Feminism and me.

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For the record, I’m a feminist. I was raised by two feminists and I married a feminist. Sometimes I think the fact I’m a feminist doesn’t really need to be said. I think, like I assume most enlightened people do, that men and women should have political, social and economic equality, have access to the same opportunities and not be discriminated against on the basis of their sex. I mean, I own a uterus and I would like to be in control of it, k thx bye. But then I run across women, normally  of my generation, who don’t identify as feminists and I do a double take –  as my brain fails to compute. As the fucking fabulous Caitlin Moran says much more eloquently than me:

“We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?”
― Caitlin MoranHow to Be a Woman

ETA (4.08.2013): This amazing video about why we should all be feminists.

It’s been very much one step forward, two steps back for feminism this month.
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On the plus side, Caroline Criado-Perez successfully won her campaign to even vaguely keep the faintest smattering of representation on Bank Notes with the announcement that Jane Austen will appear on the £10 note.
On the downside she promptly got attacked by vile scum on twitter making rape threats and twitter starkly failed to do anything about it. This didn’t disturb me because I’ve visited comment sites before, I’ve seen my friends change their name to a gender neutral one to avoid the miasma of sexual threatening comments directed there was. What was disturbing as my colleague pointed out was a small vocal minority who argued that she shouldn’t have reported it to the police she should ‘just take it’. And I couldn’t help wondering if a man had been threatened with sexual violence would they be telling him he should ‘put up with it.’
Then there was this article titled ‘We need a men’s movement.’ To which my reaction was, are you fucking kidding me?
As I said to my lovely friend who sent me the article. Maybe Slaughter has failed to notice but for the past, oh forever we have been experiencing a men’s movement. It’s called patriachy, it sucks. And traditional gender norms as reinforced by patriachy are not just hideously restrictive and uncomfortable for women but for men too. I completely acknowledge that the fact that many people still regard babies as something that happens to the women not the couple must be a difficult attitude to take if you are an enlightened man. But let’s keep it in perspective, if you are a straight white man to paraphrase John Scalzi you are playing the lowest difficulty setting there is in this game called life.
Whether you identify as a feminist or not aren’t you fucking tired of this sexist bullshit?
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Aren’t you tired of Page 3’s existence. Of in music videos naked women parading around like slabs of meat next to fully clothed men and never ever seeing it reversed. I mean come on! If we are going to objectify people then at least let’s go for equality.

I’m so fucking tired of knowing more women who have been sexually assaulted and raped than haven’t, as the prosecution rates tumble. And on people still believing that rape jokes are fucking acceptable. No, they aren’t.

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I’m so tired that because of the pay gap most of the women I know are working the last two months of the year for free.

I’m tired of a woman giving birth and the very first magazine cover is focused how she is going to lose the baby weight because women’s bodies are public property open to dissection in a way that men’s aren’t.

I’m so fucking tired of female superhero costumes vs male superhero costumes.

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I’m so fucking tired of the pro-life agenda rearing it’s ugly head in America. It is not OK for anybody to tell any of us what we can and can’t do with our bodies.

I’m tired of walking into a toy store and seeing aisles divided into boys and girls. With chemistry sets labelled as make up sets for girls as we restrict all children by implicitly saying this is OK, and this isn’t.

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Aren’t you fucking tired of a female tennis player who’s reached the pinnacle of her sport being told ‘she’s not a looker’ as if that’s the only thing that matters and that winning Wimbledon is a fucking consolation prize. That the Times labelled Andy Murray’s victory as Britain’s 77 wait for a victor forgetting the women who had won it because women aren’t people.

Aren’t you tired of people telling you to ‘man up’ or ‘you’re acting like a girl’ as the former= the height of strength, and the latter is the ultimate insult.

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Aren’t you fucking tired that we are still talking about this in the 21st century. I am so fucking over all of this.

But I keep telling myself there’s hope, there is slutwalks, gender-flipping memes, the why I need feminism campaign, more petitions that you can shake a stick at, gender neutral parenting, Jezebel, and George RR Martin being a dude.

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It is getting better. But the fight’s not over. If you want to come out of the feminist closet club, whatever your gender, you are more than welcome, we have cookies.  (ETA: 4/08/2013) And if you don’t identify as feminist but you are for gender equality then I’ll be bemused (because see: dictionary definition of feminism) but yay. But if you’re not for gender equality, if by your beliefs or your actions you are actively discriminating towards anybody because of their gender then well, prepare to be on the wrong side of history.

10 things I hate about weddings

It’s late December, I’m tired and I still have five days left at work. Yep, it’s rant o’clock. If you are offended by swearing, then really this post is not for you (also: what are doing reading my blog?) So inspired by this amazing post on ranty girl’s blog, let me unleash on you:

The top 10 things I hate about weddings

1. Chair covers

I object to chair covers on principle. Why after years of seeing chairs in their natural form on my wedding day will my virgin brain (ha) scramble when confronted by the sight of an uncovered chair? Frankly, they are so many more attractive things to spend money on then tying a ribbon around a chair. Look I get it, venues often have unmatched chairs. But why is the onus on the couple to pay for chair covers and not the venue for having shitty chairs. Rise up brides and grooms, you don’t have to put up with this!

2. Wedding magazines and their buy everything mentality

If you read wedding magazines or in fact most magazines aimed at women, you will internalise a lot of tedious bullshit. Newly engaged me bought wedding magazines for three months before fleeing screaming into the blogosphere. I cracked after being driven into a panic because I did not have a signature perfume to wear on the day. Despite the fact, a) perfume makes me and b) HWSNBN sneeze. You see, magazines are primarily funded by advertising money and their not so secret mission is to entice you to buy all the things. And this will quickly drive you mad and broke. All you need is you, your true love, two witnesses and a place and person to marry you. That’s it. The rest, it’s just window dressing. Also see, this excellent post on

3. The bride being given away.

FUCK OFF with your outdated dark-age chauvinistic concepts. Whenever I tell people what we are/ are not doing and they don’t agree the standard retort is: ‘It’s traditional’.  So.Fucking.What. Yes, let’s keep living in caves, lynching black people and drinking Coca Cola laced with cocaine ‘cos it’s traditional. Translation traditional: happened once. Times changes, things move on. Traditions, darling, are made to be broken.

4. People who ask if they are invited

Why, why, why would you do that? If you are, you’ll get an invite. If not, all you are doing is sparking a squirm inducing moment, where the bride, (because they always ask the blooming bride, see below) has to explain that you’re not invited because of  a) money, b) venue limitations, or c) (yep, I’m going to be brutal here) we like other people more than we like you. Can’t you just hint like a normal person? (I’m joking, this is also grr inducing) Asking outright it’s just not very British.

5. The most important day of your life

Really? Reeeeeeeeeeeealllly? I call bullshit. More important than when I met HWSNBN? Or when, (far, far, far into the future) I have children. No, our wedding day will be a good day, a fun day (I hope) but the most important… nah.

6. ‘It’s your day’

No, you see it’s not. There’s another person involved and he’s kinda important. HWSNBN has many, many opinions on this whole wedding thing and he’s not shy about coming forward. I find the focus on the bride really sexist and disturbing. It’s our day, not just mine. And what’s with everything been labelled bride and groom. I’m a person not a role, please call me by my name.

7. Bridezilla backlash

I’m not talking about the people with personality disorders who appear on a popular TV programmes. I am talking about the label that is applied when a bride displays assertive behaviour. Yes, be polite but if you’re not getting what you want how are you being a Bridezilla by stating what you would like? As a very wise friend put it, navigating the choppy newly engaged waves can help you develop your assertiveness skills (hey Ros *waves*). The Bridezilla label has the undertone of ‘aaah women those hormones get to their tiny, tiny brains’ that fucks me right off.

8. Sudden religious conversion

We’ve all met them. The people who when engaged experience a sudden religious conversion and need, no, have to be married in the sight of god. Dudes: just be honest. You want to get married in a church because it looks good in the pictures, not because of worries about your immortal soul. On the converse, I’ve heard so many horror stories of churches getting very sniffy because of friends who have been married before. Church, really in this day and age can you afford to be picky? Let’s end the hypocrisy on both sides.

9. Throwing the bouquet

Ah, unmarried women let’s herd them into space and throw things at them (don’t get me started on brooch bouquets, ouch). Because being single isn’t hard enough? I’m kidding with this one, sort of. But I used to dread the bouquet toss before I was engaged. Once a bouquet landed in my arms and you have never seen me move faster away from something. My old gym teacher would have been proud and very stunned. And as a bride if I’m spending 100 quid on a bouquet, that baby is going to be in my hands til it’s a rotting mess of vegetation.

10. Bride you.

This makes me sad, more than angry. I’ve seen beautiful friends with short hair who start growing their hair for the wedding because it’s bridal. Or straight haired friends who curl their hair because that’s what you do. Or friends who decide they can/can’t do something because it’s not what brides do. Who says? I’m not saying don’t scrub up. But there’s a difference between polishing yourself and changing everything that makes you, well you. I want to walk down the aisle looking like a prettier version of me. So don’t change brides you’re perfect, just the way you are.

And one thing I used to hate about weddings but now don’t mind:

1. ‘What’s your theme?’

I was initially very scornful of themes when we first got engaged. ‘My theme is we’re getting married.’ I used to say. ‘Isn’t that enough?’ But: true confession time HWSNBN and I have a theme. All will be revealed shortly. But does having a theme mean I get thrown out of the bad brides club?

End rant/

Wow, I feel much better. OK, lovely folks, dish about all things about weddings you hate in the comments or all tell me how much you luurve chair covers. (Seriously: why?)

Buzzing thoughts

Today I am mostly:

  • Thinking about secrets in the age of the internet or How twitter helped reveal the truth. It was alarming when I checked the guardian homepage and saw an story saying very little beyond they had been “prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.” Within an hour twitter users had identified the MP in question, the company, the sum-sucking Trafigura, and the report they were trying to bury: The injunction about reporting on questions asked in Parliament fell apart. As Bill Clinton once said ‘never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel’. However I find it so worrying that not only worries me that people are looking at this Or have I just been reading too many dystopian novels…
  • For the last couple of weeks I have very slowly been working my way through Pandora’s Star by Peter F Hamilton. Part of the reason I’m so slow is because I’m juggling so many things at the moment and the only time I have to read is in the ten minutes before I fall into a dreamless slumber. The Boy rarely reads so when he recommends a book I feel obligated to give it a go but I have to admit I am less than gripped. It seems that the things that interest him: concepts, science, vast and sprawling world-building, I find less than scintillating. For example he adores SG-1 and thought Atlantis was a little weak. Whereas I found SG-1 boring and repititive with too little ongoing mythology and dull characters Unlike Atlantis in which Rodney quite frankly rocked.
  • Is it wrong that I find the fantastic Mr Fox very sexy. The Clooney appeals works whether he is furry or a silver fox geddit? Then again I had a big crush on the Beast. He gives her a library, so romantic!
  • The death of the blackberries. It seems like blackberries have been and gone and autumn has barely started.
  • Our flat like Mary Poppins is practically perfect in everyway. So even mentioning this makes me feel like a brat of the highest order but I hate our fridge. For the last couple of years my ire has been reserved for the washing machine aka the grand shrinker. It lurks waiting for me to feed it my nicest clothes before turning them the size of mini clothes. At first I thought it was my habit of only using one setting, but no it does it when the Boy master of the washing machine settings feeds my clothes to it too. But not when it’s his laundry. I am beginning to suspect that my washing machine is a misogynist. Or that because the Boys clothes made out of titanium, or whatever indestructable force Boys clothes are made of, resist being eaten. Anyway, the fridge. We have an inbuilt mini fridge and freezer side by side. But the fridge has aspirations it longs to be a freezer so at the top taking up valuable freezing space is a freezer. Unpacking the shopping requires long hours of tetris honed skills. If we turn the milk sideways like this and stack the cheese. Items that are rounded: potatoes, cauliflowers, goats cheese ruin the pattern. It makes it really hard to see and plan meals. For the last month or so, with colleague Sara I’ve been trying to cut down on food bills in a eat my larder challenge. The lentils are gone, but I have enough beans to last until Judgement Day
  • I’ve been dreaming of pieminister pies ever since Beth introduced me to them in a trip to Bristol. Amazing pastry goodness with succulent fillings. As if I needed anymore reasons to be jealous of Bristolians.
  • Also I’ve been writing my new WIP progress novel about a teen detective who only tells the truth, investigating the apparent suicide of her former best friend (phew) I’m:
  • 15457 / 70000 words. 22% done! Yay me

A trivial mind


This can only be a good thing.

I love gossip. I have a mind that clings relentlessly to the trivial, I can remember all the songs from Labryinth, plots from every Sweet Valley High book (Wakefields 4 eva!) but ask me about the English constitutional system and all you’ll get will be a dazed look.

So I was always an avaricious consumer of gossip magazines. I bought one of the first issues of heat magazine (although I haven’t been buying for over a year now. No moral fortitude just that gossip sites are better and more available when your bored at work). A couple of months ago Heat released a pull section of stickers one of which was a sticker of Jordan’s son Harvey with a speech bubble saying ‘Harvey wants to eat me’.

Yep. I don’t know where to begin by expressing how disgusted I was by this. But to prevent muchas pointless ranting here’s the breakdown:

1) Harvey is five years old
2) Harvey is not a celebrity (he has not chosen to be in the public eye)
3) Harvey is disabled. He suffers from septo-optic dysplasia, a rare condition which means he is visually impaired and suffers from hormonal deficiencies hence his size

Heat by publishing this are making fun of a disabled, non famous five year old. Which is so beyond acceptable, no matter what pathetic apologies they may make afterwards. So three months ago, I stopped buying all Emap products out of protest (this also coincided (with a rant for another day) the realisation that the majority of women’s magazines serve to make you feel crap about yourself and pimp loads of overpriced tat you don’t need so you can fill that gaping hole within (try doughnuts instead (joke!)).)

But that feeling, that by buying heat and its competitors, by being interesting in Celebrity cellulite etc, that I was culpable it did not go away. I started to feel a little bit queasy.

The recent press coverage of Britney Spears breakdown made me awful. Anybody who profits photos of somebody who 24 hours before had been released from mental institution is immoral.
But by reading the site I was at the very least amoral. I was swallowing it down avidly, no better than those people who stand and gape at ambulances sucking in every last drop of human misery.

Then I saw this article on holy moly, one of my favourite sites, about how they were no longer going to use intrusive paparazzi photo. And it summed up what I’d been thinking.

So I’m going to try and not be trivial. I’m not going to read or buy these magazines anymore, or visit the websites.

I’m not arrogant enough to think that this will make any difference in the grand scheme of things. But it will make a difference to me. And that’s enough for now.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word…

Because when is referencing Elton John songs not a good idea 🙂

I saw this yesterday. A lot of people I’ve talked to seem a little dismissive of this speech at the opening of the Australian parliament.

Whether or not you think we in the present are responsible for the atrocities committed by past generations undoubtedly almost all of us have profited from our ancestors collusion and in some cases persecution of minorities. However far back you delve into a countries past there are dirty little secrets (and not so secret secrets) And the more successful the country particularly in the colonial sphere the larger and more geographically widespread the mistakes.

I think the Australian government have done a great thing. Really what they are saying is:
1) This happened
2) It was not OK that it did
3) And we as representative of the electorate are saying sorry
4) In the future we will try to bridge the widespread economic, educational, and social gap to make recompense for the mistakes of the past.

Don’t hold your breath for the English parliament doing anything similar anytime soon though