The Everyday Sexism Project: key element in “fourth wave” feminism

My eternal thanks to a longstanding supporter and donor to the party, Cathy, for alerting me to a book which was published on 8 December 2013, my 56th birthday – Kira Cochrane’s All the Rebel Women: The rise of the fourth wave of feminism (Guardian shorts).

The Kindle edition is the equivalent of just 71 pages – it was clearly judged prudent not to exhaust the brains of fledgling feminists – and very reasonably priced at £1.99, about a third of the price of my own Feminism: the ugly truth. Its sales put it at #2 in the ‘Feminist Criticism’ category, well ahead of my book, it has to be said. The book’s full Product Description on Amazon:

On a bright day at the Epsom Derby, 4 June 1913, Emily Wilding Davison was hit by the king’s horse in one of the defining moments of the fight for women’s suffrage – what became known as feminism’s first wave.

The second wave arose in the late-1960s, activists campaigning tirelessly for women’s liberation, organising around a wildly ambitious slate of issues – a struggle their daughters continued in the third wave that blossomed in the early-1990s.

Now, a hundred years on from the campaign for the vote, fifty years since the very first murmurs of the second wave movement, a new tide of feminist voices is rising. Scattered across the world, campaigning online as well as marching in the streets, women are making themselves heard in irresistible fashion.

They’re demonstrating against media sexism, domestic violence and sexual assault, fighting for equal pay, affordable childcare and abortion rights. Thousands are sharing their experiences through the Everyday Sexism project, marching in Slutwalk protests, joining demonstrations in the wake of the Delhi gang rape, challenging misogynist behaviour and language, online crusaders and ordinary people organising for the freedom of women everywhere.

Kira Cochrane’s ‘All the Rebel Women’ is an irrepressible exploration of today’s feminist landscape, asking how far we have come over the past century – and how far there still is to go. Whether engaging with leading feminists, describing the fight against rape culture or bringing immediate, powerful life to vital theories such as intersectionality, ‘All the Rebel Women’ binds everything together into one unstoppable idea. This is modern feminism. This is the fourth wave.

So Laura Bates’s Everyday Sexism Project  is a key element in the fourth wave of feminism. Wow. That’s why this book is the best birthday present I’ve ever received, even if I only found about it some months after my birthday. We usually refer to Ms Bates’s mission in life as The Everyday Whining Project. It inspired us to launch The Alternative Sexism Project  where men have left stories explaining how sexism affects men a damned site more than it does women, often leading to men’s early deaths. What is the state’s relentless disadvantaging of men and boys, and relentless advantaging of women and girls, if not sexism in action? The male/female suicide rate differential in the UK rose steadily from 1.9:1 (in 1981) to 3.5:1 in 2011. I can’t think of a better litmus test for how society treats men and women.

Laura Bates’s project also inspired us to launch The Whine Club.

Laura Bates deservingly won the inaugural Whiny Woman of the Month award, which gave her automatic membership of the club. Her award certificate can be downloaded right here.

There are now quite a number of women in the club, and they can only leave if they make a public commitment to stop whining. Surprisingly none have, to date. Here’s a list of the current members.

At J4MB we fondly think of Laura Bates as the gift that keeps on giving.

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