Monday, 28 June 2010

Sexist advertising

I don't watch television but from what I read there are an increasing number of advertisements which portray men as helpless when it comes to domestic tasks. I am against stereotypes of any description so I don't like the idea of this at all. Really all these adverts are doing is perpetuating the myth that women are all good at household tasks and that men are all hopeless at them.

Men unfortunately have contributed to the stereotype that they are now objecting to. Most men are capable of performing domestic tasks - many make a mess of them so that they are not expected to do them again - and some of them even admit they do this. So this is a myth that men will need to do something about dispelling. Though I'm not suggesting that women should pretend to be bad at domestic tasks even if they are good at them but we need to stop seeing people as good or bad at things according to their gender.

It does make a change though to have men laughed at for being helpless and hopeless - now they know how women have felt for centuries. Neither sex can be said to be generally good or generally bad at anything. Individuals have skills - or not - as the case may be.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Why some things are just not said

I'm sure I'm going to offend someone by this post but here goes.

Someone made a comment on an Amazon forum about Down's syndrome children stating that in his opinion they should never have been born. OK the comment wasn't expressed very well but we have freedom of speech so I didn't really have a problem with the comment. The lynch mob of course appeared threatening to report the person for hate crime and me for supporting his right to make the comment- even though I didn't agree with it or the sentiments behind it.

No one will address the apparent opposition to the comment and the right enshrined in law of the mother of a Down's syndrome foetus to have it aborted. It seems as though - to me - they're fudging the issue. You can't say it - but you can do it - legally.

I deleted most of my posts in the end because I did not want to be part of the argument - especially when people were threatening legal action though I have made one or two pretty tame posts since as other people have got involved in the argument pointing out the inconsistencies. Some also can't see the irony of the thoroughly nasty insults being hurled at me and at the original poster. It's apparently acceptable to bully and denigrate people whose views you don't like but not ok to express controversial views which go against what the majority think are right. Of such things are lynch mobs made.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Pregnant women and smoking

It is fairly well known that smoking is not a good idea if you're pregnant but I found the idea that pregnant women will be breath tested to see if they smoke. Why test them to see if they smoke when they know whether they do or not? What about passive smoking - which is apparently just as bad? Shouldn't they be targeting the pregnant woman's partner/husband as well to make sure they're not smoking? This is bad as the supermarket worker who refused to serve the pregnant woman with soft cheese in case she ate it herself.

What are they going to do to the woman if she is smoking? Lock her up and take away the fags?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Is feminism a trade union?

I've never understood why some people describe feminism as a trade union. What does a trade union do?
  • Provision of benefits to members - in a similar way to Friendly Societies
  • Collective bargaining
  • Industrial action
  • Political activity

Does feminism do any of these things? Political activity perhaps but that's about it. Feminism in the 21st century is much too diverse to be considered any sort of organised activity. As women don't have one employer or one type of work I can't really see how anyone can think of it as a trade union. has a bee in his bonnet about this and seems to think referring to feminism as a trade union is to insult it.

Sidney and Beatrice Webb's definition of a trade union is ' a continuous association of wage earners for the purposes of maintaining or improving their conditions of employment' Does this really fit with feminism? Individual women may belong to a trade union to do with their employment but are we saying they are also 'employed' in their private lives? If so who by?

Friday, 18 June 2010


I have just read an article on the F Word which has totally outraged me. An individual called Dr Dix Poppas in the USA is performing operations on small girls to reduce the size of their clitorises which he deems to be too big.

The follow up annual checks are just plain disgusting. How on earth he got this past any ethics committee is beyond me.

Words have completely failed me at the moment but I may add to this post later.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


It has been suggested in various places that domestic violence will increase during the World Cup. Many reasons are put forward for this. But why is no one looking at domestic violence with men as the victim? I have read many books which include sections on violence in the home but it is not always instigated by men against women. I'm not trying to downplay or trivialise violence against women here but trying to raise awareness of violence against men as well.

There are more men in prison than there are women so I think few people would deny that more men commit crimes of all types including violence. In young men up to the age of 24 the most common cause of death is violence I think. But this is men on men violence. Why then do men frequently argue when domestic violence against women is discussed that there are more male victims of violence all together and that is a more important subject? It's as though they're trying to play a game of one upmanship - my risks are greater than your risks and this attitude doesn't help anyone.

Why aren't men's rights groups campaigning for reducing violence? Aren't they missing something here? Instead of attacking women as though they are the enemy they need to look at the enemy within their own ranks - the men who think it is acceptable to settle an argument, however trivial, with physical violence. Now there's something worth tackling.

Do women have a sense of entitlement?

I frequently read comments on the Internet - usually from men - about how women always have a sense of entitlement. But what exactly does anyone mean by this? You often see it attached to news stories about sexual harassment or discrimination claims made by women. I would say yes anyone - male or female is entitled to the following:
  • To be treated politely
  • To be offered the same goods and services at the same prices and not to be offered less favourable terms because of their gender
  • To have a safe working environment
  • Not to be constantly harassed by sexual innuendo, physical harassment or pictures of nude members of the opposite sex
  • To feel safe in their own home
  • To feel safe when they go out at night - whether on their own or in groups

If that is having a sense of entitlement - then why not? Don't most people want these?

I think what people who make this comment usually have in their minds is the perception that women feel they are somehow more entitled to better treatment than anyone else. But I haven't come across any woman who thinks she somehow deserves more and better treatment than a man because she's a woman. Equal treatment would be just fine.

Monday, 14 June 2010


This seems like a good site

These are men against sexism and pro feminism and gay rights. Their 12 steps men can take to end sexism are excellent and should be a way of behaving applicable to everyone - not just men.

Reclaiming the F Word: review

Reclaiming the F Word by Catherine Redfern and Kristin Aune is excellent and well worth reading. It provides a round up of feminist activity going on today and shows the sheer diversity of feminism. The authors show conclusively there is still a need for feminism. The laws have changed but culture and people's opinions haven't changed at all. The misogyny has become much more subtle and insidious and therefore much more difficult to fight. It is almost impossible to challenge humour and thus stifling gender stereotypes continue to be propagated - to both men and women.

The book is written in a very down to earth and approachable style with plenty of references to research and other printed and electronic material. The authors analysed a survey to provide some of their material for the book and the survey results are reproduced in an appendix at the end of the book. There are notes to each chapter and a useful list of further reading arranged under the chapter headings.

I found the book fascinating reading and it does highlight the relevance of feminism today and shows how people can become involved. It also analyses the way women are manipulated into looking and dressing a certain way as though their bodies are imperfect in their natural state. Advertising and the media are discussed and the way they portray gender stereotypes analysed. Politics and religion are covered as are work and home life.

It is clear to me from reading this and other recently published books that both men and women need to study their own behaviour and see if they are not making some very dated assumptions about the people they come across every day. The quotes from individuals who have experienced discrimination and prejudice are enlightening - and frightening. I find it shocking that statements made about women in the media and on the Internet pass almost without comment yet if the same things were said about people of colour they would be unacceptable or even illegal. sexism is alive and well in the UK today and this is what everyone needs to challenge as we are wasting the talents and abilities of too many people because of gender stereotypes.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Women clergy in the Church of England

I was astonished to read that Tessa Sanderson - the Olympic athlete - refused to be married by a female vicar. While I am all for freedom of choice I can just imagine what would have happened if she'd refused to be married by a male member of the clergy. I can understand why some people might wish to discuss their health with a member of their own sex - impossible where I live as our GPs are three men. But I actually cannot understand the preference when it comes to almost any other service. When it comes to professional services I'm far more interested in someone's qualifications than I am in what they wear, what sex they are, what religion they practice or what country they come from.

I am concerned at the slant the media will put on it. There will be all the comments about if woman can't even support each other why should anyone else support them?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Inventing the wheel

I was musing last night about the oft repeated statement that if it had been left to women we'd still be living in caves. But how do they know? How does anyone know for example that it was men who discovered fire, smelted metal to produce weapons and tools or invented the wheel? The answer is of course that no one knows who invented/discovered these things. I imagined this scenario:

Caveman: That mammoth isn't where I left it this morning. What have you done with it?
Cavewoman: I had to keep climbing over it so I got together with the neighbours and we moved it
Caveman: (Snorting in disbelief) You're just not strong enough to move it even if you all get together. A man must have helped you.
Cavewoman: Believe what you like - we moved it.
Caveman: (Scratching head) Well show me then.
Cavewoman: (Hands on hips) You don't believe me?
Caveman: I can't see how you did it.
Cavewoman stumps off to the other side of the clearing and points to mammoth - skinned and partly dismembered on a platform of round logs and matting.
Cavewoman: (Pointing) Like this. You just have to push it then you can move it wherever you want it to go. (demonstrating)
Caveman: So how did you manage to attach the mat to the logs?
Cavewoman: Reeds - how do you attach the thatch to the hut stupid!?
Caveman: That's really good I'll have to tell the lads - but I'm sure you women can't have done it without the help of a man.
Cavewoman: (Stomps back to the hut in disgust muttering about nothing getting done if it wasn't for women)

Could it have been like this? Who knows and we'll probably never know but this is just as likely as a man inventing the wheel. How do we know it wasn't a co-operative effort as many scientific advances have been?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Reclaiming the F Word

I've started reading Reclaiming the F Word: the New Feminist Movement by Catherine Redfern and Kristin Aune. It is excellent!! Really really good. I would urge anyone who is interested in the relationship between men and women today and the position of women in society and culture to buy and read this. If you want to get it at a discount then visit the F Word - where you will find a code to quote.

I will post a full review when I've read it.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Valerie Solanas

Do any feminists reading this actually treat The SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas as their Bible? I've actually never read it and I'm not sure I will be doing so any time soon because it seems just too extreme. I agree if you want to make fundamental changes to society and culture you've maybe got to start from some sort of extreme position if only to get people thinking about the things they take for granted. But the bits I have read just strike me as being totally insane and the ravings of someone who doesn't have too great a grasp on any sort of reality that I recognise.

I suppose you could treat the idea of getting rid of all men as a joke - like men of a certain type - such as Danny Dyer - make obnoxious comments about women as a joke. But of course if you start making nasty comments about men as a joke or satire then you shouldn't be doing it because you run the risk of people assuming you are actually deadly serious. Because women don't have a sense of humour so they must mean everything they say . . . .

Maybe I'd better read the SCUM manifesto even though I don't think anyone takes it literally these days. You come across it mentioned in feminist and anti-feminist books but modern writers seem to just treat it as one aspect of the second wave of feminism. Strange that men's rights activists don't like it yet they are in favour of Manhood Academy which is the male equivalent of the SCUM manifesto. But of course that's all right because it's the men saying nasty things about women.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Double standards

I have just read an article about two men - one of whom committed suicide - who were accused of rape by the same woman. The man who committed suicide was never charged and was told by the police that there would be no action taken against him. The second one was found not guilty by a jury and the judge made some very trenchant comments at the end of the trial as in his opinion that case should never have got to court because the the woman had previously made a similar accusation against another man.

I'm not going to link to the article (Daily Mail) because it really does not need any more publicity in my opinion. The reporter obtained a few comments from Miss X who wisely refused to give up her anonymity, but the rest of the article consisted of a few comments from the man who was found not guilty and from the mother of the man who committed suicide saying how much he'd suffered because of the allegation.

Now I have no means of knowing what actually happened in either of these cases but the comments on the article and the way the article is written suggest that the majority view is Miss X is guilty of perjury and should go to jail. Yet many also criticise the way alleged rapists are pilloried before the trial and treated as though they are guilty.

So trial by media is not acceptable - but they're willing to try MissX that way because she's been judged a woman who tells lies. Double standards? Seems so to me. In any case shouldn't they also run a story about women whose allegations were not believed before John Worboys - the rapist taxi driver - was finally convicted?