students and feminism

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I went to a really interesting discussion at the Duke of York's theatre last night:

This link doesn't mention one panellist, Olivia Grant, a recent graduate who discussed her experience at uni. She described her first class on gender which began with the teacher asking 'how many of you consider yourselves feminists?' Olivia was the only person (out of around 30) to raise her hand. She described a sense that feminism was somehow 'taboo' in a way that caring about race and class issues isn't. She also said (trying to quote but maybe getting it slightly wrong) '. . .then they tell you how much more male lecturers are paid than female lecturers and your brain explodes'

The discussion was really interesting, discussing relationships and differences among suffragettes, the 'second wave' of feminism (they referred to the 70s but I guess it began in the 60s and carried on beyond the 70s), Greenham Common and the situation now. For me, though, the main interest was in how Olivia's experience echoed my own experience in class.

Also interesting to see how positive everyone was about Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman which was a big hit of the summer for my family (although my daughter was asked to stop reading it aloud to us on the beach - to do with the noise rather than the content, I think)

I overheard an interesting conversation on the street afterwards. Two young women were agreeing that Greenham Common is something nobody had really mentioned to them much before. 'You really have to seek it out,' one of them said. 'I remember my mum telling me about the suffragettes because I thought it was unfair that I couldn't wear nail varnish when I was about seven, but nobody told me about Greenham'


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