Category Archives: Daily Mail

Rape Crisis Christmas Campaign

God, it depresses me to even write that title.  A specific, Yuletide anti-rape message is not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about the ‘festive’ time of year, is it?  Y’know, cards, presents, eggnog, targetted posters reminding men that rape isn’t nice despite the presence of mistletoe.  For shit.

Does rape become more prevalent around this time of year?  I’ve no idea – and I couldn’t find any stats that suggested whether that was the case or not – but I suppose there’s just more instances of women going out, getting drunk, having fun, needing reigning in, needing jack-booting back to the kitchen…

Oh, I’m being curmudgeonly.  Possibly.  Well, see what you think:

[brought to my attention by Too Much to Say for Myself]

So, you see, the campaign has one, huge, huge, thing going for it.

It doesn’t victim blame.  Even if only, specifically, for drinking.

It doesn’t victim blame.  I find it difficult to be pissed at any rape campaign which doesn’t actively blame the victim.  You know?

But there has been criticism.  We, feminists, as the Daily Mail will tell you, are never fucking happy.

My own personal criticism is that whilst it holds the victims not to blame – my, how far we’ve come! – the campaign appears to uphold another, very important rape culture myth: that only young, attractive, patriarchal-compliant women get raped.  Oh, and apparently, only white women get raped – who knew, right?

Ugly women – whether ‘ugly’ because they’re old, or fat, or hairy or disabled, or whatever – these women do not get raped.  Right?  I don’t even need to tell you the myth I’m talking about, right?

That rape happens because men can’t control their penis in the face of an attractive young piece of tail in a vest top.  That one.  That when ‘ugly’ women get raped, they don’t get raped, they get lucky.  Because who would, otherwise, want to fuck that?  More, that when ‘ugly’ women get raped, they don’t actually get raped, because who would want to fuck that at all?

That when ‘ugly’ women get raped, they don’t actually get raped, because they are fantasising, because who would want to fuck that?

So, am I being curmudgeonly?  Or should I accept that a step forward is at least a fucking step forward?

That, my friends, is the essential dilemna of the feminist curmudgeon.

I’m Full of Modesty and Low Ambition

I read this in yesterday’s Sunday Times but the link is to the Daily Male (due to the Times’s pay wall).  Naturally, the Male story doesn’t cover the facts as well, but it’ll have to do.

The Institute of Leadership and Management questioned 2,960 women in various managerial roles to explore, according to ILM’s website, ‘the hurdles women face along their career path, and [to] identify the factors that create the glass ceiling effect that many women managers encounter.’

The result?

From The Times: ‘The glass ceiling may be all in the mind.  A lack of ambition and self-confidence, rather than overt male sexism, is holding women back from senior management roles..’

Which is convenient, because it means it’s all women’s own fault.  Again.  Stupid bovines the lot of us.

And the reason for this ‘lack of ambition and self-confidence’?  Institutionalised sexism?  Negative stereotypes so strong that even women believe women to be less able than men?  Working environments run according to patriarchal rules?  Societal expectations that women will be the ones looking after children, expectations so entrenched that we don’t even have the phrase ‘working father’ in our lexicon?  Ha!  No, ‘experts’ believe this state of affairs is, again, women’s own fault:

‘Experts believe a principal reason for women’s lower ambition is that men are more likely to define their success in life in terms of work achievement, while for women other factors such as raising a family play a far bigger role.’

Where to start?  Well, first off, our dear friend Catherine Hakim is quoted later in the piece, so I think we can know how we feel about the ‘experts’ referred to.  Secondly, how does this explain a lack of self-confidence?  And thirdly, what a pile of crap.  Does anybody know a working woman who defines her success in life as to whether and how she raises a family?  In a society which denigrates mothers on all fronts and which (thanks again to Condom Cameron), whilst trying to kick partnered women back in the kitchen as quickly and unceremoniously as possible, is simultaneously kicking single mothers off benefits if they refuse to get out of the kitchen and work for minimum wage, out of which wage of course they have to pay somebody else to look after their kids?  Jesus, I’d laugh if I wasn’t so busy having a hysterical rage episode.

Of course, women who happily take on the full time ‘wife and mother’ role (and there are some about), would, I imagine, view raising a family as their life success, but remember, we’re talking about working women here, specifically women in management roles.  And, of course, if you work or not and want kids and can’t have them, then manage to have them, you would view that as a success in your life; a hurdle overcome as it were.  But a working women, at managerial level, defining her success in life by raising a family?  What a pile of shit.  Course, it actually should be considered a measure of success to raise the next generation, especially whilst juggling a full-time job, but it certainly isn’t in the world I live in.  Raising a family is just what you do.  It’s just what women do.  Raising a family successfully has no rewards in our society: no pay, no laudatory celebration, no time off.  No reward that is considered useful in a society in which stay at home mothers are considered to be non-people in terms of economics.  Ecomonically speaking, these women earn nothing and voila! therefore contribute nothing to GDP and so don’t count (although if you want to find out how they should count, talk to Marilyn Waring).  If you’re lucky, successfully raising a family means you won’t die alone in a care home, but that seems too slim a reward for 20-plus years of hard graft to really count as ‘success’.  Conversely, if society deems you to be failing in raising a family – and it will, at some point, for something you did or didn’t do – it will heap opprobrium down on your head like a ton of shit bricks.  Given all this, who would be stupid enough to believe that raising a family defines their success?  Who among these working women, who we’re told lack self-confidence in spades, would be confident enough  to stick two fingers up to the world and say ‘My success is my family’?  The phrase, ‘I’m only a housewife and mother’ didn’t come from nowhere.

What these ‘experts’ actually mean is that if a working woman has kids and stays at work full-time and still manages to recognise her off-spring at weekends, and doesn’t feel too guilty that she never took them to Gymboree, and her husband didn’t run off with the nanny, and her kids don’t end up on Jeremy Kyle and her working prospects and earnings don’t drop by too much, she views that as a success.

And that’s really not the same thing, is it?

Oh, How I Love The Daily Male

Despite loads and loads of stuff going round in my head at the moment – like: how could I have not seen the white, male, upper-class privileges whirling round Stephen Fry and instead found him whimsically amusing and faintly adorable?: how come Steve mcQueen can be used to advertise watches and everybody else see his image and thinks ‘cool’ and I think ‘wife-beater’? – I’m finding a coherent narrative hard to come by.  Swirly stuff that would end with, ‘but I digress’ I have shed loads of but even I can see that these swirls need a thread to turn them into a post.  So thank fuck for the Daily Male.

It is an article of faith with me that on any given day, should I be in need of conjuring a bit of righteous anger (not often necessary to artificially induce this, but still), I can always, guaranteed and without fail, rely on the Daily Male to supply it.  I came to this article of faith by virtue of my parents who live many miles away and visit only seldom, but always, always, come armed with a copy of the Daily Male, regarding it as a ‘good, informative read’ (I know, I know; safe to say I am regarded as an alien being by my parents).  It was therefore only on completely random and infrequent days that I flicked through a copy yet, however random and infrequent, my reaction was always the same.  It is, as we all know, a piece of work; worse even than The Sun which at least knows it’s a comic, rather than actually a newspaper.

The other day things were just a little too harmonious: the BoogieMeister and I were loved up, Boogie was behaving like an angel and L’il Boo was having a particularly long nap even for him.  Things were too fucking right with the world.  So I click open The Beast:

Oh, How I Love The Daily Male

And it’s good.  It’s pure.  Pure clap-trap.  It’s classic Male.  Just so you don’t actually have to bother reading it, The Male kindly summed up the whole article in one sentence: ‘Dr Catherine Hakim concludes that the battle for sexual equality is over and any pay gap is down to women’s lifestyle choices.

So short a sentence.  So much wrong with it.

OK, OK, so you can see from the date of the article that I’m using a bit of artistic licence here; I started this post last year (though it seems a bit bizarre to put it in those terms), but – I don’t know if you’ve noticed – it’s been Christmas and I always lose the plot a bit at that time of year.  I was going to do a short criticism of the article then swiftly realised that that wouldn’t be possible; the only thing that would do this bit of clap-trap justice would be a line-by-liner and, frankly, I have resolutions to plan (first one: make resolutions before the New Year), otherwise how am I going to know exactly how much I’ve failed come this time next year?  So y’all can read it and savage it at will (although, seriously, it’s too, too easy, candy-from-a-baby time or, as I Blame The Patriarchy would probably describe it, an exercise for ‘novice’ patriarchy blamers only), and I will limit myself to quoting one sentence; according to Dr. Hakim:

In Britain half of all women in senior positions are child-free, and a lot more of them have nominal families with a single child and they subcontract out the work of caring for them to other women.’

First off, commiserations to all those single children out there who have to deal with the knowledge that they are members of only ‘nominal‘ families.  Second off, let’s just see how that sentence works out for men:

In Britain half a small proportion of all women men in senior positions are child-free, and a lot more the vast majority of them have nominal families with a single child with any number of children and they subcontract out get all the work of caring for them to other women done for free by the significant women in their lives.’ Who they then divorce for a younger model and complain that ‘feminism has gone mad’ when said women demand a bit of cash recognition for devoting their lives to bringing up said men’s children and then being left below the poverty line as a result of their diminished work skills.

Too fucking right the battle for sexual equality is over.  What the fuck was I thunking?

Too, too easy.

Such was the basic idiocy of the article that I found myself thunking: who is this Dr. Catherine Hakim?

I wish I hadn’t.  I really do.  Because Hakim has a bit of form.

She is, apparently, a Senior Research Fellow (I bet she’s not arguing with that title) in the Sociology department of the LSE.  Amongst her ‘topics of interest’ is ‘women’s employment and theories of women’s position in society.

Hmm.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if I was even remotely interested in ‘women’s employment and theories of women’s position in society‘ I would feel behoven (yes, I suspect I’ve made that word up, too, but it sounds so…nice), to at least make enquiries as to whether there was, say, a whole movement utterly devoted to analysing ‘women’s position in society.’  I surely wouldn’t have to make many enquiries before stumbling across something called ‘feminism’.  You’d think, wouldn’t you?  Even if it was just by accident of the weird results you can get from a Google search.

Maybe Dr. hakim doesn’t own a computer.  Maybe she thinks that ‘feminism’ is actually a term invented by the Male meaning ‘harbinger of all evil’.  Who knows, but Dr. Hakim does seem to skim over the whole, boring bit about ‘reasons’ for stuff she concludes.

In an article for Prospect magazine Hakim expands on something called ‘erotic capital’ (a term she claims to have coined) and detailing how women ‘use’ it.  Her conclusion seems to be thus: proper economic capital be damned; women may have none of it, but bugger me, they’re ‘erotic’ and that’s just as good.  I paraphrase, of course, but that seems to be the basic jist (‘cept of course I inserted the bit about women having no actual economic capital).  And you can see her point, can’t you?  I mean the machinations of The Patriarchy means that whilst women do the work they sure as hell don’t hold the money but who gives a shit when you have ‘erotic’ capital?  Because then you just get a man to buy you a house and some diamonds instead, right?  So, we can all lie down and relax, girlies, because the equality war is so over.  And women, of course, are just better at being erotic; to quote:

Erotic capital goes beyond beauty to include sex appeal, charm and social skills, physical fitness and liveliness, sexual competence and skills in self-presentation, such as face-painting, hairstyles, clothing and all the other arts of self-adornment…Yet women have long excelled at such arts: that’s why they tend to be more dressed up than men at parties.’

Which is a bit like saying, Poor people excel at being able to resist the temptation to buy a Ferrari. Indisputably true, but kinda meaningless when your analysis only takes into account the amount of poor people who actually own a Ferrari, n’est-ce pas?  Maybe – just maybe, ’cause I don’t want to be dogmatic here – the number of poor people owning Ferraris is influenced by something other than just poor people being better at managing the urge to buy a fast, shiny car?  Or am I missing something?  No, I’m really not.  But somebody is.   

And, in a nice twist, she just keeps going.  She is quoted in yet another Daily Male article today. 

More Clap-Trap

This woman’s like the bloody Duracell bunny.

Something Strange This Way Comes

Something very strange is going on and it is, in essence, this:  I am somethimes more likely to swear at my computer whilst reading The Guardian than whilst reading The Daily Male.  And no, it isn’t because I own a computer with feminist sensibilities which recognises the Daily Male as a popularist Patriarchy tool and shuts down with a flounce when I access Femail.

No.  Like a moth to a bunsen burner, whenever I access The Guardian I am drawn against my better judgment to the Comment Is Free section and worse, to any article which posits some aspect of the basic theory that women are people rather than ‘just women’.  The level of sheer, undiluted misogyny of the comments to such pieces is something rarely seen outside of the Salem witch trials.  It’s horrendous.  But in my occasional forays over to the Daily Male (just to try in vain to disprove my theory that a day does indeed go by without the feminists screwing it up for everyone), many comments on articles such as this one:

And Another Thing Feminists Are To Blame For

are always a shocker for their reasoned arguments about why the article is full of shit.  Further, such comments are those that garner the biggest approval ratings, with red flags being given to comments in agreement with the article.  Weird, huh?  Oh, I know, a large part of it will be down to some Internet idea of Trolling Exchange but still; there must be some people who actually comment on the paper they actually read, surely?  Could it be that The Male is going a bit too far even for its own readership?  We light a candle and wait in hope.

Mumsnet: The Backlash

Is it just me or is Mumsnet suddenly being roundly villified by the media?  And is this in any way connected to the fact that these attacks come just after the media decided that the members of this overwhelmingly female site actually had a bit of power in connection to the next election?   And is it just me but are the accusations levelled at Mumsnet – ‘bitchy’, ‘santimonious bossy-boots’, ‘opinionated’ – exactly the same accusations levelled at any women who gets above her station, actually having opinions and not being afraid to express them?


Hell Awaits

OK, so I’m going to hell.  Not the traditional fire-and-brimstone gig, but the more modern, more frightening one populated by dead Daily Mail readers, though thinking about it I suppose they’re pretty much the same thing.  I don’t want to say why, but there’s no getting around it.

I stumbled across The Male the other day – for research purposes only, you understand – and quickly took the necessary precautions; reading Femail is a dangerous activity not to be undertaken lightly.  I put on my lead-lined gloves, placed the bumper pack of Rennie on my desk and locked all the knifes in the cupboard with the child-proof lock – just in case the realisation that millions of people read this shit and believe it became too much and I decided to commit hari-kari.  It has happened before, so I take no chances. 

Properly prepared, I returned to my desk and steeled myself for the worst.  However, nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. 

I came across an article I agreed with.  Let’s just think about that for a minute and be glad that I’m not on any prescription medication.  Yet. 

Well, I agreed with some of it anyway – I’m just going to ignore the added-on feminist bashing because I think that’s just like the Daily Mail footer or something which just gets taken off articles which tell us how much more confident this week’s boob job recipient is since she had them done for herself.  OK, so it was only a book review but, I cannot hide: The Male reviewed it favourably.

The book in question ‘Nurtureshock’ by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman posits, according to The Male anyway, the theory that ‘progressive’ parenting is shit and is responsible for all society’s ills (we can take it that by ‘progressive parenting’, we could equally read ‘feminism’).  I paraphrase but you get the point.  More precisely, such parenting, holds the belief that high self-esteem must be instilled in your child at all costs and, to that end, praises children constantly and indiscriminately, producing ‘praise-junky’ brats. 

And I can’t argue with any of that last sentence.  Naturally, I agree with the concept of self-esteem being of paramount importance; actually, I think that it a parent’s single most important job, aside from the obvious one of keeping your children safe.  Show me a woman who was taught from birth to value herself and I’ll show you a woman who will never be in an abusive relationship.  If Boogie ever brings home an arse kicking male, I will cry like a good ‘un, because I will have failed her so profoundly that words will fail me and the knowledge that the arse kicking male is the least of her problems will probably kill me off.  So I also agree that it should be installed ‘at all costs’, but that phrase is meaningless in and of itself, because it ignores the fact that such self-esteem can only survive once they go out into the big, wide world if it co-exists within an overall character that understands that life is not fair.  Shit will happen, disappointments will occur, people will try and crap on you from a great height.  Real self-esteem will help you ride these things out – and rise above them – with the smile on your face still intact.  Self-esteem based on the false belief that you are the only important person in the universe will shrivel and die at the first hurdle.  So, I will teach Boogie that the world will try and treat her like shit but that her job is not to let it.  And for that, she’ll need real self-esteem, not the pretend self-esteem that The Male is, rightly, so dismissive of.      

General indiscriminate, over-enthusiastic praise has always struck me as suspect and I’ve never thought that my child couldn’t sniff out such obvious bullshit equally well.  Boogie certainly seems to have a fully-functioning bullshit detector about everything else.  It’s like when you get a new hair cut and somebody looks at it and goes, ‘Oh, fabulous!’ in a high-pitched voice that reeks of insincerity and then noticeably fails to expand on precisely what is so fabulous about it.  Hell, you know they’re lying.  And you hate them for being so false and thereby telegraphing to you that you look like Brian May after a blow dry.  Or at least I do – hate them I mean, not look like Brian May; my hair just won’t curl no matter what I do.  I fully suspect that kids feel the same when they present you with multi-coloured squiggles for the millionth time and get, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’ in that same high-pitched tone that forces nearby dogs to seriously consider coming running.  I mean, I’m not a monster – the first 100 times I get the multi-coloured squiggle, I admire it in appropriate tones, but then I start to want to know what it is.  I read in some touchy-feely parenting book that you should never ask this question of your child; I forget why exactly but it was something to do with the fact that you shouldn’t pressure your child into thinking a drawing had to be anything – i.e. multi-coloured squiggles were an end in themselves.  Huh?  Even Jackson Pollock learned to draw properly before he managed to validate that kind of thinking.  Apart from the obvious – that unless you are Jackson Pollock this isn’t actually true – where’s the motivation to develop and draw actual, recognisable stuff?  And no, monsters which consist of circular multi-coloured squiggles and naught else do not count, Ms. Boogie.  It seems obvious enough to me. 

According to the authors, praise has to be specific and genuine, that is, it has to be earned.  I am totally at one with that idea.  How else is a kid to understand when they’re busy doing something amazing and when they’re just marking time?  I’ve read all this stuff before in one place or another, so why this is such a big deal now, I’ve no idea, but I suspect parents could do worse than take a gander at the book.  Especially those parents who negotiate with a two year old about whether they will go out today (what is that about?).  Having yet to actually read the book, it may be full of crap, but I suspect not because then The Male would’ve gone into a lot more detail in its review.  And sell it at a discount for three tokens. 

The review also mentions that old chestnut beloved of more woolly-minded people, the non-competitive sports day.  Now, I understand that competition can be bad, bad, bad; competition for natural resources, competition for all-too-scarce jobs and such, and I get that capitalism is based on competition.  I get it, I do.  But try as I might, I cannot bring myself to see a quick run down a sports field with a bunch of other kids as the thin end of the patriarchal capitalist wedge.  To the losers say ‘it doesn’t matter’.  Because it doesn’t matter, you can’t be the best at everything, unless of course it does matter to you, in which case try harder.  Practice, take it seriously if it’s serious to you, give it your all and don’t ever be ashamed to admit it.  And if you still fail next year, be commiserated by the knowledge that you did your best.  Hell, quote Samuel Beckett if you want: ‘No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.’  Possibly the best quote in the history of humankind.  I say possibly because, obviously Martha Gellhorn is also in the running for the top spot with this little gem, ‘You can do anything you like if you are willing to pay the full price for it.’ Although, having just searched for this on t’Net, I can’t find any reference to it, so maybe I made it up, in which case I rock.   

I know I said I was going to ignore the feminist bashing but I can’t resist.  Because apparently one of the main causes of today’s society-going-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket mêlée is ‘progressive’ fathers – by which I think they mean fathers who actually have some desire be involved in their spawn’s upbringing – who are ‘weaker at setting and enforcing family rules.’  The bastards, eh?  And you just know that the next sentence wasn’t something to the effect of ‘so dads really need to bone up on what makes kids tick and learn to get some fucking backbone and not be so needy as to as to want to be their child’s ‘friend’ rather than its parent.’  Noooo.  This calamity befalls us because these people ‘have no truck with traditional gender roles.’  And we all know who they’re talking to there, don’t we?  So yah boo sucks, feminazis!  Note that these ‘progressive’ fathers do such unworldly things as ‘wash and dress their child’.  Gadzooks!  What is especially lovely about this little nugget that ‘progressive’ fathers suck is that the following paragraph is – and I quote because it’s too delicious –

As a result, the children of progressive fathers who are proud to be hands-on are almost as aggressive and badly behaved at school as the children of fathers who are either absent from the home, or play very little part in their children’s lives.’

Emphasis mine!  Well, you can bet yer botty it wasn’t The Male’s cos – yep, you read it right – despite progressive fathers being the faecal-licking lapdogs of the feminazery, their children are still actually nicer than those with every other type of father!  That The Male attempts to portray this as a negative is an example of non-logic only matched in recent memory by its interview with Erin Pizzey who went on at length about how crappy her childhood was due to both her mother and father having fairly horrible personalities and how her only happy period was that which she spent at a boarding school away from them both, and then said, apropos of nothing I could see, that feminism was truly evil incarnate because it sought to deprive children of the one thing they needed most, viz both of their parents under the same roof with them!  Hilarious!  There really is too much fun in the world!

The best comment on the Nurtureshock piece was from some wit in Chelsea who said, ‘Bring back the cane – it works!’  Well, of course it does, moron!  It’s a stick powered by a hand.  It doesn’t even have an on/off switch, never mind an instruction manual – what could possibly go wrong with it?  One can only imagine the trouble she has programming her video.

Too.  Much.  Fun.