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By Vanessa Pellegrin
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About this project

What is the problem with "Feminism"? A question itself that has two meanings. Is there a problem with modern day feminism or is there a problem with people’s understanding of what feminism represents today. So what is the problem with feminism today?

Is it outdated? -  Now women and men have equal rights in the western world society, public and business, does it make it outdated?

Is it misunderstood? – Do people today really know what feminism is and represents? What is it fighting for?

Is it radicalised? – Have extreme groups taken over and diverted attention, making feminism portrayed as men hating, and transphobic? 

Is it too complicated? – Have so many elements become a part of the feminist debate that it is difficult to take a position on them all?: radical feminists, black feminists, white feminists, pro-life feminists, feminist activists, queer feminists...what are the difference between the different sub-groups? is it not creating confusion after all? Is it possible to have view point on all the elements of the feminist debate?

According to the Oxford Dictionary: Feminism is "The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men."

The issue of rights for women first became prominent during the French and American revolutions in the late 18th century. In Britain it was not until the emergence of the suffragette movement in the late 19th century that there was significant political change. A ‘second wave’ of feminism arose in the 1960s, with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood. In the 1990's, third wave Feminism or "girly feminism" developed a rhetoric of mimicry, which reappropriates derogatory terms like "slut" and "bitch" in order to subvert sexist culture and deprive it of verbal weapons and challenged the notion of gender.

2013 was the 100th anniversary of Emily Davison’s death, one of the main suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote in the UK. – The issues of the day 100 years ago were equality in the right to vote

Executive Producer Beverley Morrison and Director Vanessa Pellegrin asked themselves; What were the issues of women today in the modern and progressive west?

The team discovered several polls about feminism and were shocked to see that only 19% of the British public claim to be feminists, including 27% of women and 10% of men. Two-thirds (66%) stated they were definitely not feminists, including 77% of men and even a majority (57%) of women.

YouGov Poll from 2013
YouGov Poll from 2013

However, when asked about equal rights the public is unambiguous in its support. Four of every five (81%) believe men and women should have equal rights and status in society, and be treated equally in every way.

Yougov Poll 2013
Yougov Poll 2013

According to a Netmum survey, here are the reasons why women no longer like to claim themselves feminists:

Net mum's survey which broke the news in 2013
Net mum's survey which broke the news in 2013

In the US you see almost the same picture: 75% of Americans interviewed last year don't consider themselves feminists and even after providing the definition, a remaining 40% still don't want to be associated with the movement. This conflicting sentiment points to a problem with feminism, or at least how it's perceived. We became determined to identify if it is the label or the ideology that is so unappealing. We found Lucy and Nick and were delighted when they agreed to take on the challenge: to swap their points of view and canvas for the other side in order to investigate the trouble with the F word.

This conflicting sentiment points to a problem with feminism, or at least how it's perceived

YouGov Poll on Feminism in the US in 2013
YouGov Poll on Feminism in the US in 2013

 The Trouble with the F word Documentary: Why?

Whether you want to see clarity on feminism arise or you want to see the death of it, this documentary is exploring the real meaning of the word “Feminism” and what is at the core of the problem as to why equality and feminism are no longer synonymous!

Our film follows Lucy Anne Holmes, the creator of the No more page 3 campaign and TV presenter Nick Lancaster – a woman and a man with differing views – as they participate in an experiment to test their beliefs about feminism and anti-feminism to the limit. Our aim is to take them and the audience out of their comfort zone, facing them with differing realities and points of view. Nick, despite being in favour of gender equality, dislikes Feminism. He thinks it is a movement that goes too far. Lucy doesn’t understand how anyone can be against a movement that liberated women. In a series of sometimes funny, sometimes powerful and sometimes combative encounters, Lucy will meet anti-feminist groups while Nick will get involved with feminist activism. After this adventure, they'll be perfectly placed to understand what is wrong with the F word (Feminism) in the western world as we zone in on the issues of modern Feminism in the UK and the US.

We became determined to identify if it is the label or the ideology that is so unappealing. So far, Nick has walked a mile in high heels to support the end of violence against women and Lucy followed the first antifeminist political party on their campaign for the General Elections in May 2015.

Nick during the Walk a mile in her shoes event in 2014
Nick during the Walk a mile in her shoes event in 2014
Lucy with the founder of the antifeminist political party ' Justice for men and boys' Mike Buchanan
Lucy with the founder of the antifeminist political party ' Justice for men and boys' Mike Buchanan

The Trouble with the F-word is a performative rather than classical documentary, which means that we want to explore these issues subjectively, allowing for the emotions, context and viewpoint of a variety of different voices.

Why is it important?

An understanding of feminism is important to ensure we gain clarity to the debate. And the world agrees with us. Check out the press coverage we have already gained:

- Huffington Post

- Glamour UK

- The BBC

- Inclusive Networks

- FlavourMag

- Those London Chicks

Everybody is affected by gender equality measures and laws, whether you are feminist, anti-feminist or not sure, these policies are affecting your life on a daily basis. From fighting sexism and catcalling to equal parental leave and child custody for both men and women, it also seems that people are getting more confused and that men and women are more divided. With this film, we hope to end the general confusion and hate as our aim is to inform and educate. We want to make a fair and balanced documentary where all the protagonists can speak openly. We want you, the audience, to get involved and provide your feedback for inclusion in the film! Indeed, if the film asks what is the problem with Feminism, we want you to tell us: Does Feminism need to be reformed? If not feminism, what is the alternative to reach gender equality?

The Team

Vanessa Pellegrin, a journalist and film-maker, the co-producer and Director of The Trouble with the F Word. Born in France and raised in Morocco, Vanessa started to work as a Journalist and became specialised in investigations and reports about current affairs, political conflicts and social issues. First in press and then in TV and broadcast. She came to live in London in 2009 and started to work in Film Production. She Produced and Directed her first film about the influence of Corporations on the freedom of the media and the press, ‘Ownership Rules’ between 2011 and 2012. Since then, she got involved in the production of short films such as ‘Abramacabre’ by Dominic Rossetti (2013) and ‘Nasty’ (2014) by the award winning director Prano Bailey-Bond.

Vanessa Pellegrin
Vanessa Pellegrin
Vanessa and DOP Ben Thompson
Vanessa and DOP Ben Thompson

Beverley Morrison is a Scottish Senior producer, writer and journalist. She worked at STV Group for eight years and successfully contributed to the development of TV series such as “The Ice Cream Machine” in (2005). Beverley has an extensive background in news and documentary, as well as children’s drama and corporate production. She produced and directed location and studio based shows. She has also managed large production teams.

Beverley Morrison
Beverley Morrison
Stefania Fantini, our Sound Recordist
Stefania Fantini, our Sound Recordist
Dominic Rossetti, Assistant Director
Dominic Rossetti, Assistant Director

What’s Next?

So far not only have we had a huge amount of support and coverage from the press, but we have also had a number of people that have provided their generous support to the project that have enabled us to film part of the documentary around the UK.

We had the great privilege to receive a10k donation from a company in Switzerland last year, that helped us to film some major events in the UK. We've also got an offer from a VOD platform which is ready to buy the documentary once completed! This has been made possible with the help of our Sales Agent Jenna Suru from Belle Époque Films.

But now we need your support!

This campaign will allow us to finish filming in the UK, France and finally the US. We need to finance the trips, the crew fees and expenses, as well as the insurance. Our previous shoots involved specialised crew such Steadicam operators; which are absolutely necessary to follow Lucy and Nick in their respective challenges.

How you can help

Show your support simply by casting your vote! Are you believing feminism is dead or that it is misunderstood? Pick up a perk and a benefit and you will help the film succeed.

Anti-feminist statement from Women against Feminism
Anti-feminist statement from Women against Feminism
Feminist Man Bill Bailey
Feminist Man Bill Bailey

 But if you cannot contribute you can always help us in other ways!

- Follow us, tweet for us, spread our campaign everywhere, make the hashtag #Fword go viral, become PROACTIVE

- you know someone who knows someone who can help? Great! Put us in touch!

- Send videos of yourself about feminism and gender equality, create the buzz!

- Send us messages! Tell us what you think!

EVERYTHING is helpful, it is a great adventure but a long journey, being our best advocate will definitely make a difference.

Thank you all on behalf of the F word Team!!!

For more, please find us on Facebook and twitter:

https://twitter.com/FwordFilm

https://www.facebook.com/FwordFilm/

Risks and challenges

We are aware that distributing this documentary worldwide might be another great difficulty. We did get an offer but it might be limited to one territory. To make sure that this film will be distributed worldwide, we are in talks with potential sponsors that will help us to go through self-distribution. We have also started to discuss screenings with universities and independent cinemas and we got some good feedback. Basically, we are anticipating every scenario and making sure that you, the public, will watch our film.

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    Feminist? Anti-feminist? or not sure?

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    Set a challenge to Nick and/ or Lucy!

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Funding period

- (36 days)