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"I was paralysed with fear to write about feminism" comedian Bridget Christie on overcoming career challenges

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Bridget Christie has opened up about how she first decided to focus her work on feminism, and the events that made her consider throwing the towel in.

Speaking at Stylist Live this afternoon, in conversation with Stylist's outspoken columnist Lucy Mangan, the award-winning comedian revealed that she has been extremely close to giving up her career in the past "because of the level of abuse" that she has faced online.

Bridget also revealed that she has previously felt "paranoid" following such instances. 

"Women get a very different kind of abuse. It's never about what they do," said Bridget. "It's always a physical or sexual threat.”

"I have been that close to giving up many many times over the years because of the level of abuse," she said. 

Bridget told the Stylist Live audience that, "At its worst, it was a very intense period where I felt completely paranoid and watched all the time."

Bridget Christie and fellow comedian, Lenny Henry

Bridget Christie and fellow comedian, Lenny Henry

"I felt like those people online were going to be at the front of my gigs," she said. "I felt really intimidated by it."

Bridget's book, a self-deprecating look at the quotidian experiences of modern women, A Book For Her, was met with critical acclaim when it was released earlier this year, but the comedian told Lucy Mangan that she was, “paralysed with fear” when writing it.

"I was paralysed with fear about writing that book for about a year because I'm not academic, I didn't study feminism and I was worried I wasn't writing about it in the right way,” she said. 

feminism

Bridget Christie is a committed feminist

Bridget also spoke about how women are constantly made to feel like their opinions don’t count, saying that being a woman in 2015 feels a lot like “there’s a landlord and we are renting space. We don’t feel like homeowners."

But, just as Caitlin Moran advised women at Stylist Live on Thursday, Bridget said that we should be asserting ourselves and taking up as much space as possible.

“Sometimes we apologise for taking up space and being here when we have every right to be here,” said Bridget.

Going on to describe how the topic of feminism became her primary focus in her stand-up gigs, Bridget said that although she was undoubtedly “always a feminist”, “loads of things started happening and I couldn’t make sense of it.”

bridget christie

Several events fed Bridget’s dogged determination to focus her work on feminism, but the real watershed moment was a rather unfortunate trip to Waterstones in Stoke Newington, when a male member of staff failed to direct Bridget to where she could find the works of Mary Wollstonecraft (which they didn’t sell) or Virginia Woolf (who he hadn’t heard of) . After wandering around the shop, Bridget found herself in the gender studies section, in which the man in question had just broken wind.

“It was an apocalyptic fart,” recalled Bridget.

“I was so angry. I went through all the options- he either hates women and feminism and this is what he thinks of it - or he's gone: ‘Which is the least populated section where I can fart?’ - Or he didn't even know he was in the women's section.”

“That was the point that everything fell into space - when like a patchwork quilt it all started to fit together,” she said.

“It was almost a religious epiphany like Jesus had appeared in a this is what a feminist looks like T-shirt. I decided to write about feminism in a way that could be inclusive.”

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