Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Me me me (and LFN) on the BBC!

Tonight's documentary "Women: activists" is pretty much all about London Feminist Network. There are certainly things about it I thought were naff - like the persistant search for why on earth we would all be so dreafully angry (like a 6% rape conviction rate wasn't enough...) and the rather weird insistance on finding out what everybody's mother thought about them being so frightully political. But that said LFN is a great story, an on-going success story. Even since the film was made the law about lap-dancing is changing, the law about prostitution is changing, the stuff we're campaigning for is happening. And at the end of it you just can't keep a great story (or a great organisation) down. So do watch it (for the next ten days or whatever online and laso repeasted on the BBC several times this week). I am featured a lot, starting about 25mins in.


sian and crooked rib said...

hi kate
i thought you came across very well but i was furiously disappointed in the programme as a whole. i felt that just by focusing on LFN the programme did the feminist movement in other cities a real disservice, and did not allow for a full and comprehensive look at the feminist movement in the UK. i've written about it on my blog so won't repeat my arguments here.
obviously we should all be very proud of the achievements of LFN and its members, they have done so much and are a really active and passionate group instigating real change. but the programme made it look like they stood alone, and i didn't feel this was a fair representation.
still, all the LFN members came across very well and this was a fault of Engles, not them!

Cruella said...

Yes true - they also seemed to be only interested in white feminists didn't they? I mean after Finn at the FiL conference the other speakers included Rania Khan, Marjorie Nshemere Ojule, Shahida Choudhary and Marie-Claire Faray-Kele and on the platform at RTN were women from groups addressing domestic violence in minority communities and representing international womens rights. They made it look as if LFN is about 12 white women. In fact it's over 1,000 members and it's pretty diverse and proud to be so.

sian and crooked rib said...

exactly! but i think the whole series suffered from that very much white middle class perspective. she made the whole feminist movement look teeny! and disregarded the diversity of opinion, debate and discussion across the UK about feminism.

oh well! maybe i'll make my own ;-) !!


This is the problem with documentaries because control always remains firmly in the hands of the producer never the individuals being filmed.

Likewise LFN was indeed portrayed as comprising a tiny number of white young women - rather than the fact LFN has over 1000 members and we are not all white and young. Cruella you are so right - I too was appalled that this programme deliberately did not include extracts from any of the speakers at the RTN rally. Rania Khan et al all gave inspiring speeches and the aim was to demonstrate that contrary to white male-dominated media - feminists are not all white, middle-class women.

The programme too was very lightweight and did not allow the participants to provide in-depth answers. Why ask the question concerning one young woman painting her nails? Are men routinely asked why they wear their hair in a certain way or why so many young men and boys wear trousers almost around their ankles? Surely wearing such low-cut trousers clearly signals to would-be sexual predators the male is 'up for it 24/7.' Yet this is precisely what one male patriarchal father said - his daughter dresses inappropriately and yet she is horrors - a feminist! Another reason why feminism is desperately needed and contrary to male-dominated media claims has not yet died.

Marks for programme 2/10 - could do far, far better. This is not a criticism of participants but is a criticism of lazy undeveloped production work.

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