Being good enough at feminism

Feminism feels like something someone else should write about. Someone who has read all the books, who has all the answers, who has it ‘down’.

To be honest I don’t even know if I want to write about this. Its a complex debate. So loaded. It can be intimidating.

Someone who is ‘much better at feminism’ than me could read this and decide that I was writing about it all wrong  – too hesitant, too uncertain – and decide I was letting women down. Because there are a few like that out there; women who talk other women down, for ‘talking  women down’. Mary Berry got slammed. Kirsty Allsopp  got bashed. Then the women who bashed Kirstie got bashed.

I get it though, its disappointing, I bashed a few of them too, less eloquently, over wine with friends. I was pretty pissed off when I found out that there are over 17,000 women on facebook who’ve joined a movement called ‘women against feminism’ (I’m not linking to them – they don’t deserve the traffic). Its ironic  –  all falling over themselves to tell the world they don’t need feminism – whilst forming a group to make strong assertions about the good treatment they have in their lives –  respect; equal relationships; careers where they are treated fairly.

Er…I hate to break it to you girls but that sounds like feminism. And you’re making some sad statements.

Oh shit…but do I now accidentally sound like I’m the ‘opposite of a feminist’? Judging other women – who are opposed to being feminists – telling them that they don’t know what they mean, what they are?

I can sort of see how we got to a place where some women feel alienated.

When I was younger, I didn’t like the question ‘are you a feminist?’ It felt like a trick question. ‘Er yeah obvs’. But answering it could feel extreme, like putting my religious or political beliefs out there. Or it felt like a quiet hypocrisy – because I was also facebook stalking men and wearing foundation to the gym. Feminism felt like – and it can still feel like – something I’m not good enough at, for some people.

Feminism should be a straightforward concept, a no brainer – equality for women, choice, a voice. But its blurred with so many complex sub-debates about career and family. Whether women can be ‘the same’ as men; whether women ‘need’ men; if our life experiences can realistically be equivalent. I don’t quite know the answer to all of these questions, I just know my own opinion.

But I do know that I am a feminist. As I get older – become a ‘woman of a certain age’ and see the unfairness in our world, from the violence and inequality we read about, to the subtle sexist shit my friends and I have seen and faced at work, in relationships, in London – I need it more than ever.

Talking about feminism needs to get easier. Being a feminist needs to feel easier for more women, more straightforward. It needs to be a no-brainer. Equality. Just basic human rights. We need it. We really do. There should be no question.

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My trips back home to Coronation Street

Far be it for me to question Coronation Street scriptwriters – but I thought it was pretty obvious that Rob would be the one to do Tina in.

His character ‘lifts right out’. If you are going to put someone on a one-way track to leaving the show, then you get them engaged to Tracy Barlow. Before Rob turned into a  proper, murdering nutter, he was just a little bit dodgy, a little bit fit and a little bit boring.

No one suspects you if you start an affair on your wedding day (picture from Daily Mail Online)

Weirdly, I continue to find him as dull as dishwater – which is why the real story will focus on Carla – and perhaps Rita – Coronation Street’s strong women being tested in hot water, yet again. (And Peter and Carla will probably get back together, they will somehow be drawn together against the world. I just have a feeling. You heard it here first).

You may wonder why I pay so much attention to a soap opera. I was brought up on a childhood diet of Coronation Street and Battenberg cake. To say I’ve outgrown The Street would be equal to the treachery of dissing my family, or starting to say ‘laugh’ and ‘bath’ the Southern way.

However flawed the soap might be, however ridiculous the murders or disappointing the adultery, however far-fetched the storylines, I still watch it. Coronation Street brings me home to the North West like a plane landing at Liverpool’s John Lennon airport.

I watch it for the nostalgia – the familiar accents, the sense of community and the Manchester drizzle on those cobbled streets. The feisty spirit of the people who live there, the unflinching northern grit. The fact that many of the cast have always been there – Gail, Sally, Audrey… Rita, Emily and Deirdre…Leanne, Carla and Fiz. Their presence is reassuring and comforting like seeing family friends at Christmas parties.

And yes –the stand-out stars are all women – it has always been about women on that show. I’m not going to suggest that I’d be friends with every woman on Coronation Street in real life or that I take feminist inspiration from them, but women have the power in Wetherfield, they are strong and unafraid and I love that.

I’ve always watched Coronation Street and I probably always will. I even genuinely voted for the show to win the National TV Awards. I know. I wasn’t joking, I really am a proper fan.