Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Talk in York

I went up to York last week to give a talk on the New Feminism to the Catholic Chaplaincy and dropped into the Faith Symposium at Ampleforth on the way up. I was made very welcome by the chaplain and the students, given a delicious meal and taken to the pub afterwards, a rare treat now that I have young children. As always, I was impressed by the calibre of the questions - not a cliche in sight. I was quizzed about the socio-economic situation and the difficulties it poses for the majority of women who want to take time out of the workplace to raise their children, how I might answer criticisms of the New Feminism that it is not feminism at all, questions about abortion, the role of fathers and the reasons why so many women and men have rejected feminism.

One question I found particularly interesting was from a black student who pointed out that feminism comes across as very 'white' in that it has always seemed to disregard the experience of women from other countries who, for example, always went out to work because the luxury of staying home was never open to them. A criticism of feminism in the past has been that it is white and middle class, not so much a question of 'votes for women' as 'votes for ladies' and I think that is still a major problem today.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Population theories and Racism

I came across this very interesting interview with a leading environmentalist who points out that the primary environmental issue is overconsumption not population.
ML: The first part of your book traces the history of the population control movement and makes some disturbing links between eugenics and the founders of the modern environmental movement. Do you believe that there is a racist element to population control measures?

FP: There has been. I suspect that in some places, there still is. I think it's dying. But we have to be careful to look for it. You can see it as underpinning the notion that it's people in countries far away, with dark skins, breeding, that are damaging planetary systems and are causing greenhouse gases emissions. How dare we! Is there racism in that? I suspect there is a bit.

Fred Pearce also reiterates the warning that some countries in Europe will have lost 80-90% of their populations by the end of the century.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

And the food craving of the week is...

Aaaargh! I have an overwhelming craving for wine gums. Yes, wine gums. Wine gums of any flavour (except blackcurrent which taste like cough medicine) I'm going to be a toothless diabetic by the end of this pregnancy at the rate I'm going...