Friday, 30 March 2012

A Site Called Vagenda

“‘Militant feminism’ is another 21st century scare, like the bird flu ‘pandemic’ and eyebrow cancer, both of which have been extensively covered by the Daily Fail. And let’s deconstruct for a second here: ‘feminism’ does, after all - and as everyone seems to voluntarily forget ALL THE TIME - mean ‘equality between women and men.’”

“That’s all feminism boils down to, at the end of the day: choice. The choice to be the most traditional homemaking mother of the pack, or the most cutthroat human rights lawyer in the Supreme Court. The choice to go out on a million, er, ‘test-driving’ dates, or to lose your virginity on your wedding night to a guy your parents introduced you to at church camp.” (The Vagenda – Have we Gone too Far?)

Yes! So glad this blog exists.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


This blog post is a brilliant reply to the misguided Cracked article called 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women, that has been shared a lot recently.

Here's my favourite line from this excellent rebuttal:

“Either way, stop blaming sex for misogyny. If all men wanted was women to fuck them more, the English language wouldn't even have the word ‘slut’ in it.”

I was talking the other day with someone about equality, and she was telling me it's got better since the days they used to have beauty pageants. I said they still had them in America and she said something about American popular culture being underdeveloped or primitive.

That got me thinking whether it was true or not. I wouldn't want to offend anyone by rashly agreeing with it, because certainly the American people I've met have been very friendly and nice. When I went to New York on a school art trip when I was about 15, we met a lady in an art gallery that we got talking to accidentally, because someone had thought she was somebody else from the back. She gave us some money to go and get a coffee. We had only just met her.

We also met a couple who gave us advice on what bus to catch back to the hotel, so that we didn't have to trudge blocks and blocks back to the hotel again. We didn't know them, either; they just helped us out.

So the American people I've met have been, on the whole, friendly, outgoing and kind. Although some people just seem mental, such as the people who present Fox News, fuelled by anger and hatred, I'm sure it's the same in Britain. The mental ones give the rest of us a bad name.

But the recent crackdown on women's reproductive rights does not fit with a country that calls itself progressive. It seems strange that people who are so terrified of Communism should readily accept personality figures like the hateful Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck telling them what to do. But then, how can you fight for women's rights against people like that, and institutions like the Church? I happen to think that they are very very wrong on these issues, but people listen to them, and they are influential. It's difficult to campaign on issues when people's opinions are influenced by religion, because that makes it a lot harder to argue with them.

I recently finished reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in which Maya Angelou worries that she is a lesbian because she has read something about it, and so sleeps with a boy in her class to reassure herself that she isn't. Three months later, she finds out that she is pregnant, and has the child at 17. She loves her son and doesn't regret having him, but the choice wasn't really given to her, because she wasn't given enough education to know the consequences of her actions beforehand. One of the reasons Angelou worries that she might be a lesbian is because she thinks her body hasn't developed properly. She was not informed about her body, reassured that she was normal, or educated about sex. As such, worried and confused, she tried to reassure herself that she was normal. Now, who do you think a Republican would blame? Not society's failure to educate her about important issues, I'm sure, and I don't think the nameless boy who was the father would even get a mention.

With the recent controversies surrounding contraception in America (and a serious lack of medical understanding), I really do think I might agree that because America is such a young country, it still has a long way to go on some issues. Especially when it polices women and women's sexualities, calling anyone on birth control a slut, but completely neglects to be judgemental about, or even mention, (heterosexual) men's sexualities. It takes two to tango.

That said, we aren't immune to that in Britain either. A terrible terrible article in the Daily Mail blames women for having one night stands, with no mention of men at all, and also complains about the "widespread availability and tolerance of pornography" next to a sidebar where pictures of boobs are apparently news.

So, in summary, I don't really know what I was trying to say with this blog post, but it's been interesting thinking things through.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Test your reading speed

I got 461 words per minute, but that only puts me at about average for university students. I'm going to choose to ignore that and instead go with being 84% faster than the national average.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Today in Charity Shops

I may have gone a little overboard. After a few months of trying not to spend anything on books or clothes, and just make do with what I had, today, I got a black and white stripey t-shirt, a book of Oscar Wilde's children's stories, a collection of short stories by female authors edited by Susan Hill, a copy of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, and a make your own bunting kit. But they're all so amazing!

I also found a little book called The World Book Day The Children's Book of Books 1999, which was a collection of extracts of stories and poems, was available with the £1 book voucher every child in the school was given on that day, and which contained a poem that absolutely scared the crap out of me. It was by Roald Dahl, and it was called The Tummy Beast:

One afternoon I said to mummy,
"Who is this person in my tummy?
"He must be small and very thin
"Or how could he have gotten in?"
My mother said from where she sat,
"It isn't nice to talk like that."
"It's true!" I cried. "I swear it, mummy!
"There is a person in my tummy!
"He talks to me at night in bed,
"He's always asking to be fed,
"Throughout the day, he screams at me,
"Demanding sugar buns for tea.
"He tells me it is not a sin
"To go and raid the biscuit tin.
"I know quite well it's awfully wrong
"To guzzle food the whole day long,
"But really I can't help it, mummy,
"Not with this person in my tummy."
"You horrid child!" my mother cried.
"Admit it right away, you've lied!
"You're simply trying to produce
"A silly asinine excuse!
"You are the greedy guzzling brat!
"And that is why you're always fat!"
I tried once more, "Believe me, mummy,
"There is a person in my tummy."
"I've had enough!" my mother said,
"You'd better go at once to bed!"
Just then, a nicely timed event
Delivered me from punishment.
Deep in my tummy something stirred,
And then an awful noise was heard,
A snorting grumbling grunting sound
That made my tummy jump around.
My darling mother nearly died,
"My goodness, what was that?" she cried.
At once, the tummy voice came through,
It shouted, "Hey there! Listen you!
"I'm getting hungry! I want eats!
"I want lots of chocs and sweets!
"Get me half a pound of nuts!
"Look snappy or I'll twist your guts!"
"That's him!" I cried. "He's in my tummy!
"So now do you believe me mummy?"
But mummy answered nothing more,
For she had fainted on the floor.
(From this website.)

When I first read this, aged 8 or 9, it scared the living daylights out of me, and I think it is the source of my unusual fear of tiny, borrower-style people (glimpses of a tv adaptation of Gulliver's Travels and snippets of the film Honey I Shrunk the Kids can probably be blamed as well). The book seemed vast to me when I was younger, but looking back on it, there's only one or two pages of each story extract, and they're on tiny pages with massive writing. There was one page of Harry Potter in there! How is that supposed to convince you that you like the book enough to buy it?! I also remember being frightened by a short extract featuring a malevolent imaginary friend. I think it was so scary because the story was unfinished, so in my imagination, anything horrible could have happened.

However, it was strange to come across something so evocative of my days in primary school in the middle of a chaotic charity shop.

Saturday, 3 March 2012


Been playing guitar again today for the first time in ages. It's so difficult! I suppose I'm making progress, because I didn't use to be able to strum and sing at once, but I still sound pretty terrible, haha. Also listened to Florence & the Machine, finding odd songs that weren't on albums and generally being overwhelmed by her talent. She has so much imagination! She's never straightforward with her lyrics. She puts things in stories, metaphors and myths, and it has so much emotion behind it.

Ach, I really need to start writing again.