It is International Women’s Day on 8th March, so for the next few posts I’m going to be sharing some of my thoughts on equality, empowerment and authenticity. You see, I am a feminist. I have been since I realised what the word meant – that everyone is equal, irrespective of their genitals or gender. It’s as simple as that. It’s not about man bashing. It’s not about being better than. It’s about being equal to. So across my social media this week I’m going to be involved in a number of campaigns and hashtags to celebrate women in all their diversity and ask a few questions to help us think. Let’s raise a generation of human beings who respect each other.
This first post was actually written three years ago, the morning after I attended a Caitlin Moran gig in Bristol. It was first published on my old blog, as among everything in my life I was also writing and promoting fiction novels at the time.
On Thursday, more than 1800 men and women stood on their chairs in Colston Hall, Bristol and declared that they are feminists. It’s an amazing thing to be in a room full of people who have taken a few hours out of their lives, not just for the rip snorting fun of listening to the wonderful Caitlin Moran, but also to be around like minded people.
The energy in the roomed was electric. It even start before the gig started, with hundreds of women and men lining up to buy her books, mingle and meet new friends. During the interval, waiting for my husband to come back from the toilet and nursing my Amstel, it struck me that I had never seen such a wonderous and inspiring sight before… I have never seen so many women in one place.
That got me thinking as to why that is?
Men have their group activities. Take football for example; although there are no doubt many women in the crowds, when I go to a match or switch on the TV, the crowds are predominantly male. When I go to the gym, there are groups of men congregating around the machines, admiring each other’s muscles or encouraging each other on, yet I never see this with women.
So, where are the women’s groups? Why aren’t we coming together in groups more often? Women’s ability to develop strong, nurturing relationships with each other is often cited as a virtue, but when do we really see this in practice? Apart from an occasional “night out”, there doesn’t seem to be a venue or medium for groups of women, who may not may not know each other, to congregate en masse? In the seventies, during the rise of social consciousness and mass political movement, including feminism, we had women’s groups to bring us together. I’m not sure this is entirely the answer, although I would welcome a forum to meet other women and talk about the political and socio constructs of gender and so on.
But I also think that we are feminists all the time, and to ring fence womens activities in a de facto feminist group somehow jars with me – I can’t help but feel that it needs to be broader, and occasionally fun.
So I’ve decided to create a new type of womens group. I’ll name it the Muff Club. Invitations are extended to all. It will be a virtual club, so you don’t need to arrange childcare or worry about having clean jeans to put on. We will meet online. We will talk about all the shit that’s bothering us, we will celebrate each others successes, we will share information. If you are a woman, and you blog, join my Muff Club. Follow me, and I’ll follow you. If you have boobs, but don’t blog, then call in to to my blog sometimes and say hello, share your stories, argue with me. I don’t care how we do it, but let’s connect more often. Let’s have a shout out for the Muff Club!
Three years on and there’s part of me that feels like the Muff Club has partly been achieved by the wonderful group of female bloggers I’ve met since I’ve started this current site. Of course I haven’t met them in person, but I’m a regular visitor to their blogs and we chew the fat on niche Facebook groups. Although we tend to create content around parenting, this is such a small part of what these online gatherings are about. These are business women, entrepreneurs, educators, money managers, organisers. Some work exclusively at home. Others juggle bricks and mortar businesses or work for others as well as their digital activities. These women rock! I guess this International Womens’ Day I just wanted to say that. You are all amazing.