About Us

Belfast Feminist Network began organising in 2010 following a series of discussion groups that revealed a growing desire for a space for open feminist community and opportunities for activism. Since that time the group has grown in number to encompass over 1000 online members and a dynamic and fluid group of event organisers and attendees, activists, protestors, marchers, workshop participants, debaters, creators, performers, crafters, and people who want to meet together to challenge sexism, to change outcomes for women and to indulge in a bit of patriarchy smashing whenever the opportunity arises.

Feel free to browse our blog posts to see what we’ve been working on.

Keep up to date with everything BFN and other feminist groups are doing by checking out our calendar. If you’d like to get more information on any of the events listed email belfemnet@yahoo.co.uk

4 Responses to “About Us”

  1. David Russell May 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    As a father to my 5 year old daughter Lily I was extremely upset when I read the Newtownards Chronicle today (24/05/12) to find out that the Little Miss Ards contest has been cancelled because of concerns expressed by the Belfast Feminist Network.

    My daughter loves nothing more than dressing up and getting her photo taken. All girls at that age do. I really don’t see why you felt the need to get it cancelled.

    The photos were to be printed (face only) in the paper each week and I really don’t see any reason to be concerned about that. My daughter has no idea about the competition side of things and just loves to see herself in the newspaper and I’m sure all parents love showing off the photos of their children.

    The next thing you’ll be trying to get the photos with Santa at Christmas banned due to “concerns”. My daughter will be upset that her photo will no longer be in the newspaper and I’m sure a lot of parents and children alike just saw it as a bit of fun and nothing else.

    Thanks for ruining an innocent photo shoot that would’ve made a lot of girls and parents very proud.

    Yours,
    David Russell
    Newtownards

  2. Coleen Magill May 25, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    I just heard that you have got the Little Miss Ards competition stopped. I know several little girls who were really looking forward to dressing up and getting their picture taken. Do you see little boys being banned from dressing in trousers and rolling in the muck cos its ‘sexist?’ No you don’t. If girls want to be girly then let them, it isn’t up to busy bodies like you to spoil anyones fun.

  3. soisaystoher May 26, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Hi Colleen and David. Thanks for your comments. I have to mention first that the Chronicle have been inaccurate if they have reported that Belfast Feminist Network are responsible for getting the competition banned. Some people who use our facebook group raised concerns about the competition and spread the word to lots of their friends and family. So the concerns that were sent to the paper/shopping centre were from a range of individuals, most of who are not members of Belfast Feminist Network.

    There are obviously going to be a range of views on things like this but from my perspective it is clear that encouraging a sense of competition for primary school aged girls based on how they look is not good for them in the long run. There are a couple of things both of you mentioned that aren’t true, like when David said “All girls at that age..” love dressing up and getting their photo taken. That’s not true at all – we may expect little girls to love this but that’s not the case. Just as Colleen said that little boys love dressing in trousers and rolling in the muck. What about the little girls who love doing that? What about the girls who by 7 or 8 years of age are already upset because they think they are fat? What about the girls who are bullied in school because they don’t fit the stereotype of what a pretty little girl should look like, dress like and behave like? The people who objected to the contest did so because we have an understanding of how sexism works in society – it keeps boys and girls, women and men stuck in stereotypes that shape how they feel about themselves and how they feel society values them. Beauty contests for girls (why just girls? why has there never been a boy’s contest? why do we think it’s OK to judge the prettiest girl but not the prettiest boy?) are just teaching girls that what they look like is the most important thing to society. We want them to know that who they are, their talents, their creativity, their intelligence, their dreams and goals are much more important than looking pretty in a picture for a beauty contest. I’m sure these are all things you want for your daughters – I definitely want that for my daughter and I know that there are things about society I have to be a part of changing if I want her to be free to explore her future free from sexist stereotypes and expectations.

  4. callumgg February 15, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Hi there, I’m organising an event in Belfast with a candidate for the Iranian presidential elections. The candidate has a longstanding interest in women’s rights and issues, I was wondering if some people from the feminist network would like to come along – it’s next Tuesday at QUB. Here’s the flyer – http://i.imgur.com/NhmTdZI.jpg

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