Womens' Fightback no.2, February 2007

Socialist Feminism: Engels and the origin of female subjection

Published on: Mon, 26/02/2007 - 11:46

By Ella Downing

The two largest economically deprived groups in the world today are the working-class and women. This is not unrelated. Often states and religious institutions present this as an innate feature of human society. But we must reject this. The origins of inequalities must be understood instead.

When studying the progress of human society it becomes apparent that the emergence of a class society and the origins of female subjugation go hand in hand. Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State explains that class society arose when, out of the conditions of

Debate: okay to like porn?

Published on: Mon, 26/02/2007 - 11:45

By Cath Fletcher

It “encapsulates pretty much everything we find objectionable and upsetting about representations of women and of sexuality as a whole”. What is it? Woman’s Weekly? A Mills & Boon novel? Heat magazine? Page 3? Celebrity Love Island? No, in fact, it’s “mainstream heterosexual pornography”, so described by Sofie Buckland in her article “Is Pornography Free Speech?” (Women’s Fightback, Nov 2006).

While I agree with much of Sofie’s article, I think this is the wrong attitude for socialists to take. Because by starting off from the position that mainstream porn is sexist and

Masculinity on sale

Published on: Mon, 26/02/2007 - 11:43

By Sofie Buckland

To write this article, I decided to go and buy some lads’ mags; they’ve become a byword for sexism and I wanted to see for myself quite how bad they are. I wasn’t disappointed — both the notoriously crude cheaper weeklies like Nuts and Zoo, and the glossier monthly “lifestyle” magazines like FHM and Loaded are plastered from cover to cover with a representation of women that could have walked out of a Carry On film. We’re all either the butt of sexist jokes or reduced to a perfect tanned and toned figure.
And it’s not just the pictures; Zoo magazine is offering female readers

End body hatred

Published on: Mon, 26/02/2007 - 11:36

By Laura Schwartz. This article is taken from the latest issue of Women's Fightback. Read the contents here.

One little girl wore a sandwich-board declaring ‘I love my curves’. She was only about 11 and didn’t appear to have any curves, but she obviously had the right idea. She was part of a protest I attended against body fascism in the media, which took place outside the launch of London Fashion Week on 11 February and was attended by about 40 women. The protest was called by the website-based campaign, AnyBody which challenges "the limited physical representation of women in society".

Labour attacks lone parents (again)

Published on: Mon, 26/02/2007 - 11:32

By Jill Mountford

Last week, in the midst of teenage gun murders and a UNICEF report on childhood in the richest 21 nations that placed Britain firmly at the bottom of the league, the one time bully boy Stalinoid National Union of Students’ President, now a Government Minister (I know, it beggars belief), Jim Murphy announced a welfare reform to “tackle poverty and support aspiration” for lone parents.

Has Jim had a double politics and personality by-pass? Or is this just another nasty little package wrapped up in shiny paper and sparkly ribbon? Due to the limitations of science we can rest

Defend the health service

Published on: Mon, 26/02/2007 - 11:19

By Rachel Harris

Next year sees the 60th anniversary of the creation of the NHS. It was the first time anywhere in the world that completely free healthcare was made available on the basis of equal citizenship rather than wealth.

Working class women undoubtedly benefited the most from its creation. For the first time they had access to services such as community health centres, child welfare clinics, family doctors, health visitors, midwives and vaccination and immunisation programmes.

Working class women still depend on the NHS for decent, free healthcare provision but this is under threat.

Organise for abortion rights

Published on: Mon, 26/02/2007 - 11:17

By Kate Ahrens

Abortion “rights” are under attack. Over recent months there have been several attempts to get parliamentary discussion of proposals to reduce the upper time limit when abortions can legally be obtained from 24 weeks down to 21 or 20 weeks, as well as more subtle moves to attack the current abortion rules by calling for a “review” of whether recent medical development have reduced age at which foetuses might become viable.

Of course abortion in Britain is not a right at all and is not freely available to all women — two doctors must give consent that the termination is necessary

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