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20th Century British Feminism

(11 Posts)
BertieBotts Mon 03-Nov-14 21:22:40

Anyone who feels like helping me grin I'm attempting to do a NanoWrimo this year, which is where you try to write a novel in 30 days. I'm probably just doing it to see if I can at this point, but my character has suddenly developed a feminist great grandmother, who I'd love her to live vicariously through.

The grandmother was born in 1914 and had her first child in around 1939 (this is not set in stone, if it's massively in the way of anything.) I'd like her to have been involved in or supportive of various feminist movements during her lifetime, but regretting that she was always held back by things like having a child, expectations, etc. My grandmother in real life was part of the Land Army in WW2, which I thought I might have her join, although that pushes her childbearing back a bit so I don't know how realistic it is.

Any ideas? What can I have her have done, or been a part of or enthusiastically followed? She's writing a letter to inspire her great granddaughter who will turn 18 on her 100th birthday, although she'll have died by then, so she's writing it some time in the late 90s when the granddaughter is a baby or little girl.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertieBotts Mon 03-Nov-14 22:04:26

Maybe grin I won't post it here in case I do decide to publish it but I may well be open to beta readers!

I like the way she's muscled her way in there, I must admit.

scallopsrgreat Mon 03-Nov-14 22:20:16

Those dates match my grandmothers quite closely (they were born a bit earlier but had children in 1939/40). Are you just talking about what they did during the war or throughout their whole life?

Although not strictly feminist supporting activities both my grandmothers were heavily into sport. One of them was able to play tennis with both hands, happily swapping between them (drove my grandfather nuts not least because she used to beat him). This was curtailed when married and with children, whereas their husband's sports weren't.

You could have her become pregnant whilst being a land girl? Or is her partner/husband already set in stone? Mind you there could be a story about how her partner/husband accepted/or didn't accept what had happened?

Sounds great btw.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 03-Nov-14 22:20:23

Mid 1930s she could learn to fly. Lots of upper class women did and then during the war some of them shuttled planes from airbase to airbase.

1930s was also a big sexual reform movement, pushing sexual education and menstrual education. Also mothers/children and their health, setting up pre and post natal clinics, giving out orange juice and cod liver oil etc.

She could have explored or got a university qualification.

Education in general was a big thing, combatting ignorance.


Setting up domestic violence shelter.

Amethyst24 Mon 03-Nov-14 23:59:15

Can I just warn you that this lady is going to take over your novel? grin

I recommend killing her off early, or you'll be spending all of NaNoWriMo here on FWR.

Also, I recommend reading Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson, which will fill up the remainder of your November. Or just about anything about Bletchley Park and the amazing work women did there. (Fascinatingly, IIRC, VH had an unspecified job for a charity in the war that meant she was in London but what she actually did was never made clear... research opportunity there maybe?)

Good luck, your book sounds fab.

Amethyst24 Tue 04-Nov-14 00:10:32

Or... Sorry, I am taking the ball and running here - if she was an East-end Londoner, she and her baby might have been shipped out to somewhere in the countryside, where she might have been very unhappy and isolated - again, Persephone Books have many fascinating accounts of this sort of experience. Try Doreen by Barbara Noble.

BertieBotts Tue 04-Nov-14 07:47:39

I kind of want her to take over now grin I think I'll have my MC running off around the country tracing her history rather than chasing some bloke as was supposed to be the story. Much more interesting grin

Her husband doesn't exist yet apart from a means to an end so feel free to move whatever dates around.

Zazzles007 Tue 04-Nov-14 08:37:26

Nothing to contribute here, but what a great project Bertie. I love writing and think this is a fascinating topic to write about. Would love to see your progress tracked through this thread grin.

PetulaGordino Tue 04-Nov-14 09:03:50

lol at husband as means to end

i'm v impressed i wouldn't have either the imagination or the dedication. you realise you will now have us popping up on threads all over the place asking how your book is getting on?

BertieBotts Tue 04-Nov-14 20:30:32

Oh good because I need a kick, I haven't done any today unless the 400 or so words I wrote just after midnight count grin

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