Feminist kitchen accessories – an oxymoron?

With Father’s Day approaching this Sunday 15th, it seems the perfect time to have a discussion about the ‘feminist’ nature (or not) of what the Radical Tea Towel Company does. Occasionally, we receive comments on our facebook page about whether the kitchen accessories on our website simply encourage stereotypes of women working in the kitchen. Here are a couple of examples:

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We don’t actually believe our stuff has to be seen in an ironic light at all: we have a range of figures and concepts on the tea towels, and the suffragette movement just happens to be one of these.

There’s nothing about a suffragette tea towel that says it’s only for use by women, or that a man can’t appreciate the finer stylistic points of a Keep Left apron. Which is why we offer you feminist gift ideas for Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day 😉 Continue reading “Feminist kitchen accessories – an oxymoron?”

Top Progressive Achievements of the 20th Century (UK): Pt2

This is the second of two posts on the ‘Top Progressive Achievements of the 20th Century’ in the UK. You can read the first part here.

7. Pay Equality (1970)

equalpay

The Equal Pay Act of 1970 (implemented in 1975) made it illegal to discriminate between men and women in pay and work conditions, provided it could be proved that a claimant’s work was broadly the same as another employee. Although the Labour Party and trade unions had previously promised support for equal pay legislation, it was the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968 (dramatised by the 2010 film ‘Made in Dagenham’) that energised the issue and encouraged MP Barbara Castle to push through the act.

 

6. Race Relations Act (1965)

Increased immigration from the Caribbean in post-war Britain had raised awareness of racial discrimination
Immigrants arriving in London on the Windrush, 1948

Significant as not only the first piece of racial equality legislation in the UK, but also the precursor for several pieces of liberal legislation from the 1960s onwards. The new law made it a civil offence to publicly discriminate on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origins, but was criticised for its weakness in failing to cover key areas such as employment and housing. It was strengthened by an amendment in 1968 and replaced in 1976. Post-war immigration from the Caribbean and former empire nations had raised awareness of racial discrimination in Britain.

Continue reading “Top Progressive Achievements of the 20th Century (UK): Pt2”

Top Progressive Achievements of the 20th Century (UK): Pt1

15. Establishment of the Open University (1969)

open university

The OU’s provision of distance learning and its open entry policy, stating that previous academic achievement was no bar to course enrollment, allowed thousands of adults to gain qualifications while still in full or part-time employment. By widening access to higher education, the OU has arguably been a significant contributor to social mobility. Today the OU is the largest academic institution in the UK, with over 250,000 people enrolled in its courses.

 

14. Defeat of the Poll Tax (1990)

Photo Credit: eddymanzano via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: eddymanzano via Compfight cc

The Community Charge, also known as the poll tax, was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government from 1989. A campaign of opposition, including an infamous riot in London’s Trafalgar Square, expressed the huge unpopularity of the tax, and contributed to the resignation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in November 1990. John Major announced the poll tax’s replacement by council tax in his first speech as Prime Minister.

Continue reading “Top Progressive Achievements of the 20th Century (UK): Pt1”

How to Talk Politics and Religion at the Dinner Table

At some point, we’ve all come across the advice that politics and religion are no-go areas for dinner table conversation. Presumably because people feel their views on these topics make up their core values: a self-definition of ‘who we are’, and therefore subjects people can get quite defensive about. The scope for divergent opinion is wide.

We’re drawn to those who share our core values and repelled by those who don’t, so the theory goes, so should avoid talking about our beliefs in social settings so as to minimise the high risk of disagreement.

There are a number of problems with this train of thought. Continue reading “How to Talk Politics and Religion at the Dinner Table”