Category Archives: Misogyny

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.


Moving Through Male Violence

It’s really not that often I just post a link, mainly because it’s really not that often that something makes my heart sink slowly and swim in my stomach for a half hour or so. But this piece by Lidia Yuknavitch, is one such thing.

‘When my father raised his hand to me in our garage at eighteen, I said, “Do it.”

‘When the poet punched me in the nose in my pick-up truck at a stop light, I said, “Get the fuck out of my car or I will kill you.” And I meant it.

‘I’m telling you this because I know I’m not the only one who came of age like this. Up and through male violence. ‘I’m telling you because there are all the things that need to be done “out there” to stop it. But then there are also all the things that needed to be done in me. To stop it.

‘Listen, these are not the sad stories. Worse things happened to me. Those aren’t the sad stories either. These stories don’t carry the pathos to signify culturally in my culture. These stories I’m telling you are commonplace. That’s the point. They just happen and you live them and as you go you have to decide who you want to be.’

Read it. If you don’t marvel at the courage of the woman who can write this kind of truth, and want to invite her round for a cup of tea at the same time, I’ll be amazed.

Via Feministing.
Read it.


And Why did You have an Abortion Exactly?

I’m not going to critique Bel Mooney’s recent piece in the Daily Fail. Too easy.

You ‘mislaid’ your Pills, Ms. Mooney? Because you were moving house, Ms. Mooney? And so had a totally justifiable abortion? Unlike all those other slappers who have them just because they can’t be bothered to use contraception? And your failure to use contraception was different because..? Because?? Anybody? Ever heard of condoms, Ms. Mooney? Ever heard of abstinence, Ms. Mooney? I bet you have because I bet you’d advocate it for teenage girls, wouldn’t you, eh? Dirty whores that they are.

Despite moving house myself recently, I have inexplicably failed to find myself pregnant. I think that says a lot.

No, I’m not linking, there madness lies. Don’t read it unless you’ve recently had a brain bypass.

Actually, do read it and understand again the problem with defining the ‘correctness’ of abortion based on the circumstances in which it was had.

Nah, fuck it, just read this instead, from TMae over at Life V 2.0:

I had an abortion.

I’m not going to tell you how old I was when I had it.

I’m not going to tell you what the circumstances around the pregnancy were. 

I’m not going to tell you whether birth control was used or not.

I’m not going to tell you whether it was a wanted or an unwanted pregnancy.

I’m not going to tell you how far along the pregnancy was.

I’m not going to tell you whether there was a genetic abnormality, or whether my life was endangered by the pregnancy.

Right fucking on. Read the rest of it. It’s fab.

This really hits the spot in the abortion debate. Goodness, no, I don’t mean the ‘pro v. anti’ debate. There is no debate with those ‘pro-lifer’ (oh, if only speech marks could drip sarcasm) idiots who want to send women back to aborting with coat hangers.

I mean the real debate with those who think abortion is kinda-OK-ish-I-guess if a woman’s been raped, or there’s a fatal abnormality, or her life’s in danger, or she’s moving house.

OK, so including that last one means I’m debating with Bel Mooney all by her lonesome (you get it, Bel? Nobody’s buying your shit! even Daily Fail readers can fail to spot the difference between a woman who fails to take contraceptive measures and a woman who fails to take contraceptive measures!), so scratch that one.

We all make this mistake. Even the most pro-choice amongst us. We get into the debate, we argue our case using examples of why the right to abortion is necessary. We, mistakenly but with good intentions, try to argue with the anti-woman brigade by using examples that, we think, even the most intellectually-challenged amongst us can get to grips with.

But by doing so, we lose sight of the truly important fact. The right to abortion isn’t important because bad things happen to good people. It’s important because women must have the right to decide whether or not to have a baby. It’s really that simple.

By arguing about the why, we appear to accept that abortion is inherently morally wrong, but morals being all relative and such, there are exceptions. What we need to be saying is: there are no exceptions. Every woman (sheesh, OK, even you, Mooney) is entitled to the right to control her own fertility.

Never apologise. Never explain.

I think we can all thank TMae for reminding us of this fact.


UBB-B (Hons)

I’m an ugly, butch bitch-bitch.  I’m thinking of adding that to my business cards.  It’s snappy.

From tristyntothesea, via The Riot.


Food, Glorious Food?

I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately.  Or rather, I’ve been thinking about our relationship to food, a sentence which in and of itself is completely weird when you think about it.  A relationship with Food?  This can never end well.  Food will never write, never call and will make you fat just by looking at you.  Bastard.

But it seems that increasingly we just cannot accept that Food is just not that into us.  We insist, despite Food’s complete inability to watch movies without hogging the popcorn or give good head, on pursuing this relationship and weeping when it makes us sick.

And we are getting sick.  Over a million people in the UK suffer from some kind of eating disorder.  Those most at risk are young people between the ages of 14-25, although this may well be changing.  Statistics from the NHS show that that 14 figure may well have to start being revised downwards to say, oh, 10.

Oh, hang on, Ms Optimism!  Statistics from last year were open-mouthed shocking: Almost 600 children below the age of 13 were treated in hospital for eating disorders in the three years previous.  That figure included 197 children between the ages of five and nine.

Five and nine?  Are you frickin’ kidding me?  You’re kidding me, right?  No, you’re not kidding me.

Do not even get me started on childhood obesity.

Boogie is six.  To say that I find this piece of information troubling doesn’t really hit it.  This piece of information makes me want to weep.  And then kill somebody, or at the very least kick a three-legged kitten.  In other words it makes me sad and mad and mean all at the same time.

Course, the old, ‘it’s the celebrities’ thing was trotted out, with Susan Ringwood of eating disorders charity B-eat telling the Telegraph that ‘the figures reflected alarming trends in society, with young children “internalising” messages from celebrity magazines, which idealised the thinnest figures.’

And yes, I’ve no doubt that’s a factor, but the thinness of celebrities is only an effect in itself.  Why are the celebrities so thin in the first place?  Is there simply a genetic connection between a hunger for fame and a preference for lettuce and brittle bone disease?  I haven’t read the literature, but I’m suspecting not.

We’re just emerging from National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, but I’ve been thinking about food for longer than that.  In honesty, I started thinking about food when I had a girl-child but it’s only recently that I started thinking beyond the obvious about it: beyond not wanting her to be fat; not because I’m fattist (which the more enlightened among you will recognise as a comfort-blanket of a fib), but because I wanted her to be healthy.  You know, like, thin.

Not really thin, of course, because that would be as wrong as wanting her to be fat.  So I wanted her to be not too fat, not too thin…what exactly did I want?  Where was the fucking line?  How wide or narrow was this weight spectrum that would be found acceptable by me?  Was it only a few pounds wide or did a stone more or less make no difference?  Would a heavier weight be acceptable if she were taller and could ‘carry’ it better?  Was it OK if she was generally thin but had a bulging belly?  Was a bulging belly deemed OK at 4 but unacceptable by 8?  Could she have a large bottom?  Was whether a large bottom was acceptable at least partially dependent on whether they were ‘in fashion’?

Now, I ain’t stupid.  I could see that something was off with my thinking; it was so…prescriptive.  And so open to failure.  Keeping Boogie within ‘acceptable’ weight limits – no matter how narrow or wide – was going to take micromanagement to a new zenith.  I could see where it would end and I am fucked if I’m going to start weighing out my daughter’s food and have her doing one-armed press-ups in between episodes of Scooby Doo.  But where else could it go?

What was off?  I knew the facts.  Too fat or too thin was unhealthy.  Either led to all kinds of increased medical risk.  It’s true, all the doctors say so, right?  Right?

It was only when I understood why too fat or too thin was unhealthy that everything fell into place.  And I could only make sense of that when I understood that ‘too fat’ is, to paraphrase Caitlin Moran, when you no longer resemble a human being and ‘too thin’ is when the weight of your very skin is too heavy to bear.

When I understood that what was ‘unhealthy’ was not a body shape but a state of mind.

Not many doctors tell you that.  Oh, they tell you that when you’re 14 and you’re hospitalised with anorexia, or 46 and unable to heave your bulk out of a specially-made bed.  Sure, they tell you then, when it’s too fucking late.  Before then, when you really needed to know it, your obsession with your body size, your desire to get it ‘right’ whether ‘right’ was thinner or fatter, was lauded, you were praised for ‘taking control’ of yourself.  Right?

Yep.  It’s that relationship with Food thing again.

Reading Bodies by Susie Orbach really helped clarify my thinking.  As I’ve said before:

In a nutshell, Bodies basically explores how, in the last thirty or some years, our whole concept of what a ‘body’ is has changed from being merely the physical structure housing a person, to being the sum of what a person is, and as such, something that we must now ‘perfect’ in order to ‘perfect’ ourselves as people.

‘Or bodies must be tamed, made to conform to ever decreasing notions of of what is physically acceptable, or we will be found wanting as people.’

When the cage that houses you becomes who you are, interior decorating takes on a whole new importance.  And when that cage is something as fucking unreliable as a body, prone to leakage, stinky emissions, unsightly diseases and other unfortunate social habits, you can see that changing the wallpaper every 10 years just ain’t gonna cut it.

How could we not have a relationship with Food?  Food is the most immediate, most obvious way we can change and mould our bodies.  Food is the thing that can now define us: as fat slobs, as over-achieving control freaks; as people who have control or who have no control at all.  No wonder the whole ‘relationship’ is so fucked up.  But just because having one is becoming seemingly inevitable, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

What are we missing?  We’re missing that food has no fucking bearing on who we are.  Just being genetically programmed to retain fat or just being really, really over-fond of cheesecake or being able to exist on an apple a day, doesn’t actually define who we are as people.  It just means we have genes, or we just really, really like cheesecake, or we have (quite unfathomable to me) self-control.

We are missing the fact that’s it’s impossible to have a ‘relationship’ with food, however healthy we may like to boast that relationship is.  Food is fuel, nothing more, nothing less.  If we choose more good fuel, our bodies will perform sufficiently well so that we don’t have to think about them and we’ll probably lower our chances of becoming unwell.  If we choose more bad fuel, fuel that works against our bodies, our bodies will probably start to falter sooner or later, to a greater or lesser extent.

That’s it.  There is no ‘relationship’.  This is not a two-way street.  You can treat your cheesecake to dinner and a movie then serenade it with love songs before giving it oral sex for three days straight and it still won’t change into having the nutritional value of a floret of broccoli.

But still, something is missing.  We may understand the idiocy of having a relationship with Food, but we still need to eat, right?  Jesus, if we have no relationship with Food, how do we know when to eat, what to eat?

The thing that’s missing is called hunger.  The relationship you need to have is with your stomach.  And it’s the same relationship whether your stomach is convex or concave.

Your stomach will tell you when you’re hungry.  So eat when it tells you to and stop when it tells you it’s full.  And the more I think about it, the more I realise that what you feed it with is largely irrelevant.  Whether you chow down on cheesecake or broccoli, as long as you listen when it waves at you shouting ‘Full!’, most of the rest of all the shit is gravy.

So yes, I tell Boogie about ‘good fuel’ and ‘bad fuel’ and I try to give her some idea of the difference between the two (salmon helps your brain work, pasta gives you energy, brownies give you sugar lift), but that information has become, over time, background noise.

My nightmare micromanagement scenario has segued into an idea of breathtaking simplicity.

Eat, I tell her.  If you’re hungry, eat.  When you stop being hungry, stop eating.

It sounds like a revolution when I write it down like that.  How can that be possible?

It will be a long time before I know whether I gave her the ‘right’ message.  But one thing’s for sure however it turns out: it won’t be any worse than any of the other messages she’s getting.

And it at least has the advantage of simplicity.  How bad can it be, right?


The Anti-Abortion Queen Rides Again

Over at Represent!, they have a post up about Mississippi representatives introducing a personhood bill into the Mississippi legislature, despite the fact that a personhood bill was recently put to the vote in that state and was soundly defeated with 60% of the vote.  Just to be clear: that means that the fine people of Mississippi, having been politely asked, do not, no thanks, not at all, no, siree Bob, want to define personhood as arising from the moment of conception.  Are we clear?  And Republicans (and no I haven’t checked they’re Republicans, but if they’re Democrats, I really do just give up), have taken that resounding no and told voters to go fuck themselves.  Are we clear?

And it’s too easy, over on this side of the pond, to just yawn and dismiss this as yet another example (and not even a particularly fine example at that) of bat-shit Republican craziness, given that every word attached to ‘Republican’ these days seems to be either ‘anti-abortion’, ‘anti-contraception’, or ‘trans-vaginal probe’.  And that’s just when they’re trying to win the women’s note.  Bat-shit crazy.

This would never happen here, though, amirite?

Nadine, Nadine.  Aah, lovely Nadine!  What would we do without you to remind us that pride comes before an ungainly trip straight on the noggin?

Nadine Dorries, the MP for somewhere clearly bonkers (I can’t remember where, but just look for the large hole in the ozone layer and the hanging smell of over-cooked brains somewhere over the Home Counties ).

I’ll be kind because she may have just forgotten, so I’ll remind her what she was up to last year.  She was introducing a bill to parliament which sought to ‘strip charities and medics of their exclusive responsibility for counselling women seeking an abortion‘.  In other words, she wanted to stop organisations providing abortions from offering counselling to women thinking about having one.  Her stated rationale was was that they had a conflict of interest because they both provided counselling and were paid to provide abortions. She also maintained that ‘alternative’ counselling would prevent women being rushed into abortions that they may later regret.

Those evil abortion pushers, eh?  Does anybody seriously believe that charitable abortion providers try and push abortions on women to get a few quid?

No, nobody did believe it, Nadine.  Even the other members of parliament (known for a degree of bat-shit craziness themselves) understood that the whole idea was just bat-shit craziness.

Dorries is now a member of a cross-party group of MPs which is now looking to give anti-abortion groups an official role in abortion counselling.  As in, yes, exactly what was defeated last time around.  This is the same cross-party group, by the way, that MP Diane Abbott walked out of saying she was leaving ‘because the talks were little more than window dressing for the agenda of “Tea Party Tories” determined to prevent abortion providers, such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, from offering counselling.’  This is also the same cross-party group that includes Catholic MP Louise Mensch, just so we can be certain where this is all going.

The Guardian has the low-down on the three policy options this group is currently being offered:

One option is to make no change while another resembles Dorries’ original proposals, which would have prevented abortion providers such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) from providing counselling services.

‘It is understood, however, that most discussions are focusing on an option that would create a register of counsellors eligible to tender for pregnancy counselling – including anti-abortion organisations.’

It has been suggested, quite rightly, that this is an attempt at back door legislation which would introduce radical changes to current abortion laws.

It has also been suggested, again quite rightly, that this is Dorries way of telling women to go fuck themselves (that was my suggestion).

Or, as Clare Murphy from BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) puts it: ‘There was a major discussion about pregnancy counselling last year and a comprehensive defeat of these campaigners in parliament. It seems extraordinary to then turn around and effectively say: “It doesn’t matter that this has been talked about and voted on. We’re going to do it anyway.”‘

And all this when there is no evidence that there is anything wrong with the current standard of counselling being provided.  It’s almost like Dorries has invented a problem where none exists!  You’d almost believe it was nothing about women and the standard of care they receive and all about ideology!  Unbelievable I know!

As Marie Stopes’s Tracey McNeill put it, the current system provides ‘access to impartial, non-directive and expert support from trained counsellors, if [women] decide they want it’.

She also said, and this here’s the rub:

We simply don’t believe that organisations whose own publications describe abortion as “a most grievous sin” can provide impartial pregnancy counselling to women.’ [emphasis mine]

So, sure, you could ask an avowedly anti-abortion religious group for advice on your abortion but, then again, you could ask a PETA activist advice on whether to buy a fur coat, but it sure as fuck wouldn’t be a good idea.


Holy Crap, Somebody Tell me this is Really a Reality TV Show!

OK, look, I’ve tried and I’ve tried.  I’ve tried until my brain has bled neurons out of my eyes and my entire frontal cortex has collapsed in on itself and sat, huffing, with effort and dismay.

But I do not get it!  I do not get the Republican presidential candidate thingy!  Americans are, by and large, logical, rational people.  Nice, even.  Pleasant.  And yet just when I think it couldn’t get any worse, it gets worse!  Every time!

For the love of a feminist utopia, somebody explain to me how these people, instead of being locked up as a danger to themselves and an entire frickin’ nation, are actually being considered potential candidates for president!! Did you hear me??!?  PRESIDENT!

Has America somehow missed this?  Am I the sole harbinger of the doom news?  Has every American misheard ‘president’ for ‘bigot-in-chief’?

It seems soooo unlikely.  And yet no more unlikely that what is actually going on.

This, this unholy piece of dirtbag idiocy, is merely the latest example of it getting worse, every time.  Every time these people open their you-kiss-your-mother-with-that mouths:

Rick Santorum: Pregnancy as a result of rape is “a gift” and victims “should make the best out of a bad situation” (via Jessica Valenti, from Think Progress).

If these are god’s chosen ones, god is an idiot.

OK, I left this post in draft for a week.  AND IT JUST GOT WORSE!  Now Santorum is in the lead!!!  He’s gonna take Michigan!

Are you frickin’ kidding me??  This is a Republican joke, right?  And for once, I’m happy to say I have no sense of humour.

Please, somebody, tell me it was all a dream and Bobby just emerged from the shower.


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