The Left-wing Labour Cult

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Photograph: A Labour Party contingent during a 1980s demonstration to protect a woman’s right to choose. On the farthest left hand side is my mum and with her some of those fantastic friends I mention.

This is a response to not only Hadley Freeman’s latest article for The Guardian (which in short describes Corbyn supporters as cult members) but the many pieces carrying similar sentiments I have seen since Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

For once I am going to up sell myself because I think it is necessary under these circumstances: I am an intelligent young woman and I consider myself to be equally compassionate and empathetic. I have been engaged in politics since the day my mum stood outside a polling station to support the Labour party, adorned with a red rosette and a baby in a sling (me). I continued to attend political rallies and demonstrations throughout my childhood and adulthood. I wrote the only vaguely political articles for my high-school newspaper in my final years of attendance. I got involved in student protests against the rise in tuition fees and government cuts during my undergraduate degree. I founded an intersectional feminist bookclub online to provide a safe space for those who were interested to discuss feminist literature without fear of being attacked. I have first hand experience of online abuse for daring to even mention I might have opinions; stupid little girl.

I also joined the Labour Party in early 2014 because despite having campaigned against Tony Blair’s policies on multiple occasions I saw an opportunity to be a part of an organisation that was founded on left-wing ideologies and may very well, with support, be able to provide a real alternative to the gruesome austerity measures put in place by the Conservative party. This was before Jeremy Corbyn was even nominated to run in the next year’s leadership election. That is not to say that my opinion as a member is of any more value than those who joined because of Corbyn; they too were inspired by the possibility of a political party, founded by trade unions (more cults?), that might once again defend the rights of the majority in the UK.

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How will men be able to respect you?

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My boyfriend and I recently watched 17 Again: a film where Zac Efron plays the part of a middle age man who through divine janitorial intervention is transformed back into his 17 year old self and has to attend high school with his two teenage children.  The film was fine, made me laugh, nothing out of this world. This is not a film review.

During the film Zac Efron’s character delivered an instructional speech to three girls who finding him attractive, decide to get their flirt on and let him know they are interested. His words (I’m quoting from memory here) were:

Girls! ‘If you don’t respect yourselves, how will men ever be able to respect you.’

Stop right there Zac Efron, or more accurately the screenwriters of 17 Again! Please, this is enough. This is another phrase I hear constantly especially in films and television. And it is seemingly portrayed as empowering message to young women… does no one else see the problem here?

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Women Who Inspire

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Let me preface this post by pointing out that I can honestly say that no woman has had a greater and more positive impact on my life than my mother. This post will highlight women who I do not personally know, however, that have still managed to provide me with positive role-models during different ages and phases in my life without even realising it.

It can sometimes be difficult as a girl or a woman to find other women to look up to. If you want to be a comedian it might be hard to see yourself on panel shows along side male comedians, who although often incredibly intelligent and witty you may find it harder to see yourself in or feel you can emulate in your career goals. I myself wish to write and especially write academic material. Unfortunately, however, academia is still a very male dominated sphere. Once again that is not to say the men who have worked hard to attain their doctorates are not incredibly deserving of their university positions but as a young woman striving to find her place it can be difficult when the books you are reading and the lectures you are attending are so often delivered by men. It is not unnatural to wonder, especially in the insecure, malleable age post-high school whilst making your first forays into higher education, is there a place for me here? And I was raised by strong, unsilenceable socialist feminists who told me I could be anything I wanted to be.

I wanted, therefore, to write this post and focus in on three women in the media that have inspired me in various different ways and might in turn inspire you too.

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