Feminists Discuss History, Vagina Parties, Bra Burning

BBC Radio 4 has aired its first episode of "Call Yourself A Feminist," a discussion of feminism in the 60's and 70's, and it is now accessible online.

In part 1 of 3, historian Bettany Hughes interviews guests journalist Ann Leslie, American academic Elaine Showalter, activist and historian Sally Alexander, and co-founder of the US National Organisation of Women, Sonia Fuentes. They talk about the general perception of feminism (including the bad press many feminists have received) and the gains feminism has made in the past 40 years. While this show offers an interesting (and serious) overview of feminist history, some of the best parts are about "speculum parties," feminist humor, and bra burning. Of rejecting her bras, second wave feminist Ann Leslie said "I certainly thought I don't have to wear bras that look like bomb casings, I don't have to strap myself into Playtex...I know people say it's trivial to pick up on the women's liberation movement influence on clothing, but clothing has always to a certain extent, through history, been a way of corralling women...Clothing is more than just fashion, it actually expresses something about society." [BBC]