The Shouty Woman

May 29, 2006

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 6:42 pm

I love this man.

Proper post will hopefully follow shortly – I've just got back from a long weekend with my parents and am still in relaxed, non-ranty mode! 

May 22, 2006

Leaving the ‘Matrix’

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 3:56 pm

Laura's recent post on the 'burden of truth' really struck a chord. While it's many times better than anything I'll ever write, it's inspired me to work through some of my own thoughts on the subject.

It's tough being a feminist, and it makes life more difficult. Once your eyes have opened the world seems a very different place, and the worst thing is that you can never close them again. You might want to sometimes; you might want desperately to block your eyes and ears and pretend everything's fine, but sooner you'll see something, or hear something, that'll bring you straight back to the reality of our situation.

  • You leave the office to get some lunch. A group of builders leer and catcall. You are left feeling angry and uncomfortable; your lunch break is spoiled.
  • At work you take up the case of a young Afghan woman who fled to the UK to escape a forced marriage to a man 40 years her senior. She knows no-one here and lives in loneliness and poverty; however even this is preferable to the alternative.
  • At home you turn on the TV. On the new series of Big Brother a contestant enters the house in a Playboy bunny outfit. She says her ambition is to marry a premiership footballer and pose for 'lads' mags'. Another contestant has spent £35,000 on plastic surgery.
  • Walking to the bus stop, you're accosted by a man you've never met before. "Hello gorgeous", he says, "give us a smile". You tell him to piss off but it doesn't stop the anger and resentment swirling inside your head.
  • You decide to wear a skirt to work. Not a short skirt, just a skirt. On the way from the tube station to the office a man yells a sexual suggestion from a passing car.
  • You want to buy a magazine. You're momentarily excited when you see there's a new one out, but no, it's the same bland mix of fashion and sex. Are we really this shallow?
  • In the newsagent your eye is caught by the free DVD on the front of one of the lads' mags. 'Real girls striptease!' The picture on the front is of a woman's headless naked torso. Reduced to the only parts that matter.
  • On the tube, an advert promotes a 'crisis pregnancy service'. Only the tiny logo in the bottom corner gives away the fact that it's run by a 'pro-life' charity. Any woman who calls the helpline will be told that abortion is murder. 

 All these examples are true. They didn't happen over the course of one day, but all of them are recent, and all of them illustrate why, once you've unplugged from the patriarchal 'matrix', it's impossible to go back. Every day we are reminded that women are objects to be leered at, property to be bought and sold, ornaments whose only use is decoration, vapid morons who only care about clothes and gossip, baby-making machines, disposable toys to be used and cast aside when a better model comes along. You can't walk down a street, turn on a computer or open a magazine without being reminded of your inferior status. Damn right it's a burden.

And yet, in a way, knowing the truth makes things easier too. You finally understand why men's magazines make you feel so miserable, and why you're not 'flattered' when a man you've never met feels able to pass judgement on you. It makes sense that you don't find porn 'empowering' and 'sexy' like you're supposed to. And best of all, you discover that there are other people out there who feel the same way.

I wouldn't go back. It's taken me a while to get to this point, but I'd rather know there's a problem, and therefore be better able to fight it, than pretend it doesn't exist. And at least I'm not alone.

May 17, 2006

Baby mother

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 4:18 pm

As someone who had – rarely for a rad fem blogger – an extremely happy childhood, I'm always upset by the stories of girls whose childhoods were stolen from them. This, for example, filled me with a combination of sadness and fury. For those outside the UK who'll have missed out on the whole depressing saga, it's the story of a girl of 11 who became pregnant by a boy of 15. The boy is being prosecuted for her rape.

There's so much wrong with this scenario that I don't know where to begin. First of all, let's be clear about this – an eleven-year-old girl is a child. She's not mature enough, physically or mentally, to cope with a child of her own. For god's sake, when I was eleven I still played with dolls and teddies – if you'd given me a real live baby, as opposed to the plastic kind, I'd have been lost.

Secondly, how warped is the mind of this boy that he thought it was acceptable to have sex with a child? I don't care if legally he's still a child himself – at 15 you should damn well know the difference between right and wrong, and in my book impregnating primary-school age kids is in the second category. We can't pin all the blame on him, though. In the immortal words of Twisty, I Blame the Patriarchy – for sexualising girls from such a young age that they're no longer seen as children, for condoning this and this, for teaching little girls that their only aspiration should be to please boys, and for teaching boys that girls are theirs for the taking, however young.

Poverty is to blame too, of course – both financial poverty and the poverty of aspiration which means that having a baby is often seen as the only option. Perhaps what shocked me the most was the reaction of the girl's mother, who states that she is 'proud' of her daughter for choosing to keep the baby. I'm not saying she should have disowned her, of course, but pride isn't the emotion that immediately comes to mind. Did she not consider that it might not be the best 'choice' for an eleven-year-old to go through pregancy and labour, a traumatic experience even for adult women?

I want to cry for this little girl, this child who will soon have a child herself. With the odds stacked against her, what chance did she have?

May 14, 2006

Just a note…

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 8:03 pm

I've just deleted a 'hilarious' comment on one of the other posts. Anyone in future who jokes about beating up women will be deleted – this is my blog, and if I don't like you you're not coming in.

May 11, 2006

Thursday Random 10

Filed under: Feminism,Random — by Lucy @ 2:28 pm
  1. You Never Know – Goldfrapp
  2. The Sleepless Sailor – Kate Rusby
  3. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Elton John
  4. Bucky Done Gun – M.I.A
  5. Go Or Go Ahead – Rufus Wainwright
  6. I Never – Rilo Kiley
  7. Mr King – Nerina Pallot
  8. Happy – Jenny Lewis With The Watson Twins
  9. Barricades & Brickwalls – Kasey Chambers
  10. Mulder And Scully – Catatonia

May 10, 2006

Pure Genius

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 9:51 am

OK, can we take a moment to bow down and worship whoever wrote this? It's made my day, and it's not even 11am!

May 9, 2006

Politics

Filed under: Feminism,Politics — by Lucy @ 12:34 pm

I just heard that following the reshuffle Ruth Kelly is the new Minister for Women. Am I the only one who’s a bit worried by this? I don’t know about anyone else but I’d rather not have an ardently pro-life member of Opus Dei as my representative in government. At least Tessa Jowell called herself a feminist…

And while we’re on the subject of the Labour Party, what the hell is this all about? I know all-women shortlists are controversial and a far-from perfect solution to the problem of underrepresentationĀ of women in parliament, etc etc, but we should not be apologising like this.

All-women shortlists were at least an honest attempt at a solution, and it’s largely thanks to them that we have the number of female MPs that we do now. After all, a selective list of candidates doesn’t have to mean an inferior list of candidates. Why is there this assumption that a woman selected in this way is only in her position because all the fabulous, superior-in-every-way male candidates were out of the running?

Anyway, I don’t see anyone coming up with any other suggestions, so given the choice between an imperfect system and an almost total lack of female representation, I’ll take the former. As I said, I just wish we weren’t represented in any way by Ruth Kelly.

May 2, 2006

Who are you people?

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 10:15 pm

Wow – I've just checked my blog stats and 40 people visited here one day last week! I don't know where you're all coming from, but for someone who's never been popular it's quite exciting! I just hope my rantings don't bore you into going away again…

Protest

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 9:45 pm

You may have already read at Laurelin's that a group of feminists met at Southwark Crown Court on 28th April to protest against reductions in sentencing for rape and domestic violence cases. There were about 12 of us altogether, including Laurelin, Laura and Witchy-Woo; it was amazing to meet people in the flesh after getting to know them through their blogs.

Although there were relatively few of us, we made a lot of noise chanting our slogans – it certainly got people's attention, even if that attention was often of the sneering/ laughing variety. How people can laugh at rape I don't know, but then I am one of those humourless feminazis, so perhaps I just didn't get the joke. It was especially unfunny given that a young rape victim actually joined the protest – her case was heartbreaking, and really brought home to me what we're fighting for. Luckily though not all the attention was negative, and we even got a few smiles and waves from the busloads of Japanese tourists that inexplicably kept driving past!

After my black mood last week it felt fantastic to be doing something real and active to make my voice heard, and I hope to go to plenty more protests in future.

On another positive note, here's a fabulous article from Johann Hari on the dangers of moral relativism. Too many feminists are willing to excuse practices such as female circumcision on the grounds that we shouldn't criticise other cultures. This just doesn't make sense to me; as feminists, surely our aim should be to end women's pain, not to condone it? Yes, Western society has its own hideous problems, but that's no excuse for ignoring the suffering of those who live different lives.

“Some people get caught up in thinking of this in terms of imperialism or relativism or multiculturalism…They forget that behind these isms there is a little girl being attacked with a razor-blade.”

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