Hot Feminism with Polly Vernon

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you’ll know that I am a lover of feminism and fashion. It didn’t occur to me that I can’t be a feminist interested in fashion until I started paying actual attention to the media (this happened surprisingly late in life). There is a discontent between the two, as if women can’t be – and aren’t allowed to be – interested in both. I remember reading and reviewing Sali Hughes’ incredible book Pretty Honest where she talks about the same thing but with feminism and beauty. Why is it that if anyone does anything to look good (and I mean anything) they can’t be a feminist?  Polly Vernon’s Hot Feminist address this point and argues (correctly without a shadow of a doubt) that being interested in the clothes you wear or the way you do your hair does not force you to give up your feminist card.

Speaking with  columnist and author Byrony Gordon (her The Wrong Knickers is all kinds of brilliant) Polly so argued that the smaller things – the wolf whistling, being called chick or babe – need to be let go because they aren’t as important as the bigger stuff:

  • The gender pay gap. As Polly said this is so shocking because the statistics are all there and still nothing as being done. Hilariously Polly said it’s because men need the extra money to pay for the upkeep of their penis – they aren’t actually better at their job than women
  • The right for a woman to have an abortion. Currently in our Conservative government there are people in power who want to take this away. Women in Ireland don’t actually have this right and it was only when Polly mentioned the Easy Jet abortion shuttle bus that I actually realised that people come to the UK to have an abortion. Because this is a right that all women should be entitled to and it’s under threat.
  • The statistics surrounding rape, the number of reported cases, the number of convictions from these cases is heart breaking. The default is always victim blaming and this is disgusting.

Polly then also added two more points, points which she wants to do more research on: FGM (female genital mutilation) and domestic violence. Feminists need to fight for these five points, everything else is not important.

I have actually been speaking to Polly on twitter about this. Last Saturday The Times ran an exclusive extract from Hot Feminist and I didn’t agree with everything Polly said and I mentioned this to Polly. But what I will never disagree with is Polly’s right to be respected for her opinions, just as I have the right to be respected for mine. We are both feminists and we both have chosen which battles to fight, this doesn’t mean one of us is more right than the other.

And that the lovely aspect about the whole evening – there wasn’t an element of right or wrong at all. Instead it was ‘this is what I think and you are more than welcome to agree with me and just as welcome to disagree with me’ (though as Polly joked it would be amazing if everyone agreed with her). She also addressed the privilege she has as a white feminist and this was incredibly refreshing to hear. I am not white and there really isn’t a place for ethnic feminism – it’s not often this is acknowledged.


The whole event was brilliant, all the more so because Blow Ltd were there to do our hair, there were goody bags on the seats, and drinks on offer.  It was a wonderful evening and the second amazing event I went to this week with incredible, witty woman. Long may this continue.


  1. curiosetta 23rd May 2015 / 11:37 am

    This feminist is promoting the gender pay gap myth which was disproven a hundred different ways since as long ago as the 1970’s, and even feminists (eg Christina Hoff Summers) are now trying to get other feminists to stop spreading this lie.

    As well as spreading lies she is using her looks to promote her ‘brand’ of feminism. What happened to women being equal to men, and not needing to rely on their looks to justify their worth?

    WIthout her looks, all she has is a book full of lies that are harmful to men and boys. She is dealing with grown up subjects like pay which have an impact on people’s lives, and mixing it up with fashion and ego.

    As a result of feminists like this spreading lies, the UN is now talking about giving women special privileges to ensure they achieve the same as men, even if they put in less effort. A female firefighter was recently let into the fire service even though she FAILED the physical test. And in Sweden they are now talking about new laws that will allow government to DISSOLVE companies if they don’t have enough females in the boardroom (but unsurprisingly, they can still have as many men working on the factory floor or digging ditches or cleaning the sewers as they like, and they won’t be forced to hire women for those jobs).

    This feminist is spreading lies that lead to sexist laws, while treating the whole thing as fun excuse to be vain and objectify herself, and sell books and make money.

    This is why so many people are opposed to feminism. It is toxic.

    • Rosh 23rd May 2015 / 6:23 pm

      I completely disagree with you.

      • curiosetta 25th May 2015 / 1:59 pm

        Do you mean you find what I say annoying because it challenges what you wrote…… or that you think I am actually making false claims?

        Like I said, even feminists are getting sick and tired of other feminists promoting the gender pay gap myth! LOL

        What if the genders were reversed?

        What if it was a man who was claiming men are unfairly treated even when they are not, and he was mixing up his toxic propaganda with stuff about fashion and male fitness or whatever. Wouldn’t you find that kind of distasteful and insulting?

        Don’t you think it’s exploitative to pretend to be a victim of non existent oppression to sell your book?

        Do you think women should be treated equally as full status adults and called out for their BS, or do you think women should be treated more like children and just adored and rewarded for being cute – even if they are promoting toxic lies about men?

        ‘Gender equality’ is a great idea, but only when it suits right? 😉

        • Rosh 26th May 2015 / 8:28 am

          I find nothing you said annoying, I just disagree with you.

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