While we have seen women make some gains in terms of formal equality, sexism, misogyny and male violence is still endemic, and this is why liberation rather than ‘equality’ is how we articulate what we are aiming for. We cannot dismantle male privilege, entitlement, dominance and violence until we dismantle the gender norms that condition this. By understanding that there are not any innate differences between females and males that mean we should expect our humanity to differentiate or to in any way be limited on account of our sex, we can create a society that moves away from socialising human beings into gender roles; we can create a society where gender is no longer even a consideration because it is understood that sex has no ties with what we have culturally coded as femininity and masculinity, and that human traits and behaviours are not inherently constrained into two types.
We argue that recognising this is crucial for any feminist project. We believe that dismantling patriarchy and tackling male violence should never be compromised. As individuals, and also as a group, we are part of a re-emergence of women’s rights activism in the UK that has arisen in part because such compromises are being made. Ordinary women have been coming together to fight for our rights, and for a feminism that would liberate us. A feminism that doesn’t tell us we mustn’t recognise ourselves, or define ourselves, or centre ourselves, or set our own boundaries, or name male violence, or organise as a class to fight for our rights, or fundamentally challenge patriarchy.
We have observed a schism of sorts between ordinary women who populate most feminist activism, campaigning and social media, and those in positions of power and influence who largely fail to engage with us. We feel that the voices of ordinary women feature far too little in politics and in policy making, and that this has led to policies that are adversely impacting us, as well as to a culture that largely functions to exclude, ignore and silence us. A culture that is increasingly misogynist.
Our group will elevate the voices of ordinary women in our campaigning for the rights of women and girls, and we will always be rooted in a feminism that liberates.