Guardian review: Everyday sexism and ‘The Vagenda’

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Holly Baxter, co-authors of The Vagenda: A Zero Tolerance Guide to the Media.

Nobody would deny that the fourth wave of feminism exists, and nobody I care about would deny that it was a good thing: on the ground, it picks a target and takes it from impossible to done.

A woman on banknotes? They’ll never go for it … Mervyn King won’t like it … oh, he’s gone … maybe in a decade … what … done?

Lads’ magazines … come on … nobody likes them … it doesn’t mean we can do anything about them … to be honest, ladies, we’ve been moaning about this for years … what … Nuts, seriously? Gone? [..]
Laura Bates‘s Everyday Sexism project, now turned into a well-ordered and often astonishing book, began as a social media campaign in which she simply documented sexist remarks or actions, and invited other women to do the same.
[..]
Bates has created something new: neither journalism nor polemic, the book owes its gusto to a combination of the hundreds of voices in it, and the fact that the author presents them, not as a statistical sample, weighted for age and class, not as a type, not as her friends, but as credible, compelling voices. Criticisms have been levelled at her about authenticity, and she’s dealt with them pretty tersely – what reason would women have to make this up? Really, the authenticity leaps off the page because of the subtlety of the individuation; you really couldn’t make it up, the infinite variation of the tone.

“On first day at Cambridge University, ancient don asked whether I had had to ‘bend over’ to get in.”

“Just got called a slag by two guys sitting outside the University of York library. A slag for books?”

“Quote for the day: ‘Nice young women don’t play with science.’ *choking on my tea* It’s an fMRI scanner, not a Tonka truck.”

* * *
Read the whole thing at the Guardian. The review of The Vagenda is near the end.

They paint a picture of a world that sounds far worse than what I encountered as a student in university (physics, math) in the early 1970’s.  The “ancient don”?  How ancient could he be? He could be a few years older than me, but much younger than the professors I met, none of whom ever said anything sexist.  I heard stories that things were worse in the applied sciences (Engineering at UBC, I attended SFU).  But that was over FORTY YEARS AGO!  Seriously, it has deteriorated since then?

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