Category Archives: Feministy Type Thoughts

A Different Shade of Grey:

Today sees the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in our cinemas and with it, comes the controversy and the heady, dizzy frenzy surrounding the novel and subsequent movie will hopefully begin to subside… There will be an undoubted rush of women bellowing for all to hear that on-screen Christian Grey is as much of a romantic hero as his character in the novel, of which most will know my opinion! I recently wrote an article over on Femtellectual that explains why he isn’t anything of the sort and why women shouldn’t let Christian Grey anywhere near their sex lives, but even I have to admit, with all of my judgements and peeling a part of the novel to reveal the less than savoury centre, that EL James and her violently domineering romantic hero has changed the manner in which we view sex and relationships exponentially.

Back in 2011, when the novel was released, I am sure I’m not the only person who reluctantly experienced, first-hand, what it was like to come face to face with a woman who had read the novel. Out of the woodwork crawled many dishevelled women who were positively tickled pink by the contents of the novel and the ‘activities’ carried out by Grey in his ‘Red Room of Pain’, many with comments articulating their desire for their own Christian Grey. It’s no secret that sexual confidence soared within so many women that I know in my real life, including family and friends, and, as much as I have nothing good to say about the novel, or the domestic abuse within the storyline, I can get on board with the sexual confidence that ensued following James’ terrible, terrible writing.

I’m not afraid to admit that I was ashamed that so many of my family and friends read the novel and got excited over the concept of Christian Grey and I was especially embarrassed when my mother and sister seemingly jumped on the bandwagon. Because they’re my family, I saved them the diatribe reserved for other folk and I let them get on, but I realised later on, especially when my mother began reading them, that her enjoyment had nothing to do with her supporting the abuse or believing that it didn’t exist, or even finding it romantic. For my mother in particular, she was positively aghast, but not necessarily in a bad way, that things like this went on, not only within the confines of the novel, but in real life too. Apparently, when she was reading the novel, she meandered into my sister’s bedroom, book in one hand, reading glasses in the other and with a presumably adorably furrowed brow said, “can I ask you to Google something for me? I don’t know what anal beads are…” turns out my sister didn’t either, so they both discovered anal beads in all of their glory and my sweet mama vowed never to ask her youngest daughter any sex related questions ever again, instead choosing to either Google them herself, or ask me. I’ve always been renowned for my cavalier attitude towards sex and all that it entails, so I think my mother felt emboldened and happy to discuss things she’d never discussed before. When we went shopping, she would slide into Ann Summers and giggle at all of the ‘sexy’ clothes and even wandered so far as the vibrators and turned pink in the cheeks as I switched them all on and told her about the merits of certain movements and how it pleasures the female, much to her amusement/horror/surprise! Yet, whipping, flogging and sex toys inserted into anus’ didn’t seem like her cup of tea but, “those jiggly ball things” that Christian uses on Ana seemed to intrigue her a great deal. When she found out I own a pair and she laughed so hard that tea came out of her nose, “Really?!” she screamed, “what are they like?!”

***

One of my best friends got in contact with me this week to discuss Fifty Shades of Grey and asked if I was going to be going to see it or if I would like to have a girly night in my flat and we’d watch it together with wine, provided she could get either her partner or her mother to babysit (not us, a baby!). I informed her that I wasn’t all that supportive of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie and sent her the link to the article I mentioned earlier and her response was surprisingly different to most women. Promising anonymity, she allowed me to quote her:

I understand where you’re coming from with this, right, but ever since we’ve been young, you’ve been SO sexually confident. You’ve talked about sex toys like they’re your best friends and you’ve been so cavalier with your attitudes; what you like and what you don’t. I’ve never had that. I never understood where you got your confidence from, to be honest. But, after I read Fifty Shades I began thinking differently. As much as you were a lot of the inspiration behind my desire to be more sexually confident, a lot of the content in the book helped me begin to explore that with [her partner].

Admittedly, I was pretty shocked when I read her response, especially given my attitude towards the novel. I know and I do respect that people will have differing opinions and mostly, I just let people believe what they want to believe, but I have to say that it did surprise me that someone could feel so emboldened by Fifty Shades of Grey and that was one of the reasons behind one of my dearest friends exploring her sex life in a definitely more kinky detail.

My friends are, obviously, not the only people who have been affected by the novel, whether good or bad and it’s clear to see that EL James has inspired a surge within many factors of the sex industry. The sex toy industry for example, has positively boomed since Fifty Shades was released in 2011 and EL James has managed to bag herself a specific Fifty Shades inspired sex toy range that fans of the book/movie can purchase for their own sex play, which is available at LoveHoney and has proven extremely popular since it was first available online. There was obviously an existing BDSM inspired market, but with the popularity of the book and undoubtedly the novel, this has increased dramatically, and as much as I am firmly against the empire that EL James has created for herself, on the back of a book that undoubtedly promotes domestic abuse, but I can’t say that I’m unhappy that there are more and more women out there who have decided to positively and safely (presumably) explore a kinkier element to their sex lives.

It does extend beyond the bedroom, though, and I think due to attitudes towards online dating mellowing, I think a lot more freedom has been allowed for people to discuss their sexual preferences openly as part of the (for want of a better word) courting process, if you will. When I was single, I spoke to a lot of different men and used the likes of online dating to, at the very least, get my confidence (read: MOJO) back with regards to communicating with the opposite sex. Whilst I didn’t do it for very long, it did seem that every man I spoke to basically inferred elements of sex that they were into pretty much immediately. One man informed me, without any preamble, that he would like to see me hog died and insert sex toys into very specific orifices because that’s the kind of thing he was into… (three dots included) and whilst I didn’t respond to this person, it did seem to me that sex was the only thing that was on the table to this person and other people I spoke to as an immediate introduction to myself and presumably other women. In the past, where this might have been taboo to mention, or you might not have discovered until later on in the relationship, exploring kink and being open about one’s sexual proclivities has become a cultural norm and I do think the soaring popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey has something do with it; sensibilities have changed and, again, as much as I’m against the novel, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Talking about sex is, I feel, wildly important within relationships because everyone should be open and honest about their preferences and their boundaries; whilst having discussions within two sentences that reveal one’s sexual appetites is potentially a little full on, it’s still a good sign of confidences and shedding the ‘taboo’ moniker of sexual intercourse – everyone does it, but not everyone talks about it and Fifty Shades has helped that. Dating sites such as Plenty of Fish have even begun including specific sections of their website dedicated to people who like the novel and the ability to be able to specifically search for a dating site that caters to your needs has never been easier. Following the popularity of the novel, areas of the market have opened up and BDSM has become a popular, relatively normative sexual practice, with sites such as 50shadesofgreydating.com that allows you to sign up to the ‘luxury BDSM dating site’ for free and allows you to explore your inner dominant or submissive side by finding your Ana or Christian…Red room included! It’s refreshing to see that a kinky lifestyle is not only available, but widely promoted online and that people are exploring potentially dormant desires to be dominant or submissive in the bedroom by reaching out to like-minded individuals. It would be intruiging to find out whether these sites operate under the full safety of written contracts and promotion of safe words and loving/supportive after care for all involved, but even so, if two consenting adults actively go into a situation knowing full facts about BDSM, then I guess it’s up to the individuals to ascertain their boundaries, rather than the company, but it would still be interesting to find out.

It just goes to show that whether you love it or loathe it, Fifty Shades of Grey has had an impact on our sex lives and the manner we conduct our relationships in significant ways, and, whilst I am still fundamentally against the concepts of the novel and the promotion of domestic abuse within the poorly written pages, I am hoping that the movie depicts the relationship in a more consensual, loving manner that better represents the BDSM community, allowing for people who are potentially experiencing Fifty Shades of Grey to explore their potentially dormant proclivities in a more positive and safe manner.

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Woman to Woman: Labour Uses Giant Vagina to Win Votes

There are a lot of women taking to social media and blogs lately to discuss their increasing concern regarding female representation within British politics. A lot of us are metaphorically scratching our heads and wondering which party to align ourselves with in order to feel properly represented and others, myself included, feel so overwhelmingly disenchanted by the overt lack of female representation within politics that we are considering abstaining from voting altogether. According to those in the know, roughly nine million women refrained from voting during the last general election, the majority of those being of the younger population. It bodes the question, why does politics insist on not representing half of the population? Apparently, Labour have the answer and it looks like it comes in the form of a giant vagina on wheels.

Perhaps this isn’t the most important thing to take issue with, and I may be the only person who feels this way, but I feel that the bus is hugely patronising and, if I’m honest, quite offensive. Whilst I imagine that the thought process behind the bus was well intentioned, I feel that it creates far more issues towards women like me who were disenfranchised with British politics to begin with. A giant pink bus, I feel, only further alienates me from the voting process and a lot of it does, admittedly, have to do with the colour. Harman has openly argued that the colour is the most appropriate representation of their aims with regards to recruiting female voters, but I can’t help thinking that it is entirely counterproductive and creates a more specific and gaping gender gap than the one that already exists. To me, it feels that Labour are insinuating that female voters are different from regular voters.

In essence, Labour have single-handedly landed themselves a specific ‘niche’ target in the form of half of the population by highlighting concepts within their political aim that seemingly only affect women. Harman stated to the Telepgraph that: “I don’t think it’s at all patronising to recognise that women have got different patterns of their working lives, there’s different patterns in families between what women do and what men do. That is to recognise the reality and to say public policy needs to address that.” Which, if anything, just goes to prove how out of touch with reality that Harman and Labour truly are: To suggest that child care, equal pay and domestic violence are female specific issues is only further highlighting the massive misrepresentation of women within our country. This Labour voting tactic that is supposed to appeal to women on a higher level than their adversaries, only further seems to represent the over-arching patriarchal ideologies within our political voting system that disenchanted over nine million voters during the last general election; these issues are not gender specific issues that need to be addressed by women – these are overwhelming issues that have been apparent within our country for decades without being acknowledged by men within government bodies and personally, I find that it is these men that need targeting and not this ‘niche’ (and by niche, I mean that tiny proportion of women that represent half of the country. If you can’t detect my sarcasm, then read it again).

As far as political tactics go, I find this one to be the most offensive. An attempt to reengage female voters is a fantastic idea, but the truth is, reengagement of a disenfranchised body of women that represents over nine million people (perhaps increasing, I’m not sure) by driving around in a vagina bus is only highlighting that the government, whether they be elected or not, have no idea how to appropriately represent women, because they keep seeing us as women specifically. We are voters and the issues that are at the forefront of the woman to woman vagina bus campaign are incredibly important, but we’re not the people Labour need to be targeting. We know that equal pay is a horrendous issue within our country and we know that we are at a financial disadvantage when we perform the same job as men; it’s men and business owners and people like David Cameron whose blatant refusal to acknowledge this wage gap is the issue. The sheer cost of child care isn’t something that only affects mummy, it’s a cost that effects the whole family, meaning daddy needs to acknowledge and support child care reforms too. Domestic violence is an issue that affects both men and women, not only as victims, but as perpetrators too – in short, these are not female specific issues that that is where Harman and her merry band of idiots has gone wrong.

Instead of a vagina bus that highlights gender stereotypes (because all women resonate with and respond positively to a fluffy pink, girly bus!), surely in order to reengage female voters, specifically young female voters, is to highlight the inaccuracies, hypocrisies and blatant lack of gender equality within political systems. Passing things off as ‘female issues’ is only further representative of women not being taken seriously within politics. It highlights the gaping chasm that is gender equality within our country and only further emphasises that issues such as equal pay, child care and domestic violence aren’t taken seriously at all by governing bodies. I get the theory behind Labour’s vagina bus, I really do, but I feel that the only real goal it has achieved today is to further slam another nail in the Labour coffin: They are not only out of touch with their traditions and roots, they are out of touch with half of their voting population too and the main lesson I’ve learned today is that a vote for labour is a vote for the demise of common sense.

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Dear Diary: An Entry by a Meninist:

THIS IS A MAN’S WORLD and I know that the songs says that the world is nothing, NOTHING without a woman or a girl, but James Brown also wrote the lyrics ‘…making the men sandwiches’ to go on the end of that sentence, but due to copyright infringements within the sandwich industry, he couldn’t include it in is song, so he only ever sang it at special occasions like his wife’s birthday or Women’s Day, or something really gay like that. Also, women, have you seen how many women female leaders there are in the world? This is just PROOF that you guys can’t do anything and that you need men to do all of the important stuff like stop wars and hatred and racism and all the great things we’ve accomplished as men.

We aren’t going to stand for you taking over the world anymore, feminists! You hear me?! We’re not stupid and we know what your agenda, REALLY, is. I mean, we know that all feminists don’t want equality at all and you know why? Your name! I mean, if feminism really was about equality, then why does it start with FEM? EH? You think we’re so stupid don’t you, feminists, with your arm pit hair and your big, smelly vaginas! You can’t fool us any more, feminists, you aren’t smart enough out smart US! I mean, this is why movements like MENINIST exist, so that you feminists KNOW that it’s a man’s world and that WE’RE IN CHARGE. Equality can never be achieved unless you all realise that MEN ARE IN CHARGE. Idiots!

You know the reason why everyone hates Mondays? Because of Feminists. They have weekly meetings on Mondays where they stand around and say nasty things about men and I heard a rumour that once, a musical GENIUS named Bob Geldof openly admitted that he hated MONDAY because of feminists and they had him MURDERED. I mean, if that isn’t a sign that feminists hate all men, then I really don’t know what other examples I could give you. Except maybe that all feminists want to chop everyone’s penis off, so that all men are then women, and the world is then ran by feminists. Did you know this?! This is why feminists are all raging lesbians, so they can get together and plot how to do this with every man in their lives. This is why some of them are in relationships and married, so that they can find out man secrets and then use their secrets to chop their dicks off. Also, I heard that when a feminist touches another feminist’s clitoris with her tongue, that’s how they transfer their magical powers. Another sure fire sign that feminism is like, super dangerous!

FEMINISTS also killed my dog, because they hate dogs. Even though the vet said it was due to the cancerous lumps it had in its mouth, meaning that it couldn’t eat, I know that it was feminists because they all openly admit they hate dogs. Especially really tiny ones like pugs. They also hate cats, which is why Instagram is full of pictures of people’s cats and Youtube is full of videos about cats – they use this to test which ones are feminists and which ones aren’t, like men, by seeing if they ‘aww’ or ‘laugh’ and if they laugh at it, feminists kill them 😦

Do you have a mother? If so, you should probably hold her really, really tight and not let her leave the house and maybe lock the doors when you leave to go to work or school or to play manly sports like cricket and golf, because the feminists will COME FOR HER. I mean, I don’t know why feminists can’t just leave our mothers alone, you know? They RAISED us and they are like, literally the reason that we are alive, so the feminists come in and try to tell our mothers that they’re OPPRESSED and that they’re raising a DOUCHEBAG because I have a penis and a really cool t-shirt with a hashtag on it? There is literally no lines they won’t cross to try and push their dick hating agenda. I don’t even want to visit grandma, just in case she lures me in with pie and cake and then she’s been taken over by a feminist and BITES MY DICK OFF.

Plus, all FEMINISTS are so openly rude. Like, this one time, I thought I’d be really nice to a feminist and told her that she was really pretty and that her boobs were like, huge, and she didn’t even say anything back, like not even a thank you or a compliment!! I MEAN WHAT A BITCH! I mean, I made such an amazing effort with her and she didn’t even, like, respond. I really got so mad that I wanted to punch her in the face, but like, nowadays even the likes of PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA is being mindwashed by these feminists and telling men that they can’t hit women when they’re trying to chop their dick off or not responding to us on social media. I mean, for fucks sake!

This is exactly the reason why I’m a meninist. These women have to be STOPPED. They’re trying to take over the world and aren’t at all interested in EQUALITY like I am. If you’re with me, please stand up with me and chant nasty things at feminists and also buy this t-shirt, of which all proceeds will go to FEMINISTS ARE DICKHATING MURDERERS WHO HATE CATS AND DOGS AND DICK AND OUR MOTHERS AND ALSO REJECTED ME ONE TIME!

feminist

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Women: Get Your Own God Damned 80s Franchise!!!

There have been rumours about a re-boot of 1984 classic Ghostbusters circulating the old rumour mill for quite some time now, causing the internet to ripple with glee and speculate as to what the future may bring for their childhood heroes. Some people were hopeful that the original cast would return to kick start the franchise in a manner that only eighties stars know how to perfect and others were more optimistic about a reinvention and reimagining of the movie with a new, young and well-skilled cast to fit in with modern times. Therefore, when news hit that the brand new cast of Ghostbusters would be WOMEN, needless to say, the internet went into a free-fall and became agog with controversial statements, sheer disgust and general disbelief that the classic eighties movie would feature an all-women cast. As the internet will be more than happy to tell us, it’s just one more thing that cannot be sacred to men anymore; it’s bad enough that women took the vote from men, and the fact that they started DEMANDING that men wear those horribly uncomfortable condom things that NUMB the penis to barely tolerable levels, they now have to mess with classic eighties movies too? It just seems that feminism is TAKING OVER and the world as we once knew it will be RUINED AND DEAD.

I can’t say I disagree with them, I mean, is there really a need for an all-female cast? It just seems too implausible so me that a group of women would be able to act alongside each other without either getting distracted and going shopping, or starting a huge fight, as we all know groups of women are prone to do. I mean, it doesn’t even make sense, because like, an all-male cast makes so much more sense than an all-female cast and let’s be clear here, you guys, an entirely female cast would be TOTALLY sexist against men. I mean, in their defense, women didn’t exist in the eighties, there were only mothers and grandmothers, maybe some sisters, but actresses, no they didn’t exist, so there was no other choice but to have an all-male cast. But in 2015 there are women EVERYWHERE as well as there being a small selection of men still left, so surely the most EQUAL thing to do would be to have a mixture of both male and female actors? It makes absolutely no sense to ignore men entirely and have them play supporting roles… men don’t do that, they can’t, it’s an affront to both their masculinity and our general enjoyment of cinema. Also, a small fact I bet you didn’t know about: women didn’t even like Ghostbusters in the eighties! Like I said, most women back then were either mothers, grandmothers or sisters and they were mostly involved in learning how to be better at looking after their sons and husbands, current or future, so the only people who saw the movie were men, so really the remake should be made to remember the sacrifices men made to go to the cinema and see the movie in 1984. I mean some of them missed the dinner that their mothers made and others didn’t get to say goodbye to their grandmas before they died. Hollywood owe it to men to recreate the film exactly like the original; for both their lost dinners and their dead grandmas.

Traditionally, as we should all know, ghostbusting is a legitimate man profession that women simply couldn’t do: They couldn’t hold the equipment in their tiny, girlish hands and would most probably break a nail trying to switch the thing on. Women hate wires because they get tangled in their hair and anything to do with machinery causes women to scream and hold onto their petticoats, demanding a man come and relieve them from such a GOD AWFUL situation. Men have an innate understanding of wires and machinery as taught inside the womb at man-school, so they would be much better equipped to do the job of manning, holding and using the elaborate ghost-sucking hair dryer machines. Another small fact that women couldn’t POSSIBLY COMPREHEND is the science involved in ghostbusting; it’s so intricate and delicate which is obviously why there are ONLY man scientists – women have absolutely no understanding of science whatsoever. Like, it doesn’t even compute to them, which is why you never see female science teachers or any females in a scientific classroom. There have also been absolutely no scientific discoveries or anything note-worthy contributed to science by women at all, which makes the entire film TOTALLY unrealistic and RUINS the integrity of the movie altogether, if you ask me.

Another thing that makes the movie entirely implausible is the fact that ghosts are attracted to a woman’s period, much like bears, which means the set of the new Ghostbusters movie will be INFESTED with bears AND ghosts and as we all know, women can’t multi-task so who gets the job of sorting out all the unwanted ghosts and bears? Probably some MALE cast member who won’t even get recognition in the credits, that’s who. Can I also point out as well, that even though ghosts are attracted to periods, that doesn’t make women more accepting of them. Oh no, women are TERRIFIED of ghosts. Which makes the entire soundtrack pointless, I mean, Ray Parker Junior would be spitting in his grave if he were dead at whoever remakes his classic song. It will probably be NICKI MINAJ who will be like ‘I AM SCARED, I AM SCARED OF ALL GHOSTS’ and then shake and twerk her buttocks around, which is not what Ghostbusters is all about at all. It’s just a common fact that men are better equipped to deal with things like the un-dead so much more better than a woman, in the same sense that they are better at dealing with both spiders and a woman’s period: There are just things that women simply don’t understand when it comes to dealing with scary things, which means that when faced with a ghost in the movie, most of the characters would run back to their trailers and hide there until one of the male cast members got rid of it.

Perhaps the most terrifying and saddening part of the remake is that the comedy rampant throughout the original movie, simply won’t be present in the remake, because, as we all know WOMEN AREN’T FUNNY. I mean, the fact that I even have to write that is ridiculous, I mean, did the people behind green lighting the remake do absolutely no research whatsoever? Take the writer, Katie Dippold for example, I mean she wrote for Parks and Recreation which we all know is a serious documentary about the parks and rec department of an American council… I mean, what funny things happen there? “Oh no! I put a slide in upside down. NIGHTMARE!” I don’t think so, Dippold. And let’s not forget all the women who were on Saturday Night Live – no funny women have ever come from Saturday Night Live even the really famous ones like Tina Fey or Amy Poehler. No, there are only funny men on that show, like Kenan Thompson, who is like, super famous from the nineties.

I am absolutely right by you, male humans, when you say that the new Ghostbusters movie will SUCK. I wish feminists would just realise that this is a man’s world and that movies are a man thing, that only men enjoy. I mean, would women like it if there was an all-male cast of Sex and the City? NO! Women would hate it. I mean, men don’t invade a woman’s world or try to control what women do ever so why do women feel the need to invade a man’s world and take all of the good things away from them? It’s just not fair, you guys.

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Sexual Confidence

Recently, I agreed to answer some questions for a journalist who was looking to find some women between the ages of 25 and 30, who would be willing to answer some questions about their sexual confidence for a supplement in one of the UK’s largest newspaper publications, a free magazine targeted at women. The article came out earlier in the week, and suffice it to say, I was bitterly disappointed at being severely misquoted and having my well thought out, articulate and structured answers butchered and spliced to fit the journalist’s true intentions when writing the article. What I gathered from it is that neither the journalist, nor anyone at the magazine, truly cared about the sexual confidence of young women, but, instead, wanted to marginalise these women into certain categories and from my perspective, none of us were shown in a positive light. In hindsight, I realise that the questions were both vague and worryingly infantile for a grown woman to be asking another and instead of putting my faith in this person, hoping to, eventually, find an article that didn’t discuss sexual discourse from an angle consisting of solely demographics, percentages and charts, but instead, highlighting that sexual confidence is something that we should all be aware of and participating in. Needless to say, I was wrong about the journalist and wrong about the publication; instead of championing women who are confident in their sex lives, the article seemingly chastised us for daring to speak so brazenly about our sexual pasts. Shame on us, eh? So, in today’s blog post I am going to write about what I would have chosen, had I, as a decent writer and person, been given the opportunity to do so:

 

Typically, the concept of being sexually confident is something that is, by and large, considered a taboo topic, even in today’s society. To discuss being sexually confident, perhaps conjures images of that rare breed of woman who has the body to pull off matching lingerie, teamed with suspenders and high heels; Victoria’s Secret models and porn stars, maybe, but not your average English woman, whose underwear drawer consists mostly of comfortable, practical pants, with the odd pair of Spanx in there for when we truly need it; the idea of wearing high heels and underwear and lounging seductively anywhere bringing us out in hot sweats, panic attacks looming above us like death. For a long time, I was part of this demographic; I was ashamed of the way I looked and frightened that I wouldn’t only not look like other women, but that I wouldn’t perform correctly, or that I’d do something that the other women didn’t do, and it hasn’t been until very, very recently that I realised that none of it matters: The concept of sexual confidence is a myth, yet another demographic and percentile mark that we are forced into, in the aid of yet another boring article about sex, that doesn’t help normal people with sex worries at all.

 

I think part of the reason that articles like this can exist and highlight sexual insecurities is because we all have them; even porn stars, even women so perfect it looks like there is someone photo shopping them in real life: Everyone has insecurities and this is why articles like this thrive, especially amongst British people who suffered the indignity of sex education classes as children. I’m sure I’m not the only person who thought those awkward sex education classes were entirely counter-productive and not at all insightful or helpful when coming to terms with the concept of sex overall. In hindsight, and I’m sure you’ll agree, it seemed less about providing people with sexual education and more an instructional manual of contraceptives and how to put them on; more intent on stopping diseases and unplanned, teenaged pregnancies, from spreading within their school (how embarrassing would that OfSted report be?). But, it didn’t truly educate people as young as fourteen and it didn’t stop them from having sex; it was demonstrably unhelpful in discussing sex in real terms: The emotional implications, the concept of self-respect and not doing anything you are uncomfortable with, or even consent. As a result, I found that a lot of my class mates were incredibly well versed  in the Karma Sutra and that none of them truly had any idea what they were participating in: They were just pumping away until the male ejaculated… from what I was informed. Admittedly, a lot of my sex education came from the internet; I would hear terms and Google them, or look up an array of different sexual practices just for the sake of soaking up knowledge, but sex education at school taught me nothing. I didn’t even know that females could orgasm from sex; all we learned is that we need to wear protection so that when our male partner ejaculates; we won’t get pregnant, which is very, very sad.

Even as adult women, which the article I’m discussing proves (I think), is that not a lot of people truly understand sex: To have an article that uses percentages and graphs to outline their target demographic or discuss topics that might not be considered normal within general sexual discourse is entirely infantile to a worrying extent, as I’ve already discussed. It just proves that we’re a society that thrives on these ridiculous articles to feel, I guess, the opposite of validation, to a certain extent, like sex is some kind of secret that none of us are truly a part of and that we’re still not quite there when having sex; we’re ultimately marginalising ourselves and stopping ourselves from experiencing good sex, because we’re too busy concentrating on being like the percentages in the piss-poor articles we’re reading, rather than our partners or our own enjoyment. I think the first question I was asked, do you think you’re good in bed, only highlights the infantile nature of the article and the general childish attitudes that people perceive others to have about sex; there is no such thing as being good in bed – you either enjoy yourself or you don’t and that bares absolutely no relevance on the manner of performance that either you or your partner exude; you simply either have or haven’t enjoyed that particular moment. In the article, sexual confidence implied a sense of superiority over other people, which simply isn’t the point of being confident at all: Sex isn’t a public display for us all to participate in, if you enjoy the things that you partake in sexually and have an enjoyable sex life, then you are confident, there is no in-between.

The questions the journalist asked also involved perceptions of society and that if I, as someone sexually confident, felt restricted by the perceptions society had about female sexuality and, if this would change in the near future. Overall, I think it was an excellent question, but I don’t see it featured anywhere in the article; the idea of encroaching on society’s ideals of how women should behave sexually, still, seemingly too taboo to post, which is so unfortunate and upsetting. I thought I was writing something that would assist the general struggle a lot of women are feeling, that is evidenced on Twitter and within movements such as Everyday Sexism or even my best friend Em over at Any Girl Friday; that women are sexual beings and that it’s okay that we enjoy masturbating or have a right to say ‘no’ when approached by a man regarding sex, but that wasn’t featured in the article at all. Instead, the fact that I had a partner who was into male chastity was featured as though I was some kind of aggressive dominatrix type woman, which wasn’t what I wrote at all. In fact, quite surprisingly to some, I wrote quite nice things about that person and looked at the psychology behind why he might have been into male chastity, which stemmed from his inherent, uncontrollable, somewhat oedipal maternal issues. But I guess the journalist took ‘I don’t do things by halves’ (written in the first paragraph) and the ‘My ex was into male chastity’ (fifth paragraph) and spliced them together to make me sound like I was a heartless, cruel dominatrix, because that’s what sexual confidence is all about, isn’t it?

 

If you’re a woman and you have worries about sex, or if you’re a man and panic about this too, then heed my advice: Speak to your partner. Sexual confidence isn’t about being able to perform alongside some archaic ideals of what good sex is supposed to be. If your woman isn’t screaming the walls down, that doesn’t mean you’re not doing a stellar job. If your man isn’t ejaculating into your mouth within five minutes of sucking his dick, that doesn’t mean you aren’t awesome at sucking cock. But that’s not for me, or anyone at all to tell you, especially not some piss-poor article written in a magazine.

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Can’t Vote, Won’t Vote:

I am more than happy to admit that I am not the most politically minded individual. Politics both bores and infuriates me in equal measures, as it’s something that I am excluded from, before I’ve even began to consider a party I might be interested in aligning myself with. As a result, I am one of those rare breeds in society who is mocked and ridiculed by any type of voter as being the type of person who shouldn’t have an opinion on any political party, or the manner in which our country is run. But, surely someone who is as utterly despondent as I am regarding the UK government, both as it stands and because of the parties fighting for the coveted role of leader of the political playground (Oops, I mean Prime Minister), surely I am exactly the type of person both necessary to politics and who deserves the right to complain?

The reason I feel that voters don’t think I should have an opinion regarding politics or any form of political discourse is because, as a result of being so positively dejected by every political offering we have and from receiving positively vitriolic diatribe when admitting this in the past, I am often reluctant to admit that I have never once voted. I don’t even think that I am registered to vote. I do understand that this might make any attempt at political discussion entirely redundant, but fear not, ye of voting mind set – I am writing this blog purely to highlight why I don’t vote, not to encourage others to do the same, or not to try and tell you that your political stances are all wrong (although, let’s face it, if you vote Ukip, they probably are).

Of course, as a woman, I feel a particular, poignant and overwhelming shame at myself for aligning myself with the concept of not voting. As a woman who calls herself a feminist and who supports women’s rights and who practically obsessed with Emily Pankhurst at school, writing essay after essay championing women and their suffrage (I received A*’s all-round for every single one, so ignited was my burning passion for the right to vote!), I sometimes recoil in horror at the fact I’ve never voted and my feminist heart genuinely bleeds over the fact that I am not what my fore-sisters were starving themselves and accidentally flinging themselves in front of horses for. But, I don’t think that’s my fault and I like to think that if I had a chat with Ms Pankhurst, she’d support my decision not to vote – whilst I definitely have the right to, I guess that also means I reserve the right not to, especially if I feel that it is detrimental to my country… right?

I am not the only person who is feeling politically cast adrift and there are many people in my life who either don’t vote, or stick with the same voting pattern as a result of tradition or an inability to choose. A term often used, which sums up my political stance (or lack thereof) is: He’s the best of a bad bunch. And to me, that is the epitome of UK politics; the guttural, agonising cries of democracy as it wilts away into the past, leaving in its wake the questionable politics of someone who bends and twists democracy to fit their own personal needs – the best of a bad bunch. Yet, to me, in the upcoming elections of 2015, there doesn’t seem to be the best out of a bad bunch, because to me, everyone is terrible.

Every time I switch the news on, I am inundated with the same things happening. If David Cameron has done something particularly idiotic one day, then we will see a smug looking Ed Milliband explaining why Labour would be a better choice through personal and pointless attacks at how seemingly hopeless the current UK government are, then we’ll see Nigel Farage wobbling his head and doing exactly the same thing, throwing in some rhetoric regarding how he wants to make Britain, Britain again, whatever that means. Then, occasionally we’ll see Nick Clegg attempt to join in the Cameron bashing, until he realises that his credibility is a moot point and that as a result, his political party of choice will never see the warm innards of 10 Downing Street again. And this is entirely interchangeable, depending on which leader of which party has done something that the others can attack – it’s playground name calling and childish taunting at it’s very best and it astounds me every time I see these people on the news, making juvenile comments about their opponents, that this is the state of UK politics; it’s nothing more than a terrible reality show like The X Factor, except the winner gets to ruin our country for a further five years. It’s worrisome.

I think the only thing that unites all political voters (or non-voters in my case), is perhaps the fact that our country is in dire straits and the only, overwhelmingly obvious reason we feel that our country is as broken as it seems to be, is the fact that we have David Cameron and his merry band of wankers at the helm of it all (the concept of a coalition government, conveniently forgotten, it seems). If the hashtag #CameronMustGo is anything to go by, I am not the only person who agrees that the country is flailing on the world’s stage as a result of his shockingly bad method of management. If you didn’t already know, the hashtag is Twitter’s longest standing hashtag, with millions of comments and links to photos and articles outlining Cameron’s failings as Prime Minister, as well as a particularly resounding death toll for the tolerance of the Conservative Party as a whole. These are concepts I am entirely in agreement with and feel that, as a result of being the type of person who was charged bedroom tax when she didn’t have a job and having to choose between eating or putting on heating for two weeks (which I could then only use at night, because it was too expensive to run constantly) in the winter months (of course, only having the living room, bedroom and bathroom heaters on, because I couldn’t afford to heat the whole house) and having to sign on every two weeks, even though I didn’t receive any proper benefits as a result of my freelancing, only to be told that my efforts weren’t good enough; I didn’t use the booklet to fill out my job search because I always filled it within a couple of days, instead opting to use a giant PukkaPad, I was sanctioned. I didn’t use the government appointed jobsite that linked to Monster because I found it too contrived and not very user friendly and I was sanctioned. Meaning that for one month, I had the forty pounds I needed to eat with taken from me. I was lucky, because I could just jump ship and go from my freezing house to my parents’ house where I would live for free, eat for free and be as warm as I wanted for free until I could afford to go back home… but for thousands and thousands of people, they didn’t have that luxury and in some cases, suicide/death was, for them, the only luxury they felt they could afford… Yet, there are some people who tell me that Cameron is the best of a bad bunch. And it upsets me to think that they might be right. But, if Cameron is the best out of a bad bunch… How bad are the others? Who else could we really see running the country in a manner that doesn’t result in either all out civil war or seeing yet more people starving themselves to death as they stand in a queue for a food bank?

To me, at this point, there seems to be only two further parties with a potential at glimpsing the ultimate goal of wrapping their hands around the doorknob at 10 Downing Street and feeling the sweet sense of ecstasy as their hands grip the knob, twist and push it open, acknowledging the ultimate climax of getting to call 10 Downing Street theirs. (All very homo-erotic, but I went for it, don’t judge me) and that’s The Labour Party and apparent ‘never going to happen, but there are a lot of people so utterly despondent with the rest of us that they are all clinging to a party that consists of nothing but racist, homophobic, misogynists with contempt for anything that isn’t a white man with his own business and a tiny penis to match’ alleged underdog, Ukip.

If I chose to vote and didn’t want to choose The Conservative party for obvious hashtag related reasons, then these are my options. Labour with their politics allegedly steeped in history that support the common worker and fight for worker’s rights via unions and other such things in order to promote a healthier, more financially stable Britain through accessible politics. Except that the people supposedly encouraging these politics are no worse than Cameron and his merry band of wankers. Leader, Ed Milliband, perhaps the weakest man ever to grace the political stage, surrounded by upper-class snobs who turn their nose up at the very people who helped define The Labour party through its formative years; the common worker. If Emily Thornberry and her ill-advised photographic tweeting is anything to go by, aligning myself with the Labour Party would result in nothing but something that is very much the same as what is happening to the country right now. Except the person doing all the damage would be wearing a red tie instead of a blue one.

As a woman, aligning myself with Ukip is not even an option. To consider it, to even write about considering it, knowing that I would rather bash my own skull in with an empty wine bottle and hurl myself in the Tyne river during a snow storm than actually consider voting for Ukip, is painful and makes me want to hurl. I hate Ukip. They terrify me and the fact that people I know and care for support some of their racist, misogynistic and downright inhumane policies is shameful and terrifying. To be a woman voting Ukip is essentially putting a bullet to your own head and pulling the trigger (which may actually be possible if you vote for the fuck monkey that is Nigel Farage); you are not respected, you’re barely even considered human and as someone who has had extensive experience with certain Ukip voters, you are only considered a baby machine, who has no real place in an environment that doesn’t involve making sandwiches or cleaning a toilet bowl. Please take a look at this link if you’re a woman who is considering, or has a male human in their lives who intend to, vote for Ukip.

So you see, faithful readers, who’ve gotten through almost 2000 words of blogging… this is why I don’t vote and why I won’t vote. If any of these political parties (because the other parties don’t really have a look in as far as I can see from my research) achieve success in the next election, then I and any woman who identifies themselves as someone worthy of respect, will be fucked in some way or the other (and it seems with Ukip’s policies on sexual harassment in the workplace, this might be literal) and our country will plummet further into the dank and disgusting space reserved for the likes of North Korea or Australia, back when we sent all of our criminals there. Voting for the best of a bad bunch? No, you’re voting for the destruction of the United Kingdom***.

***Unless you’re a homophobic, misogynistic, racist snob…then congratulations fuck nugget, you got yourself a five year long muslim bashing, female smacking rape party! YAY!

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We’re Not Safeguarding Children, We’re Censoring Society:

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen my recent tweets regarding the restrictions that have been placed on the porn industry. As someone who is both sexual and an appreciator of people exploring and forming their own sexual enjoyments/pursuits within a safe and consensual manner, it might be obvious that I am extremely annoyed at the recent reform within our pornographic film making community.

Here are a few items that have been listed as specially restricted material:

Spanking
Caning
Aggressive whipping
Penetration by any object “associated with violence”
Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual)
Urolangia (known as “water sports”)
Female ejaculation
Strangulation
Face Sitting
Fisting

The last three have been regarded as ‘life endangering’, which is why they feature on the list. (Source)

The new laws placed on the porn industry seem positively draconian and the reasons behind the bans are blurry to say the least; what is suggested as an attempt to safeguard children from being able to access pornography seems more like an overt attempt at controlling and censoring elements of sex that do not fit in with the seemingly patriarchal view of what is deemed acceptable methods of discourse: Everything that is not considered within the normative practices of sexual activity have been banned, meaning that if you’re into BDSM or a member of the LGBT community, or indeed, a woman into female dominated sexual activity, you are being undoubtedly censored from accessing and enjoying content prevalent to your sexual interests.

It certainly seems that the restrictions are more than a little one sided and that the majority of bans seem to focus on any form of female enjoyment, or any role in which a female is dominant, which would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so terribly sad. It’s a concept that is so bizarre, that it confuses and shames me that we have to be discussing the concept of female sexuality as something that has no place in pornography – it’s perfectly akin to the Victorian times when women were locked up for being sexually aware and had their clitoris’ removed in order to return to the dutiful housewife and mother roles society were accustomed to. Effectively, these bans are attempting to reinforce the overtly patriarchal views that women are not sexual entities that require pleasure or the freedom to explore our sexuality: We are objects to be either controlled for the sexual gratification of the man, or an orifice in which to deposit seed for reproductive purposes.

If you’re male and reading this thinking, bollocks, utter feminist bollocks, what the fuck is this halfwit talking about? Then riddle me this: Female ejaculation has been banned, but male ejaculation is still both legal and widely available to view. Why? What is so terribly wrong about female ejaculation? Is it that it’s rare and slightly difficult to do without the aid of toys/extreme patience? Therefore, the ban is in place to make men feel less shit if they try to make a woman squirt and fail? Is it the fact that within porn, the main focus and enjoyment from a male perspective is watching the pretty little lady get covered in another man’s spunk? Because, to me, if I was a man watching porn, surely I’d be getting off at the fact that I can see juices gushing from a woman’s vagina at the moment of climax and not an oversized appendage shooting out spunk? Or am I being naïve? Of course I am, this has no relevance to the reason behind the ban: it’s not about who is coming, so long as it’s not the female as the entire concept of female sexuality is still in 2014 being discussed as though it’s an unnecessary element of sexual discourse; that by empowering the women in porn will result in real women’s expectations being higher and that their dominance in the bedroom becomes a threat to male sexuality, which is the real issue here, right?

The aforementioned is beside the point, if you ask me, regardless of who has control or who the protagonist in the porn film is, or who’s spunk shot would we rather see, the restrictions, attempts at censorship and bans are far more disappointing and worrying for a plethora of other reasons that affect us all, regardless of our sexual interests or gender.

If the alleged reason behind why the bans are in place at all is, in fact, to do with the safeguarding of children, surely an all-out ban and censorship on the porn industry altogether would be a far more successful tactic, rather than just banning the elements that allow people to pursue interests that do not coincide with the normative views on sexual activities? Because, if this really is about child protection, I don’t see how simply banning the bits they don’t want kids to see is a successful tactic. Surely educating parents into monitoring their children’s internet activity and not allowing them access to sites that allow anyone to buy porn movies is the issue here? If a child is viewing strangulation porn, or a little girl sees a porn star sitting on her co-star’s face and then re-enacts it, killing a child in the playground, surely the fact that their parents haven’t been looking after them properly is the issue? Not, in fact, the porn industry that is responsible for creating consensual content targeted at adult audiences who know that not everyone is into strangulation or having their testicles stamped on.

Furthermore, these bans may be an attempt to safeguard our children, but what about safeguarding adults, both men and women, regardless of sexual interests or orientation? Because, banning these alleged ‘life endangering’ pornographic films that are movies, at the end of the day; a re-enactment within a safe, consensual and legal environment, surely only creates a gap in the market that will be filled by people who aren’t at all bothered with the safety, consent or legalities involving sexual pursuits. If there is room within the black market, for example, for a film including penetration with something that can be perceived as a weapon, then surely that opens up a whole new can of worms for us to be extremely concerned about… and we should be concerned.

The bans that were put in place will only prove to be foolhardy and incredibly counterproductive and that the decision to place these bans only reiterate the fact that there are preconceived notions of what is considered ‘normal’ sex and that anything beyond the male/female sexual encounter resulting in male-only ejaculation (thus pleasure) is what society is promoting as correct. It’s a perpetuation of all of the worrying elements of society that include the increasing patriarchal view that women are inferior and if a man says ‘yes’, it doesn’t matter if she says ‘no’ and it reiterates that female sexuality is wrong and something to be avoided at all costs. I think these bans are incredibly dangerous not only to our UK porn industry (we didn’t cover the topic that yet another element of our economy is now being imported, essentially), but to anyone who CHOOSES to pursue a non-vanilla lifestyle and women who believe their sexuality is just as important as their male counterparts. I believe it will result in further violence against women via illegal movies made featuring the banned content and I believe it will prove to be a futile endeavour: We’re not safeguarding children, we’re censoring society.

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Rape or Little White Lies?

Apparently, I am a part of a demographic that is more likely to cry about and lie about being raped. No, seriously, a man on Twitter told me, so it must be true. This man is on a noble quest to rid the world of the blatantly sexist women that exist everywhere, fighting for the rights of convicted rapists and the horrific slights that men have persistently faced for centuries in both their work and personal lives at the hands of vicious and vitriolic women whose sole purpose in life is to perpetuate the inherently misandrist culture that poor men have to be a part of. As someone who lost her virginity as a result of rape and was terrified into silence (because who is going to believe me, a girl from The Valley, when the son of a police chief is far more believable), I was pretty shocked to be pigeonholed, if I’m honest. But, of course I was. After all, I’m a woman and he’s a middle class white man with his very own business; he is powerful and I am not. He doesn’t have to shower me with facts to make his point clear; pulling little white lies out of his arse and attempting to blow smoke up the arses of silly little women daring to make their opinions on rapists clear instead of sitting in the corner, waiting to be spoken to by her master, is perfectly acceptable. I sometimes have to be reminded that I’m a just a little woman. So, I have to admit, that it was no surprise to me that when I woke up this morning and heard the news of Janice Dickinson’s revelations that she was among the many women who had been sexually assaulted and raped by Bill Cosby, that she was accused of lying. Because, of course she was.

Rape is one of the most horrific things that a woman can suffer and whilst in the last year 22,000 rapes were reported by women, we found out yesterday that roughly 25% of rape and sexual assault reports were simply dropped by the police, victim not contacted; forgotten about, as though it was a nonchalant comment made half-heartedly, the assumption being that it wasn’t important enough to pursue and that’s the problem… when a woman reports a rape or sexual assault, it’s ultimately put into the hands of other people, both women and men, who, even though they aren’t the victim or the attacker, are allowed to have their own personal stake in whether or not victims become one of the 25% who are simply ignored, and therein lies the problem; when a woman is raped, it becomes public property and victims have absolutely no control over who contacts them to offer support or otherwise.

The truth is, there’s simply not enough education out there for men on what rape is. Men are allowed to choose to believe that rape is non-existent or something that a woman cries if she regrets her dalliances the night before, which simply isn’t true. Whilst women are taught preventative measures to stop themselves from being in a vulnerable position, men are left to their own devices and allowed to form their own opinions on rape and what can be classified as rape, opinions they are allowed to form themselves with no lessons from professionals or otherwise. Then, we have people like laugh a minute, comedy hero, Dapper Laughs, who promotes and normalises rape culture, whether it be intentional or not, passing comments that are absorbed by lad culture and heralded as comedy, rather than potentially damaging rhetoric that can endanger women everywhere. Of course, I am generalising, and I know that the majority of men are not inherent rapists, but I believe the general masculine consensus on rape is she could be lying.

Unless you look like a victim, then you won’t be treated like a victim. Unless you play up to the fact that you have been violated and allow a horrific time in your life to encapsulate your future, then you won’t be treated like a victim. You have to want to be treated like a victim, staring forlornly into a camera, speaking in great detail about your anguish five minutes after it has happened. Or sitting in the dark with a voice changer morphing your words lamenting publicly about your human rights being violated, then you won’t be treated like a victim, which is exactly why Janice Dickinson has been slammed for being a liar today. She is glamorous, advocates plastic surgery, has talked brazenly and unashamedly about her sex life; someone who has had sex with Mick Jagger and talked about it can’t be a victim of rape, she had to do it willingly, therefore she’s lying.

It’s so easy to accuse a woman of lying about rape and it’s so easy for us to sit in our glass houses, throwing stones with little or no knowledge about rape at all. Do you know what a woman has to go through if she is brave enough to approach police about being raped? The sheer horror is, unless you report a rape immediately after, with his semen still trickling down your legs, then the likelihood of you being believed is dramatically decreased. The truth is, as victims, we need to willingly wear our horrific attacks like scarlet letters; broadcasting to everyone that we have been violated. We can’t wear make-up, or dress in any way that can be perceived as provocative; we need to become shells of our former selves and allow our rape to define us for the rest of our lives. Why? To protect men, of course.

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We are Feminists, Hear us Roar:

This year, we have seen an increasing surge in women identifying themselves as feminists and, perhaps worryingly, it seems that there are those out there who think that this is a bad thing. There are some who believe the current resurgence of feminism and celebrities identifying themselves as feminists will result in the movement become too ‘trendy’, rendering the movement obsolete, which would be an overwhelmingly demonstrable slap in the face to ‘real’ feminists everywhere. There have been celebrities, models and normal people taking to social media to express their worry at feminism being this season’s ‘hot accessory’ and deeming it a phase that people are going through, but is this really a bad thing? All I can see happening within the movement now is a hierarchy developing, which to me, seems to be more dangerous to feminism than the increasing volume of misogynists, or the ‘women against feminism’ movement – it feels to me that a feminist hierarchy would only perpetuate certain stereotypes placed on women and feminists throughout history, thus creating a dangerous environment for women to be a part of – feminism is becoming increasingly like a bad teen movie set in a high school, rather than an empowering and important movement to identify oneself with.

After I posted my response to Chloe Hamilton’s article on Zoella, I spoke to Brain who told me that articles like that are why people don’t take feminism seriously. I’m paraphrasing here, because it was ages ago and I thought he was trying to attack my article, but it’s something that resonated with me quite deeply (thus why I’m regurgitating it now): He said something along the lines of ‘one woman says something bad about another woman, because she’s not being the right type of feminist, and then there are you are, posting something else, which could be misconstrued by another feminist, creating a cycle of what the right kind of feminism should be’ (he said this way less articulately than I have, but that’s what I’m here for, to make him sound good!). I can’t help but agree, though, and it’s unfortunate that a really important lesson in feminism has come from someone who often (in jest) calls me a ‘dick hating feminist’ to get on my nerves. He is someone who has no real interest in feminism, other than me I guess, and he has said something that I find the most appropriate statement regarding feminism that I’ve heard in the past year. Something which I feel resonates quite deeply with the notion of there being a feminist hierarchy.

Earlier in the year, I wrote that I had become a little disenfranchised by the notion of feminism and questioned whether there was room for a feminist like me within the movement and it’s something that I’ve questioned time and time again. The sheer fact that I referred to there being a room for a ‘feminist like me’ is exactly the point I’m trying to make; there is a feminist hierarchy and it seems to me like I’m pretty low down in the ranks. Personally, I feel that unless you’re a feminist standing on the front lines, preparing for war, there isn’t really a huge deal of room for you in the dizzying heights of the feminist hierarchy; that’s the type of feminist you’re supposed to aspire to be, you become that after many years of patriarchy smashing. You have to earn your stripes before you can become a proper feminist. Simply identifying as a feminist isn’t enough; you can’t be a feminist for your own private reasons, or because you’re a woman who believes in equality any more – you have to be constantly fighting. You can’t be a feminist just because you’re a woman, you have to have a reason: I don’t want to be cat-called in the street, I don’t want to fear rape if I wear a short skirt or get drunk, I don’t want to go to work and be treated differently because I didn’t have the sheer luck of being born with a cock and balls. These feminists, the women who simply are feminists are the lowest ranking members in the supposed feminism hierarchy; you can’t make jokes about being a pussy and then complain when you’re stuck in the middle with misogynists, so to speak.

SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE

Admittedly, I feel a little bit like the girl near the end of Mean Girls, who just wants everyone to get along, paint rainbows on their faces, eat cookies and snuggle whilst reading extracts from The Feminine Mystique or How to be a Woman to one another, but I think, the way some women are reacting to feminism right now, it’s not too bad an idea. When I write about feminism, or write about anything to do with the movement, it’s not men whose reaction I fear – its fellow women’s. And that’s not right. I feel that, the way things are going, the movement will become vitriolic to new members; to the youth of tomorrow. Feminism isn’t some high school game we should be partaking in to find the new Regina George of feminism; it was a movement that began in order to find gender equality in all walks of life, to achieve the vote, to be able to go to work and receive equal pay. To be the type of woman who can write about feminism or gender inequality or being mistreated due to gender on a blog without fearing the censorship of the patriarchy; as feminists, we need to support one another regardless of how ‘real’ their brand of feminism really is. Because, to me, the hierarchy that is evident, particularly within social media circles, is exactly the reason why feminism isn’t taken seriously and why people can call it a ‘trend’. The vitriol present within the movement will be the source of its demise and we have to be careful.

In order to counteract movements such as ‘Women Against Feminism’ and the recent ‘Meninist’ movement, we need to acknowledge and welcome supporters AND critics of feminism, regardless of gender. Yes, by all means, strap on your Doc Marten’s and smash the patriarchy until it’s bloody and battered, after all, that is your choice, but it’s also my choice not to. And that’s something that people need to start reiterating: Feminism is a choice and does not have a strict set of rules you need to adhere to, to be a ‘proper’ feminist. You’re a woman, you control your body, you have a voice and an opinion that deserves to be heard. That is what we need to be supporting here, that feminism is a choice and that your opinions are worthy of our time; the sooner people realise that, the sooner we can forget about silly trends and childish hierarchies.

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Ched Evans: Convicted Rapist.

I’ve tried valiantly not to write about Ched Evans, because it’s something that angers me and something that I don’t feel I could write coherently about, without prompting supports of the convicted rapist to jump on the female hating band wagon that Ched Evans is the unsung hero of. But, I feel that as a woman I have a duty to write about it and also feel that every person who cares about woman’s rights, sexual, mutual consent and readdressing the somewhat clouded and unfair representations of rapists and victims in our society need to address.

Ched Evans was released half way through his five year convicted sentence for the calculated and planned out rape of a nineteen year old girl whom he picked out of a crowd based entirely on her state of inebriation, took her to his hotel room and attacked her. His appeal was rejected three times, until it was eventually relented and he was released. Since his release, he has shown no remorse for the attack, only shock that he was arrested for something that he didn’t consider rape. To me, whether he believes that he raped her or not is entirely irrelevant: He was found guilty of rape and served time for it – because an inebriated young girl and a sober man in a powerful position as footballer does not equal unspoken consent – he took advantage of her, no matter how you look at it. He was irresponsible, selfish and showed no regard for the human rights of the victim.

So, to read the articles surrounding Sheffield United’s recent acceptance of allowing Ched Evans to train with the club is heart-wrenchingly infuriating, because, even after a petition against the convicted rapist returning to the football club had been signed over 157,000 people, the club released a statement stating that they would not ‘relent’ to ‘mob culture’. I’m not sure what types of mobs they’re used to down in Sheffield, but where I’m from signing a petition from the comfort of one’s own home does not a mob make – it’s not like I’m brandishing a pitchfork and asking for the rapist’s head; I, like hundreds of thousands of other people, are asking that a club not glorify a rapist through allowing him to train with and play for a team that play one of the most popular sports in the world. Allowing him to train or play for the club is a huge ‘fuck you’ to the victim – the person who’s life he ruined by violating his position of power and targeting her based entirely on her inebriation.

My argument isn’t of the stance that if you’re a rapist you don’t deserve a future; if someone has been convicted, served their time, shown their remorse and been released from prison as a rehabilitated individual, then I think they should be allowed to reintegrate into society and rebuild their lives (although employer/employee knowledge is something I firmly believe in; if people choose not to work with you because you’re a rapist or a paedophile or a murderer then that’s your own damn fault, you shouldn’t have done it. I say this because my sister works with a convicted paedophile and when she found out she was sick with rage and anxiety, no longer wanting to work with him, which I can’t blame her for). My opinions were echoed by former Sheffield United patron, TV Presenter, Charlie Webster, who left the club following their decision to allow Evans to train with the rest of the squad. In interviews, she has echoed the opinions of countless people, including myself: allowing a rapist who shows no remorse for the heinous act he carried out, remaining resolute in his insistence that it was consensual to be a part of a team that is championed by fans of the club is irresponsible. Allowing him back into a position of power and responsibility, a position that will result in young boys looking up to him as a footballing hero is potentially dangerous to society; it’s echoing something that countless men and women worldwide are trying to eradicate: Victim Blaming. By allowing Ched Evans onto the football pitch, back into the public forum, allowing him to be hero-worshipped by youngsters blurs the lines between sexual and mutual consent and perpetuates a worryingly increasing social movement that is dangerous to women everywhere: Rape Culture.

Sheffield United – and any other football club in the UK and beyond – have a responsibility to promote the safety and rights of everyone who watches the sport and even those who don’t; they need to hold their employees responsible for any crimes committed, regardless of how heinous they are. There is a huge ‘stamp racism out of football’ campaign, which I am a huge supporter of, but I am also in agreement that like racism, any type of footballer who thinks he is beyond the law, who believes that he can rape or murder or drive around in a flashy car, ignoring the speed limits, wilfully endangering lives also need eradicating from the sport. We don’t have time as a society to educate people in mutual, sexual consent, what rape is, how to respect our fellow human beings if they are receiving mixed messages from society; how bad can someone be if he’s allowed to play for a well-respected football club? It places the blame entirely on the victim; the victim who has gone into hiding and can’t use the internet because she’s terrified of the abuse. How is that fair?

Whether Ched Evans believes he is innocent is entirely irrelevant; he was convicted of a crime that he didn’t even serve in its entirety and in the process, ruined the life of a nineteen year old girl by making one poor decision: to target and attempt to have sex with someone whilst he had a girlfriend at home – his disdain and lack of respect for women is evident and his position as a footballer for a respected club is dangerous; it glorifies rape culture and poses as a huge threat to society. Please sign the petition and maybe we can execute a change to our football clubs: Click here to sign.

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