I was personally called a Stalinist by David Mellor once.
It happened when I was part of the delegation from the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations that lobbied David Mellor about the Broadcasting Act before the Broadcasting Act before this one, back in the days when Mellor was Minister of Fun and I was on the Fawcett Society’s Media Committee. I mention this only to point out that I have history with the Fawcett Society. I wasn’t just a pay-your-dues-and-read-the-emails member, I was an actual activist member. It was the great and much missed Mary Stott who nominated me for the committee, in fact.
So why am I no longer a member? It was this: this is what a feminist looks like. She is no bigger than “X-large”, where “X-large” means a chest smaller than 44″
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant campaign! Get some photos of people, all sizes and shapes of people, people you wouldn’t expect, and show them in t-shirts that say THIS is what a feminist looks like, and you make the point. Feminists come in all shapes and sizes. Feminism applies to everyone. Even men. Even celebrities. Yay us!
Feminists come in all shapes and sizes. They aren’t just middle-aged fat ladies with bad hair: that’s the subtext. Put your stereotypes aside and see: feminism is just like you!
Which gives me a problem. Because, you see, I AM a middle-aged fat lady with bad hair. I exactly fulfil the stereotypical view of “feminist” – it would be criminally stupid of the Fawcett Society to undercut their campaign by making a “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt that would fit me. (Hey, you think I’m making this up?)
I would love to work with the Fawcett Society again. But I raised the issue with them when the campaign first came out and was brushed off, twice. I raised it with them again on twitter this morning when I saw Elle advertising a new variant of the t shirt.
@wendybradley and if you do decide to come back to Fawcett – which we hope you will – we’ll send you a lovely feminist tote bag! X
— Fawcett Society (@fawcettsociety) October 23, 2014
Could they BE any more patronising?
There IS no way to reconcile the “this is what a feminist looks like” campaign with the exclusion of larger feminists. That’s the point. However Fawcett could easily show they understand the issue and the hurtfulness of it and come up with a response which explains it’s a circle they just can’t square – or at least an answer that doesn’t reek of “and we don’t care, either!” But they haven’t. Still. And that’s what pisses me off.