Interview with Charlotte Raven

"Everyone goes on and on about sex, don’t they, and feminists are just as bad."

Charlotte Raven is waving the flag of the brand new Feminist Times, launched in the spirit of the much loved second wave feminist magazine Spare Rib (but with no connection to SR itself), as editor-in-chief and a figurehead for the new wave of feminists who aren’t afraid to – shock, horror! – claim the rightful equality of the sexes. Erotic Review pumped Ms Raven for information on the new mag, the first issue of which has not yet appeared.

Why are you launching 
Feminist Times?
     Because the world needs a witty woman’s magazine.

What will the content of Feminist Times be like?
     Quirky and idiosyncratic, like a Feminist Private Eye.  And more considered and less predictable then a lot of the content in the ‘quality’ press.

How do you feel about the current content of the average women’s magazine – the focus on fashion, sex tips, body image and celebrity gossip? Will Feminist Times approach the topic of sexuality, and if so, how so?
     Women’s magazines are like speedballs, agitating and enervating. I hardly ever read them, but when I do, the faux feminism irritates and offends me more than stuff about Jennifer Anniston.
     Like the old Spare Rib, we will critique the permissive society, which has reached it’s apogee and champion a de-commodified vision of sexuality.

What is your stance on pornography, and the current porn filter brouhaha?
     Personally, I keep changing my mind on this issue.  I do think early exposure to porn might distort people’s sexuality, I worry that my daughter will feel pressured to enact porn tropes when she’s a teenager. I didn’t see any porn until I was in my mid twenties and thankfully wouldn’t have thought of MMF threesome’s or sodomy (another porn trope) before then.
     Like fashion, modern porn is a very pure form of capitalism. Is feminist porn an oxymoron – I don’t know whether modern porn can ever be as witty and subversive as turn of the century silent porn was, but we’re going to find out.

What do you think today’s taboo feminist issues are? [It often seems as though calling oneself feminist at all is taboo…]
     Everyone goes on and on about sex, don’t they, and feminists are just as bad. It’s taboo to say you prefer a cup of tea, as Boy George once did.

We rather like your motto ‘life not lifestyle’. Would you care to elaborate?
     Some years ago, I wrote a piece for the Guardian about the allure of suicide which I thought would prompt debate about life and death issues. The day after publication I received an email asking where I got the  ‘fabulous’ wallpaper in the cover image, shot in my hallway, from.

Will Feminist Times be a gendered magazine? How would you suggest we encourage more men to embrace feminism?
     Feminist Times
will feel like an eccentric members club in the great British tradition for feminists and non conformists of both genders. Unlike the Colony, there’s enough room for everyone at the bar. 

Lastly – what do you say to people who think feminism is unnecessary, and gender equality already exists?
     Wake up.

You can read more about Feminist Times here, and find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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