The Future Will be Feminist of Not at All

Having just returned home from a feminism filled day, I was pleasantly surprised to find an extra unexpected bit of feminism waiting for me: the new – fully feminist – issue of the Red Pepper on my desk. I have just spent a whole day at Lush City, fundraising for the Feminist Library, having been prepping that morning, at the Library, and having seen a feminist window display at a pub on the corner of Southwark station (my usual route to the Library), I thought I’d had my fill of feminism for the day. But evidently not.

But then I am not writing this to tell you about my day, but because I have been noticing a shift – in the general leftist politics towards what seems like more of a seriously feminist approach. And seeing this issue on my desk seemed to be yet another proof that something new was happening. A move in the right direction, finally, I thought. I have opened the issue with anticipation – something I have not actually been able to do for quite a while, since the general left (by which I mean he left outside of feminism) had been generally speaking getting on my nerves for so long by ignoring feminist voices that I’d learned to ignore it back. I had very little patience left for anything outside of feminism.

Until now – over the past month, I felt some change in the left climate. First, I saw Naomi Klein at the Southbank for IWD, and heard her speak with reverence about the women leading the environmental movement – as well as other leftist movements – and about the necessity of a feminist approach to battle the patriarchal attitudes at the heart of planet and climate destruction. On Monday just passed I went to a conference on critical approaches to AI at Goldsmith’s and it was wonderful – most, if not all speakers, openly talking about the core value of feminism in this work, including a man who spoke of it with true reverence…honestly! And now – nearly a month on – this issue just lands on my desk.

I would normally dismiss these happenings as yet another empty attempt by the left to pull in feminists onto their side. But for the first time in years it actually seems genuine. Or at least a bit too much of a coincidence. Or perhaps I’m being naïve again… I guess we’ll see, time will tell.

Hope not. What Naomi Klein was saying really struck me – if we only have 12 years now to sort our s*** out when it comes to climate change, we need to get on with it. And if we need a serious shift away from patriarchy in order for it to happen, then really, there is not a minute to loose! The revolution was not invented yesterday, and yet, there’s so much still to do!

And then again, I read the editorial in the issue of Red Pepper that filled me with so much hope, and it didn’t seem to make the deep connection that Naomi Klein was making between climate change and patriarchy, despite being very much on the subject…

The future of humanity does not look bright without feminism, if we need to sort out patriarchy, and so fast, in order to save ourselves from a climate catastrophe… so it better be true that things are changing. Or else we’re f****d!

 

The Glorious Return of Feminist Spaces

It’s been an incredible few months – pretty much every couple of weeks, I’ve heard about a new feminist space popping up! So many of them by now I needed to write this just to keep track myself! Including, but not limited to, I’m sure:

In London: 

Feminist Library – not new by and large – the Feminist Library was set up in 1975 and has just celebrated its 44th birthday – but it will shortly be opening (this Spring, date tbc) a new, bigger space in Peckham. The space is designed by a feminist designers, architects and makers team, and will be 50% bigger, giving the Feminist Library enough wiggle room to expand both its collections and events programme!

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Designs for the new Feminist Library space in Peckham

Second Shelf – the new feminist bookshop opened its Soho doors in November 2018, and focuses on stocking first editions and rediscovered works by women.

Vagina Museum – it has been going as a pop up for a few years now, but now it finally has a chance to open its physical doors in Camden. The crowdfunding campaign has some 2 weeks and over £100,000 still to go, however, so go and support it now if you want it to happen!

Black Feminist Bookshop – has successfully crowdfunded for its first phase (pop-up) at the beginning of Women’s History Month 2019. Now, if you want to hear about what it’s up to and where the pop ups are coming up, you can sign up to its newsletter via its crowdfunder link here.

East End Women’s Museum – after a long (about 5 years) campaign, last year, the brilliant group behind this project announced that a site has become available. Set to open in Barking and Dagenham in 2020. In the meantime, they run a programme of exhibitions all around East London. Follow them to find out where they can be found next.

Holloway women’s building – remains to be seen what it ends up being exactly, but the people who bought the former Holloway site just a few weeks ago have promised to make space for community/women’s building, as has been demanded by the local campaigners from the beginning. For updates on the campaign, follow Reclaim Holloway.

Pages Cheshire Street – new outlet by the people behind Pages of Hackney – new feminist bookshop, with writing by women and non-binary people, opened up in Brick Lane this May! Their events programme looks ace as well, so do check out their website.

Further out in the UK: 

Brighton feminist bookshop – aiming to open its doors mid to late 2019, in the meantime, running some pop up events. Watch this space to find out more.

Physic garden – the project is working to create a medicine garden (fully by women) in Lancashire. They have already crowdfunded successfully and now they’re looking for votes to support their application to have the project backed by the Lottery Fund.

Nab Cottage, vegan B&B – perhaps not strictly feminist, but created by an awesome feminist friend of a friend. A must-visit for anyone travelling to or past Bexhill.

International: 

Sister Library in Mumbai – has been running as a pop up until now, but in December 2018 has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund its physical home. You can still support it here.

Feminist library in Chiapas, Mexico – work in progress at the moment, and I’m still waiting to receive website details from them. But it sounds amazing – they are working with local indigenous women in the community to make accessibility and inclusion at the heart of the project.

FemHouse – feminist library and queer café recently opened in Yerevan, Armenia – they have just put a callout for solidarity to the Feminist Library, as apparently they face a lot of issues, including gender based hatred, where they are, so if you are a feminist library or café, or another organisation that can help or if you’d like to express support (we are currently waiting for more details ourselves, to link their website, etc.).

Do let me know if you know of any more fabulous feminist spaces popping up where you are! I want to know about them all!