The Shouty Woman

February 14, 2007


Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 12:04 pm

This is not a good time to be a feminist in the UK (mind you, when is it ever?). Two stories in particular are causing my current pessimism:

Rape is trivialised for entertainment purposes in this BBC ‘reality’ TV show

The owners of Harley Street in London has banned abortion clinics from its premises

It just never stops.

Witchy and Johann Hari both watched ‘The Verdict’ so I didn’t have to, and their accounts confirm what I suspected. The ‘celebrities’ involved (as a jury on a fictional rape case) display all the ignorance and prejudice of the general public on this topic.  They questioned the victim’s behaviour, claimed she was ‘asking for it’, and bought wholesale the stereotype of the rapist as evil stranger (‘but they seem such nice boys!’ whined Patsy Palmer. Yes, because all rapists are ugly, mouth-breathing men who lurk in alleyways).

I don’t know what the BBC were trying to achieve with this programme, but they’ve clearly failed spectacularly. Rape trials are a joke anyway – why not just broadcast a real one for the entertainment of the masses?

As for the abortion story, it just makes me weary, to be honest:

Clinics offering abortions and cosmetic surgery have been banned from opening in the UK’s most famous medical district. The move has been made by Howard de Walden Estate, which owns many of the properties in London’s Harley Street. Officials said they were trying to move away from “lifestyle procedures” to become a centre of medical excellence”

I’m sick of the pro-forced-birth movement clawing to gain the moral high ground. How dare they dismiss abortion as a ‘lifestyle procedure’ along with cosmetic surgery? Do they honestly think women have abortions on a whim, the way they might decide to try botox? Do they have any idea how offensive that is?

Why do we have to keep having the same arguments again and again? Once more with feeling: your religion does not give you the right to impose your morals on me or anyone else. Believe whatever wacky thing you want – sky daddy, virgin birth, infallible pope, whatthefuckever – but don’t think for a minute that your beliefs make you morally superior.

So, I’m not feeling too positive about UK women’s rights just now. There’s better news in Portugal though, where the government has just pledged to legalise abortion in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. At least Portugese feminists have something to celebrate.

EDIT: I was angry when I wrote this. I feel I should clarify that I don’t include all religious people in my rant above – I realise that plenty of them are not out to impose their morals on other people. Hope that’s clear.



  1. Hearing what others have said about The Verdict simply serves to remind me why I don’t own a television. It’s a shame – the BBC could have done something really good with it, to open the eyes of the public. Instead they made it into a laughing stock.

    “Your religion does not give you the right to impose your morals on me or anyone else.”

    Why do some religious people find this so difficult to understand?

    Comment by Anji — February 14, 2007 @ 3:38 pm |Reply

  2. Re. the banning of ‘lifestyle’ abortions on Harley Street.

    Unbelievable isn’t it, that they ban abortion- a woman’s (so-called) right in this country, but continue to promote and make profit off oh-so-necessary and ‘life-saving’ cosmetic surgery e.g. Botox and tummy tucks. Un-fucking-believable- and when you think about it a bit more, just downright scary.

    Comment by Michelle — February 14, 2007 @ 7:41 pm |Reply

  3. Abortion is a LIFESTYLE PROCEDURE??

    jesus fuck. whoever said that, i’d like to introduce him to a lifestyle lobotomy.

    and it is completely depressing that the religious right is making inroads over there as well.

    i would really, really like to see a substantive, maybe feminist-headed movement against the RRR–ideally one that hooks up with the religious left as well as non-religious folks, here and elsewhere. You want morals? We’ve GOT morals. It’s time more of us laid them down.

    Comment by belledame222 — February 15, 2007 @ 4:49 am |Reply

  4. The article with the quote about ‘lifestyle procedures’ is here:

    Totally agree about the anti-RR movement. Their pulling stunts like this will only help our cause, as it’s such a blatant abuse of power.

    Comment by Lucy — February 15, 2007 @ 9:39 am |Reply

  5. speaking of RR stunts, have you been following the whole Edwards/Pandagon/Shakespeare’s Sister dustup?

    Comment by belledame222 — February 15, 2007 @ 12:29 pm |Reply

  6. Yes. Too depressing for words. Just one more example of people thinking their religion gives them carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want.

    And I hear Amanda amd Melissa have had death threats. How fucking Christian is that?

    Comment by Lucy — February 15, 2007 @ 1:12 pm |Reply

  7. Lucy,

    Your name in your comments links to a Danish blog!

    As for the topic of this thread: what everyone else said. It makes me too angry to think about for too long, so I have nothing to add at the moment. 😦

    Comment by Amber — February 15, 2007 @ 1:36 pm |Reply

  8. How bizarre! I think I’ve sorted it.

    Comment by Lucy — February 15, 2007 @ 1:38 pm |Reply

  9. My family watched ‘the verdict’. I decidedly didn’t watch it, because I guessed what the BBC would do with the issue (i.e. not much) and I didn’t want to raise my blood pressure and throw stuff at the tv. I hadn’t heard about the abortion clinic thing. Got any stats on public approval of abortions in the UK? Out of curiosity cos I always (maybe naivley)thought it was pretty supported here.

    Comment by Dodo — March 5, 2007 @ 3:53 am |Reply

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