Feminist Friday – Body Politics

Each week the Fawcett team will be scouring the media and blogosphere to bring you our top essential feminist posts from the past 7 days – the good, the bad and the ugly…

Understanding that the personal is political – and that bodies, what we do with them, how we experience them and how we treat them, has repercussions that go much wider than the individual affected, is a key tenet of feminism.

This week we were horrified to hear about the death of Tuğçe Albayrak, the young woman in Germany who intervened when she heard two teenage girls being harassed by men and was later beaten into a coma by the attackers. She died last Friday, on what should have been her 23rd birthday. A candle-lit vigil was held outside the hospital where she was being treated, and hundreds attended her funeral on Wednesday.

abortion protestThe heart-breaking news of Tuğçe Albayrak’s murder was deeply disturbing. We were given some hope, however, by a Youtube video of a pregnant woman who jumped in when she saw anti-abortion campaigners filming women going into a clinic. The video has already gone viral, and here at Fawcett HQ we watched it twice over because we thought her take down of the anti-choicers was so brilliant.

Sticking with the theme of pregnancy and abortion, we were waiting nervously for the judgement of a case to determine whether a child born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder as a result of her mother’s drinking during pregnancy was entitled to criminal injuries compensation. The court ruled that the mother was not liable. Had the ruling gone the other way it could have had huge implications for pregnant women around the country: not only might it have deterred women with substance misuse issues from seeking help from professionals for fear of being criminalised, it would also have had knock on effects to women’s access to abortion. If women could be criminalised for behaving in ways which could harm foetuses, terminating unwanted pregnancies would surely be seen by some through the same lens. Woman’s Hour had an interesting discussion of the case on Thursday, which you can listen again to here. As the CEO of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said “this is an extremely important ruling for women everywhere. The UK’s highest courts have recognised that women must be able to make their own decisions about their pregnancies.”

Next up comes another video, this time from the No More Page 3 campaign, who took every photo of every man and every woman in The Sun for 6 months and stuck them all on a wall next to each other. The result shows men doing things – scoring goals, winning medals, giving speeches – while the women in contrast are notably much more passive, (and naked, obvs).

While the No More Page 3 collage and the court case seem worlds apart – they both deal with the issue of women’s bodies, and what women’s bodies are for. Thankfully the Court of Appeal ruled that women’s bodies are more than just ‘vessels’ – hopefully The Sun might start depicting women as more than just something to look at soon too… You can sign the petition telling the editor of The Sun to take the bare boobs out of the newspaper here, and look out for a Feminist Matters guest blog from No More Page in the next couple of weeks.

And finally, the wonderful Angela Davis was on Woman’s Hour this week – and if she doesn’t inspire you to keep up the fight for equality, we don’t know what will.


As ever, we’d love to know what you have been reading and watching and listening to… Happy Feminist Friday x

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