I’ve been very lax with blogging due to UNIVERSITY! I am very out of practice with this writing for a blog stuff so you’ll have to forgive me.

Though the silence on here hasn’t just been to do with university; recently I’ve found that lots of feminism on the internet seems vastly counter-productive in terms of outcome. Some things, such as the amusing but informative attacks on the Femfresh* Facebook page (see here for an explanation of what happened) seem to have produced a really positive outcome, the Facebook page was taken down and the whole things seems to have been considered a bit of a disaster in terms of advertising strategies.***

However some pieces of feminist activism seem to increasingly come down to this:

And I am not sure how I feel about this, yet. Women should be able to point out sexism without being told they are being too sensitive, but also going round the internet having weirdly circular battles about things in a kind of ‘look at my intellectual argument, LOOK AT IT’ way just doesn’t seem to *do* much. And I fear it pushes out people who could be most impacted by feminism. A while ago I was thinking that it might be nice to have some kind of evidence based collation of feminist activism, what works and what doesn’t, not because anyone should stick to rules but I think I’d find it useful in engaging with those who don’t rate feminism. But I’ve known non feminists to use the phrase evidence-based-feminism, as a form of attack and way of denying human emotions and experience. Basically I feel a bit jaded.

The Olympics have just finished but before it started there was a documentary on Victoria Pendleton:

Here is Vicky with a lovely bike. (The Pashley Poppy) It’s lovely, she’s lovely, her outfit is lovely. She’s awesome! Also fast. Fast and awesome. <3

In it she mentioned femininity and sport. (The below quote isn’t from the documentary but it has a similar gist! I can’t find the actual quote.)

“When I first stated racing internationally I would look at the girls and think, ‘My gosh, do I have to cut my hair off and get really big to show I’m committed?’ People would say ‘She’s too small, too puny, too girly. She doesn’t take it seriously.’ Well, I have to sit in my room for hours before I compete, so I get my eye liner perfectly straight, or do my hair. A lot of people assume I fulfil the role of a girly girl because I have to do it in order to be noticed, but that’s not it. I genuinely enjoy a good dress-up and always have done. I wouldn’t want to change that for the world.”

I am a little torn on this, in one way I am really glad someone is standing up for femininity and why it’s important to some women and why it isn’t stupid or vain to straighten your hair for example but can be part of your own identity and how you carry yourself as a human. That it can exist WITH being good at sport not at odds to it. But the other side of this is that women doing ‘masculine’ sports or who are masculine in physical appearance or dress are attacked. (E.g. the Williams’ sisters, Zoe Smith (Argh, we all love her, right?) and Semenya Caster.) and I’m really glad Victoria Pendleton is staying true to herself (and women being capable AND feminine is something I am very passionate about people realising is possible) but in the mainstream media the pressure on women to be stunning as well as do their jobs as athletes is huge. It’s the most attractive athletes who get the best sponsorship deals in general, and the most attractive athletes who get the press. Of course this isn’t anything we don’t already know but it is something I’m finding increasingly depressing.

Also I’ve realised quite a lot of this post is to do with advertising or sponsorship. This ran in a magazine for One Direction fans (click to make big if you want to see disgusting sexist text):

It’s a seriously disgusting piece of girl hate, (I’m pining for J17 if I am honest!) but realised today why it’s so worrying for me; clearly it’s vile but if you read any magazine aimed at women or girls (or boys or men) they are all trying to sell you stuff. You are supposed to see a pretty kitchen and want to buy a pretty kitchen, you’re supposed to see a model in a pretty dress and want to buy it; even the bits that aren’t advertising in Cosmo are advertising. And I’ve come to the conclusion the Caroline S piece is related to this because happy, well adjusted and confident little girls don’t need to buy ALL THE STUFF IN THE WORLD; happy, well adjusted and confident little girls don’t need to hate on a woman because she’s older than an age they’d find acceptable to go out with their idol. Teaching girls to distrust and hate one another teaches them they have to be better than the next girl. Being better than the next girl involves buying ALL the make up and ALL the dresses and ALL the shoes and still feel insecure deep down because that’s what girl hate does. It stops little girls concentrating on becoming interesting, funny, complex humans and teaches them to wear a pretty dress in anger and hate. I can’t say I’ve entirely worked out my feelings about this, but it has added to my unease that it’s not in government or business interests to combat this stuff, articles are published online specifically to wind up left or right wing people and get hits from ‘offended’ people. I’m not offended though, I’m angry and sad and I also wonder how we can really combat this kind of sexism.

* A ‘lady’ hygiene product more interested in calling a vulva a squiggly wiggly noo-noo than dealing with actual hygiene of the vulva.**

**NB I think it is essential that women feel they can call any part of their body whatever they like but women’s personal and private relationship with their bodies shouldn’t be used in a public advert campaign to infantilise women’s genitalia.

***Though I think it’s a shame that no one has ever done this for P&G ‘Sponsors of Mums’ adverts which are among the worst I have ever seen. ONLY WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD CHILDREN LIKE TO KEEP THEIR HOMES AND CLOTHES CLEAN YOU GUYS! Men and women without kids are either useless or dirty. (Who doesn’t love a cleaning advert portraying men as weak and idiotic and unable to do ‘women’s work’. So funny! So true! Men, you idiots, you can’t possibly be expected to understand how to put a wash on!****)

**** I suspect I could teach my cats to put a wash on, but not a man; they’d shrink all the clothes and then put in a red sock with a white wash! What idiots, eh?

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Hiatus

It won’t surprise anyone who knows me that I haven’t updated for a long time. I am concentrating on writing an INCREDIBLE essay on Roman women (It’s going to be amazing. No really! Okay I am a bit nervous about writing my first essay in 11 years but still.)

I am going to do a little list first of things I am currently obsessed with:

The Adventure Time comic. This is the best comic I have read in ages. OH MY GOD IT IS INCREDIBLE! Ryan North of Dinosaur comics is writing it and they have covers and a second story done by different artists to the main story. I LOVE IT! #2 was out yesterday and I think #1 is on its second printing. IT IS GREAT.

Once Upon a Time (TV show): This is the series that Fables fans got a bit distressed about. Admittedly the premise did sound nearly exactly like that of Fables. However it’s not like Fables, though they do put a few knowing hints in there, and it’s clever. Really clever. It uses the Disney properties in an excellent way, making them darker and more relatable, blurring the line of good and evil. So far so unlike Disney, Jiminy Cricket gets a dark and disturbing back story and for many episodes it’s hard to tell how much of this is in the child protagonists mind. Several of the characters are from ‘regular’ fairy tales and their meaning is disseminated in clever (and dare I say it) feminist ways. The last episode shown in America was Red Riding Hood’s back story and they’ve done something with it that suggests they truly understand why this tale was used.

Bad Machinery (webcomic): I couldn’t have come later to Scary Go Round if I had tried. I am plodding my way through it. Bad Machinery is very cute and funny and the story of kids fighting mysteries, like a very un-secular Scooby Doo.

The Unwritten (Comic): It’s basically a story about the power of stories, and how they are controlled. This series is pretty far into the storyline and actually I’d recommend reading the trades anyway as it is easier to grasp what is happening (After it had been going for about a year still nothing had happened. This isn’t a bad thing and it works perfectly but you have to be in it for the long haul.)

Wolverine and the X-men (Comic): Wolverine has started a school for mutants and it isn’t going that well. In fact I suspect Kitty Pryde may be about to have a massive breakdown. The art and storylines for this title is amazing. I completely recommend it (Try Comixology for back issues if your local store doesn’t have it because it is AMAZING!)

(I was also really enjoying Batman by Scott Snyder but that has just gone entirely mental)

I was linked to this piece on the F word very timely and interesting. It’s about feminism and class. The academic discipline of feminism means pretty much nothing if it is not disseminated out (to all women of all classes and in all countries) in a way that brings about practical and useful change to women’s lives. I found it distressing watching the coverage of the Slutwalk, for more than one reason but mainly because all the interviews I saw were with middle class girls, aware of the need for change. No one reached out to working class girls and boys specifically. And if you are not specifically inclusive then you are excluding. No matter what you think. I think I’ve mentioned this before but the thing that really upset me is during the sea of ‘isn’t it awesome women are marching to overturn understanding about rape’ comments the only person I saw asking where are the working class girls was Liz Jones. Fail, guys, total fail…

Last night I watched David Starkey become a foaming-at-the-mouth mess of unconcealed misogyny on Channel 4’s 10 O’ Clock show. He was debating about quotas for females (in boardrooms/government etc) with Natalie Haynes.  I am not going to link to it. Bookers don’t need any extra reasons to book this guy. What surprised me the most (though I suspect most of what he was saying was Troll 101 rather than actually held opinions) was that you could easily have someone argue against quotas. Not all feminists are pro them, there are clear and sound arguments against them, but David Starkey did that wonderful thing that men like him (Educated men trying to keep their position at the top of the castle) do and shouted over Natalie, implied she (and the rest of her gender) was stupid (How many women get firsts? Um quite a lot I would have thought but  nevermind.) Ignored the facts she came up with and fought them by having a sulk. To be honest he might as well have had a shit on the desk for all the screaming attention seeking he was doing. STOP BOOKING THIS TWAT ON TO TV AND RADIO, HE DOES NOT DESERVE THE MONEY.

Also I like this video:

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I like pink!

Happy (Newish) Year.

I’ve realised I’ve been avoiding writing in here so far this year. Everything I’ve thought “Oh that’s interesting” has either been covered very well by others or has become a tedious circular argument with no actual change happening. I’m getting annoyed with a lot of reactive internet feminism. (See the Lego campaign against Lego Friends, [link here] which has managed to thoroughly miss the point and is being very disingenuous in its understanding of the Lego sets available (Here is a good balanced review which doesn’t fuck me off as much as this anti girly type of campaign.)

Basically I am not keen on any set being pushed towards any particular sex. e.g. there is no reason little girls couldn’t like Ninjago but since there are no female minifigs in that line or little girls in the advertising as far as I know why would they engage with it? Especially if Lego are saying ‘here is the set for girls’. I’m also not exactly chuffed by the way it’s been marketed, the TV advert features a dead voiced Valley girl preening on about how you can go eat cupcakes. Obviously even plastic cupcakes are delicious but it doesn’t exactly break gender stereotypes. My first reaction to Lego Friends was, Jesus Christ that looks awful, what the hell is wrong with minifigs? But in looking at the actual sets there is an a frankly awesome set for Olivia the inventor which has the cutest robot I have ever seen.

LOOK AT THE ROBOT! (NB I have NO IDEA why she’s done a little stick man (or lady!) with a heart next to him/her with her calculations. This is clearly some form of advanced cute-mathmatics!)

Though this isn’t really mentioned in the adverts, it’s all cupcakes and looking after sickly animals. This blog on Lego’s new Lego club magazine for girls is also a bit worrying and sad.

I think they could have done something a bit like Pinky:St here which would have been more interesting in the dolls and sets, (I think the actual dolls are way ugly) the anime stylings would have suited this range quite well but could have also allowed it to lean into more active play sets possibly with boy dolls as well. It’s not massively imaginative but then I don’t think Lego City is very imaginative, and it’s designed for exactly the same type of play as Lego Friends, you build the set and play the game it leads you towards (Cops and robbers/fixing cute little animals). And that’s the issue with a lot of kids play at the moment, for boys and girls, imagination isn’t valued or cultivated in the ways it used to be.

And yeah I think there is an issue with active play with female toys. There are few Lego Minifig spacewomen/female police officers etc. I think some of the Friends sets do come across as quite passive rather than active and certain Lego other ranges promote this idea.

I like dolls and I don’t think this makes me bad in some way. Or that being feminine is wrong. Because if women are saying how terrible it is to play with dolls what will actually persuade boys that pink isn’t evil and only available for sissies and what will persuade boys that playing nicely with dolls that aren’t going to kill one another with weapons isn’t such a bad thing. I can understand the need a lot of women feel to show themselves as just as clever and strong as men. I don’t think that the way to do this is to say that traits traditional given to women are all bad.

I am not sure if I linked to this before but I very much liked this article on Bust about the backlash of girly culture regarding Zooey Deschanel’s Hello Giggles. Which isn’t exactly the most highbrow site on the web but I am not sure why that’s such a terrible thing

I like being a feminist, I can’t remember a time I wasn’t basically a feminist and I am not planning on stopping anytime soon. But I don’t want to miss out on facts. I want a evidence based feminism, I want something that works and doesn’t demonise men or stop them coming on board. But basically this entry by Five Dollar Radio is currently how I feel. I don’t want feminism that ignores the problems or glosses over things nor do I want a feminism that dismisses anything girly as damaging.

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Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I made a Christmas Playlist:

Here!

It’s on YouTube so there may be ads for which I am sorry but I am too cheap to buy the tracks and make an 8 track right now. Most of the videos aren’t worth watching apart from the U900 and the Emmy the Great/Tim Wheeler one.

Some lovely Christmas links:

Next year I am totally making some cross stitch Bat Villians.

[link]

Download this free and insanely cute cat bunting for Christmas.

[link]

I love this picture so much. Pretty ladies in uniform!!! Click on the link for a video.

[link]

DC women kicking ass is doing a DC women advent calendar and this is my favourite as it features another pretty lesbian from the armed forces saying Merry Christmas to her girlfriend. (I love Renee and Kate so hard!)

I would like this painting now pls thx.

[link]

I love the Epbot Steampunk Christmas Tree so much!

Jen (Who also does the amazing Cake Wrecks website) has also done a tutorial for the hot air balloon ornaments.

[link to hot air balloon tute]

I’ve been made aware of Vi Hart’s amazing Doodling in Math Class. You will learn about maths and laugh. Those things will happen.

I am so sad this is the last Supergirl and Batgirl comic from Mike Maihack BUT it’s a lovely way to say MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! :D

[link]

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Why Loaded and Cosmo are your worst best friend

I have my works Christmas party today and I know I have been very lazy on here. I have to do a meme thing to thank Libby for pointing people towards my blog and I need to do several things that I’ve half written for here. But am a bit flat out at the moment.

Anyway this study on quotes from Lad mags (Loaded, FHM, Nuts et al) and rapists is quite interesting.
Basically looking at those quotes I could work out quite easily which were rapists and which were lad mags so I am unsure if the men being surveyed were particularly stupid or that a culture of accepting aspects of rape (If you are wearing a short skirt you want it etc.) means that they didn’t notice the more rape-y quotes as problematic. I’d have to read the whole paper to get a real feel for what they are trying to claim. I am not sure I entirely agree with what Jezebel are trying to say it proves.

The problem with magazines for men and women is that they are the worst best friend you’ve ever had. The friend who appeals to your insecurities (you look fat in that, never make the first move, everyone is secretly judging you etc etc etc etc) and gives terrible advice. The friend that pretty much appeals to all the worst fears you’ve ever had about your relationships, how you look and the things you like. They set their goal as the unattainable Platonic form of Female and Male. And when you think you are nearing the goal they change the goalposts and leave you feeling confused and even more worried.
Men’s magazine advice columns are terrible: “Problems in bed with your partner? Why not try and spice things up with anal sex?” Whatever you do, do not try and talk to your partner. Do not try and understand their point of view or work with them for a solution. Of course the answer to your relationship problem might be anal sex but the issue is you’ll never know unless you ask. Men’s (and women’s) magazines perpetuate the idea of a gulf between the sexes.

I know a lot of people don’t feel the media strongly influence people’s opinions but I think they affected me. As sex education is very hit and miss in our schools I learnt about sex and relationships (before I was having them.) from those magazines. The only place I could freely read about women loving women was in Loaded. The only place I could see sexy pictures of women I fancied was in lads mags. (I still remember the Alyson Hannigan photoshoot Loaded did fondly but now with lots of reservations.) It took a while to stop looking at women in a very male orientated way and find my own way as a bisexual woman. Of course this isn’t everyone’s experience but the problem with a surfeit of badly written magazines aimed at the lowest common denominator is that it brings everyone down to that level whether they like it or not.

Anyway if you had a friend who talked to you the way men’s and women’s mags do you’d probably friend dump them.

Or kick them.

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Racism, street harrasment and Stitch dressed as a Green Lantern

So Twitter has exploded into rage at the racist tram lady (I am not going to link to her rant but you can find it yourself if you want to) whilst the rage is understandable it’s slightly disturbing the amount of chav-hate being thrown at her. And the misogyny (“Someone should beat her up/cheap slag/ugly bitch” etc) and coming from people who think they are above racism. Two wrongs don’t make a right, guys! I’m not going to make any excuses for her, I don’t know her circumstances but in general people don’t say stuff like that unless they believe it. But it isn’t only chavs/the white working class/uneducated people who think like this. Don’t fall into that trap. And being a chav/white working class/uneducated does not mean you are going to be a racist.

And whilst we’re at it, stop using the word chav.

Also I worry about those trying to say this lady is in the minority, she is in one sense BUT do not think that people of colour or women or disabled people or fat people or LGBTQI people (etc etc) don’t get this all the time. If you are different you are somehow public property. You can be owned and you have to put up with it or you are lacking a sense of humour/are a whinger/are part of the PC brigade or you are a dyke for not enjoying the street harassment that gets thrown at you.

I have had to listen to cabbies thinking because I am white and British I must share their racist views. They think, because of the colour of my skin, I agree that the Polish should all piss off back to Poland. They think I must be like them. It’s troubling. They usually shut up when I point out my Dad’s family were Eastern European (Jewish) immigrants to this country and I’d prefer them not to be racist around me.

On Sunday two guys belonging to a far right militant organisation got onto the tube I was on. They stuck a racist sticker on a black girl. I didn’t say anything (I usually do, which I’ve realised could be very dangerous) because, quite frankly, they looked like they could quite easily have me with their hands tied behind their backs and I suspect they would have actually started saying racist words and stuff if challenged making the journey unpleasant for all. I don’t feel good about this and I don’t want this to be my Britain.

But yes, please do not think this woman is isolated. She’s not in the majority but she isn’t isolated and ignoring her for being ‘an ignorant chav’ is not going to fix the issue.

Increasingly, it feels like we have to fight for our rights (And the rights for others) all the time. I don’t think a week goes past where I don’t hear someone on Twitter or Facebook or Livejournal talking about some girl thinking it is okay to call them names or some guy try to chat them up and not listening to no, not believing it really means no. It happens all the time. Many years ago a colleague was racially abused by a bus driver. Our boss at the time was annoyed she came into the office making such a fuss. This is the thing, even (some) people who are not overtly racist or sexist would rather you just shush about it because it’s not really that bad, “do you have to whinge all the time?”

I think the answer is becoming yes, yes we HAVE to whinge, because of things like Boots employees refusing to give the MAP on faith grounds. And this genuinely terrifying idea of giving rights to a fertilized egg. Even in cases of rape (The moral hierarchy of abortion is not something I am happy with but in this case forcing a woman to keep a child that has been forced on her in the first place?!) See also Crisis pregnancy centres feeling they can LIE to women LIE TO THEM to save their “unborn child.”

——-

A couple of the Many Many links I have accumulated since I last posted:

Libby at Treasury Islands does a brilliant piece on Disney princesses.

Speaking of Disney princesses.

And also STITCH AS A GREEN LANTERN! I am not sure I understand why BUT STITCH AS A GREEN LANTERN by James Silvani.

[via]

Interesting article on racism regarding shades of skin

Before I got into comics in a properly geeky way, I liked quite a few comics. Craig Conlan is one of the Comic book artist/writers that I adore(d) and here is his take on Wonder Women.

[via]

Stunning cut away Batman adventure from. Do look, it’s completely amazing.

The doctor wants his hat back. Poor Rory!

[via]

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Perceived Marvel sexism and half naked Matt Smith (Mutually exclusive)

This article by Jill Pantozzi is interesting but I can’t help thinking that sexism (or perceived sexism, I actually think the X books are full of interesting female characters.) is actually quite a good way to get the blogosphere talking about your comics…maybe I am just being a bit cynical.

Anyway I am really upset about X-23, I’ve been super enjoying it. Though I suppose my order will be cheaper? *looks on the bright side*

Dr Who tonight! I’ve already seen Matt Smith half-naked recently due to friends making me watch (under duress, clearly) Christopher and his Kind. But still! :D

 

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