Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Right-On Time: Comment

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Right-On Time: Comment

Article excerpt

It's the first lesson of the new term. I hand out fresh exercise books and the children scribble down their names and the word "English". Next I write "Ms Briggs" on the board. The students shift uncomfortably, wondering who will have the temerity to tell me I've made a mistake. Eventually, one of the bolder ones (who by next week will be making planes out of yellow Post-its and launching them at my head) sticks up his hand. "Miss, you've spelt Miss wrong." And there you have it - 100 years of women's suffrage mistaken for a typo.

I shouldn't be surprised. After all, before Caroline Criado-Perez's successful campaign to put a woman on a Pounds 10 note, the feminist movement in the UK had been as active as a dormouse in December. While elsewhere in the world, heroic young girls like Malala Yousafzai were risking their lives to fight for the right to an education, women here were busy depilating their bodies, bleaching their bumholes and swirling pink frosting on to their double-D cupcakes. Actually, that's not true. A few younger women bought into the comfort-fit brand of feminism popularised by celebrities, largely because it advocates doing whatever you fancy, then labelling it a militant blow for the sisterhood. This has the advantage of allowing you to feel morally superior while still wearing six-inch heels.

But that was before the radicals took over. In the 1980s fat was the feminist issue, but for the new breed of intersectional activists everything - race, religion, class, sexuality, gender and Twitter - is a matter for feminist debate. …

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