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Knowledge, Perspectives

Gen Z Frenzy

Polite Passivity: The Root of Bad Feminism

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Having recently engaged in far too long a chat with a man who prefaced our conversation with, ‘we probably won’t get along, because you seem like a leftie feminist’, afterwards I pondered: ‘why did I bother to carry on talking to him?’

“Don’t worry, I’m not that good at it” is what I would’ve replied if I was being perfectly honest. Instead, I opted for loud silence accompanied by a slightly perturbed face (before bitching about it to my group chat). Upon some existential level self-reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was polite passivity that forced me to continue the conversation with Mr Anti-feminist which is – in my opinion – one of the roots of bad feminism.

Sure, I’m a bad feminist in more ways than I’d like to admit; I nod along to someone mansplaining to me how to work a radiator, I apologise for saying what I mean, and I end every work email with ‘no worries if not!’. But, is it better to be a really sh*t feminist than not at all? And, if you never speak up for what you believe in, is there much point in believing in it?

It’s only natural that after years of being spoken over, women have got used to the idea of not speaking up. As Roxane Gay once said, “When women respond negatively to misogynistic humour, they are “sensitive” and branded as “feminist,” a word that has, as of late, become a catchall term for ‘“woman who does not tolerate bullsh*t.”

Toleration is boring, and it’s got me stuck in far too many conversations with men who say things like ‘you’re funny for a girl’ – thanks mate, you’re awful, even for a man, so why am I bothering to play nice?

Modern feminism is less about burning bras and more about burning bridges, so if, like me, you often find yourself nodding and smiling at things that make you want to claw your eyes out, stop it. Stop trying to avoid awkwardness that wasn’t created by you.

Happy International Women’s Day, and don’t worry if you’re a bad feminist, as long as you’re a loud one. x


Tue 1 Mar 2022

You Will See The Doctor Now

Star of Social and Mainstream Media, Dr Nighat Arif

When we were brainstorming ground-breaking women to interview for this issue, I knew who was first on my list to approach. Meeting again over Zoom, I start by apologising for the fact that, when we met, I had no idea ‘who she was’ and thankfully, she laughed…  

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Thu 19 May 2022

Local charity, Dementia Oxfordshire, are marking Dementia Action Week by hosting and attending events across the county. They are providing information and advice to people with a dementia diagnosis and their loved ones, encouraging local organisations and businesses to take dementia awareness training and urging individuals to visit the GP if they are concerned they may have dementia.

Mon 2 May 2022

From Seeds to Squirrels

Richard Dawkins’ Flights of Fancy

This year’s instalment of KITE, the Oxford-based festival of music and ideas, will see British evolutionary biologist and prolific author Richard Dawkins take the stage. He will be discussing his latest book, Flights of Fancy, which explores all aspects of flight – human and animal.

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Mon 2 May 2022

Gen Z Frenzy

It’s Not Talking if You’re Laughing

I recently tweeted that I’ve had the kind of year where if you read it in a book, you’d be like ‘Okay, that’s a bit far-fetched.’ and when it got to the stage where my sister’s therapist asked if I was okay, it felt like it might be time to do something about it.