A deeply contested demand

One of the fascinating aspects of Fifty Shades of Feminism, edited by Lisa Appignanesi, Rachel Holmes and Susie Orbach, are the reflections on what has been achieved over the last few decades.

Liz Kelly, for instance, in a contribution entitled, ‘Changing it Up: Sexual Violence Three Decades On’, talks about ‘the deeply contested seventh demand’ of the British Women’s Liberation Movement regarding violence against women. The demand was:

Freedom for all women from intimidation by the threat or use of male violence. An end to the laws, assumptions and institutions which perpetuate male dominance and men’s aggression towards women.

That this should have been ‘deeply contested’ almost seems bizarre today. And indeed Kelly goes on to say:

In thinking about this piece, I tried to remember just why this statement was considered so divisive in the late 1970s: few would contest its content today …

One would hope so and yet the idea of male dominance sadly seems difficult to eradicate in some parts of society.

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