Voices from the Early Days – Lynn Jamieson on Being a Feminist

Lynn Jamieson reflects on being feminist and doing feminism in the academy.

Lynn Jamieson: …it sometimes is problematic…like, the research I did on sexual offences and rape trials, I know we got labelled. I was doing it with Beverly Brown and Michelle Burman, and we got labelled the three sexes by the legal profession. And the Law Society of Scotland characters that were around at that time basically just dismissed the work as feminist. So, feminist equalled not worth paying any attention to. And that’s problematic. But there was nothing that we could do about it, really. It was a prejudice that was there… A blind prejudice. So that is difficult. But, you just have to chip away as best you can… I guess if we’d been different people maybe that research would’ve had more impact, that’s the irony.

Órla Murray: As in, this sense of if it’s seen as not political, which is not actually necessarily possible, but not political and therefore more neutral and therefore more legitimate academically? Have you seen a change in how feminist or gender studies academic work has, like the legitimacy discussion around that? Have you seen that change over time in terms of people taking it seriously?

LJ: Well yeah, now that we’ve got this mainstream… this new school course adopted by a head of school at the top level decides that we should have a gender course…You couldn’t really imagine that when I started academic work. It was like, we just maybe [did] take it for granted that we were going to be doing this, almost like under the radar, and it would be built bottom up. You never would’ve imagined it that way round.