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Meet The Liverbirds: The all-girl Beatles who once toured with the Kinks and Rolling Stones

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“Girls with guitars? That won’t work,” quipped John Lennon as he watched four girls take the stage of the Cavern Club, Liverpool in 1963. The band was The Liverbirds and Lennon’s attitude was the kind of dumb prejudice these four faced every time they picked up their guitars and blasted an audience with their hard rockin’  R’n'B.

The Liverbirds were formed in Liverpool 1963. The original line-up was Valerie Gell (guitar), Mary McGlory (bass), Sylvia Saunders (drums), together with Mary’s sister, Sheila McGlory (guitar) and Irene Green (vocals). The band’s name was lifted from the liver bird—the mythical bird (most probably a cormorant) that symbolises the city of Liverpool and they were all girls (“birds” in the youthful parlance of the time). The group practiced every day until they were better than most of the local boy bands who were merely copycatting local heroes The Beatles.

The Liverbirds were apparently so good (if a bit rough around the edges) they were snapped up to tour with The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Rockin’ Berries. However, it was soon apparent that the girls—unlike the boys—were were being cheated out of a big part of their fees by booking agents—a crushing disappointment that led to the loss of their lead singer and guitarist to other bands.
 
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It was beginning to look as if Lennon was right, but the girls refused to give up and continued touring with The Kinks. Unlike their northern counterparts, London’s all male bands The Kinks and The Stones were supportive of The Liverbirds—as Mary McGlory recalled in a letter to the Liverpool Beat in 2014:

The Kinks took us down to London to meet their manager, even booked us into a hotel, and told us to come to the studio tomorrow and bring our guitars with us (maybe there might be time to play a song for their manager). When we arrived there, the roadie came in and told The Kinks that their guitars had been stolen out of the van – so this was how The Kinks played our guitars on their hit recording of “You really got me“.

This isn’t exactly how it happened as the legendary Dave Davies of The Kinks points out regarding Mary’s claim over the stolen instruments:

Absolute nonsense- they were a cool band but this DID not happen.

On YRGM I use my Harmony meteor thru the elpico green amp and ray used his tele and pete used his blue fender bass…what a load of bollocks.

However, The Kinks did help save The Liverbirds from splitting-up by suggesting they bring Pamela Birch in as vocalist. Birch was a big blonde bee-hived singer/guitarist. She had a deep bluesy voice which harmonized beautifully with Valeri Gell’s vocals. Birch was a perfect fit for the band.

They were a hit at the Cavern Club. They were a hit across the country. They were a hit on tour. But the band hailed as the all-girl Beatles at the height of Beatlemania couldn’t even get a record deal in England. However, things soon started to shift.
 
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First Kinks’ manager Larry Page and then Beatles manager Brian Epstein wanted to sign The Liverbirds. But the girls were off to Hamburg to play the Star Club. The band was an instant hit in Germany as Mary McGlory recalls:

We arrived in Hamburg on the 28th May, 1964 and played the same night. The crowd was great and loved us right away. The Star-Club owner Manfred Weissleder became our one and only MANAGER.

A few days later he sent us to Berlin to play at a big concert with Chuck Berry, shortly before we went on stage we were told that it was forbidden to play any Chuck Berry songs. Well that was impossible for us, so when Val went to the mike and announced “Roll over Beethoven”, Berry’s manager ran on stage and tried to stop us playing, Val pushed him away and told him to “F. Off”.(She had probably had a shandy). Back in Hamburg, Manfred called us to his office, we thought he was going to tell us off, but no such thing, Chuck Berry’s manager wanted to take us to America. Manfred said he would leave the decision up to us, but then he added – he will probably take you to Las Vegas, and there you will have to play topless! Well of course that was his way of putting us off. After all, the club was still crowded every night.

The band had hits with the songs “Peanut Butter,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” “Loop-de-Loop,” and “Diddley Daddy.” Although in performance they played the very same Willie Dixon and Chuck Berry covers favored by the Stones and other boys, Birch also started writing original numbers, producing such favorites as “Why Do You Hang Around Me?” and “It’s Got To be You.” Though pioneering and incredibly popular, the girls (now in their late teens-early twenties) still faced the everyday sexism from record industry supremos who thought young girls should be on the scene, but not heard. Not unless they were in the audience screaming. These men wanted girls who dressed to please—not girls who played instruments better than the boys. Girls with guitars? That won’t work. Except for that, of course, it did. Splendidly!
 
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In 1968, on the cusp of a Japanese tour the band split:

Until 1967, we played nearly all over Europe, recorded two albums and four singles for the Star-Club label and appeared on many television shows. Our drummer Sylvia married her boyfriend John Wiggins from The Bobby Patrick Big Six and left the band. Shortly after Val married her German boyfriend Stephan, who had a car accident on his way to visit her and was since paralyzed. So when we got an offer from Yamaha to do a tour of Japan at the beginning of 1968, Pam and I had to find two German girls to replace them. Japan was great, and the Japanese people really liked us, but Pam and I did not enjoy it anymore, we missed the other two, the fun had gone out of it. We thought this is the right time to finish, even though we were still only 22 and 23.

Today McGlory, Gell and Saunders continue with their post-Liverbirds lives. Sadly, Pamela Birch died in 2009. However, this all-girl guitar band should be given credit for pioneering rock and roll, R ‘n’ B and being right up there for a time with The Beatles, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones.
 

The Liverbirds perform on ‘Beat Club’ 1965.

More from the female Fab Four after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Fanny: The Great Lost Female Rock Group of the 1970s
04.18.2016
01:40 pm

Topics:
Feminism
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Fanny


 
Years before the Runaways or the Go-Go’s, there was pioneering “chick rock” band, Fanny. Fanny was formed in 1969 by teenaged guitarist-singer June Millington, with her sister Jean and drummer Alice de Buhr, as “Wild Honey.” When Nickey Barclay, a keyboard player who toured with Joe Cocker’s infamous “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” group joined them, the band was renamed “Fanny.” In the UK, where the word means “vagina” and not “butt” like it does in the USA, Fanny were thought to be quite outrageous by radio programmers. More outrageous than I think they intended.
 

 
Along with Suzi Quatro’s early band, The Pleasure Seekers and before them, Genya Ravan’s girl group Goldie & the Gingerbreads, Fanny was among the very first real female rock groups signed to a major label (Reprise Records, the artists first label started by Frank Sinatra, who was the “Chairman of the Board”). They worked with famed producer Richard Perry (Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, etc) and later Todd Rundgren. They recorded at the Beatles’ Apple Studios and backed Barbra Streisand on her Barbra Joan Streisand album. They toured opening up for huge 70s acts like Slade, Jethro Tull and Humble Pie, but sadly, they are little more than a gender pioneer footnote today.

Fanny were nothing short of incredible, as you will hear, but they never made it as big as they should have. It’s unfair.

David Bowie, in a 1999 Rolling Stone interview, said of the group:

“One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without a trace. And that is Fanny. They were one of the finest… rock bands of their time, in about 1973. They were extraordinary: They wrote everything, they played like motherfuckers, they were just colossal and wonderful. They’re as important as anybody else who’s ever been, ever; it just wasn’t their time. Revivify Fanny. And I will feel that my work is done”

More Fanny after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Slits: College radio standoff between ‘a coven of witches and a mob of townspeople,’ 1980
03.15.2016
12:35 pm

Topics:
Feminism
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Slits


 

Disc jockey: “What do you think about President Reagan.”

Slits:

“Oh boring.”

“Boring.”

“Ugh.”

“I can’t deal with that.”

“He’s full of shit.”

The Slits had driven to college radio station WORT-FM in Madison, Wisconsin directly after a gig in Chicago and were exhausted and obviously rather testy when they arrived. They immediately set about destroying the show and hilariously insulting most of the male listeners. They were slightly nicer to the female callers, even offering to put one of them on the guest list.

This lengendary recording came in various forms, as a promo record, bundled with The Return of The Giant Slits LP or on the cassette release of that album. It’s also on the 2008 CD release of The Return of The Giant Slits.
 

 
Waxidermy had this to say:

Resembling some sort of mythical, technologically-mediated encounter between a coven of witches and a mob of townspeople (most of them men), this “interview” is hilarious, profound, and scary all at the same time.

More Slits after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
30 gorgeous black & white photos of Frida Kahlo
03.14.2016
11:31 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism
Heroes
Pop Culture

Tags:
Frida Kahlo


Frida Kahlo in the artist’s studio by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, 1932

I’m posting these gorgeous B&W portraits of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo because A) they’re all simply wonderful and B) there’s never enough Frida as far as I’m concerned.

Enjoy!


Frida Kahlo by Lucienne Bloch, 1933
 

Frida Kahlo by Lucienne Bloch, 1935
 
More Frida after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Plain Janes’ need not apply: Women in movie screenplays are invariably described as ‘attractive’
02.11.2016
11:42 am

Topics:
Feminism
Movies

Tags:
feminism
screenwriters


Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) in ‘The World Is Not Enough’

By now, a great many movie fans are familiar with the Bechdel Test, a thought exercise developed by cartoonist Alison Bechdel and her friend Liz Wallace that appeared in Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. In its common form, a movie passes the Bechdel Test if two named characters converse about any topic other than a man. Depressingly, as we’ve all learned, many movies have a hard time meeting even that low bar.

Another common area of irritation for women in films is casting. It’s far harder for an older woman to succeed as an actor than it is for a man, because casting personnel will tend strongly to populate every female role with younger women. One of the reasons Hollywood casts younger women is that younger women are perceived as more attractive, which gets us to the topic of this post.

A producer named Ross Putman has started an amusing Twitter account designed to point some obvious inequities in the ways characters in movies are apportioned.

Putnam’s Twitter account the parts of certain screenplays in which a major female character is introduced, pointing up how lazily, reflexively, automatically such characters are described as attractive, smoking hot, pretty, etc., whether it makes sense in the role or not. Here’s Putnam’s description of the project:
 

These are intros for female leads in actual scripts I read. Names changed to JANE, otherwise verbatim. Update as I go. Apologies if I quote your work.

 

After reading several of these tweets, one begins to wonder what’s motivating the (presumably) men who write this stuff.

James Bond movies are famous for being populated with sexy women for Bond to fuck, but in 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, one of four indistinguishable James Bond movies featuring Pierce Brosnan, they went over the line, creating a character called Dr. Christmas Jones, who is a nuclear physicist played by Denise Richards.

For the record, here’s how Christmas Jones is described in the screenplay
 

Moving fast, off comes the helmet to reveal a BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN GIRL. CHRISTMAS JONES is mid-twenties, shortish hair, hot right now.  In one movement she unzips and steps out of the suit, revealing a khaki sports bra, cut-off shorts, heavy duty boots.  A nasty-looking hunting knife strapped around her hips.  She has a deep tan and an incredible figure.

 
This character stretched credulity to the point that Canada’s National Post called her character one of the “ten worst moments in the history of James Bond on film.”

Anyway, here is a sample of some of Putnam’s JANE tweets:
 

 

 
More tweets about JANE and how attractive she is after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Nappy Happy’: Radical thinker Angela Davis interviews Ice Cube, 1991
02.11.2016
09:12 am

Topics:
Feminism
Hip-hop
Music
Race
Thinkers

Tags:
Angela Davis
Ice Cube


 
Before the release of Ice Cube’s Death Certificate, renowned black radical Angela Y. Davis interviewed him for Transition Magazine. It’s probably the first and last time a magazine has used a Gramsci quotation to introduce its readers to Ice Cube.

Davis, a former student of Herbert Marcuse, had been targeted by Governor Ronald Reagan in 1969 and 1970, when she was an assistant professor in UCLA’s Philosophy Department. At the governor’s urging, she was fired (twice), and Reagan vowed that she would never teach at the University of California again. Because who was better qualified to evaluate the work of philosophy professors than like Ronald Reagan? (Today, Davis is Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies Departments at UC Santa Cruz, and “Reagan” is a pair of syllables that stands for mental decay.) In ‘80, a decade after she was arrested because of her association with the Soledad Brothers, and again in ‘84, she was the vice-presidential candidate on the Communist Party USA ticket.

Ice Cube was coming from a different place. You couldn’t call his analysis Marxist, and “feminist” would have been a real stretch: he was reading The Final Call, not People’s World. This was during the period of Cube’s loudest advocacy for the Nation of Islam—before Friday, long before Are We There Yet?—when he was advocating black self-reliance (“We’ve got to start policing and patrolling our own neighborhoods,” he told Davis), endorsing an anti semitic NOI book called The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, and arguing that the Hon. Elijah Muhammad was more important than Malcolm X. He and Davis had plenty to talk about.
 

Angela Davis and Ice Cube in Transition #58
 
Hip-hop historian Jeff Chang, who thinks this meeting likely took place in July of ‘91, writes in Can’t Stop Won’t Stop that publicist Leyla Turkkan set up the interview, hoping it would position Ice Cube as “an inheritor of the Black radical tradition.” Chang continues:

The interview was a provocative idea—one that both Davis and Cube welcomed. But none of them had any idea how the conversation would turn when they got together in Cube’s Street Knowledge business offices.

To begin with, Davis only heard a few tracks from the still unfinished album [Death Certificate], including “My Summer Vacation,” “Us” and a track called “Lord Have Mercy,” which never made it to the album. She did not hear the song that would become most controversial—a rap entitled “Black Korea.” In another way, she was at a more fundamental disadvantage in the conversation.

Like Davis, Cube’s mother had grown up in the South. After moving to Watts, she had come of age as a participant in the 1965 riots. While Cube and his mother were close, they often argued about politics and his lyrics. Now it was like Cube was sitting down to talk with his mother. Davis was at a loss the way any parent is with her child at the moment he’s in the fullest agitation of his becoming.

Cube sat back behind his glass desk in a black leather chair, the walls covered with framed gold records and posters for Boyz N The Hood and his albums. Copies of URB, The Source and The Final Call were laid out in front of him. Davis asked Cube how he felt about the older generation.

“When I look at older people, I don’t think they feel that they can learn from the younger generation. I try and tell my mother things that she just doesn’t want to hear sometimes,” he answered.

There’s more, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Empty Porn Sets
01.26.2016
08:51 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism
Sex

Tags:
photography
pornography
Jo Broughton

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Balloons set (2004)

I was once on a porn set. It wasn’t how I had imagined it would be. I was part of a production crew making a documentary about online porn. We were in the upstairs bedroom of a small terraced house in the north of England. Outside all the houses looked the same: red-bricked back-to-backs with cobbled lanes. Quiet streets, half-net curtains hung in windows. In a small bedroom a man who looked like Benny Hill wearing a blonde Beatle wig was directing two young girls in bikinis to cover their bodies with various food products. He was filming their antics for his web channel, telling the girls to squirt more mayonnaise down their cleavage, splatter more beans on their bottoms, get that ice cream all over their chins and so forth. Downstairs Benny’s wife sat by a coal fire patiently knitting, and sipping weak sweet tea.

Behind the fantasy set of latex curtains, paddling pool, ketchup bottles and assorted props was a small dingy room—the kind seen in Britain’s black & white kitchen-sink dramas of the 1960s. The smell of congealing food was nauseating but the girls who were smeared with it were laughing and joking and egging each other on to be more outrageous. Their onscreen activities seemed very unsexual. I was seeing the whole absurd scene—the bare floorboards, the peeling wallpaper, the small tripod lights—not the close-up titillation being broadcast to an excited online audience paying by the minute.

This dissociation between the pornographic image and its creation—between location and use—form part of Jo Broughton’s photographs of empty porn sets.

Broughton was studying a foundation art course at Thurrock, Essex, when she was sent for work experience to London, as she explained in an interview with Jean Wainright.

I thought what I was being sent to was a glamorous fashion shoot when in actual fact I walked into a studio in Hoxton to a nurses set being set up and a girl walking out of a changing room wearing suspenders and stockings, the full monty kit. Quite an abrupt Yorkshireman approached me and asked if I’d ever seen a “fanny up front” and I squeaked “No” and he replied “Well today’s your lucky day”.

[Fanny is British slang for “pussy” not rear end—the difference of meaning once disconcerted English jazz singer Cleo Laine when her American doctor said he was going to give her “a jag in the fanny.”]

Jo was supposed to be doing two weeks work, but dropped out of college and stayed with the studio for two years.

For a long time I had quite a problem with what was going on there, I was quite conflicted. I was green as grass; I’d never ever walked into something like that before…

..It was very contradictory in some respects to have this space where I was safe and had a connection to people that were “family” and yet it’s perceived as very unsafe to other people: it’s a safe industry because they work very safely but it isn’t your desired environment, I wouldn’t desire it for my child to work as a pornographic model. My conflicting emotions stayed with me and I hid it very well, where I’d been and what I’d been doing, for a long time.

She worked as a studio assistant.

...my job was to paint the set, make lots and lots of tea and to sweep up. I was just the dogsbody, to put up the lights; always give Steve a “pop”, meaning I’d have to dump the power on the light packs for him to do the light test. I had to put up the poly boards and all the normal stuff you do in a studio with the content of a sexual nature, which actually was very tame and quite tongue in cheek now.

Having left college and finding herself temporarily without a place to stay, Jo started sleeping on the studio sets at night. During the day she was working as a photographic assistant at major Sunday broadsheet the Observer. Because of how people perceived porn, Jo could tell no one what she was doing or where she was staying.

When I was working as an assistant we would get phone calls all day, somehow people had got hold of the studios number and they would scream obscenities down the phone and make threats. People were repelled and absolutely disgusted by the subject of porn; you just didn’t mention that you worked in the porn industry. So in order not to be tainted by that brush, I didn’t dare mention it when I was at The Observer because you just didn’t knew how people would take it, take what you did.

Then Broughton enrolled at Royal College of Art. She also continued visiting the studio every week and began working as a cleaner there.

I’d had these conflicting issues about these models seen as meat and I was doing all this feminist work and then I became Steve’s cleaner every two weeks. I became this… I don’t know how to describe it, this Igor character, cleaning up after someone. But also, I felt more humanistic towards the models, the industry and suddenly I started becoming more comfortable with it myself. I started to see this more human aspect because I’m seeing bodily fluids and I’m washing things and I’m in contact with almost what the untouchable is. You know, washing dildos and whatever, you’re there, at that point. And suddenly I started to laugh and see the funny side of it and going in and putting the radio on and seeing the set week after week after week, it would change. It made me laugh because you see the set, there’s so much work that goes into those sets and yet it’s still the same subject; tits and arse.

Broughton started photographing the sets at night. She was interested in revealing the reality behind the artificial glossy sex of porn mags.

I’m letting the audience in to see what I saw and also to take the power out of it almost. It is to say this is false, which I suppose pornography is, it’s false. I like the fact that there’s a brick holding up the poly-board that reflects the light, the ambiance coming in, the floor boards coming in. For me it’s really important to have those elements, also it shows humanistic elements of imperfections. Because in the magazines that its published in that would all be cut off and straightened and it would all be very glossy, so that was important. Also, I wanted to show the space I had this relationship with, that was important to me as well. This space doesn’t really know what’s going on, a table doesn’t know it’s a table, a porn set doesn’t know it’s a porn set and that’s almost what I was trying to do.

Each of Jo Broughton’s photographs was taken on a porn shoot. The bed sheets are crumpled and stained, stockings and shoes lie on the floor, discarded sex toys and lubricant are visible. The frame is devoid of people, only the evidence of sexual performance and the illusion of passionate intimacy remain.

More of Jo Broughton’s work can be seen here.
 
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Christmas November Set (2003)
 
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Nurses (2002)
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The controversial (and lampooned) bondage-themed billboard for The Rolling Stones’ ‘Black and Blue’

The bondage-themed print ad for The Rolling Stones record, Black and Blue, 1976
The magazine version of the controversial advertising campaign for Black and Blue from 1976

In 1976, the Rolling Stones released Black and Blue, their first record with new guitarist, Ronnie Wood. To help promote the record, a billboard was erected over the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The boundary pushing advertisement featured a racy image of model Anita Russell (who Mick Jagger originally considered “too pretty” for the part).
 
The billboard hanging above Sunset Strip, 1976
The billboard on the Sunset Strip, 1976

Jagger took one for the team and tied Russell up himself for the bondage-themed photo shoot. In the 14 x 48 foot billboard that hung above one of the busiest thoroughfares in Hollywood, Russell is tightly bound, her clothing ripped and the inside of her legs are bruised, as she sits spread eagled on top of the gatefold cover of Black and Blue with the caption:

I’m “Black and Blue” from The Rolling Stones—and I love it!

For some weird reason nobody in the Stones PR camp thought that the billboard would bother anyone, much less send the message that female fans of the Rolling Stones like to be physically abused. Of course the outcry to remove the billboard, especially from feminists who defaced the billboard with red paint, was immediate and it quickly disappeared.

But the news about the controversial photo and message had already garnered the band worldwide press coverage, and Black and Blue (a record infamous rock journalist Lester Bangs called “the first meaningless Rolling Stones album”—he was right) eventually went platinum in the U.S.
 
Mick Jagger and Anita Russell in a promo for Black and Blue from National Lampoon, 1976
The tables turn on Mick in this spoof that ran in National Lampoon’s “Compulsory Summer Sex Issue” in August of 1976

And because now I’ve got Black and Blue on the brain, here’s the band (with Billy Preston) looking like absolute plonkers in the “Hey Negrita” video.
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Female lawmaker hilariously troll-proposes to limit men’s access to boner pills
12.14.2015
10:07 am

Topics:
Amusing
Current Events
Feminism

Tags:
Viagra
abortion


 
Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Mia McLeod, filed a bill on December 10th calling for any man seeking to obtain a prescription for Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or other such erectile dysfunction drugs, to be required to obtain a notarized affidavit from his sexual partner, undergo a cardiac stress test, and receive sexual counseling.

McLeod admits in an interview with South Carolina’s Free Times that she’s basically trolling her colleagues who have proposed restrictions on abortion:

“Those who are adamant about introducing some type of abortion bill every session, that’s really what this is about — I’m just sick of it. We’ve got much bigger fish to fry. I just decided that until they could stay out my uterus I would refuse to stay out of their bedroom.  All the things that they come up with are invasive… They’re not necessary. I just think it’s time for a little pushback on that end.”

 

Representative Mia McLeod
 
Among the “invasive” requirements in McLeod’s proposed “pushback” legislation, men would be

-required to obtain a notorized affidavit “in which at least one of the patient’s sexual partners affirms that the patient has experienced symptoms of erectile dysfunction during the 90 days preceding the affidavit’s date.”

-required to submit to a cardiac stress test.

-required to receive “extensive written notification of the dangers of such drugs, followed by a 24-hour waiting period.”

-required to attend counselling sessions that include “resources for patients to pursue celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”

Though it’s a brilliant ploy, McLeod admits it’s not likely to fly:

“I don’t expect a whole lot to happen with this bill other than to put them on notice.”

Put ‘em on notice, Mia!
 

 
Via: Eva Moore, Free Times

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘We Should All Be Feminists’ manifesto to be distributed to every 16-year-old in Sweden
12.03.2015
01:50 pm

Topics:
Feminism
Literature

Tags:
feminism
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


 
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is primarily known for three highly regarded novels: Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and, most recently, Americanah. In 2013, the same year that Americanah was published, a TED Talk by Adichie about the difficulties—and importance—of being a feminist in Nigeria became a minor internet sensation, amassing over 2.3 million views as of this writing.

Adichie has adapted the address into a tidy 64-page book called We Should All Be Feminists. As she explains, her introduction to the term feminist came when her friend Okoloma called her a feminist in “the same tone with which a person would say, ‘You’re a supporter of terrorism.’”

In Sweden, where a translation of the book was released on December 1, several organizations have joined forces to distribute Adichie’s book to every 16-year-old in the country.
 

 
The Swedish Women’s Lobby, together with publishing company Albert Bonniers Förlag, the UN Association of Sweden, and several other partner groups, announced on Tuesday that it would ensure that a free copy of the book finds its way to every second-grade high school student in Sweden. Already more than 100,000 copies of the book have been distributed; the Swedish Women’s Lobby also plans to distribute discussion guidelines to teachers in a few weeks.

According to Quartz, Clara Berglund, chair of the advocacy group, said in a statement that “this is the book that I wish all of my male classmates would have read when I was 16.” Adichie’s book, she said, will be “a gift to ourselves and future generations.”

At the group’s Tuesday press conference in Stockholm announcing the project, Adichie greeted Swedish high school students via video:
 

For me, feminism is about justice. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world that is more just. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world where a woman is never told that she can or cannot—or should or should not—do anything because she’s a woman. I want to live in a world where men and women are happier, where they’re not constrained by gender roles. I want to live in a world where men and women are truly equal, and that’s why I’m a feminist.

 
Interestingly, two weeks ago I was in a hostel on the southeastern coast of South Africa, and while there I was able to sample a small taste of Adichie’s popularity in Sweden: on the hostel’s “give a book, take a book” shelf was a copy of Adichie’s Americanah—I was looking for something to read and would eagerly have snapped it up, were the copy on the shelf not in Swedish!

Here’s the TED Talk that started it all:
 

 
via Internet Magic
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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