Category Archives: Anti-Zeitgeist

Here comes Honey Boo Boo

I am beyond intrigued by this show and I’ve yet to even watch more than minute-long clips.

It’s not showing in the UK, but I keep coming across little commentaries on it which are entirely not what you’d expect.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically intended as laugh-at-the-hilarious-antics-of-the-underclass TV in the same vein as Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and virtually every other reality TV show, with the exception of those laugh-at-the-stupid-posh-people ones.

It features the eponymous star, Honey Boo Boo, 7 (I think), and her out-and-proud ‘redneck’ family. Mama is fat, the 17-year-old has just given birth to her first child and dad’s family nickname is Sugar Bear. Paints a picture, don’t it? Yup, these people have the word ‘trash’ struck through them like a stick of Blackpool rock.

Or do they?

Because from the stuff I’ve seen, this family seems to be getting a lot of things right.

The show presents a family who love each other and are fully integrated as a family unit. Dad Mike, despite working seven days a week, is a fully paid up member of the clan, doing what he needs to support the family financially but also partaking of every aspect of his kids’ lives. And the man sure loves the lot of ‘em. They spend their time having fun; not just allowing it to stray into their lives, but actively seeking it out, making time for it quite deliberately. The kids seem happy and secure. Sure, there’s a lot of bodily emissions going on, but who’s counting that when you’re building a mud slide?

What’s especially intriguing for me is the girls.

Honey Boo Boo (or Alana), is an enthusiastic pageant entrant. Along with fun-killing feminists everywhere, I have deep problems with the concept of children’s pageants and, as I’m generally speaking to fun-killing feminists here, I won’t need to explain why. Suffice to say, I have doubts that pageants’ focus on beauty (and underage sexiness) is the best way to foster girls’ self-esteem in any meaningful or healthy way. That way eating disorders and body dissatisfaction lie, right?

Except Honey Boo Boo, along with her sisters, is on the chubby side. She is as unself-conscious about this as she seems to be about every aspect of her appearance or, indeed, herself. The older daughters (though I’m not sure about the oldest), are refreshingly the same. They are goofy and funny and seem to spend none of their time thinking about how they look; they just get on with being themselves.

Sorry, hit publish by mistake there.

As I was saying.

These girls are a joy to watch, as far as I’ve been able to watch them. They live and play in a world seemingly devoid of pressure to look a certain way, or if there is pressure, they seem entirely unaware of it. Mama clearly plays a part in this; her ‘take us as you find us’ attitude extends to everything about the family, including the way they look. The only time I’ve heard weight mentioned was when Honey Boo Boo was corrected by her father that the family weren’t ‘fat’, they were ‘pleasingly plump’.

I’m sure the idea was that we were supposed to laugh at them, but they’re so free and unburdened by themselves that you can only laugh with them. It’s a nice feeling.

Mama’s ‘take us as you find us’ attitude seems, beautifully, to extend to others as well. They are entirely accepting of a gay uncle (whilst over-fond of gay stereotypes, but still), and when the oldest daughter’s baby is born with an extra digit they appear to accept it and move on.

Sure, the family are by no means perfect; from feeding Alana Red Bull to being convicted felons, they have their issues. But, hey, what family doesn’t? And I’ve not seen most of this family’s ‘not perfect’, so I’ll add that disclaimer to all of this.

But like Balpreet Kaur, whose dignified reaction to her attempted public humiliation for daring to be hairy made the OP of her photo look more like a turd squeezing out of the bottom of humanity than he did already, it is possible – just possible – that this family may rise above what they were set up for.

I really can’t wait to watch it.


Small Thoughts on the US Elections

Despite not being American, it’s hard to ignore US elections. This is always the case anyway because America is so central to the world stage, but it’s particularly hard this time around because it’s so weird.

Watching this, the latest instalment from the lovely people at Cooch Watch:

I’m struck once again by the sheer bewilderment I inevitably get when I consider that there’s so much as a single woman in the entire United States of America even considering actually voting for Romney and his gaggle of misshapen misogynists. I’m kinda disappointed that any men are, either, but not exactly surprised. But women?

I mean, OK, I kinda get the mindset some female voters will have about the abortion issue. Women who are certain they won’t ever need one (too busy filling their quiver) and are equally certain that their daughters won’t ever need one (because they’re Promise virgins, not like them other sl*gs). See?

I don’t like it but I get it.

But rape? I can’t even list the recent gaffes made by Republican politicians about rape because I’m assuming that even the Universe has some kind of finite time frame and, whatever it is, it won’t be sufficiently long to get them all down.

Suffice to say, it’s always a woman’s fault, it’s never ‘rape rape’ anyway, and a child resulting from rape is both a gift from god and a biological impossibility.

You get my drift.

But. I suppose that the same women with Promise virgin daughters believe all this shit, so they’re equally certain that they and their offspring won’t get raped, either. But what about the other 99% of American women who haven’t leapt off the edge of reason and hit their head on the way down?

I hate to reveal this to my American readers but there is a perception over my way that Americans are just a bit, just ever so slightly, completely nuts. Which is typically self-hating given that the people who hold this view are the same as those who think Americans are our soul mates.

I, however, subscribe not at all to that view; as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, Americans are no more nuts than any other nationality. They’re just more able to put their nuts in our face is all.

So, American women: not particularly nuts, still considering voting for Romney.

THIS DOES NOT COMPUTE!! BRAIN IS MELTINGGGG….

And then I saw something which attempted to explain it. Thank shit for that, I thought.

And, no, I can’t find the link, but the reason boiled down to ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’

It seems that a substantial proportion of the women intending to vote for a misogynistic sack of shit are doing so because they believe Romney will be better for the economy than Obama.

[An Aside: I think Obama is pretty great, and if you don't I suggest you come over here and admire the NHS before Cameron fucks it completely to understand how awesome universal healthcare is.]

I ceased to thank shit and proceeded to slap it around the face.

The economy? The economy? That thing left in such a state by the previous Republican administration that I’ve named it twice?

But let’s ignore the past and move forward, eh? I don’t know enough about the intricacies of the economic policies of either Republicans or Democrats, so – although I have my suspicions which will be more mindful of the needs of the vast majority of Americans - I can’t really comment on their relative merits.

But Romney? A man who, as far as I can gather, made his money deliberately putting vast swathes of Americans out of work and generally behaving like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman but without having had the good fortune to meet a prostituted woman whose simply country goodness and stunning beauty makes him see the error of his ways?

You want to give this man an entire economy?? Are you nuts?

Now you no longer need to be a woman for me not to understand why you’d vote for Romney.

Unless you are a billionaire, this man will fuck you. He’s not even hiding it, not even trying to. He’s ‘not concerned with the very poor’, which, should he be elected, will soon be the vast majority of the American population. He ain’t lyin’, either, though he does, it seems, lie about a lot of other things. Like his tax payments, for example.

And because this is pertinent but also just because I love fuck yous set to music even if they’re not entirely feminist, I present to you the thoroughly smashing Wrong Direction:

I’ll leave you with one thought. We voted in our own Romney. Like Romney, David Cameron promised to fuck us and we voted him in anyway. Now, he’s getting busy fucking us and, let me tell you, it really isn’t very nice.

Save yourselves. Before it’s too late.


The Blog It is a’ Changin’

Yes, I’ve finally moved away from the dark side. Text on black is so fucking hard to read, isn’t it?

I only kept it so long because I’m a lazy-arsed mule who doesn’t like to admit they’re wrong.

Actually, that’s a lie: I have no problem admitting I’m wrong. It just happens so seldomly, it takes me right by surprise.

I’ve just decided black is so last year.

I’ve picked a new theme at random. No doubt now I’ve got the change bug, this will not be the last change you’ll see.

My widgets will also be subject to change. I am nothing if not half-arsed.


It’s All About the Love

Ohio Senator Nina Turner is all about the love.

As am I, and I love this woman.  Watch her in action.

Turner has introduced a Viagra bill into the State Senate: Any man wishing to access Viagra has to see a sex therapist, undergo a cardiac stress test and produce an affidavit from their sexual partner before getting a prescription for the drug.

And, yes, of course she’s serious.  As she puts it:

Women have abdicated our responsibility to show men as much love in the reproductive health arena they have shown us over the years.  So we must do something about this. 

‘My bill is all about the love and making sure that we look out for men’s sexual health.’

Genius.


Motherhood and Going Feminist

I spent yesterday at the Go Feminist conference.  The conference was, obviously, about feminism, but it was more specifically about attempting to connect the dots between the different forms feminist activism can take; thus, the conference blurb:

Go Feminist recognises that we live in a world of interlocking hierarchies and oppressions. It is part of our feminist mission to dismantle this.’

I don’t think we’d argue with that, would we?  Over in Boogieville, we’re all about dismantling interlocking hierarchies and oppressions.  It’s what we idly dream of whilst dunking marshmallows in hot chocolate and watching Thelma & Louise.

And the programme for the conference reflected its aim.  Amongst others dealing with black feminism, and faith and feminism, and women and economics, there was the centrepiece of the conference, a session on how to connect movements (with a particularly interesting bit by Rahila Gupta) and an accompanying workshop, and a further workshop addressing intersectionality and how to deal with oppression when it comes from multiple directions all at once.

And, you know me, I hate to criticise.  Well, I don’t, but I do hate to criticise people like the people who organise stuff like this: big, conference-thingies, with loads of people, all talking about feminism.  Really, what sort of shit criticises women who do that?  Well, as Rahila Gupta would no doubt point out, the sort of shit who feels that her area of marginalisation hasn’t been addressed at all.  And who doesn’t feel that just because she has privilege in other areas, she should be silenced.

Now I’m privileged in many ways and I have no problem with feminism addressing racism, anti-capitalism, and the inequalities of the legal system, and what all of these things mean for women.

But.

Now, I should preface this by saying obviously I didn’t go to every workshop so I may have missed something, but nothing in the title of any of the workshops lead me to believe I did.

It really came to me during the Sexism in Popular Culture plenary session, when the question was repeatedly being asked ‘what can we do?  What can we do to change the way people think; about feminism, about equality, about the way the world works?  How does this shit change?’  And I just wanted to jump up and get all Whitney Houston on their arses.

Y’know, all ‘I believe that children are the future (warble, warble etc etc)!

In all that intersectionality, in all that ‘connecting movements’, there was not a whiff of the word ‘motherhood.’  And what connects women if not the concept of motherhood?

And I mean all women, not just those who become mothers.  Because whether you like it or not, whether you have children or not has very little to do with whether this issue will impact you as a woman.  Just ask any childless woman how often she has to fend off intrusive questions about why she’s childless.  Just ask any woman who can’t have children how often she has to lie to people just to keep her sanity.  Just ask any woman, on becoming a mother, how many assumptions she had to fend off to find her own way as a mother.  Just ask any woman of child-bearing age who’s career is, surreptitiously, stalled because of an assumption that she’ll ‘get up the duff’ any minute now (from my own experience in the legal world, women did routinely get pregnant the minute they made partner – because that was the only way to do it; it was universally acknowledged that getting pregnant before being made a partner meant you didn’t get made partner).

You don’t need to be a mother to be affected by motherhood because, childless, the patriarchal myth of motherhood will still come and get you.  You just need to be a woman.

Oh, I know, I know.  Feminist parenting is my ‘thing’, of course I’d notice its absence.  And of course before I became a mother and had no intention of ever being one, the absence wouldn’t have occurred to me either.  But isn’t it glaring?  When you think about it?  Even for a minute?

So much of what feminism is about intersects with motherhood at really, really fucking direct points.  And mothers are marginalised in all kinds of ways that intersect with feminism, and huge swathes of mothers worldwide are marginalised more than I could even shake a fucking stick at and a huge part of that marginalisation arises directly from the fact of their motherhood. And even white, middle class feminist mothers are marginalised because other mothers don’t get what the fuck you’re on about and feminism tends, it seems, to ignore the elephant in the room.  Whilst providing a creche and offering workshops for children…

Oh, I don’t want to whine.  A hearty congratulations to all the organisers for all the many things they got right (which was basically everything else – not least actually getting up and doing the whole thing in the first place).  I enjoyed the day, I really did.  It just spoiled it for me is all.


Finally!

Dear larks a’mercy, I thought November would never fucking end.  I am not good with self-imposed, for-no-good-reason obligations.  Who knew, right?  Well, I did for one, but let’s skip that bit.

Maaan, I am tired!  I don’t know how other people – other mothers – do this, this labouring at the coal face of blogging.  I’m not talking about those mothers who are covers for advertising shit, whose every second post is a free giveaway competition…I’m not jealous of those bloggers, I’m just confused as to why anyone would read the inane shite they post just to win a copy of Harry Potter.  I am, truly, the Anti-Zeitgeist.

I’m even more confused as to why you would waste your time writing that shite.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not coming down on ‘mummy bloggers’ whatever that means anyway, I’m just, well, well…what?  I’m just confused, really confused.  I had to carve out time for this month’s daily blog posts, time I just didn’t have.  Sure, ‘stuff’ was going on this month, but only the same ‘stuff’ that is always going on when you don’t live in a little gingerbread house on the internet itself.  Life stuff, y’know?

I had to work really hard some days; it shows, I know – it shows today for sure because today’s to-do list was – is – a bee-yatch.  I. carved. time. from. nothing. some days. I wanted that time to have been used to say something.  Yes, I mostly failed – which is why I’ll be going back to weekly-or-so postings – but I tried.

But a big shout out to those who try and – generally – succeed.  You are, my friends, better women than I.

Forgive me, but I still have to figure out how to iron on sports badges and order an angel costume and eat something and all I wanna do is go to bed.


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