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

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

Dear BBC Scotland…

Dear BBC Scotland,

I am writing to you at 22.05 after watching, nay, enduring, your program on “What Woman Want” which was supposedly an analysis of women’s views and the “gender gap” which has been identified. Latest polling showing that 67% of women intend to vote no in the Scottish Referendum. I, like many woman have made up my mind, I have analysed the situation, I have found my information, I have asked my questions and I will be voting no. This isn’t about how we are voting though, this is about how you patronised us. My sisters on the Yes or No side are not amused.

The program came with such promise. An hour, a whole hour, dedicated to talking to women and asking their political opinions, trust me this is unheard of. Given I still have to endure on a daily basis, all male panels and all male opinion makers on my screen, on my radio and in my newspaper, I was rather excited. But much like the parents of a rebellious teenager, I shook my head in disappointment; because you didn’t rebel, you stuck with the status quo of feminine clichés and patronising scripting.

We talked to women politicians in their kitchens and in cafes. We went to find women at the roller derby and at a wedding exhibition. Really? Today I was on a university campus, I was in an office, I was at the bank and later on a bus. Pretty gender neutral things, and other women were also there. Sometimes, we like to push out of patriarchy’s tight grip, sometimes we even do that with trousers on – I can only assume, this shocks you. Jackie Bird decided to visit a bridal shop where she said “women like to shop” (I don’t, actually), followed by “we take our time with decisions, whether picking a dress or a political system” (again, no, I have to say, the dress is bought if it fits and is on sale, the political system on the other hand I consider just a little longer…). Then we went to a shot of a neurosurgeon to remind us that men’s and women’s brains are not particularly different, it’s nurture not nature. What we could have said here was its sexism not biology, but it seems you were not looking to take this matter particularly seriously.

Credit to you, there were almost some rays of hope. When Jackie Bird pointed out the Yes campaign’s newspaper with Nicola Sturgeon in the Kitchen and pictures of babies, it was a cheap shot for women’s votes. When Johann Lamont talked about women not being reduced to a single cohort and being respected as a diverse set of minds, I eagerly nodded. We were educated on women suffrage and the women forgotten in history (and not taught in our schools), we got to applaud women comics, but on both occasions we drifted past the issue by saying “isn’t this bad?” rather than calling it out properly.

At one point, Jackie even mocked the idea of the cliché of women baking scones in a kitchen, but then decided to interview one of the top women politicians of Scotland, as she made a cup of tea, apparently continuity in scripting was not a priority here. Have we ever had Alex Salmond interviewed as he makes a cup of tea? If we are going for clichés, I presume the interview would take place at a men’s only golf club somewhere…

Then came the round table with real women voters; we ask them a couple of questions whilst nodding our heads “sooo what do you think, so of this stuff is super hard yeah?” (that might not have been what the presenter asked, my rage is getting the better of me). This lasted about 5 minutes, which is a shame as I thought, this was the entire point. Then the presenter finished with “the women seemed to not be occupied by the economy but the smaller, everyday things and what they cost” newsflash – that’s a pretty big part of the economy. Now I am not hating on the women presenters, no, no. They will have been asked to follow a format, yes? I thought so.

Well, at least it ended with the right commentary; Jackie explained that women come at this from a variety of angles, that they are not “risk averse”, that they make up the majority of the electorate and that considering options is a very rational thing to do. But why couldn’t that have been the mindset with which you recorded the programme. I left with a feeling that I and women are nothing more than clichés to you.

The reasons why women are not engaged is institutionalised sexism. The reason women are not at the forefront of the campaigning is institutionalised sexism. The way you decided to put this programme together is institutionalised sexism.

Let’s get women front and centre of the debate, let’s get their voices heard. But let’s not do this but reinstating clichés and patronising them along the way; respect them for the intelligent voters they are.


Yours sincerely,

A proud feminist, who will no doubt be writing to you again.


Silky, Smooth Sexism

It’s always the adverts. I would have a more balanced blood pressure level and a regular heart rate if those 30 second slots didn’t interrupt my watching of the rest of sexism on television.

Let’s think about those advert slots; 30 seconds times by around 4 adverts between each break in a programme, here’s what they us about women.

1. A car advert tells us that a woman is the equivalent of a hood ornament

2. A men’s fragrance tell us that if a woman gets a whiff of you, her clothes should come right off.

3. A supermarket reminds us that grocery shopping and cooking are, obviously, jobs only for women

4. The beauty industry tell us that a woman needs better hair, better skin, better eyelashes; they way you look when you wake up is grim for the rest of the world (in my case, this might be a little bit true, mainly the drool down my chin).

Sometimes there, something about PPI or claiming for injuries, but that’s about it.

That’s a lot of information in two minutes. That’s a lot of sexism in two minutes.

BUT wait, it gets better. The beauty industry is usually one that makes me bury my head in my hands with its constant preying on women’s self esteem and reinstating values that tell us that if we are to look attractive (which we can’t do without them) it better be to please a man – forget what you want in life, or what gender you actually want to be with. We are so normalised to it that we have a tendency to shake our heads and move on, but every so often, even our normalised sexism drops its jaw in the audacity of the marketing world.

This time its Veet, now usually veet falls under the “normalised sexism” category; yes it’s a pants, usually it tells us to hold ourselves up to beauty standards (standards being a rubbish word to use) that are unfair and a very narrow definition of the word beauty, but it has outdone even itself. DON’T RISK DUDENESS (also don’t invent words, Veet).

Yup. That just happened. You may be shocked into silence, perhaps confused as to who thought this was a good idea or looking into the abyss wondering what part of this angers you the most. Well, let pick this apart and find out:

1. If you don’t shave your legs, you are a man

2. If you don’t shave your legs, you are unattractive to men

3. Men, you should be horrified at a woman with hair

4. She shaved yesterday and there is already stubble -If anything Veet, that is you telling us it’s not worth it

5. Women, you should feel apologetic for being hairy

6. Women, you should feel apologetic for the horror that may be on the face of a disgustingly sexist man who has only a patriarchal definition beauty and is, by the sounds of it, pretty undeserving of touching your stubbly legs.

7. Feeling womanly is reserved to those who adhere to these beauty standards

8. That Veet is just a bit homophobic.

9. That hairiness is something you should be worrying about around the clock, like an impending doom or hairy zombie apocalypse

10. It’s kind of also offensive to men with a bit of a belly and a beard. Jump on the feminist bandwagon beardy men.

AND women it’s not just who you wake up next to that should be horrified at your disgusting natural body growth, what would the pedicures think of you?!!

Apparently, the taxi driver and the emergency medical staff would also be disgusted and make you feel ashamed, but I can’t seem to find those ads anywhere on the net. (fine with me!)

Thanks Veet, in 30 seconds you’ve been quite an education. You’ve reminded me and countless others (just take a look at my Twitter feed) that lazy sexism is the staple of the marketing world and one we need to constantly question, highlight and tackle. So with that in mind, you can complain here:


Or leave them a passive aggressive message on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/veet

Or let the company that owns Veet products know that this is all a little bit pathetic on Twitter: @discoverRB

I am off for a cup of tea and possibly some deep breaths.

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