As if going to Glastonbury were not already insufferable enough, now those who do will implicitly be condoning segregation – in the year 2016.
When you’re a woman, going to a festival brings a new set of problems, whether it’s batting off the advances of some limp chirpser in the healing field, or, worse, feeling unsafe in a space that has a serious and unaddressed problem of sexual assault. While some festivals have been attempting to tackle the issue with safety awareness campaigns, sometimes all you want to do is drink and dance in a space where those problems are less likely to occur.
This year at Glastonbury, for the first time, there will be a venue for women only, which will be tucked away in the Shangri-La zone of the festival. The venue itself is ran by an organisation called The Sisterhood, who describe themselves as an “intersectional, queer, trans and disability-inclusive space open to all people who identify as women”. All staff working in the venue will also be those who identify as women, whether they are the acts who are performing, bar staff or security guards.
“The producers of The Sisterhood believe that women only spaces are necessary in a world that is still run by and designed to benefit mainly men,” the festival organisers explained. “Oppression against women continues in various manifestations around the world today, in different cultural contexts.”
“In the UK, the gender pay gap in the workplace, cuts to domestic violence services and sex worker rights are current talking points that highlight this issue. Sisterhood seeks to provide a secret space for women to connect, network, share their stories, have fun and learn the best way to support each other in our global struggle to end oppression against women and all marginalised people, whilst showcasing the best and boldest female talent in the UK and beyond.”
If you think this defence of sexual segregation at Britain’s most popular music festival sounds more like a spiteful two-fingers up at men in general rather a defensive act in response to a specific threat, you would be quite right – The Sisterhood spent more time ranting about the “oppression” of women around the world than fretting about any specific perils faced by women at Glastonbury.
Digital Music News also questions the rationale:
The group dubbed this ‘the 1st ever women only venue’ on Twitter, though the rationale for the space seems less celebratory and pro-women, and frankly, more anti-male.
Still, ISIS would be thrilled with this segregationist nod to their hardline Islamist ideology. Or they would, if only music festivals weren’t themselves haram.
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