Feminist Friday – Westminster, the Sun and Grayson Perry

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…

Harriet Maltby speaks out via Telegraph online

We start this week’s top reads with this article about the bullying and harassment of female staff in Westminster. Written by former staffer Harriet Maltby, she responds to the news that thus far, only 31 calls have been made to Westminster’s harassment hotline launched in April. Maltby said:

‘Most MPs have never employed anyone and therefore delegate this responsibility to young staffers…for most staffers, their MP is their HR manager, as well as their boss…There is no neutral, independent, or individual process to which researchers can appeal…No wonder they’re sceptical of a telephone hotline”

The Fawcett Society have longed been concerned about harassment and sexism in politics. From the Rennard Scandal, ‘Calm Down Dear’ and our briefing on Councillors being sexist, it is an issue constantly on our radar. Although we welcomed the harassment hotline we recognised that greater structural change is needed in Westminster to make it a better place for women to work.

Next up is acclaimed artist Grayson Perry’s article on the ‘Default Man’: white, middle-class, heterosexual, usually middle-aged men who are, as Perry says, ‘among us and hide in plain sight’.

The Default Man via The New Statesman

‘Default Man feels he is the reference point from which all other values and cultures are judged. Default Man is the zero longitude of identities’.

In our most bizarre read, we saw The Sun newspaper’s answer to the objectification of women: their ‘No More Skinny’ campaign… Seriously where to start? There is so much wrong with this we were dumbfounded. Luckily some other people said it for us including Glosswitch here, and Holy Moly blog here.

Finally in light of Mumsnet and Ipsos/Mori’s new report on women’s voting intentions we found this article about Black women’s voting intentions in the USA really interesting. It would be great to see similar research for the UK. Does anyone know of any?

Thoughts, feelings and your pick of the week in the comments please!

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Polly Trenow
Polly is Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at the Fawcett Society