The Shouty Woman

June 29, 2006

Lad’s Mags

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 9:28 pm

So the latest hot feminist topic seems to be MP Clare Curtis-Thomas’s bill to have lads’ mags placed on the top shelf. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m with her all the way – although not for the reasons Ms Curtis-Thomas seems to be suggesting.The MP’s main objection to these magazines appears to be that they are placed where children might see them. This to me is a secondary concern. What MPs should really be debating is the vicious hatred of women shown on every page. Just in case you aren’t aware of what the lads’ mags really contain, have a look at these examples (via Charliegrrl and the Protest now Yahoo group):

  •   “Ladies’ underwear. A sacred colour-coordinated menagerie of exotic fabrics…[The Temptress, The Seducers, The Slouchers, The Teddy…] the Holy Grail: the knicker drawer… Every week, we’ll be stalking, sorry, ‘tracking down’ your pick of the hottest women in the
    UK and persuading them to strip down to their scanties. You lucky people…” (Zoo).
  • Even though Liz Hurley is ‘somewhat long in the tooth…’, ‘the mum-of-one still has absolutely fantastic kahunas. Catch them now before they’re covered up again. With a thick coat of real estate tycoon ejaculate, if history’s any guide” (Zoo)
  • ‘We like hilarious promo shots as much as the next man. But, and call us stupid, we prefer pictures of Jessica Alba in a bikini. Or slowly bending over on a beach. Or, preferably, naked and bound in our loft.’ (Zoo)

These examples are just a bit of fun, you might be thinking. They can’t seriously be talking about stalking and tying up women. It gets worse, though, and less easy to dismiss. According to Protest Now, a recent feature in FHM listed various ‘misdemeanours’ a man might commit, and what he should do for his girlfriend to show he’s sorry. For example, if he doesn’t turn up for his wedding, he should pay £6500 for ‘laser vaginal rejuvenation’: “tread carefully here. It’s a one-and-a-half hour op to bring her wizard’s sleeve back to teenage tightness. In man talk it’s- snug again.” If he ‘shags a lapdancer’, he should buy gift vouchers for plastic surgery. According to Rachel Bell of the F-Word Blog (in a fantastic piece that’s worth reading in its entirety), Nuts described sailor Ellen MacArthur – a woman who’s accomplished more than any of the women featured in their pages – as a “miserable, sobbing, whining bitch in a boat…basically a frigid dyke-looking, yauchting cunt.”

Still think it’s funny?

I’m sick and tired of all this. I’m fed up with having to pretend this shit is OK, that it’s just a laugh, that women’s magazines are just as bad, that I shouldn’t take it so seriously. It is fucking serious. If you can’t see hatred and contempt in the list above, you’re not looking hard enough. The message is that however skinny we are, however blonde, however large our breasts, however willing we are to strip for the camera, we’ll never be good enough. At best we’re a collection of holes to be fucked and discarded. Our bodies are not our own, they exist for the pleasure of others and if they don’t measure up, we’d better buy new ones or risk becoming invisible. Our brains and our voices count for nothing unless we’re willing to use them to fulfil men’s vacuous plastic fantasies. Open one of these magazines and the message that screams from every page is ‘you’re nothing’.

I’m not asking that Nuts and Zoo be banned, lovely though it is to imagine a world free of them. All I ask is that I get the chance, just once, to walk into a newsagent and not feel angry and miserable. Just once to feel that my life and my accomplishments are worthwhile, and that there is more to me than my sex, and that women are human beings not blow-up dolls. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it, to be allowed to keep our humanity?

So yes, I support Clare Curtis-Thomas’s bill. I’m optimistic enough to think it’ll get a fair hearing – things have at least moved on from the days when Clare Short was shouted down for daring to debate Page Three girls. However I can’t extend that optimism much further. The Bill is unlikely to become law, and these magazines will be allowed to sell their hatred unchallenged. Until then I’ll stay angry.

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June 21, 2006

Just when I thought it was safe to blog about something else for a change…

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 1:27 pm

Some arsehole is trying to reignite the abortion debate.

I am so angry right now. How dare this man, simply because of his religion, presume to tell me what I can and can't do with my body? Will he ever be pregnant? Will he ever have to make the agonising decision to terminate a pregancy? Will he ever have to cope with the terror of being pregnant and knowing he can't afford to have the baby? No, no and no.

The government, thank God, is seeing sense and has made clear that there are no plans to change the law. However, can we be sure this will last? 31 MPs have signed a motion calling for a review of current regulations. That may not be many, but how many more will change their minds under pressure from the religious lobby? Seeing the way the wind is blowing in America, with abortion already illegal in South Dakota and numerous other states trying to go the same way, how long can it be before our rights are eroded here?

Don't get me wrong – I respect the right of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, and anyone else for that matter, to practise their religion. What I don't respect, however, is his attempt to impose his version of morality on others. Having faith does not give one moral superiority, and it certainly does not give one the right to take away women's bodily autonomy.

Yes, abortion is a difficult issue. Contrary to what some people seem to believe, no-one -not even feminists – gets out of bed in the morning thinking 'great, I can have an abortion today!' For us pro-choicers, the clue's in the name – it's exactly that, a choice. I don't want to live in a world where a woman is forced to give birth to her rapist's baby, or to return to a time when a woman's sole function was to breed until she died. The more abortion rights are restricted, the closer we come to Gilead

So, Cardinal, if you believe abortion is murder, don't have one. But don't you fucking dare impose your beliefs on me.

FOOTNOTE: The BBC article linked to above has an interesting diagram showing the percentage of abortions that are performed at different stages of pregnancy. Contrary to the anti-choicers' rhetoric, it seems that only 1.6% of abortions are done after 20 weeks, and that these are usually exceptional cases. So much for the idea of hordes of women casually murdering their babies at the last minute…

June 20, 2006

Fed up

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 1:05 pm

Sorry for the long gap between posts – my boyfriend has gone off to a work conference and taken the laptop with him, so I’ve been computerless at home. I’ve also been a bit reluctant to post as I’m feeling rather disillusioned with the feminist blogosphere, and am trying to reassess where I belong in it.

There have been various posts lately attacking women for making certain choices about what to wear, whom to find attractive and what to do in bed (the most obvious example of the latter being Twisty’s blowjob saga, which I’m not going to comment on as a) it’s nobody’s business what I think and b) people read this blog who know me in real life). I just can’t accept this, and it’s really making me question whom I want to align myself with.

For me feminism is lat least partly about choice – sexual choice, reproductive choice and personal choice. I’m not one of these people who’ll try to argue that wearing make-up or whatever is somehow empowering, but I don’t believe it’s intrinsically anti-feminist either. It’s my choice to wear it, and that choice doesn’t hurt me or anyone else. Likewise, what a woman does in her bedroom (or wherever…) is nobody’s business but hers, unless she’s being raped, or coerced in any other way into doing something she doesn’t want to do (note: I dislike porn because I believe that, for the majority of women involved, they have not become  involved through their own free will).

I agree that some of us make choices that hurt other women, or make false choices because the patriarchy limits our options. However this does not mean we should turn on each other. There’s too much to fight for.

Anyway, the result of all this is that I don’t feel I can call myself a radical feminist. I’m fed up with feeling as though I’m being attacked by people who should be on my side, and I’m fed up with women attacking each other when we should be fighting our common enemies. I’m not going to give up blogging, as I still love having an outlet for my anger, but I may blog less about feminist issues until I’ve figured out exactly where I stand. There’s plenty of other stuff in the world that pisses me off though, so I’m sure I won’t run out of inspiration.

Until later… 

June 13, 2006

Shouty Searches

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 9:01 pm

Inspired as I so often am by Laurelin, I thought I'd share some of the weird, creepy and plain disgusting search terms that people have used to find this blog. Be warned it doesn't make easy reading – there are some truly sick people out there, and most of them seem to have visited me at some point.

The funny ones:

  • Woman genius joke (no, it's not a joke, there are women geniuses – they're almost as clever as the male ones!)
  • Jewellery can keep keys (I can't begin to fathom what this person was looking for)
  • If a child is spoilt whose fault is it? (Not having kids I can't really say. At a guess I'd think the parents…)
  • Feminists on Big Brother (Is that feminists writing about it, or feminists actually ON it? If the latter, you're out of luck)
  • British woman who hate porn (Yes, there's me, and there are quite a few others)

The nasty ones:

  • Striptease women
  • Girl short skirt plastic
  • 'MY HOLIDAY' naked girls (yeah, in your dreams…)
  • Moblie porn (no idea what a moblie is, but you won't find porn here)
  • Beautiful women stripped
  • Sexy woman from Jordan

The truly awful 'I'd call the police if I could' ones:

  • Picture of girl being circumcised
  • Young sex girls 10-15 years old
  • Fuking young girls under 10 years
  • Headless woman sexy
  • Proper way to rape a woman
  • Woman anally raped

I really can't think of anything adequate to say about that last section, other than that it fills me with revulsion that these people have been on my blog, if only for a few seconds. The level of hatred displayed in those words is terrifying, and a more eloquent argument against porn than anything I could come up with myself.

If anyone who found me through those search terms is reading this – I hope (in vain) that you never find what you're looking for, I hope you know you're disgusting, and I hope you know that if I had the chance I'd call the police on you like a shot. Now get off my site and don't come back.

Save the Boys

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 1:10 pm

You have to feel sorry for boys. I mean we all know the male sex is terribly hard done-by, what with feminism having Gone Too Far and all, but if things weren't bad enough, now they're expecting them to conform to castrating, feminazi ideas like, er, paying attention in class and handing in work on time. Can you imagine how the poor things must feel? Why don't we just make them all wear dresses and make-up and be done with it?

This absurd argument isn't new, of course – I seem to remember a similar panic about the 'feminisation of education' blowing up in the US a few months back. No matter how many times it's wheeled out, though, it's still both ridiculous and offensive to everyone involved.

Firstly, what does 'feminisation' actually mean? It's an unpleasant sounding word, and to my mind carries the implication that a female influence must always be a bad influence. It has echoes of the Christian Right's obsession with bringing their sons up in a 'masculine' way, to ensure they don't catch Teh Gay. I'd agree that it'd be nice to see more male primary school teachers, simply because teaching is a great profession and men shouldn't feel excluded from it, but this doesn't mean a female teacher must somehow lack the qualities needed to teach male pupils.

Secondly, it furthers the stereotype that all boys are tough, violent and argumentative, and all girls are quiet, tidy and co-operative. Boys shouldn't be expected to conform to basic standards of behaviour, because boys just aren't like that, the argument seems to run. It's quite amusing really, this – you can bet your bottom dollar that many of these 'save the boys' campaigners are the same people Daily Mail-reading types who whinge about lack of discipline in schools. How disciplined would a school be if no-one was expected to listen or hand their bloody work in on time?

Thirdly, for centuries girls and women had to be content with a second-class education or no education at all. Now we've finally acheived a sort of equality, why do we have this chorus of voices begging us to think of the poor downtrodden boys? If girls outperform boys in some areas, perish the thought that it's down to hard work and determination – no, it must be because the education system is too 'feminine'. After all, girls could never do better than boys on their own.

Frankly, if boys think 'organisation and attentiveness' are too feminine, then maybe school isn't the right place for them. I've got an suggestion. Let's set up a special 'masculine' school, free of these nasty feminist ideas, full of big, tough male teachers (none of those nasty gays of course), where boys can be as chaotic and inattentive as they like. We'll see who gets the best exam results.

June 7, 2006

Woohoo!

Filed under: Politics — by Lucy @ 3:13 pm

There is some sanity left in the world.

The US Senate has blocked a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. It doesn't mean same-sex marriage is ever likely to happen in America of course, at least not with the current lot in power, but at least it's one in the eye for old chimp-features. His plan to shore up the Deranged Right-wing Nutjob vote by attacking The Evil Gays would appear to have failed.

Writer’s Block

Filed under: Feminism,Random — by Lucy @ 1:05 pm

I'm a bit bereft of inspiration at the moment – there's plenty of misogynist crap going on in the world, but nothing that's making me angry enough to blog. Maybe it's the weather keeping me in a good mood – it's hard to get shouty when it's lovely and sunny and you'd rather be sitting outside with a book.

I'm sure my anger will return. In the mean time there's a radfem party going on at Laurelin's. I'll bring the gin and tonic and the BBQ sauce flavour Pringles! 

June 2, 2006

Sick

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 2:48 pm

To the fuckers who found my site by searching for 'videoed rape' and 'woman reduced to torso' (no, I don't want to think about what the last one means)…

You know what you can do? Fuck off and die. 

The Blame Game

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 11:56 am

 

I know I'm coming a bit late to the 'can short skirts be feminist?' debate (see here and here), but it's something I think about quite a bit and I want to add my two cents.

I and the other members of Protest Now, a feminist Yahoo group, were appalled when two soi-disant feminists argued that if a woman wears 'slutty' clothes, she should take some of the blame for being raped. If the blatant victim-blaming weren't enough, this argument also suggests that we should choose what to wear based not on our own personal preference, but on the potential reactions of others.

Now I think this is bullshit.  I love clothes; I love shopping for them and I love wearing them. I choose clothes because they make me look and feel good, because I love beautiful things, because after an adolesence spent imprisoned by crippling shyness, I finally love my body and myself. I don't let fashion magazines dictate what I should wear, so why should I let anyone else? i no longer wear my miniskirt because I got sick of the constant attention I received, but if stronger women than me want to wear short skirts and brave the catcalls, why should they be blamed? Why, yet again, are women taking the blame for men's actions?

This kind of attack on women's autonomy would be depressing enough if it were coming from the usual suspects, but that fact that it's coming from active feminists makes it many times worse. After all, surely we should be on the same side? We all have the same goal, so why the sudden need to blame the victim? I think I know the answer.

These feminists are equating our right to dress as we please with the 'sex positive' argument that women have the 'right' to strip and pose for men's magazines. This is a false analogy. When Jordan (or whoever) is on the cover of FHM, many thousands of women will see her picture, airbrushed and silicone-enhanced, and hate their bodies a little more. With every magazine that is sold, the idea that women=sex will gain a little more ground. Yes, this hurts women, and I hate it; however it does not follow that women's freedom to dress as they please should be curtailed.

It's true that too many girls and women feel the need to emulate Jordan/ [insert current Nuts/Zoo favourite here] in the way they dress and behave. But whose fault is this? If we're told that this is what men like, if we're told that this is the only way to be 'sexy' , then it's not surprising that many of us choose to play along. After all, in many ways it makes life easier to conform to the stereotype. BUT if a woman chooses to dress this way, it does not mean, under any circumstances, that she deserves to be raped. Rape is not sex, it is violence, and a short skirt is not an invitation to attack.

Women wear short skirts, or make-up, or tight tops, or whatever, for many reasons. It may be that they make us feel good, or it may be that we're trying to fit the mould of a 'sexy woman' as defined by the lads' mags. In a world where these magazines and the culture surrounding them didn't exist, we'd be free to dress and behave as we pleased without fear of blame. As it is we live in a patriarchy – and in a country where one in 20 women is a rape victim -and until that changes, we should stick together and blame the real culprits.

Not each other.

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