Comments sent in during September
Comments on this month’s features and reviews
Jonathan Dean: Rethinking contemporary feminist politics, by Catherine Redfern
Empowering just one person: an interview with Zoe Margolis, by Catherine Redfern
Looking For Leonora, a review by Susan Gilbert
Susan Gilbert, author of the article, replies
Glad you found the review interesting, Jennifer. As you will have seen, I’d already made it quite clear that Leonora was entirely her own woman, my comment about Max Ernst being “unable to tame her either”, was not a claim but a sarcastic and slightly humorous jibe towards him. He couldn’t control her any more than her father could, although that was very much what was expected in those overwhelmingly sexist times. I also try to be as truthful as I can about the women artists I write about, so I couldn’t possibly say as suggested, ” Leonora refused to submit to Ernst’s demands/expectations,” because that is much more personal and I don’t know if it’s true, I wasn’t there. She certainly saw the need for her own independence from him in the end.
I’m a writer, a feminist and an individual. I don’t do much “male supremacist writing” or much “feminist diatribe writing”. I feel free to use any and all styles and genres, including a touch of humour. I do carefully edit what I write and usually mean what I say, bar the odd typo. I probably don’t need to be told how to write, any more than Leonora needs to be told how to paint.
Comments on earlier features and reviews
On campus, feminism wavers, by Lizzie Dearden
Lizzie Dearden, author of the article, replies
The disassociation with feminism I was referring to springs almost purely from stereotypes, rumours and negative presentation in the media rather than the actions of actual feminists. You’re right, actions by those such as Harman take a lot of credibility from the movement. But in my experience, incidents like these do not characterise the views of young people, ignorance does. I don’t feel I can respond to your comments on tensions within the movement and differences within online communities as I have not had enough experience of feminist forums to comment.
Honeymoon cystitis?, by Hannah Fearn
Hannah Fearn, author of the article, replies
Sorry to hear you’re in the same boat, but it is somehow reassuring to realise there are so many of us out there. It can feel very lonely in the midst of an attack so knowing other women understand and sympathise can be helpful. I too am on long-term antibiotics and am feeling better than I have in years. I will be coming off them in two months and am anxious about that, but I believe that a long term underlying infection may now have been treated. You too may find that, in time and with care, you may be able to manage your sex life without antibiotics again. I wish you luck!
Hannah Fearn, author of the article, replies
That’s a very interesting perspective, thank you. I often wonder if I would have a different experience if I tried seeking help abroad or paid for a private consultation. I am pleased to hear that you found relief before any long term damage was done.
Images of pregnancy, representations of birth, by Sara De Benedictis
Rape: treat the cause, not the symptom, by Amy Nicholson
A woman engineer, by Hayley Martin
Ms, Miss or Mrs?, by Amelia Sage
Sarkless Kitty and the ghosts of misogyny, by Katharine Edgar
Women of the punk era, by Cazz Blase
Cazz Blase, author of the article, replies
Your comment was a pleasure to receive! It’s always really, really nice to know someone appreciates something I’ve written. I have had an unusually (for me anyway) keen response to the punk women series, and it has been that response that has made me think about turning it into a book. I am very tentatively exploring the idea.
You might be interested to know that one of my interviewees, Helen McCookerybook, is updating her book on women and punk at the moment (The Lost Women Of Rock Music), and that a biography of The Slits was published last year (by Zoe Street Howe). My focus was on interviewing women who were (mostly) involved with the punk scene, who have since written about women and punk, or made films about women and punk, or were writing about punk at the time it was happening, and I will be discussing those books and films later on in the series, so that might be of interest to you as well.
‘Hasn’t anybody ever told you a handful is enough?’, by Samara Ginsberg
What a load of wank, by Sophie Platt
Why are women so critical of each other?, by Rosjke Hasseldine
Why not feminism?, by Emma Cosh
Awra Amba, a review by Philippa Willitts
Feminist or misogynist?, by Melanie Newman
Is Tarantino really feminist?, by Emma Wood
X-Men: The Last Stand, a review by Shelley Rees
Jess McCabe, editor of The F-Word, replies
Saying “it’s just a movie” (or TV show, game, book, whatever), is both incredibly dull, and also, not really saying anything. Do you think Shelley wasn’t perfectly aware she was writing about a fictional superhero film?
To flip this around, why are you so defensive about a critique of this film?