studies student, just starting my second year and I can’t tell you how relieved I was to find your site. I was beginning to feel that there were no feminists alive today in Britain. Everything that I’ve read on your site I agree with and I’m really grateful for the links to other sites.

From Ailsa

The site is fantastic. I’m so glad I’ve found something like this. Like most women I feel that there are things I”m strident about and things I’m more liberal in relation to. This site seems to welcome all opinions.

From Lina :)

THANK YOU! Thank you for writing down all my objections about “Ally McBeal” so concisely. Now, do “Sex in the City”, and make my day, lol.

From Missmogga

i think you should have a few people who are non white, non middle class, a few people who don’t get their feminism out of women’s magazines

Hi Missmogga, Many thanks for your emails – I’m all for constructive criticism! But firstly – how do you know what colour or class the people who’ve contributed are? I certainly don’t! I’ve only met two or three contributors in person so far, I don’t know about the others.

And secondly – would you like to redress the percevied imbalance and write something for the f-word yourself?! It would be *great* if you wanted to write about racism in feminist circles or whatever you want to write about really. I would welcome your viewpoint to the site. Are you up for it? If you want more non-white input, are you willing to input it yourself? Cheers, Catherine Redfern

thankyou, i am happy to write in the future, i base any assumptions on 1. tone of article, 2. double barreled name, 3. complete naivety and callousness as a usual trait of the upper/middle classes, 4. a complete lack of socio-political analysis relevent to anyone other than ‘me, me, me’ mentality…see above, 5. basing sexuality on cosmopolitan as completey hilarious., 6. lack of analysis of economic slavery experienced by poorer women in the sex industry, 7. lack of analysis of different stereotyping pertinant to black, asian women which is highly racist and objectionable, please print this with my comments. thanks. in humour and despair

Missmogga has agreed to write an article for The F-Word

From Charlotte Augst

I just read about you in a Guardian article and checked out the webpage. Excellent! Thanks for that. I am approaching the age limit of your target group (30 in August…), but I still feel there is a real need for this kind of resource. Good luck with it and keep me posted!

From Beth Watts

I was so overjoyed to find this site – I wanted to set something like this up a few years ago at university and got absolutely no support from anywhere (mind you, by that time my uni had fallen so far out of love with feminism and women that we didn’t even have a ‘women’s officer’ in the social welfare office – pathetic.) It is so reassuring to know there are like-minded people out there who can support and encourage each other – I really hope to be able to contribute myself and congratulations to all of you who have so far! Thank goodness for the f-word!!

From Jess McCabe

Hi, I came to your e-zine via the article in todays Guardian, which mentions you. I really admire the ideas behind the website, and have just been reading some of your articles. I just wanted to say I’m really glad I found this site, as it’s certainly unique (I haven’t found anything like it in the UK anyway). I especially like the ‘soundbites’ section and agree, it’s best not to try and tell people what to think (we have enough of that in the mainstream media already! Anyway, keep up the good work.

From Melanie Bull

I’ve just read an article about f-word in the Guardian and I felt I should sign up immediately. It’s great to know that feminism is still alive and kicking and I want to put my support behind you. Just this weekend I was looking to go to Ascot, and the organisers still have the cheek to address women who happen to be married by their husbands’ entire name, as in `Mrs Joe Bloggs’ and not even by their own (first) names! I haven’t seen something like that in a very long time and it makes my blood boil. Many thanks,

From Maria Summerson

I am so happy to have discovered this site. i’m a ph.d. student housed in the women’s studies dept. at manchester university and i have long bemoaned the lack of any kind of feminist forum. i’m 31 and so i can still remember a time when feminism and politics more generally were not regarded with the distaste that they are currently. i’m looking forward to exploring this e-zine!

From Amber

I’ve just read every article on your site in one enormous ecstatic binge… i’m 16 and very very ignorant about everything, but having read your site i suddenly feel aware and educated and alive. and i can now say, obviously i am a feminist- but i never quite knew what that meant, even after reading naomi wolf and greer etc. now i do- you’ve put it in perspective of yourself and the world and everything… the f-word is alive and dynamic- it shows us that we’re not alone and that we’ve got no excuse for thinking so. suddenly i can feel enfrachised and powerful -armed, loaded- and i’m not going to allow any crap any longer. mainly because i now know just exactly what crap .

BUT i think your feature section is not quite complete. you mention somewhere, thank you, that you think 16 yr olds have opinions worth listening to. i like to think so too. feminism obviously doesn’t start affecting you when you are 18, or even 16. so i think you need to include younger people in your features, because we are very much people, or have an article just for us… we’re not all stupid, or all that stupid, and we’re certainly very relevant. so what i think you need is an article about girls, before they reach 16, particularly in secondary school. and i think you need me to write it. :) basically about how their environments affect girls, and how this shapes their attitudes, selves, souls, bodies, etc., particularly towards feminism. particularly in the school, as that’s were we all end up.

From Miss.A.Nonymous

Hey ho f-word, (that is a very comically genius and witty name..) (I stumbled across this website because my sister told me (kindly) the address!!) Okay phew, all the brackets over

So anyway, I think I might actually have a reason to be writing this message (!)…oh yes, it was about being a girl and all the pressure of the world (male origin is suppose) pushing your stomach in to be thin. I’m barely 13, and ever since I was about 6 or 7 I think, I’ve always wanted to be thin, pretty – perfect. But now, I don’t really care ..well I think thats a lie really. I think we all care, and no matter how much we deny it, we do care. It’s always nagging us, in a way. I’ve had an eating disorder..two. Blumemia (don’t know how to spell) and anorexia from when i was 9-12ish. That really deppresses me. I’m 5″4 and I weigh 8.7 stone, but I’m not fat. I do lots of exersise(50 sit ups a day etc) but I still seem to have rolls of flab…and then this is bringing me back to the big thing about being thin.

Think of a pretty woman you know, no more than pretty – beautiful.

shes thin isn’t she? or thinner than you, this is what it’s meant to be about for women. Wherever you look theres pictures of “beautiful” women, pressurising us NOT to have that scrummy looking peice of choccie cake, to have black coffee, to start smoking. But some time in out life, we wake up. and suddenly we see how people are making money out of us (have you SEEN the slimfast advert?!!) so that’s what i hope this email will show some people, allthough it’s a bit strange…. Lots of love from me xxxxxxxxx

From Sarah Stead

Hi Catherine, My main comment about the website is how great it is! I’m a postgrad literature student in Brighton, and I’m 24. I was one of the people who signed up after reading the article in the Guardian, and I’m so glad that I did. I find it both inspiring and reassuring that British Feminism is alive and kicking, and far from dead and buried as many pundits would have the world believe… The website is both informative and diverting, and I would certainly hope to contribute to it one day. Best wishes,

From Katherine Kotz

Hello how refreshing to find this website! (thankyou Catherine:). I was afraid that all modern women had dismissed the idea or feminism as unnecessary,uncool and unsexy as it does seem to be a dirty word, and i haven’t met any teenage girls who are happy to call themselves feminists even though they benefit from the efforts of previous generations of feminists and may be aware of remaining inequality .I’m 17 and at school and am forever feeling dismayed at seeing girls wearing t-shirts saying things like,”boys are great -every girl should have one!”, and hearing girl’s conversations simply ranging from dieting to boys. i find this especially painful when several groups of boys the same age are discussing music and politics. Although they clearly have close friendships with each other the concept of ‘sisterhood’ seems to have escaped most schoolgirls and other girls are seen as threats rather than allies. (Perhaps this insecurity is related more with age but an alarming number of women seem to assess their own- and also their friends- personal worth in terms of whether or not they are attractive to men.) Take a look around a state school and see how many girls aren’t wearing short skirts and high heels and who aren’t being submissive to their male counterparts. not very many. Girls and boys still tend to hold very traditional views on gender roles -for example; a girl who is studying at our 6th forms wants more than anything to be a mecanic but is convinced nowhere would employ her because she is female and that she would be ridiculed for applying for a job. If an 18-year-old can think like that then we obviously have a long way to go! Both the explicit and implicit school systems desperately need reform if we are ever to achieve equality.

From Karen

Hi my name is Karen and I am from Ireland. I am currently doing an MA in Women’s Studies and my thesis is on media representations of girl power. I am in complete agreement with Natasha Forrest about Ally Mc Beal and I think programmes like Ally represent the one of the biggest threats to feminism at the moment. She is dangerous as she pretends to be feminist, just enough that you drop your guard and let all the stereotypical messages about women and their role seep in. For a woman who was smart enough and ambitious enough to make it through Harvard Law School she sure is stupid. Sorry, starting to rant, this is my favourite hobby horse at the moment as regards the crappy position of women,but then there are so many to chose from… Love the site, it is wonderful,

From Kate

Dear Catherine, Hi! I’ve looked at your site a few times and have only just got round to emailing you.

Well done – it’s brilliant! I am a 26 year old student. At the moment I’m writing about the history of gender ‘roles’ in the UK in this century, including the second wave feminist movement etc, and have been again hit so forcefully with this ‘I wish I lived in the 70s’ feeling. Young feminists today lack the experience of sisterhood. We no longer know each other. There are no ‘consciousness raising’ groups. There are no marches or campaigns, at least as far as I’m aware – and how would you find them anyway?

Feminism has become institutionalised within Universities (good in its own way, but inevitably elitist because of this). Plus there’s been a certain capitulation to postmodern relativism, the personal is no longer political etc. This lack of a coherent feminist movement for our times leaves us open, I believe, to much essentialist anti-feminism thinly disguised as liberating to women (witness Laura Doyle’s ‘The Surrendered Wife’ and ‘The Surrendered Single’ or John Gray’s ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’, and even, dare I say it, ‘Cosmo’ magazine).

As a feminist today surrounded by few young women who really know what feminism is or why it’s necessary, I fear for them, and I wonder what can be done. I wonder what it would take to open young women’s eyes to feminism, to sisterhood (much as I squirm to write that word, for all its connotations!), to the possibilities and necessities of activism. And I wonder where the women are who’re going to do it.

From Milon

I’m so chuffed to find this website – I too am a devoted Ms reader and have been lamenting to anyone who’ll listen the lack of a good UK version of something like Ms, and thinking about starting up something online at some point. Very pleased to see there’s already something out there! Good luck and looking forward to reading/hearing more!

From Michaela

The best magazine ive discovered since I stopped getting Cycling weekly and Mojo !! Keep up the good work , well done

From E.K

I have spent the last two hours just reading the articles on your site and I really really like it. I am in my last semester at university right now so I don’t know if I will have a lot of spare time, but I would like to write something for the site. The links on the page are really great – I had no idea the fawcett society even existed (think I might join my local branch), and I have bookmarked a heap of stuff to get back to at a later time. It’s the first time I’ve read a UK site that I have actually been able to relate to, and I think you’re doing a FANTASTIC job!!

From LP

Regarding Ally Mcbeal. I don’t watch this programme – however – (your article) is the fetishisation of male body parts by females in the series an attempt (via defamiliarisation and irony) to draw attention (& satirise) how males act in society- or as you say – is it misguided and misrepresetative!!

From Mags

Hello everyone! This site is amazing, I am so happy I can read articles etc where people feel the same as me! Mostly when I see lad mags or other sexiest material in the stores I have to shout at my boyfriend! Anyway I’m 24 and I’m a singer/songwriter hoping to get a record deal with my first solo demo im currently working on. I’ve just written my first feminist song and I actually think its quite ace. All I wish is that there was some female singer, pop icon out there who spoke up a bit about the pressure on women today to look “good” but there isnt so hopefully I can change that! Brilliant site girl. LOVE,

From Anna

I’ve just been reading a few of your features and looking through links from your site. I have for a number of years been searching (on and off) for a magazine that actually covers issues that I care about, instead of women’s magazines (its sad, but I can’t actually say i’ve found one that doesn’t fit your women’s magazines forumla yet) that I now know from the inside out. Given I’m only 18 this possibly emphasises my point. It also added to my concern about all other women in Britain, did they all subscribe to this and NEVER get bored? Or did they just get on with their lives and not concern themselves with things beyond that? In fact, I distinctly remember telling a friend how sick I was of magazines that don’t actually tell you about wider issues going on in the world etc and I got told that Cosmopolitan did the occasional article on domestic violence or rape drugs. Agreed, these are “issues”, but not exactly what I was looking for. Anyways, I don’t know if that was any interest at all! But I wanted to thank you for restoring my faith that there are people who think like me. You may think its funny, but you can get to believing that the whole world just thinks about the next drink binge and sex when you’re at university, and I hadn’t found anything that told me otherwise. So, I shall be using your site a lot from now on. Thank you again.

From Anais Foucart

Hey, What a relief!!! At least, a feminist website for England! It was a member of a French feminist group (les Chiennes de Garde) who told me about you. Long life to the f-word!!!

From Hannah H

I just followed the link to your site and have been browsing around – I love it! It’s one of the most fresh, thought provoking sites i’ve been to for soooo long…

From Gandalf the Grey

Dear Ms Red-Fern, as a male I would like to object to your championing of this small rubbery circle device for opening jars. I am useless at cooking, and can do very little of any real worth in the kitchen (although I’m quite good at cooking rice). One of the only things I can do to help out is to open those troublesome jars that the people in the plant have obviously decided to maliciously vacuum seal. In the wake of reading this article I now feel wholey devalued and worry that I may be cast aside by all the women in my life for a small rubbery thing that looks like a flower (*sobs*) I… I just don’t know what to do *breaks down into flood of tears and uncontrollable sobbing* yours

From Zoe Bremer

I fully agree with Lorraine. The solution for me is to be obtuse. I’ve given up hope of seeing anything worth bothering with in women’s magazines. The only magazine I subscribe to at present is MOTHER JONES. I used to find NEW LEFT REVIEW challenging, too, but haven’t seen it for ages.

From Luci

Hi there, thank you for putting a site on the internet whcih actually says somthing instead of trying to sell me books! I’m new to all this, I used to think feminism meant lesbianism, but I’ve just began to learn more in my sociology lessons at college I’m in my final year of a levels. It’s a shame that women don’t realise that feminism is for them not about them. But there’s still a lot that makes no sense what so ever to me, so if you know any other sites with equally interesting and useful information please send it to me. Thanks

From Marion Beach

Hi, I recently found out about your website via the “google” group page. I just wanted to say that i think that this kind of website is long over due. I am a 22 year old Theatre Design and Performance Art student from Leeds university, currently in my third year. I have become more and more interested and involved with feminism over the past year. I am currently carrying out a research project into the use of theatre as a tool to express feminist views and ideology. I am also comparing the stylistic differences between radical, material and liberal feminist art forms. It is refreshing to find a site that is informative and strongly voiced without being so extreme in it’s nature that young women are afraid of it. I have found over the last year that calling yourself a feminist can often lead to prejudice, assumptions are made that you burn your bra and want to wipe out the male race! It’s ridiculous. Feminism is about equality and freedom.

From Jane Brown

Having just come across your web page while writing my dissertation on feminism, I feel that I must congratulate you for putting up such a fantastic page. Please don’t apologise for the fact that your quotes do not include everything that feminist ever said because you do not study feminism full time – who does!? Rather I would like to thank you for your time and effort – I love the quotes and have found a great use for them and will quote you in my thesis. I shall also be using them for the next meeting of our Gender discussion group. Thanks again

From Kate Hart

I was blown away! First…what a fantastic site, having struggled for several years about whether or not I’m a ‘feminist’ this site discusses some of the very things I have been thinking about. For example the eminem debate is something I’ve thought about alot and your article brought up many things I’d already thought about but also a lot I hadn’t. Like the article I can’t quite get my head round whether its irony or not (and whether or not I should listen to it) but it was so nice to know that someone else had shared my dilemma and thought in a similar way. By the way you ask for us to say how we heard about the site, this kinda relates to the ageist debate as I am a ‘young’ feminist and heard about it from an ‘older feminist’. Despite this I think its great that there is a site aimed at ‘young’ feminists or young women with feminist tendencies as I used to put it!

From Lorraine

At Last!!!! Like so many of the other people who’ve commented here, I’ve been looking for a hint of UK feminism for a LONG time. I’d definitely welcome the addition of a message board to this site, having floundered for a while on US sites trying to find topics I can contribute to. In the meantime, though, thanks for a great site and all those links to resources I never knew were out there!

From Natasha Forest

Hi. I just wanted to say thanks for starting such a great website. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for and I’m definitely going to contribute, just as soon as I decide what to write about!

From Diane Day

I was delighted to see your site :-) Like a breath of fresh air, especially in today’s climate with what is happening worldwide. …I found you through “Little Magazines” website. This site looks really interesting and I look forward to more F content.

From Angela Willis

Hi, just wanted to say that I felt your book reviews were witty, easy to read, and informative. I am at uni at the moment doing a course in sex and gender and desperately wanted to discuss the state of modern feminism and ladette culture/girl power etc… and it was refreshing to find such recent, relevant and honest reviews on your site. They even made me chuckle! Keep up the good work and please send any infomation that may aid my quest of getting a decent degree without having to plough through endless droning feminists – anything for an easy life!

From Catherine Thomson

This seems to me to be a very important site; half the battle is refilling the word feminism with 21st century signifiers. By building an accessible forum in which everything which is outmoded and mis-representative is divested from the word, you are contributing towards making it more available for recontextualisation. Nice one!

From Dennis Broe-Ward

…whilst researching for a new website I’m planning, I came across your site and couldn’t resist a look. Actually, I think men should read material designed for women, and vice versa, perhaps then we would all understand each other better?

From Heather Brown

I live in the US and think that this zine rocks!

From Linda Anderson

Thought you might be interested in this article concerning violence against women:

Go click on the box where it says ‘comment on this article’ and read what I’ve stirred up, starting at the bottom of the page.

From Janet Evans

Great site, have been looking for something like this for a long time. Search over, need I say more.

From Jen

Re: The Eminem defence” – My only real comment is: if he is truly being ironic why are none of his lyrics racist?

From Juliette

Thank you for your very nice review of Feminista! in your July issue! I saw your letter to Adriene Sere (in Said It) and followed the link to The F-Word. I love it! I especially enjoyed the Reply to Nigel Planer. I am looking forward to reading the archives. Best wishes,

From Marie

How about: a) publishing e-mail comments; b) setting up a discussion forum (not like the dry and boring soc.feminism).

Thanks for the suggestion – I’d been thinking about publishing email comments for a while, so this finally promted me to get on with it. A discussion forum could be a option some time in the future – I’ll keep it in mind if the site gets big enough and popular enough. I agree about soc.feminism – newsgroups arn’t always ideal forums for dicussion! However if you are looking for a discussion board, reasonably good ones are at:,, and Although admittedly they’re not related to British feminism. [Ed]

From Tiina

I could go on about Irma Kurz’s reply to this poor woman for ages and ages … I will not do this but just want to say that after the reply the raped woman must have hit rock bottom. How irresponsible of Irma. I am actually quite choked.

From Little Magazines

I’ve just taken a quick look at The F-Word. It’s excellent: good, clear design – it even works on my Linux PC, and not many sites do – with well written content.

From Gandalf

I agree totally with the rape article. Cosmopolitan are affectively acting as apologists – and very irresponsible they are for doing so. It is evil to say or suggest that men should be allowed to have sex just because of a situation they find themselves in – what does that say about date rape? Plus can’t we have any silly articles?

Well, I think “Just call me Bob” is pretty hilarious! But I’d love to have more silly articles on here and prove that feminists have a sense of humour. I just haven’t had the inspiration for a silly article yet. Ideas anyone? [Ed]

From Sandie Dent

I recognise absolutely the frustration trying to find anything relating to current feminist thinking in the UK – and, of course, the pathetic lack of magazines other than the glossy pap on the newsagents’ shelves. I am trying to investigate why Spare Rib disappeared and whether anything else similar has been attempted since then… do you have any information on that?

I don’t really know exactly why Spare Rib disappeared. I think it was sometime in the late 80’s, and I think it was because of financial troubles. The miracle really is that it stayed for so long in the first place. Unsurprisingly, it never made a profit, and from what I’ve read it always seemed to have problems with not pleasing everyone: the ‘hardcore’ feminists wanted it to be more radical and theoretical, but if they did made it like that the ‘ordinary’ women would be scared off from buying it. It seemed difficult to get the right balance.

As for other feminist magazines, I’ve heard of one called ‘Everywoman’ and another called ‘Sibyl’: both of these are no longer published. There was also a Scottish one called ‘Harpies and Quines’ which I don’t think is around anymore either.

I’m on a mission to find more British feminist magazines so I’ll let you know if I do. At time of writing I’ve found just two: ‘Trouble & Strife’ and ‘Eve’s Back’, both of which are reviewed here. [Ed]

From Tiina

Wow – finally after looking and looking I have found someone / something ie organisation in the UK, and it wasn’t easy. . .

From Tammy

Question number 3 is wrong. Women havn’t been 52% of the population in a long time. We are either 48 or 49%, I’m not sure which. Now, one would think that would have been news, back in the 60s (if memory serves me well) when it was discovered, but for some reason it wasn’t. We are being killed off at an alarming rate.

From Erica

Yay! British Feminism! I’m a very futile kind of feminist – i think “wouldn’t it be a good idea if i did <whatever> to try to bring people’s attention to <whatever else>… but then don’t do anything. At least I’m thinking about it. At least i’m learning. at least i can say the f-word.

From Ciara

Excellent site

From Gandalf

I like your nice new magazine – but on trying to construct my own glossy women’s mag i ran up against a problem. In your article it clearly states that you can construct one within five minutes – but up to now I have been unable to produce my magazine (GAZZUMP!) in less than 34 minutes. I have followed all your instructions to the letter – what could I be doing wrong? Do I need to increase my typing speed? – should I be using smaller words? – or must I simply practice more?

You’re obviously aiming too high. Stop trying to replicate Cosmopolitan or Marie Clare, and go for the fortnightlies: Chat, Now, Women’s Weekly, Family Circle, Take a Break, Knitting Weekly, Burda, People’s Friend (shudder). More importantly, appoint an editor-in-chief to do all the work for you! [Ed]

From Avra

Good idea–Nice e-zine.

From Helen

I’ve just finished looking at your website, and it’s REALLY good!! Well done – I was really impressed. It looks good, it’s easy to get around, and most importantly, I really enjoyed reading it. I thought the features were extremely well-written, and the subjects you chose were great. I also liked your “What is feminism?” quotes section – that was really interesting. I’m looking forward to the next issue! . . .Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading it. Definitely put me on your regular mailing list!

From Jen

Well done for this! I really hope it develops. Perhaps the antidote to the male dominated soc.feminism?