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Minding the Gap in 2006 January 5, 2006

Posted by Winter in the adventures of mind the gap.
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The Mind the Gap blog is now just over 7 months old, and the actual feminist group it represents is about 15 months old. If I remember correctly, it was August 2004 when L (Siberian Fall), for it was she, convinced R and myself to resurrect the old Cardiff university women’s group with a more openly feminist agenda. Since then, we’ve come a long way in a relatively short space of time.

We spent much of that first year almost getting killed by Cardiff Students’ Union bureaucracy, but we did make some good contacts and we started this blog – one morning in June on a bit of a whim I might add. It turned out to be one of the best whims we’ve had. Taking part in the feminist blogging community has inspired and encouraged us to carry on in difficult times and we’ve made some truly wonderful friends. Here’s our first post, complete with R’s first encounter with a couple of commentators. Here’s my first post and R’s first post. Eventually, after the dropping of a few hints, L got in on the act with this lovely debut. One of the things I like about our blog is the fact that the 3 of us have very different interests and takes on feminism. In 2006 I hope you will begin to hear some of the other voices on our contributors’ list and perhaps even from the rest of the group.

On leaving the Students’ union in September 2005 we rather feared that Mind the Gap would die, but re-inventing ourselves as a community group actually proved to be the turning point. We now have several active core members and others who come regulary to events and discussion nights. We realised that our identity as a student group was putting people off and this year we need to consolidate and expand membership further.

We have found that some people are more interested in the intellectual side of feminism and others want to get on with grassroots campaigning, so we have tried to cover and link both areas together. The monthly discussion nights have proved a success. So far we have begun to explore global feminism, the representation of female sexuality in advertising, rape and eco feminism. The topics might seem a little random, but they are decided by the members in a rather ad hoc fashion in response to their interests. The discussions are very useful and form part of an ongoing process of self-education for us as feminists. They push us to do that reading we otherwise just keep putting off in our busy lives. We still have notes to write up on some of the talks which we’ll post here in time.

This autumn we finally kicked off a campaign around the issue of violence against women. Our petition is still running and we plan to present it to the Welsh Assembly government. More about that soon. I was also very pleased with our poster campaign, although we did run into some problems with getting them up because most of the group were not happy about putting them up illegally. It is amazing how few places there are to put posters legally, especially challenging posters of battered women . I put some up in my department and they were pulled down within a couple of days much to my annoyance.

However, in my opinion, one of our most important achievements has been the fostering of feminist friendships. Every time someone says to me “I’ve been looking for a feminist group for ages!” I feel we’re doing something worthwhile, providing relief from the isolation many younger feminists seem to feel these days.

In 2006 we’re going to continue the discussion nights with pornography, eating disorders, post feminism and socialist feminism penciled in for the next 4 months. I intend to learn a lot. I am also determined to get the long delayed body image zine done soon. One of our biggest problems now is the website; we need to create one asap, but we lack someone with the appropriate website making abilities at the moment. This spring we’re going to run a campaign to reclaim and promote feminism – a kick it to the backlash kind of campaign. It’s going to be fun. Yes, I said fun. We want it to be playful and humorous as well as challenging. Speaking of challenging and fun, one of our members wants to start a feminist band. We lack a bassist and a drummer, but so far possible names include “The She-Ras” and “Feministique.” It has been suggested to me recently that perhaps we should build some bridges and get in touch with the new Cardiff university women’s officer. Perhaps I will drop her a line. It would also be nice to expand our male membership a bit. We have one man officially in the group and one honoury member who’s been adopted, whether he likes it or not, and who’s support has been very important to us. Thank you K!

We also intend to support the development of Subtext feminist magazine and how about a group trip to the Reclaim the Night march in London next Autumn?

That’s probably enough to keep us busy for now, so here’s to feminist activism in 2006 in Cardiff and around the world.

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Comments»

1. The Happy Feminist - January 5, 2006

Keep up the good work!

How funny to get a comment your very first post praising you for not being one of those “rabid” feminist groups!

2. Winter - January 5, 2006

Yes, and how did he know our rabies status anyway?

3. Andygrrl - January 6, 2006

Wow. That is so awesome. I’m jealous! God I miss my FMLA days. I’d love to drop in one of your meetings some time!

4. Laurelin - January 6, 2006

You’ve all been an inspiration to me you know. Your drive, your spirit, your humour and your dedication! And please come to RTN next autumn! I can give you the short ‘places I have lived in London’ tour that is, um, so fascinating! 😉 love Laurelin xxx

5. Winter - January 6, 2006

Andy, if you ever get to cardiff we will hold a meeting especially.

Thanks laurelin. I hope we do make RTN. I intend to be there whatever else happens!

6. Andygrrl - January 7, 2006

LOL, Winter, then it really will be just like in FMLA, just me and a few friends hanging out, making feminism posters…

7. Winter - January 8, 2006

Nothing wrong with that!

8. Naiades - January 9, 2006

Andy, You’d be our first international guest feminist, that would be very cool.

rx


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