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“Only a few stones actually hit me.
And obviously they don’t hurt.
This coat has been through a war, possibly two.
Pebbles are nothing.
It’s built for grenades.”
So Meeder says, “Not only do I detect fact and a bit of humor in here, but I was wondering
whether this is a metaphor for being a feminist.
The small obstacles are something we blow away; we’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
So that’s a quote from How to Be a Woman, and it’s the opening chapter where I’m
describing the worst birthday anyone’s ever had.
It was my 13th birthday, and I was walking across some wastelands.
And some boys started shouting at me, and then they started throwing stones at me.
And I felt like turning round to them and saying, you know, I’m already oppressed
enough, simply by being a woman!
You don’t need to throw stones at me as well!
Society is throwing enough stones at me as it is.
So yes, I know, it is very much a metaphor.
But you know, but within that metaphor there, cunningly, and I’m making this up as I go
along because I hadn’t thought about it, feminism is the coat that you’re wearing.
In that thing, I was wearing a huge army coat of my dad’s that had been through several wars
And that’s what feminism is, it’s the coat that will protect you.
It has been through several wars.
However many problems there may be being a woman or a girl now, compared to the problems
that we had 100 years ago, 150 years ago, you know we are definitely—there’s no
better time in history to be a woman than now.
We’re not getting burnt at the stake anymore.
Hair products have improved immeasurably, so frizzy hair need not be a problem.
You know, we have Benedict Cumberbatch’s face.
You know, things are definitely getting better.
Things are improving, for sure.
No, I think that’s so true.
I think feminism and the feminist movement and finding a community of women through feminism
and all of these things have sort of like—it feels like have been creating this force field
around me, which has been sort of insulating me from all sorts of cold weather—sexism,
patriarchy, so.
I totally relate.
I totally relate.
Well it’s that saying, isn’t it?
Kind of like standing on the shoulders of giants.
And I say I’m standing on the shoulders of aunts.
Because that’s who they are, all these women that came before that have done these things.
All the little laws that they brought in, all the marches that they went on have incrementally
made my life better.
You would not be sitting there, and I would not be sitting here, if it wasn’t for probably
20 women who went out there and changed things.
But that’s the beautiful thing—one person can change things for millions of people.
One person can alter the future, and everything that I write, the idea of writing Moranifesto,
was everyone, I genuinely believe everyone has one idea, however tiny, that could change
the world.
And we need all those little ideas.
That’s the only way the world changes, is by everybody who has that idea, having, making
sure that we have a society that is structured so that if you have a great idea, it can be
heard by the right people and can be put into action.
That’s the idea of democracy.
I love the letter that you wrote to your daughter at the end of Moranifesto.
And it actually reminded me of—I’m currently, I’m re-reading 1984 at the moment because
I did a film called The Circle, which has a lot of the same themes.
And it talks about, in this book, how for the first time in human history, we could—we
actually have the potential, we have the technology, we have the scientific advances, we have the
knowledge, for the first time, to feed the world, to possibly create peace, to actually
achieve all of these things.
But for the first time in human history, we don’t believe that it’s possible, that
humanity will allow us to do that.
We don’t believe in the innate goodness of humans to achieve this anymore.
There’s this kind of disillusionment which has followed the Enlightenment, there’s
this lack of hope that we can actually get this done anymore, and it’s so ironic and
tragic that it really would be the first moment we would actually be able to do it.
And there’s been all these times in history when we were writing books about utopias and
we were imagining all of these wonderful societies, and whatever else.
And now all we do is we make movies about dystopias and about the world ending and apocalypse
and everything just crumbling around us.
I thought that was really interesting, and I just—I loved that your—I loved that Moranifesto
was just full of hope, and just the idea that this is absolutely possible.
You don’t need to watch the news every night.
You know, you can actually—you can have a diet of hope and belief and faith in human beings
Well, totally.
Well the future is a propaganda war.
You know, kind of like, we are choosing whether we’re going to be pessimistic or optimistic
about the future.
And the way that the news media is set up at the moment, and the tone that social media
has, these two incredibly powerful places where we have all our conversations, and where
we go—what’s the world like today?
I’ll look at the news and I’ll go on social media.
That’s what the world is now.
And the tone of both those places is incredibly pessimistic.
It’s only showing us problems.
It’s only showing us things when they’ve tipped over and it seems like they can’t
be solved anymore.
And people’s reaction to that is necessarily one of being completely overwhelmed, and just
going well we’re pumped then, this is it.
And but that’s where you realize that like on a day to day basis one of the greatest
things that you can do to the continuation of our species and making the world a better
place is to be optimistic, is to not believe in that.
Because, you know, if we all thought that everything was going to get better, then things
would get better.
But you know, if at the point where you just become, oh no, it’s just too exhausting,
I can’t do anything about it– It’s not going to make a difference.
—that is where we lose the war.
So, there’s a brilliant lyrics by the band The Divine Comedy, “Fate doesn’t hang
on a wrong or right choice.
Fate just depends on the tone of your voice.”
And that is so key, because you know, if you make mistakes in your life, you know, decisions
that you make won’t ruin your life.
But if your tone all the way through is one of unhappiness or anger or if you’re an
unpleasant person, that will dictate your life.
And it’s the same with our species.
We can make all these mistakes, but if our general tone is one of we’re together in
this, we’re going to make things better, then that
is what will happen.
But this is why culture’s so key, and the thing that I enjoyed most about my writing
and why I think it’s amazing you’re doing what you’re doing, and it’s because for
too long these kinds of conversations have only happened in politics or in academia,
and you know, not many people will pay attention to those things.
You only come to those things late: you only come to academia when you’re in your teens
or in your twenties.
You probably won’t start to get into politics until that time as well.
But as a child, when you’re growing up, what you think the world is and what your
possibilities are, is stories.
It’s the films you watch, it’s the TV you watch, it’s the things you see in magazines.
And that’s why making sure that you have as many different stories as possible and
as many different people represented in these things are key.
One of the big examples that I give in the books is, when I was growing up one of the
worst things you could say to a boy in the playground was “you’re a gaylord” you
know, “you’re a queer.”
Like they were destroyed, you know, to say that someone was gay, that was the end of their life
Then you fast forward 20 years into the future, and the writer Russell T. Davies writes, first
of all, Queer as Folk, and then takes over Doctor Who, and writes into Doctor Who this
brilliant, swashbuckling bisexual superhero Captain Jack Harkness, who, in one episode,
kisses the Doctor on Prime Time TV.
And not only are there no letters of complaint to the BBC about this, but when I go to my
daughter’s school on Monday morning, there are boys in the playground fighting to play
this bisexual character.
Because we’ve now got a story, we’ve now got a character.
Instead of it just being the word “gay” we’ve got this hero that everybody wants
to be.
And I can draw a direct line between that show and that character, and then passing
the equal marriage act in this country.
Because when you’ve got children in a playground who are fine with bisexuality and see all
love as equal, their fathers and grandfathers who’re in Parliament can’t go, Well we
don’t believe in this.
Your children have shamed you.
Culture is there to show you possible futures.
And again, that’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’ve got all these different
voices, and particularly if you possibly can, to tell an optimistic story.
Show us a better future.
Show us—show me amazing people doing amazing things.
Because that’s what children are watching, and going, “Yeah, that’s gonna be my future!
I believe in that!”
It’s really interesting, since doing my work with UN Women, and since becoming more
involved in this movement generally, people have said, Well, are you going to give up,
now?
Do you not want to act anymore?
Are you not going to be an actress?
And if anything, it’s actually reinstilled my passion for what I do, and made it more important
Well, the other key thing about culture is, again, if you want to change the world, you
can argue all day that something’s right or wrong.
You can say women should be equal to men, we should see women in films equally to men,
living incredible stories and solving their problems.
You can argue that forever, but that argument can go on forever, and there’s no real way
of resolving it.
Or!
You can make the right thing cool, and you can just simply show me an amazing woman.
And that’s what culture does time and time again, it doesn’t argue.
David Bowie could have spent all of his life writing academic treatises and lobbying Parliament
going, you know, bisexuality and gay men who are pretending to be aliens should be accepted
into society.
It wouldn’t have gone very far.
Instead, he dresses like a gay alien and writes Life on Mars and suddenly everyone’s like,
I wanna be a gay alien!
It’s a great idea, this is genius!
Culture wins!
It’s faster, and it’s more fun.
Because this—the whole thing about change and the revolution and feminism, you know,
all these things we’re talking about, anti-racism and equality and the trans movement and stuff.
It doesn’t need to be worthy and like, eating your fiber and your bran bread, you know and
eating your vitamins.
The future should be fun, a more inclusive future where people are free to love and are
not scared.
It should be amazing, that should be a party you want to join!
We shouldn’t be having to go, “This is the right thing to do,” we should just be
going, “This is where you wanna be, man.”
So, Jenny wants to know: in chapter 7, I Encounter Some Sexism, you make a point about the possible
reasons why women didn’t have a great role in human history.
How did you come to these conclusions?
What enlightened you?
When you’re taught history at school, and you look at the history of women as it’s
depicted time and time—you know, our accepted story of humanity is generally the story of men
We tend to only hear about what men did.
I’ve learnt a bit more since I wrote that book, because that was 5 years ago.
I had just presumed that women weren’t doing anything, and that was primarily because we
were giving birth or having raging cystitis that we were gonna have to wait 400 years
before they invented antibiotics to cure, and the combination of those two things was
why we didn’t discover America; that, and the very uncomfortable skirts and underwear
that we were wearing.
But since then, I’ve learnt a lot more about female history, and I particularly watched—and
I know that you’ve seen it as well—that show, The Ascent of Woman, by Dr. Amanda Foreman,
who is— Such a major babe!
Yes.
And she did the brilliant thing.
It was an answer to, so the biggest BBC documentary previously about the history of humankind
was the history of mankind, and it was Civilization by Dr. Alan Clark*, and that was just the
history of men.
And so what Dr. Amanda Foreman has done is gone, Ok, let’s have a look at the history
of women.
And it was one of the most mindblowing premises I’ve ever seen, because she’s done all
of her history and all of her research, and she tells an extraordinary story, which tells
us that at one point, men and women probably were equal.
It’s in pre-history, so we don’t know, but we have to presume there was more equality
because we can start to see from 10,000 BC onwards laws coming in that are against women.
And the only reason they’d be having to write down these new laws is presumably because
they didn’t exist before.
So you can see sexism being constructed.
You can see gradually women’s rights being taken away from them, being prescribed what
women should do.
The shut down of women in society, them being hedged out of activity and being shut down.
And to watch that, I just genuinely believe it should be on the curriculum, I think every
man and woman should watch it, because so many of these things that we experience as
emotions, like “women can’t do these things, women can’t rule a city, we are inferior,
we haven’t done anything…”
Once you watch that show, it’s like, no, we were trying all the time, because the other
great thing she does, even though she’s showing you all the ways that women were shut
down, she’s showing you time and time again these women that flourished.
These women that did educate themselves, these women that did rule, these women that did
try and change things, these women who did try and connect with each other.
And it’s—it’s simultaneously incredibly depressing and incredibly uplifting, but at
the end of it you just feel—you feel woke, you feel informed as to what it is to be a
woman and what has gone before us.
Yeah, totally.
And again, it’s that thing about needing to see something before you can even know
somewhere inside yourself that it’s possible, and I think knowing as a civilization we have
found a way to do this, to live in harmony and in equality, and knowing that that’s
something that has existed and that we could potentially get back to is pretty cool.
Yeah, it’s an amazing show.
I think it’s on Netflix now—and so it is available, and I would genuinely—everyone
that I have made watch it, and I have made everybody I know watch it, has just come round
the next week and just gone, it blows your mind!
You genuinely feel a new part of your mind forming.
I tried to harass the BBC to put it back on my player, but didn’t succeed with that,
but Netlfix has covered it now, so…
Well done Netflix.
Netflix for the chicks!
Celeste wants to know, I thought her argument that many religions were created in a time
where women were considered second-class citizens was very important, and wonder what a religion
made by a woman would look like in her mind?
Well, this is the great thing like kind of one of the things that I’m working on now
is, for one of the next books I’m going to write, is imagining that.
Because this is a three-parter, isn’t it?
No?
Well, there probably—you know what, I’m never going to stop writing.
Okay, amazing!
Definitely, which will be fun.
And you know, and so some people, you’re always worried you’re going to anger people,
but you do have to remind people that religions were invented by people.
Some people haven’t thought of that, but these things were invented, all these things
that are religious rights, you know, things that—when you talk about FGM, and people
are going, “It’s a custom.”
So, it was invented by someone.
So it can be un-invented by someone.
You have to remember that these are things that we have invented.
And when you look at so much of what’s in religion, you know it’s almost like a little
kind of “how to survive” guidebook.
You know, it’s things like “don’t eat pork and shellfish.”
That’s cause they lived in a hot place and those were the things that went off quickest,
and you know, that would kill you.
You’d get food poisoning.
And so again, that when they’re writing about women, you have to remember that, you
know, this was just what people thought at the time.
And so the idea of, if we invented a religion from scratch now, what would it be, that fascinates me
If I was a teacher, I’d be in schools, I’d make—you know, and if I was a religious
teacher, I’d go, okay, we’re going to invent a religion today, and it’s gonna
be, let’s see what would happen.
What would you kids invent today if you invented a religion, and, you know, you made sure that
it was female friendly, that it was about equality?
To see what kids would invent, -Fascinating!- would thrill and fascinate me.
It would be amazing.
Charlie wants to know, why do you think so many parts of the world including our own
are so scared of making long-lasting decisions regarding gender equality?
What are they afraid of?
Well, I mean that’s down to the political system, isn’t it?
Which is just a bit unfortunate, because people are only, you know, you only have government
terms for four years.
And you do get a lot of people who are… don’t really feel politics in their blood,
but they’re just kind of like, well that’s a career that I could do for 10 years, I could
have done anything.
I’ll go into politics for 10 years and then go on to work for other companies or other
consultancies.
So they’re not really interested in long term plans.
And also, long term plans are hard!
You know?
It’s the difference between being on a diet for 1 day and eating healthfully for the rest
of your life.
Anybody can just starve for 1 day, but eating healthfully for the rest of your life is an
entirely different thing.
But, being on a diet for one day and starving is completely useless.
Eating healthfully for the rest of your life is a key to what you need to have.
So we need to look at the way the political system works, and build in incentives for
making long-term improvements in to our society.
And we’ll only do that if people, who aren’t career politicians, want to get involved in
politics again.
The kind of people who will be MPs for 40 or 50 years representing their local area,
because then they have accountability.
If they’re not there putting in plans that benefit everybody long term, then the people
that they’re representing back in their home town will not elect them anymore.
So it’s that reconnecting of politics.
Just getting those ideas from the people up to Parliament again.
And one of the reasons that I wanted to write Moranifesto was to make politics a good profession
to go into again.
Because I think these days politics is so devalued.
People are so disillusioned by politicians.
We hate politicians.
The rise of Donald Trump in America is people just going, well he’s not a politician.
So we’ll vote for him.
Yeah, he’s like, he’s talking real talk.
Because they think he lives outside of that system.
Exactly, well of course he’s hugely part of that—he is the system.
He inherited billions of dollars.
You know, he is the system.
There’s no one more the system than Donald Trump.
But people think he’s non-political, he’s not a professional politician, and so they’re
voting for him.
And people don’t trust politicians anymore, to the point where, if your child came downstairs
and said, Mum, I’ve decided I want to be a politician, you would probably treat them
as if they had just said, Mum, I’ve decided to be a massive pervert.
You know, good people don’t want to go into politics anymore, and that was, you know,
we need to change that conversation, and you know, and look to the MPs that do address
these things.
You know, I love Stella Creasy, who’s a brilliant, obviously female, MP who’s there.
She works brilliantly on the local level, she works on the national level.
You know, she was there for the tampon tax, she talks about payday loans.
You know, just things that change people’s long term.
Rather than being one of those politicians who just comes in, kind of shakes some hands,
go, “I’m deeply concerned about this,” and then does nothing about it.
I mean there are plenty of them.
No, it’s true.
I think, god, wouldn’t it be awesome if kids were excited to say, I’m going to be
a politician one day.
It would be amazing!
So excited.
We have devalued politics, and it’s to our—you know, it’s the people who get screwed over
by that.
Aspirational.
You know, the demos in democracy means the people.
And we are losing the people in democracy, and we need to make it an honorable job again.
So, for feminists, the area of everything from porn to stripping to prostitution is
often sort of lumped into one category or perceived in the same way as one big problem.
And I’m really interested that you have very different views on each individual topic.
So you have a very different view on stripping from what you do on porn, from what you do
on sex work, from what you do—and, I found that really interesting and really specific,
and I just wondered if you could talk about how you see all of those things, and why you
see them so distinctly and separately.
Well you’re so right that the big problem is that they do all get lumped together.
That’s, again, because we’re not used to talking about women, and also we freak
out about female sexuality, and that is rooted in, again, history.
Like, kind of, you know, up until we invented contraception and antibiotics, for a woman
to be and to have sexual desire and be sexually active, meant that A: she was at risk of disease,
and B: risk of pregnancy.
And you know, those are things you generally wanted to avoid, because you had a 1 in 4
chance of dying in childbirth, you know, and diseases were completely incurable.
So, it was in a woman’s interest to not be sexual, you know, a chaste woman would
be a safe woman.
She had a better chance of living.
And yeah, from a male point of view, you would want a chaste woman because you wouldn’t
want to catch a disease from her.
These are the simple, you know, awful facts of history.
Obviously everything’s changed now.
Women can have sex without getting pregnant.
You know, we can cure these diseases.
So, if we look at all these things now, something like sex work, if we invented sex work now
we would not have the attitudes to it that we have, because ours are rooted in a time
of fear and disease, and a time when a sexual woman was seen as a bad woman; you’re either
a whore or a virgin.
You know, my view, and you know I’m still flexible on this, I’m still learning about
it, but my view on sex work is that we have all these intimate things that we’re happy
to exchange money for.
You know, we will pay people to look after our dying people.
We will pay people to look after our newborn babies.
You can pay someone to bleach your bumhole from brown to pink if you so desire.
We are unashamed of all of these things, and yet this one thing, sex work, we sort of go,
No, that has to be completely special.
We just need to make those women safe now.
We can talk later and untangle this huge thing of centuries of us being screwed up about
sex, but as things are at the moment, we leave women who do sex work to be in dangerous places.
We put them on the edges of towns like sacrificial victims that are left on the edges of towns.
They’re the bad girls that are allowed to be killed.
So we need to make sure those women are safe, that’s the first thing we do.
We make sure that they can work in brothels, that they are known to the police so if they
have any problem they can go to the police.
If they’ve been trafficked, they can say I’ve been brought into this country illegally,
you know, I’m telling you now I need to be helped.
And later on we can talk about what sex is, but right now, we can’t let another girl
be murdered, be raped, be attacked, be scared, feel that she can’t go to the authorities
because what she’s doing is stigmatized and not legal.
But you feel very differently about porn and you feel differently about stripping.
Well how do you see those as different?
Well, with pornography, you know, there’s a big thing that like kind of porn is bad
for women.
And if you look, you know if you’re a feminist you shouldn’t be into pornography.
But pornography of itself is just watching some people have sex.
And we see that in classical paintings, we see it on the side of vases, we see it in
scrolls from 3,000 years ago.
If you walk down the street and som\eone’s forgotten to draw their curtains, you can
see it through someone’s window, and I can tell you the people at Number 87, they have
got it going on right now!
And that’s not damaging to me to see that, that’s not damaging to a woman or a feminist
to see some people having, you know, some consensual sex.
What we’re talking about in pornography is the pornography industry and the ideas
and aesthetic that it has.
You know, if all you’re seeing, and there’s a kind of monoculture of pornography at the
moment, like 90% of the sex that you will see in pornography on the internet will be,
a man will come in, a woman will be sitting there, he’ll like go jigga-jigga-jigga on
her tits for 30 seconds,
and then—ok, jigga-jigga-jigga on the tits, then you’ll probably go squeak-squeak-squeak
like 3 times in the general vagina area, and you’re feeling like kind of, you know what,
if you found my clitoris, if it’s there, I’ll give you the money myself.
You are 3 and a half inches out, there’s no pleasure going on there, that’s not even happening
Then he’ll get on top of her and do her on top, then he’ll turn her over and do
her from behind, then he’ll do some anal sex, and then he’ll spaff on her face.
And job’s done in like 4 and a half minutes, which is the totally average time of a wank,
a male wank.
And you’re like, well, if that’s all I’m seeing, and that’s where children are getting
their sex education, that’s not sex.
That’s pornography.
And one very specific vision of what sex should be, one very specific—that doesn’t address
the multitudes of all the different things that we’d want to do.
And the key thing is, that if I’m watching some pornography, that’s just some sex.
There’s no great scripts, we’re not going to see some incredible CGI, there’s no amazing
monologues.
It’s just some sex.
And that’s two people having sex, and if one of them palpably isn’t enjoying it,
then that’s not great sex.
We’ve screwed up sex at that point.
I don’t see women having pleasure.
I sit there, going looking for women, you know, I’ve got a little list of times when
I’ve seen women having a good time.
It’s a very small list, they’re all saved in a special folder.
What you see instead, because you want to see an emotional response from a woman, is
pain instead.
You know, slapping–I don’t know when slapping became a huge part of sex, but if I was a
13-year-old now, I would absolutely presume that in some way the sexual mechanics of either
lubrication or erection involved at some point having to slap someone repeatedly on the ass.
You know, I come from an older age before we invented bum slapping, that just wasn’t a thing
We all managed to have sex without repeatedly slapping each other.
This is a fashion for sex, it’s a fashion in pornography.
So, you know, I love people like Cindy Gallop, who does Make Love Not Porn, where you just
see consensual couples having sex.
It’s pornography, but it’s pornography that’s about pleasure, and about two people
having sex, rather than a man coming to have sex on top of a woman, which is what we see
time and time again.
I don’t see any women’s ideas in that, you know, she’s not going, Hang on, I’ve
got a good idea!
We could do it like this!
She’s just lying there having sex on top of her.
And that’s not what sex is.
I’m 41 years old.
I’ve had sex 4 or 5 times now, and I can tell you generally not that bad.
4 or 5, huh?
I know!
Wow.
I can tell you about it later.
Big, big news.
Ha, ha, yeah!
I’m a big pumper.
Okay, Jenny wants to know, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing the feminist
movement in 2016?
For people who really want to do something, book clubbers, beyond reading, what are some
of the concrete things you think they can do, direct action that can be taken to fight
for change.
I think the biggest challenge is, again, it comes back down to tone.
Feminism has become such a big, hot potato, it's a hot newsworthy subject now in America and in the UK and in parts of Europe in a way that it wasn't 10 years ago.
You could not get arrested if you wanted to talk about feminism.
I went and pitched an idea of writing a column about funny feminism to a leading women’s
magazine, and they went, We couldn’t write about feminism in a women’s magazine, which
is why I went away and wrote How to Be a Woman.
Now, they are commissioning stuff every week, it’s a huge clickbait thing.
People want to read about feminism.
But many people have been put off feminism in the last couple of years because the tone
gets so heated.
You know, we’ve had feminism wars.
First of all, people will argue and fight all the time, that’s absolutely fine.
We can’t go, Oh, two women have disagreed with each other, it’s a cat fight, that
proves women shouldn’t be able to speak in public, feminism is dead.
It’s like, allow women the weakness to be able to argue and fight like men would.
True equality is not being perfect immediately, and being some superhero who has an amazing
job and incredible hair and a pelvic floor and a tiny little stomach and two children
who are perfectly well turned out.
You know, that’s exhausting.
True equality is being as dim, fat, deluded, nuts, smelly, scruffy, hopeful, joyful, and
idiotic as men.
You know, it’s not being perfect, it’s just being treated as a human being.
So, you know, we need to allow that women will have arguments.
But the key thing we need to do is just calm everything down a little bit.
It’s so important when these big debates that are about the future of half the population,
of womankind, start breaking out on social media, to just be calm.
You know, to just bring a bit of a certain sense of humor to it.
To listen to it, you don’t need to make your mind up straight away, you don’t need
to have a hot take.
And very often, you know, I think the problem is that the medium is often the message.
If you’re doing this stuff on Twitter, which is where the worst stuff happens, Twitter
works in such a way that every time someone writes something that you’re following,
you can’t not see it.
It’s short, and it goes like a bullet into your brain, and it provokes a flight or fight response
If someone’s written something you disagree with, you flood with adrenaline, you’re
panicky, you’re angry, and you respond in fear and anger, and suddenly an argument’s
happening with people who should be on the same side.
I’ve seen arguments break out between feminists who have the same life experiences, who want
the same things to happen in society, who are disagreeing on the most tiny thing, and
I would say Twitter is making them do that; social media is making them do that.
If they could just sit down in the pub, have a couple of Bacardis and put some Guns n’
Roses on the jukebox, this would all be sorted in 5 minutes flat.
So I mean, you know, but that’s another reason we need to get more women in tech.
Because I think if women were inventing social media platforms, they would be completely different
It would be much easier to break out and have relaxed conversations and talk about things
at length.
And you know, be able to inject some humor into it and let people know what emotions
you’re having rather than these shouting statements.
It’s everyone waving a placard at the same time.
That’s not a conversation.
So we’ve seen all the placards, we know what all the issues are now.
Now we need to move it somewhere where we have these conversations.
So in terms of, that’s the bad stuff.
The good news is that there are places where you can have these conversations.
One of the most hopeful things that’s happened in this country in the last couple of years
is the formation of the Women’s Equality Party.
Because they have said, Okay!
Let’s form a party that is just about women’s issues, and we’re gonna open source policy.
So they don’t have an idea for what this party should be, other than, Let’s find
out what women want.
And they are now just consulting all up and down the country.
You can go now, and be a member of the Women’s Equality Party, attend these meetings, and
talk about the problems in your life and the things that you think would solve it.
And I don’t see any other political party doing that, and going, Women, come and tell
us, let’s do this.
A party is being build from the ground up now that is inclusive of everybody, that has
stated it wants every kind of woman involved in that, whatever your class, whatever your
age, whatever your ability, whatever your ethnicity, whatever your religion or your
sexuality, go there and talk about being a woman and come up with some ideas.
I love a bit of direct action.
Yeah, no, direct action is super cool.
If you do think that one of the things you want to do on earth is make the world a better place
which is what being a feminist is, what being a decent person is, then you have
to make sure that you are aware of what you are subconsciously thinking about anybody
who speaks up.
Because I think we have this subconscious belief that someone can only speak up if they
are perfect and have the answers to everything.
We are basically waiting for a Feminist Jesus to come along who’s going to write The Feminist
Bible that has everything in it, or who has written the Feminist TV Show that has everything
and everyone in it, or makes The Film that tells the story of everyone, and that is,
of course, impossible.
Because, again, you just say to yourself, are the men doing this?
Are we expecting a man to come along and write a book that would provide the answers and
speak for 3.3 billion men?
And what we have to understand is that feminism, there’s never going to be a Feminist Jesus.
No one’s ever going to come along with all the answers.
If we’re waiting, if we’re not going to get behind someone until that comes along,
then we will never do anything.
We have to understand that feminism is, instead, a patchwork quilt.
And what we all do, is we go, we all sew the little squares that we think we can sew with
our abilities and our stories and our solutions, and then we join them all together.
So you know, I will speak about my experiences and the things that I’ve observed and things
that I know, these are my squares here, and then you will talk about your things and your
powers and your skills, and we sew that next to there, and then you know, then you get
someone who’s like, from the transgender movement, talking about their experiences,
and they sew their thing, and you make sure it’s sewn to yours, you make sure you’re
all working together, you make sure that everybody’s squares are equal, but you make sure that
we’re working this together.
Feminism is a collaborative effort, it’s not waiting for one Feminist Jesus to come along.
Yeah
You talk about this in your book, how in Moranifesto specifically, how you know, Germaine Greer
was one of your big inspirations, one of the first pieces of text that you read, and whatever
else, and that while you disagree with some of the comments that she made later on, you
still appreciate the contributions that she’s made even though she can’t speak for you
on every single specific topic.
I absolutely, fundamentally disagree with Germaine Greer’s viewpoint on trans issues,
and her belief of what a woman is.
I come from the point of view that you are what you say you are, whether you’re saying
you’re a man or a woman or a gay space alien, because I was brought up on David Bowie.
I just believe what people tell me they feel they are.
But, to trash everything that Germaine Greer did, first of all misunderstands what you’re
standing on, as a woman, to have the power to be able—and the public platform, and
the vocabulary, to speak out against Germaine Greer and call her a bad feminist, is to misunderstand
that she has given you half those words and that platform and that ability to do that.
You know, we are all standing on the shoulders of our aunts.
And, particularly, it happens in sort of every political movement and movement for sexual change
but it’s particularly noticeable these days because so much of our talk about
these things happens on social media, that we don’t bring our elders with us.
We’re not taking into account what other previous generations did, because they’re
not on social media.
They’re not part of the conversation.
We’d like to think, well we’ve moved on from that, we just, you know, these people
are outdated, we do things a different way now.
And you need to have your tribal elders.
You need to have the old people sitting around, because we’re going to have to fight a lot
of battles in order to change things.
And these people have fought these battles before.
They know the right language to use, they know how you can change legislation, they
know the kind of alliances that you need to make, they’ve gone through these different tatics before
You need people who’ve been in wars.
And yeah, some of the stuff they say will be highly objectionable, but to lose this
massive well of wisdom and resource means that we are never going to progress past a certain point
We make ourselves weak.
You know, have the strength to be able to say, yeah, my heroes are flawed
in the same way that I am flawed, in the same way that all of us are flawed.
Again, if we’re waiting for a perfect Feminist Jesus to come along, who’s never made a
single mistake, we will have no one.
We will continue to be disadvantaged.
While the men, who are like, I’m not perfect at all!
I’m Jeremy Clarkson!
I’m simply going to carry on making racist comments and driving my car where I want,
and because I’ve said I don’t want to make the world a better place, I’m just
allowed to get away with it!
Whereas if you are a person who says I’m trying to be a good person, and you make one mistake
then that seems unforgiveable.
You know, some days I wish I was Jeremy Clarkson.
I would just get up, say 10 absolutely untenable, horrendous things before breakfast, and because
he’s essentially saying, [...] no returns, you know, nothing happens.
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Emma Watson & Caitlin Moran - In Conversation for Our Shared Shelf

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smilehumanbeing published on August 31, 2016    Loo Jing Kai translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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