Bringing you regular rage against the patriarchy, drenched in sarcasm and capslocks #FEMINISTFRIDAY

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Stop the press! It’s a Scrunchie!

There is nothing I love more than the media’s depiction of women. I think I’ve mentioned that? If not, where have you been?

Well, since party conference season began, it has been a treat! A rage-enducing, want to rip your own arm off to have something to hit people with, treat. As you can imagine, my poor, helpless, niece didn’t really know what to do, as she could hear her aunt turning into The Hulk over the phone.

Have you guessed what we were discussing? No, it wasn’t Harriet Harman’s speech, or even Theresa May’s latest policy disaster. It was the leaders’ wives (not people in their own right, they belong to the leaders you see). Not just that, but what they were wearing. That’s news folks! You may think I was mistakenly reading Cosmo or Glamour? Nope, I was reading a broadsheet newspaper. I am going to presume it was a slow news day.

Let’s start with Justine Miliband. I hear she wore a red number with her classic nude coloured sho…..OH MY GOD, I DON’T CARE. Here’s something you may want to know alongside her existence as someone’s wife and a clotheshorse. She is a Cambridge graduated Barrister, who specialises in environmental law and author of several legal specialist books. I wonder what her opinion would be on things? I presume she may have some of those, alongside her Jimmy Choos.

But, it’s not just discussing what she is wearing that is the problem, aside from the difference in how her and Ed Miliband are portrayed in media. I can’t imagine Ed ever having the words “Ed who are you wearing, is that Gucci?” shouted at him as he enters a conference centre in Manchester. It’s the derogatory way in which it is done. Yes, obviously, only talking about her appearance is derogatory full stop, but the language used to describe her, plunges this backwards journalism further into the dark ages. “Frumpy”, “old mum”, the discussion about her baby weight, just weeks after giving birth, and how it was “doing nothing for her posture”. She’s had two children. Someone give her a prize for pushing a bowling ball out of her vagina-twice, not a paragraph of text detailing how she hasn’t shed the pounds. Her insides were probably still recovering! You can find out all about her party conference look here.

Now, let’s turn our attention to Samantha Cameron. I don’t think much of her choice in partners, but you don’t choose who you fall in love with, at least that’s what I’ve been told. Regardless of her blue beliefs, she too has been used as nothing more than a walking wardrobe. However, she is a graduate from the University of West of England (note: I’m not discussing all of their, very privileged, backgrounds, that’s an entire bloody blog itself…next time) and was Creative Director at one of England’s largest stationers. I had to Wiki that, as I had never read about it in any paper or magazine. Not once.

The obsession with the candy on our party leaders’ arms is ridiculous. How can we have any of them discussing policies to create equality between the sexes (not that either of them did), only to have their wives then join them on stage to smile and wave, whilst sucking in their tummies and wondering whether the Daily Mail shot the good side of their faces? It makes for a stage full of hypocrisy.

And perhaps worst of all, is the tradition of the end of conference kiss. where, after the Man has done his real work, his wifey gets to join him on stage for a kiss of support. Really? Are we still doing that? How is this even a thing? I’m exhausted by the tokenistic existence of leaders’ wives and how they are rolled out (the campaigning in the States, being a prime example) to say wonderful stories about what great husbands, fathers and role models they are. I wonder if we turned the tables, would the men be so willing to be rolled out as extras in a play? I wonder too, if we were to have a gay Prime Minister would the traditional conference kiss remain? You can vom out your lunch and view the pictures of David and Samantha’s kiss here. Enjoy.

Note: almost all of my links go to the hideously named ‘Femail’ purple and pink section of the Daily Mail. Most amusing.

As the conversation about leaders’ wives continued, my niece, who had been saying “yes” and “I totes agree” at regular intervals – she thinks I don’t notice that she is actually watching re-runs of the x-factor in the background, realised I had momentarily stopped to breathe and asked her a question.

That’s right.

“Sorry. What? Ask that again?”

“Do you know who Hillary Clinton is?”

“Oh yeah, she’s the wife of the guy who was important”

And so begins by mutation into The Hulk again. Honestly, she brings it on herself.

No. She is the US Secretary of State, was previously a close contender in the Democratic leader election and New York Senator…then, maybe, define her as a wife. Ok? Glad, we have that sorted. BUT HOLD THE PHONE. None of that matters because she is wearing a scrunchie. Forget Libya, forget Iran, forget UN Security council she’s wearing a scrunchie!!! Good grief.

Today, is in fact, Hillary’s birthday – but rather than look at her achievements over a wonderful 65 years, you can see her 65 looks instead!  I AM SO CLOSE TO THE EDGE THAT CAPS LOCKS ARE NOW MY BEST FRIEND.

Despite what how my niece described Hillary Clinton, it’s not her fault. She’s only saying all she can see. Women, strong women, successful women in their own right, portrayed as some man’s wife, some designer’s clotheshorse and some photographer’s image of the day. How grim. I await the day I get to open a newspaper and be pleasantly surprised. You should know, for the sake of remaining alive, I am not holding my breath.


What if Jeremy had a uterus?

I can’t tell if it’s because I am writing these blogs or that time machine I was working on finally worked and I have gone back a few decades, but these past few months I have found myself having, what feel like draconian arguments, reading journalism reminiscent of an 80’s Tory speech and hearing comments that would make a suffragette turn in her grave. Patriarchy is very much alive and well.

These past weeks we have been vomiting up and re-serving (what a pleasant image) the same debate on abortion rights. Perhaps ‘rights’ isn’t the correct term given where the debate is currently. Jeremy Hunt has decided to tell us all what to do with our Uteri (sp…what the hell is the plural of Uterus?!?) he believes that 12 weeks is a more acceptable restriction than the current time limit which is 24 weeks. Many thanks, Jeremy.

Naturally, this came up in chats with my niece this week. Now I won’t lie, I am relieved that she is old enough (she is an adult…kind of) to know what an abortion is and I don’t have to explain it – my parenting skills are questionable as we have already discussed…

But someone who isn’t particularly well-informed on the details of the debate and, will herself, carry her own morals and experiences simply put like this: “I’m not sure why this is so difficult, what someone wants to do is up to them, no one is telling anyone to get an abortion, if you don’t believe in it don’t have one, that’s, kind of it Right?” Well, quite. I wonder if I should be pushing her to run in an election, I am already convinced she’d do a better job than most.

The arguments about choice in abortion are well known, you can easily google yourself some intelligence on it, but the political argument almost always comes down to access and time limits. Usually (more so in the UK) politicians are advised not to tread the religion/start of life line (though many ignore this). Instead political arguments are often masked with poorly researched ‘scientific fact’. Ironically, science is on feminism’s side  and 24 weeks has time and time again been proven to be a perfectly safe time limit. But that’s the thing about facts and stats. 99.9% of them are made up on the spot. Especially when you are trying to win an argument.

But, what science misses out, and what can never be ignored, is what the woman who find out she is pregnant want to do with her own body. No science, no research, no facts can quantify that or give you a spreadsheet of significant data to tell you how one woman will feel in comparison to another.

So really I guess what I’m saying is this; No uterus, no opinion, Jeremy.

Jeremy Hunt’s obsession with a woman’s right to choose is not about ‘morals’ as he puts it, nor is it about health and wellbeing or science. It’s about politics. His personal politics, which, in the matter of feminist issues, is about as relevant as my opinion on the latest football strategy by [insert name of some well known football manager here].

Yet, he, alongside other men, seem to think their opinion is some kind of defining article on women’s issues. Men, can and should be allies on feminist issues, I believe they should be able to call themselves feminists too – but not decision makers.page 3 telling us what feminism should be – Get your man body out of my woman business (I laughed when I typed this…if you know what I mean…)

What if Jeremy Hunt had a uterus though?…Well, maybe I would listen more and would consider it acceptable that he had an opinion, but we also need to tread carefully there, because there are some uteri who agree with him and other methods of suppressing women’s rights. For instance, Maria Miller, aptly name ‘women’s minister’. As a woman, yes, be part of the debate, it’s more valid than privileged male politicians talking about it, but equally, speak for your own uterus not mine, or all women in the UK. I mean for goodness sake, I’m from a muslim family, trust me, there are plenty of others (including the friend of my mum’s, neighbour’s mother in law’s pet cat – you know how culture rolls) in my life who will tell me what to do, I don’t need a politician on BBC breakfast news doing it too.

Feminism fights for opportunity and choice and there is no greater illustration of this than the abortion debate. Feminism is not endorsing the ‘killing of children’, as always, feminism is battling to have multiple avenues for women to make their choices in life. But, these choices should never come with the caveat of harassment or bullying, which is, quite frankly, the way every woman who has ever had, or is considering, an abortion must feeling right now.

Feminism is a movement, yes, but within that a diverse range of individuals, with their own morals, beliefs and circumstances. The choices that feminism fights for are to allow all of the individuals within the movement to have their own route in life.

I’d like to leave you with this little video, telling me why contraceptives are evil. Not just evil, but make me less desirable to men and turn them gay. I sometimes think if we leave the republicans in the states to discuss abortion, the issue may just self-destruct.

The ‘truth’ about contraceptives

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