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CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL REVIEW: JO BRAND
Much-loved comedian Jo Brand has a way of getting her point across without offending anyone, and she demonstrated that knack when she appeared before a packed Times Forum.
Defending feminist Germaine Greer, who has been in the news recently over her controversial remarks on rape, she said she should be respected as being “virtually the mother of modern feminism”.
“There are all sorts of feminists from the radical, left-wing, man-hating lesbian feminists who wear dungarees and Doc Martens to the business-suited, immaculately made up, big-heeled feminist. I’m one of the second ones but I look like the first.”
She added some of the things Greer says – among them that rape could be equated to bad sex – were “slightly bonkers and off the wall” but that she at the forefront of the modern feminism movement and should not be consigned to or erased from history.
Her appearance coincided with the launch of her latest book, Born Lippy, in which she says she offers advice – often tongue in cheek – to parents about teenagers.
The mother of two teenagers herself, Jo said when she was at school “there was a creepy French teacher who use to talk about women’s breasts all the time and no one did anything about him”.
But she added: “The younger generation of women, like my children, won’t take any crap these days like we did and I feel very proud of that.
“What’s really changed things is social media, because people can now feel globally that they are connected. If there is a protest or rally you hear about it very quickly.”
Earlier this year Jo won praise for the calm and understated way she reproached an all-male panel on Have I Got New For You for apparently not taking allegations of sexual harassment seriously.
When festival host Hugo Rifkind asked why she had spoken like she did rather than ranting and raving as she is often known to do, she replied: “I wanted to make the point without upsetting Paul and Ian, friends of mine who I’ve known them for years. Maybe I thought I’d get the point across better if I didn’t shout at them.”
Jo admitted when she first started out as a stand-up, she was viewed as dangerous because of what she said and how she dressed, but that all seemed to change after she got married.
“Someone from a national tabloid paper asked a comedian friend of mine if I was a lesbian and they laughed and said no! Then I got married and that was that, they weren’t frightened of me any more.”
The Mystery Reviewer
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