Cosmo celebrates its 40th birthday but do women care about feminism?
Next week, women’s magazine Cosmopolitan hosts its Ultimate Women of the Year Awards. As Cosmo celebrates its 40th year in Britain, Metro asks how feminism has changed in that time and if the term is relevant to women today.
Feminism is under attack. From women. Again.
Last week, a survey by Britain’s largest women’s website, Netmums, found that only one in seven call themselves ‘feminists’.
The site’s founder, Siobhan Freegard, said traditional feminism is no longer working for women.
‘It’s aggressive, divisive and doesn’t take into account their personal circumstances,’ she said, adding that the battle of the sexes no longer existed.
Yet try telling that to the great-grand-daughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who this week pointed out that only a quarter of MPs are women and called for feminism to be put ‘at the heart of politics’.
Try telling that to Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, who this month made such a fervent attack on misogyny that it led to the country’s leading dictionary changing its definition of the term.
And try telling that to the average British female worker, who is paid 15 per cent less than her male counterpart. This week, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by council workers in Birmingham which allows them to claim equal pay arrears for up to six years.
While the notion of feminism may not be ripping itself apart exactly, many women prefer not to even use the word.
This year, as part of its 40th anniversary in Britain, Cosmopolitan magazine launched a campaign to reclaim it.
‘When you talk to a lot of young women, some of them associate the word “feminism” in a negative way and we just thought that’s totally wrong,’ said British Cosmopolitan’s editor Louise Court.
The magazine’s annual Ultimate Women of the Year Awards take place next Tuesday at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, where women both in and away from the public eye will be honoured.
Ms Court pointed out that men can be feminists too, as it’s more about a personal stance than gender.
‘Feminism stands for: women are equal to men. Why wouldn’t you agree with that?’