Why Ladyfest? People always ask me why I want to spend my life in feminism. I never know what to say, because I don’t understand how I couldn’t. When two women a week are killed in England as a result of domestic violence, when women are paid 18% less than men in the UK and even less in France for doing the same jobs, when there is no way out of the sex industry for many women who are pimped out, abused- when women are a commodity at all. When breasts and the supposed expression of female orgasm is used to sell everything from shampoo to vodka and only one advert in ten on the metro features a man. When I can’t walk home at night alone without feeling vulnerable, when I question my responsibility when I am sexually assaulted. When I am told to stay home if I feel vulnerable, when I am told it is my responsibility if I am assaulted. When an 11 year old girl who is gang raped in the USA this week, in 2011, is told she is responsible, when the provocation of her clothes is addressed by the US Media when she was assaulted by over 20 men. When there is only a 6% prosecution rate for rape and everyone from our political leaders to our favourite sports stars are getting away with it.
Sometimes when men shout at me in the street, or stare at me even if I am in my pyjamas, or try and grab me on the Metro, I feel like I am asking for it. I know I am not, I am never asking for it. When someone threw me on the street and tried to assault me, I later questioned my responsibility. It was not mine. But sometimes it is hard to remember that. It is through events like Ladyfest Paris, events that bring like-minded feminists together, that we can remind eachother and everyone else of the relevance and importance of a cause that is often bastardised as simply man-hating. If only it was as easy as sitting around and bitching about our ex boyfriends. We can help eachother be stronger feminists and hope to help others who sometimes are not afforded the liberties that we are. We can listen to music, see art that celebrates women and diversity. We can talk about things that affect us on a daily basis, and others throughout the world, and we can have a good time. I don’t understand how anyone could not want to be a part of that.
- Olivia Singer (2011)