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How to make Honda’s ‘Fit She’s’ even more feminine

16 Nov

With such a ridiculous marketing ploy, it didn’t take long for The Internet to come up with a spoof .

My favourite:


Via Sociological Images

Feminist activism in song format!

13 Nov

How great is this song?!


‘Hands off, crazy’ by

The things you find on the internet when avoiding uni work at 11pm…

(If you hear someone humming ‘It’s my vagina…’ absentmindedly while lugging a pile of books and a three-year-old around a university campus somewhere in a tiny UK town, that’ll be me, probably!)

SO glad to be on the other side of the undergraduate classroom

30 Oct

This is a shocking article about sexism at UK universities. ‘Rape-victim themed fancy dress parties’, seriously?!

I don’t take part in student union events because at almost a decade older than most people there, and with all the responsibilities and experiences that having a child brings with it, I would feel like their grandma. I am ashamed to admit, though, that my university has previously had a ‘pimps ‘n’ hoes‘ event, and it didn’t really seem out of the ordinary.

These kinds of attitudes are not just limited to the student body though: ‘mansplaining‘ is alive and well in my department, particularly for people (read: women) like me who are perceived as not very confident and professionally inexperienced due to age or lack of opportunities.

Just as worryingly, a junior academic in my department recently related their experience of evaluating applications for a lecturer position together with a senior academic: this senior academic, upon pulling an Israeli Jewish applicant’s CV out of the stack, apparently exclaimed ‘oh no, we don’t want any Jewish people’. When they realised that the person they were talking to was actually also Jewish, they quickly added, ‘oh, you’re ok, we just don’t want anyone like this, they’ll probably be all political’. As this exchange took place fairly recently, it seems that not much has changed since an Egyptian UK academic sacked two people simply for being from Israel.

“The Internet says, you know, the rest of your life you will find enormous boobs out there”

21 Oct

This article is mostly about Lucy Kirkwood’s play NSFW which is due to open at the Royal Court Theatre in London soon, which sounds like it could be very interesting, by the way, but it also contains some to-the-point analysis of the pornification of society.

For example, Kirkwood’s friend, a teacher, had to leave her job when a 15-year-old stuck a camera up her skirt to take a photo. It’s unbelievable. I would say ‘that would never have happened in my day’, but at my school some boys two years above me were gently reprimanded, I’d say, for photoshopping their female classmates’ faces onto pornographic pictures and distributing them at school. Everyone laughed it off as a ‘boys will be boys’ prank and no action was taken.

I think porn and teenagers is a complex issue. Some might turn to porn to figure out how the whole sex thing is meant to work. Some might be pressured into watching or buying porn by their mates in order to test their bravado. Some, sadly, might be used to a page three culture from home so that objectifying and evaluating women is nothing new when they become teenagers.

One danger which comes from the general availability and ubiquity of porn, in my view, is the blurring of the line between socially acceptable porn consumption on the one hand, and behaviour more akin to addiction on the other. For example, some studies have found that boys who are sexually abused under the age of about 10 turn to internet sex addiction at some later point in their lives. Apart from the issues caused by the unrealistic expectations regarding sexual practices, power balance and women’s appearances which porn seems to elicit in some men, a teenager’s inappropriate behaviour relating to porn might not simply be the result of age-related experimentation, but rather an expression of something more sinister.

This is one of the reasons why porn becoming more acceptable and easily available can be risky: people become complacent. Women are dismissed as ‘uptight’ or, my least favourite word, ‘frigid’ for objecting to porn. But this so-called open-minded attitude (because it is not really open-minded to expect women to conform to a narrow artificial norm) to porn could lead people to miss the signs of something being wrong. If more and more porn becomes available in more public media (secret visits to dingy ‘specialist shops’ are no longer necessary), excessive consumption and preoccupation no longer seems excessive.

I don’t think porn should be banned. But to understand the absurdity of the current situation, imagine an alien spaceship landed next to a newsagent. If the aliens wandered into the shop, after realising the British clearly have some obsession with multicoloured foil bags filled with some kind of crunchy salty concoction, they would think that breasts are enormously revered, but their bearers are feared. Pictures of naked women’s faces are clearly thought powerful enough to exert some special power over the viewer; they are God-like, a golden calf: they must not be displayed. Pictures of breasts are prominently shown on magazine covers, but women are dehumanised and marginalised – not worth the same level of admiration as their body parts and much better out of the picture. And then imagine what those aliens would think if they had studied Freud before going into that newsagent’s…

Happy International Day of the Girl!

11 Oct

Why is there an International Day of the Girl, and not of the Boy? Because most days are for boys.

Prancing about in pink skirts

29 Sep

I just took my daughter to ballet and discovered a definite niche in the market: feminist ballet. Does this exist already?

In my version, the three-year-olds would not be told to stretch their arms to reach ‘beautiful princess dresses’ or ‘wave at Prince Charming’, and neither would the teacher pretend to be Princess Fiona from ‘Shrek’. Instead, they would ‘use their strong bodies’ to ‘reach their potential’. Or something. I was unprepared for the princess-indoctrination. Although daughter seems to have enjoyed it and was praised for her beautiful twirling, I feel kind of dirty now.

I checked out toddler rugby, but it’s prohibitively expensive, and the football is too far away. Perhaps she’ll want to join the great musical theatre group in our city when she’s a bit older. For the next term, prancing about in skirts it is.

The Gaga Palaver

28 Sep

I like some of Lady Gaga’s songs, she has some ‘banging tunes’ to quote my crazy ex-neighbour. But somehow it has always struck me as problematic how she portrays herself/is portrayed – almost as if she should be a sort of feminist icon, but just isn’t. Maybe she is, I haven’t examined what she does/sings/wears/says in any great detail at all really, but I am usually intrigued by analyses of famous women’s role in society.

Then I went to a great talk on a generally feminist topic, a quick google-stalk of the speaker brought up this paper, and all became clear. Taking apart Lady Gaga as a person/woman/fashion icon probably won’t do anyone any good or get us anywhere, so this paper deals with some of her lyrics.

“While Stefani Germanotta’s performance of Gaga reveals the constructedness and artifice of identity in true postmodern style, the lexical choices in Born This Way mobilise a conception of sexual identity that is rooted within essentialism.”