Porn and prostitution – part 2 – the pros …

So, the context has been set. Young roughseas ie early to mid twenties, was in favour of porn and prostitution. A woman’s right to choose. Empowerment and all that. As I said on the previous post, a sex pos feminist, no less.

Caution: do not look up sex pos on the internet or you will get a lot of information about suggested sexual positions.

Instead, look up sex-positive feminism.

Now. Let’s do the theory.

Surely feminism is about a woman’s right to choose? Yes? Who can argue with that?

A woman gets to have sex with whom and whenever and wherever she wants?

OK so far.

So, what is wrong about prostitution and porn?

Nothing per se.

Women have the right to express their sexuality and use their bodies as a means of employment, whether being photographed or filmed in sexual acts, or just accepting money for sex, and that can be any or all of masturbation, oral, vaginal, anal. It may include BDSM.

The vocality for sex pos came out of the second wave feminist movement, think Dworkin, Greer, MacKinnon, (70s and early 80s), all strongly anti porn and prostitution, and was supported by the likes of Camille Paglia (who I personally always loathed) and numerous others.

There is a subtext to the sex pos movement and that is rebelling against religious theories of purity, chastity, virgin madonnas and the like.

Finally sex pos feminists see the anti porn/prostitution proponents as being in favour of censorship, regulation, and the establishment, whereas feminism, by its very definition, should oppose all those.

Powerful arguments I think. No wonder I bought into it, and others still do.

Sex pos feminism tends to be associated with third wave feminism, and also the more recent fourth wave which tends to favour sex work ie basically younger people. Remember how young roughseas was also in favour of these principles?

Next: the other point of view, ie why porn and prostitution might not be such a good idea for women.

Posted in feminism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Porn and prostitution – part 1

Friend Mak asked for more info on feminism, so we agreed on this topic.

Basically, why are prostitution and pornography anti-feminist?

This is a well sensitive subject and splits the feminist community right down the middle.

Let me start with anecdotes before I move onto theory.

Anecdote 1

Back in my late teens/early twenties I volunteered for work at a rape crisis centre. As a woman, I figured it was the shittiest thing that could happen to us, and something that many of us always live in fear of.

Us. I realise that by us, I meant women. Not everyone.

I met my interrogators interviewers at a local railway station. Looked like your average butch lesbians, but not my issue.

The only question I can remember, because it was clearly the killer, was, ‘What do you think to porn?’

Natch, I thought it was OK, if women wanted to do it, and earned money.

I don’t need to tell you I didn’t get the volunteer post.

And the reason I tell you this is twofold.

1) I’ve never been a perfect feminist

2) Had they explained what I had got wrong and why, I might have learned a lot of things a lot sooner.

Anecdote 2

Walking down Macleay Street, Kings Cross Sydney, I was asked, ‘How much?’ by a couple of Americans.

I was flattered. Not only did men want to have sex with me, they would pay me!

Kings Cross in the 1980s was the mega sex area of Sydney (and druggies and backpackers, I was the latter).

Had I not been with someone else I may well have taken them up. Why not get paid for having sex? thought my young mind.

So young roughseas was fine with prostitution and pornography and called herself a feminist? This was back in the 80s. Sounds familiar with sex pos feminism of today?

I do have sympathy with women who haven’t been round the loop. Old heads, young vaginas. Or something like that.

Next: the theory and why maybe porn and prostitution aren’t quite so good …

Posted in feminism | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

More about Teh Menz

My friend Mak wrote a post asking ‘what about the menz’.

This followed a Twitter exchange, which, should you be so inclined, you can read about on his blog post linked above.

The detail, for the purpose of this post, is not that relevant. The responses were.

Virtually all commenters talked about women making sexist comments and some compared that with black people making racist comments.

And …

The myth that we live in a white capitalist patriarchal society is apparently now being taught in schools! Oh no! Truth at last? Doubt it.

Now. At the risk of being very basic, let’s do this simply. Because it seems some messages are not being well received. At best.

1) Women are not guilty of sexism against men. It is an impossibility.

2) Similarly, white people are not guilty of racism against black people.

The basis for these two comments is that, contrary to the belief of some, women and black people are varyingly oppressed by men, and white people. The weaker group can not display power eg sexism/racism towards the stronger one. It’s a non sequitur.

Just to remind you, the hierarchy of power is simple:

  • White men
  • Black men
  • White women
  • Black women

We can add class, poverty/wealth/education blah blah to that, but this is a post, primarily, about sexism.

Now, a few other basics:

3) People who say they support equal rights for men and women are not feminists. Full stop. End of story. Which feminism manual did you read?

4) Men who say they are feminist have also not read the right manual. Feminists are women. Male allies are welcome.

5) Anyone who thinks pornography and prostitution is empowering for women hasn’t seen the dead prostitute wheeled out of the building next door after a heroin overdose.

6) People who say the gender pay gap has closed are liars ill-informed.

7) Men and women are born with certain biological traits. Someone thinking they feel like being a woman does not make them a woman. Women do not need men pretending to be women to tell them about feminism. Or how to be a woman.

Now, in similar news, Dead Wild Roses reposted an interesting conversation about radical feminists and biological essentialism.

Again, the comments were interesting. From men. Of course.

Were women with a tipped bladder aliens?

No, says another well-informed male about women’s bladders. It isn’t true, but they can prolapse.

We loves it! We loves the Mansplaining!

Even more, we get detail about weakened muscles holding up the bladder causing the prolapse.

Wow! Thank you so much.

None of us little women are capable of working out that tipped bladder is a lay term, similar to how bowel cancer is often used instead of the more clinical colorectal cancer.

Thank you to Teh Menz for your humour and your inaccurate grossly patronising explanations about women’s organs. And you wonder why we get pissed off? Seriously?

NB to Arb, I note you pointed out the usage of tipped as colloquial usage.

But as a finale, on the subject of tipped pelvic organs, for anyone who wants to read about a tipped (tilted) uterus. Here you go. It can render a woman a sexual cripple.

Fortunately, correction is fairly simple, and effective.

Phew. Wouldn’t want to disappoint Teh Menz with our sexual availability would we?

Sexual cripple? Really?

Posted in feminism, Sexism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments


Is the UK expected to home refugees from the Calais refugee camps?

Serious question. In terms of population density the UK is somewhat bigger than France’s (286:118 per head of population per square km. Let’s say more than double? Two times 118 = 236. And the UK is on 286.)

So? Refugees in France are the responsibility of the UK? Really?

No wonder we voted for Brexit.

France, you caring country, just remind me again why you can’t rehome these refugees?

Hell, yes, just go to the UK and bludge off us.

We can’t feed our own people, our health service is struggling, and we can’t fund our pensioners.

Posted in europe, life | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

Mx, Ms, Mr, (Mrs/Miss)

I do hope you are all aware that when addressing trans people you should be using the appropriate title. A bit like the pronouns.

Here is Mix Margaret on the subject.

Some excerpts and comments:

In recent years they have taken it up in greater numbers resulting in many banks, governments, credit card companies and other businesses integrating Mx into their customer forms and databases. In May 2015 the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added Mx to their online version citing the increasing acceptance, by local government and business, of transgender individuals wishing to use the title instead of Miss, Mrs, Mr or Ms.

Having a transgender title is a wonderful development for non-binary people, including androgynes such as myself. We really need a title like Mx when we fill out forms so we don’t have to lie and say we’re male or we’re female. And it’s so much better to use Mx in person because having to say you are a Mr or a Ms when you plainly are not is soul-destroying. Using Mx has made a world of difference to the happiness and well-being of many non-binary transgender individuals.

That’s great. So trans people get to not define their gender but the rest of us continue to do so. Because Mx Margaret goes on to say non trans people should not appropriate their title.

Some of us might like a non-gendered title. It took long enough for women to stop being defined by their marital status and for Ms to be accepted. But the trans, they are special. So we all quickly add Mx to our online forms …

Take for example woman, an adult human female. If a person looks, talks, and self-identifies as a woman, is that enough to call her a woman, or does she also have to be fertile? There are many infertile women. Does she have to have female reproductive organs? Perhaps she’s had a hysterectomy. Or does she need female genes in her chromosomes? There have always been women in the world who were born looking female, who grew up as and thought of themselves as women, and who went to their graves never having been pregnant and never having had a period. They may have been genetically male, had a vagina but no penis, no ovaries and no uterus. All their lives from the cradle to the grave they and their families may have been none the wiser, always thinking of them as women. Such people are often very feminine in self identity and appearance. If you define woman as an adult who is genetically female they are not women, but I’d still say they are women.

Confusing. By default. Only women can have a hysterectomy. And periods. And get pregnant.

The few numbers of intersex people are different. But for the most part, trans is not about intersex. So lets not conflate the two. Mx Jones identifies as androgyne.

People using Mx are not likely to be transsexual. Presumably, most transsexual men or women find the traditional titles such as Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms are the appropriate ones for them. At the risk of generalising, they seem to embody the traditional genders of male or female, and I for one think that’s great. I like some gender differences. Vive la différence! I don’t advocate the end of gender as we know it for people who have a binary gender identification, which must be most of about seven billion people.

Groan. Just groan.

But just as you can’t change a dog into a cat, you can’t change a man into a woman or vice versa.

Yes! Exactly.

People who seem to make this transition have not changed their real selves at all—they’ve only changed some features of their bodies and the way they appear, and perhaps the way they talk et cetera. If you are a woman born in a male body you’re still always going to be a woman. I don’t know why some people find this so hard to understand.

Ah. Maybe not exactly after all.

A woman is born with certain physical characteristics. That can not yet be reproduced by expensive surgeons looking to make a fast buck. These characteristics include the probability of having periods, and therefore ability to get pregnant, and go through the menopause.

I don’t know why some people find this so hard to understand.

A man is born with odd-looking dangly bits, doesn’t have periods, can’t get pregnant or go through a menopause.

I don’t know why some people find this so hard to understand.

A man is neither a woman or a lesbian.

I don’t know why some people find this so hard to understand.

Gender is a social construct.

Now, what part of this do we not understand?

But apparently, men who can’t reproduce are disabled. Yes! So says the WHO. Courtesy of feminist current:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided that the inability to get pregnant constitutes a disability, meaning that single men, for example, have the “right to reproduce.

Jeez. Silly me thinking getting pregnant was a woman’s issue. What about teh poor menz who can’t get pregnant. Poor, poor menz.



Some years ago, we had a huge discussion at our health authority. In the days of Thatcher, we were encouraged to ration non-essential care. And so we put a paper to our board to ration/reduce/refuse IVF. Except the chair was infertile and so, it was watered down to be meaningless.

Disability is struggling to walk. To not see. To not be able to look after yourself. Inability to get pregnant is NOT a fucking disability.

And here is what women fear:

Raped, drugged, and dead.

Who the fuck looked after her rights? Nobody. Just nobody.

Priorities are not exactly right people. And if you are complicit with this shit, Lucia Perez is your fault too.

Posted in feminism, gender-specific language, trans | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

We loves The Menz

I write a perfectly reasonable criticism about Owen Smith, a former candidate for the leadership of the UK labour party and get told off for being sexist.

Um. I was pointing out that Smith was sexist (for a number of arsey comments) AND homophobic for his snipey digs at his lesbian opponent Angela Eagle.

Which makes me sexist? How?

But here we have it, thank you Mr Person – Jamie G – without a blog of any meaning:

Ironically I find your post and comment replies no less sexist. Sexism can be directed both against men and women. That you despise men is very much evident in the first line of your post. A sexist woman protesting against sexism is like a porn movie actress trying to become a feminist. Bye.

This is the same level of ignorance displayed by BrainlessCranium. I mean Godlesscranium. Whatever.

The comments by both are full of non sequiturs and display an appalling level of ignorance about women’s rights and feminism.

Brainless, at some point, said western feminists didn’t write about FGM. Really Brainless? Try this. From four years ago.

Personally I would suggest both you and Jamie G pull your collective fingers out and learn a little. Although I doubt that will happen in a million years.

Meanwhile thanks to Ark, Arb, Pink and Tildeb for their staunch defence of feminism. Because the menz are so important. Ruth spent a hell of a long time trying to explain and? Where does that get the women? Her points and links were ignored/dismissed.

It is a sad fact of life that women need men to endorse the credibility of feminism. Or anything really.

Not that anyone can reason with idiots.

Posted in Atheism, feminism, radical feminism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

I cried

I really did.

I looked at this photo and wept.

She didn't make it. Wonder why not?

She didn’t make it. Wonder why not?

What. Is. Wrong. With. People.

We have homed skinny ribby dogs but this?

Our abuse of animals never fails to amaze me.

Let alone our hypocrisy.

Eat dogs, cats, horses.

That’s bad.

But eat cows, sheep, pigs?

That’s good.

Still, how on earth can people treat dogs like this?

Posted in abandoned dogs, animals, dogs, life, rescue dogs | 29 Comments

Trans beta readers

Can’t move on the internet for trans. Fall over them everywhere.

There I was browsing a book forum when I noticed a request for a trans woman or trans girl beta reader. (Beta reader: someone who reads a manuscript pre-publication to suggest changes, point out errors.)

The story is about ‘F/F aka lesbian romance’.

Because the author is not trans, they wants trans input so they don’t write anything ignorant or offensive.

That’s fair enough. But you knows, I have me an awful sneaking feeling that lesbians who are women, rather than men who want to be women and have sex with women, might have a view too. They might be slightly offended or worse. Because a lot of lesbians don’t want to have sex with men purporting to be women. At all. Two sides of the coin you know.

But whatever. The trans movement rolls on and pushes us all out of the way.

Now, if only someone wanted a radfem beta reader. Or possibly an evil terf.

Not a novel I’d want to be writing anyway.

Perhaps it’s the next Crying Game. Instead of having men being duped by transgender people, now we have women being duped.

Crazy world.

Posted in feminism | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Trans rape?

I know. I’m old. Out of touch.

That’s probably why I’m reeling at the story of a transwoman raping a transman. Uh?

Cherno Biko, if you haven’t heard of the story.

Cherno Biko is a Brooklyn based award winning media activist and human rights advocate. She serves as the Co Chair of the Young Women’s Advisory Council for the City of New York and has been named to the Trans 100 and NBC BLK 28 Under 28.

From HuffPo.

Right. So we have a self-confessed rapist as a human rights advocate?

Apparently Biko is sorry for raping someone but it’s not their fault because they were sexually abused as a child.

View story at

Do you know, Biko, how many women, no, not transwomen, have been sexually abused? And that’s just the reported figures. And how many of those women go on to rape someone else? Unlike you?

Let’s get one thing clear. Anyone who sticks their penis in a vagina, and rips off a condom, hoping to impregnate their victim, is not by any stretch of the imagination a woman. Nor is their victim, a man.

Although Biko has confessed to rape, I am unable to validate the ripping-off-the-condom story in order to impregnate.

But actually, er how many women with cocks rape men with vaginas?

Alice in Wonderland has nothing on this surreality.

When are people going to wake up?

Biological sex is immutable.

Gender is a social construct.

I don’t wake up on Tuesday and decide it’s my Gender Identity Man Day.

Men don’t wake up Wednesday and put on a frock and make-up (got to be feminine) and wander into womens’ toilets or changing rooms and perv on them because it is Gender Identity Woman Day. And take photos. Or whatever other pervy men who think they are women get up to.

So sue me for being a TERF.

And spending a lifetime of being frightened of being assaulted and raped and getting pregnant. Because that is the reality of being born a woman. Unlike men who wear frocks and put on make-up because they really *are* women.

Meanwhile, I got called a weirdo for checking the sources of this story. Oh well, shit happens. Nothing new in feminism. Sadly, I’m too old to give a fuck.

Posted in feminism, gender-specific language | Tagged , , , | 71 Comments

Children, prime ministers, and PR

How many men say they are better qualified to be a price, oops, prime, minister because they have children?

Dear me.

On a side note, Eagle, Leadsom, May, are little Thatchers. The Thatcher revivalist movement.

And what is with the religion?

Candidates espousing their godworthiness? Crabb, May, Leadsom.

Keep your religion to yourselves.

Next we’ll be having the NRA fixing British elections. Bankers are more than enough.

For those of you outside the UK, Andrea Leadsom has dropped out of the tory party leadership race.

She needs a new PR advisor.

Posted in christianity, feminism, news, politics | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Superior man brain thinking

‘Two minute noodles.

‘We have two packs.

‘Therefore we need four minutes? Yes?’

Go bro.

Hell’s teeth. Gotta love that male intelligence.

Seen on an Aussie outback vid.

Clue: Two minute noodles take … two minutes? Doesn’t matter how many packs.

Not when the men are in charge. They know better.

Posted in feminism, life | 4 Comments

A man thing

I read some shit but …

… this takes the biscuit

Well, it’s Father’s Day here in the United States. Yes, that day when men all over the country have an excuse to eat as much meat as possible, watch sports, and scratch themselves wherever and whenever they feel like it.

The real reason for writing today is to say B is the reason I live. He’s the reason I found myself wanting to wake up and keep going after my accident. He’s the reason I maintain sanity at times. He’s the reason I remain a reasonable adult when I would rather throw things and say bad words, two things I haven’t done since finding out he was on his way into this world.

Er, what about the woman who brought him into the world? Spent nine months pregnant and however many hours in labour?

Nah. My little boy. Who gives a shit about women?

PS men and meat? Ugh.

Posted in animal rights, feminism | 10 Comments

One reason why the UK is fucked

I mean, seriously?

This woman is claiming £40k a year on benefit with 12 children and looking for a sperm donor for a 13th.

Child support agency anyone?

Using the system?

The system does not work.

Well, only for some.

Posted in life | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Shit that happens to women

This extract from an Australian paper says it all about women’s experiences of being attacked, assaulted, raped, threatened with murder, or, murdered.

It also encapsulates, everything, but everything about society’s views of women. Victim blaming and shaming. Asking for it. Lucky to be deemed worthy of a rape attack (JFC!). Stupid. Of course. Women are stupid for just being alive.

And of course God. Because God. Tell that to the Mormon women students who were raped.

Sexual urges. The poor man had no money for a prostitute so he raped a non-prostitute instead. So sad he had no money isn’t it? Whether he did or didn’t is fucking irrelevant. Men’s wants do not trump women’s. What part of that is not clear? Your gross sexual urges are no excuse for rape. Or attempted rape/murder.

But read on:

I wasn’t technically raped that night. And boy do people love to remind me of that.

“I know what happened is bad and all, but he didn’t actually, you know, get it up you, did he?”

This was the question put to me by a male manager at my casual job, a week after the assault took place. My bruises hadn’t even disappeared but the implication was clear: if there’s no P-in-V, it’s not so bad, is it?

Sure, I’d been indecently sexually assaulted, physically assaulted, strangled, told I would be killed, and held at blade point. But in a phallocentric world, sexual violence isn’t measured by the trauma the victim experiences, but by the perpetrator’s assessment of the event: and if the penis didn’t get its way? Then what right should I have to expect the same supports and police resourcing that a “real rape victim” would get?

This wasn’t the only insensitive comment people made.

“You’re a pretty girl, you know. You could take it as a compliment that he selected you.” (This piece of unsolicited advice was kindly offered by a female journalist working for a women’s magazine).

“You have to admit Nina, you were pretty stupid for walking home alone”. (This gem was offered by an old friend I went to school with.)

One woman asked in all seriousness: “Do you ever think this might not have happened if you had a closer relationship with God?”

Another woman took the time and trouble to email me to inform me that she had real pity for me until, that was, she learnt that I had been “doing all the wrong things”.

Since then, I’ve been told it’s my fault for drinking. My fault for listening to music. My fault for travelling alone (as though women should only ever venture out in public if they are in the company of a chaperone).

People have called me a liar and an attention seeker.

I’ve had one stranger persistently request that I share the police photos taken that night with him.

I’ve had other strange men send me messages of sympathy, immediately followed up with a sunny little dick-pic. For condolence, I guess. (No, I do not want to commiserate with your boner).

I’ve had schools ask me if I will come speak to their female students about the “risky situations” that women put themselves in (no, I won’t, don’t ask me again).

I’ve been asked whether the problem lies in girls “not respecting themselves” (and here I was thinking that my assault happened because my attacker has no respect for women, for me, or for my right to live a life free of sexual violence.)

I’ve also had someone suggest that the poor guy probably “just had no money, otherwise he would have gone to a prostitute”. As though sexual violence isn’t about power and control at all, but a man’s simple desire to have certain sexual needs met.

Over and over I have been asked the questions that so many other survivors have also been asked: “What were you wearing? How much did you have to drink? Don’t you know how stupid you were being?”

And each and every one of these questions (and so many more) serve to silence women. They do this by deflecting attention away from the actions and choices of perpetrators, and by insinuating that women are responsible for the violence we have experienced.

And finally there was this remark made by some clever chap who wanted to discuss my attack online:

“What a conceited bitch for thinking she’s even worthy of rape. The guy just probably wanted to give her a good bashing in which case job well done.”

Charming stuff, isn’t it?

Of course, this is only a fraction of what women deal with when we speak out publicly about sexual violence. And in many ways my own assault was easier to speak out about than many others. That’s because I was assaulted by a stranger and there was physical violence involved. But most victims aren’t assaulted by strangers and rarely are there physical signs of violence, and this makes it even harder to be believed.

And this is why so women stay silent. Why so many choose not to report.

It’s also why perpetrators feel so entitled to keep on offending: because our society continually affirms for them that women are in the wrong. That women are untrustworthy. That stranger-danger rape is the only “legitimate rape”. That women make-up sexual abuse in order to assuage sexual regret. That the word of a man is worth far more than the word of woman.

And thanks to Miep whose blog had the link.

Posted in feminism | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Gender neutral?

We’d never had a bitch. We both grew up with dogs, but none of them were bitches. And when, as a couple in our own houses, we started to home rescue dogs, they were always male.

But Tosca was a bitch. That was clear from the extended nipples, indicating she’d recently had pups.

I asked a good dog friend who’s had bitches about any noticeable differences. I was primarily thinking about anything around when they come, or start to come, on heat. Hopefully, we would manage to get her spayed before that. (We did.)

Both my friend, and another experienced dog person, agreed they could see no difference between bitches and dogs.

And yet, the rumour mill has it that bitches are more affectionate, more loving, more loyal, better natured than dogs. Are we so hung up on gender as a society that we project our constructs of men and women onto animals?

Tosca and Snowy are the same breed, although different varieties within the Podenco family. He is smaller. Unsurprisingly, as the larger dog, Tosca usually wins the fight for possession of toys. As hunting dogs, they play hard. They growl, snarl, and (play) fight. They chase each other. Neither gives any quarter.

They both like affection and attention and like to lie next to their people, resting their head on shoulder, chest, arms, legs, feet. Snowy, being the smaller dog, will often jump up to sit on a lap.

Both are good guard dogs. Sometimes they take it in turn, sometimes they guard and bark together.

The only visible differences we can see are – surprisingly? – down to their different backgrounds. Nurture not nature in this case. Snowy came to us as a tiny thrown-out puppy, at four or five weeks old. He’s led a very spoiled and pampered life. Tosca followed Partner and Snowy home one day and our vet reckons she’s around two years old. She’ll have had one or two hunting seasons before she was thrown out. And, her trained hunting habits are evident when we go out. Snowy has the senses (scent, hearing, eyesight), but lacks the experience. Plus, Tosca is sensitive to loud noises, ie those that resemble gunshots. Snowy stands up at the window to watch firework displays!

Otherwise, they are two dogs, each with different life stories, each with their own personality. Similar behaviour. Similar intelligence.

Without the obvious anatomical differences, how would one determine which was male and which was female?

We treat the two dogs exactly the same. Why can’t people do that with each other? Why do we have to create artificial differences between men and women? Why do we insist on ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ behaviour, dress, and appearance?

Tosca has whiskers on her chin. Most unfeminine. Does anyone care? She’s a wire-haired Podenco, and that’s one of their characteristics. Yet, women are expected to shave numerous parts of their body. Legs, armpits, pubes. Why?

Those who don’t, are regarded as: unconventional, unfeminine, lesbian, ugly, unattractive. Not only that, appearance – of women – affects pay and career. It’s some years ago now that I read a book that disappointingly pointed out research showing that women wearing make-up were a) more likely to be offered jobs and b) offered salaries up to 20 per cent higher. (Clairol in America, Jouhar and Graham in Britain. Source: Spillane, Presenting Yourself, 1993.)

Not only that, but a three-year study carried out by the Center for Creative Leadership found that of women attempting to break through the glass ceiling, more than a third were rejected due to ‘poor image’.

Do men get rejected for ‘poor image’? Or have to wear make-up to get jobs or higher salaries?

Should I get judged on my ability to apply make-up rather than my intellect? Apparently.

Why should women have to conform to different standards than men?

Society needs to change.

Posted in animals, feminism, radical feminism | Tagged | 4 Comments

Let’s spend the night together

Lovely, long, lazy travel.

It’s years since I travelled by charter or even standard airlines.

Or in the words of Kipling (more or less), ‘better to travel hopefully than arrive’.

I bought a EuroRail card, travelled by train in India, and travelled on ferries in the Greek islands. All involved overnight women-only accommodation.

This century, travel has been limited to the UK and back.

Shared women’s compartments on trains and the same for cabins on Brittany Ferries. P&O doesn’t give the option for that. You have/had to buy an individual cabin.

On the train, it can be anyone’s guess as to who your pals are. Mostly they are fine.

One journey from Paris to Spain included an African (Nigerian?) woman and her daughter. We started chatting immediately. When she wanted to go to the buffet, she left young Dasha in my charge, and told her to obey her new auntie.

When we got off the train in Madrid, we met up with her family and enjoyed breakfast together.

On the same journey, the other occupant of our compartment was a French (?) woman. She met some man on the train and asked if she could bring him into our compartment to spend the night. No. Dasha’s mama and I both said an unequivocal no.

Women-only compartments are for women, and their children. Not for men.

Chatting about the cross-channel routes, I was laughing at my partner who, whenever he has gone on the ferry, has never managed the privilege of an empty shared cabin.

On the other hand, my trips on Brittany ferries, opting for a shared – and therefore cheaper — cabin, ended up with me in glorious isolation. Maybe not all women aren’t comfortable about sharing small, private space with other women. Or maybe some women can afford a private cabin just as they can a private compartment on a train.

As we chatted away, and I gloated about me getting private ferry cabins for the price of a shared one, a horrible thought hit me.

I could end up sharing a two-bed cabin, or even a four or six-bed train compartment, with a man who says he is a woman.

I really do not want to do that. While everyone is carping on about the rights of male to female trans people, women’s rights, as usual, are being trampled upon.

Can anyone tell me why I should have to share overnight accommodation with a biological man, when the accommodation is for women only?

I do not want to share women-only space with XY chromosome people (usually known as men), or men who wake up one day suddenly deciding they are female. Complete with female penis and female testicles.*

This goes beyond toilet and changing room facilities. We’re talking about spending the night together.

*For the benefit of those not oppressed by up on the trans debate, it is important to note that a penis belonging to a man, who thinks he is a woman, can often be regarded as a female appendage.

Posted in feminism, gender-specific language, radical feminism | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments

Good old-time religion

I found an interesting quote today on a blog.

K did three years at a Christian college but was kicked out for being a lesbian (she chose leaving over undergoing mandated conversion therapy).

WTF is lesbian conversion therapy?


(The comment is towards the end, and the post is about a FtM detransitioning.)

OK, we could ask why people choose a Christian college but that’s a different issue.

Hellish clever running lots of colleges and universities and schools or whatever they are all called.

But change your sexual orientation or get kicked out as an ultimatum? This is perverted. Unlike religion.

What about the Mormon university that victimises women who have been raped? Well, don’t you know they have broken the indecency honor code? By being raped?

Religion is run by men. Religion subjugates women. Religion is also a myth.

Posted in Atheism, christianity, feminism, Religion, Sexism | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Simple sexism

The Ark and I are not best pals at the moment. Not that we ever were, but anyway, our recent exchanges give some good examples of sexism.

Firstly, we have, him telling me how to exercise following my broken ankle. I broke my ankle 22 months ago. I have to say the advice about atrophy and flexibility is a little tardy. However, one must always appreciate advice from a superior being.

Next Ark writes about abortion and draws parallels with being vegetarian.

This is a difficult one for anyone to grasp if they aren’t vegetarian, but he’s basically saying – I think – that if you oppose abortion on the grounds you are killing something, then you shouldn’t eat meat. I can follow that logic (don’t agree with it) but I doubt most people can. Or I could be wrong.

But Ark is uncomfortable with abortion:

Not in the least. I am just not informed enough on this subject.
It just makes me uncomfortable that’s all.
I in no way inferred that I would be happy to override a woman’s right to her body in any manner whatsoever.
Your attempt at trying to put words into to my mouth smacks of petulance, a trait you seem to have demonstrated quite the flair for of late.

Ah. Petulance. Don’t you just love it? Nice way to demean women.
If it was a man, it would be. Assertive. Standing up for their rights.
Women? Petulance. Nice tactic.

You interpretation is incorrect.
You did not even ask why it makes me feel uncomfortable?
But then you are not known for your tact?
(You will find the word in the dictionary
It’s near tacky.)
And now you can whistle ….
Sexist put down?
Now now, RS, you really don’t need to be be such a bitch.
What do you know indeed?

In explanation:

Abortion makes men feel uncomfortable.

Can someone tell me why I need to ask men why abortion makes them feel uncomfortable?

Periods, pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, menopause, make women feel uncomfortable.

Hmmm, but, maybe I need to ask the men first to decide about that.


This from the man who calls people dickhead at every drop of the hat.

Me, merely a public servant employed in PR.



This is derogatory, insulting, dismissive language.

And people wonder why some women are feminist?


Abortion is only the business of one person. And she’s a woman.

Posted in feminism, gender-specific language | Tagged , | 81 Comments

Workers’ rights

Workers’ rights – on the ground – are not doing too well here in Gibraltar. Life may be different in other parts of the world.

The bizarre cross-border situation that makes up Gibraltar means we have a steady stream of workers crossing the frontier daily who are willing to work for below minimum wage, illegally and in unsafe working conditions.

Want examples? Sure.

  • The firms that promise people a contract on £x an hour and when they start, the contract reflects a couple of quid less.
  • Someone offered a three year contract – to move to Gib – (no exes) and is given one for less than a year when they arrive.
  • The worker given redundancy due to ‘lack of work’ and then told they can go back on temporary three-month contracts (no security, no rights).
  • The workers working 40 or more hours a week on part-time contracts that minimise employer’s contributions and workers’ rights to redundancy claims.
  • The workers who are getting £5 an hour on the black, when the minimum wage is £6.50 an hour. The craft, ie skilled rate, is £7.69, which works out at £61 a day before tax and social. Meanwhile some people get £60 a day cash in hand, others might get £80. More than 30 years ago Partner was getting £50 a day self-employed.

Recently we tried to advertise his business on a facebook forum promoting employment, workers, job opportunities and seeking work. Apparently we couldn’t do this. It was for people who really needed money in their pocket, promoting the black economy at the expense of legitimate businesses, because, people on the black deserve the work more.

People on the black also don’t pay tax and social, don’t pay £20 annually to be registered with the Employment Board, and don’t pay £25 a year to Trade and Industry. In fact, this year, that has gone up to £100 a year to the new Office of Unfair Trading. Although the staff have moved into swanky new offices so, obviously, someone has to pay for that.

I can see why a forum won’t want to be flooded with endless adverts from businesses. At the same time, it still gripes that someone with less experience, less qualifications (if any) can advertise to do the same work, and we can’t because we have a legitimate business with all the costs that incurs. And yet, we would charge the same rates, despite our on-costs.

What about pricing? And lower wages. One argument is that desperate poor people get some money, and the customer gets a good (questionable) cheap job.

The counter argument is that this approach drives down the basic rate for everyone, ignores health and safety, and leaves people struggling to make ends meet. The real winners are the employers.

For those of you who haven’t read Robert Tressell, here is the wiki summary of The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists. And for non-linkclickers, a couple of extracts:

Clearly frustrated at the refusal of his contemporaries to recognise the inequity and iniquity of society, Tressell’s cast of hypocritical Christians, exploitative capitalists and corrupt councillors provide a backdrop for his main target — the workers who think that a better life is “not for the likes of them”. Hence the title of the book; Tressell paints the workers as “philanthropists” who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages in order to generate profit for their masters.

The hero of the book, Frank Owen, is a socialist who believes that the capitalist system is the real source of the poverty he sees all around him. In vain he tries to convince his fellow workers of his world view, but finds that their education has trained them to distrust their own thoughts and to rely on those of their “betters”.

As Orwell said, it should be compulsory reading:

Writing in the Manchester Evening News in April 1946 George Orwell praised the book’s ability to convey without sensationalism “the actual detail of manual work and the tiny things almost unimaginable to any comfortably situated person which make life a misery when one’s income drops below a certain level.” He considered it “a book that everyone should read” and a piece of social history that left one “with the feeling that a considerable novelist was lost in this young working-man whom society could not bother to keep alive.”

In Ragged, Tressell writes about people working long hard days and living in appalling accommodation. Tressell died of tuberculosis.

Less money circulating, and more money concentrated in the hands of a few does not make for a good and productive society.

What about unsafe working environments? Construction has always been risky, if for nothing else it involves falls from heights. And sometimes, dodgy scaffolding, unsafe ladders, carrying heavy weights.

Let’s look at European and Australian regs regarding bags of cement. In Europe they were reduced from 50kgs to 25kgs. In Australia they are now 20kgs.

The BWI has been campaigning since 2013 for the weight to be reduced to 25kgs throughout the world, citing lifting loads of more than 25 kgs as the biggest cause for musculo-skeletal injuries to the lower back, neck, shoulders, elbows, hernias and general physical wear and tear.

Let me remind you again of Ragged:

Tressell paints the workers as “philanthropists” who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages in order to generate profit for their masters.

On one site in Gib, Partner was told to carry two 15 litre tins of paint. He refused. Two 15 litre tins of paint well exceed 25 kgs. One isn’t far off 25 kgs.

Many workers are too frightened to refuse to do something damaging to their health, and, maybe don’t even realise the long-term effects.

And to finish on lifting, with manual handling advice from the UK Health and Safety Executive. To meet the provisions of Regulation 4 you:

only need to label a load if there is a risk of injury and it is reasonably practicable to do so.
do not have to provide this information if the effort involved in doing so would be much greater than any health and safety benefits that might result.
should reduce risky manual handling operations by providing lifting aids, splitting loads and telling people not to carry several items at once.
could ask manufacturers and suppliers to mark weights (and, if relevant, information about the heaviest side) on loads if this can be done easily.

Get the bold, mine. Because this is how HSE works (a former employer of mine). The guidance used is ‘reasonably practicable’ which basically translates to, if it costs too much money, you don’t need to bother.

Profits trump health and safety of workers every single time.

And if you argue, you get the sack.

Workers’ rights?

The working class is as downtrodden as it has always been.

      Editor’s note:

      The last time I wrote about Ragged some four years ago, Sonel found it on Gutenberg. So, it is readily available🙂

Britons never shall be Slaves. Hmm.

Britons never shall be Slaves.

And in those four years, the working life has got worse. Or in many cases for my Gibraltarian friends, non-existent.

Warning: any replies that come out with trite comments about there are jobs for everyone, if they really want them, will not be tolerated.

Posted in work | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Hot feminist

Browsing The Guardian today wondering what Cameron’s (prime minister of some small islands off Europe) latest cock-ups were, I found Polly Vernon’s piece in the Books section about her book, Hot Feminist, and horrors! the criticism it received. Or rather, she received too.

I knew Hot Feminist would prove contentious when I wrote it. I didn’t write it for shock value alone; or even at all. Why did I write it? To present my version of feminism: wayward, ideologically impure, politically incorrect, un-academic, flawed to hell – and no less passionately held for all that. To ease any potential readers’ feminist guilt by exposing myself as more slapdash than they; to make a case for an ultimately inclusive movement, via the example of my own haphazard, clothes-, looks- and man-oriented adventures in feminism.

I wanted to address feminism as a fashion writer, as someone deeply involved in that complicated, sometimes compromised world, with its myriad messages about women: who we should be, how we should look. I wanted to talk about feminism and sexiness; about how I don’t always mind being objectified by the male gaze, and how I am more than capable of objectifying back. I wanted to talk about my life, my experiences. Hot Feminist is a memoir. I believe a book that incorporates extensive fashion tips, alongside one woman’s experiences of abortion and of violent sexual assault, might make a point about the light and shade of the modern female’s life.

Apparently Hot Feminism received a ‘sustained barrage of hate … on Twitter and elsewhere‘. And, many of these people hadn’t even read the book, merely the negative reviews. (There was a positive review from the Daily Telegraph, which may indicate something in itself.)

So, over I popped to Amazon for a Look Inside.

      Hot Feminism
      Modern feminism
      With style
      Without judgement
      Published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2015.

Here we have the intro:



Here we have how the name came to be decided upon: because it’s porny.

It's porny :)

It’s porny🙂

And here we have Feminist Fatigue. At this point I was reminded of violetwisp’s musings about feminism. Maybe violet would like this book if she hasn’t already read it.

Vernon pays tribute to the feminists of the sixties and then goes on to dismiss that old-fashioned tosh. What’s needed is feminism for today. Fashion! Make-up! Diets! Being objectified! Because today’s woman is so independent she can objectify and ogle right back. Jeez. Is that what feminists in the 60s onwards fought for?

Also – feminism is what you want it to be. And you decide whether or not you are a feminist. By which token you could claim to be a devout feminist if you are a fundagelical, support no contraception, no abortion, and a woman’s place is clearly in the home, tripping over 13 children.

Vernon says journalism is her trade. Well, far be it from me to pick holes, but you haven’t got trade papers have you? You might work in journalism, you might be a journalist, but if you haven’t got shorthand then you haven’t qualified.

I can't even do shorthand

I can’t even do shorthand

A qualification isn’t essential to get a job in journalism, more like persistence and rhino hide. But still, it’s annoying to see someone claiming a trade and then smirking that they don’t even have shorthand.

The devil is no longer in the detail:

I say what I am; therefore I am.

While I’m on the subject, there is nothing worse than journalists, or anyone involved in publishing for their day job, producing errors in their books. Especially in the Amazon preview pages. As for Hodder and Stoughton, suggest you look for some new editors/proofreaders.

Another common fault journalists make is to write a full book (this is some 300+ pages) in the style of a short column on a newspaper/magazine article. A book is not the same. Unless you are John Pilger. (His books are good.)

So have I bought this book? Of course not. Based on the preview it looked vapid, superfluous, over used exclamation points and brackets, and was contradictory. Goodness knows what the whole book is like.

But really, who on earth would write a book called ‘Hot Feminist’ – complete with fashion tips – and expect to be taken seriously?

And this is today’s journalism and feminism …?

Posted in feminism, journalism | Tagged , , | 49 Comments