Okay, so before you all roll your eyes and think ‘really? Another article on Glastonbury?’ I’m going to ask you to bare with me just a little bit longer. Those of you that attended this year’s Glastonbury will be aware that these blues are unlike any other and the only way to treat them is to submerse yourself in as much Glasto related memorabilia as possible until you realise, yes you must return to reality and yes; reality is a bitch. For those of you that didn’t go and are getting increasingly exasperated with our constant yearning for those Glastonbury days, you just don’t understand.
Glastonbury is so much more than a music festival. It offers a wide variety of other acts that include comedians, Greenpeace activists, the famous Brian Cox (I was lucky enough to see him in the flesh and in turn was able to tick that gem of a goal off my bucket list) and a talk from a feminist panel about the rise of feminism in modern day society and what it means for people today. As someone whose interest in feminism has grown steadily over the course of attending university I jumped at the chance to witness firsthand a debate held by a feminist panel.
The start was promising. The panel included Lucy Holmes, leader of the No More Page Three Campaign and Kat Banyard from UK Feminista. At first they presented strong arguments as to what feminism means to them and why they still need it today. Lucy Holmes demonstrated her passion for her campaign by simply stating she needed feminism because Page 3 still exists. So far so good. Yet as the talk went on, I had a horrible niggling feeling that they weren’t quite getting to the root of the issue. While these are all very relevant problems that do need to be addressed they seem to skirt over far more important issues. When questioned about how the government cuts would affect women, the panel appeared stunned into silence. Another audience member raised an interesting point that is particularly relevant in today’s society in regards to the idea of gender. She pointed out that the panel constantly placed their focus upon their quest to make women feel good about themselves and to make women appear equal yet this emphasis on one particular gender can do more harm than good. For those that do not associate themselves with either gender it appears that feminism does not or cannot accommodate them. The panel however had no reply to this point and simply replied ‘yes you’ve raised a good point there’, hardly showing that there was any hope for those who do not consider themselves as either male or female.
In light of this point I managed to drag one of my friends along to this talk as he has become increasingly curious about feminism. As one of the few male audience members I asked him to share some of his thoughts about the talk.
Anish Chhibber: ‘Being part of the male members of the audience I felt comfortable listening to the panel who shared the same ideas as myself, as they talked about striving to make changes in gender equality and that equality between both men and women is at the forefront of feminism. One member of the panel stated that her definition of feminism was “to make women feel good inside themselves” which is all well and good however giving a definition like this to an audience contributes to the stigma attached to the word feminism and makes it sound like a women’s only club instead of a movement for equality.’
Anish raises the point that feminism can seem at times exclusive. For me the name feminism itself only adds fuel to the fire. Despite various campaigns it is still marred by the stigma that feminism is a dirty word. By placing a particular emphasis upon the female the quest for gender equality can appear undermined. Perhaps a better name for this movement in today’s society should be ‘equalitism’. If this were the case the goal would be simple. Equality for people of all genders, race, age, class, etc. The list is endless.
For anyone thinking of going to Glastonbury next year I strongly recommend you make use of all the talks available. Although I did not agree with everything this panel had to say I am extremely glad I went as it gave me a lot of food for thought.