Late last year, I read a very funny article by Lucy Mangan in The Guardian, pointing out –in case you hadn’t heard because feminism is so hush-hush and underground these days- that feminism is not as cool as it used to be, and that female empowerment is sometimes confused with female (especially celeb) power(trips).
If you did want to research a bit of feminism, you young thing, or brush up your rusty knowledge of Betty Friedan et al, you delightfully informed more mature person, you might consider, as I did, going to your nearest public library to check out what’s happening in the underground, hush-hush, feminist scene. Then, if you discover, as I did in my local library at that time, that they DON’T have any books on feminism, then we must call another demo in which we can pretend to burn bras and do other pseudo-historical actions to protest for this new conspiracy to keep women out of the knowledge industry.
Yes, I was so stunned that I could not even protest, when the female assistant in this London library told me that they did not stock any publications on feminism. Instead, I chose to think that she didn’t know what I was talking about (‘these young women ain’t heard of such stuffy stuff’, I though in disgust…) and I proceeded to scrutinise the shelves in search for misplaced volumes. The worse part was when it dawned on my that she did, in fact, know what she was talking about, and that no feminist theory had a place anywhere in the library, not even in the philosophy section, or (oh, dear) in the self-help shelves of this public service! A new conspiracy theory is born.
I urge you to rush to your local library and find out if it stocks books on feminism, for my new personal research campaign. Oh, you may find, as I did, that ‘girl power’ does exist in public libraries, in the form of Gerry Halliwell’s children’s stories. Maybe the generation reading those now will one day have public and free access to other seminal works on equality and justice!
Celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday (hey, it’s just for one day. The rest of the time it can all get brushed under the carpet again…)
P.S. On a subsequent visit to my local library, after I recovered from my shock – I was really aghast, I made a point of mentioning that in my humble opinion, not having any books on feminism did not reflect well on the public body. I’m pleased to say that a few weeks after that, they had two copies of ‘introduction to feminism’ type books on the shelves. Result! Moral: go girls, and ask for what you think you should be getting from the public arena!