Women – Theatre Review

The play, Women, was wonderfully hilarious, poignant and captivating.

The script was well chosen by director Jess Serio as it covered highly relevant issues such as gender equality and was positively received by the audience, who constantly laughed whenever a particularly funny line or pause occurred on stage. The relationships between the characters were startlingly poignant. They eagerly took on portraying their characters and remained upbeat in delivering their lines throughout the play. Women was another successful production by Black Martini Theatre that was professionally stylistic, performed by talented actors and made possible through the dedication of  its production crew.

It was great seeing the production come together with all the production elements. It certainly felt as though the audience was being teleported into the past with the characters. The costumes were irrevocably in a style reflective of the 1974 American film, ‘Little House on the Prairie’. (I watched some of it in primary school when I lived in Arizona) In the opening scene was ‘Oh Shenandoah’, an american sounding old-fashioned music. With American accents, it really did feel like I was in America again… without the summer heat!

The set was given a homely look, through the use of four wall partitions, four chairs and a chest of dolls. The scenes were transitioned mainly by props and movable household furniture with the help of both actors and backstage hands. While the set was not extravagant, it adapted well for each of the scene changes. (It was a good call by set designer, Thomas Dimmick, since there were many quick scene changes during the play.) The costumes, set and sound worked together in tandem to create realistic settings. The timing of lines was right on point, making the dialogue even more comedic than it was in the rehearsals I’ve witnessed.

The script itself was filled with humorous dialogue, witty remarks and it parodied the rigid social rules that governed 1800’s American society…particularly on ‘courtship’ or dating. In the script, there are several ironic mentions of the disparities women experienced in society and there is also clever foreshadowing… spoiler moments in between the main events. It’s quit interesting to see how much gender equality has improved since the 1800’s. In the past women were not encouraged to pursue a career or voice their opinions w hich is strongly disregarded by Jo March in her quest to become a writer. She even voiced her opinions on this clearly throughout the play by refusing to conform to society or stereotypes.

The play, Women, is set in 1860’s, Massachusetts, America near the end of the American Civil War. Four sisters and their ‘Marmee’ anxiously await the return of their father from Washington. Burdened with the responsibility of providing for their family, they are restricted in their future ambitions and pressured to settle down with man in order to start a family. Unfortunately they haven’t met any men yet, “not even cousins”. This play follows the four sisters as their lives go in different directions with each overcoming the moniker, ‘Little Women’ bestowed upon them by their parents.

Women  was inspired by HBO hit-series Girls and uses characters from Louisa May Alcotts’ Little WomenThe script was written by Chiara Atik, an author and playwright from New York City. Atik has previously written the book, Modern Dating: A Field Guide (2013) and the play, Five Times in One Night. Chiara Atik is a member of the group, Youngblood. Youngblood (Founded in 1993, New York) consists of playwrights under 30 fostered by the Ensemble Studio Theatre, aimed at supporting emerging playwrights establish a professional career.

Women is still showing this Friday night (7pm @ June 10th) and Saturday night (7pm @ June 11th) at Studio 411 on Murdoch University South Street campus.

13401333_1105539842840273_314429796_n

Women, by Chiara Atik
Showings: Thursday, June 9th, Friday, June 10th & Saturday, June 11th at 7pm
Venue: Studio 411 (Murdoch University, South Street Campus)
Director: Jess Serio
Theatre Company: Black Martini Theatre     FB Page
Starring: Shannen Precious, Cat Perez, Claire Tebbutt, Virginia Cole, Maddy Jolly Fuentes, Hock Edwards, Matthew Abercromby, Will Moriarty and Michael Casas.

Relevant Links:

Chiara Atik

Chiara Atik’s Writing

Youngblood

‘Women’ Event Page

Trybooking Tickets

Q&A with the cast of Women

1

I was invited to a rehearsal of Women on May 15 by Thomas Dimmick and Jess Serio.  I’ve divided the Q&A into two parts, part 1 for cast Q&A and part 2 for Crew Q&A. I will be seeing the first show on Thursday 9th June but there are also shows in Studio 411 near the Murdoch University gym at 7pm on June 10th & 11th if Thursday doesn’t suit your schedule.

Women is written by Chiara Atik, directed by Jess Serio and produced by Black Martini Theatre. It has a nine actor cast who have been rehearsing since mid April with auditions being held on April 9th & 10th.
CAST
Jo – Shannen Precious
Meg – Cat Perez
Amy – Claire Tebbutt
Beth – Virginia Cole
Marmee – Maddy Jolly Fuentes
Laurie – Hock Edwards
Mr Brooke – Matthew Abercromby
Professor Bhaer – Will Moriarty
Mr Lawrence/Carl/Clovis – Michael Casas

Women Event & tickets

Black Martini Theatre

theatre3
How would you describe the play in a sentence or two?
Virginia : Women is a brilliant, witty comedy following four sisters through the formative times in their lives.

Cat: Women is Little Women mixed with a sprinkle of the future.
Hock: It certainly isn’t your average period drama.
Matthew : A light-hearted, fun portrayal of the life, times and hardships for young women in post-civil war Massachusetts.
Maddy: It’s a super witty and tongue in cheek take on Little Women, but still captures the general essence of the original story.
Mike: It’s a funny and witty parody based on the Little Women series that focuses on having a laugh and not taking itself too seriously.
What did you enjoy most during the rehearsal process of ‘Women’?
Shannen: I enjoy being able to experiment with such an exciting and different character, changing her voice, mannerisms and exploring her background and figuring out why she is the way she is. I also enjoy bonding and getting to know my fellow cast and crew!
Claire: What I enjoy most is probably the laughs we all get when someone nails one of their punch lines. And the satisfaction I feel when I can pull a laugh no matter how many times the crew watched me.
Cat: I enjoyed being with my fellow cast members and messing around and having fun, but also being productive and making sure we get our job done.
Maddy: I’m new to Black Martini Theatre so I’ve loved working with a brand new group of people. Our first read-through as a cast was great. Everyone gave it so much energy and found the script hilarious.
Hock: The relaxed vibe. We can, and are encouraged to, have fun while still getting everything we need done.
Matthew: I enjoyed meeting like-minded people from around Murdoch who shared my passion for drama and it has made rehearsals relaxing and fun.
Will: The people involved in this production are amazing to work with and are incredibly funny. Working with them and bringing this show to life more and more every week is what I enjoy the most. This is my first comedic show so turning up to rehearsals every week has been a real treat.

 

theatre2.jpg
What were the two main things you did to bring your character to life from the script?
Shannen: I needed to watch the film of ‘Women’ and the television series of ‘Girls’ to be able to understand how the writer wanted to combine the two characters into one. I also watched other inspirations of my character so that I could understand how other actors read her.
Cat: I get quite method with my acting sometimes so having a distinct change in the accent helps to differentiate where I stop and Meg begins! And then there’s the non- verbal elements like how she sits and walks that really bring her to life.
Claire: I’ll be quite honest I spent an inordinate amount of time observing limes. [Editor’s Note: Claire’s character, Amy, brings limes to school and gets home-schooled as result in the original book Little Women]
Virginia: For me my main challenge has been with the accent. I’ve never attempted an American accent before so it has been interesting to develop that. I also had to get well versed on different ways with expressing my character through coughing.
Will: The only main thing that I did was sitting down and watching a lot of films with actors speaking in German accents. Films such as Indiana Jones, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained are to name a few. I took a lot of inspiration from Christoph Waltz who stars in both Inglorious and Django to add to my character’s accent and personality.
Mike: Because I have three different characters one of the main things is getting them to all be different and unique. It really helps distinguish and give each character their own space. The second is probably  attempting an accent. Getting voice and posture down is a huge help in building character.

Theatre in June

1

 

June Theatre 2016: Upcoming Plays & Auditions

Upcoming Plays

Women-Black Martini Theatre

 Written by Chiara Atik & directed by Black Martini Theatre president Jess Serio.

Women is Black Martini’s second production this year. Women follows the story of Jo March. She strives to “become the voice of her generation, or at least, a voice of a generation”. But living in 1800’s New England is extremely difficult as a “little woman”. With influences from the HBO hit series Girls, the adventures of the beloved March sisters are shown to the world.
‘Women’ will be performed from June 9th – 11th at 7pm and located in Studio 411.
I’ll be publishing an in depth article this weekend or beginning of next week which will feature a Q&A with the cast & crew.

‘Women’ Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1120741761323201/
Black Martini Production info: http://www.blackmartinitheatre.com/#!current-production/xt0yl
Tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=20233

‘Six characters in search of an author’- Top and Tail Theatre

Written by Luigi Pirandello, adapted by Steve Moulds & directed by Nick Moran.
“Six characters, abandoned by their creator, invade a rehearsal in progress and demand to be brought to life by a new author. This intimate adaptation of Luigi Pirandello’s absurdist classic foregrounds the comedic contrast between melodrama and the contemporary sensibilities of the acting company, all the while asking us to consider just what we believe to be real. The play script was adapted by Steve Moulds and is licensed by Playscripts Inc.” (A quote from the ‘Six Characters’ Facebook event)
Performances are from 16th June -18th June at 7pm and located in Studio 411.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1079075968830372/
Top and Tail Theatre Page: https://www.facebook.com/Top-and-Tail-Theatre-405065149680308/
Tickets on sale: https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=191887

Play in a Day –  Black Martini Theatre

‘Play in a Day’ will be hosted on the 25th of June where teams of 2-8 people can collaborate, write and perform an original short play based on the same theme and object. The theme/objects will only be given out on the day. Each team gets to nominate a team name and a captain. Plays can be up to 10 minutes and teams have from 9am to 7:30pm to plan, write and rehearse their play. Not all members have to perform but all can help in their capacity as a writer, director or any other stage role. Team members must be Murdoch University students past or present. Please check the registration form for more information.

‘Play in a Day’ is a yearly competition for people in teams to write a short play script in a day and perform in front of an audience in the evening on the same day. This theatre competition is run by Black Martini Theatre in June and was a success last year. The ‘Play in a Day’ was created  to encourage writers, performers or anyone interested in theatre to compete and showcase their talents and ‘theatrical skills’. Even if you aren’t interested in competing, please do come and support your friends or family by either seeing them perform or driving them home after a day full of excitement. This year, registrations opened in May and teams have until June 1st to register, after which they’ll have to pay a small fee (if there are still openings). There’s limited space for the first 12 teams, so if you’re interested and haven’t registered, get your team registered before May finishes! Below you’ll find a link to registration and the competition guidelines.
‘Play in a Day’ 2016 Registration form: http://www.blackmartinitheatre.com/#!auditions/d0w5z
Black Martini Theatre Website: http://www.blackmartinitheatre.com/
Black Martini Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/blackmartinitheatre/

In 2015, seven teams registered for ‘Play in a Day’ to compete for first place in front of a panel of judges. Last year’s performances were stunningly captivating and the scripts were wonderfully imaginative (I enjoyed watching it with my mum). Last year, teams were given the theme greed and a fire-fighter’s hat which they had to include in their performance. The top three teams won prizes with runner up team members winning trophies and chocolate and the winning team receiving a larger trophy and a box of wine. “In third place with their play “Clueless” was Big and Hairy, Yet Still Approachable. Coming in second was Peek and Boo with their play, “The Destructive Greed”. And finally, the  winners of the B trophy was The Brecht-Fast Club with “The Department”.

Theatre in June 2016: Upcoming Auditions

For news on the upcoming productions of each Murdoch Theatre Company, please check out their Facebook pages and subscribe. A couple of them have their own newsletter to advertise opportunities for students interested in acting, writing or set, lighting and costuming design. I will make sure to liaison with the theatre companies and the METIOR magazine to see what information I can release. However some auditions might only be open to those who already have experience in theatre or company members. Please check out part 2 of the theatre guide published on Thursday May 19th, for information on the companies and their contact details (or just search on Facebook).

Below will be brief descriptions, dates and contact information for upcoming auditions for productions by Murdoch theatre Companies and independent theatre companies in Perth, WA. There will are usually  auditions happening in August. More information along with Facebook events will be available once details have been finalised, closer to the time. I’m quite sure productions need at least 2 months to rehearse and combine all the production elements. So if you’re interested, keep in mind that you’ll need to be informed of when auditions are so you can prepare well in advance.

Black Martini Theatre
Top and Tail Theatre: Auditions near the beginning of August
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Top-and-Tail-Theatre-405065149680308/
Second Chance Theatre
Murdoch Theatre Company: Auditions in August
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MurdochTheatreCompany/
Modicum Theatre Perth Inc.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ModicumTheatrePerth/

Major changes made at final Guild Council meeting

Madura McCormack

The final Guild meeting for the year has yielded some major changes for Murdoch students, with the axing of some Guild positions, changes to the Clubs Room and tough financial decisions.

The outgoing guard, helmed by Raeesah Khan, have removed a number of Guild Council positions, including the Rural Regional and Interstate representative and closed the Rockingham Student Association (RSA).

The RSA was considered obsolete in a campus that has less than a dozen students.

No RRI representative had been elected in the recent elections, a position last held by Alex Knoop.

In a move that has been floated for several months, the five Guild Councillor positions of Sports, Clubs and Socs, Events, Sustainability, and Social Justice have been axed to make way for seven ‘Ordinary Guild Councillors’.Screenshot 2015-12-04 14.25.18Screenshot 2015-12-04 14.19.14

These positions, according to the agenda, will be ‘voted by quota to council’, similar to voting in the Australian Senate.

Students seeking election as an Ordinary Guild Councillor will need to attain 12.5 per cent of the vote after preferences, with portfolios allocated to them by Guild Council.

“It means duties can be flexible with the changing times,” says outgoing Education Vice President Roland Belford.

“In 20 years who knows what the important values to the student body will be.”

Guild President Guy McDonald says the changes will need to go through Senate, and will affect the election scheduled for late 2016.

Room swap

A unanimous motion was passed to reallocate the Clubs Room to the Indigenous Collective.

Outgoing Clubs and Socs officer Brodie Skalko says the Guild wants to build up the Indigenous Collective, who before this did not have a room.

“The Indigenous Collective have a hierarchy structure that they can use to ensure the room is looked after,” she says.

Located in the Amenities block, the Queer and Women’s Collectives will also swap rooms, giving the Queer Collective three square metres more room and wheelchair accessibility.

“We’ve got a large number of active members and until now have had a space that was far too small, so it’s great that we’ve finally been able to expand a little,” says outgoing Queer Representative Ash Spring.

Bookshop to stay open

At the meeting held on November 30, the council opted to keep the loss-making Guild Bookshop open after heavy discussion on cost-cutting measures.

Although the closing of the bookshop would have saved almost $50,000 in SSAF money, the risk of losing vital services such as the sale of second-hand books, Guild sticker distribution and Student SmartRiders proved too high.

In order to keep the bookshop open, the positions of Guild Shop manager and assistant manager have been made redundant, while the Tavern assisting manager will be made a casual position.

The operating expenses for the bookshop is budgeted at $230,000 for 2016 but revenue should offset a bulk of the cost.

The Clubs and Socs Room now for the Indigenous Collective. Photo by: Madura McCormack

The Clubs and Socs Room now for the Indigenous Collective.
Photo by: Madura McCormack

Student Hub

Council has also offered guidance to the architects of the planned student hub.

In what is described as an ‘ambitious’ plan, the Student Hub is expected to take over much of the Refectory side of Bush Court and is slated for 2017.

The Guild passed a motion to endorse a dedicated spaces for Indigenous students close to Kulbardi, queer-identifying students and women.

Murdoch’s student representative body also wants “the entire student hub project to utilise best practice in accessible building design” for inclusion of students with disability.

METIOR Policy

In collaboration with the current editor, outgoing Education Vice President Roland Belford wrote a new METIOR policy to reflect the publication’s move to online.

Changes were made to the selection process of future editors; with the new policy ensuring the next person “shall be appointed from among the Murdoch student body by the Guild President and outgoing Editor”.

In the old policy, it was “recommended” that the METIOR editor be a current or previous student of the university.

The magazine is in the process of securing at least one print run, with the edition out by February 22, 2016.

Murdoch Women’s Collective in leadership meltdown

4

New women’s representative quits 5 days after by-election

By Madura McCormack

Timeline

  • July 8: Women’s Representative Bianca Talbot quits in a Facebook post
  • July 21: Guild Council receives two nominations for new Women’s Rep
  • August 3: Rebecca Leighton wins by- election by one vote.
  • August 5: Leighton releases statement regarding her opposition to the invitation of a speaker for SHAG Week which was proposed by her predecessor and approved by the Guild
  • August 7: Rebecca Leighton resigns after disagreement with Guild members

It has been a tumultuous month for the Murdoch Women’s Collective, with incumbent representative Rebecca Leighton quitting after just 5 days in the post.

The final year law student won a tight by-election that was held to replace predecessor Bianca Talbot, who vacated her post in July.

Announcing her new role on August 3, Leighton quit soon after a public disagreement with the Guild over a decision that was made before she took office.

Fight over use of student funds

The former women’s representative, Bianca Talbot, had planned for a member of national feminist group Collective Shout to speak during the upcoming Guild sponsored SHAG Week [Sexual Health Awareness Guidance Week].

It was alleged that $600 had been paid to Caitlin Roper from Collective Shout following Guild approval to speak at the event, which will be about the objectification of women in the media.

The Guild has confirmed that the sum has not been paid, and are currently discussing whether the event should be cancelled.

UPDATE: The Guild has cancelled the event.

Leighton opposes the idea of having Collective Shout speak at the event, releasing a statement to voice her disapproval over what they advocate, and claims the speaker has no relevant credentials and is ‘just an activist’.

“I simply demanded accountability for the misuse of student funds and an opportunity to ensure all views were heard if these people were to speak at a Guild-sponsored event,” Leighton says.

Education Vice President Roland Belford says that while the funds would have come from the Student Services and Amenities Fee [SSAF], no guidelines were broken.

The SSAF is a compulsory fee paid by all students, with the amount depending on whether the student is external, internal, part-time or full-time. The amount is then split equally between the University and the Guild.

Belford says going ahead with the event would promote a dialogue across campus on intersectional feminism.

Guild President Raeesah Khan, who supports Leighton, says the event should be cancelled.

“Collective Shout is pro-life, victim blames and is transphobic… morally as the Guild that’s not what we want,” Khan says.

Women's Rep for 5 days and Education Vice President in 2011, Rebecca Leighton. Source: supplied

Women’s Rep for 5 days and Education Vice President in 2011, Rebecca Leighton.
Source: supplied

Previous drama

This episode follows on from the sudden resignation of Bianca Talbot on July 8, after a spat with Guild President Raeesah Khan on the Women’s Collective closed Facebook group.

Talbot, who has been in Switzerland for a human rights law course, left due to opposing political ideologies and ‘poor leadership’ by the Guild President, Khan says.

Update: Talbot denies this, stating that she resigned because she was “not allowed to represent those that are considered to be ‘conservative’ on campus“.

A by-election was then held within the Murdoch Women’s Collective, who like the Murdoch Queer Collective, enjoy autonomous voting.

This means the representative is elected by students in the collective and not by Guild Council.

9 out of approximately 100 members of the collective voted.

Due to recent events, the Guild has decided to switch back to the status quo. The next women’s representative must obtain 25 signatures of support from female-identifying students, after which the Guild will decide whether to accept the application, reject it, or leave the position vacant.

“I think it’s important because gender inequality still exists,” Khan says, on the relevance of the Women’s Collective.

“It’s important that women have an avenue to discuss the inequalities they face and to provide perspective to the governing body [Guild Council].”

The Murdoch Women’s Collective is part of the Student Guild and is ‘comprised of Female identifying Murdoch students who meet to discuss women’s specific issues on campus’, according to the Guild website.

100 Women

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”
African Proverb

The world is becoming increasingly globalised. One of the downsides of globalisation is feeling bombarded by information from across the world. At times I feel overwhelmed by the multiple issues appearing in the media and having to understand which information I should pay attention to. The contradiction of living in a city of opportunity, such as Perth, while knowing people elsewhere do not have the same opportunities is troubling to me. Deciding where and how to engage can become a fraught terrain, yet I still have the desire to make the argument to resist apathy. I believe we underestimate the power of the individual; especially the individual combined with likeminded others. The people who understand this are the leaders I desire for this and future generations. Continue reading

The story of my eating disorder

Society is constantly throwing at us new ways in which we can compare ourselves to others and sometimes it’s hard to ignore. With Facebook, Instagram and Twitter providing a real-time feed of the lives of others straight into our homes, handbags and back pockets, not judging ourselves based on someone else can be easier said than done. For women, this comparison seems to occur primarily around body image and weight.

As a little girl, I was anything but little – I was obese. At the age of 12 I weighed more than I do now as a 22 year old. People would always tell me “you have such a pretty face”, as if deliberately leaving out the rest. I knew I was larger than all the other kids, but it never bothered me. I never thought it was something that needed to be changed and I felt confident in the person I was. All I knew was that I loved pasta, and it loved me back. Continue reading

Dissecting Feminism

It is almost impossible to avoid the word “feminism” on the internet right now. Over the last few years feminist discussions and analyses of popular media and world events have become steadily more prevalent on social media such as Twitter. In response to this constant distribution of pro-feminist discourse, many anti-feminist or otherwise apathetic sentiments have begun to diffuse online. Hashtags and accompanying tumblr page(s) such as #womenagainstfeminism are representative of this. One needs only Google Emma Watson’s recent #HeforShe campaign or UN speech for further examples of anti-feminist, largely misguided perspectives on feminism.

In her speech, Watson asks, “Why has feminism become such an uncomfortable word?” This is a question many people, particularly right now, have an answer for. One feminist response might be, there has been no unified definition of feminism for a very long time, and this sends at least two messages. First, without an explicit unifying solution, feminists are unlikely to be progressing toward the same goal – if any. Second, as an effect of this, feminism’s purpose would seem irrelevant, out-dated, or practically useless to those not invested in its goals. In short, without a structure, the movement is arrested. An anti-feminist response to the same question might be, simply, that women (at least in our Western context) are liberated. Most women we know have agency and most women we know understand the term “agency” and its cultural and individual implications. In short, we don’t need feminism any more, and women don’t need feminism anymore. These are only two answers, one from each opposing side. These are the sorts of opinions and perspectives saturating the Internet at the moment and we would like to explore them to ultimately suggest that feminism should not be an uncomfortable word. There are endless conflicting opinions online on the name and the purpose of the movement, and we would like to attempt to clear up any confusion we can here. We aim to provide as informative an explanation of feminism as is possible within the constraints of this article; to educate anyone reading this that feminism does not denote hatred of men; and to defend the name feminism against the numerous alternatives currently circulating online.

The ostensibly positive movement Men’s Rights Activism, or MRA for short, is a well-known example of a response to feminism, which is popularly associated with vicious anti-feminist sentiment online. Some examples of issues addressed by MRA are parental visitation and custody/family law matters, domestic abuse as experienced by men, and media representations of men that can be analysed as damaging.

MRA sounds like a positive response to feminism. Give men their own movement too, feminism is too narrow, feminism is anti-men, men are not catered for under feminism. This, however, is simply misguided. “To end sexist oppression”, as bell hooks (sic) identifies as the goal of feminism, does not mean the privileging of one gender. It is undeniable that over the course of history, masculinity has undergone difficult cultural revisions. As one example, the Vietnam War triggered a cultural re-evaluation of what constituted masculinity. From the dominant conceptualisation of masculinity as stable, heroic and strong, soldiers returning home after their service forced us to confront the reality that masculinity could be fractured, vulnerable, and ineffective. This is one very simplified example of the cultural revision of male gender roles/attributes. However, what is important to recognise here is that these effects are not the result of any “feminist attack”, or the result of feminism not privileging men’s issues. It is one of many results of a devastating war. Feminism values a dismantling of the societal structures that enable and maintain any sort of disempowerment based on gender, race or class – the aim of feminism is not to cripple men. Feminists, women, do not benefit from this.

Some people might generally say that feminism aims to achieve equality for men and women. While this is a positive and useful sentiment, it is also brief and lacking clarity. If we achieve equality, who are we all then equal to? Are the marginalised women of our society, such as Aboriginal Australian women, equal with their male counterparts, who under our current social and political systems are still themselves marginalised? Aboriginal Australian men are victimised by existing power structures, though perhaps not in some of the same ways as women. Or are these marginalised men and women then elevated to be equal with white, middle class men and women who suffer independent and shared examples of victimisation, and whose narratives of masculinity crisis are the most popular? In short, do we elevate marginalised, victimised citizens to share the victimisation of the upper class? Clearly, we cannot simply talk about equality under current social conditions. Feminism aims not to achieve equality between men and women. It aims to dismantle the power structures in place that maintain all marginalisation and victimisation. So now for the really big question: why then, if it’s not about any one gender, do we still insist on calling it “fem”inism?

The movement, as we have just pointed out, is concerned with the systematic destabilisation of enforced power structures that maintain gender/race/class inequality. So why not call it humanism, as suggested in numerous blogs, as it seems to be more focused on our humanity as opposed to gender? Why not egalitarianism, as it seems to be more focused on social, political and economic equality?

Because the fact of the matter is, gender still drives this discussion. Each of the waves of feminism were inspired by specifically female issues – women’s right to vote, the hyper-sexualisation of women’s bodies, the economic and political underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women in the media. And right now, it is obvious to see a gender-inspired hatred, manifest in the supremely venomous backlash against figures like Emma Watson speaking out in favour of feminism. These are still gender issues. Feminism was originally a movement to draw attention to women’s issues, but it evolved into a movement to draw attention to all forms of oppression, stemming from gender. To change the name of feminism is not a light task. It implies that women’s issues are no longer specifically important issues; however, as the misogynistic backlash against Watson after she spoke out regarding the most recent celebrity nude photo leak demonstrates, this is not the case. Changing the name of feminism implies “we did it, we won, let’s turn our attention to different things now”. It implies that women aren’t the original inspiration for feminism, and that remembering that they are now is somehow offensive. It implies that we are ready to take a broader approach to fixing what’s wrong with our society because we’re not focused on feminism anymore, we’re simply focused on political in/equality. But under what conditions? Against which existing structures? We must focus on the “fem” in feminism because it is clearly still a big, unresolved and negative issue. When it isn’t any more – when gender stops being relevant, when women are no longer disrespected in the same sorts of ways as any of the women whose photos were leaked online, then the “fem” in feminism will be irrelevant. Unfortunately, we don’t see that happening any time soon.

The crisis in masculinity is not a result of feminist work, it’s a result of the same institutions that keep women down, keep them economically unequal, keep them sexual first, and intelligent second. The aim is to break down the system, and #womenagainstfeminism is actually right about something: “we can make more change united rather than against each other”.

The question isn’t “why don’t you just change the name?” The question is “why are you so bothered by the gendered nature of the name?” And the answer is simple: you’re bothered by gender, and that’s the reason we still need feminism.

This is in no way a comprehensive article; it tackles not even a whole percent of the issues relevant to this discussion. The authors’ aim was to inspire a positive discourse on feminism and attempt to clarify why sentiments like “we don’t need feminism any more” are misguided when considering the bigger picture of our culture’s attitude toward women – and men.

Be unified in your mistrust of the power structures you observe that can facilitate and nurture masculinity crisis. Be critical of the power structures that maintain the gender pay gap. Be strong against the sexism faced by all races and classes of women on a daily basis, that, much like the racism in this country, we label as “casual” and forget to care about.

Chances are you are a feminist even if you do not identify as one. Embrace what feminism means. Use the word positively and use it correctly. Read more, educate yourselves. Feminism is not a hate movement, and accepting that doesn’t mean you’ve lost a semantic or an ideological fight – it means you’re ready to put your potentially already feminist beliefs in with the rest of us.

For further reading, we recommend in particular bell hooks’ (sic) From Margin to Center as an accessibly written, sophisticated account of the purposes and functions of feminism. It is especially relevant now, 30 years after its publication.

Words by Sigrid Edwards and Geoffrey Power-King