The first Musings Salon held this week was a quite a wonderful thing really.
As I've explained, my idea for a Salon was mostly selfish - an opportunity to get some of my clever friends in a room to discuss topics I'm interested in.
And it was great. I loved it. And part way through, it got even better, because I was reminded that the other people in the room genuinely enjoyed it too. The collective experience of a passionate but respectful discussion about something interesting is a powerful thing. Discovering that others share your opinions, or that they are able to respect you and your perspectives even if their views are different is magical.
And better yet when the topic of discussion is Queen Bey.
This month's provocation was my piece about our favourite feminist gateway drug, Mrs Carter Knowles:
Having already exorcised many of my opinions on the subject, I was intrigued to see the conversation move beyond Beyonce to Emma Watson's recent speech at a UN Women event, the public reaction, and specifically an article by Clementine Ford downplaying it's significance.
The consensus seemed to be that we - all of us - need to embrace imperfection, as Beyonce implores. We cannot let perfection be the enemy of good as we strive for equality and better understanding. Because every time a step in the right direction is admonished for not being big enough, or for not being the right approach, it alienates an audience and prevents someone from making any kind of attempt at progress.
I think it's useful to remind ourselves that feminism is about freedom. Freedom for women, and men. Freedom that allows us to be ourselves, and feel confident and comfortable in ourselves and in a community of others like, and unlike us. Lena says it best:
Happily, we also began to explore a couple of future Salon topics, looking at how gender inequality impacts on men, and how the way we represent ourselves online is changing the way we relate to ourselves as women. More to come on both of these.
Some further resources that emerged during our discussion.
The illustrious attendee list:
Thank you to these gorgeous ladies for their attendance and their contributions. Looking forward to continuing the discussion at our next Salon.