Last Wednesday, I headed back into Oxford after work to attend a talk by Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism project, successful author, and possibly one of the most articulate people I have ever heard speak in public.
The talk was held in the Sheldonian Theatre – always lovely – and was focussed around Bates’ new book, Misogynation.
In comparison to the personal accounts of Everyday Sexism, and the manual-style Girl Up, Misogynation is more of an exploration of the myriad forms sexism which, in conjunction with the likes of racism and ableism, create an overall culture of misogyny. Rather than treating individual incidents as one-offs, or simply part of a small problem, they need to be viewed in the context of the constant prejudice against women and minorities occurring in our societies.
The talk itself was excellent. As mentioned, Laura was extremely articulate and well-versed in the facts regarding the widespread prevalence of sexism. She addressed many of the typical reproofs aimed at feminists and anyone who dares to speak up against everyday instances of sexism, giving simple yet powerful replies founded in statistics and consolidated first-hand experience.
Girl Up is I think the most important of Bates’ books to read, and I would encourage everyone to do so (and convince others too!). Her other books are also excellent, but I think Girl Up is the most accessible and impactful. However, if you get the chance to see Bates in person, she is perhaps most inspiring and influential in front of an audience, fighting for what she believes is right.