Charlotte Church: women who aren’t feminists annoy me
Don’t want to return to ‘ridiculous old fashioned sexism’? Then stop stop buying celebrity and lad-mag magazines and do more for the student feminist cause, says Charlotte Church.
From hero to zero, innocent virgin opera star to sexed up pop bunny, Charlotte Church has had her fair share of bad press and transformations. But now Charlotte is fighting back with the F-word – Feminism, and urges students to join this cause celebre.
Warning that young female students are at risk of being hyper-sexualised, Charlotte said female students owe it to each other to be feminists if they are to avoid being turned into a Miley Cyrus-esque ‘sex-bot.’
“Women who say they are not a feminist annoy me.” Says Charlotte, who now, at the age of 27, has opted for a more conservative wardrobe; the standard jeans and a t-shirt combo, often worn by over-worked, under-paid mothers’ at Costa.
“I don’t really understand why every woman wouldn’t consider themselves as a feminist. Because it’s not a radical thing, you know, this isn’t ‘revolution.’ It’s just to say, yes I’m a woman, I’m entirely aware that I can do everything that a man can do. And I’m proud of that, and I’m proud to be able to tell you about other women who are amazing and do phenomenal things.”
It seems that some students agree with Charlotte, as the number of Feminist groups established at universities nationwide has soared over the past year. Durham, Westminster, Liverpool, Gloucestershire, Central Lancashire and Kings College London have all seen Feminist societies gain ground, railing against the ‘it’s not rape if’ lad-culture. Coupled with Sinead O’Connor’s open backlash against Miley Cyrus’ infamous VMA performance, Feminism has become increasingly under the media spotlight, and caught the student population’s attention.
However, Charlotte Church has hit out at those who still choose not to support the boob-flashing, rabble-rousing, ‘intellectual’ feisty Feminist cause. This comes after her impassioned Lecture at the National Radio Festival, which berated the ‘demeaning,’ ‘hyper-sexualised,’ images of women produced by the music and media business; and the issues that young women face on a daily basis.
Charlotte has highlighted that female students at university are not immune to hyper-sexualisation. She warns that young women are manipulated and forced to believe that female maturity is synonymous with an increasingly sexualized image.
Speaking from experience, the Welsh singer’s image became drastically sexualised at the height of her operatic career, in her late teens. No one could have guessed that the child star, who used to sing angelic classical numbers, would come to rave about how she likes “the sound of your belt dropping” and “whip cracking,” in the raunchy track ‘Call My Name.’ Nor would we have expected the ‘Voice Of An Angel’ teen to be clad in Corsets, fishnets and all the Anne Summers-esque trimmings before she had even hit her 20s.
Comparisons can be made with the Uni ‘get your tits’ out culture, that pressurizes many female students to don skimpy leather hot pants and 9 and risqué crop tops in order to get male attention.
But with feminism being increasingly portrayed in the media as a ‘radical’ movement, and with Feminist societies at university remaining comparatively small in size, is there really a credible future for student-led and professional feminist campaigns? Charlotte seems to think so.
“I actually think feminism is getting a much better name in recent times. I think it’s because of social media mostly. You have ‘No more page three’ and ‘everyday sexism,’ where you can go on twitter and hashtag everyday sexism and your experience of it. I think social media has really helped the feminist cause.
Indeed students are by no means shy of using social media to indulge in feminist propaganda. Durham university Fem-Soc famously begun an ‘I need feminism because…’ campaign, posting photos of students with their views on why the F-word is so important.
But what does Charlotte think needs to change and how can students, and student media play a part?
“I would like to see it more fairly balanced really. I would like there to be no undertones of sexism in the media, which I think there is a lot of. I’d like for carnal images, which feed into our everyday lives, be it through page three, or what you may see in a supermarket in the Lads Mags. For example, Tesco say that they have a policy where they don’t have any over 18 magazines. Yet they stock Nuts, Zoo and Loaded.”
Charlotte, who is regularly called a ‘slut’ on twitter due to her tainted reputation, warns students of the dangerous effect those glossy magazines, which falsely glamorize the cult of late-teen stars turned ‘sex-bots’, such as Miley Cyrus. Indeed, these magazines are often aimed at, and widely consumed by a student audience.
“I have a massive problem personally with these celebrity and lifestyle magazines, which are aimed towards women, which do nothing but demean women, and focus only on the superficial, aesthetics of women’s lives. And though they may dive a little bit into world issues, it is like ‘here is something about Iran, whilst you can look at pretty shoes to buy’. I just don’t think that is helping the problem at all.
But it is not only the sexualisation of women that concerns the former opera star. A recent IWMF report stated that women are seriously disadvantaged from moving from junior to professional roles in the UK media industry. This means that female students seeking to enter the media business are likely be hindered by their gender. We asked Charlotte for her thoughts.
“We were sold a lie a decade ago when everybody said there is no need for feminism, ‘all is fine, stop ranting and raving you crazy women.’ But of course that’s not the case. And I actually think we’re going back, we’re reverting back to ridiculous old- fashioned sort of stereotypes of where women should be and what their role should be. ‘You should just type and don’t make any decisions, just type what the men say.’
But does Feminism deserve the attention of the student community, or is it just a load of all toff – that’s for you to decide!