blogs


I’ve written the latest round- up of the leaders’ wives on the campaign trail on my new blog here.
The new blog will focus on women, particularly on issues women face worldwide not frequently covered by the media, press attitudes towards women and women’s issues, journalism and innovative uses of new media around the world.
A Rye View will be my personal blog, where I will keep track of activities and projects and write about anything that catches my eye.

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Photo by ainudil through a Creative Commons licence

I read Rachel Cusk’s piece about women’s writing in the Observer last year and have been thinking about it since then. It’s well worth reading in full but here are some extracts:

Half silence, half enigma: the words “women’s writing” connote not simply a literature made by women but one that arises out of, and is shaped by, a set of specifically female conditions. A book is not an example of “women’s writing” simply because it is written by a woman. Writing may become “women’s writing” when it could not have been written by a man.

If a woman feels suffocated and grounded and bewildered by her womanhood, she feels these things alone, as an individual: there is currently no public unity among women, because since the peak of feminism the task of woman has been to assimilate herself with man. She is, therefore, occluded, scattered, disguised. Were a woman writer to address her sex, she would not know who or what she was addressing. Superficially this situation resembles equality, except that it occurs within the domination of “masculine values”. What today’s woman has gained in personal freedom she has lost in political caste. Hers is still the second sex, but she has earned the right to dissociate herself from it.

The room, or the lack of it, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with writing at all. It could be said that every woman should have a room of her own…. But it may equally be the case that a room of her own enables the woman writer to shed her links with femininity and commit herself to the reiteration of “masculine values”. The room itself may be the embodiment of those values, a conception of “property” that is at base unrelated to female nature.

Since reading it I’ve been thinking about how those arguments might apply to women in other socio-economic groups and cultures and also about the impact the internet might have for women in terms of opportunities to write and have their voices heard. I haven’t come up with anything conlusive but was interested to read James Bradley’s City of Tongues reflections on why women seem to dominate the blogosphere and use the medium to such great effect.

I went to the Convention on Modern Liberty at the Institute of Education in London yesterday.
I first went to the Blogger’s Summit that the chair Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy has written about here.
Interesting observation from Heather Brooke of Your Right to Know that whereas in the US electronic data and information is readily available, those in power in the UK regard information as something that “belongs to them” and not the people.
Ben Goldacre whose run-in with LBC is described below described amusingly how new media tools could be used for “chaotic, puerile disseminated investigative journalism”.
It was an event that brought together people across the whole political spectrum.. and covered a wide range of subjects as one of its organisers Henry Porter outlines here and here.
Peter Oborne’s comments about the media-political class inspired me to read his book The Triumph of the Political Class and so far its analysis of a political elite that exists for its own advancement is very persuasive – and goes some way to explain the apparent disconnect between the governing class and the people, no matter what political party they are in.
There was also some discussion about the impact that an economic slump will have on liberty and questions raised about the role the mainstream media would play if discontent leads to civil unrest.
Another book, Shafted, published later this month to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the miners’ strike examines some of the pitfalls journalists fell in.
What are the lessons to be learnt from the likes of Nicholas Jones who contributes to the book? What role will “chaotic, puerile disseminated investigative journalism” play? How important was yesterday’s convention as a step towards the fulfillment of what Sunday’s Observer editorial says is the obligation of every citizen – “vigilance and resistance” to the restriction of “freedoms” and “conceptions of the moral autonomy of the individual to act without impediment by the state”?