On Being a Lady

May 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Comment from the blog Already Pretty, via GOMI:

I have been told that I have too many opinions for a woman, that I speak too loudly, that my personality is too abrasive, that I’m too argumentative, that I talk too much…not in general. FOR A WOMAN. The implication being that women aren’t supposed to talk back, or too loudly, or at all…and that they should certainly never upstage the men in the room.

I’m pretty sure there’s no painless, easy way to combat this. I doubt very much that society’s viewpoints on how women should behave are going to turn around any time soon on their own. The only way I see to change this–and thus remove women’s worries about being too negative–is for those of us who can to continually challenge the gender roles and stereotypes which teach us that women do not have just as much right to offer both negative and positive feedback as men without being judged more harshly for it.

I realize that not every woman is in a position where she can safely do this, and that’s okay. I would never ask a woman to risk her safety or her livelihood to make a point. It’s all well and good to talk about sisterhood and solidarity, but the truth is that the playing field isn’t any more level between all women than it is between women and men as groups; the gaps between us are often far apart and sometimes, we just have to have our own backs to get by.

But for some of us, it isn’t a matter of losing our jobs or being unsafe; it’s a matter of worrying about whether people will like us or think we’re womanly enough if we’re too outspoken. And for me, developing special communication techniques in order to avoid coming off as “too negative” is too high a price to pay just so someone will like me more…especially when it’s not really going to be ME they end up liking, anyway.

Too good!

A Fifty Shades of Grey Rant

February 11, 2015 § 4 Comments

My mother-in-law asked Phil if he was taking me to see Fifty Shades of Grey for Valentine’s Day. There’s not enough UGH in the world for that concept.

“Fifty Shades tells a story of what is really grooming by a stalker – a seasoned perpetrator going after a much younger, more immature woman. She doesn’t know her own body, she doesn’t know what an orgasm is, she doesn’t know what the clitoris is – she’s never had sex. She’s barely articulate. She’s overwhelmed by this wealthy guy. Let me tell you, if this guy was living in a council house on welfare, he would not be so attractive.”

Dr Gail Dines, president of Stop Porn Culture

Although I bristle at someone saying women don’t understand something that is ABOUT them, when Dines says “It speaks to women’s lack of understanding about how violence against them happens,” I have to agree. It is insanely naive to allow yourself to be titillated by a tale of a young (terrifyingly backward) woman being unkindly treated by an older man – it’s brain-washing, not BDSM. This romanticism of controlling relationships is how women grow used to abuse and see even rape as something that ‘just happens’ to them.

“For us, the most concerning bits relate to the controlling behaviour that Christian exhibits outside of the bedroom. He stalks her, he tracks her phone, he finds her workplace, he takes away her independence. Those things are much more concerning in terms of modelling what a healthy, romantic, sexy relationship should be – especially for young girls who will see the movie.”

Natalie Collins, founder of 50 Shades is Abuse

The book is not the problem. The content is not the problem. Similar concepts have been doing the clit-lit rounds for donkey’s years. The problem is the ‘oooh!’ culture that has sprung up around the story – the ABSOLUTE LIE that it is about female empowerment, driven home by constant media endorsement.

Our stupid, stupid society is celebrating something that brings “…male desire to the fore, and a male shaping of what women should want,” in Dines’ words. Just what women, and particularly girls, need: more shit to measure themselves up against. Because if you’re not willing to be tied up and beaten (a mainstream facet of any relationship, or so we must assume), you’re frigid or a lesbian.

It’s the responsibility of grownup women to dismiss the power of this nonsense. Please, you have a brain and you need to use it to save your daughters from a lifetime of feeling like shit.

Listening to the Fifty Shades of Grey audiobook while you’re doing your ironing does not mean you are enlightened or empowered. It means you are enslaved.

Read the VICE article here.

Feminism, or Just Good Manners?

May 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

“You know that policeman who believes you were assaulted, that boss who gave you maternity leave, that morning-after pill you took, that man you could leave even though you had his baby: these things were made possible by other women. They opened the really important doors for you. That’s feminism. When men open the door for you, it is simply good manners. Don’t confuse the two.”

Bloody EXCELLENT closing paragraph from Suzanne Moore for the Guardian. Read the full article here.

The Power of Penis

October 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week I sent my editor an article a lady wrote about loving your vagina. It was hilarious and kind of eww-cute, but I reeeeeally just wanted to imagine Shaun reading all her gross-out names for ladyparts and having to go and be sick (Shaun is stridently gay).

However, he was not just sickened: he went so far as to respond with ‘A Love Letter to Your Penis‘ which basically underlined how vile the idea of a vagina can seem to one who may not spend much time with them. I was outraged, but in a FUNNY way – it was clearly a joke to provoke me. Others were not so amused.

Since publishing his article, Shaun has been subject to a militant response from xoJane (writer of the original letter) and some serious fem-hate from her followers. Some of the things they’re saying are really freakin’ funny, so although I feel a bit sorry for him, I’ve just been laughing ALL DAY.

Here’s a great extract from her response:

Look, once and for all: My vagina is not the little girl from The Ring.  It’s not going to like, get you. It doesn’t pop out of corners or scurry across the room like Chucky. It’s not a creepy clown who pulls you through a sewer grate. It doesn’t suck you into a mirror and keep you in there for the rest of your life. My vagina is not a jump scare.


Really think she took it a TAD too seriously though…I just mentally punched him in the face and moved on.

Oh, internet.

A Love Letter to Your Penis - HOWL Magazine

That’s so Shaun

Caitlin Moran on Letting Go

September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Epic quote from one of my big Girl Heroes:

The trick is, and there’s a little bit of heartbreak, you have to just give up on the idea of being a princess. You have to give up on the idea of being fabulous. My kind of base position on existence is that you just have to admit you’re a bit of a twat. You’re a bit of a div, you’re a kind of sweaty, stumpy, well-meaning idiot and you’re trying your hardest, but it’s just enough to be a sort of pleasant, polite person who’s working quite hard and tries to be nice to the people they’re nice to. We don’t need to have any more ambitions than that! This whole sassiness thing – everything’s got to be sarcastic, everything’s got to be knowing, everything’s got to be cynical. You’ve got to be on top of your shit twenty-four hours a day. THAT is exhausting. It’s just far better to go, you know what? I’m just basically a monkey in a dress, and the best I can hope for every day is just to be nice, to smile as much as possible, to be gentle, try and be a bit understanding, work really hard, go and smell some flowers, have a cup of tea, ring your mum if you get on with her, just kind of dial it down a bit. There’s a more sustainable idea of being a woman rather than feeling like you’re in a fucking movie twenty-four hours a day.

Man she’s great.

Caitlin Moran

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