Time’s Up: The Fourth Wave Feminism Making History

The Fourth Wave Feminism: Women's March London, January 2018, by Penelope Barritt

Feminism. #TimesUp. #MeToo. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the new women’s movement that’s swept into our lives lately – overwhelmed in a very GOOD way, I hasten to add.

Does anyone else feel like history is being made over and over again at the moment? Women’s marches in cities all over the world. Oprah at the Golden Globes. All female presenters at the SAG Awards. And of course the Weinstein effect which has resulted in the #TimesUp movement and #MeToo – this is all just the tip of what I think is an enormous iceberg. So much has happened lately and so much has been exposed lately that it IS almost overwhelming.

Before I go on, I just want to make it clear that this ISN’T a political statement. This is a post about feelings. I’m writing it from the point of view of feeling that something in our society is changing, that something has already monumentally changed. It’s a historic moment in time and I guess I’m having an emotional response to it.

This is my emotional response to it.

[Main image by Penelope Barritt Photography, used with permission]


The power of women

So many young women of the world are experiencing this new wave of feminism for the first time. And while it seems that every day there is something new being reported that shocks us yet again, I personally have to see the positive side of it. My point of view with so many things in life is that things sometimes have to get worse before they can get better – they have to be at breaking point before it makes people realise that something has to change.

I didn’t hear it myself, but the actress (and director of the legal defence fund for Time’s Up) Amber Tamblyn was interviewed for the”Today” programme on BBC Radio 4 at the beginning of the year. What was suggested was that Time’s Up wouldn’t even be a thing if it weren’t for the Weinstein scandal; Tamblyn herself went on to say that without Trump in power they wouldn’t even be having the conversation in the first place.

It’s a scary thought to think that without Weinstein or Trump then 2017 wouldn’t have been the year that “sexual harassment became a fireable offense”, as written by USA Today.

It’s also scary to think that it’s taken till now for that to happen, nearly 50 years after Germain Greer published The Female Eunuch.

When looking at footage from and pictures of last Sunday’s marches (extra kudos to our gals in the pouring rain in London), it dawned on me that we’re in a new wave of feminism. Like the feminism of the 70s and the “burning bras” stories that I read about as a young girl, I feel that this time, right now, will go down in history. Social media is being hailed as the catalyst that started this “fourth wave” of feminism back in 2012. This time, as we know, it’s all about harassment, sexual assault and rape culture, whilst we’re STILL campaigning for equal pay.

There were so many different messages and opinions expressed on the placards on Sunday’s marches it was quite frightening how much injustice, bad behaviour and prejudice women are STILL suffering in the 21st century (I always love the placards that read “Same shit, different century”).

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So much is happening right now. 2018 is not even 26 days old, but this year alone we’ve had Larry Nassar’s court case dealing with his abuse of the young girls in the US gymnastics team.

We’ve had the appointment – and subsequent resignation – to a university watchdog of Toby Young, a 50-something ex-journalist who’d tweeted so many vitriolic, sexist and bigoted statements he deleted about 8,500 of the 56,000 tweets from his Twitter account.

We’ve had the Financial Times expose the annual men-only charity fundraiser at the Dorchester where hostesses are told to wear revealing outfits and suffer being groped and propositioned. (It has since been cancelled indefinitely and apparently the charities returned the money raised.)

I think many Brits, like myself, are still reeling from the revelations about Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and all the other British/UK based male celebrities abusing both their positions of power and the (many young) vulnerable people they had access to. The Jimmy Savile story broke in 2012 – a pivotal point in time and possibly the spark for Time’s Up, despite it being almost six years ago.


The good that has to come from the bad

But without someone like Trump, a world leader who was recorded talking about women and saying you should “grab them by the pussy”, would there have been as much incentive to march and protest against this sort of behaviour? Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not at all saying that in a thankful way whatsoever – but I do believe that without men as high-profile as the President of the United States or the most powerful producer in Hollywood being exposed in this way, we may not be in the position we’re in right now. And that’s a positive, we’re-not-putting-up-with-this-shit-anymore position.

Time’s very much up, in other words.

There HAS to be good to come out of all of this. Without the strong women (and men) who blew the whistle on these vile men and their behaviour then we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now. HOW can any person in any position of power possibly get away with abusive behaviour now? Surely the lid has been blown so wide open that, as Oprah so eloquently put, there should never again be a time when a woman says Me too:


“So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.”


I don’t see how this ever COULD conceivably happen again. The young women of today – those who are growing up in a post-Weinstein effect world – are hopefully all too aware of what is (and what isn’t) acceptable. The women’s marches have shown them that it is NOT okay to put up with any sort of bad behaviour from men, in a professional, public and, I hope, private situation.

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As midlifers it’s our daughters – and THEIR daughters – who are now armed with the power and the foresight to never have to put up with abusive behaviour ever again. I just know that they’d blow the whistle on the guy in their office with wandering hands quicker than you could yell “sexual harassment in the workplace”, because women like Rose McGowan have paved the way for them to know what is unacceptable and to know what to do about it.

With the power that women now have, in what situation could any man now think he could possibly get away with it?

I’m under no illusion that in private it’ll be a very different story. There must be millions of women all over the world living in fear right now because of what goes on in the privacy of their own home. The Savile and the Weinstein abuse all went under the radar, unchallenged and unreported, for so long. We are forever in debt to the women who had the guts to report it. Let’s hope that this new wave of feminism and this era of speaking out and zero tolerance gives abused women everywhere the courage and the power to say, That’s it – time’s up.

The new day isn’t on the horizon, I think it’s already here. And I think deep down women everywhere – and MEN everywhere – truly know it.




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  1. 11 February 2018 / 8:02 pm

    You’ll know my feelings on this, Catherine and one of the reasons why I started the #ThisNorthernGirlCan campaign which I am very pleased to announce is launching officially at Teesside University on March 3rd. We have to keep having these conversations and we need men to help us make this happen. #StrengthInNumbers xo

  2. 30 January 2018 / 10:44 pm

    It all just came to a tipping point I think but it’s going to take a while for it all to come out in the wash as they say. I look back now at situations where I’ve been harrassed at work (and sadly at school) and feel hopeful that my daughter won’t have to experience the same. Let’s hope we achieve true equality with making the gender pay gap a thing of the past too. I wrote my under grad dissertation on postfeminism – I’ll have to dig it out to see if any of it is still relevant more than 20 years later!

    Emma xxx

    • catherine
      1 February 2018 / 8:51 pm

      Oh I’m really sad to hear you had to put up with some shitty behaviour Emma… and yes, I too hope your daughter won’t experience the same. And if a situation DID arise, hopefully she’ll know what is and isn’t acceptable because of all this raised awareness. And YES to reading your dissertation again – I must do the same with mine, I wrote about how women were represented in the media and advertising (in 1994)! How funny that we wrote about similar-ish topics. Thanks for a great comment x

  3. 30 January 2018 / 12:09 pm

    Great post! A subject that still – sadly – needs to be spoken about. This is not about putting men down, as some folk may assume. It’s simply about an expectation to be treated equally regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, class, creed and physical ability. And to be prepared to treat others in that way too.

    A bit cheeky of folk to tell you what to write on your own blog. If something’s not for you then why not simply give it a wide berth?

    • catherine
      1 February 2018 / 8:41 pm

      I’ve NEVER thought that, Emerald (about it being about putting men down)… I think that’s why feminism used to be a bad word, that it was about hating men. Nothing could be further from the truth and I hope people see that now! And thank you for the comment about being told what to write – tiresome, isn’t it 🙁 #lesigh

  4. 30 January 2018 / 5:34 am

    Amen to this. I have never been for dumb behavior by males and taught my son to respect women at all costs. People say all of this is political, it is not. It is standing up and deciding to be treated as a human being and not an object. Some people haven’t moved into the 20th century as we are almost 20% done with 21st century.

    Thanks for hosting and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

    • catherine
      1 February 2018 / 8:37 pm

      That is SO good to hear that you’ve taught your son to treat women with respect, Patrick – how wonderful that is to hear, we need more parents like you!! Thank you for a great comment (and I agree – it isn’t political) x

  5. 29 January 2018 / 11:45 pm

    You know, it seems to me like a lot of this started with the revelation that Bill Cosby was such a cad. It’s certainly been a long time coming. I feel really bad for the ladies that have been impacted by the behavior of these men. Some of the behavior in these marches is not what I would like to see, but that’s just my thoughts on it. I feel like I’ve been very fortunate in life to be shielded from some of this type of behavior. I’ve got great men in my life that value me as a person, and I’m so grateful for that. I was also raised by great women that made me feel I could do whatever I wanted. I’ve never been the type of person that could work in an environment as many of these ladies have. Fortunately for me, I’ve had the freedom to leave any place that wasn’t right for me.

    For all of the negative comments above, you have handled yourself beautifully. I still can’t wrap my mind around why people say some of the things they say on social media/blogs. I would venture to guess they would never take such an aggressive stance in person.

    • catherine
      1 February 2018 / 8:34 pm

      That’s so wonderful to hear that you had such great role models growing up, Julie – we need more of that!! I think the for us in the UK it was the Jimmy Saville story that started a lot of it, and for the US it seems that Bill Cosby was the start for your guys. Although Savile wasn’t exactly a national treasure (far from it – he was on TV during my childhood and most people who grew up with him on TV say he seriously creeped them out), there have been several others who were considered national treasures that turned out to have spent years molesting young and vulnerable people. We now live in a time where any middle-aged male celebrity, when they trend on Twitter, people wonder if they’ve died or if they’ve been exposed for historic abuse. But everything coming out is the only way forward and to make sure things change.

      And thank you for the support re. those other comments – I’ll accept constructive criticism, but being told what to do with my own blog? Or criticising me for defending my right to write what I like? Not cool! x

  6. Diane
    29 January 2018 / 12:58 am

    I have been reading this blog for some time, and never commented, but this has me so upset that I must. This is personal opinion that no one has to read if they are offended. That someone should take this forum to be so incredibly rude and nasty really infuriates me. Would you really speak to a person like that in a face to face meeting. I hope not, so stop and think about the feelings of those you like to put down.
    Catherine, you are a beautiful person and I certainly wish you well in your recovery and in the future. You always put a smile on my face, and I love your dog too.

    • catherine
      29 January 2018 / 6:45 pm

      Diane you have absolutely made my day – my week has got off to a fantastic start thanks to you!! I agree about the fact that no one HAS to read my blog, but you wouldn’t think that from those (luckily small number of) snide comments. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment, you sound like the sort of person who enjoys the majority of what I write… and I’m sure that if I wrote one post about a particular subject that wasn’t for you, you’d simply move on and come back another day. You’re a star (and I hope you comment more often)!! Catherine xx

  7. Gilad
    27 January 2018 / 7:31 pm

    Hi Catherine,
    I’ve been quietly enjoying your blog for a while now – and love itf/you even more now for your comments on the current wave of feminist action. To me, being “political” is an asset,(even if that’s not how you see this post) and silence in the face of injustice makes a powerful statement too, by omission. I’m interested in the whole person, in the statements we make with our voices as well as our clothes, and the intersection of how we see ourselves, want to see ourselves, think we’re seen by men and other women.
    And what self-presentation has to do with all of it. From that angle, what you’ve written expands your ‘wheelhouse’ , but doesn’t change it. Thank you!

    • catherine
      29 January 2018 / 6:41 pm

      Wow Gilad thank you so much for the support – I too like to read personal opinion posts from bloggers I follow, so I guess that’s why I write them (not just “outfit posts”)! I’ve never been one for silence in the face of injustice… and that’s why I choose to defend myself when I get unconstructive, snarky criticism (it’s pointless and doesn’t benefit anyone). I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, thank you again!! C x

  8. Corinne Devery
    27 January 2018 / 3:37 pm

    dear Catherine
    Thank you for this great post and the way in which you replied to the critical comments.
    I really admire your ability to deal with what seems to me to be a part of the problem and what we need to call out and stand up to – namely a ” fashion & lifestyle” blog should only talk about this and forget the wider context in which we live ( and fight! ). I’m also intrigued by Hayley’s misunderstanding of what the hashtag means and her expectation of ” a condescending reply”. Wow!
    Keep going EXACTLY as you are and I’ll continue to read your blog with great pleasure.

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 4:32 pm

      Corinne that’s really lovely of you to say, thank you – two and half years and over 19k uses of that hashtag being used and supported by women everywhere speaks for itself as I mentioned, doesn’t it? I don’t know what it had to do with this post at all, to be honest =roll eyes=

      I’m amazed that I’ve received critical comments on this as I didn’t put forward any political views as such, I merely stated that I’m in wonder at what’s going on in what is SUCH an important time in women’s history. Being told what I should and shouldn’t write about does irritate me however – I certainly don’t go round telling other women how to do their job or how to run their business (which is what my blog is – my own business, as in running a business). Ironic, considering the subject of the post, eh…?!!!!

  9. 27 January 2018 / 2:48 pm

    Hi Catherine! I totally agree with everything you said in this post! Women are standing up and making their voices heard like never before and I think it’s great that you had the courage to write this post! It’s time we had a just and equal society! Speaking up and having an opinion is crucial!
    You go girl!! Thank you! Have a wonderful weekend!

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 4:25 pm

      Thanks Suzanne, in a way I’m not really adding my voice to the “cause” as it were, but I’m merely observing the fact that this is a historic time and we need to remember it. It’s a shame that despite my disclaimer at the beginning some seem to think I’m getting all political on their asses, but I honestly didn’t feel I was being courageous writing the post… however I’m truly grateful for your kind words and the support you’ve shown for what these amazing women are doing! x

  10. Hayley
    27 January 2018 / 1:36 pm

    Your reply to Caryn of “your loss” is so arrogant! You seem quite a passive aggressive person from what I can see. The hash tag iwillwearwhatilike sounds like something a brattish teenage girl would yell at her parents before storming out of the room and slamming the door.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 1:53 pm

      Oh Hayley I’m actually laughing now… The #iwillwearwhatilike hashtag has been going for so long and has had so much support from readers, bloggers and BRANDS in the 2.5 years it’s been going that I don’t need to defend that one. 19,947 Instagram posts with that hashtag and counting.

      To tell someone it’s their loss when it’s meant genuinely (as here) and not sarcastically is not arrogant. If she wishes to stop reading when she clearly likes the other posts I write means that she WILL lose out, but that’s her choice. Did you fancy commenting on my post or did you simply visit to pick holes in my blog?

      And to be fair, to leave me a comment such as yours and then to instruct me to enjoy my weekend – pot, kettle, black? I won’t tell you the same about your weekend as you’re clearly not having a good day… I hope it gets better and that you find something nice to say to someone at some point, it does wonders, I promise you!

      • Hayley
        27 January 2018 / 2:11 pm

        I foresaw a condescending reply. Negative feedback must mean that person is having a bad day in your world. Righto.

        “Enjoy your weekend” is a courteous sign off, and in no way any more of an instruction than a shop assistant wishing a customer a nice day following a transaction.

        I’d wish you regards but you’d probably get your knickers in a twist about that!

        • catherine
          27 January 2018 / 4:21 pm

          Hehe Hayley I’ve been blogging far too long and been dealing with far worse comments over the years to even BEGIN to get my knickers in a twist… my husband and I always laugh at these types of comments, we’ve had a right chuckle today (you have to)!!

          I am happy for people to have opinions and share them here about what I have written or the subject in hand, but I do object to being criticised for simply choosing to write about a subject in the first place. It is my blog and I can write about whatever subject I want – then I get criticised for choosing to do that. I’m not sure why I’m the person at fault here when I was given unconstructive criticism to start with. What you describe as patronising I describe as defending my right to write about whatever I like (in the same way I object to women being told what not to wear, hence the hashtag…)

          Through experience, I have found that the nicest people generally never leave snarky comments, but I assumed you were a nice person who was having a bad day. Several times I’ve had apology emails and messages from people who were exactly that and said ‘Sorry, I was having a rough day/week/month when I said those things’, so not “in my world” as you say – I’ve based that observation on experience. Apologies for thinking you were one of those nice people, I stand corrected.

          • Hayley's
            27 January 2018 / 5:31 pm

            You are correct, I am not one for backtracking on calling out people for patronising comments. Apology accepted.

  11. 27 January 2018 / 8:29 am

    Oh Christ yeah, I do big time!
    Mark & I discussed the Trump factor in all this way back when it first started. There’s no doubt that throughout history there’s always a catalyst for changing abhorrent behaviour. This time it’s maybe two, I tend to think Weinstein kept the momentum of what began with Trump. Regardless of that all I can say is it’s about time!

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 1:18 pm

      I agree with you 100% about the catalyst thing, MT… this has been like a snowball effect. Lots of factors have to come together at the same time and then momentum slowly builds. As I mentioned I ALWAYS think that good has to come out of bad, and that’s what I hope will be the result of all of this. I think we’re in a historic time right now and we’ll look back at this point in history like we do with the suffragette movement, for example… I wrote this post because I want to remember this time! x

  12. Jane R
    27 January 2018 / 7:31 am

    Seeing as you have moved away from fashion and lifestyle here, will you also be writing a post in future about the Vatican being accused of systematically adopting policies to allow priests to sexual abuse of hundreds of thousands of children over many decades? Surely children are more vulnerable than adult females and therefore more in need of a voice.

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 1:13 pm

      Jane seeing as this is MY blog and I can write about anything I wish (see my response to Caryn above), may I suggest that instead of telling me what I should be writing about, you start your own blog and write about those issues yourself?

      You are then more than welcome to come and share your posts at this weekly link up, and don’t worry I won’t dictate to you what you should be writing about.

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 12:30 pm

      thanks Yvonne x

  13. Caryn
    27 January 2018 / 4:06 am

    Personally I could do without the social commentary. I come to your site to escape that all. Sorry to say, I will be unbookmarking notdressedaslamb.com.

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 12:29 pm

      Caryn I’m sorry to hear that – as I said at the beginning it is a post about my FEELINGS, not a social or political commentary. I have been writing these posts every week for over a year now and I’ve covered all SORTS of topics.

      The #SaturdayShareLinkUp post is 1. a vehicle for my readers to share their own posts, and 2. a post where I share what I’ve been thinking about during the week (it could be anything at all). Writing a post about the new feminist movement and how it affects us and our daughters and our daughters’ daughters is actually far more relevant to a 40+ blog that deals with women’s issues and ageing issues than, say, the post I wrote about getting a dog or my parents moving home.

      So I’m sorry if this one-off post offends you (I don’t force anyone to read what I write), but if you enjoy the rest of my fashion, beauty and lifestyle posts then it’s your loss as they won’t change…!

  14. 26 January 2018 / 11:21 pm

    Great post. I am thrilled that light is continuing to shine on this important topic. It seems like it’s gone quiet here in the US.

    I had written a post about #metoo and what we should be thinking about now. It seems to me we have to go deeper into how we raise our sons and daughters from the beginning. If our children witness our being abused the rules we set forth in the workplace will eventually be ignored just like they were the first time around—when I started working in 1977 rules were put in place but over time they were ignored, then blatantly ignored.

    As always, an interesting and through provoking post.

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 12:21 pm

      I totally agree about the raising sons and daughters thing too Nina – that’s why I’m so glad so many of these things are being exposed (like the FT article about the men’s only club fundraiser, for example), because our children will see how this is NOT okay. It’s terrible to think that anything that’s happening at the moment will in the future be ignored, but I personally think it’s so wide in the open that a change IS on the horizon as Oprah said…!

  15. 26 January 2018 / 11:06 pm

    This is going to make a riveting read with tomorrow’s coffee! Thanks and hope you’re feeling better with each day. My family member had her op on Tuesday, we’re crossing our fingers that it may sort out a few of her pains.
    Hugs, x.

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 12:18 pm

      Thanks Mary, hope you enjoy it! Also hope your family member is doing well, I’m finally feeling like myself xx

  16. 26 January 2018 / 10:47 pm

    Let’s all hope you’re right, Catherine. But it takes us all to buy into such a change. Men, women, mothers, fathers, bosses, everyone in any position of power…. and the media, of course. And the fashion industry. Let’s hope the momentum continues.

    • catherine
      27 January 2018 / 12:17 pm

      I hope it does too, Sue x

  17. 26 January 2018 / 10:18 pm

    Thanks and have a great weekend!

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