This Is How Women In Philip Davies' Constituency Responded To His "Feminist Zealots" Jibe
The Tory MP said "feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it". So some of his constituents in Shipley held a bake sale.
Women in Tory MP Philip Davies' constituency have held a charity bake sale after he said "feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it".
The group, calling themselves the "Shipley Feminist Zealots", gathered in the West Yorkshire town to sell homemade cakes in protest at his remarks.
The Guardian reported last week that Davies spoke at a men's rights conference, organised by the anti-feminism Justice for Men and Boys party, arguing that Britain's justice system was skewed in favour of women.
Hitting out at "feminist zealots", he said: "They fight for their version of equality on all the things that suit women – but are very quick to point out that women need special protections and treatment on other things."
His comments sparked outrage in Westminster. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Davies had "utter contempt for women" and his membership of the Conservatives should be suspended.
And women on social media started posting photos of themselves with cake, leading to the creation of the Facebook group "Feminists eating cake", which has more than 1,000 members.
The bake sale in Shipley on Wednesday raised £124, which will be split between the Bradford Women's Refuge and CALM, a charity aimed at reducing male suicides.
One of the organisers Jenny Wilson told BuzzFeed News the event was aimed at underlining that feminism was about true gender equality and not about "zealots".
"We wanted something light-hearted and cake seemed an obvious way to go," Wilson said. "The thing is that gender equality is a serious issue but it's often misunderstood.
"People think feminism is all about people being unpleasant and shouty. It really isn't, it's about equality for both the sexes. We thought a bake sale would be a great way to make that point."
Wilson, who runs a not-for-profit arts company, said the reaction was mostly positive. "It was a really nice, friendly atmosphere. There were one or two people who had issues and who wanted to have a conversation about that."
One man, for example, said he completely agreed with Davies because his grandson was struggling to get access to his children. Wilson said she explained to him that this was a concern for feminists too. "He was quite surprised," she said.
Wilson criticised Davies' use of language and said his comments were a "major misunderstanding of what feminism is". She said she hoped he would meet some of the women to discuss the issue.
She said: "I don't disagree with everything he says. Some of the things he was saying in his speech about men needing better access to their children, about injustices in the criminal justice system ... the point is that feminists believe in gender equality, that's for men as well as women."
Wilson was accompanied at the cake sale by her 5-year-old daughter Stella, who helped with the "feminist zealot" playlist – which included the songs "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" and "Respect".
Davies told BuzzFeed News he was always happy to meet his constituents and he would also be keen to take part in a debate with them.
"I never said all feminists are zealots," he said. "Not all women are feminists, not all feminists are zealots. I was criticising those women who say they want equality on the one hand but they don't want women to be treated the same as men in the courts. They should read my speech."
You can read Davies' speech to the conference in full here.