feminist, Gender, Gender stereotypes, girls, Ms.

Around this time last year I was introduced to a bright young journalist who was embarking on writing a book on what I judged to be a very exciting and much needed topic; a modern girls’ guide to feminism.

The definitive Ms Ellie Levenson, whose name remains as thus despite getting married this year, this week celebrated launching her  book titled ‘The Noughtie Girl’s Guide to Feminism’. Complete with badges announcing ‘I’m a noughties girl’.

I now ordered a copy of this book and I’m looking forward to reading it, following which I will publish a book review of it on my blog.


Having spoken to Ellie about her  book over a year ago, I have high hopes that it’s going to provide me with a lot of food for thought. Ellie’s articles for the Guardian’s women’s section, and regular comment pieces for the Independent,  make top reads and have started to set the agenda in terms of modern feminist discussion.

So I recommend that you buy it and then let me know your take on it when I reveiw it in the next few weeks. (NB I haven’t linked to Amazon given my previous rants about their sale of supremely anti-feminist literarture and games!)


Body Image, Commission, equality, Gender stereotypes

You may have seen the blog which I have copied at the end of this post which went up on 5 December.

You will see that I put down a priority Written Question to the European Commission. This was, in fact, sent to the Commission on 3 December 2008. To date I have not heard anything back from either the relevant Commissioner or any Commission official.

I have therefore sent the following letter to Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, the Cyprus Commissioner with responsibility for public health, feed and food safety and animal health and welfare (and incidentally a woman).

Dear Mrs Vassiliou,
You will recall that I submitted a priority Written Question to the Commission on 3 December 2008 about the website

I have not yet received a reply.

As you know from reading my Question, I am extremely concerned that a website developed and funded by the European Commission to teach children about farming in Europe uses an inappropriate image of a young female. The image in question shows an unhealthily thin and provocatively dressed girl who is used to guide visitors through the site.

Such an image is both an horrific gender stereotype and an unhealthy example to the very children for whom the site is intended. You will be aware that the European Parliament recently passed a report seeking to end the use of obvious gender stereotyping. Given this, I find the Commission’s seeming disregard for the views of the Parliament both worrying and insulting.

I have to say, the neglect of my Question has only added injury to the aforementioned insult.
I trust you will reply as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,
Mary Honeyball MEP

Earlier blog posted on 5 December 2008

This new website, developed and funded by the European Commission, came to my attention this week: site aims to teach children about farming in the Europe. Sadly it completely ruins any good work it does by using an image of an unhealthily thin and provocatively dressed young girl to guide users through the site.I find it both shocking and depressing that the Commission’s Department for Health and Consumer Protection finds it acceptable to promote their work by using this image. Not only is it a horrific gender stereotype but it is also an extremely unhealthy image to promote to children. In the recent gender stereotyping report passed by Parliament, my colleagues and I noted that children are particularly impressionable audiences and that promoting unhealthy and unrealistic body images can negatively affect young viewers’ self-perception.The DG Health evidently was not listening.I have written a priority question to the Commission asking them what they were thinking of when they made this site and how much it cost to develop. I am also currently rallying support in the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee to take further action.