Recently, The Everyday Sexism Project held a Twitter chat on the hashtag #everydayallies which was to celebrate men standing up to sexism. To be perfectly blunt, I don't want to spend any time thanking men for not being misogynists. The fact that we have arrived at a situation where we have to thank men for not being rapists is the problem.
I want to spend my time thanking the amazing feminists who are standing up and shouting back at misogyny, rape culture and male violence. I want to celebrate the work Laura Bates does at Everyday Sexism Project: giving women a voice and a space to share their experiences. In a culture that consistently erases women's work and women's history, the importance of Everyday Sexism cannot be underestimated. Giving women a voice is the very essence of feminism.
I want to celebrate the brilliant feminists who fought, with little to no money in a time when women weren't allowed their own bank accounts, to start refuges to help women fleeing domestic violence and abuse. I want to celebrate the women who fought for rape crisis centres, to have rape in marriage made illegal and who continue fighting the entire criminal justice system which minimises and erases men's personal responsibility in committing rape, domestic violence and murder.
I want to celebrate the amazing feminists who continue to fight in incredibly creative manners for women's specialist services with dwindling budgets due to the government's slashing of funding. The fact that we still have rape crisis centres, refuges and a recognition that women deserve equal treatment under the law (even if this doesn't occur in practise) is a testament to feminist activism.
It is women who have stood up to fight for other women and have fought whilst experiencing a tremendous amount of abuse from men and even some women. Feminism is an active, vibrant movement within the UK. We may not agree with each other on every single policy but feminism is here and it is growing stronger daily.
There are far too many brilliant feminist organisations currently fighting for women to name: both in terms of campaigning and celebrating women's achievements. The following list is only a brief snapshot of some the current UK based campaigns and organisations:
- End Online Misogyny
- The Women's Room UK
- No More Page 3
- Reclaim the Night
- Million Women Rise
- Counting Dead Women
- Women For Refugee Women
- Daughters of Eve
- Name Equality
There are equally a huge number of local feminist networks like North East Feminist Gathering, Nottingham Women's Conference, London Feminist Network, and Bristol Feminists running conferences, book clubs, and protests. Some are lucky enough to garner small grants to engage in feminist activism and others scrabble from week to week trying to balance the fact that free venues frequently aren't accessible to all women with having absolutely no money to pay for accessible venues.
Feminists have also been campaigners for women's voices being heard in the media. Feminist media organisation Women's Views on the News has been joined this year by a number of new media platforms including the Feminist Times and student journal Bad Housekeeping.
Feminism is the liberation of women from patriarchal control and male violence. Let's focus on celebrating the #amazingfeminists fighting for women with very little mainstream support and even fewer thank yous.