The feminist library
As I sat down to interview Sarah O’mahoney, 46 who is a volunteer at The feminist library that holds approximately 10,000 books and a small collection of archives from the Women’s Liberation Movement, I realised the importance of the library’s existence. The legacy of female feelings,thoughts and activism are documented within the books and archives waiting for attentive young feminists to reach in and relate to their experiences. It also offers advice and services for women of all ages to remain connected with other like-minded women, such as informing local women about upcoming events run by London Feminist Network or UK Feminista summer school and also holding monthly writing and book reviewing clubs of female fiction and non-fiction. Sarah discussed the aims of some great feminists such as Kat Banyard author of The Equality Illusion which was to educate women on the flawed male dominated society in which we live in.
She says ‘Feminism is not just about women, it can be for men too’ equality is something that has to be realised by both sexes and The feminist library aims to promote equality in the world and for Sarah equal pay is still a big unresolved issue that need not be ignored. Women now perceive themselves as more independent than ever before and for some the history of female activism is something that should remain in the past. Nevertheless she highlights that organisations such as OBJECT deal with the subtle issues that even local councils overlook, such as consulting local communities on the permission to license lap dancing clubs. Women seem to know what they want now, but the reality highlights that perhaps in order to keep the peace we enter the male dominated world, obey and comply with any decisions that inhibit self-realisation. That may be becoming a CEO or executive of a company but for many women the idea of having children and then face a plummeting career is one they are not willing to take. Amidst the objectifying images of women in the media the arriving of the Slutwalk that originated In Canada desired to reclaim the derogatory term and stereotype imposed on females dressed in ‘provocative’ clothing. In response to critics of the name the view of Sarah and The Feminist library as a community is that it is a step into a more equal world and should be supported as a necessary form of activism.
The clear message seems to be that mainstream media can make what they like of the extremist connotations that the label feminist has cultivated in the past, but celebrating feminism and all that it entails is something that can have great implications on social and cultural progression.