Guest post: Zoe Venditozzi on the 'F' word
With so much interest in feminism and feminist issues reflected in the publishing world at the moment, thanks to three very high proifile non-fiction titles, Kat Barnyard's The Equality Illusion, Caitlin Moran's How To Be a Woman and Naomi Wolf's Vagina, I was interested to see if there was any fiction around that dramatised a feminist concern, or a feminist view.
I first met Zoe Venditozzi when she invited me to speak at the Literary Salon in Dundee. We had a good old feminist chat and I found out her first novel was coming out this month. Anywhere's Better Than Here (Sandstone Press) is in many ways a classic bildungsroman, in this case about a young woman called Laurie's growing self-awareness, as she looks at her meaningless job and relationship that's going nowhere and decides she wants something better for herself.
What ambitions and aspirations young women might have is very current right now - most of us are concerned that celebrity culture trivializes what women can be, and worry that too many girls aspire to it. So I asked Zoe to write about her feminism, what feminism means to her, and here is what she had to say:
"I’ve started asking women I know if they consider themselves to be feminists. Whilst doing this I’ve discovered two things. Firstly, the question causes a little flicker of embarrassment in me. It’s almost like asking, were you a virgin when you got married? Or something similar to that type of anachronistic nonsense. Secondly, most women I’ve asked seem similarly uncomfortable and are often pretty reluctant to identify themselves with Feminism.