Just a quick post to thank all the wonderful women who inspire me, and also to mention my new post on my other blog page (silly me I posted it in the wrong place. God knows why I have two blog pages really, but hey). It's about how much I hate Fifty Shades of Grey. Read it here - Fifty Shades of...No. Just No.
Here's my pick of a few awesome women who have inspired me...
Sofie Hagan and Deborah Frances-White (The Guilty Feminist Podcast)
And finally.... my mum.
My mum is ace.
Happy International Women's Day!!
I went to the London Women’s March on 21st January 2017 and it was bloody amazing. Millions of people marched, in countries all over the world, and I’ve yet to hear of any violence or arrests. We made history that day.
People asked if it was an anti-trump march – he’s already President, so what’s the point? For me, it wasn’t about protesting or sending a message to Trump. He’s probably going to deny this happened, or he’ll lie about it. My concern is what Trump being voted in says about our world today. We’ve been told for a while that women are equal and we don’t need feminism anymore, blah blah blah… but this shows we do. A man who said ‘grab her by the pussy’ is now president. People voted that man to be the president. What does that say about the majority of people? All the awful things he said about women have now been validated and normalised.
With the racism that followed Brexit, and then Trump, I started to lose faith in humanity. It sometimes seems like everyone hates anybody who isn’t ‘normal.’ I can only presume their ‘normal’ means white and a man.
I’d had enough of the hate, bullying, trolling and online abuse, intolerance, and the ‘teasing’ (bullying disguised as something supposedly funny) going on all over the world. Trump was the final straw for me, and seemingly for many others too. The march was to tell the world that hate speech is not acceptable. There is nothing wrong with being kind - it doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you less of a man. Why can’t we just be nice to each other, for goodness sake?
The Women’s March was peaceful, friendly and kind. There weren’t crowds of angry ‘feminazi’s’, but there certainly weren’t any fragile ‘special snowflakes’. People of all genders and all ages (even dogs too) came together to march in solidarity to tell the world that this is not ok. This kind of hate is not normal. The right for everyone to be treated equally is not a radical notion, it's just basic morals. Being accepting and kind to all different people is not a 'luvie lefty' thing, it should be standard practice for all human beings. We're all humans, we're all different, deal with it.
I want to thank all people of ALL genders for going to the march, because it’s important to remember that not all women have a vagina. Thank you to the trans people who marched, the people of colour, the disabled people, to LGBTQ+ people, to EVERYONE. I have a little more faith in humanity because of you. To those who couldn’t march for whatever reason, but supported us in your own way, I thank you too. I was stopped by three men on my way to the coach station in London who wanted to talk about the march and had wanted to go but had to work. Just their interest and kindness was enough. There were people who maybe couldn’t march due to illness or disability, or because of anxieties caused by crowds – probably many other reasons that I’m not even aware of too. I was nervous at the thought of being in such a large crowd, it’s a scary thing. So however you supported the march, thank you.
I felt safe and supported in that crowd of 100,000 people, which I never thought I’d say. I hope everyone else did too. I can’t speak for people in minority groups, but I hope you felt safe, included and accepted.
It was amazing to be part of such a huge movement, millions of people all over the world marching together peacefully. For the first time in a while, I am proud to be a human being.
Keep being kind. Compassion is not a weakness.
To read (or listen to) the full version of #WhyIMarch, click here.
There is an audio version of this if preferred - here.
I’m a feminist but…when my friend invited me along to the Women’s March on 21st Jan 2017 in London, I said ‘8.30am coach? But that’s so early!’ Of course I said yes straight after, but I’ll admit I have been quite the armchair activist so far. I’d write a few satirical stories for my podcast, bust out a few blog posts hoping that somehow some people will read them. Maybe satire is dying now… it can’t be funny if it’s coming true, right? I think people underestimate the power of writers in our society. People watch hours of TV every day. We consume so much media even just through our phones. Films, written largely by men, tell us what our happy endings should look like. Our brains gobble up all this information, which determines how we perceive the world and people around us, and sometimes it’s really not a great influence. Misogyny, objectification and patriarchy are so normal we barely even question them. Yet the world also tells us that there’s no need to fight for women’s rights anymore because we can vote now, right? We are allowed to have jobs and reproduce at the same time! As long as we make sure we’re still pretty whilst we’re doing it all, that is.
If you ever needed proof that sexism still exists today, and gender equality is needed more than ever - an old, racist, sexist, orange-faced ball of raging testosterone will soon be the most powerful man in the world.
But surprisingly, I feel quite positive. Knowing there are marches happening all over the world on 21st January gives me so much hope and strength. I’ve never been to a march before, but I’m so glad to be going to this one. I have a feeling history is going to be made that day.
For me, this isn’t protesting against Donald Trump, it’s about people making a stand together to support gender equality and diversity. I was maybe living in a bubble where I thought the world was becoming less sexist, but the amount of people who voted for Trump proved me wrong – particularly all the women who supported him. Feminists can be any gender, and misogynists can too.
This is our chance to show the people who think modern day feminism is a waste of time that we can unite, regardless of our gender, race or class. I don’t want to see feminists fighting against each other anymore, I want to see us work together for the greater good. I’ve been part of online feminist groups which have been so hostile and full of fights, long bickering threads misinterpreting each other as tensions run high. We’re all angry and upset, but we need to put our energy to good use instead of turning against each other. That’s just what men like Donald Trump want, he wants people to hate each other instead of blaming the rich, greedy old white men at the top like him.
I’ll admit I’m a bloody awful feminist at times, but I’m learning and trying to keep an open mind. I admit I used to criticise Beyoncé’s brand of feminism (as self-objectification to sell music) but I’m not going to anymore. I’ll try not to judge anyone who says they believe in gender equality, because they’re trying to do something positive in their own way. To be honest, there are bigger fish to fry. We have to pick our battles. None of us are perfect feminists. This is our opportunity to stop arguing about the most recent slip-up Lena Dunham made, or criticising each other on incorrect terms we might accidentally use, or judging what level of feminism somebody is at. For the march, let’s put it all aside and agree on one thing: Donald Trump is a massive fuckwit.
Why I march is to try to bring feminism back together. Where the expert 'good' feminists and the 'baby' feminists can unite for a greater cause. To let passion and kindness unite us and channel that energy into what we all fundamentally want – to all be treated like human fucking beings. I march because I want to live in a world where people are allowed to have empathy and compassion without being seen as weak. I march for a world where having emotions is seen as a strength of humanity, and where men are allowed to embrace them too. I march for a world where the pressure to be powerful and rich isn’t as important as being kind, where we can say what we feel without being called loopy lefties or special snowflakes. Caring about the world should not have to take such courage. Being yourself should not have to be so hard. Showing compassion towards others is not a political act, it’s called being a decent person.
I’m marching because I want everyone to be allowed to have their differences without being judged or bullied, for everyone to respect each other regardless of where they’re from, what they look like, what colour their skin is, whatever their gender or sexuality.
Saturday 21st Jan could mark the start of something amazing. Our strength will come from a union of compassion and empathy with our fellow human beings. Let’s show the world how awesome we can be. This is our time to shine.
So you saw a meme, like this one for instance:
And you tagged your mate, Luke, just for LOLs. Nice one.
So what would you say if I asked you WHY it’s funny? Posts like these have thousands of likes, tags and shares. Why? Here’s what I think the honest reason would be – you think she’s fat and ugly. How embarrassing for Luke to be associated with such a fat ugly woman! How humiliating!
You may think what’s the problem? It’s just a bit of a laugh.
Wrong. You are part of the online bullying epidemic, congratu-fucking-lations.
Who made you the God of knowing what’s funny? You think it’s fine, therefore it is. Anyone showing emotion is obviously weak and stupid. But by saying they should ‘get a sense of humour’, what you’re actually saying is ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’ and taking away the right for them to show emotion. People are allowed to be upset about things – we’re human, it happens.
Let’s not pretend this isn’t part of a much bigger picture. It’s not just the memes, this is happening in school playgrounds, in workplaces, even on the street. But if anyone speaks out, they’re told it’s ‘banter’, ‘just a joke’. Like casual sexism is ‘just locker-room talk’.
Fuck that. It’s bullying. Let’s stop dressing this up now. By tagging, sharing and liking these memes you’re the same as a bully teasing somebody in the school playground. That somebody may grow up to have a lifelong confidence and self-esteem issues because of you, but that’s ok because you know you were just teasing. You just keep telling yourself that. I’ll keep telling you that you’re encouraging online abuse.
Teasing is bullying in disguise, for cowards who want to pretend they’re not being wankers. I know some tiny part of you knows that, which is probably why you wouldn’t be able to explain exactly why the memes are funny. Would you say that you think disabled people are funny? That you think gay sex is disgusting? That fat women are ugly and repulsive? No, you wouldn’t say that explicitly, but if you joke about it, oh well that’s fine.
These memes are screenshots of a Facebook page called The Asylum. It’s just one of many pages filled with memes like these. They’re rolling in likes, shares and tags galore. It wouldn’t surprise me if they are in fact ‘Like Farming’ (you know the ‘hit like if you hate cancer’ types? They’re racking up their Likes to be able to sell for big bucks. More info on that here: http://daylandoes.com/facebook-like-scams/)
I have tried reporting The Asylum Facebook page but got this (followed by my response):
Then I took their suggestion of going through and finding individual images and reporting them. I reported lots, and each and every one was denied. I guess because the memes don’t explicitly state ‘gay/fat/disabled/trans/ugly people are gross and should be laughed at’ then they’re fine.
But the intention behind the meme is the same.
So maybe there’s nothing Facebook can do about it. Humans are fucking horrible at times but social media is just the platform. So I’m writing this to you. YOU individually because you are a human being and have the power to make a difference just by not participating in this.
I was bullied all through school and even at times in my adult life, but this is not my sob story. I was one of the lucky ones. Social media wasn’t around for most of my school days so at least I could get away from my bullies to a certain extent. The ones at school that is, the ones outside of school were often worse. They were the adults who should’ve known better. I didn’t even realise that some of what I encountered was bullying, I’d gotten so used to it though my life. It was so normal. Like it’s normal to post ‘funny’ memes taking the piss out of people who are different to yourself.
As a quiet kid who was scared of a lot of things, I rarely spoke up. When someone joked I had five chins, and I started to cry, they said it was just ‘friendly teasing’ and I should ‘lighten up’. Then I felt stupid. I felt like I’d made a scene, and that I was just weird for not having a sense of humour about it. So I learned to laugh. I laughed with people as they bullied me, I perpetuated my own abuse.
Again, fuck that.
It’s taken too many years for me to learn that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable. I will not watch anyone else get torn apart by what other people class as ‘just teasing’.
The majority of those meme photos are real people, who likely have NOT given their consent for them to be used. Certainly in the case of Lizzie Velasquez (pictured right).
"Lizzie, who was born with a rare disorder that prevents her from gaining weight, said viral memes can leave innocent people with a feeling she 'wouldn't wish on her worst enemy', and added: 'At the end of the day we are all human.' "
We live in a judgmental, discriminatory society which thinks to be fat, trans, disabled, a person of colour, or any kind of ‘different’, is less of a human being. People who do not fit the standard of beauty dictated by the media are deemed sub-par humans. By laughing at any of these people and disguising it as a joke, you are hurting others. If you don’t realise this, you’re being an arrogant selfish, uncompassionate, judgemental arsehole.
Bullying is bullying. You make all the excuses you like, but YOU are making things worse. Take responsibility. Stay the fuck away from memes.
Let’s just start off with a disclaimer – I am not a film reviewer, but if you’re here for a ranty feminist blog then you’re in the right place. I went to the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and saw not nearly as many films as most other people, but I want to have a little rant about one of the films I saw – Carrie Pilby.
This post contains spoilers, but that’s okay because it’s a crap film and you probably shouldn’t watch it anyway. It's plot has been done so many times before, it's nothing new so you won't miss much. This is your typical love story, but more shit. I thought it might have a slightly different ‘quirky-comedy’ edge to it…but no. Not even a decent Romeo and Juliet type… no. It’s Bridget Jones but trying to be quirky, cute and endearing.
Bel Powley stars as Carrie Pilby, a 19 year old smart-arsed posh girl, who I wanted to slap round the face pretty much all the way through the film. The actress herself is great, it’s not her fault the character she played was unrealistic and annoying. Bel Powley in fact starred in one of my favourite films of the last few years – Diary of a Teenage Girl – I suggest you watch that instead of Carrie Pilby!
Carrie continually tells us all through the film how clever she is, and drops in names of pretentious writers whenever she can. If she was really that clever, she wouldn’t act like a befuddled 12 year old all the time. She’s supposed to be socially awkward I think, yet she's confident and always trying to be funny.
So she’s seeing a therapist who is…wait for it…her dad’s friend! Would it really be so hard just to do a tiny bit of research into therapeutic practices? I thought it’d be pretty obvious that you couldn’t have any kind of therapeutic relationship with your dad’s friend. Therapists in films really piss me off. Unless they’re meant to be a bit crap, or an ex-therapist (think Good Will Hunting), then they can get away with it. Therapists do not give people lists of ‘five things to make you happy’…yet this is what he gives to Carrie Pilby. Good job her family is frickin’ rich if that’s all they’re paying him for.
So she goes and buys some goldfish which seems to serve no purpose for the plot other than to make her look irresponsible and stupid. Of course another thing on the list is ‘go on a date.’ Of course. I knew this was mainly what the film was going to be about but I expected something funny about modern dating (watch Fleabag if you’re looking for that sort of thing) but instead I got Snow Frickin’ White.
Hello?! It’s 2016! We don’t need to be rescued anymore. Can we not have a happy ending in a film without the man rescuing the helpless lady?
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. I told you, it’s a rant. Stay with me.
There’s the guy at work , the hot boy next door (literally), and flashbacks to a fling with her hot teacher at uni who didn’t return a book (this is a major part of the plot…yawn). She of course has daddy issues, because why else would she not be able to get a man, right? Her dad is exactly the kind of posh bloke you’d picture him as, the kind that says ‘darling’ a lot. She acts like a stroppy little bitch all the way through the film, repeatedly telling him that she hates him, until he goes to New York to see her and punches her ex in the face to get the book back (ultra-clever plot point, see?)
So what we have is a very intelligent young woman, who gets rescued by not just one, not two but three men; her dad’s mate the therapist, her dad, and the boy next door who is obviously Prince Charming because he wants to know her middle name. Her intelligence is completely undermined by the message that she is happy and ‘fixed’ because of the men in her life. After years of hating her father she suddenly likes him because he punched somebody. That's messed up. She has an average job which he got for her, and seemingly no ambition to do anything else with her mastermind brain. What the film is saying is, like so many out there, is ‘so what if you’re intelligent - don’t get a career, get a man.’
I’m sorry to take this rant out on Carrie Pilby. It’s based on a book and I mean no disrespect to these writers or filmmakers in particular, as this is a bigger problem in the film industry and the media. Yes, some people like a happy ending, and some people like love stories, but they don’t need to hold these strong patriarchal messages. It’s because of fairy tales like this that people fear being lonely. We are desperate to find ‘the one’ and then stay with that person forever. And if you don’t find that ‘one’, then maybe the world will just implode….
Or maybe you’ll just have a run of interesting relationships and have some good life experiences.
Thankfully, I saw another film at TIFF which provided the depth I was looking for: Blue Jay. It’ll be out on Netflix soon. It’s an interesting relationship drama with believable characters and a lovely balance of poignancy and comedy. There’s no underlying bullshit fairy tale or patriarchal message, and it’s brilliant. It's the kind of honest, realistic relationship drama which I wish I could write. As I was only at TIFF for the second half of the festival, it was the first film I watched, which set the bar really high. It was the best film I saw at the festival, and one of my favourite films this year. The Q&A after the screening with Mark Duplass and Alex Lehmann made it even better - such lovely, appreciative guys! I found it really inspirational (with a touch of jealousy of course!)
I’ll admit I was secretly very glad I watched Carrie Pilby. Why? Because sometimes the stuff I don't like inspires me even more than the stuff I like! Not that I think I can necessarily do better, but it reminds me how much we need new stories and new perspectives. Although I’m inspired by the films I love, I sometimes get a little disheartened (‘I can never write anything as good as that’ – I whinged after Blue Jay) but watching something that really ticks me off reminds me that what I write is so different, and that can only be a good thing.
Whilst in Toronto, I met a guy who ran a shop on Queens Street West (called ‘Original’ – it’s amazing and colourful and amazing!). I bought some fantastic sparkly shoes as a reminder of my time in Toronto, and the inspiration I felt to write my next screenplay. Every time I look at those shoes now I’ll be reminded of that feeling (I hope) and of the lovely guy in the shop. He told me he once had his own TV show and he got out of the business as he wouldn’t sell his soul etc – I realise he may well have been full of shit, especially when he said he was friends with Daryl Hannah, but I didn’t really mind.
He reminded me of the importance of being different, staying true to yourself and telling your own stories. In a world of so limited stories, the only way to really make it feel true is with your own voice and your own experiences. Yours are just as important as everyone else’s and you’ve got to wear them with pride, like I’ll be wearing my sparkly shoes!
Other film recommendations from TIFF 2016:
Christine – Have something cheery ready to watch after this one. It’s a brilliant film with fantastic acting from Rebecca Hall about a news reader who shot herself live on air, and it’s about the events that leads up to her death.
Colossal – Anne Hathaway thinks she’s controlling a monster in South Korea! Original, fun, with interesting characters and darker undertones.
This does post contains explicit content, explicit language and triggering topics.
I recently joined Tinder, just to see what all the fuss was about really. I've read things about women getting shit for saying they're feminists in their bio so I had a plan of action for what I'd do if someone kicked off or sent me dick pics. Not long ago I started delving into the world of bad erotica - I write satirical feminist erotica which is purposely unsexy and gross in the hope that it's funny. I recently recorded a radio play and am going to be making a podcast (there's a blog about why I started doing that here).
So I decided that if a guy started sending inappropriate sexual comments, that I would 'out-gross' him ie say more disgusting things than him. I know, this is a weird way of dealing with it, but I thought it'd be fun instead of trying to call him out or explain in the usual way, which he probably wouldn't have listened to. Or maybe I just have a weird sense of humour. I'm not advocating this as a way of doing it. Two wrongs don't make a right.
I took some screenshots, and contemplated how/where to post them, and if I should at all. Although he said some disgusting things, I wasn't entirely sure naming and shaming him would be of any benefit to anyone. I asked The Guilty Feminist Facebook community* (thanks guys!), which opened up a really interesting dialogue about it, and then I decided to post it with this explanation. But, to 'protect' his identity, I have drawn glasses and a big nose on his pictures, which is definitely not meant to look one bit like a cock and balls with three pieces of jizz.
His bio said:
'I just want a woman who will do what I want, and I'm as racist as fuck.'
I honestly wondered if this was a joke, and I was intrigued, so I swiped right. Somehow, he had swiped right on me too and we were a match, despite me having the words 'feminist', 'sarcastic' and 'writer' in my bio. You could say both of us were kinda asking for it, but still...I was intrigued.
I asked him if he was joking in his bio or if he was actually racist...
Normally when someone is racist or sexist they don't say they are, they show they are. Something just didn't really add up so I continued. I didn't have anything better to do on a Sunday when I was hungover. I asked him if he was homophobic too. He said, no - that was fine. That surprised me...
And that was it, I decided I was going to take this fucker down...but I stayed patient and asked more questions, building up to it.
Ka ching! This guy was fully deserving of my gross sexual commentary. I asked him if he was meant to be out hunter gathering. He seemed a bit confused.
Then I asked him if he ever went down on girls, he said 'LMAO, no'. I said 'well, you're a catch, aren't you? Get many girls this way?' He said 'yup.'
I thought I'd start playing him at his own game so I said I'd suck his cock if he sent me a picture of his dick. He said 'Ha ha, no' (I was surprised he had some standards!) He started calling me a slut and a slag.
I said 'chuck me where?' His response is blocked out by my phones stupid tendency to bring up the volume when I want to do a screenshot - apologies for that, but he said:
'I'll chuck you and fuck you over the table whether you like it or not.'
Yes...shit on the carpet, I did say that. But I did warn you about the gross erotica. Anyway, it's okay because I told him I'd clean it up, being a woman with my womanly cleaning duties and all. Then I just went for it, but he'd worked out the game. That last bit is one of the most satisfying things I have typed in a while.
And that was it. I'm taking that as I WON and he is lying around at home crying to his man mates on Reddit about how a feminist was mean to him and we're all evil hairy dykes who eat men as mid-morning snacks.
So, to sum this up - I'm a bit sorry. Not to this fucker, but to anyone in my family or from work who has ended up reading this and has seen a surprising side of me through the innocence and smiles. To anyone who thinks that I've perpetuated one guy's view of all feminists being evil. But I hope that in some small way I've made him think about his actions. I bet a lot of girls challenge him for being such a dick, but maybe they haven't yet done it by playing him at his own game. I tried it, it was fun, but I'm aware that this is not the way to deal with these types of guys on an ongoing basis. This was just my way, just this once... but I'll admit it was satisfying as hell.
*Check out The Guilty Feminist Podcast - it's awesome!
And finally, in defence of Tinder, I think it's an awesome way to meet people and make new friends. I've spoken to lots of lovely people on there which far outweigh this douchebag!
Today I had first-hand experience of the post-referendum racism I’ve read so many accounts of over the last few days. I was in the post office (in Bristol) which is run by an Indian family – I go in there a lot with stuff for work and usually the same lady is working behind the counter and we often have a chat. She acknowledged a man behind me who joined the queue. There were some cheery pleasantries exchanged, but he had a rather loud obnoxious air about him. When she asked if he was alright, he announced ‘yes, I’m more than ok – finally the British people have made a good decision!’
I had one of those feelings of oh God, this is really happening, as he said some other stuff about making Britain great again. The woman behind the counter and I shared glances, and waved it off. She simply just smiled at him.
He carried on and said ‘And that’s coming from an Irish man!’ The women continued to humour him and came back with ‘well you might have to get a passport to go to Ireland.’
He snapped back ‘yeah, that’s fine.’
And then he said, ‘When are you going home?’
I couldn’t quite believe it. I stared straight ahead into the glass and had one of those split second decisions to make – should I turn around and confront him? I could sort of see his reflection and he was a big guy – to be honest anyone would be in comparison to me being on the shorter side, and being female. The woman at the counter continued to smile, in a gritted teeth sorta way. I looked at her and she shook her head and gave me a look of ‘just don’t, it’s fine.’
I didn’t have time to consider any longer - he realised he forgot something and left, and there was a unified sense of relief. Me and the woman looked at each other and she shook her head again, still smiling. I said ‘that’s horrible, what an idiot’ or something to that effect and she simply just said ‘he comes in here all the time, he’s always offending people. We’re just used to it.’
I suddenly realised that people tolerate so much racism because they have to, because sometimes it’s just easier (and safer) not to fuel their anger.
We’re told to call it out and fight back but if I’d turned around and confronted that man would he have really taken it well from me – a short, younger woman? The woman behind the counter clearly didn’t want me to provoke the situation, she just wanted to get on with her job instead of having to deal with possible aggression in her post office. She seemed ok, but the whole situation was just so sad. People shouldn’t have to deal with that kind of shit just to have an easy life.
Maybe I’ll send them a little token of my support, maybe that’s all I can do now. If we can’t always stop people from acting in such a horrible way, we can make sure we support everyone affected by this awful racism and xenophobia.
I’m sure you’re aware that there’s been another mass shooting in America. Another.
A man went to a gay bar and shot nearly 50 people and now everyone’s arguing over if it’s an LGBT+ issue, or a racism issue, an immigrant issue, a religious issue…
I think it’s all of these but I also think there’s another big problem staring us in the face which nobody’s talking about. Hyper-masculinity.
People can argue all they want about who the shooter is, why he did it and which terrorist group he might be involved with, but doesn't seem very productive. It’s not stopping anything like this from happening again in the future.
A while ago I wrote a short story about a (fictitious) vulnerable man who drawn into the Men’s Right’s Activist Community following an emotional break-up with a girlfriend (I'll put a link to the story at the end of this post). I submitted it to a feminist magazine but they wouldn’t publish it - I got the impression it wasn’t their type of feminism. Because it focuses on a man maybe? I wasn’t sure. It was quite a compassionate view towards him so maybe that was the problem, but I wanted to illustrate the dangers of men with mental health issues who don’t feel like it's acceptable to be weak, or ask for help. They don’t want to be seen to be ‘crazy’- they’re taught to be big strong men from a young age. Boys don’t cry. Boys don’t play with dolls, they play with Action Man.
Of course I’m not saying that women can’t commit such crimes. People commit mass murder because they’re psychopaths and their brains work differently. This can happen to anyone of any gender. Yet when was the last time you heard of a female mass shooter, or a female terrorist? I set about finding some statistics at this point…
“Males were convicted of the vast majority of homicides in the United States, representing 90.5% of the total number of offenders” -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_crime#In_the_United_States
It was proving hard to find statistics specifically about how many mass shootings were carried out by women, but then I found this…
'Female mass killers are "so rare that it just hasn't been studied," said James Garbarino, a psychologist at Loyola University Chicago who has researched human development and violence. "There aren't enough cases."' - http://www.livescience.com/53047-why-female-mass-shooters-are-rare.html
I knew there weren’t many, but that’s shocking. And nobody seems to be talking about this. Feminists are labelled as angry or boring, or lesbians, or fat feminizai’s, or even terrorists, which considering the above, is almost ironic. Women are not storming into gay clubs and shooting people, or planning terrorist attacks, yet the power in our world is still in mainly in the hands of men. That is messed up.
Following the Orlando attack, of course gun laws needed to be reviewed in the US, but it’s a wider issue in society which we need to start changing now. Do you have kids? You have the power to teach them to be a better person. Instead of teaching boys to play with toys with guns and fighting, or encouraging them to see men with guns as powerful or successful, or teaching them that they can’t live without fear unless you have a gun, or that they need to ‘protect their woman’ with a gun, can they not just be allowed to be a little more feminine? Is there anything wrong with that? Let the boys play with dolls or whatever they want to. Don’t tell them not to cry when they’re sisters are allowed too. There is no harm in men showing emotion. The harm is done by asking them to hold it all inside.
The Orlando shooter had apparently been to the gay club before and used gay dating apps. He is also said to have had mental health problems and had been abusive in his relationships. Considering we live in a society which praises monogamy and points shame at anyone who does anything outside the ‘norm’ ie man/woman/marriage/kids etc, we don’t take emotions and mental health within relationships very seriously. It can be a hard thing for people to seek therapeutic help, but especially for relationship counselling (I work for a relationship counselling charity) as a failed marriage is seen as a huge life failure, even if it lasted a long time.
Following the Orlando shootings, people immediately questioned where the shooter was from and his religion, but people aren’t talking about the stigma attached to men with mental health issues and their reluctance to ask for help. Even if they do ask for help, it could be that adequate support isn’t available – there is never enough funding for mental health services (certainly here in the UK) and there probably won’t be unless there is a shift in the future to see mental health as being as important as physical health. Here, I see a man who possibly wasn’t able to be himself. To be living a life where his religion, community, possibly family too, didn’t allow him to be him. I’m willing to bet he had been encouraged not to cry, not to be emotional, or feminine, and to find a girl and get married and have babies. And I bet he’d grown up knowing that it wasn’t ‘manly’ for him to be upset, for him to ask for help, or to be emotional. Those things are feminine, and women are weak and only exist to be owned. This hetero-normative, patriarchal world is more damaging than we can imagine. I’m not saying we should feel sorry for him or justify what he did, it was horrific, but he’s dead. All we can do is take steps to try to support the people affected by this terrible tragedy and reduce the risk of it happening again. There will always be psychopaths in our world but we can help by not encouraging them by our rigid gender role expectations.
Boys can cry. Boys can ask for help. Boys can go for counselling. Men can love other men. Women are not weak because they are emotional. We are all emotional because we are all human beings. We are people, not products of our genitalia or sexual orientation.
Femininity does not mean weakness. Feminism isn’t just for women. We need this now more than ever. We all have the power to make small changes in our lives, to think about the messages we give to kids, to think about the messages about gender roles they’re getting from films, TV and games. This isn’t about censorship, it’s about letting people be themselves without growing up with subconscious biases.
I’ve known men who think it’s only acceptable to be emotional about football. They can cry if their team loses because football passes one of the ridiculous unspoken masculinity rules, but they’re not allowed to cry if they have a row with their girlfriend, God forbid him being as weak as a woman.
It’s time to face up to something. Maybe what we see as female weakness is actually a strength. Maybe it’s the thing that stops us from committing mass shootings.
Human beings have been around long enough now to know that we’re intelligent, emotional creatures. We are smart enough and adaptive enough to be able to change the way we think. We don’t need old fashioned traditions to govern how we act just because we were born into a particular gender or religion. We’re better than that. We can be whatever we want to be.
The Samaritans - 116 123
Relate (relationship support) - http://www.relate.org.uk/
24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline - 0808 2000 247
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline - 0300 330 0630
Read my short story 'Manosphere' - about a young man sucked into the toxic world of Men's Right's Activistism - HERE.
So you're looking for a job! Ever wondered what some of those phrases you see in job adverts over and over again really mean? Well, I'm here to help break it down for you with my 'no bullshit' approach to job hunting.
Stellar photocopying skills and a strong bladder
What they say: The successful candidate will be responsible for delivering efficient and effective 5* service to both internal and external clients.
What they mean: The unlucky mug who takes this job will be forced to pretend they give a shit about everyone and suck up to the managers despite being on a zero-hour contract.
Responsibilities and duties:
What they say: The first point of contact for all visitors
What they mean: You'll be stuck on the desk all day, hope you've got a strong bladder
What they say: Setting up meeting/conference rooms when needed
What they mean: Cleaning up all the shit left by pompous blokes in suits
What they say: Photocopying, scanning and filing documents
What they mean: Mind-numbingly boring jobs your lady-brain can cope with whilst you look hot bending over the photocopier for the boys
What they say: Provide stellar support to the Reception & Events Manager
What they mean: 'Stellar'??!! What the hell does that mean - blowjobs?
What they say: Maintaining smooth day-to-day co-ordination of the Reception
What they mean: Trying to sort out other employee’s fuck ups
I'm sure you get the process now with 'what they say/mean' so I'll continue without those bits. Here's the rest of that same job ad...
Your skills and experience:
Excellent communication skills
Able to put on a great fake smile and bullshit your way through anything. Ability to be nice even when Bob from IT makes an inappropriate reference to your tits and then takes the last chocolate digestive.
Professionally presented to a high level
Attractive without being slutty: high heels, tight skirts, but don't go too far with the cleavage - that would be TOTALLY unprofessional. If you've got pink hair, tattoos, or are fat - just don't bother applying. In fact, don't apply for any office job, you'll only make people want to be sick in their own mouths.
Ability to successfully multi-task and prioritise workload
Ability not to freak the fuck out when you've got a shit ton of stuff to do and not cry like a whiny little bitch.
Good basic knowledge of Microsoft Office package
Ability to look hot and use a spreadsheet.
Knowledge of Health & Safety procedures would be desirable
Try not to plug twelve things into the same plug socket, and know how to run the fuck away from a fire in high heels.
Two extra arms desirable
Here's another Receptionist role, this time in a hotel:
Strong communication skills are essential in the role, written and verbal, as well as taking pride in appearance
You'll need to be able to talk to people, using proper words, and look pretty at the same time.
Duties will Include, but not limited to: (You'll be doing fucking everything):
Maintaining the appearance of the front desk and reception area
They're too tight-fisted to pay a cleaner
Checking guests in and out of the hotel
Dealing with douche bag tourists and/or corporate tossbags and trying not to have arguments with guys who blatantly ordered porn but swear blind that they definitely did not order porn
First point of contact for all incoming enquiries, phone & email
All at once – you’ll be on the phone, talking to people on the desk, talking to staff and answering emails so you’ll have to grow at least two extra arms
Providing house keeping with duties for the day
Supervise staff without being paid the supervisor rate of pay, whilst the actual supervisor sits on his arse in the staff room
The successful candidate will have:
A degree in film studies and six years of experience of begrudgingly working in hospitality
Be passionate on delivering excellent customer service & provide a high standard throughout the role
Force a smile onto your face every day, try not to cry too often in the toilets, make sure you look like you give a shit and remember that you'll at least make enough money to drink away the sorrow after your shift
Attention to detail, punctual, articulate, efficient, organised and work well within a team
The ability not to fall asleep on the reception desk, to get in work on time whilst hungover, to adapt your speech to be understood by people who only speak 'douchbag', and the ability to balance gossip and bitching in the office to keep to an 'entertaining' level without it turning into a bullying complaint
Have a flexible & adaptable attitude
To get on with the job and shut the fuck up
GCSE grade C or above in Maths & English, and computer literate
To be alive in 2016 (was this written in the 1970's?)
We will require interviewee's to take a typing test
Yes, it clearly was written in the 1970's
The successful candidate will have the opportunity to enrol in NVQ, if eligible.
BOOM, career prospects right there: the NVQ that will make it all bloody worth while.That'll be about as much use on your CV as a tea stain.
I hope this has helped your mission to find a semi-tolerable job. Keep your chin up, and if you ever question why you even bother working in the first place, just drink more wine.
Watch this space for more of my 'no bullshit' guide to job adverts!
Feminism. What exactly is it?
Technically, it's 'The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes,' according to the Oxford Dictionary. I think quite a lot of people would agree that this what feminism is, was, or should be about, but it seems to have gotten a little confusing recently. In fact, feminism has required a rather bad name for itself, often even seen as a joke. Sometimes, feminists have even been called 'terrorists'.
It seems, for some people, the word 'feminist' conjures a picture of a hairy, fat, man-hating woman banging on about women's rights. For others, celebrities such as Beyoncé are feminists because they are confident wearing very little clothes and believe in equality. To me, they're worlds apart, so I'm not surprised the real meaning of 'feminism' has been lost in translation somewhere.
"We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible." - Beyoncé
Agreed, Beyoncé, nice words.
But hang on, what about all those times you rubbed your arse cheeks on some glass tables, and down poles, and on walls and well...loads of places really... and writhed around in skimpy bikini's in order to sell your music? I'm pretty sure that's objectification, albeit by your own hand.
It's an unpopular opinion, I know. Sorry, Beyonce lovers.
It's a shame she has to do this, it undermines nearly everything she says.
It seems feminism now is a hypocritical, confusing term thrown about in order for people to provoke Tweeting wars. Any woman who has a strong opinion is called a 'feminazi' and is publicly shamed on social media. The internet age has allowed everyone to have their say, no matter how abusive it is.
I'd prefer a form feminism for everyone, an open door policy for all to get involved and treat everyone as equal. In fact, reading some of the Tweets on the hashtags #womenagainstfeminism and #spankafeminist, I think a lot of people who are anti-feminist seem like they are pro-gender equality. Maybe we're all actually on the same page here and should just stop arguing over the terminology. All this energy is really going in the wrong place.
So just say 'gender equality' if you prefer. Don't sweat over the words. Don't go crazy with your 'not all men' thing; I care about men's rights as much as women's, but the reason the focus has been on women is because that's where the discrimination is worse. Feminism, or gender equality, is as much for men as it is women. Women wouldn't have half the shit they have to deal with if men didn't have such pressure to be masculine, not ask for help, 'man up', be the 'provider' and so on.
The only way we'll really get anywhere is if we care about each other and work together to put our energy somewhere useful, not just into bickering over certain terminology.
I'd just like to live in a world where everyone is equal, where we have respect and compassion for one another. Sounds simple right? A lot of people want the same. I want to live in a world where a woman doesn't have to take her clothes off (or get told what to wear) to sell anything, or prove anything to anyone. Where people can accept each other the way they are. Some people would call this feminism, but if you don't want to, that's fine. Everyone has their own perception of feminism - not everyone is a radical man-blaming bitch, or a provocative pop-star. Ultimately we all just seem to be trying, in our own way, to make sure everyone is treated equally. So, how about we all stop picking at the words we use and just get on with making the world a better place?