Monday, 14 June 2010

Reclaiming the F Word: review

Reclaiming the F Word by Catherine Redfern and Kristin Aune is excellent and well worth reading. It provides a round up of feminist activity going on today and shows the sheer diversity of feminism. The authors show conclusively there is still a need for feminism. The laws have changed but culture and people's opinions haven't changed at all. The misogyny has become much more subtle and insidious and therefore much more difficult to fight. It is almost impossible to challenge humour and thus stifling gender stereotypes continue to be propagated - to both men and women.

The book is written in a very down to earth and approachable style with plenty of references to research and other printed and electronic material. The authors analysed a survey to provide some of their material for the book and the survey results are reproduced in an appendix at the end of the book. There are notes to each chapter and a useful list of further reading arranged under the chapter headings.

I found the book fascinating reading and it does highlight the relevance of feminism today and shows how people can become involved. It also analyses the way women are manipulated into looking and dressing a certain way as though their bodies are imperfect in their natural state. Advertising and the media are discussed and the way they portray gender stereotypes analysed. Politics and religion are covered as are work and home life.

It is clear to me from reading this and other recently published books that both men and women need to study their own behaviour and see if they are not making some very dated assumptions about the people they come across every day. The quotes from individuals who have experienced discrimination and prejudice are enlightening - and frightening. I find it shocking that statements made about women in the media and on the Internet pass almost without comment yet if the same things were said about people of colour they would be unacceptable or even illegal. sexism is alive and well in the UK today and this is what everyone needs to challenge as we are wasting the talents and abilities of too many people because of gender stereotypes.

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